The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction


Elizabeth Tan wins the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2020

The winner of this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction is Smart Ovens for Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan. This collection of deeply funny, incredibly clever and wonderfully weird stories is perfect for fans of Carmen Maria Machado, Margo Lanagan and Kelly Link.

Guest judge Alice Robinson commented: “ The stories collected in Smart Ovens for Lonely People made me laugh out loud with surprise and delight – not only because they are very funny, conveying enviable literary skill, but also because I have simply never read anything like them, and that is such a pleasure and a delight”

You can read the full judges' report here.

Congratulations again to the five authors who were shortlisted alongside Tan: Laura Jean McKay (The Animals In That Country), Lauren Aimee Curtis (Dolores), Joey Bui (Lucky Ticket), Jessie Tu (A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing), and Yumna Kassab (The House of Youssef).

Smart Ovens for Lonely People is the second fiction offering from Tan, whose debut novel, Rubik, beguiled readers in 2017. Both titles are published by Brio Books.

About the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction

The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction (originally known as the Readings New Australian Writing Award) was established in 2014 and recognises exciting and exceptional new contributions to local literature. First and second published works of fiction are eligible. The Prize is awarded to the work of highest literary merit.

Previous winners of the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction include Ceridwen Dovey (2014), Stephanie Bishop (2015), Zoë Morrison (2016), Sam Carmody (2017), Jennifer Down (2018) and Alice Robinson (2019).

Eligibility Guidelines for 2021

  • The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction is open to a work of published fiction that may be a novel or a collection of short stories by a single author.
  • The author must be an Australian citizen or hold permanent residency at the time of entry.
  • The book must be the author’s first or second published work of fiction only.
  • Second or subsequent books in a series will not be considered.
  • Books published only in e-book form are not eligible to be entered.
  • Self-published works are not eligible to be entered.
  • The work must be published or distributed in Australia through an Australian publisher or the Australian publishing wing of an international publisher as recognised by Readings. Please note that these categories of publisher do not include digital or print-on-demand printers or publishers based in Australia.
  • Entries must be published in English.
  • Authors must be living at the date of publication.
  • Authors who win the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction will no longer be eligible for this Prize in future years.
  • To be eligible for the 2021 Prize, books must have been first published between 21 July 2020 and 21 July 2021.
  • Authors who are employed by Readings during the judging period for each year are not eligible for the Prize. For the 2021 Prize round, this period is from 21 July 2020, through to 31 October 2021.

Entry Guidelines for 2021

There is no process for entering the Prize. The judging panel, comprised of experienced Readings’ staff, will decide on eligible titles and invite respective publishers to submit no more than three reading copies of the nominated book for Prize consideration throughout the eligibility period. Further copies may be requested if the book is shortlisted.


Enquiries should be directed to the Prize Manager Bronte Coates at

 Special priceSmart Ovens for Lonely People

Smart Ovens for Lonely People

Elizabeth Tan

Conspiracies, memes, and therapies of various efficacy underpin this beguiling short-story collection from Elizabeth Tan.

$24.99Buy now

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 Read reviewThe Glad Shout

The Glad Shout

Alice Robinson

The Glad Shout is an extraordinary novel of rare depth and texture. Told in a starkly visual and compelling narrative, this is a deeply moving homage to motherhood and the struggles faced by women in difficult times. ...

$19.99Buy now

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 Read reviewPulse Points: Stories

Pulse Points: Stories

Jennifer Down

Pulse Points is the collected stories by Jennifer Down, author of Our Magic Hour and one of Australia's newest and most promising literary talents.

$29.99Buy now

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The Windy Season

The Windy Season

Sam Carmody

An energetically wonderfully Australian story: set in Geraldton, WA, there are sharks, fishermen and accidents with evocative, memorable descriptions of the sea, fishing and the emptiness of loss.

$29.99Buy now

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 Read reviewMusic and Freedom

Music and Freedom

Zoe Morrison

Alice Murray learns to play the piano aged three on an orange orchard in rural Australia. Recognising her daughter's gift, her mother sends Alice to boarding school in the bleak north of England, and there Alice stays for the rest...

$22.99Buy now

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 Read reviewThe Other Side of the World

The Other Side of the World

Stephanie Bishop, Penelope Rawlins

An unforgettable story of a woman struggling with motherhood, and her husband's attempt to create a new life for them in Australia.

$19.99Buy now

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