The shortlisted titles are:
- The Island Will Sink by Briohny Doyle (Brow Books)
- The Invisible War by Ailsa Wild, Briony Barr, Gregory Crocetti, Ben Huchings, Jeremy Barr (Scale Free Network)
- Loopholes by Susan McCreery (Spineless Wonders)
- Horse Island by Christina Kennedy (Zabriskie Books).
Featuring fiction, micro-fiction, nonfiction and a graphic novel, this year’s shortlist highlights the diverse, risk-taking and creative work being published by independent publishers. See below for more information about the shortlisted titles.
The winner will be announced during SPN’s Independent Publishing Conference in Melbourne at 6.15pm on Friday 17 November 2017, at a special edition of the Wheeler Centre’s ‘Next Big Thing’ series. This is a free event and bookings can be made online.
About the books
The Island Will Sink by Briohny Doyle is a work of science fiction set in the not-too-distant future in which we are perpetually on the brink of collapse, and catastrophe is our most popular entertainment. The world watches as Pitcairn Island sinks into the Pacific, wondering if this, finally, will be the end of everything. Amongst it all, Max Galleon, anxious family man and blockbuster auteur, lives a life that he cannot remember.
The Invisible War by Ailsa Wild, Briony Barr, Gregory Crocetti, Ben Huchings, Jeremy Barr is an illustrated science-history graphic novel for young adults set in WWI about a bacteria-eating virus that fights dysentery. It takes place on two scales: the macro-scale, from the point of view of a Victorian nurse serving in the trenches of France, and the micro-level, from the point of view of the microbes which fight to keep her alive.
Loopholes by Susan McCreery is a collection of microfiction that provides glimpses into the everyday challenges of family life, relationships, ageing and loss. The characters are typical humans, flawed, vulnerable, frustrating and frustrated. Told with empathy and wit, and honed with a wordsmith’s skill, Loopholes makes us see ourselves and each other differently.
Horse Island by Christina Kennedy (Zabriskie Books) is a visual guided tour of the private retreat of Christina and Trevor Kennedy. Horse Island is a place of great natural beauty and the setting for a remarkable garden created by Christina, featuring only Australian indigenous plants. Horse Island, the book, reflects Christina’s own desire to share an extraordinary place and to have us think differently about native plants.
About the award
The Most Underrated Book Award was established by the Small Press Network (SPN) in 2012 to highlight hidden gems – wonderful books that deserve to find a wider audience. Now in its sixth year, this award has put a spotlight on relatively unknown books, helping to generate new interest well after their initial publication.
‘Thousands of books are published in Australia every year,’ said Joel Becker, CEO of the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) which this year sponsors the award. ‘Unfortunately many of these don’t get the attention they deserve. Some are published by small presses without the marketing teams often required to get the attention of media, the bookselling community and the public. The ABA is proud to be the major sponsor of this award, which specifically focuses on those creative, articulate voices that might otherwise slip under the radar. This award not only gives public recognition to the winner, but to the worthy shortlist, and all those small presses supporting Australian cultural work. Awards like this assist our hundreds of bookseller members, who take their curatorial roles seriously, in taking readers on journeys of discovery, personalising the shopping experience well beyond web-based algorithms. We look forward to giving these books the attention they deserve.’