The Invisible War by Ailsa Wild, Briony Barr, Gregory Crocetti, Ben Huchings and Jeremy Barr (Scale Free Network) is the winner of the 2017 Most UnderratedBook Award (MUBA), sponsored by the Australian Booksellers Association.


Now in its sixth year, the Small Press Network’s ‘Most Underrated Book Award’ celebrates hidden gems – engaging and creative books across all genres that deserve to reach a wider audience. Thanks to the sponsorship of the Australian Booksellers Association, the award gives the winning title enhanced exposure among booksellers, and through them, readers.


This year’s winning title is a unique publication, funded through a Pozible campaign, created by a team of writers, illustrators and scientists, and combining the format of a graphic novel with science education writing.


‘A graphic novel about dysentery during WWI doesn’t sound like the makings of an engaging work, but The Invisible War is a cleverly created comic that’s informative, interesting and surprising,’ said the judging panel of Toni Jordan, Sarah L’Estrange and Megan O’Brien. ‘In this book, even the bacteria go “ka-boom”. The Invisible War is an educational and entertaining book and demonstrates an exciting style of science writing that is far from textbook.’


The Invisible War began as an attempt to interweave the stories of two very different protagonists, but to show a parallel between them’ said publisher and co-creator of The Invisible War Gregory Crocetti. ‘Our protagonist on the small scale was the bacteriophage (bacteria-eating viruses). On the human scale, it was an Australian nurse. Both are fairly non-traditional points of view and share a connection to the WWI setting and in the physical connection between the trenches of the Western Front and the trenches of the human gut.


‘We’re thrilled to have won the Most Underrated Book Award. This award means a lot to a tiny publisher like ourselves, who are able to take risks to creative innovative new works, but simply don’t have the marketing budget and networks to promote it.’


The Invisible War was chosen from a shortlist of four titles that also included: The Island Will Sink by Briohny Doyle (Brow Books), Loopholes by Susan McCreery (Spineless Wonders), and Horse Island by Christina Kennedy (Zabriskie Books). The winner announcement was made at a special event at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, on Friday 17 November 2017.


About the sponsor
The Australian Booksellers Association is the official national body representing bookshops across Australia. Formed as a not-for-profit organisation, it provides education and training, advocacy, technical advice and marketing support to booksellers. It also recognises and celebrates the special role that books and bookselling play in society – creating community, supporting ideas and creativity, and opening doors to other worlds.

About the Small Press Network
Established in 2006, the Small Press Network is a representative body for small publishers around Australia. It presents the Most Underrated Book Award annually and has run the Independent Publishing Conference since it was established in 2012.

About the conference
Now in its sixth year, SPN’s Independent Publishing Conference runs 16 to 18 November at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. Saturday tickets are available via

About the judges
Toni Jordan
has published four novels since 2008. Sarah L’Estrange is a producer of Books and Arts Daily. Megan O’Brien was Australian Booksellers Association Young Bookseller of the Year 2012.