25th October, 2021

The Book of the Year Award 2021: Shortlist Announcement

The shortlist for the Small Press Network 2021 Book of the Year Award is in!

Formerly the Most Underrated Book of the Year Award, the BOTY award was first presented under its new name in 2020, marking a new direction for the Small Press Network and its membership.

BOTY aims to recognise and award some of the most significant and ground-breaking books being produced by Australian and international authors today.

The six shortlisted books are:

Almost a Mirror
by Kirsten Krauth (Transit Lounge)

Collisions: A Liminal Anthology
edited by Leah Jing McIntosh, Cher Tan, Adalya Nash Hussein, and Hassan Abul (Liminal/Pantera)

Taking Down Evelyn Tait
by Poppy Nwosu (Wakefield Press)

by Shu-Ling Chua (copies are available for purchase from the author at https://hellopollyanna.bigcartel.com/)

The Tiniest House of Time
by Sreedhevi Iyer (Wild Dingo)

We Are Speaking in Code
by Tanya Vavilova (Brio Books)

This year’s judging panel is:

  • Dr Alexandra Dane, an author, editor, and a lecturer at the University of Melbourne.
  • Jess Gately, a freelance editor and writer, director of business development for Underground Writers, and the president of Editors WA.
  • Dr Penni Russon, an author and a lecturer at the University of Sydney.
  • Marina Sano Litchfield & Jing Xuan Teo, the owners and founders of Amplify Bookstore.

A word from our judges

‘Six books were chosen for the shortlist this year, each one a testament to the power of small publishing and the role it plays in giving voice to those who might otherwise be overlooked in mainstream publishing. The shortlisted titles were all examples of strong, engaging writing that tackled a range of issues from identity and culture to family, relationships and abuse. Each book was a thought-provoking read that invited the reader to explore and consider the nuances of the world and people around us.

Almost a Mirror unfolds like a long night out […] the novel invites reflection on the sensory possibilities of prose fiction, as well as conjuring the aesthetics of the late 20th century.

Collisions is an extraordinarily creative anthology of short fiction clustering the stories around the themes of Bodies, Momentum and Contact.

Echoes [a collection of essays] is a true expression of what it means to (re)connect with one’s culture, blending memoir, cultural commentary and translation with brief vignettes that leave a lasting impact.

A fun, lively and fast-paced coming of age novel that explores the different dynamics and fallout from a newly joint family, Taking Down Evelyn Tait is YA fiction at its finest.

A unique book in the world of Australian small press publishing, The Tiniest House of Time takes readers beyond domestic borders and Western history.

Exploring themes of family, identity, sexuality and belonging, We Are Speaking in Code is a warm, engaging and thought-provoking collection of essays reflecting the immigrant experience.’

The BOTY 2021 winner will be presented by the Wheeler Centre as part of its Next Big Thing series, via Instagram Live on 26 November 2021 at 6:30pm, after the second day of this year’s SPN Independent Publishing Conference.

You can buy all the BOTY-shortlisted books and many other books written or published by IPC2021 speakers at the special SPN bookstall powered by Readings.

Mailing-list signup

Keep up to date with Australian small and independent press news and events with our timely email notifications

I'm a...

View past newsletters.

Your Cart