The book industry awards took place in Sydney last week, and yours truly was better represented than ever before. We had three shortlisted books: Sing Me the Summer by Jane Godwin and Alison Lester; The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams; and The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor. Our kids editor Meg Whelan was shortlisted for the Rising Star award, and Affirm Press itself was shortlisted for Small Publisher of the Year. It was an exciting time – there were pre-drinks before the pre-drinks, the year’s travel budget was blown up, credit cards were maxxed out, and the ABIAs did not disappointment.
Little old Affirm Press took out two of the industry’s big gongs, with The Dictionary of Lost Words winning General Fiction Book of the Year and The Grandest Bookshop in the World winning Book of the Year for Younger Children. Warmest, fuzziest congrats to Pip and Amelia, all our shortlistees, and all our authors, editors and other stakeholders who made 2020 such a great year for us. And with all that we might have thought we were in with a good shot of winning Small Publisher, but it wasn’t to be. That went to a very deserving University of Queensland Press, which launched several impressive initiatives in 2020, including the industry-first Indigenous Placement Program. Our hearty congrats to the whole UQP team, and here’s to another outstanding year in Australian publishing.