Book awards are a great way to find new reads from authors you may not have heard about, and also provide an easy way to distinguish, with so many new books coming out all the time, which books you might choose over others. The longlists, shortlists and eventual winners of these awards provide booklovers with a veritable feast of fantastic reading options.
While literary awards like the Miles Franklin Award, The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, The Premiers’ Book Awards, and the Stella Awards all showcase incredible literary talent, these awards often have a strong focus on literary fiction. While the books on these lists are no doubt worthy of literary acclaim, literary fiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
So if you’re looking for ways to find what the best new books are in your own favourite genre, I proudly present five book awards to follow if you’re not a literary fiction reader.
Let’s start with one of the biggest genres in the literature world: Romance. The Australian Romance Readers Association hosts these awards for Australian romance writers with twelve categories including various sub-genres of romance (e.g. Paranormal, Futuristic and Suspense), short stories, favourite couple, favourite series, and favourite cover. Voted on by members of the association, the ARRA awards’ many categories make it the perfect way to explore the genre and find your next favourite book.
The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award promotes the literary experience of children and recognises quality literature by Australian children’s authors. There are six categories in the CBCA Awards: Book of the Year for Older Readers; Book of the Year for Younger Readers; Book of the Year for Early Childhood; Picture Book of the Year; The Eve Pownall Award for books documenting factual material; and the New Illustrator Award.
If you’re looking for books to amuse, entertain and educate the kids in your life, then you can’t pass up the opportunity to look over the CBCA Book of the Year Awards.
Australia’s premier speculative fiction awards, the Aurealis Awards, recognise achievements of Australian authors in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. There are currently fifteen categories in the Aurealis Awards, which cover children’s books, novellas, short stories, anthologies, graphic novels, and adult books across the genres. A periodic addition to the awards is the Sara Douglass Book Series Award which recognises full series of books.
If speculative fiction is your jam, then these book awards are the ones to watch.
It’s the Teen Choice Awards for books! Voted on by a panel of teenage judges, the awards include two categories—one for books by Australian authors and another for International books—and recognises teen favourites in the YA genre. The teen judges prepare a shortlist of ten books (five in each category) for anyone aged 12-19 to vote on.
If you’re a YA lover or looking to buy for a teenager in your life, then this is a great starting place.
Bringing you the very best in crime fiction and true crime writing, the Ned Kelly Awards have four categories for Best Fiction, Best First Fiction, Best True Crime, and a Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards are run by the Australian Crime Writers Association and have become one of the most prestigious prizes in the genre.
If you love the dark and gritty world of crime and crime-fighting, these awards are for you.
One for the biography, autobiography and memoir readers, the National Biography Award is run by the State Library of New South Wales and looks for works that foster innovative and artistic cultural expression. The Award has been growing in popularity which the award’s frontrunners believe is a reflection of the continued and growing interest of readers in stories about people who have lived extraordinary lives.
For true stories about incredible people, this award is a must follow.