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Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction
or Readings New Australian Fiction Award. ; or The Readings New Australian Writing Award ; or New Australian Fiction Prize
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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Founded in 2014, the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction is awarded for an author's first or second book, and recognises exciting and exceptional new contributions to local literature.

It is open exclusively to works of fiction.

The inaugural name of the award was 'The Readings New Australian Writing Award'.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Smart Ovens for Lonely People Elizabeth Tan , Sydney : Brio Books , 2020 18436130 2020 selected work short story

'Conspiracies, memes, and therapies of various efficacy underpin this beguiling short-story collection from Elizabeth Tan.

'In the titular story, a cat-shaped oven tells a depressed woman she doesn’t have to be sorry anymore. A Yourtopia Bespoke Terraria employee becomes paranoid about the mounting coincidences in her life. Four girls gather to celebrate their underwear in ‘Happy Smiling Underwear Girls Party’, a hilarious take-down of saccharine advertisements.

'With her trademark wit and slicing social commentary, Elizabeth Tan’s short stories are as funny as they are insightful. This collection cements her role as one of Australia’s most inventive writers.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon The Glad Shout Alice Robinson , South Melbourne : Affirm Press , 2019 15410416 2019 single work novel

'After a catastrophic storm destroys Melbourne, Isobel flees to higher ground with her husband and young daughter. Food and supplies run low, panic sets in and still no help arrives. To protect her daughter, Isobel must take drastic action.

'The Glad Shout is an extraordinary novel of rare depth and texture. Told in a starkly visual and compelling narrative, this is a deeply moving homage to motherhood and the struggles faced by women in difficult times.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Pulse Points : Stories Jennifer Down , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2017 11679894 2017 selected work short story

'The characters in Jennifer Down’s Pulse Points live in small dusty towns, glittering exotic cities and slow droll suburbs; they are mourners, survivors and perpetrators. 

'In the award-winning ‘Aokigahara’, a young woman travels to the sea of trees in Japan to say goodbye. In ‘Coarsegold’, a woman conducts an illicit affair while her recovering girlfriend works the overnight motel shift in the middle of nowhere. In ‘Dogs’, Foggo runs an unruly gang of bored, cruel boys with a scent for fresh meat. In ‘Pressure Okay’ a middle-aged man goes to the theatre, gets a massage, remembers his departed wife, navigates the long game of grief with his adult daughter.' (Publication Summary)

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon The Windy Season Sam Carmody , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2016 9508107 2016 single work novel

'From an impressive new voice in Australian literature, a novel where safe harbour seems always just out of reach.

'Sam Carmody is a real literary talent, with an artist's inquiring mind and a natural feel for the beauty and toughness of language. Charlotte Wood, author of the award-winning The Natural Way of Things

'A young fisherman is missing from the crayfish boats in the harsh West Australian coastal town of Stark. There's no trace at all of Elliot, there hasn't been for some weeks and Paul, his younger brother, is the only one who seems to be active in the search. Taking Elliot's place on the boat skippered by their troubled cousin, Paul soon learns how many opportunities there are to get lost in those many thousands of kilometres of lonely coastline.

'Fierce, evocative and memorable, this is an Australian story set within an often wild and unforgiving sea, where mysterious influences are brought to bear on the inhospitable town and its residents.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2016

winner y separately published work icon Music and Freedom Zoë Morrison , Sydney : Random House Australia , 2016 9331945 2016 single work novel

'A gripping and beautifully written novel that brings to mind Notes on a Scandal and Elizabeth is Missing.

'Alice Haywood is born on an orange farm in country New South Wales. She begins playing the piano when she is three, taught by her English mother who is unhappy in Australia and in a desolate, violent marriage. When Alice is seven, her mother, desperate for her daughter to leave if she can't, sends her to boarding school in the bleak north of England, and there Alice stays for the next ten years. Then she's offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. That year, on a summer school in Oxford, she meets Edward, an economics professor, who sweeps her off her feet.

'But underneath his suave demeanor, Edward is a damaged man. He traps her into marriage and Alice is stuck, oppressed by his cruelty, in the Oxford home he has bought for her. After a disastrous recital of Rachmaninoff's Second Concerto, she stops playing and her dreams of becoming a concert pianist evaporate.

'Alice and Edward have a son, Richard, whom she adores. He too is a talented musician. But as Richard grows up he becomes more and more distant, and ultimately Alice can't find it in herself to carry on. Then she starts to hear the most beautiful music coming from the walls of her house.

'Inspiring and unusual, this novel's love story is that of a woman who must embrace life again if she is to survive. With a wonderful cast led by Alice, the novel explores the dark terrain of violence and the transformative powers of music, and love.' (Publication summary)

Works About this Award

A Pair of Ragged Claws Stephen Romei , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 1-2 November 2014; (p. 17)
Award for the Australian Books That Fly under the Radar Martin Shaw , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 29 October 2014;
'A Melbourne book chain has established an award for new writers. Martin Shaw explains why the award exists and the novels awarded this year'