ACT Book of the Year Award

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2016 ACT Book of the Year Award Winner

The ACT Minister for the Arts and Community Events was pleased to announce The Eighties by Frank Bongiorno as the winner of the 2016 ACT Book of the Year Award on 15 December 2016.

In selecting the winning entry, the judging panel unanimously agreed The Eighties encapsulates a decade through a readable blend of scholarship and memory. The panel noted Bongiorno deftly merges political, economic, social and cultural analyses into a most accessible narrative which provides fresh insights even for those who lived through the decade.

The ACT Minister for the Arts and Community Events was also pleased to announce The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader was ‘highly commended’ in the Book of the Year category and was also awarded the People’s Choice for 2016. The Anchoress explores issues of gender, power and religion and the panel noted the book as an emotionally-engaging, assured debut novel.

The ACT Minister for the Arts and Community Events also congratulated this year’s shortlisted authors—Merlinda Bobis for Locust Girl, Subhash Jaireth for Moments, and Ann McGrath for Illicit Love.

The 2016 ACT Book of the Year Award was judged by Ms Nikki Anderson, Mr Colin Steele and Mr Sam Vincent. The ACT Government would like to thank the panel for their time and expertise.

Frank Bongiorno - The Eighties

General Information

The ACT Government offers an ACT Book of the Year Award for excellence in literature, valued at $10,000. The ACT Book of the Year Award recognises quality contemporary literary works including fiction, non-fiction and poetry, by ACT based authors. The Award aims to support the development of ACT based writers and promote writing in the ACT.

Books are considered by an independent judging panel, which recommends a shortlist and winning author. The Minister for Small Business and the Arts releases a shortlist two to three months before announcing the winning book.

In addition to the ACT Book of the Year Award, the shortlisted books are also eligible for a ‘People’s Choice’, which aims to promote their books and help build interest in local writers.


The ACT Book of the Year is open to books published between 1 January and 31 December in the previous calendar year (the publication date is taken as the date printed in the book).

The ACT Book of the Year Award is open to books written by authors who reside in the ACT, or can specifically and strongly demonstrate an ACT-based arts practice. For information on demonstrating an ACT-based arts practice, see the Information for Applicants page.

The author may be an editor or translator who, in the opinion of the judges, has made a substantial and creative contribution to the original material from which the book is derived.

The ACT Book of the Year Award does not consider the following: anthologies, military studies, picture books, instruction manuals, university theses, bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, professional reference titles, guide books, catalogues, personal growth books, lifestyle or hobby books and educational text books.

E-books are eligible for entry but must be provided in a format that is readily available to the judges. Books that are not able to be accessed by the judging panel will not be considered.

Books may be nominated by the author or the publisher. If a publisher wishes to nominate a book, they must have the written agreement of the author and provide all relevant nomination information.

Only one book from each author may be nominated each year.

At the end of the judging, the books are provided to the ACT Library Service or other appropriate ACT Government agency. Books will not be returned to the author or publisher.

More Information

For further information on the ACT Book of the Year Award, please contact artsACT on (02) 6207 2384 or email

Previous winning nominations to the ACT Book of the Year Award External Link (page hosted by Libraries ACT)