The Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) is an annual event to recognise and celebrate the achievements of authors and publishers in bringing Australian books to readers. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, published in Australia by Bonnier Books UK imprint Echo, has been shortlisted for both General Fiction Book of the Year and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year. Author and Echo publisher Angela Meyer, who discovered the manuscript for The Tattooist of Auschwitz, has also been shortlisted for Small Publisher’s Adult Book of the Year for her novel A Superior Spectre, published by Ventura Press.
“The ABIAs are the Australian book industry’s night of nights and I find myself in the extraordinary position this year of having my work as both a publisher and writer being represented.”
Angela Meyer, publisher
Australia is significant to the narrative of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, playing an important role in the lives of Lale and Gita Sokolov and in the publication of Lale’s story. In 2003, author Heather Morris was introduced to Lale through friends in Melbourne, Australia, where he had lived with Gita for 58 years. The pair met twice a week over the next three years, forming a close relationship.
Heather first embarked on a Kickstarter campaign to self-publish Lale’s story, which came to the attention of Angela. Since then, The Tattooist of Auschwitz has been published around the globe, translated into 17 languages with rights sold in 43 countries.
Cedric Geffen, president of Holocaust-memorial organisation March of the Living Australia, said: “It breaks it down into tangible emotions and experiences that undoubtedly accompanied each and every person that went through this period, most of whom did not live to tell their story.”
“It is a privilege to have worked on a story that has almost no boundaries, and that will continue having an impact in Australia, the U.K. and beyond for a very long time.”
Angela Meyer, publisher
Meyer said: “The ABIAs are the Australian book industry’s night of nights and I find myself in an extraordinary position this year with my work as both a publisher and writer being represented. It is a privilege to have worked on a story that has almost no boundaries, and that will continue having an impact in Australia, the U.K. and beyond for a very long time.”
This year’s ABIA judging panel recognised in particular strong collaborations between publishers and authors to produce quality books in competitive markets and felt positive about the standard of Australian books in 2018.
Ingrid Ohlsson, chair of the 2019 ABIA judging panel and Director of Non-Fiction Publishing at Pan Macmillan Australia said: “Of particular note was the extraordinary gathering of debut fiction and non-fiction authors. In this era of disruption, it is heartening to know that artists and thinkers of insight and talent turn to books as their means of expression.”
The ABIA award ceremony will be held on 2 May 2019 at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.