Ghost Bird named 2020 ACT Book of Year

Minister for the Arts Tara Cheyne today named Ghost Bird by local author Lisa Fuller as ACT Book of the Year and recognised two highly commended authors, Nigel Featherstone and Tim Bonyhady.

“I warmly congratulate Lisa Fuller on winning the 2020 ACT Book of the Year award. We have an invigorating culture of writing practice in the ACT, and Lisa’s work is an excellent example of this. Ghost Bird is a Young Adult novel with many layers that appeals to people of all ages,” Ms Cheyne said.

The judging panel considered Ghost Bird a complex and ambitious novel that uses young adult supernatural fiction to drive a harrowing analysis into colonial trauma.

“Suspenseful and energetic, it evokes the frustrations and discoveries of teenage years, and the struggles and deep bonds of family and community relationships. It is graphic and visual while containing nuance that explores the depths of the challenges faced by Australian society,” the judges said.

Lisa Fuller is a Wuilli Wuilli woman from Eidsvold, Queensland, and is also descended from Gooreng Gooreng and Wakka Wakka peoples. She has previously published poetry, blogs and short fiction and has won numerous awards and fellowships. Lisa is a member of Us Mob Writing, the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild, the First Nations Australia Writers Network, and the Canberra Society of Editors. Ghost Bird was released by University of Queensland Press.

Ghost Bird has previously won the David Unaipon Award for an Unpublished Indigenous Writer, as well as the Griffith University Young Adult Book Award in the Queensland Literary Awards, the Norma K Hemming Award, and Readings Young Adult Book Prize. Ghost Bird was also shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature in the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.


Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller

Highly Commended:

Bodies of Men by Nigel Featherstone

The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat by Tim Bonyhady


In Whom We Trust by John Clanchy

Acting Like a Girl by Sandra Renew

The Book of the Year recognises quality contemporary literary works by ACT-based authors in the previous calendar year, with prizes of $10,000 for the winner, $2,000 for any highly commended book and $1,000 for each shortlisted book.

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