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  • Writer's pictureTracey Hawkins

Being a Book Judge is a great gig.

Late 2019 I was asked to be a judge for ARTS ACT Book of the Year Awards. Now how could I say no?

This meant I got to read lots and lots of adult books to help judge the award. The boxes were delivered by courier and oh boy, what excitement it was to open them and haul out the endless, exciting piles of books.

I spent weeks—reading, day and night Having to select a shortlist was difficult. All the books were excellent, fascinating, educational, interesting, intriguing and diverse. They covered fiction, non-fiction, poetry, history, and so on and I had to pick a limited number for the final cut.

It was tough to make these choices.

However, we judges met and we agreed—without any bloodshed or weapons! We had drawn up our shortlists and surprisingly had the same books chosen with the odd one or two difference.

It was a wonderful role to fill and nothing beats boxes of books arriving and the knowledge that I had to read them. I pushed aside any guilt that I was spending time curled up with a coffee and great book. I was 'working' :).

The Award ceremony took place in February 2019 and it was delightful to meet the authors and see the smiles as the rewards of their writing journeys were acknowledged.

2019 ACT Book of the Year Award


Robyn Cadwallader for Book of Colours


Ellen Broad for Made by Humans: The AI Condition

Joy McCann for Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean


Andrew Hutchinson for One

Penelope Layland for Things I've Thought to Tell You Since I Saw You Last

Rachel Sanderson for Mirror Me

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