Set in the 1990s, before social media and mobile phones dominated adolescent social life, Alice Pung’s novel tells the story of Lucy Lam, a working-class child from a Chinese family who wins a scholarship to attend the ‘exclusive’ private girls’ school Laurinda.This novel is much more than just a story of high school; it explores the workings of class conflict and racial difference in a hothouse atmosphere and it’s an incisive critique of the limitations of a privileged upbringing.

The Golden Age

The Golden Age is a story of exile, transition, and resilience; it shows the power of vocation and the fragility of love. And in its account of how it feels to belong to a displaced, marginalised and vulnerable race recently threatened with genocide. It has some delicate reverberations for the oldest Australians as well as for the newest.

The Eye of the Sheep

Jimmy Flick isn’t an ordinary child, and as his story progresses we quickly realise that he has some unspecified condition, probably somewhere on the autism spectrum. He can’t slow down, he can’t calm down, and he can’t respond appropriately in difficult or even dangerous situations, but his world view is unique and full of unexpected insights.

Golden Boys

Children have their own rules and laws, separate and often secret from the adult world. This vividly imagined and quietly disturbing novel, focused on two neighbouring families, is about a group of boys on the cusp of adolescence, over a few weeks of summer.

Only the Animals

In this collection of stories, closely linked by subject and theme, the souls of ten animals speak to the reader. All ten have died in some kind of human conflict: a fastidious cat in the Great War trenches, an oversexed mussel in Pearl Harbor, a philosophical parrot abandoned in war-torn Beirut.

Foreign Soil

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a performance poet, acutely aware of the accents, idioms and cadences of the spoken word, and her gift with voices – their origins, their meanings, their struggles and triumphs with alien English – is at the heart of this collection of stories. Although these are stories about inequalities of power in the intersections of class and race, Beneba Clarke also uses narrative voices and the effects of dialogue to show characters attempting to create and assert a coherent self through the power of speech.

The Strays

“Emily Bitto’s debut novel The Strays is about families, art, isolation, class, childhood, friendship, and the power of the past. It’s both moving and sophisticated; both well-researched and original; both intellectually engaging and emotionally gripping.”

– 2015 Stella Prize Judges

Anchor Point

Anchor Point is a vehicle for Alice Robinson’s concerns about climate change and the world our children will inherit. Droughts and bushfires are metaphors for the loneliness, confusion and grief that lie in relationships that have gone awry, but there is also a visible love and respect for the Australian landscape in all its changes and this novel contains remarkably observant landscape writing.

A Short History of Richard Kline

Making the spiritual quest of a self-absorbed, discontented, often smug and self-important man feel relevant and interesting to readers is a big task, but Amanda Lohrey engages from the outset. The result is a moving, challenging and ultimately unsettling novel, which uses one man’s search for meaning to ask big questions about how to live.

A Guide To Berlin

A Guide to Berlin pays homage to a great writer, Vladimir Nabokov, whose own fiction provides the title, and to Berlin: a city that is a focus of political and architectural wreckage as well as liberation and civilisation. The novel is both an examination and an enactment of storytelling.

Panthers and the Museum of Fire

Panthers and the Museum of Fire is about a woman returning a manuscript to the sister of its deceased writer. It is immersively written in a stream-of-consciousness style that takes the reader directly into her reflections on life, friendship and, importantly, her own writing.

The Other Side of the World

The Other Side of the World begins in an icy English winter when Charlotte, a painter, and her academic Indian husband Henry move to Western Australia in search of a new, lighter life.  Two characters struggle to resolve an impossible contradiction: bound together by affection and need, their destinies ultimately diverge. Stephanie Bishop holds this struggle in perfect equipoise throughout.