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'Love Stories' by Trent Dalton dominates at the Independent Book Awards

Love Stories by Trent Dalton has been awarded Book of the Year at the Australian Independent Book Awards.

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Dalton’s non-fiction work was created when he sat on a Brisbane Street corner and asked people passing by to tell him a love story. The collection of hugely varied tales has been praised by critics and lapped up by readers.

Love Stories was selected from a short list of twenty-four books, the best titles of the year as nominated by Australian independent booksellers.

Judge Lindy Jones from Abbey’s Bookshop in Sydney commented on Dalton’s book describing it was uplifting, beautiful and perfect for unsettling times.

“Only someone as big-hearted, curious and willing to listen as Dalton could get away with this concept. Coupled with his fine turns of phrase, daggy self-portrayal and evident affection for the city of Brisbane which he portrays colourfully, this is a book full of feelings that touches the reader with the grace, wonder, thrill, pain and grief of love and loving in its many manifestations.

“It’s an uplifting book, beautifully structured in a subtle but masterful manner, and feels like just the book readers need in these unsettling times, but one that conveys such joy and openness it will last beyond these strange pandemic-fenced days.” Jones said.

Dalton said he was shocked when he learned he’d been named Best Non-Fiction Work and also taken out the award’s top honour of Book of the Year.

“I am thrilled and gobsmacked and humbled and deeply grateful. I got all cheeseball weepy when I got the news. I got all sentimental about this beautiful recognition because this book means so much to me and because Australia’s independent booksellers mean everything to the Australian book industry.

“I sat on a corner for two months asking random strangers to tell me love stories but every passing day of every passing year our independent booksellers are sharing love stories with their incredible customers through that sacred transaction of buying and selling these paper treasures we call books. Thank you to the booksellers for this incredible award.

Dalton also thanked a friend who gifted him the type writer that allowed him to undertake his project.

“Thank you to the late and miraculous Kathleen Kelly who gifted me her beloved Olivetti typewriter and set this book in motion in the first place.” Dalton said.

“Thank you to every last glorious stranger who took the time to sit with me and my typewriter on that corner of Adelaide and Albert Street, Brisbane, and share something beautiful about love. Stories from the heart and from the darkness and from the light. The two months I spent on that corner and walking through the city asking people to tell me love stories were probably the most illuminating and soul-restoring months of my life. Thank you to the storytellers.

“Love Stories was my big middle finger to the pandemic and all the cruel distance it put between the ones we love. The gentlest rebellion there ever was maybe – grab a typewriter and write about love – but the readers of Australia took it for what it was, a gentle reminder of the good stuff inside us and the good stuff out there in every city and suburb across Australia.” Dalton concluded.

The award in the fiction category went to Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy, while The Silent Listener by Lyn Yeowart was named best debut fiction work. Still Life by Amber Creswell Bell won the Illustrated Non-Fiction category, the Children’s section was won by Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad  and The Monster of Her Age by Danielle Binks took out the Young Adult section.

OIP Staff


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