Dr Lucy Neave wins 2022 ACT Book of the Year award

Photo Credit: Hilary Wardhaugh

Photo Credit: Hilary Wardhaugh

Dr Lucy Neave’s novel Believe in Me has been announced as the ACT Book of the Year 2022.


The ACT Book of the Year award is given by the ACT Government annually for excellence in literature. The award recognises the quality of contemporary literary works—including fiction, non-fiction and poetry—by ACT-based authors published in the previous calendar year.


The novel Believe in Me explores the relationship between a mother and a daughter. “It is about a daughter trying to understand the world from her mother’s perspective,” Dr Neave says.


The judges’ comments on the novel say, “Lucy Neave’s second novel Believe in Me moves across continents and time, telling an expansive story that vividly explores the bonds of motherhood, the fragility of knowing, and familial inheritance.”


“Believe in Me questions whether we can ever truly know our parents’ early lives, even as their experiences weave ineffably into our identities and destinies. Neave writes assuredly and is never weighed down by her subject matter.”


The novel was also highly commended for the Christina Stead Prize in 2022. Her first novel, Who We Were, was shortlisted for the ACT Book of the Year Award in 2014.


Dr Neave has published in Best Australian Stories 2009 & 2014, and in Australian and American literary journals, including in Overland and Southerly. She is the recipient of an Australia Council for the Arts grant, a Varuna Second Book Fellowship, a 2018 Griffith Review novella prize and is a former Fulbright scholar.


She is currently working on her next novel True Animal War Music, which is a work of fiction about the experience of war as 'backdrop'--insidious and ever-present--to undeniable reality in the lives of three characters.


Lucy Neave, is currently working with one of our HC Coombs Fellows Emily Macquire. Emily is a very successful novelist who is most famously known for her award-winning book “An Isolated Incident” which was shortlisted for a number of awards, such as the Stella Prize, The Miles Franklin Literary Award and Ned Kelly award for best crime novel + more. Another of her book’s “Love Objects” was also widely well received.


Other works that were Highly Commended and Shortlisted are:


  • Highly Commended:The Kindness of Birds by Merlinda Bobis
  • Highly Commended: Milk by Dylan van den Berg
  • Highly Commended: Killernova by Omar Musa
  • Shortlisted: Two Afternoons in the Kabul Stadium: A History of Afghanistan Through Clothes, Carpets and the Camera by Tim Bonyhady
  • Shortlisted: Failures of Command: The Death of Private Robert Poate by
    Hugh Poate
  • Shortlisted: As Beautiful As Any Other: A Memoir of My Body by Kaya Wilson