High Country Indie Book Award

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Waterloo Station, Glen Innes, location of the High Country Writers Retreat.

LIFE AT ONE thousand metres above sea level is inspiring. Not only do we get four distinct seasons, but we live on the edge a little, and it inspires plenty of creativity…

From the Brontëan country in the ranges behind Dorrigo and the Celtic vibe of Glen Innes, to the grasslands of Tenterfield that inspired Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Peter Allen and generations of bush poets; from the Dreamtime legends of multiple Indigenous language groups, to the tales of bushrangers and explorers who walked the granite country, the NSW New England region has always inspired storytellers.

Here at The Makers Shed, we reckon it’s time to pay tribute to the wordsmiths… and we don’t mean those whose work has been platformed already, we mean those who’ve slogged away for years and probably been a bit overlooked. We want to explore their work by reading it at our High Country Book Club, offering it for sale in our bookshop and selecting it for consideration in one of the world’s few book awards for independent authors and titles that have been published by independent presses.

Each year, resident wordsmith, award-winning writer and journalist Michael Burge curates finalists in the High Country Indie Book Award. Michael is a digital publisher and writer in multiple genres, including fiction, non-fiction, plays, journalism and advertising. He’s also an indie author who managed to get his book selected for major literary festival and conferences. He knows how tough it is to get an indie book out there to readers.

“For years, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen, from publishers to politicians, that what Australia needs in an award for independent authors,” Michael said. “Indie authors are having a go, not taking no for an answer, and being as agile as governments have encouraged us to be. It’s time to grant us access to at least one award that celebrates our work”.

“I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the creation of one such initiative here at Glen Innes in the NSW New England high country where I was born.”

LADY BIRD hi resWinner of the inaugural 2019 High Country Indie Book Award was author Kim Kelly for her historical novel Lady Bird & The Fox, announced at the High Country Writers Festival! This annually-awarded trophy is handmade by silversmith Richard Moon.

The High Country Indie Book Award is seeking independently-published books that are:-

  • International – books must be available in print form via Australian online retailers
  • Independent – either published by the author or by an independent publishing press
  • Quality – the highest standard of writing and book design are sought
  • Participatory – authors willing to give a talk at the annual High Country Writers Festival events or be prepared to make an appearance in a Facebook video made by the author
  • Recent – books published after 2015 are eligible (unless by invitation)
  • Connected – we work with authors/publishers who have highly active websites and/or social media networks

Entry is available at any time. Finalists’ books will be stocked at The Makers Shed, 123 Grey Street, Glen Innes, NSW 2370, and authors are encouraged to participate at the annual High Country Writers Festival to meet book lovers and creators from across the region.

Please read our terms and conditions before contacting Michael with your indie book submissions (more info there about which genres we are interested in):-