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Finding herself stuck at home without a job during lockdown, Diana Reid, 26, wrote a book in the space of five months.
"I've always thought I'd like to try writing a novel one day, so I thought if I can't do it in these conditions, then I'm probably not capable of it," she told AAP.
Ms Reid didn't think her novel, Love and Virtue, would ever be published, but it won book of the year at the Australian Book Industry Awards on Thursday.
"I was so thrilled just to be published, to win book of the year is beyond my wildest dreams," she said.
The book is a darkly comic campus story exploring sex, power, and consent, through the eyes of two women in their first year at university in Sydney.
Critics have predicted it will become an Australian classic, but Ms Reid said her novel may simply be timely.
"We've seen just how keen the public is to have a conversation about consent, and we've had so many amazing activists who have brought those issues to the forefront," she said.
Former AFL footballer Adam Goodes took out the children's picture book category with Somebody's Land: Welcome to Our Country, co-written by Ellie Laing and illustrated by David Hardy.
The book is an introduction to first nations history and the idea of 'terra nullius' for a young audience.
Entrepreneur Dick Smith won the biography award with his book "My Adventurous Life".
The awards show Australia is a nation of book lovers, the chief executive of the Australian Publishers Association Michael Gordon-Smith said.
"After an extremely difficult two years for writers, publishers and booksellers, it's inspiring to see the wealth of talent, innovation and courage in the Australian book industry," he said.
The awards were announced in Sydney on Thursday night.
2022 ABIA winners:
* Book of the Year: Love and Virtue by Diana Reid
* Book of the Year for Younger children: First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia's First Peoples by Corey Tutt
* Children's Picture Book of the Year: Somebody's Land: Welcome to Our Country by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy
* General Fiction Book of the Year: Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz
* Book of the Year for Older Children: The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni
* Biography of the Year: My Adventurous Life by Dick Smith
* Non-Fiction Book of the Year: She's on the Money by Victoria Devine
* The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year: Amani Haydar for The Mother Wound
* Audiobook of the Year: Devotion by Hannah Kent