Shortlist year: 2022

Shortlist category: Young adult literature

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers: Angus & Robertson

Xander Maze loves lists, and his grandmother is #1 on his list of People I Love Most in the World. But now that Nanna has stage 4 cancer, can a new list of 100 Remarkable Feats really save her?

Particularly when his list contains difficult things like #2 Make a Friend and #3 Make a Best Friend – plus #10 Kiss a Girl (preferably Ally Collins, the girl of Xander's dreams).

Funny, moving and with a protagonist you can't help but fall in love with, '100 Remarkable Feats of Xander Maze' is a book about:

  1. never accepting the unacceptable
  2. the power of lists
  3. one boy's unconditional love for his nanna.

About the author


Clayton Zane Comber

Clayton Zane Comber is a writer from the South Coast of NSW who has held many varied roles, including a lawyer, optical dispenser, club DJ, creative writing tutor and saxophonist in a Chinese restaurant.

He received his MA from Sydney University, before studying in the UK and graduating from Oxford University with distinction for his Master's in Creative Writing.

In 2017, Clayton's varied roles eventuated in him opening Bouquiniste Bookstore Cafe Wine Bar, where he is the licensee, book curator, occasional DJ and head dishwasher.

His debut novel, 'Shooting Stars', was published by Odyssey Books in 2011.

Judges’ comments

Fifteen-year-old Xander Maze has a unique understanding of the world and struggles with small talk "– talk which has no guidance or purpose". He also needs his grandmother, who has terminal cancer, to live. So, when his grandma suggests that Xander should compile a list of one hundred acts, big or small, to help her and enhance his life, Xander believes his list will save her life.

He dives in, adding things like "assist police with an investigation, drive a car, stand up to Tyson Hunt and Corey Timms, remember something about dad, add memories to my memory list", a clever technique that provides the reader with both story direction and clues to who Xander is, and who he wants to be. When his grandma posts the list publicly, Xander's structured and literal world is blown wide open and two wonderfully smart and quirky outcasts are invited in. With their help, and with every feat Xander ticks off his list, he inches ever closer to being himself in a world where he is easily misunderstood. And the path to get there is much more remarkable than just a list. Like the book itself, it is full of heart, kindness and compassion, and celebrates the courage one must find to stand up for oneself, and for what is right.