Shortlist year: 2015

Shortlist category: Fiction

Published by: Penguin Books Australia

When Gaby Baillieux releases the Angel Worm into the computers of Australia's prison system, hundreds of asylum seekers walk free. Worse: an American corporation runs prison security, so the malware infects some five thousand American places of incarceration. Doors spring open. Both countries' secrets threaten to pour out.

About the author

Peter Carey

Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and now lives in New York. He is the author of thirteen novels (including one for children), two volumes of short stories, and two books on travel.

Amongst other prizes, Carey has won the Booker Prize twice (for Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang), the Commonwealth Writers' Prize twice (for Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang), and the Miles Franklin Literary Award three times (for BlissOscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs).

Judges’ comments

Amnesia finds Carey looking back to the Australia of his younger days, in particular to the politically charged year of 1975, and the dismissal of the Whitlam Government. But Amnesia is no mere exercise in nostalgia; the novel’s over-arching theme is the complex relationship between Australia and America since the end of World War II.

In the here-and-now, washed-up journalist and hack Felix Moore is engaged by old-friend and shadowy entrepreneur Woody 'Wodonga' Townes to ghost-write the story of Assange-like computer hacker Gaby Baillieux, born in Melbourne on 11&nbps;November 1975. The story of Gaby, her mother and grandmother, takes the reader from the Battle of Brisbane in 1942, the turbulence of the Whitlam sacking, through to recent use of the Internet as a platform to publish classified and secret government information.

Richly told in a bold and colourful vernacular language, and filled with larger-than-life characters, Carey's indefatigable book is big in every sense. By turns comic and angry, and wildly ambitious in scope, Amnesia is a novel that revels in the complexities of Australia's political landscape over the past half-century.