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2017 - Shortlisted
Using his skills at recapping reality television with precise hilarity, Ben Pobjie recaps the ultimate Australian reality show: Australia itself. In his hilarious Error Australis, the comedian and TV columnist takes us from the initial cooling of this simple rock to the modern developments that place it so significantly in a far-flung corner of the world. This is history as farce, or rather it’s about finding that reality has been farce all along. And lest you forget that this is the same subject that can be taught so boringly in school, every chapter ends with homework questions. If you complete them, you are guaranteed both a high distinction and a dunce cap.
Too often, humour writing finds itself light on the humour, eliciting at best a chuckle. Ben Pobjie’s traipse through Australian history stands out for the genuine loud, physical laughter it elicits. There are guffaw-inducing sentences and paragraphs so thick with hilarity that you have to put the book down to compose yourself. None of which, fortunately, comes at the sacrifice of information. If you know nothing of Australian history, let Ben Pobjie be your guide (albeit one with questionable intentions). If you’re well-versed in Australian history, well you haven’t ever considered it like this. Either way, this book proves that Australia can be prime time viewing, with outlandish plots, absurd drama, and a cast of characters that not even the worst, drunkest scriptwriter would bother coming up with.