The judges described the winner of the Best Book as:
A controversial and daring novel, The Slap uses the iconic scene of a suburban Australian barbecue to examine identities and personal relationships in a multicultural society. Offering points of view from eight different characters, it taps into universal tensions and dilemmas around family life and child-rearing. This book is sure to challenge readers and provoke debate.
The award for Best First Book went to Mohammed Hanif for A Case of Exploding Mangoes which the judges described as follows:
Standing out in a strong field, this riveting debut novel makes Mohammed Hanif Pakistan's first winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. A tour de force, this fast-paced political intrigue merges fact and fiction to provide a startling interrogation of dictatorship, religious fundamentalism and abuse of power. A trenchant satire, tender and funny, it will long live on in readers' minds.