This was the first year I did the Australian Women Writers challenge. I set out to achieve ‘Franklin’ level – 10 books read and six of them reviewed. I ended up reading 39 books and reviewing 30 of them (though most of my reviews are only a paragraph or two: I’m no reviewer). I had no trouble finding interesting books to read, and there were many, many more I would have liked to get through.
The books I read were (in chronological order – asterisks are books I borrowed from the library):
- The Watch Tower, by Elizabeth Harrower
- The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt, by Tracy Farr
- In Her Blood, by Annie Hauxwell*
- Tarcutta Wake, by Josephine Rowe
- Animal People, by Charlotte Wood*
- Rupetta, by Nike Sulway
- In-human, by Anna Dusk
- The Getting of Wisdom, by Henry Handel Richardson*
- One Foot Wrong, by Sofie Laguna
- Sea Hearts, by Margo Langan*
- Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan*
- Caution: Contains Small Parts, by Kirstyn McDermott
- Holiday in Cambodia by Laura Jean McKay
- Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan
- My Beautiful Enemy, by Cory Taylor*
- Above/Below, by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek
- Elemental, by Amanda Curtin*
- Anguli Ma, by Chi Vu*
- The Night Guest, by Fiona McFarlane*
- Captives, by Angela Meyer
- The Great Unknown, edited by Angela Meyer
- Gone, by Jennifer Mills
- Pursuing Love and Death, by Heather Taylor Johnson*
- When we Have Wings, by Claire Corbett*
- After Darkness, by Christine Piper*
- The Wonders, by Paddy O’Reilly
- The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, by Ambelin Kwaymullina*
- Gilgamesh, by Joan London*
- The Ark, by Annabel Smith
- Cracking the Spine, edited by Julie Chevalier
- The Neighbour, by Julie Proudfoot
- Through Splintered Walls, by Kaaron Warren
- The Courier’s New Bicycle, by Kim Westwood*
- Thief of Lives, by Lucy Sussex
- Only the Animals, by Ceridwen Dovey
- Holy Bible, by Vanessa Russell*
- The Other Shore, by Pham Hoa
- Gap, by Rebecca Jessen*
- Cherry Bomb, by Jenny Valentish (still reading now…)
The biggest effect was on my library borrowing – whenever I visited the library, I always borrowed books by Australian women writers in preference over the rest of my to-read list. I really love my local library, and I’m so glad they have such a great range of writers.
The books I wish I’d read and probably still will one day read are:
- everything by Madeleine St John (have only read The Women in Black)
- Madeleine, by Helen Trinca
- Banana Girl, by Michele Lee
- Steeplechase, by Krissy Kneen
- Madness, by Kate Richards
- Boy, Lost, by Kristina Olsson
- the rest of Charlotte Wood’s books
- the rest of Annabel Smith’s books
- the rest of Nike Sulway/NA Bourke’s books
- Things I did for Money, by Meg Mundell
- Stasiland, by Anna Funder
(seems I kept overlooking non-fiction for fiction…)
The things I learned were:
- I prefer dark, enigmatic, beautiful and slightly confusing books, and a lot of Australian women are writing them: see Jennifer Mills, Margo Lanagan, Sofie Laguna, Nike Sulway, Chi Vu and Anna Dusk.
- I’m so happy I read Margo Lanagan and dread how long it might have taken to get around to it had I not done AWW Challenge.
- I don’t feel confident or comfortable rating or reviewing the books of my peers.
Thanks for having me, Australian Women Writers Challenge.
17 thoughts on “My Australian Women Writers Challenge wrap-up”
What a great list – but it makes me realise how many of your reviews/short responses I must have missed. I’ve really enjoyed the ones I read, and I hope you’ll continue with your AWW reading/reviewing/responding in 2015. Thanks so much for your participation.
Thanks Lizzy, it’s a great idea.
I kind of groaningly signed up – hesitating because of my already huge to read pile (yes I know you know the feeling) and then found I ended up reading many more books by Australian women writers than the required Miles challenge – quadruple the number in fact. And I found many many books not normally on my radar. My wrap up here:
Huge achievement by the way! And I’m also a fan of Madeleine St John.
yeah, I was surprised how many books there were that I wanted to read. I signed up because I figured I wanted people to read and review my book; the least I could do was do the same for theirs.
That’s a mammoth effort—congratulations! You’re right—it introduces all these amazing authors that you want to keep readiing and don’t have enough years left to read them all …
Argh, the dwindling years!
We loved having you Jane! What a great roundup. I love that you indicated what you’d like to read, and I particularly like the things you learnt. I have read a few of the ones you want to, but like you I haven’t read and would like to Madness; Boy, lost; more of Annabel Smith; and, I’m embarrassed to admit, anything by Charlotte Wood. Oh, and I also want – and plan – to read a book by someone called Rawson. Heard of it by any chance?
Would that be Anne Rawson’s ‘We were going to be different’? http://www.abebooks.com/Going-different-Story-Kosmopolitan-Klub-Girls/835020923/bd It’s good! (I hear her daughter also has some book about future Melbourne or something…) Charlotte Wood is so great. Her online magazine, ‘The Writers’ Room’, is one of my favourite things to read. Her books are wonderful too.
Oh, now you’ve added another book to my TBR list 😀
This is such a great list! I’m keeping it handy so that next time I’m Kindle-shopping I’ll remember to start with one of these. Thank you for passing it on 🙂
My pleasure. I reckon you should give Anna Dusk’s book a look. It has some excellent gruesomeness.
What a wonderful list! I’m a bit worried about putting together my list of books read this year – so many gaps! – it’s been a crazy year, but I hereby declare next year the year of reading. Will start with those books on your list I haven’t read but want to!
I also like enigmatic and beautifully-written work. That’s (one of the reasons) why I’m a big fan of Jane Bryony Rawson!
You put your finger on a significant dilemma, re: rating or reviewing books of peers. I think we have to do it, because the Australian literary community isn’t that big, but it is difficult. I try to review peers relatively honestly, but erring on the side of generosity, or sometimes silence if I can’t be.
That’s pretty much exactly my model, but I think I might give it away for next year and just read in private.