Why reading and writing is the road to happiness...

This blog started years ago as a place to muse on the life projects keeping me entertained. It is no surprise then that it has morphed into a blog about my reading as that has been my lifelong project. Here I review lots of different types of books, with an added focus on Australian women writers. Hope you enjoy - feel free to contribute to the conversation!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The 2014 Australian Womens Writing Challenge Wrap Up

It’s that time of year to wrap up the 2014 Australian Women Writers Challenge and I’m pleased to say I made a better effort this year than the measly three books I reviewed last year! And what a great year for reading it has been. Here’s the list of the 26 Australian female writers I reviewed:

     Just_a_girl by Kirsten Krauth
     Letter to George Clooney by Debra Adelaide
Banana Girl by Michele Lee
Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy
Beams Falling by P.M Newton
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
The Women in Black by Madeleine St John
The Mistake by Wendy James
The Poet’s Wife by Mandy Sayer
All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
Tiddas by Anita Heiss
The Jade Widow by Deborah O’Brien
The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell
Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey
Have You Seen Simone? by Virginia Peters
Wildlife by Fiona Wood
In Certain Circles by Elizabeth Harrower
Wild Things by Brigid Delaney
Game Day by Miriam Sved
Vertigo by Amanda Lohrey
This House of Grief by Helen Garner
Return to Coolami by Eleanor Dark
Whiskey Charlie Foxtrot by Annabel Smith
A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists by Jane Rawson
Hades by Candice Fox

   Firstly, all twenty six were a pleasure to read and a testimony to the talent in this country. The breakdown of genres:

YA – 3
Crime Fiction – 3
True Crime – 2
Memoir – 2
Novella – 1
Classic – 3
Contemporary Fiction / Thriller – 9
Short Story - 3

I chose these books spurned by a wide range of reasons thus proving I’m quite haphazard in my book selection: some were from sight at the library or book shop, some from prize winning, some from hearing them reviewed on podcasts, many from reviews in the Sydney Morning Herald, some because the authors spoke at my local library, and yes, some from being mentioned on Twitter (so social media works!). I have to say, the few articles and blog posts last year where people claimed to find it difficult to read a good selection of Australia female writers were quite bizarre: I think there are far too many to choose from and you could spend all year reading quality fiction and non-fiction from the large pool of talented female authors. I’ll be returning to read more from these authors as well, particularly the thriller and crime writers.

So my most memorable five? Firstly, Letter to George Clooney by Debra Adelaide, a wonderful collection of short stories, all of them thought provoking and entertaining. Secondly, All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld which won the Miles Franklin Award over the ‘favourite’ Flanagan. I had read both before the award was announced and wasn’t surprised: I was quite affected by Wyld’s writing and found it to be an assured debut novel. Simmone Howell’s YA novel Girl Defective was charming; I thought it had beautifully drawn characters and a lovely narrative voice. Helen Garner's This House of Grief was number four because she’s brilliant, always. And lastly, Brigid Delaney’s Wild Things which had me thinking about the characters for days afterwards.

Looking forward to another great year of reading in the 2015 Challenge. Many thanks to those who tirelessly coordinate the website and run the social media - your work is appreciated.

*This is part of the Australian Womens Writers Challenge 2014




1 comment:

  1. Wow, you did amazingly! So lovely to see WCF on that list -thank you! From your list I read and enjoyed Just a Girl. I must admit to being underwhelmed by Wyld's book. It was clever and I admired it but it didn't touch me emotionally. The best book I read for the challenge was Emily Bitto's The Strays.