10 books by women: completing the 2017 Australian Women Writers’ Challenge

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017Last year I participated in the 2016 Australian Women Writers’ Challenge and enjoyed it so much that I signed up to do it again this year.

I set myself a target of 10 books by Australian women writers and am happy to report that I achieved that last week.

As well as reading all the titles on the 2017 Stella Prize shortlist (apart from one), I read a couple of newly released books and several old ones from my TBR.

Here is a list of all the books I read. They have been arranged in alphabetical order by author’s name (click the title to see my full review):

Between a wolf and a dog by Georgia Blain

Between a Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain (2016)
Domestic novel about family secrets, grief, betrayal and strained relations set in Sydney on one rainy day.

The Hate Race

The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke (2016)
Searing memoir of what it is like to grow up black in white middle-class Australia.

The Devil's Staircase by Helen Fitzgerald

The Devil’s Staircase by Helen FitzGerald (2012)
Over-the-top psychological thriller about an Australian teenage girl on the run in London who gets caught up in events beyond her control.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper (2017)
Page-turner about a whistleblower who goes missing on a corporate team-building weekend in the rugged Australian bush.

Down in the city by Elizabeth Harrower

Down in the City by Elizabeth Harrower (1957)
Disturbing story of an unlikely marriage between two people from opposite ends of the social spectrum.

The Long Prospect

The Long Prospect by Elizabeth Harrower (1958)
Meaty postwar novel about a lonely girl who develops a scandalous but platonic friendship with an older man.

An Isolated Incident

An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire (2016)
Crime thriller meets literary fiction in a narrative that explores the outfall of a murder on the victim’s family and local community.

Wasted

Wasted: A story of alcohol, grief and a death in Brisbane by Elspeth Muir (2016)
Investigation into Australia’s drinking culture framed around the death of the author’s brother.

The Woolgrower's Companion by Joy Rhodes

The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhodes (2017)
Sweeping saga about a woman’s struggle to save the family farm in the outback during the Second World War.

Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose (2017)
This year’s Stella Prize winner asks what is art and what is its purpose, framing the story around a real-life performance art exhibition staged in New York by artist Marina Abramović.

Have you read any of these books? Or care to share a great read by an Australian woman writer? Or any woman writer, regardless of nationality?

I plan on signing up for the 2018 Australian Womens’ Writers Challenge in the New Year. If you want to participate, you can sign up via the official website.

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17 thoughts on “10 books by women: completing the 2017 Australian Women Writers’ Challenge

  1. I’ve read 4 on your list and have read 18 books by Australian women writers this year. My favourites would be An Isolated Incident, The Hate Race and Bloodlines by Nicole Sinclair.

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  2. I gave Bloodlines (and Extinctions) for Christmas this year, I hope they make their way back. Of your ten, I liked An Isolated Incident least; was happy to join the universal acclaim for The Museum of Modern Love; I’ve read and enjoyed some Harrower; and hope to get to The Hate Race.

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  3. I’ve read some of these too and would second Sharon’s recommendation of Bloodlines: if you’re anything like me and don’t know much about PNG then apart from any of its other merits its setting there will intrigue you. See https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/02/25/bloodlines-by-nicole-sinclair/ You will see that it’s publisher is the micro-publisher Margaret River Press so you may need to order it direct.
    Unless of course you make a quick trip ‘home’ to get a copy!

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    • Hmmm… don’t know how I missed your review, Lisa, unless it came when I was up to eyeballs at work. I can get a Kindle edition, which seems to have been slashed in price from £24!!!! to £8, which is still pricey for an eBook. Have added it to my wish list though.

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      • I’ve missed a few too, A month or so ago Sue from Whispering Gums and I both had trouble getting our notifications from WordPress blogs, the checkbox for receiving them kept resetting itself to No Notifications and neither of us realised for a while and then it took WP a little while to fix it. So I’m seeing books in EOY lists that I never saw reviewed as well.

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  4. Pingback: My favourite books of 2017 – Reading Matters

  5. Thanks so much for participating again this year, kimbofo. I hope you do again in 2018.

    Your list, though, is fascinating. I read 30 books for the challenge this year, but only three overlap with yours – The hate race, An isolated incident, and The museum of modern love. Of those I haven’t my highest priority would be the Harrowers. I’ve read three of her books and plan to read more, though the one I have in my TBR is another one altogether!

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  6. ‘Force of Nature’ is released in the States next month, and I’ve already put in an order for it since I loved her first book, which I read after seeing your review. I think the only other female Australian writer I read this year was Sonya Voumard’s ‘The Media and the Massacre’. I’d like to read ‘The Hate Race’, but I’ll have to wait until I have a longer list of titles to order from Australia. I’m sure your reviews will help with that. 😉

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  7. I love this idea… I think it’s the first time I’ve noticed it. 35 last year – wow!
    Come to think of it, I did read a book by an Australian woman this year. After reading The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, I decided to also read The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough to compare them.

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    • It’s a really great initiative, Naomi, and has encouraged me to read more books by Australian women. What did you think of the McCullough… I’ve only ever read the super trashy The Thorn Birds when I was a teenager. As a consequence I’ve always pegged her as a lowbrow kind of writer, but maybe I’m just being an awful snob.

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      • The Thorn Birds is the only other one I’ve read. I think we all read it in our teen years. 🙂

        I actually quite liked “The Ladies” – especially considering I had my back up about it being so similar to The Blue Castle. It’s what I would call light and fluffy. And entertaining.
        Didn’t she write a bunch of books about Rome? Those ones are probably totally different.

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