This is my round-up post for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2020.
The challenge was established in 2012 to raise awareness of Australian women’s writing. I signed up in 2013, and it’s probably fair to say that my reading habits have been transformed and my mind enriched. This year, I read a total of 24 books by Australian women writers, well over the goal of ten that I’d set for myself. Here they are, with links to my blog posts:
4 books for children
- Christina Booth, Are These Hen’s Eggs? (Allen & Unwin 2020)
- Libby Gleeson (writer) and Jedda Robaard (Illustrator), Soon (Little Hare 2020)
- Alison Lester, Clive Eats Alligators (OUP 1985)
- Jenny Blackford, The Girl in the Mirror (illustrated by Fiona McDonald, Eagle Books 2019)
6 books of poetry
- Jennifer Maiden, The Espionage Act (Quemar Press 2020)
- Natalie Harkin, Archival-Poetics (Vagabond Press 2019)
- Lisa Gorton, Empirical (Giramondo 2019)
- Ellen van Neerven, Comfort Food (UQP 2016)
- Ellen van Neerven, Throat (UQP 2020)
- Denise O’Hagan, The Beating Heart (Ginninderra Press 2020)
5 novels for adults
- Charlotte Wood, The Weekend (Allen & Unwin 2019)
- Mirandi Riwoe, Stone Sky Gold Mountain (UQP 2020)
- Tara June Winch, The Yield (Hamish Hamilton 2019)
- Jennifer Maiden, Play With Knives Five: George and Clare, the Malachite and the Diamonds (Quemar Press 2018)
- Julie Janson, Benevolence (Magabala Books 2020)
8 memoir/biography/history/essay/creative non-fiction
- Vicki Hastrich, Night Fishing (Allen & Unwin 2019)
- Annabel Crabb, Men at Work (Quarterly Essay 75)
- Diane Menghetti, The Red North (Studies in North Queensland History No 3, 1981)
- Margaret Simons, Cry Me a River (Quarterly Essay 77)
- Grace Karskens, The Colony (Allen & Unwin 2009)
- Cassandra Pybus, Truganini (Allen & Unwin 2019)
- Judith Brett, The Coal Curse (Quarterly Essay Nº 78)
- Katharine Murphy, The End of Certainty (Quarterly Essay 79)
2 manuals/self-help books
- Edwina Shaw, A Guide through Grief (Red Backed Wren Publishing 2020)
- Margaret Bennett and Jennifer Maiden, Workbook Questions (Quemar 2020)
Five of the books were written by First Nations women. The list doesn’t include journals or anthologies.
Now I’ve signing up for another year, at the Franklin level, which means I aim to read and review 10 books by Australian women in 2021.
On a related topic, I’ve done a quick gender check on books I read this year. Counting comics, but not journals, anthologies or picture books (apart from Tohby Riddle’s sublime The Astronaut’s Cat), I read:
- 31 by women
- 32 by men
I read 7 books in translation (one each from Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, French, Swedish and German), and 3 in their original French. In addition to the five books by First Nations women I read one by a First Nations man.
I’ll do a separate post where teh Emerging Artist and I pick our favourite books and movies of the year.