Monday, December 28, 2015

Australian Women Writers Challenge Completed!

If last year, through undertaking the Australian Women Writers Challenge, I became a convert to reading more Australian women authors, then this year it’s like I’ve been confirmed – or even taken my vows. This year I undertook the Miles challenge of reading six books and reviewing four. 

In 2015 I read in a more informed way. I was much more up with latest releases – thanks mostly to the AWW website which has connected me to authors, author blogs and reading blogs. In fact, all the books I reviewed for the challenge were published in 2014 or 2015.
The books I reviewed were:

The other new releases I read were:

“One Life: My Mother’s Story”, Kate Grenville’s tender and astute evocation of her late mother’s life. I heard Kate Grenville speak at our local library and was in awe of her; sharp, erudite, considered and warm. It was a privilege to hear her speak about how she went about telling her mother’s story, celebrating her life in as honest and respectful way while also managing to write a wonderfully engaging and honest narrative.

This book is so well written. Bishop gets inside the two main characters, husband and wife, and explores their strengths and flaws tenderly, without judgement, but in doing so exposes the tragedy of their marriage and family. I was so affected by this book I actually had to reimagine the ending so I could be at peace with what happened. I know. It’s fiction! But I couldn’t live with the sadness.

A long short story? Short novella? Either way – engrossing and insightful and beautifully crafted.

Paddy O’Reilly is one of Australia’s best short story writers. The stories are original, unexpected yet familiar. She builds these lean works with such tightness and strength that they take hold and stay with you.

“Danny Best: Full On!” by JenStorer – a new release rad for my kid’s books club, Barnaby Book club.
My kid’s book club, Barnaby Book Club, were unanimous in their praise for this book. It is jam-packed with stories, quizzes, fun random weird stuff in the margins like zombie possums and great characters like Danny Best and all of his friends. It is made up of several stories with so much to engage the kids they will most likely read it several times. 

The other books I read were:
This is the first book by Lily Brett that I have read and I thought it was masterful – faultless. I liked everything about it – especially the structure and tone.

“Mateship With Birds” By Carrie Tiffany – made me laugh and cry. I could smell the bush while reading this.
“The Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee” by Chloe Hooper – an extraordinarily important book , expertly navigated and crafted.

And I have just snuck in another with a few days before the end of the year -  Anna Funder’s “All That I Am”. What. A. Book. So impressed.

When I was a kid I remember thinking of the calendar year as very linear. I imagined a dark blank space of nothingness between December of one year and January of the next. It must have been to do with our wall calendar – the flipping of the pages for each month until the end. Then what? Nothing…until the next calendar was put up. Like falling off the edge of a flat earth I think I thought you could fall off time into some dark nothingness. What must I thought happened there? I don’t know. I just remember a time where I never thought of one year connecting straight to the next. Now I know all too well how years roll on, merge, chase and engulf one another. So, although I have completed my Australian Women Writers challenge for 2015 I am forging straight on to the challenge for 2016 - like a tumble turn at the end of one lap with a strong push off the wall.


  1. I feel the strength in your reading here. Part of it is I suppose because I also feel the strength in your writing as well, especially after the acclaim given to you recently by writing peers. Maybe one day your book will be on the list as well. Just writing out loud here, heh.

  2. You are the best Mel - I dream that one day I'm part of the Australian Women author gang! - But you are right, it is important to be part of the writing community and to have a sense of the debut authors and the themes and ideas that are filtering through.

  3. Cool. Here's summore coolness done in a plethora of sassy, savvy, insane structural unintegrety...

    Wanna grow-up? Literally? Lemme fill-you-up on earth withe most savvy experiences I had to date and WE hope to return to; I'd like very much to share the rowdy, extraordinary, sterling beauty of Seventh-Heaven which I have actually seen due to our accident...

    Dat da fact, Jack: death is #@!!☆ smug and inevitable withe expression of a wet towel; some go to the other side while most never return. If you wanna continue, girl, I'll explain how I actually saw the other side and returned...

    Our 24-wildchild-blogs are a total wasteOtime ...yet, a total wealth which shall creep stealthily across thy brain like the vivid, brazen dawn. And, frankly, I wouldn't be too concerned about what the whorizontal world thot about me, dear; I'd be much more concerned about what JESUS shall say at the General Judgement.

    First, why else does a moth fly from the night than to a bold, attractive candle Light? Don't let His extravagant brilliance be extinguished, girl. You're creative, yes? Then fly-away with U.S. to the antidote: apathy is the glove in which evil sticks his bloody hand on this dying earth.

    Meet this ex-mortal Upstairs for the most extra guhroovy, pleasure-beyond-measure, party-hardy-reality-show-addiction 24/7 you DO NOT wanna miss, where the Son never goes down from a VitSee-ing, ultra-passionate, YOUTHwitheTRUTH in which you'll find nonillions X nonillions X nonillions... of deluxe-cubed-HTTP (<-- pi) opportunities for enveloping, engulfing excitement; where you'll looove an endless eternity of aplomBOMBs falling ALL over thy incredible, indelible cranium, as you'll have an XtraXcitinXpose with an IQ much higher than K2 resulting in an explosion of obscene exuberance.

    Last, here's what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

    Go git'm, girl. You're incredible.