Monday musings on Australian literature: Coming up in 2013

In a first for Whispering Gums, I have decided to post about coming attractions. It seemed an appropriate first Monday Musings for the year. But, how to do it? As I can’t possibly list them all, I’m going to make a selection and group them in sets that make sense to me. So here, as you’ve heard me say before, goes. Remember, this is just a selection reflecting the sorts of books I’d like to read. Whether or not I actually manage to read them all is another thing entirely.

John Maxwell Coetzee

Coetzee, 2006 (Courtesy: Mariusz Kubik, via Wikipedia)

Fiction from authors I’ve read before

  • J.M. Coetzee, The childhood of Jesus (March 2013 from Text Publishing): It’s been over 5 years since Coetzee’s last piece of fiction, Diary of a bad year (my review). I look forward to seeing whether Coetzee plays further with the novelistic form, as he has in recent outings, in this new offering.
  • Richard Flanagan, The narrow road to the deep north (August 2013 from Random House): Similarly it’s been over 4 years since Flanagan’s Wanting (which I read before starting this blog). This new novel, I gather, moves from Australia where his previous novels have been set to the Burma-Siam death camps.
  • Andrea Goldsmith, The memory trap (May 2013 from Fourth Estate): Goldsmith’s last novel Reunion (my review) was not my favourite Goldsmith, but she’s well worth watching.
  • Joan London (November 2013 from Random House): I don’t know the title of London’s next book, but I can’t wait to see it, as her Gilgamesh (which I virtually gifted to Stu) is one of my favourite Australian novels. My review of her most recent novel, The good parents (2008), was one of my first reviews on this blog.
  • Alexis Wright, The swan book (August 2013 from Giramondo): It’s been nearly 7 years since Indigenous author Wright’s last novel, Carpentaria (my review). It won the Miles Franklin award in 2007 so a new one from her is long-awaited.

Fiction from authors I’ve been meaning to read

  • Georgia Blain, The secret lives of men (April 2013 from Scribe): A collection of short stories and you know how I like short stories.
  • Fiona Capp, Gotland (July 2013 from Fourth Estate): Apparently about a reluctant Prime Minister’s wife, but this article written by Capp in 2009 might throw some light on the title.
  • Steven Carroll, A world of other people (May 2013 Fourth Estate): A Miles Franklin Award winning author I haven’t read. Boo me!
  • Robert Gott, The holiday murders (February 2013 from Scribe): OK, I’m lying with this one. Gott is not an author I’ve been meaning to read. In fact, I’d never heard of him. He has written children’s books, crime (not my genre), and a newspaper cartoon. Why then you are probably asking am I including him? Well, he, like PL Travers of Mary Poppins fame, was born in the same not-well-known town that I was, Maryborough in Queensland. And that’s good enough in my mind to give him a nod!
  • Chris Womersley, Cairo (September 2013 from Scribe): I’m still hoping to find time to read Womersley’s second and well-reviewed novel, Bereft, but if I don’t, this might well be my introduction to him.

Debut fiction

  • Balli Kaur Jaswal, Inheritance (February 2013 from Sleepers)
  • Lesley Jørgensen, Cat & fiddle (February 2013 from Scribe)
  • Maurilia Meehan, Madame Bovary’s haberdashery (April 2013 from Transit Lounge): Described as quirky crime novel, so I might just be interested.


  • Anna Goldsworthy, Quarterly Essay (June 2013 from Black Inc): I’ve reviewed a couple of Quarterly Essays (by Krien and Flannery) and am interested in this one which will apparently be on misogyny/feminism in Australian politics.
  • Anna Krien, Night games (May 2013 from Back Inc): I’ve reviewed Krien’s Into the woods about forestry in Tasmania (my review) and her Quarterly Essay (see above). I enjoy her style and perspective. This book is apparently about the rape trial of a footballer.
  • John Safran, Murder in Mississippi (July 2013 from Penguin): This intrigues me – an Australian writing about the murder of a white supremacist in the American south – but then Safran has made somewhat of a career of investigating religion and related issues around the world.
  • Helen Trinca, Madeleine (April 2013 from Text): I’ve reviewed one of Madeleine St John’s novels, The women in black (my review), and know a little of her life. She was apparently the first Australian women to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She’s also a peer of Australian expat intellectuals, Germaine Greer, Robert Hughes, Clive James and filmmaker Bruce Beresford who, many years ago, optioned The women in black for film. I’d love to read this biography.

For more information about these or other books coming out in 2013, you might like to check the publishers’ websites:

26 thoughts on “Monday musings on Australian literature: Coming up in 2013

  1. What an interesting list! I will be noting these down. I still haven’t read ‘Carpentaria’ though it is sitting on my shelves. And ‘Gilgamesh’ was a great read. I’m also a fan of short stories – especially published by small presses, so will be hunting down Georgia Blain’s collection. I’m reading ‘Five Bells’ at the moment which I may have read about on this site. Thanks!

  2. Wonderful list and comments. Of course I won’t stop reading Australian books. And, yes, everyone should take on the wild ride of Carpentaria. Glad she has a new one coming out.

  3. I am looking forward to reading Coetzee’s new book,. His books are always interesting and different. Boo to you for not reading Stephen Carrol, it is a crime. Great trilogy of his about a young boy growing up in Melbourne. I suppose knowing Glenroy well helps my appreciating of the books. I am not a fan of Flannagan but will be keen to read the new one by Joan London. As you say Gilgamesh was a fantastic read.. Also, eager to read the St John biography. I am very happy because I bought a signed hard back copy of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, in Hobart yesterday. Wolf Hall was my favourite read last year.


    • Thanks Meg for your perspectives. Lucky you getting a signed hardback. It was one of my top reads in 2011. Will be reading the sequel with my reading group in a few months.

      You’re right re Carrol of course … I haven’t heard a negative comment yet on him …. Partic that series. Very remiss of me I know, and something I must rectify.

  4. Sounds like you’ve got an interesting year coming up Sue. You’re not the only one who hasn’t read Steven Carroll or Bereft, although I suspect you will beat me to both. Madame Bovary’s Haberdashery has me intrigued- perhaps it will lead the way for a rash of P&P like sequels. I didn’t know John Safran had a book coming out, I like him, and find him interesting and funny (most of the time).

    • Thanks Kimbofo … He’s always interesting, isn’t he, and I mean that in a positive way. His themes tend to be similar … Society’s failings in humanity … But his books vary quite a lot in style and approach.

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