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Monday musings on Australian literature: Coming in 2015

January 5, 2015

Although my readerly eyes are always too big for my readerly brain, I do like to know about coming attractions – book-wise – and assume you’re interested too. If you’re not, apologies, but I know I’ll find this post useful to refer to as the year progresses. As I did last year, I’m basing this post on an article in The Australian by literary editor, Stephen Romei, followed by a little research of my own.

Here, according to Romei, are some of the fiction (and poetry) treats we can expect:

  • Les Murray: Given I opened my recent Reading Highlights post with Murray, I like that Romei starts off with him too. Apparently, Black Inc will be publishing two books from Murray this year. The first, Waiting for the past, is apparently his first volume of new poems in five years. I think we heard some poems from this volume at the Poetry at the Gods event I attended last year. The second, Bunyah, is a collection of poems he has written about his home town. It apparently will have an introduction by Murray. And, Romei asks, “Might this be the year the Bard of Bunyah finally collects Australia’s second Nobel Prize in Literature. I wouldn’t mind having an early wager on him doing so”.
  • Steven Carroll: Forever young (Fourth Estate, June), the next in his Glenroy series. Carroll jointly won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction last year with Richard Flanagan.
  • Stephen Daisley: Coming rain (Text Publishing, May). I was just wondering the other day what had happened to Daisley who won the Prime Minister’s Literary Prize in 2010 with his novel Traitor. Well, now I know!
  • Marion Halligan: Goodbye sweetheart (Allen & Unwin, May). I’m a Halligan fan and reviewed her gorgeous Valley of grace early in this blog.
  • Krissy Kneen: The adventures of Holly Whit and the Incredible Sex Machine (Text Publishing, May). Text describes it as “an amazing literary sci-fi superhero sex romp from Australia’s genre-bending queen of erotica”! Sounds intriguing, eh? I reviewed her Steeplechase a couple of years ago.
  • Malcolm Knox: Wonder lover (Allen & Unwin, May), his fifth novel. He also has two non-fiction books coming out.  Knox is probably most famously known for exposing the Norma Khouri hoax in 2004.
  • Amanda Lohrey: A short history of Richard Kline (Black Inc, March). Lohrey is an acclaimed novelist and essayist, and can be relied upon to produce something thoughtful and, very likely, different.
  • Frank Moorhouse: The book of Ambrose (Random House, November), about the second (and cross-dressing) husband of Edith Campbell Berry, heroine of Moorhouse’s Edith trilogy. I’ve reviewed Cold light, the last of this trilogy.
  • Steve Toltz: Quicksand (Penguin Books, May). Toltz is another author I’ve been wondering about lately. I loved his “out there” A fraction of the whole, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize way back in 2008.

Romei’s article runs to 6 pages and includes Australian non-fiction, as well as fiction and non-fiction from overseas writers. I couldn’t possibly list them all, but I will note that some interesting sounding memoirs are coming out from Kate Grenville, Gerald Murnane, and Ramona Koval, among others. Caribbean-background author Maxine Beneba Clarke, whose Foreign soil was highly recommended in a comment on this blog by author Julie Twohig, has The hate race, a book about her experience of discrimination, coming out. It’s a real reader’s feast that awaits us.

While Romei mentions several debut novels in his article, I’d like to introduce two of my own gleaned from women I’ve come across via blogging and the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge:

  • Robyn Cadwallader: The anchoress (Fourth Estate, early 2015. It’s historical fiction set in the 13th century, about a woman who commits herself to a life of prayer, rather than marry a wealthy lord. Cadwallader is an expert in mediaeval literature.
  • Lizzy Chandler (pen-name of Elizabeth Lhuede, instigator and convener of the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge): Snowy River man (Escape Publishing, February 2015). This is in the romance genre, so not my preferred fare as Elizabeth knows, but in the spirit of the challenge’s commitment to diversifying our reading I’d like to give her a shout out here.

Finally, I wish good luck – because we all know that talent is only part of the equation in the “getting-published” game – to those out there working hard to get their first or next novel published.

Do any coming releases – either listed here or that you know about from elsewhere – appear on your must-read list for 2015?

(PS I’ll be getting back to reviewing soon!)

22 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2015 6:07 am

    Oh my, I love that opening line. Now I know what my problem is, I will blame the poor fit between my eyes and my brain. 🙂

  2. January 6, 2015 6:33 am

    How kind of you, Sue! What a lovely surprise to be mentioned.

  3. Meg permalink
    January 6, 2015 7:30 am

    I too read the article, and of course added more books to my ever growing TBR list. One debut novel I am really looking forward to reading is Wolf Wolf, by Eben; J M Coetzee has written the blurb. Steven Carroll’s novel is a must and so is Margaret Atwood’s, The Heart Goes Last. Read her short stories, Stone Mattress, last year and loved them. As I am house sitting and look after some chooks at the moment and will be again later in the year, I will also check out The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver by Chris Graham.

    • January 6, 2015 7:49 am

      Thanks Meg … I haven’t read any Atwood fir a long time so I’ll be looking out for this. Does house-sitting give you extra reading time? That’s what I need!

  4. January 6, 2015 7:39 am

    I always find those beginning of the year articles a bit overwhelming. I already have too many books that I’ll never finish in this lifetime, and now there’s pages and pages more…. And I find it hard these catalogue like listings of so many books, particularly if you haven’t heard of the author yet, I don’t have anyway of remembering them, because I have no reference. At least for known authors that is a bit easier. I do however like that at the beginning of the year we don’t know what we’ll have read by the end of the year.

    • January 18, 2015 5:06 pm

      Hmm, sorry Louise I replied to this, but sometimes replying via the iPad app seems to create a conniption for WordPress. Yes, I agree with you re lists containing unfamiliar authors. I just can’t keep them in my head, either, so when they pop up later I think I’ve never heard of them before!

  5. January 6, 2015 10:38 am

    Clearly, there is no point in making a NY Resolution not to buy any more books this year….

  6. Meg permalink
    January 6, 2015 10:45 am

    Hi Sue, yes, house sitting does give me extra reading time, especially at night. However, I do miss out on visiting my own library for the books. I tend to buy more when I am away – makes me poorer, but richer in books.

    • January 6, 2015 8:56 pm

      In other words, win-win, eh?! (Though I keep telling myself I must declutter – but I seem to only manage to declutter around the edges.)

  7. chillcat permalink
    January 7, 2015 2:36 am

    I loved Valley of Grace, such a beautifully composed book. I even found the area in Paris. I would read anything of Marion Halligan’s!

    • January 7, 2015 7:50 am

      Me too Catherine. I have her latest short stories but haven’t squeezed it in yet BUT I’ve read many of her novels and love them.

  8. January 7, 2015 7:40 am

    I dunno, your description of The adventures of Holly Whit and the Incredible Sex Machine says “oh does that ever sound like fun” to me! Lots to look forward to and maybe there will be another Booker winner in the bunch!

    • January 18, 2015 5:08 pm

      Sorry Stefanie. I did reply to this but on my iPad while I was away, and I now discover that my response to you and Louise are nowhere to be seen. Very disconcerting. I love that you like the title of Kneen’s new book. And I guess we Australians certain wouldn’t say no to another Booker in the bunch.

  9. January 15, 2015 10:31 pm

    WG, this is very belated, but this post when up when I was on holidays and in an internet black hole. Tonight my daughter told me excitedly that the ‘gum whisperer’ had mentioned me! (I rather like that name for you …). Anyway, enough preamble — thanks so much for mentioning me. I really appreciate the support — some of the best of this blogging scene. x

    • January 15, 2015 10:35 pm

      Haha, Robyn, Gum Whisperer is a hoot. I probably will be a gum whisperer in fewer decades than I’d like!

      Anyhow, it’s a pleasure giving your book a little advance notice.

      • January 16, 2015 7:54 am

        Oh, I hadn’t quite thought of it that way — the Australian equivalent of pushing up daisies? I had imagined someone who could talk to the trees. They’re both rather good, though!

        • January 18, 2015 5:10 pm

          LOL Robyn … that’s another meaning too and I like it. I think we would popularise it as our version. However, I was thinking more literal, as in I’ll be whispering though my gums when I’m old and toothless!

        • January 18, 2015 5:15 pm

          Ah, that’s priceless, WG! I hadn’t thought of that at all. So many meanings from just two words — and they’re not even the right ones for the blog anyway …

        • January 19, 2015 8:10 am

          Words, such fun eh? But also such opportunity for misunderstanding too! Fortunately I didn’t assume you were casting aspersions on my dotage!

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