Monday musings on Australian literature: New Australian releases for 2016

With the first month of 2016 already gone, I thought it was time I had a look around to see what new works are in the pipeline this year from our Aussie authors. This is a serendipitous list, partly because tracking down this information isn’t easy and partly because I’m more interested in providing a flavour than in being comprehensive. My main aim is simply to tantalise us all a little, so below you’ll find novels, short stories, poetry, essays and non-fiction. See what you think:

  • Larissa Behrendt’s Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling (January 2016, University of Queensland Press) is a non-fiction work inspired by the story of Eliza Fraser, who was apparently captured by the Butchulla people after she was shipwrecked on their island in 1836. Fraser’s story has been fictionalised before. Behrendt springboards from Eliza’s story to explore how indigenous people in Australia and elsewhere have been portrayed in their colonisers’ stories.
  • David Brooks’ Napoleon’s roads (February 2016, University of Queensland Press) is the fourth collection of short stories from this writer, who is a poet and prose writer.
  • Maxine Beneba Clarke’s The hate race (August 2016, Hachette Australia) is a memoir by the author of the award-winning short story collection, Foreign soil. It’s the second of a three book deal she has with Hachette, the third one being a novel.
  • Helen Garner’s Everywhere I look (March 2016, Text Publishing) is a collection of essays. I’ve reviewed here a few books by Garner, including a novel, Cosmo Cosmolino, a book of short stories, Postcards from Surfers, and a non-fiction work, This house of grief, but I haven’t read any of her essay collections. This might be the one.
  • Patrick Holland, OnePatrick Holland’s One (April 2016, Transit Lounge) is an historical fiction about Australia’s last bushrangers. Known for his minimalist writing, Holland has written several works, including The Mary Smokes boys and Navigatio, both of which were shortlisted for various awards.
  • Fiona McFarlane’s The high places (February 2016, Hamish Hamilton) is a collection of short stories from the author of the multiply-shortlisted The night guest, which I reviewed last year.
  • Michelle Michau-Crawford’s Leaving Elvis (February 2016, University of Western Australia Publishing) is a debut collection of mostly, but not totally, linked short stories. Michau-Crawford is new to me but she won the Australian Book Review’s Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize in 2013, so this collection sounds worth checking out.
  • Meg and Tom Keneally’s The Soldier’s Curse (March 2016, Random House) is the first in The Monserrat Series (a new crime series). I wouldn’t normally include a crime book in a list like this because crime is not in my sphere of interest, but I’m including this one because it’s by Tom Keneally, who as you probably know is the Booker prize-winning author of Schindler’s ark, a Miles Franklin winning author, to name just a couple of accolades. And, also because it’s a collaborative novel with his daughter.
  • Ellen van Neerven’s Comfort food (May 2016, University of Queensland Press) is a book of poetry by the author of the award-winning Heat and light and the short story Sweetest thing, both of which I’ve reviewed.
  • Terri-Ann White’s Desert writing: Stories from country (February 2016, University of Western Australia Publishing) is something a little different. It’s a collection edited by White, comprising stories that resulted from writers’ workshops held with indigenous people in remote communities.
  • Dominique Wilson’s That devil’s madness (February 2016, Transit Lounge) is a novel set in Algeria. It tells story of a photojournalist who, while covering current politics decides to also retrace the steps of her grandfather a century earlier. Wilson was a founding editor of the now defunct but much lamented literary journal Wet Ink. (For an advance review of this book, check out Lisa’s at ANZLitLovers.)
  • Arnold Zable’s The fighter (April 2016, Text Publishing) is a biography of Henry Nissen, a boy from Melbourne’s Carlton who became a champion boxer but who now devotes his spare time to helping disaffected people on the streets. It’s also about his mother and her decline into mental illness. I’ve read a few of Zable’s novels, including The sea of many returns which I reviewed early in this blog’s life.

Steven Amsterdam, Ashley Hay, Toni Jordan and Hannah Kent, some of whose earlier books I have reviewed here, also have books coming out this year … Meanwhile, Text Publishing is continuing to put out its classics, and Fremantle Press is starting a Treasures series celebrating its 40 years of publishing. Nice to see backlists (or older works) continuing to get second lives.

Do any of these inspire or you? Or are there books coming up in your region or area of interest that you are keen to read. 

20 thoughts on “Monday musings on Australian literature: New Australian releases for 2016

      • A lot going on. Interesting to see so much fiction published by university presses. Is that a new development? It doesn’t seem to happen much over here- with the difficulties literary fiction can face it might have to.

        • Thanks Ian … I wrote a post (a Monday Musings) a while ago in which I mentioned the work of University Presses. It’s not a totally new development, no. UQP in particular has been publishing literary fiction for decades now. I love what they do. But UWA does too, and Melbourne Uni does a bit also. They’re the most active ones that I’m aware of.

        • Thanks for letting me know. University presses such as Oxford no longer publish new poetry over here and I don’t think any academic press has published any fiction. It seems Australian academic publishers might have been onto something with the success of their fiction publishing.

  1. At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, can I add my ‘Through a Camel’s Eye’, the first of a sea-change mystery series set mainly in Queenscliff and published by ‘For Pity Sake’? It’s due for release in April/May, but hasn’t gone to the printers yet. (Nail biting time!)

  2. Very keen to read Larissa Behrendt’s Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling. Looked for it yesterday at Readings but no luck. And I’d read the back of a cereal packet if Helen Garner wrote it – although I hope the collected essays are new ones, not recycled old ones.

    • Yes, me too, re Behrendt Michelle. Hopefully it will be in Readings soon? As for Garner agree. Sounds like it includes notes and diary entries as well as essays. I wouldn’t be surprised if some have been published before, but hopefully not all?!

  3. Hi Sue, I’ve read (and reviewed) That Devil’s Madness. It’s good, very good indeed. Dominique Wilson is a writer to keep an eye on, her Yellow Papers was very good indeed too.

  4. I have reserved Fiona McFarlane and Patrick Holland’s books at my library. I have also asked them to purchase Helen Garner’s book, Everywhere I look. I can’t wait to read that one. Lisa, in her blog recently reviewed an unpublished novel that Kenneth Cook wrote, Fear is the Rider. It was published this January, and I also have that on reserve. (It was also reviewed in Saturday’s Age this weekend). My books to be read just continues to grow!

    • Haha, thanks Meg. Yes, I nearly mentioned the Kenneth Cook as well, but in the end just decided to link to the Text Classics page where people can see all their new Classics releases. It sounds interesting. I want to read all those you’ve reserved/requested too.

  5. Lots of short stories it seems or am I just muddling it all? Either way it is nice to have so many books that sound interesting to look forward to. I have been trying to avoid lists because I has so much backlog but in spite of it all, the new books are slowly creeping onto my radar and it is so hard to not request them from the library right now!

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