Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2017

This is the last of what seems to have become my set of end-of-year-beginning-of-year posts – and it’s about, as if you couldn’t tell, the books that will be published this year. Obviously, I can’t list them all – even if I could know them all – but it’s fun to share a few that look interesting.

Now, luckily for me, part of my work has already been done by Elizabeth Lhuede who posted coming releases by Australian women writers on our challenge blog. I don’t plan to repeat that here because you can check it out there – though I may highlight one or two of particular interest to me. This means, of course, that my list – mostly drawn, like Elizabeth’s, from an article by Jane Sullivan in the Sydney Morning Herald – will primarily feature men (because, yes, I do read them too.) And, because this is a Monday musings on Australian literature post, the list will be further filtered to include just Australian authors.

Authors I’ve read before

  • Alex Miller’s The passage of love (Allen & Unwin). Miller had said he’d finished writing novels, but clearly not, and a good thing too (though on this blog I’ve only reviewed his Lovesong).
  • Kim Scott’s Taboo (Picador, August). That deadman dance , which I’ve reviewed here, is for me one of those unforgettable books. I wonder if this one will be too? By the way, Fremantle Press is re-releasing Scott’s first Miles Franklin winning book, Benang, in its Treasures series.
  • Ouyang Yu’s Billy Sing (Transit Lounge, April). This is about a “half-Chinese Gallipoli hero” so very different I expect to the book I’ve reviewed here, Diary of a naked official.

Authors I haven’t but maybe should have read before

  • Steven Carroll’s A New England affair (Fourth Estate, September). The final book in his six-part Glenroy series chronicling life, from the 1950s, in an outer Melbourne suburb.
  • Brian Castro’s Blindness and rage: A phantasmagoria (Giramondo. April). Castro is one of the shameful gaps in my reading to date.
  • John Kinsella’s Old growth (Transit lounge, February). A short story collection.
  • Stephen Lang’s Winderran (UQP, July). An author I don’t know much about, but I should because he’s won and/or been shortlisted for some significant awards.
  • Adrian Mitchell’s The beachcomber’s wife (Wakefield Press, January). Another  author I’m not greatly aware of but he writes literary historical fiction (and non-fiction), so I clearly should be!
  • AS Patric’s Atlantic black (Transit Lounge, October). By the middle of the year I’ll be able to move this to the “authors I’ve read” category as I will be reading his Miles Franklin award-winning Black rock, white city in a few months.
  • Alex Skovron’s The man who took to his bed (Puncher and Wattman, May). A collection of short stories from a multiply-published poet.
  • Chris Womersley’s City of crows (Picador, September). Hmm, about 17th century witchcraft apparently.

Debut authors – so I can’t have read them before

  • Charlie Archbold’s Mallee Boys (Wakefield Press, May). I’m determined to visit the Mallee this year (I’ve only touched its edges before) so this may be the book for me.
  • Michael Fitzgerald’s The Pacific room (Transit Lounge, July). It’s about Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa.
  • Dennis Glover’s The Last Man in Europe (Black Inc., July). Another historical fiction about a well-known character, this time it’s Orwell and his writing of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • Tony Jones apparently has a political thriller coming out with Allen & Unwin later in the year. I normally wouldn’t have mentioned this – given there’s no title and it’s not really a key genre for me – but Jones is well-known in Australia (unlike most of these debut authors) for his work on television as a political commentator and current affairs show anchor. (Sullivan lists a number of crime and thriller books coming out, so if you’re interested do check out the article link above).
  • Gordon Parker’s In Two Minds (Ventura, April). Parker is the founder of the Black Dog Institute, and Sullivan describes this book as “a rollicking tale of mental illness”!
  • Peter Polites’ Down the Hume (Hachette, March). He’s described as “the new Tsiolkas or Luke Davies” so this is likely to be urban and gritty.

Some women writers I must mention

  • Bernadette Brennan’s biography. A writing life: Helen Garner and her work (Text, April). A high priority for me. I hope it’s as book as Karen Lamb’s biography of Thea Astley.
  • Rebekah Clarkson’s Barking dogs (Affirm Press). A bit of an anomaly in this list as I don’t know Clarkson, but she is apparently an accomplished short story writer, and I do like Affirm Press.
  • Sara Dowse’s As the lonely fly (For Pity Sake, May?). Dowse, like Farmer below, hasn’t published for some time so it’s great to see a new work coming out. I’ve reviewed her Schemetime here.
  • Beverley Farmer’s These waters: Five tales (Giramondo, July). I read and loved her back in the 1980s to early 1990s. This is a collection of short stories.
  • Kate Grenville’s The case against fragrance (Text, February). Listed by Sullivan under “politics and big issues”! Sounds interesting.
  • Marilla North’s book on Dymphna Cusack, whom I’ve reviewed here a couple of times, is well due I think.
  • Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck (Transit Lounge, March). I so enjoyed Rawson’s imaginative A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists that I’m intrigued to so what she comes up with next.
  • A web of friendship (Miegunyah Modern Library from the University of Melbourne, February), which contains selected letters of Christina Stead, and Loving words (Brandl and Schlesinger, June), containing letters between Vance and Nettie Palmer. Both of great interest.
  • Alexis Wright’s Tracker Tilmouth: An essayed memoir (Giramondo, October). Essayed memoir? Is that how I should have described Fiona Wright’s and Georgia Blain’s memoirs last year? Anyhow, this is about an indigenous activist.

Do you actively look out for coming releases, or just wait until they appear and you read or hear about them?

20 thoughts on “Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2017

  1. I’ll put an order in with bookshop pronto for Scott, Patric and Rawson. My grandparents farmed in the Mallee and I spent all my hols there. Hope you come cross country – I’d come Broken Hill (you can work out how to get from ACT to Dubbo), Wentworth, Mildura, the Big Desert, Murray Bridge, the Coorong.

    • Haha Bill, I knoe how to get to Dubbo! Done that a few times… To thezoo, before and with kids. I do want to get to Broken Hill some time, but I was thinking more along the Murray…. Because our time will be limited.

  2. My TBR list always continues to grow. Some of the ones you mentioned above are on my list. The list of books for this year’s reading developed from The Age and Australian newspapers, Readings Catalogue, and AWWC. I always have my eyes and ears on alert for my favourite authors.

  3. I love to see what’s coming out, but prefer to wait generally before reading them, unless they are authors I’ve sworn to read anything they write. I think of reading reviews (and in the past visiting bookshops) as a kind of ‘literary window shopping’, being informed but not needing to try everything on!

    Once I know for sure I really want to read something, I’m relatively patient, well hardbacks are just too expensive aren’t they! I’m a little cautious with galleys, I don’t want to overcommit and I recognise that feeling of temptation, but thankfully am able to resist it!

    • Thanks for this Claire. Everything you say makes sense to me. Like you I’m patient free paperbacks – I don’t have to be the first to read something – and I don’t like the pressure of galleys.

  4. I wonder how many of the debut authors will appear on the authors I haven’t read but maybe should have list next year? 😉

    I don;t actively look for upcoming books even by authors I like to read because they always seems to find me somehow anyway.

  5. Several of the NF titles stand out for me, the essayed memoir (Alexis Wright!) and the collections of letters and the Grenville volume (interesting!), and I really do hope to read more NF this year (but hoping, alone, won’t get it done).

    As to whether or not I track new releases, it varies from year to year. I’m in a “not tracking” mode just now and am happily surprised to hear what’s coming. Eventually I will tire of feeling like I’m a bit behind, and I will start to pay attention once more. There are advantages to both, I’d say!

    • Ah yes I agree Buried, both ways their charms and frustrations don’t they?

      I seem to be reading more non-fiction lately, mainly by serendipity, but I’m not sorry about it. There are some great writers and subjects out there, aren’t there?

  6. I just read Barking Dogs by Rebekah Clarkson. A great read and one I think you would like. Short stories that interweave about people who live in new estate. What goes on behind closed doors we never know. Tension from beginning to end.

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