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Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2018

January 8, 2018

This, you may be pleased to know, is the last of my set of end-of-year-beginning-of-year posts. And, as is obvious from the post title, it’s about books that will be published this year. As in previous years, I’ll just be sharing a selection of those that interest me (though listing them doesn’t mean that I expect to read them all, just that they interest me!!) A quick scan of last year’s list shows that I read about 20% of what I listed, though a few more are on the TBR pile, so you never know.

My list, as in previous years, is mostly drawn from Jane Sullivan’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald. And, because this is a Monday musings on Australian literature post, my list will focus on Australian authors – and will be listed alphabetically by author.


  • Jenny Ackland’s Little Gods (Allen & Unwin, April)
  • Stephanie Bishop’s Man out of time (Hachette, September)
  • John Clanchy’s Sisters (La Muse Books, early 2018)
  • Ceridwen Dovey’s In the garden of the fugitives (Hamish Hamilton, March)
  • Justine Ettler’s Bohemia Beach (Transit Lounge, April). I admit that I hadn’t even heard of her until Bill (The Australian Legend) posted on her recently.
  • Rodney Hall’s A stolen season (Pan Macmillan, April)
  • Rosalie Ham’s The year of the farmer (Pan Macmillan, no date but later in the year)
  • Gail Jones’ The death of Noah Glass (Text, April). I have yet to read Jones. Maybe this will be it.
  • Thomas Keneally’s Two old men dying (Vintage, October) seems to be inspired by Mungo Man, whose story I’ve researched in the past.
  • Eleanor Limprecht’s The passengers (Allen & Unwin, March) which interests me given I enjoyed her historical novel, Long Bay (my review)
  • Melissa Lucashenko’s Too much lip (UQP, August) which I’d love to read, as I’ve reviewed short stories and essays by her here, but not a novel.
  • Kristina Olsson’s Shell (Scribner, October)
  • Avan Judd Stallard’s Spinifex and sunflowers (Fremantle Press, February) is inspired by the author’s experience while working in a refugee detention centre.
  • Tim Winton’s The shepherd’s hut (Hamish Hamilton, March) apparently has “an anti-hero who will break your heart”.

Short stories

Yes, I know these are fiction too, but they deserve a special section!

  • Robert Drewe’s The true colour of the sea (Hamish Hamilton, September). Another Drewe book title inspired by the sea, like The bodysurfers, The drowner, The rip and Sharknet!
  • Anna Krien’s Act of grace (Black Inc, September) is a debut collection from an established non-fiction writer whom I’ve reviewed here a few times.
  • Gerald Murnane’s collection of short fiction from the last 30 years (Giramondo, April): I’ve reviewed a couple of his works to date.


Sullivan provides a rather long list of new non-fiction books, including several memoirs, so I’m going to be very selective here (which will give away my interests – but you know them already so it won’t really surprise you!)

  • Behrouz Boochani’s Manus (Pan Macmillan, June): memoir by journalist and detained asylum seeker, written on a smuggled cell phone
  • Danielle Clode’s The wasp and the orchid (Pan Macmillan, April): biography of Australian naturalist Edith Coleman
  • Anita Heiss’s Growing up Aboriginal in Australia (Black Inc, April): an essay anthology
  • Kon Karapanagiotidis’ The Power of Hope (HarperCollins, July)refugee memoir by the founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
  • Hung Lee’s The Crappiest Refugee (Affirm Press, March): memoir by comedian, the title clearly satirising Anh Do’s 2010 memoir, The happiest refugee!
  • Michelle Scott Tucker’s Elizabeth Macarthur: A life at the edge of the world: biography by the delightful blogger MST (Adventures in Biography) whom I met early-ish in this book’s journey. Check out her blog for the fascinating story of its genesis
  • Anne Summers’ Becoming (Allen & Unwin, no date): memoir by one of Australia’s best-known feminists
  • Gillian Triggs’ Speaking up (UQP, October): memoir
  • Majok Tulba’s When elephants fight (Hamish Hamilton, August): memoir, by Sudanese refugee, a follow-up to his Beneath the darkening sky
  • Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic (Brow Books, May): described as “part-cultural history, part-essay, and part-memoir [on] how we look at the past”
  • Fiona Wright’s second essay collection (Giramondo, September), which I look forward to, having liked her Small acts of disappearance in 2016.

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

33 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2018 12:24 am

    I miss far too many (most!) new releases. I rely firstly on ABR – where I’m about two issues behind – and on lists from publishers. This year I’m trying to make sure I get updates from all the WA publishers. Fremantle Press are good but Magabala … (wobbles hand). But mostly I read you guys and say to myself I wish I’d been first to that. I hope Ms Ettler sends me a review copy. Another author didn’t, even after we spoke at length, and he has an almost invisible new book out. (MST has promised me a review copy as long as I buy 20 to distribute amongst my friends and family).

    • January 9, 2018 4:00 am

      Thanks Bill. I only manage a very small number of new releases a year. It’s all a balancing act isn’t it? I want to keep up with new authors but I also want to fill in the gaps in my reading.

      Your MST deal offer made me laugh. Perhaps you don’t ask MST but go straight to the publisher! They may be kinder.

      I agree that Fremantle and Magabala are great.

      • January 9, 2018 1:48 pm

        Thanks for the very kind link, Sue. As others have said, I get all excited about forthcoming releases and then promptly forget about them until they are brought to my attention by you, other bloggers, the newspapers, or in bookshops. Feels more serendipitous that way, anyway.
        Must go now, and warn publisher against committing kindnesses…😉

        • January 9, 2018 10:41 pm

          A pleasure Michelle … and I know exactly what you mean about not remembering new releases.

  2. January 9, 2018 1:30 am

    I’m so excited that there’s a new Gail Jones to look forward to! 🙂

    • January 9, 2018 4:03 am

      That’s great Amanda – so many people love her. I really want to read Sorry and Sixty lights. But then there are a few authors I haven’t managed to catch up to yet!!

  3. Meg permalink
    January 9, 2018 6:32 am

    Hi Sue, I was adding to my lists over the weekend. I get most of my information from the Australian and the Age. Others I get from the New York Times and the Jewish Book Council. I also keep the list on my local library information page so I can reserve the books when they become available. Unfortunately I don’t get to read them all!

  4. January 9, 2018 8:13 am

    I wait until I hear about them. The non ficrion list appeals to me the most. Though I always pick up anything by Tim Winton. I love his stuff. I will have more awareness now as I wander through Fullers this year.

    • January 9, 2018 8:33 am

      Yes, I like Winton too. The non-fiction looks good I agree. I as lso love the look of the short stories. And I’d love to read more Hall too.

  5. January 9, 2018 10:14 am

    Wow, lots of fantastic new releases coming our way! I didn’t know that Behrouz Boochani’s had written a memoir. I’m looking forward to reading it. His reports from Manus have been humbling and heartbreaking.

    • January 9, 2018 10:23 am

      Thanks Magdalena, I love it when people comment like this… ie that they’ve leant something useful. His memoir will surely be important.

  6. January 9, 2018 12:02 pm

    I don’t pay any attention to what-to-look-forward-to lists because they so rarely correspond to anything I might want to read, (admittedly mostly because they mostly list Big Names from the US and UK) and I delete them all from my inbox without looking at them. To be honest, Sue, I only looked at this one because it’s one of *your* posts and I *always* read your posts no matter what they’re about (even if I don’t have time to Like or comment). Your list is interesting *because* it’s Australian *and* it isn’t entirely from the big conglomerates with correspondingly big publicity budgets.
    I feel confident that I will know about any new releases from any authors or topics I’m interested in… all these books will be thrust under my nose at the bookshop and they’ll be reviewed everywhere. I don’t suffer from FOMO – I know I won’t miss out!
    PS Bill, I don’t have any ambition to be among the first to review a new release …sometimes it happens but I have far too much to read to keep up even if I tried. (After all, I am one person, not like the ABR or The Oz which can farm out new releases to a whole team of reviewers). But I also think there’s merit in a review that comes a bit later, it’s like a second wind of publicity after all the initial flurry has died down.

    • January 9, 2018 1:01 pm

      Thanks Lisa!! No I don’t particularly look for new releases either but I rather enjoy this beginning of the year thing that Sullivan has done in recent years, hearing about who has books coming out. I looked at my post last year and realised I’d forgotten pretty much all the coming new releases as the year wore on despite feeling excited when I read about them! I suspect this is for the reason you give. There’s so much to read that I know I won’t be lost for something good. There’s always the TBR for a start.

      Re later review, I agree with you and it seems the publicists do too that later reviews gave value in keeping books in people’s minds.

  7. Glen Hunting permalink
    January 9, 2018 12:40 pm

    Hi Sue, happy 2018 to you and your readers.
    I thought I’d put in a quick plug for a couple of debuting West Aussie authors in 2018 – Laurie Steed’s “You Belong Here” (Margaret River Press) and Louise Allan’s “The Sisters’ Song” (Allen & Unwin). Both are due out in the next month or so.

    • January 9, 2018 12:46 pm

      The Sisters’ Song is already in bookshops, I bought my copy on Saturday:)

      • Glen Hunting permalink
        January 9, 2018 1:00 pm

        Yes, I keep forgetting that launches tend to come after actual releases! (WA launches, at least.) I’m guessing it was probably on Sue’s radar anyway…

        • January 9, 2018 1:10 pm

          It was, you’re right Glen… And it has already been reviewed a couple of times for the Australian Women Writers Challenge!

          I think you’re right about launches often happening after release. Not always but certainly I’ve seen it often.

      • January 9, 2018 1:06 pm

        Yes thanks Lisa… It was out on Jan 2 I believe.

        • January 9, 2018 3:45 pm

          I’ve had a proof copy for a couple of months, but I don’t read proof copies so I’ve had to wait like everyone else:)

    • January 9, 2018 1:05 pm

      Thanks Glen. And back at you. I think Louise Allen’s was out before this post in Jan 2. Sullivan listed several debut authors but I can’t recollect whether Steed was there so thanks for letting me and us know.

      • Glen Hunting permalink
        January 9, 2018 1:13 pm

        It also comes from being out of the literary ‘swing of things’ for a while! It’s my own radar that’s defective.

        • January 9, 2018 1:21 pm

          Never hurts to have a little break. Give the radar a rest every now and then.

  8. January 9, 2018 1:25 pm

    Snap! I have an anticipated reading post coming out this week for Friday’s My Reading Life. We are uncannily in sync at times! 😁

    • January 9, 2018 3:47 pm

      Haha Theresa. Yes, looks like it. In my case I now have quite an established beginning of year pattern of set posts.

      I’m guessing yours will probably be REAL anticipated reading that you’ll achieve whereas mine was more informative! 😄

  9. January 9, 2018 2:18 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I really want to read more Australian authors. Many of these books sound very interesting. I look forward to your upcoming posts.

    • January 9, 2018 3:42 pm

      Thanks Brian. Don’t hold your breath for all of these but if you want some recommendations let me know. I probably have some ideas having seen what you like to read like, say, David Malouf, though most of my reading of him was before blogging.

  10. January 10, 2018 9:48 am

    Some interesting ones to look out for… and most will sadly never make it here or there will be a l o n g wait for UK publication.

  11. January 14, 2018 3:46 am

    I’m working my way through Garner’s 800 pages on non fiction.
    I’ve added some of the above titles to my lists–although as you know I cannot always get the books you write about. Temptress.

    • January 14, 2018 8:54 am

      Oh, I like being called “temptress”! I look forward to reading your thoughts on Garner, Guy.

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