Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2019

I’ve been doing this “new releases” post for three or four years now. As the post title says, it’s about books that will be published this year, but I’ll be selective, focusing on those most interesting to me. This doesn’t mean that I expect to read them all, just that they interest me!! Last year I listed 14 works of fiction, and read four of them, with another likely to be read this month, so, you know, I do get to some!

My list, as in previous years, is mostly drawn from the Sydney Morning Herald, but, because this is a Monday musings on Australian literature post, it will be limited to Australian authors (listed alphabetically.) Do click on the link to see coming releases from non-Aussies, and from those Aussies I’ve omitted.

Links on the authors’ names are to my posts on them.

Nigel Featherstone, Bodies of menFiction

  • Tony Birch’s The white girl (UQP, July 2019)
  • Carmel Bird’s Field of poppies (Transit Lounge, November 2019)
  • Stephen Carroll’s The year of the beast (Fourth Estate, February 2019): the last of his Glenroy novels
  • Melanie Cheng’s Room for a stranger (Text, May 2019)
  • Simon Cleary’s The War Artist (UQP, March 2019)
  • Madelaine Dickie’s Red can origami (Fremantls Press, December 2019)
  • Nigel Featherstone’s Bodies of men (Hachette Australia, April 2019)
  • Peggy Frew’s Islands (Allen & Unwin, March 2019)
  • Andrea Goldsmith’s Invented lives (Scribe, April 2019)
  • Anna Goldsworthy’s Melting moments (Black Inc, July 2019)
  • Peter Goldsworthy’s Minotaur (Viking, July 2019). Haha, father and daughter being published in the same month.
  • Wayne Macauley’s Simpson returns: A novella (Text, April 2019)
  • Andrew McGahan’s The rich man’s house (Allen & Unwin, late 2019.)
  • Gerald Murnane’s A season on earth (Text, February 2019)
  • Elliot Perlman’s Maybe the horse will talk (Vintage, October 2019)
  • Kate Richards’ Fusion (Hamish Hamilton, February 2019)
  • Heather Rose’s new apparently unnamed novel (Allen & Unwin, second half of 2019)
  • Philip Salom’s The returns (Transit Lounge, August 2019)
  • Angela Savage’s Mother of Pearl (Transit Lounge, July 2019)
  • Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie result (Text, February 2019)
  • Dominic Smith’s The Electric Hotel (Allen & Unwin, June 2019)
  • Carrie Tiffany’s Exploded view (Text, March 2019)
  • Lucy Treloar’s Wolfe Island (Picador, September 2019)
  • Christos Tsiolkas’ Damascus (Allen & Unwin, second half of 2019)
  • Karen Viggers’ The orchardist’s daughter (Allen & Unwin, early 2019)
  • Tara June Winch’s The yield (Hamish Hamilton, July 2019)
  • Sue Woolfe’s new apparently unnamed novel (Scribner, November 2019)

There is an oddity. SMH and The Australian say that Anna Krien’s first novel, Act of grace, will be published by Black inc in October 2019. However, internet searches show it as having been published in May 2018, and Readings bookshop listed it last year as coming in September 2018? Was it scheduled for 2018 and it didn’t happen? Anyhoo…

The SMH also lists what it calls “new voices”. These include:

  • Sienna Brown’s Master of my fate (Vintage, May2019)
  • Melissa Ferguson’s The shining wall (Transit Lounge, April 2019)
  • Kathryn Hind’s Hitch (Vintage, June 2019): which won the Penguin Random House Prize
  • Alex Landragin’s Crossings (Picador, June 2019): which “can be read in two directions and covers hundreds of years and multiple lifetimes”
  • S.L Lim’s Real differences (Transit Lounge, June 2019)
  • Felicity McLean’s The Van Apfel girls are gone (Fourth Estate, April 2019)
  • Ruby Porter’s Attraction (Text, May 2019): which won Text’s Michael Gifkins Prize for an Unpublished Novel
  • Tim Slee’s Taking Tom Murray home (HarperCollins, August 2019): who won the Banjo Prize for Australian fiction with Burn. Is this the same book with a new title?

Short stories

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

  • Debra Adelaide’s Zebra (Picador, February 2019)
  • Josephine Rowe’s Here until August, (Black Inc., September 2019)
  • Chris Womersley’s A lovely and terrible thing (PicadorMay 2019)


SMH provides a rather long list of new non-fiction books covering a huge range of topics, so, like last year, I’m going to be very selective, focusing on writers I know or topics that particularly interest me:

  • Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark (HarperCollins, September 2019): a meditation on maintaining joy (by the author of the recently acclaimed biography, Victoria)
  • Phil Barker’s The revolution of man (Allen & Unwin, February 2019): on Australian masculinity
  • Luke Carman’s Intimate antipathies (Giramondo, first half of 2019): on “the writing life”
  • Jane Caro’s Accidental feminists (MUP, February): On Caro’s generation’s gender politics
  • Sophie Cunningham’s City of trees: Essays on life, death and the need for a forest (Text, April 2019)
  • Ben Eltham’s The culture paradox: Why the arts are the best thing Australia has going for it but no one really cares (NewSouth, August 2019): “a much needed examination of Australian arts and culture” – and a VERY long title!
  • Hannah Gadsby’s Ten steps to Nanette (Allen & UnwinJune 2019)
  • Stan Grant’s Australia Day (HarperCollins, May 2019): follow-up to Talking to my country (my review), apparently
  • Stan Grant’s On identity (MUP, May 2019)
  • Jacqueline Kent’s Beyond words: A year with Kenneth Cook (UQP, February 2019): autobiography
  • Fiona McGregor’s A Novel Idea (Giramondo: April): a photo essay
  • Emily Maguire‘s This is what a feminist looks like (NLA, October 2019): on the Australian feminist movement .
  • Jocelyn Moorhouse’s Unconditional love: A memoir of filmmaking and motherhood (Text, April 2019)
  • Mandy Ord’s When one person dies the whole world is over (Brow Books, February 2019): described as a diary comic
  • Jane Sullivan’s Storytime (Ventura, August 2019): on her favourite childhood books (which sounds just right for me as a new grandma)


  • Mary Hoban’s An unconventional wife (Scribe, April 2019): on “Julia Sorrell, a Tasmanian ‘colonial belle’ who refused to follow gender expectations”
  • Matthew Lamb’s Frank Moorhouse: A discontinuous life (Vintage, December, Vintage): a great title, given Moorhouse often describes himself as writing “discontinuous narratives”
  • Derek Reilly’s Gulpilil (Pan Macmillan, second half of 2019)
  • Margaret Simons’ biography of Penny Wong (Black Inc., October 2019): not sure of the title
  • Anne-Louise Willoughby’s Nora Heysen: A portrait (Fremantle Press, April 2019): on “the first Australian woman to become an official war artist and to win the Archibald Prize”.
  • Jessica White’s Hearing Maud: A Journey for a Voice (UWA Press, July 2019): memoir/biography about Australian writer Rosa Praed’s deaf daughter Maud

There are some great sounding books here. Do any interest you?

30 thoughts on “Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2019

  1. Oh, thank you for this post. I didn’t know about any of these books. Really looking forward to the Macauley, the Tsiolkas, The Treloar, the Tiffany and especially the Elliott Perlman! 👏🏻👏🏻

  2. Thank you Sue, that’s a great list. Apart from the Heather Rose I think I’ll wait for the early reviews before I open my wallet. Experimental and gritty are the words I’ll be looking for. Meanwhile I’m still looking backwards, as you’ll see in the morning.

    • Thanks Bill. I’ll be watching out then.

      Most of those writers I list would interest me. I like experimental and gritty, but I also like thoughtful, and beautiful. And Provocative, which isn’t necessarily the same as experimental and gritty but often is.

  3. Pingback: Best Reads 2018 | theaustralianlegend

  4. Great list Sue.

    Tiffany tops my list but the Perlman, Rose, Anna Goldsworthy, Tsiolkas, Savage and Adelaide will all be on my shelf in 2019.

    I will be giving the Frew and Simsion a miss – too many disappointments from them in the past.

      • Im in the minority with Frew – others love her, I find her style and plots painfully contrived (only read her second book because it was shortlisted for the Stella). Simsion? He should have quit while he was ahead…

        • Sounds like I need to read Frew for myself! As for Simsion, Rosie gives a lot of pleasures to some people. I don’t begrudge him that. Might as well be an Australian.

        • I loved The Rosie Project – it had everything (memorable characters, made me laugh and cry) but I went to hear him speak about the book and he said he’d never intended to write it as a novel (it was a screenplay originally) and that although he wasn’t thinking of sequels, he had worked out a way to further the story. I felt The Rosie Effect had none of the charm or subtlety of Project. I didn’t read Adam Sharp, although was curious because I think he wrote it with his wife who has always been an author.

        • Well I don’t think we should call them a blight… What’s wrong if some readers and writers like them? But not for you or me. And, as you say, why should we spoil an author’s income. Life is hard enough for writers eh?

        • I reckon it can be a double-edged sword. Churn out the sequel on the back of a great book and if the characters go off you lose readers – I haven’t read any Simsion since Rosie Effect. However, I’m far more forgiving of a 2nd/3rd/4th etc book that’s not great – I give the author another go, dismissing the dud as simply a bad idea rather than cashing in on success. I realise as I write this, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense… but yes, sequels are a blight.

        • Yes I had known about his being primarily a scriptwriter and that being the novel’s origins. And I agree that that first book was great but not being much into series books, with rare exceptions like Wolf Hall, I didn’t plan to read more. My appreciation of him therefore stays intact! Haha!

  5. Hi Sue, I have been keeping a list from the newspapers on the new reads for the year. There are many I am looking forward to reading, especially the new novels by Carrie Tiffany, Tony Birch, Melanie Cheng, and Eliot Perlman. Hopefully I will catch up on last year’s list before I read these ones!

  6. Apparently Madelaine Dickie’s second book Red Can Origami will be published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press in December. I’ve read an early draft and it will definitely be worth a listing.

  7. So much to look forward to. I am booked into Fuller’s Book shop author events for the Ochardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers and Jane Caro of which I’m quite looking forward to. I have 5 author events i the next 5 or 6 weeks. The year begins!!🐧🤠

  8. Pingback: I’m waiting for… 2019 edition | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

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