For some years now, I have devoted my last Monday Musings of the year to the Australian Women Writers Challenge* – and this year I am continuing that tradition! Sorry, if you hoped for something else. With the New Year – I love the sound of 2020 – just two days away, I wish all you wonderful Whispering Gums followers a wonderful year to come in whatever form you would like that to take.Thank you, too, for supporting my blog with your visits and comments.
Now, the challenge … it has continued to go very well. The full database now contains reviews for nearly 6,100 books across all forms and genres, from all periods, of Australian women’s writing. This means that the number of books reviewed on our database increased in 2019 by 900 books, or 17%, which is about the same increase as last year. In my area of Literary and Classics, we had roughly the same number of reviews posted as last year.
My personal round-up for the year
It was not, I have to say, my best Challenge year, as I posted only 25 reviews over the year, about 25% less than last year. I’m not sure how that happened, but c’est la vie. It was clearly a different sort of reading year. Anyhow, here they are, with links to my reviews:
- Enza Gandolfo, The bridge (general and historical fiction)
- Elizabeth Kuiper, Little stones (general fiction)
- Jamie Marina Lau, Pink Mountain on Locust Island (experimental fiction) (guest post by Amanda)
- Janet Lee, The killing of Louisa (historical fiction)
- Melissa Lucashenko, Too much lip (general fiction)
- Louise Mack, Girls together (classic)
- Angela Meyer, A superior spectre (historical-cum-speculative fiction)
- Melanie Myers, Meet me at Lennon’s (historical and general fiction)
- Annabel Smith, Whiskey and Charlie (general fiction)
- Karen Viggers, The orchardist’s daughter (general fiction)
- Josephine Wilson, Extinctions (general fiction) (guest post by Amanda)
- Capel Boake, Three short stories (published in Trove) (classic short stories)
- Jennifer Down, Pulse points (short story collection) (guest post by Amanda)
- Amanda O’Callaghan, This taste for silence (short story collection)
- Anita Heiss (ed.), Growing up Aboriginal in Australia (memoir anthology)
- Us Mob Writing, Too deadly (anthology comprising poems, fiction and memoir pieces)
CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS
- Nhulunbuy Primary School, with Ann James and Ann Haddon, I saw, we saw (picture book)
- Ros Collins, Rosa: Memories with licence (creative memoir)
- Amanda Duthie (ed.), Kin: An extraordinary filmmaking family (biography)
- Jocelyn Moorhouse, Unconditional love: A memoir of filmmaking and motherhood (memoir)
- Sue Ingleton, Making trouble: Tongued with fire (biography)
- Vicki Laveau-Harvie, The erratics (memoir)
- Kim Scott, Katherine’s tropical housing precinct 1946-1956 (local history)
- Maria Tumarkin, Axiomatic (personal essays)
- Jessica White, Hearing Maud (hybrid biography/memoir)
This year, fiction (including short stories) represented around 57% of my AWW challenge reading, which is similar to last year. I read no poetry or verse novels again this year, and I read fewer Classics than last. However, I did read three classic short stories by Capel Boake for Bill’s (The Australian Legend) Gen 2 week as well as Louise Mack’s novel. On the plus side, I read more indigenous writing this year – two anthologies, a picture book, and Melissa Lucashenko’s Miles Franklin award-winning Too much lip (as well as some male authors who shall not be mentioned here!)
If you’d like to know more about the Challenge, check it out here. We are also on Facebook, Twitter (@auswomenwriters), and GoodReads. Do consider joining us. All readers are welcome.
Finally, a big thanks again to Theresa, Elizabeth and the rest of the team. I love being part of this challenge, not only because it equates with my reading goals but also because the people involved are such a pleasure to work with. See you in 2020.
And so, 2020
The 2020 sign up form is ready, so this is also my Sign Up post for next year. As always, I’m nominating myself for the Franklin level, which is to read 10 books by Australian women and post reviews for at least 6 of those. I expect, of course, to exceed this.
Do you plan to sign up?
* This challenge was instigated by Elizabeth Lhuede in 2012 in response to concerns in Australian literary circles about the lack of recognition for women writers. I have been one of the challenge’s volunteers since 2013. Theresa Smith (of Theresa Smith writes) now oversees the day-to-day management of the blog, but Elizabeth is still an active presence.