Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2023

Maintaining tradition, my first Monday Musings of the year once again focuses on “new releases”. As before, it is primarily drawn from the Sydney Morning Herald. Jane Sullivan and the team do a wonderful job of surveying publishers large and small, but I have added a couple of my own! Also, as this is Monday musings on Australian literature post, my focus is Australian authors in areas of interest or relevance to me. Click on the SMH link to see the full list, which includes non-Aussies, Aussies I haven’t selected, plus additional info about many of the books.

As usually happens, some books listed here were listed last year but, for some reason, were not published on schedule.

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


I have read a very small number from last year’s list, but a few more are on my TBR and will be read this year. (Indeed, one is almost finished right now!) Here’s this year’s selection:

  • Kim E. Anderson, Prize (Pantera Press, April)
  • Tony BirchWomen and children (UQP, November)
  • Stephanie Bishop, The anniversary (Hachette, April)
  • Benjamin Stevenson, Everyone on this train is a suspect (Penguin Random House or PRH, October)
  • Trent Dalton, untitled (Fourth Estate, October).
  • Gregory Day, The bell of the world (Transit Lounge, March)
  • Robert Gott, Naked ambition (Scribe, May)
  • Kate GrenvilleAlways greener (Text, July)
  • Toni Jordan, Prettier if she smiled more (Hachette, April)
  • Leah Kaminsky, Doll’s eye (PRH, September)
  • Melissa LucashenkoEdenglassie (UQP, October)
  • Catherine McKinnon, The great time (Fourth Estate, August)
  • Rachel Matthews, Never look desperate (Transit Lounge, September)
  • Drusilla Modjeska, Ways of being (PRH, November)
  • Kate Morton, Homecoming(A&U, April)
  • Graeme SimsionCreative differences (Text, January) 
  • Tracy Sorensen, The vitals (Picador, second half 2023)
  • Christos Tsiolkas, The in-betweens (A&U, November)
  • Pip Williams, The bookbinder of Jericho (Affirm, April)
  • Chris WomersleyOrdinary gods and monsters (Picador, second half 2023)
  • Alexis Wright, Praiseworthy (Giramondo, April) 
  • Emma Young, The disorganisation of Celia Stone (Fremantle, September) 

SMH lists many books under Crimes and Thrillers, but this is not my area of expertise. So, I’m going to leave you to check SMH’s link if you are interested, and just bring a couple to your attention. They tell us that “the ever-popular small town with dark secrets plot gets a good work-out” in:

  • Lucy Campbell, Lowbridge (Ultimo, July); 
  • Nikki Mottram, Crows Nest (UQP, February)

I mention them because UQP and Ultimo are worthwhile independent publishers. Dervla McTiernan has another book coming out, and there’s more, as I said, if you are interested.

SMH also lists Debut Australian fiction, including some the result of “heated auctions” and some winners of manuscript prizes:

  • Mikki Brammer, The collected regrets of Clover (Viking, May): sold in 23 countries
  • Andre Dao, Anam (PRH, May): won the Victorian Premier’s fiction award for an unpublished manuscript 
  • Pip Finkemeyer, Sad girl novel (Ultimo, October)
  • Annette Higgs, On a bright hillside in paradise (PRH, July): won the 2022 Penguin literary prize
  • Megan Rogers, The heart is a Star (Fourth Estate, May)
  • Molly Schmidt, Salt River Road (Fremantle, November): won the City of Fremantle Hungerford prize
  • Aisling Smith, After the rain (Hachette, May), won the Richell prize
  • Michael Thompson, How to be remembered (A&U, March)
  • Dianne Yarwood, The wakes (Hachette, March)

Short stories

  • Carmel Bird‘Love letter to Lola’: Eighteen stories and an author’s reflection (Spineless Wonders, May)
  • J.M. CoetzeeThe Pole and other stories (Text, July) 
  • David Cohen, The terrible event (Transit Lounge, June).
  • Laura Jean McKay, Gunflower (Scribe, October)


SMH includes a wide range of new non-fiction books, so this is just a selection.

Life-writing (loosely defined, and selected to those focused mainly on the arts and activism)

  • Belinda Alexandra, Emboldened (Affirm, April): novelist on some women who saved her after she ran from home in terror
  • Ryan Cropp, The life of Donald Horne (Black Inc, August): biography
  • Robyn Davidson, Unfinished woman (Bloomsbury, October): Tracks author’s memoir
  • Marele Day, Reckless (Ultimo, May): novelist’s memoir about her long friendship with an international fugitive 
  • Helen Elliott, Eleven letters to you (Text, May): journalist/critic on her younger years
  • Deborah Fitzgerald, In search of Dorothea (Simon & Schuster, August): biography of Dorothea Mackellar
  • Martin Flanagan, untitled (PRH, no date): journalist’s memoir on his time at a Catholic boarding school
  • Anna Funder, Wifedom (PRH, July): biography of Eileen Orwell, George Orwell’s ignored-by-biographers wife
  • Louise Hansen, Smashing serendipity (Fremantle Press, February): Binjareb Nyoongar woman’s story of her fight against violence and racism
  • Susan Johnson, Aphrodite’s Island (A&U, May): novelist on a year with her mother on the Greek island of Kythera
  • Krissy Kneen, Fat girl dancing (Text, May): third in her memoir series
  • Sarah Krasnostein, On Peter Carey (Black Inc, June): from Writers on Writers series
  • Matthew Lamb, Frank Moorhouse: A Discontinuous Life (PRH, December): biography of Moorhouse, proponent of the “discontinuous narrative” 
  • Frances Peters Little, Jimmy Little: A Yorta Yorta man (Hardie Grant, April): daughter on her First Nations’ musician father
  • Priya Nadesalingam with Rebekah Holt, Back to Biloela (A&U, October): on the refugee family’s ordeal on Christmas Island and final return to Biloela
  • Sam Neill, Did I ever tell you this? (Text, March): actor’s memoir
  • Matt Preston, Big mouth (PRH, November): billed as “a rock’n’roll memoir of death, guns and the occasional scandal”.
  • Jeanne Ryckmans, Trust: A fractured fable (Upswell, August): memoir and detective story 
  • Emmett Stinson, Murnane (MUP, August): biography of Gerald Murnane

SMH also lists biographies and memoirs on/by politicians but, again, I’m taking a break from parliamentary politics, so check SMH’s link, if you are interested. However, I will note that journalist Chris Wallace’s Political lives (NewSouth, February) is based on her interviews with all living 20th-century Australian prime ministers and their biographers. That second part increases its interest for me.

There are also two whistleblower stories coming out: Bernard Collaery’s The trial: Defending East Timor (MUP, late 2023) on being prosecuted, with “Witness K”, by the federal government for allegedly breaching the Intelligence Services Act, and David McBride’s The nature of honour (PRH, no date) on his facing prosecution for exposing alleged war crimes.

History and other non-fiction (esp. racism, sexism, environmental issues)

  • Kate Auty, O’Leary of the Underworld (Black Inc, February): examines a massacre
  • Victor Briggs, Seafaring (Magabala, April): history, with First Nations perspective
  • Chanel Contos, untitled (Macmillan, no date): “a radical rethinking of what yes means when it comes to sex”. 
  • Megan Davis, Quarterly Essay On the Uluru Statement from the Heart (Black Inc, June): First Nations
  • Osman Faruqi, The Racist Country (PRH, August): racism
  • Clementine Ford, I don’t (A&U, October): challenges accepted ideas about marriage
  • Stan GrantThe Queen is dead (Fourth Estate, May): “pull-no-punches” look at colonialism, the monarchy and its bitter legacy for First Nations Australians
  • David Marr, A family business (Black Inc, October): history, First Nations focused
  • Shireen Morris and Damien Freeman (ed.), Statements from the Soul (Black Inc, February): First Nations issue
  • Lucia Osborne-Crowley, Maxwell (A&U, second half of 2023): on Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial and its implications for reparative justice
  • Grace Tame and Michael Bradley, Cancelled (Hardie Grant, September): on cancel culture.
  • Ellen van NeervenPersonal score (UQP, May): racism
  • Penny van Oosterzee, Cloud Land (A&U, February): on the tropical rainforest of northern Queensland
  • Justyn Walsh, Eating the earth (UQP, July): “an incisive celebration and a critique of modern capitalism”
  • Dave Witty, In search of lost trees (Monash University Publishing, May): meditation on nature


Finally, for poetry lovers, here’s what they list, but there are more if you go to the relevant publisher websites:

  • Stuart Barnes, Like to the Lark (Upswell, February)
  • Bonny Cassidy, Monument, (Giramondo, October)
  • Amy Crutchfield, The Cyprian (Giramondo, September): 2020 winner of the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize,
  • Madison Godfrey, Dress rehearsals (A&U, March): verse memoir about “a decade of performing womanhood in a non-binary body”
  • John Kinsella, Cellnight (Transit Lounge, April): verse novel
  • John Kinsella, Harsh Hakea (UWA Publishing, February): collected poems, volume 2
  • Kate Larsen, Public.Open.Space (Fremantle, July): debut collection after a decade working as an insta poet
  • David McCooey’s The book of falling (Upswell, February)
  • Kate Middleton, Television (Giramondo, October)
  • S.J. Norman, Blood from a stone (UQP, November): verse memoir about the legacy of violence towards women
  • PiO The dirty t-shirt tour (Giramondo, August): verse account of a US poetry tour
  • Omar Sakr, Non-essential work (UQP, April)

And, one final surprise – we do expect to see the winner of Finlay Lloyd’s 20/40 Prize in November. That could be anything – but whatever it is, it is sure to be worth waiting for.

Anything here interest you?

Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2022

For several years now, my first Monday Musings of the year has focused on “new releases”. As before, it is mostly drawn from the Sydney Morning Herald. Their writers do a wonderful job of surveying publishers large and small, but I have found a few more on my own! Also, remember, this is Monday musings on Australian literature post, so focuses on Australian authors. Do click on the SMH link to see the full list, which includes non-Aussies, Aussies I haven’t selected, and some additional book info.

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


Last year, I listed over 30 fiction works, including short story collections, and read very few – though have some on my TBR. Here’s this year’s selection:

  • Robbie Arnott, Limberlost (October, Text)
  • Jessica Au, Cold enough for snow (February, Giramondo): Brona’s advanced review
  • Mandy Beaumont, The furies (February, Hachette)
  • Geraldine BrooksHorse (June, Hachette)
  • Michelle Cahill, Daisy and Woolf (April, Hachette)
  • Jay Carmichael, Marlo, 1953 (August, Scribe)
  • Steven Carroll, Goodnight, Vivienne, Goodnight (March, 4th Estate): final in the Eliot Quartet
  • Shankari Chandran, Chai time at Cinnamon Gardens (January, Ultimo Press)
  • Claire G. ColemanEnclave (July, Hachette) 
  • Gregory Day, The bell in the world (December, Transit Lounge)
  • Ceridwen Dovey and Eliza Bell, Mothertongues (April, PRH): “experimental book of bio-autofiction about early motherhood”, a genre-bender?
  • Robert Drewe, Nimblefoot (June, PRH)
  • Nigel Featherstone, My heart is a little wild thing (no date, Ultimo Press)
  • Victoria Hannan, Marshmallow (September, Hachette)
  • Hilde Hinton, The loudness of unsaid things (April, Hachette)
  • Gail Jones, no title yet (November, Text)
  • Yumna Kassab, Australiana (March, Ultimo)
  • Tom Keneally, Dancing the Liberty Dance (August, PRH)
  • Tom Lee, Object coach (November, Upswell)
  • Robert Lukins, Loveland (Allen & Unwin, March)  
  • Fiona McGregor, Iris (October, Picador)
  • Holly Ringland, The seven skins of Esther Wilding (June, 4th Estate) 
  • Philip Salom, Sweeney and the bicycles (November, Transit Lounge)
  • Wendy Scarfe, One bright morning (March, Wakefield)
  • Jock Serong, The settlement (September, Text)
  • Craig Sherborne, The Grass Hotel (February, Text)
  • Inga Simpson, Willowman (November, Hachette)
  • Steve Toltz, Here goes nothing (May, PRH)
  • Pip Williams, The bookbinder of Jericho (November, Affirm). 
  • Dominique Wilson, Orphan Rock (March, Transit Lounge)
  • Alexis WrightPraiseworthy (October, Giramondo)

SMH lists many books under Thrills and Chills, but this is not my area of expertise. So, I’m going to leave you to check SMH’s link if you are interested, and just bring a couple to your attention:

SMH also lists Debut Australian fiction. Most of these names are, by definition, unknown, so I’m sharing them by publisher:

  • Affirm: Omar Sakr, Son of Sin (February: poet moving into fiction)
  • Allen & Unwin (A&U): Isobel Beech, Sunbathing (May); Emily Brugman, The Islands (February)
  • Finlay Lloyd: Sandy Gordon, Leaving Owl Creek (February: on my TBR)
  • Fremantle Press: Brooke Dunnell, The glass house (November: Fogarty Literary Award winner)
  • Hachette: Megan Albany, The very last list of Vivian Walker (February: First Nations); Rhett Davis, Hovering (February: won the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript)
  • Harper/Collins: Kimberley Allsopp, Love and other puzzles (February)
  • Picador: Jessica Stanley, A Great Hope (February)
  • Penguin Random House (PRH): Clare Fletcher, Five bush weddings (September); Ashley Goldberg, Abomination (May); Lizzie Pook, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter (February); Justin Smith, Cooper not out (January)
  • S&S: James Weir, The Hemsworth effect (June)
  • Scribe: Sam Wallman, Our members be unlimited (May: graphic novel)
  • Transit Lounge: Brendan Colley, The signal line (May); Alan Fyfe (T, September); Adriane Howell, Hydra (August)
  • Ultimo: Pirooz Jafari, Forty nights (July)
  • UQP: Al Campbell, The keepers (February); George Haddad, Losing face (May)

Short stories

  • Ennis Cehic, Sadvertising (March, PRH)
  • lse Fitzgerald, Everything feels like the end of the world (April, A&U)
  • Chris Flynn, Here be Leviathans (second half, UQP)
  • Kat Gibson, Women I know (May, Scribner)
  • Mirandi Riwoe,The burnished sun (April, UQP)
  • Andrew Roff, The teeth of a slow machine (March, Wakefield Press) 
  • Maria Samuela, Beats of the Pa’u (March, Victoria University Press)


SMH provides a long, long list of new non-fiction books covering a huge range of topics, so my lists here are highly selective.

Life-writing (loosely defined, and focused mainly on the arts and activism)

  • Carmel BirdTelltale: Reading, writing, remembering (July, Transit Lounge): need I say more?
  • Nick Cave, Faith, hope and carnage (October, Text): reflection on son Arthur’s death
  • Jessie Cole, Desire (August, Text): memoir
  • Jim Davidson, Emperors in Liliput: Clem Christesen of Meanjin and Stephen Murray-Smith of Overland (October, MUP): on these two literary journals and their editors
  • Aaron Fa’Aoso, So far, so good, (September, Pantera Press): memoir of Black Comedy star
  • Anna Funder, Wifedom (September, PRH): on George Orwell’s first wife; billed as a “blazing feminist masterpiece”
  • Hannah Gadsby, Ten steps to Nanette (April, A&U): memoir
  • Kate GrenvilleA room made of leaves: Elizabeth Macarthur’s letters (April, Text): non-fiction accompaniment to the novel 
  • Brittany Higgins, no title (October, PRH): memoir of activist
  • Nathan Hobby, The red witch (May, MUP): biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard (been waiting for this) 
  • Anita Jacoby, Secrets beyond the screen, May, Ventura): television producer’s memoir
  • Lee Kofman, The writer laid bare (March, Ventura)
  • Wendy McCarthy, Don’t be too polite, girls (March, A&U): activist/feminist’s memoir
  • Paddy Manning, Sly fox (November, Black Inc): unauthorised biography of Lachlan Murdoch
  • Patti Miller,True Friends (April, UQP): memoir
  • Brenda NiallMy accidental career (March, Text): biographer’s memoir 
  • Rick Morton (ed), Growing up in country Australia (April, Black Inc)
  • Ann-Marie Priest, My tongue is my own (May, La Trobe University Press): biography of poet Gwen Harwood
  • Magda Szubanski, no title (second half, Text): memoir
  • Simon Tedeschi, Fugitive (May, Upswell): pianist, “straddles the borders of poetry and prose, fiction and fact, trauma and testimony”
  • Tom Tilley, Speaking in tongues (September, ABC Books): broadcaster’s memoir

SMH also lists several biographies and memoirs on/by politicians, past and present, but, as last year, I’m taking a break from parliamentary politics. (Do check SMH’s link, if you are interested.)

Essay collections

  • Eda Gunaydin, Root and branch (May, NewSouth): race, genre and migration
  • Eliza Hull (ed), We’ve got this (March, Black Inc): by parents who identify as deaf, disabled or chronically ill
  • Kim Mahood, Wandering with Intent (October, Scribe)
  • Pantera Press anthology of Liminal and Pantera Press Nonfiction Prize longlist (August)

History and other non-fiction

  • Anna Clark, Making Australian history (February, PRH)
  • David Duffy, Nabbing Ned Kelly (March, A&U)
  • Meg Foster, Boundary crossers (November, NewSouth): Aboriginal, African-American, Chinese and female bushrangers
  • Duane Hamacher, The first astronomers (March, A&U): First Peoples’ knowledge of the stars; Hamacher is not First Nations, but did I believe work closely with Indigenous elders
  • Leah Lui-Chivizhe, Masked histories: Turtle shell masks and Torres Straight Islander People (July, MUP): First Nations author
  • David Marr, A family business (November, Black Inc): our colonial past
  • Elizabeth Tynan, The secret of Emu Field (May, NewSouth): the first British atomic test site, South Australia
  • Don Watson, The passion of Private White (October, Scribner): the 50-year-old relationship between anthropologist and veteran Neville White and Aboriginal clans of remote northern Australia

Some current-interest topics being written about, include:

  • Women and the “home-front”: Tabitha Carvan, This is not a book about Benedict Cumberbatch (March, HarperCollins: joy in women’s lives); Eloise Grills, Big beautiful female theory (July, Affirm); Sonia Orchard, The female of the species (September, Affirm: the “science of womanhood”); Sian Prior, Childless (April, Text: living without children); Gina Rushton, The most important job in the world (April, Pan Macmillan: choosing motherhood).
  • Politics and current affairs: Allan Behm, No enemies, no friends (March, Upswell: on Australia’s diplomatic relationships); Ed Coper, Facts and other lies (February, A&U: on disinformation); Jo Dyer, Burning down the house (February, Monash University Press: rethinking our political system); Osman Faruqi, The racist country (August, PRH); Samantha Maiden, Open secrets (no date, HarperCollins: on the Canberra bubble); Andrew Quilty, Fall of Kabul (August, MUP); Matthew Ricketson and Patrick Mullins, Who needs the ABC? (April, Scribe).

Interestingly, I see little this year on COVID-19 and climate change, compared with last year. Nor much about our big women’s issue of 2021, except for Brittany Higgins’ memoir coming out. Why?


Finally, if you love poetry, do check the link, but these might whet your appetite:

  • Lisa Gorton, Mirabilia (August, Giramondo)
  • Sarah Holland-Batt, The Jaguar (May, UQP)
  • John Kinsella and Charmaine Papertalk Green, Art (June, Magabala Books)
  • Les Murray, Continous creation (March, Black Inc): final posthumous collection
  • Tracy Ryan, Rose interior (April, Giramondo)

New publisher Upswell and the established Fremantle Press also have poetry collections coming …

Anything here grab your attention?

Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2021

For some years now, I’ve made my first Monday Musings of the year, a “new releases” post. As in previous years, my list is mostly drawn from the Sydney Morning Herald, whose writers do a wonderful job of checking out publishers large and small, but I have found a couple of extras on my own! Also, remember, as this is Monday musings on Australian literature post, it will be limited to Australian authors (listed alphabetically.) Do click on the SMH link to see the full list, which includes non-Aussies, Aussies I haven’t selected, and additional info about some of the books.

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


Last year, I listed 24 fiction works plus a few new voices and short story collections, and read only TWO (par for last year’s course, really) – but I will be reading some more of them in the next few months.

Book cover
  • Pip Adams, Nothing to see (March, Giramondo)
  • Michael Mohammed Ahmad, The other half of you (June, Hachette)
  • Larissa Behrendt, After story (July, QUP)
  • Emily Bitto, Menagerie (second half, A&U)
  • Steven Carroll, O (February, Fourth Estate)
  • Claire G. Coleman, Enclave (October, Hachette)
  • Paul Daley, Jesustown (August, Allen & Unwin) 
  • Michelle de Kretser, Scary monsters (“a flip book”, second half of 2021, Allen & Unwin)
  • Briohny Doyle, Echolalia (June, Vintage)
  • Nikki Gemmell, The ripping tree (April, Fourth Estate)
  • Irma Gold, The breaking (March, MidnightSun)
  • Chris Hammer, no title yet (second half, Allen & Unwin) (my token crime inclusion!)
  • John Kinsella, Pushing back (February, Transit Lounge)
  • Jamie Marina Lau, Gunk baby (May, Hachette) (and I have to include the description: it’s “about a budding entrepreneur who opens an ear-cleaning business in the local mall”)
  • Charlotte McConaghy, Once there were wolves (August, Hamish Hamilton)
  • Emily Maguire, Love objects (April, Allen & Unwin)
  • Sophie Masson, The ghost squad (yes, I know, YA, but – February, MidnightSun)
  • Jennifer Mills, Airwaves (August, Picador)
  • Kate Morton, no title yet (second half, Allen & Unwin)
  • Stephen Orr, Sincerely, Ethel Malley (April, Wakefield Press)
  • Debra Oswald, The family doctor (March, A&U)
  • Alice Pung, One hundred days (June, Black Inc.)
  • Trevor Shearston, The beach caves (February, Scribe)
  • Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, Two steps onward (collaborative novel, March, Text)
  • Claire Thomas, The performance (March, Hachette)
  • Christos Tsiolkas, (“auto-fiction”, second half, Allen & Unwin)

I’m surprised to find that many more authors from this year’s list are already on my blog than ever before, which sort of makes me feel I’m getting somewhere!

SMH also lists “new voices” (including new forms for established voices):

  • Ella Baxter, New animal (February, Allen & Unwin)
  • Hannah Bent, When things are alive they hum (second half, Ultimo Press)
  • Barry Divola, Driving Stevie Fracasso (March, HarperCollins) (music journalist/short story writer)
  • Max Easton, Leaving the plain (TBA, Giramondo)
  • Martin McKenzie-Murray, The speech writer (Scribe, February) (journalist)
  • L.P McMahon, As swallows fly (March, Ventura)
  • Jacqueline Maley, The truth about her (April, Fourth Estate) (journalist)
  • Campbell Mattinson, We were not men (June, Fourth Estate) (wine writer)
  • Angela O’Keeffe, Night blue (May, Transit) (here’s one for next year’s “interesting narrative voices” – the narrator is Pollock’s Blue Poles painting!)
  • Sophie Overett, The rabbits (July, Michael Joseph)
  • Madeleine Ryan, A room called Earth (March, Scribe)
  • Emma Spurr, A million things (March, Text)

Short stories

  • Tony Birch, Dark as last night (August, UQP)
  • Te-Ping Chen, Land of big numbers (March, Scribner)
  • Paige Clark, She is haunted and other stories (August, A&U).  
  • Melissa Manning, Smokehouse (April, UQP)
  • Adam Thompson, Born into this (February, UQP) 
  • Chloe Wilson, Hold your fire (March, Simon & Schuster)


SMH provides a long long list of new non-fiction books covering a huge range of topics, so my two lists are highly selective.

Life-writing (loosely defined)

  • Emma Alberici, Rewrite the story (September, Hardie Grant): memoir.
  • Alison Croggon, Monsters: A reckoning (March, Scribe): hybrid memoir/essay (award-winning essayist).
  • Carly Findlay (ed.) Growing up disabled (February, Black Inc.): from the Growing Up series.
  • Clementine Ford, How we love (second half, Allen & Unwin): memoir about love, motherhood and her family.
  • Evelyn Juers, The dancer (TBA, Giramondo): biography of Philippa Cullen, that was listed in my 2020 new releases and is listed again but still without a date.
  • Nathan Hobby, biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard (first half, MUP)
  • Eleanor Hogan, Into the loneliness (March, NewSouth): biography of Daisy Bates and Ernestine Hill
  • Yumiko Kadota, Emotional female (March, Viking): memoir about the challenges of being a young female surgeon in an often toxic environment.
  • Sarah Krasnostein, The believer (March, Text): faith and conviction in six people.
  • Joyce Morgan, The Countless from Kirribilli (July, Allen & Unwin): biography of Elizabeth von Arnim. I can’t believe there is a third book coming out in reasonably short time about this author, with whom I fell in love way back in the 1980s. 
  • Rick Morton, My year of living vulnerably (March, HarperCollins): follow-up memoir.
  • Fiona Murphy, The shape of sound (March, Text): memoir about being deaf, by an emerging writer admired by Jessica White and Angela Savage.
  • Christine Skyes, Gough and me (May, Ventura): memoir about the role Gough Whitlam played in her life.
  • Alf Taylor, God, the devil and me (February, Magabala): Memoir
  • Robert Wainwright, The diva and the duc (second half, A&U): biography of soprano Nellie Melba.
  • David Williamson, untitled autobiography (October, HarperCollins). 
  • Charlotte Wood, Inner life (second half, A&U): expanding her essay on “the creative process, inspiration and hard work”. 

SMH lists a number of biographies coming out on politicians, past and present, and memoirs by current political figures, but let’s give ourselves a break from parliamentary politics today. (You can check out the SMH link, of course, if you are interested.)

History and other non-fiction

  • Santilla Chingaipe, Black convict (July, Picador): convicts of African descent transported to the Australian penal colonies.
  • Helen Garner, presumably the next diary volume (Text)
  • Stan Grant, With the falling of the dusk (April, HarperCollins): “the challenges facing our world”. 
  • David Hunt, Girt nation (November, Black Inc.): third instalment after Girt and True girt.
  • Bri Lee, Brains (second half, Allen & Unwin): the structural inequalities behind elite institutions.
  • Mark McKenna, Return to Uluru (March, Black Inc.): starts from the 1934 shooting at Uluru of Aboriginal man Yokunnuna by white policeman Bill McKinnon.
  • David Marr, A family business (October, Black Inc.): Queensland’s frontier massacres in the 19th century. 
  • Henry Reynolds Truth-telling (February, NewSouth): First Nations sovereignty and the importance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

SMH also identifies some special current-interest topics being written about, including:

  • Last year’s bushfires: Bronwyn Adcock, Currowan (August, Black Inc.); Danielle Celermajer, Summertime (February, Hamish Hamilton); Greg Mullins, Firestorm (September, Viking Australia); John Pickrell, Flames of extinction (March, NewSouth); and Michael Rowland (ed), Black summer (January, ABC Books).
  • Climate change: Richard Beasley, Dead in the water (February, Allen & Unwin); Jonica Newby, Beyond climate grief (NewSouth); Gabrielle Chan, Why you should give a f— about farming (August, Vintage); and Ian Lowe, Long half life (August, Monash).
  • COVID-19 (of course): Ross Garnaut, Reset (February, La Trobe); Hugh McKay, The loving country (May, A&U); Duncan McNab, The Ruby Princess (February, Macmillan); and Norman Swan, So you think you know what’s good for you (July, Hachette).
  • Politics and current affairs: David Brophy, China panic (June, La Trobe); Zoe Daniel and Roscoe Whalan, Greetings from Trumpland (February, ABC Books); Zareh Ghazarian and Katrina Lee-Koo (ed), Gender politics: Navigating political leadership in Australia (May, NewSouth); Nicholas Jose and Benjamin Madden (ed), Antipodean China (February, Giramondo); Peter van Onselen and Wayne Errington, How good is Scott Morrison? (March, Hachette); and Trevor Watson and Melissa Roberts (ed), The Beijing Bureau (May, Hardie Grant).

Does anything here interest you?

Monday musings on Australian literature: The Guardian Australia’s Unmissables

Although I’d seen it before, it was BookJotter Paula’s latest Winding Up the Week (#110) post that reminded me of The Guardian Australia’s Unmissables series. Initiated last March, Unmissables aims to highlight 12 new releases they deem “significant”.

Before I share the books highlighted to date, though, I’d like to talk about the project’s funding because, as most of you know, how quality journalism is paid for is, currently, a critical issue. The Guardian, unlike some other newspapers online, is not paywalled. Instead, it asks readers to support them financially, by either subscribing, which I do, or, “contributing”, which, in effect, means donating without tax deductibility. Clearly, though, that’s not enough to produce the breadth and depth of content that we readers like. Consequently, they also turn to “outside” sources. They have at least three models: “supported by”, “paid content/paid for by”, and ‘”advertiser content/from our advertisers funding”. Unmissables comes under the first one, and is “supported by” the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. This method is, unlike the other two, “editorially independent”. They say:

Before funding is agreed with a client, relevant senior editors are consulted about its suitability and the editor-in-chief has the final say on whether a funding deal is accepted. A client whose branding appears on editorial content may have a role in suggesting what kind of topics are covered, but the commissioning editor is not obliged to accept ideas from the funder. The content is written and edited by Guardian and Observer journalists, or those approved by GNM [Guardian News and Media], to the same standards expected in all of our journalism. GNM will not show copy to funders for approval.

I’ve written about the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund a few times before, including in a dedicated Monday Musings post. From my observer’s point of view, it seems like this fund is doing some good things to support and promote our literary culture.

Now, though, the books …

Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 2020

It seems from my stats that people like my “new releases” post, so here is the 2020 version. As in previous years, my list is mostly drawn from the Sydney Morning Herald, and as it is a Monday musings on Australian literature post, it will be limited to Australian authors (listed alphabetically.) Do click on the link to their see coming releases from non-Aussies, or from those Aussies I’ve omitted because I’ve only listed those most relevant to me, or for some basic information about the books.

Last year, I listed 27 fiction works, and read only four of them – but I will be reading a few more of them in the next 2-3 months.

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


  • Patrick Allington’s Rise and shine (Scribe, June)
  • Richard Anderson’s Small Mercies (Scribe)
  • Robbie Arnott’s The rain heron (TextJune)
  • Margaret Bearman’s We were never friends (Brio, March)
  • James Bradley’s Ghost species (Hamish Hamilton, April)
  • Steven Conte’s The Tolstoy estate (Fourth Estate, August)
  • Trent Dalton‘s Shimmering skies (Vintage, June)
  • Meaghan Delahunt’s The night-side of the country (UWAP, March)
  • Jon Doust’s Return Ticket (Fremantle Press, March)
  • Ceridwen Dovey’s Life after truth (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Chris Flynn’s Mammoth (UQP, May, UQP).
  • Dennis Glover’s Factory 19 (Black Inc., July)
  • Kate Grenville‘s A room made of leaves (Text, July) (Coincidentally, Michelle Scott Tucker recently blogged about this Elizabeth Macarthur inspired novel. Do check it out!)
  • Sophie Hardcastle’s Below deck (Allen & Unwin, March)
  • Tom Keneally’s The Dickens boy (Vintage, April)
  • Book coverKirsten Krauth‘s Almost a mirror (TransitMarch)
  • Sofie Laguna‘s Big sky (working title) (Allen & Unwin, second half)
  • Bem Le Hunte’s Elephants with headlights (Transit, March)
  • S.L. Lim’s Revenge (Lounge, June)
  • Jamie Marina Lau‘s Gunk Baby (Brow BooksMay)
  • Donna Mazza’s Fauna (Allen & Unwin, February)
  • Kate Mildenhall’s The mother fault (Simon and Schuster, September)
  • Liam Pieper’s Sweetness and light (Hamish Hamilton, March)
  • Mirandi Riwoe‘s Stone sky gold mountain (UQP, April)
  • Craig Silvey‘s Honeybee (working title) (Allen & Unwin, second half)

I have been wondering what Grenville was working on, so am pleased to see another novel coming our from her. And, I’m very pleased to see Krauth and Riwoe producing new novels after their powerful debuts.

SMH also lists “new voices” (including new forms for old voices!):

  • Paul Dalgarno’s Poly (Ventura, August)
  • Anna Goldsworthy’s Melting moments (Black Inc, March) (old voice)
  • Erin Hortle’s The octopus and I (Allen & Unwin, April)
  • Tobias McCorkell’s Everything in its right place (Transit Lounge, July)
  • Laura Jean McKay’s The animals in that country (Scribe, April)
  • Andrew Pippos’ Lucky’s (Picador, second half)
  • Alice Pung‘s One hundred days (Black Inc., October) (old voice)
  • Ronnie Scott’s The adversary (Hamish Hamilton, April)
  • Pip Williams’ The dictionary of lost words (Affirm, April).

Short stories

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

  • Emma Ashmere‘s Dreams they forgot (Wakefield Press, April)
  • Laura Elvery’s Ordinary matter (UQP, second half)
  • Mark O’Flynn’s Dental tourism (Puncher & Wattmann, February, );
  • Elizabeth Tan’s Smart ovens for lonely people (Brio, June, Brio)

Book coverAnd some “new” short story voices:

  • Melissa Manning’s Smokehouse (UQP, second half the year)
  • Wayne Marshall’s Shirl (February, Affirm)
  • Sean O’Beirne’s A couple of things before the end (Black Inc., February)
  • Stephen Pham’s Vietnamatta (Brow Books, October)
  • Barry Lee Thompson’s Broken rules and other stories (Transit Lounge, August)


SMH provides a long list of new non-fiction books covering a huge range of topics, so my list is selective – but still, there’s a lot:

  • Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Growing up in the Age of Terror (NewSouth, July)
  • Elizabeth Becker’s Journaliste (Black Inc., September): on female journalists during the Vietnam War
  • Elise Bohan’s Future superhuman (NewSouth, October): on embracing the “transhuman”
  • Rutger Bregman’s Human kind (Oneworld, second half): on how altruism offers a new way to think
  • Bernard Collaery’s Oil under troubled water, March, MUP): the story of his being charged after exposing an Australian bugging operation in East Timor
  • Peter Cronau’s War on Terror (The Base, June): Australia’s role in the War on Terror
  • Robert Dessaix’s Time of our lives (Briosecond half): on ageing
  • Lindy Edwards’ Corporate power in Australia (Monash, February): on big business
  • Carly Findlay’s (ed) Growing up disabled in Australia (Black Inc, June): see my post on the Growing up series.
  • Fiona Foley’s Biting the clouds (UQP, September): 19th century Aboriginal “protection” and Indigenous opium addiction.
  • Rebecca Giggs’ Fathoms: the world in the whale: “the stories we tell about whales, what those stories signal about how we imagine our own species, and what whales reveal about the health of the planet” (from Scribe)
  • Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Women and leadership (Vintage, July): gender bias
  • Book coverSubhash Jaireth’s Spinoza’s overcoat: Travels with writers and poets (February, Transit): on writers and writing
  • Ketan Joshi’s Road to resolution (NewSouth, August): climate change
  • Royce Kurmelovs’ Just Money (UQP, second half): on our debt
  • Garry Linnell’s Badlands (Michael Joseph, September): the fall of the Australian bushranger
  • Sophie McNeill’s We can’t say we didn’t know (HarperCollins, March): stories from war-ravaged areas by a former ABC Middle-East Correspondent
  • Paddy Manning’s Body count (S&S, May): climate change
  • Rory Medcalf’s Contest for the Indo-Pacifc (March, La Trobe): on “regional tensions”
  • Patrick Mullins’ The trials of Portnoy: how Penguin broke through Australia’s censorship system: “the first account of the audacious publishing decision that — with the help of booksellers and readers around the country — forced the end of literary censorship in Australia” (quoted from Scribe)
  • Jonica Newby’s Climate grief (NewSouth, September): climate change
  • Aaron Smith’s The rock (Transit, November): Australia as perceived from its northerly outpost, Thursday Island
  • Victor Steffensen’s Fire country (Hardie Grant, March): looks at how Indigenous fire practices might help our country (from an Indigenous fire practitioner)
  • Gabbie Stroud’s Dear Parents (Allen & Unwin, February, A&U): by the author of the well-regarded Teacher
  • Malcolm Turnbull’s A Bigger Picture (Hardie GrantApril): from our latest ex-Prime Minister
  • Marian Wilkinson’s Carbon Club (Allen & Unwin, June): climate change

I note that a book that was flagged for coming out last year – and which I noticed didn’t appear – is now flagged for this year: journalist Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence (Fourth Estate, April).

It’s interesting, encouraging and not surprising to see quite a few books on climate change in the above list.

Biography and memoir (loosely defined)

  • Darleen Bungey’s Daddy Cool (Allen & Unwin, May): “memoir” of crooner Laurie Brooks, father of biographer Bungey and writer Geraldine Brooks. Can you write a memoir of someone not yourself? Or, is this a hybrid memoir-biography?
  • Gabrielle Carey‘s Only happiness here (UQP, second half): on Australian-born novelist Elizabeth von Arnim (whose work I love and for whom I have another biography already on my TBR)
  • Melissa Davey’s A fair trial (Scribe, second half of the year): on George Pell
  • David Duffy (Radio Girl, May, A&U): on the first Australian woman electrical engineer, Florence Violet McKenzie
  • Clementine Ford’s How we love (Allen & Unwin, second half): on her experience of love
  • Evelyn Juers’ The dancer (Giramondo, September): on Philippa Cullen
  • Mary Li’s Ballet, Li, Sophie and me (Viking, September): memoir by Australian ballerina, and wife of Li Cunxin
  • Alex Miller: a memoir untitled? (Allen & Unwin, second half): on his friend and mentor, Max Blatt
  • Cassandra Pybus’ Truganini (Allen & Unwin, March): on the titular Indigenous Tasmanian woman
  • Miranda Tapsell’s Top End girl (Hachette, May): memoir
  • Robert Wainwright: untitled (July, Allen & Unwin): on the great granddaughter of the Lindeman wines founder, Enid Lindeman
  • Donna Ward’s She I dare not name (Allen & Unwin, March): on being a spinster

Does anything here interest you?

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?

Monday musings on Australian literature: Some New Releases in 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?

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?

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. 

Monday musings on Australian literature: Coming in 2015

Although my readerly eyes are always too big for my readerly brain, I do like to know about coming attractions – book-wise – and assume you’re interested too. If you’re not, apologies, but I know I’ll find this post useful to refer to as the year progresses. As I did last year, I’m basing this post on an article in The Australian by literary editor, Stephen Romei, followed by a little research of my own.

Here, according to Romei, are some of the fiction (and poetry) treats we can expect:

  • Les Murray: Given I opened my recent Reading Highlights post with Murray, I like that Romei starts off with him too. Apparently, Black Inc will be publishing two books from Murray this year. The first, Waiting for the past, is apparently his first volume of new poems in five years. I think we heard some poems from this volume at the Poetry at the Gods event I attended last year. The second, Bunyah, is a collection of poems he has written about his home town. It apparently will have an introduction by Murray. And, Romei asks, “Might this be the year the Bard of Bunyah finally collects Australia’s second Nobel Prize in Literature. I wouldn’t mind having an early wager on him doing so”.
  • Steven Carroll: Forever young (Fourth Estate, June), the next in his Glenroy series. Carroll jointly won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction last year with Richard Flanagan.
  • Stephen Daisley: Coming rain (Text Publishing, May). I was just wondering the other day what had happened to Daisley who won the Prime Minister’s Literary Prize in 2010 with his novel Traitor. Well, now I know!
  • Marion Halligan: Goodbye sweetheart (Allen & Unwin, May). I’m a Halligan fan and reviewed her gorgeous Valley of grace early in this blog.
  • Krissy Kneen: The adventures of Holly Whit and the Incredible Sex Machine (Text Publishing, May). Text describes it as “an amazing literary sci-fi superhero sex romp from Australia’s genre-bending queen of erotica”! Sounds intriguing, eh? I reviewed her Steeplechase a couple of years ago.
  • Malcolm Knox: Wonder lover (Allen & Unwin, May), his fifth novel. He also has two non-fiction books coming out.  Knox is probably most famously known for exposing the Norma Khouri hoax in 2004.
  • Amanda Lohrey: A short history of Richard Kline (Black Inc, March). Lohrey is an acclaimed novelist and essayist, and can be relied upon to produce something thoughtful and, very likely, different.
  • Frank Moorhouse: The book of Ambrose (Random House, November), about the second (and cross-dressing) husband of Edith Campbell Berry, heroine of Moorhouse’s Edith trilogy. I’ve reviewed Cold light, the last of this trilogy.
  • Steve Toltz: Quicksand (Penguin Books, May). Toltz is another author I’ve been wondering about lately. I loved his “out there” A fraction of the whole, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize way back in 2008.

Romei’s article runs to 6 pages and includes Australian non-fiction, as well as fiction and non-fiction from overseas writers. I couldn’t possibly list them all, but I will note that some interesting sounding memoirs are coming out from Kate Grenville, Gerald Murnane, and Ramona Koval, among others. Caribbean-background author Maxine Beneba Clarke, whose Foreign soil was highly recommended in a comment on this blog by author Julie Twohig, has The hate race, a book about her experience of discrimination, coming out. It’s a real reader’s feast that awaits us.

While Romei mentions several debut novels in his article, I’d like to introduce two of my own gleaned from women I’ve come across via blogging and the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge:

  • Robyn Cadwallader: The anchoress (Fourth Estate, early 2015. It’s historical fiction set in the 13th century, about a woman who commits herself to a life of prayer, rather than marry a wealthy lord. Cadwallader is an expert in mediaeval literature.
  • Lizzy Chandler (pen-name of Elizabeth Lhuede, instigator and convener of the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge): Snowy River man (Escape Publishing, February 2015). This is in the romance genre, so not my preferred fare as Elizabeth knows, but in the spirit of the challenge’s commitment to diversifying our reading I’d like to give her a shout out here.

Finally, I wish good luck – because we all know that talent is only part of the equation in the “getting-published” game – to those out there working hard to get their first or next novel published.

Do any coming releases – either listed here or that you know about from elsewhere – appear on your must-read list for 2015?

(PS I’ll be getting back to reviewing soon!)