Showing all posts tagged: Australian literature

The 2022 Miles Franklin longlist

24 May 2022

The 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist was announced this morning. An annual award, the Miles Franklin recognises outstanding works of Australian fiction.

Some familiar titles there, some new ones, either way time to update those to-be-read lists. The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 23 June 2022.

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2022 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) shortlist

23 May 2022

The 2022 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) shortlist has been announced. Sixty-five titles are vying for recognition in thirteen award categories, including audiobook, biography, fiction, non-fiction, children, and literary fiction.

Across these categories, together with The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, shortlisted titles — in no particular order — include:

The winners will be named at a ceremony on the evening of Thursday 9 June 2022, at the ICC Sydney.

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Red, a novel by Felicity McLean, the Ned Kelly story retold

23 May 2022
Red, by Felicity McLean, bookcover

A novel that is a contemporary re-telling of the story of nineteenth century Australian bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly? Ok, you have my attention. Such is the premise of Red (published by HarperCollins, 18 May 2022), the second novel by Sydney based Australian writer and journalist, Felicity McLean.

But McLean isn’t flippantly bandying about references to Ned Kelly merely to, you know, attract attention, she has partly based her protagonist Ruby “Red” McCoy, on the contents of Kelly’s 1879 Jerilderie letter.

It’s the early 1990s and Ruby ‘Red’ McCoy dreams about one day leaving her weatherboard house on the Central Coast of New South Wales, where her best friend, Stevie, is loose with the truth, and her dad, Sid, is always on the wrong side of the law. But wild, whip-smart Red can’t stay out of trouble to save her life, and Sid’s latest hustle is more harebrained than usual. Meanwhile, Sergeant Trevor Healy seems to have a vendetta against every generation of the McCoys.

So far only a few reviews of Red have been published, but Australian author John Purcell holds McLean’s writing in high regard:

But the novel’s greatest strength is the voice of narrator Red. I know it is loosely based on Ned Kelly’s voice from the famous [Jerilderie] letter, but it goes well beyond that. Red speaks to us as a fully formed living entity with her own ticks and wisdom. So much so that I started to believe McLean must have suffered from some kind of unholy possession throughout the writing of the book. Red’s narration overflows with colourful anecdotes, cheek and bravado. McLean’s use of language is ceaselessly inventive, coming up with the goods time and time again.

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A critique of Trent Dalton’s novels by Catriona Menzies-Pike

23 May 2022

An in-depth look at the writing of Brisbane based Australian author Trent Dalton, in particular his two bestsellers Boy Swallows Universe, and All Our Shimmering Skies, by Catriona Menzies-Pike, editor of the Sydney Review of Books.

If Dalton’s prose style skims the surfaces of his characters’ lives, so does his thinking about the moral and political world. Dalton infantilises his audience by feeding them palatable maxims about history, society and human flourishing. The themes are repeated again and again in case the rowdy kids up the back aren’t paying attention.

It’s a longer read, but well worth the time. It seems to me effectively critiquing a work of fiction — as is writing a good novel in the first place — is an art form in itself. Many of the book reviews I read — and, doubtless — write myself, essentially summarise the plot and include a few words as to the merit or otherwise of the title. There’s nothing wrong with that, when choosing what to read next I often quickly look for a consensus, before deciding what to do.

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Poor financial incentives deter emerging Australian writers

18 May 2022

“Artists in this country are used to living one paycheque away from poverty.” With those words, Evelyn Araluen, winner of this year’s Stella Prize, had everyone’s attention. The proceeds from the literary prize mean Araluen will be able to pay down some debt, and work two jobs instead of three.

But that’s not the reality for many other writers — even those who are published — in Australia, if working two jobs, while still focussing on their art, is meant to constitute reality.

Most writers are forced to take other work, because the rewards for writing all those books we like to read are virtually non-existent. It’s a state of affairs, warns Melbourne based literary agent and author Danielle Binks, that will force young and emerging authors to consider other lines of work all together:

“Kids are already hung up on how much money you can make and whether you can do this for a living … I tell them the reason I write – the reason we all engage in books, art, theatre, anything – is that art changes people and people change the world. But I’m convinced there’s a whole generation of artists, and writers in particular, who will not choose this path.”

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2022 Emerging Writers’ Festival

17 May 2022

The 2022 Emerging Writers’ Festival takes place in Melbourne from Wednesday 15 June through to Saturday 25 June 2022. The full program for the festival can be seen here. The festival also hosts the National Writers’ Conference, a one day event being held online on Saturday 18 June 2022:

As the centrepiece event of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the National Writers’ Conference is all about informing and inspiring writers of all genres and styles. Hear the best industry advice from our distinguished Ambassadors and dive into conversations about how to start a publication, the role of literary criticism, the art of the interview and more.

It’s not all about listening to others though, aspiring writers will also have the opportunity to spruik their work during the conference:

Plus, book a Pitch It! Session for a unique opportunity to pitch your manuscript to a publisher or editor. You have just 5 minutes so keep it brief and don’t forget to leave room for questions! These publishers, editors and literary agents are here to support emerging writers, so give it a go.

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This All Come Back Now, edited by Mykaela Saunders

16 May 2022
This All Come Back Now, edited by Mykaela Saunders bookcover

This All Come Back Now, edited by Australian writer and teacher Mykaela Saunders, and published by University of Queensland Press, is the first ever collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speculative fiction.

The first-ever anthology of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speculative fiction — written, curated, edited and designed by blackfellas, for blackfellas and about blackfellas. In these stories, ‘this all come back’: all those things that have been taken from us, that we collectively mourn the loss of, or attempt to recover and revive, as well as those that we thought we’d gotten rid of, that are always returning to haunt and hound us.

Speculative fiction anthologies featuring the work of Indigenous writers, wherever they may be, seem to be a new thing. Walking the Clouds, compiled by American academic and writer Grace L. Dillon, who incidentally coined the term Indigenous Futurisms, was published in 2012.

Said then to be the “first-ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction”, Walking the Clouds includes short titles by Indigenous authors living in New Zealand, Canada, America, Hawaii, along with an excerpt from Australian author Archie Weller’s 1999 novel Land of the Golden Clouds.

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Julia Gillard talks to Stella winners Evelyn Araluen and Evie Wyld

13 May 2022

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard talks to the 2022 Stella Prize winner Evelyn Araluen, in her podcast A Podcast of One’s Own. Also joining the discussion is Evie Wyld, winner of the 2021 Stella, and Jaclyn Booton, executive director of the Stella Prize.

To celebrate the 2022 prize, Julia sits down with Evelyn Araluen, this year’s prize winner, to discuss her award-winning debut book, Drop Bear, which weaves together past and present, her personal history and the story of indigenous Australia through powerful lyrical verse. Evelyn shares her writing experience, her journey into poetry and what it’s been like being recognised by the prize.

Julia also speaks with Jaclyn Booton, the Executive Director of the Stella Prize, about how it was established and why it is so important to spotlight Australian women’s writing. Evie Wyld also joins this bumper episode to share her experience as the 2021 prize winner and talk about her critically acclaimed novel, The Bass Rock.

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Melbourne Jewish Book Week 2022

13 May 2022

After being held online the last of couple of years on account of the pandemic, Melbourne Jewish Book Week returns as in person event from Saturday 28 May until Tuesday 31 May 2022.

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Evelyn Araluen in conversation with Jeanine Leane

10 May 2022

Some late news to hand… Australian poet Evelyn Araluen, winner of the 2022 Stella Prize, will speak with Wiradjuri writer Jeanine Leane, at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, this Thursday evening, 12 May 2022.

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Kevin Rudd discusses The Avoidable War with Ben Doherty

9 May 2022
 The Avoidable War, by Kevin Rudd, book cover

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd will be discussing his book The Avoidable War (published by Hachette Australia, March 2022) with Ben Doherty, the Sydney based international affairs reporter for The Guardian, at Gleebooks, on the evening of Thursday 12 May.

The relationship between the US and China, the world’s two superpowers, is peculiarly volatile. It rests on a seismic fault of cultural misunderstanding, historical grievance, and ideological incompatibility. No other nations are so quick to offend and be offended. Their militaries play a dangerous game of chicken, corporations steal intellectual property, intelligence satellites peer and AI technicians plot. The capacity for either country to cross a fatal line grows daily.

The 2022 Australian federal election campaign in full swing, and China’s rise, and the potential for conflict with the United States, are matters that have been in the spotlight. And while Australians may not be Rudd’s target readership, Daniel Flitton, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, suggests The Avoidable War is essential reading for us nonetheless:

Rudd hasn’t written this book for Australians and that is exactly why Australians should read it. This is not a political screed or point-scoring exercise in domestic battles. Sure, there are familiar Ruddisms expressed. The word “core” gets a particular workout to explain interests or principles. But the book amounts to a thoughtful and well-structured examination of the dynamics between the world’s greatest power and its greatest challenger, the consequences of which Australians cannot escape, but can seek to shape.

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Simone Amelia Jordan on writing your first book

4 May 2022

Sydney based journalist and writer Simone Amelia Jordan, winner of the 2021 Richell Prize for emerging authors, on overcoming your sense of imposter syndrome, and getting on with writing your first book.

…it’s an absolute life goal for writers and non-writers alike, to get these stories out of us and into the world. I’m a journalist by trade, so writing creative non-fiction has been a challenge. But I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone to learn and be the best I can be.

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2022 Best Young Australian Novelists awards

2 May 2022

Ella Baxter, Michael Burrows, and Diana Reid, have been named winners of the Sydney Morning Herald’s 2022 Best Young Australian Novelists awards.

Judges Thuy On, Gretchen Shirm and SMH Spectrum editor Melanie Kembrey said the three novels ‘stood out from the many entrants for their strong narrative voices, memorable characters and sharp writing — they’ll make you laugh, cry and keep thinking long after you’ve turned the final page’.

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The 2022 Brisbane Writers Festival

2 May 2022

The 2022 Brisbane Writers Festival opens tomorrow, Tuesday 3 May 2022, and concludes on Sunday 8 May. This is the festival’s sixtieth event, and if the program is anything to go by, it looks like there is something for everyone.

In this special year of the sixtieth celebration of the Brisbane Writers Festival, we bring a world of beautiful, wise, strong and urgent voices from across the Pacific Ocean and from around the world to Meanjin/Brisbane.

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Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen wins the 2022 Stella Prize

28 April 2022
Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen, bookcover

Dropbear, the debut collection of poetry by Melbourne based Australian writer Evelyn Araluen, has been named winner of the 2022 Stella Prize.

Melissa Lucashenko, chair of the 2022 Stella Prize judges, says Dropbearannounces the arrival of a stunning new talent to Australian literature.

“When you read Evelyn Araluen’s Dropbear you’ll be taken on a wild ride. Like the namesake of its title, this collection is simultaneously comical and dangerous. If you live here and don’t acquire the necessary local knowledge, the drop bear might definitely getcha! But for those initiated in its mysteries, the drop bear is a playful beast, a prank, a riddle, a challenge and a game. Dropbear is remarkably assured for a debut poetry collection, and I think we can safely say it announces the arrival of a stunning new talent to Australian literature. Congratulations, Evelyn.”

At twenty-nine, Araluen is the youngest recipient of the literary prize that celebrates the writing of Australian women, and says she may never have become a poet had she not studied her great-grandfather’s language:

Araluen, a descendant of the Bundjalung Nation born in Dharug Country and now based in Naarm/Melbourne, began writing poetry while she was studying her great-grandfather’s language at TAFE, becoming attuned to poetic techniques like fragmentation and different sentence structures. “I honestly don’t think I would have become a poet if I hadn’t started learning that language,” she told ABC Arts in 2021.

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2022 ABA Booksellers Choice Awards shortlist

28 April 2022

Eighteen titles across three categories, adult fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books, have been named on the 2022 ABA Booksellers Choice Awards shortlist. After Story by Larissa Behrendt, Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy, and Love & Virtue by Diana Reid, are among contenders for the fiction prize. Winners will be announced on Sunday 12 June 2022.

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The 2022 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers

26 April 2022

Entries are open until Friday 8 July for the 2022 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers. Writers, who are unpublished, need only submit the first three chapters of their manuscript at this stage, though they must intend to complete it.

This is the eighth year of the prestigious Richell Prize and once again entries are open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction. Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission, though they must intend to complete one. The Prize will be judged on the first three chapters of the submitted work, along with a synopsis outlining the direction of the proposed work and detail about how the author’s writing career would benefit from winning the Prize.

The Richell Prize was established in 2015 in memory of Matt Richell, the former CEO of the Australian operation of Hachette Publishing, who died in 2014. The longlist for the prize will be published on Monday 5 September 2022.

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2022 Newcastle Short Story Award

21 April 2022

Last call for entries for the 2022 Newcastle Short Story Award, which close this Monday, 25 April. Works of no more than two thousand words by Australian citizens or permanent residents aged eighteen or over, are eligible for inclusion.

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Sisters in Crime celebrate thirty years in Australia

20 April 2022

The Australian chapter of Sisters in Crime — an international networking association for women who write crime and mystery novels — celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in Melbourne, on Saturday 23 April 2022. When the group first formed in the inner Melbourne suburb of St Kilda, only five crime titles written by Australian women were published in 1991.

The Davitt Awards — established by the Melbourne chapter in 2001, which recognises the work of Australian women crime writers — is perhaps the best gauge of how much has changed in three decades. One hundred and sixty titles have been nominated for the 2022 prize, sixty of which are debut works.

The Davitts were named after English born Australian author Ellen Davitt, who wrote Force and Fraud: A Tale of the Bush in 1865, believed to be the first crime title published by an Australian woman. Winners of the Davitts will be announced later this year, in August or September.

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Nicholas Wasiliev speaks to Stella Prize shortlist writers

19 April 2022

Sydney based author and podcaster Nicholas Wasiliev, and host of Booktopia’s podcast, Tell Me What To Read, speaks to Evelyn Araluen, Lee Lai, Eunice Andrada, Jennifer Down, and Anwen Crawford, who are five of the six authors to have work shortlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize.

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