Showing all posts tagged: Australian literature

The 2022 Miles Franklin shortlist

23 June 2022

The 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist was unveiled this evening, with the following five novels making the cut:

Awesome to see Grimmish by Michael Winkler, on the list, now the first self-published novel to reach the Miles Franklin shortlist.

The winner will be named on Wednesday 20 July 2022.

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Megan Williams wins 2022 Text Prize for unpublished manuscripts

23 June 2022

Brisbane based former employment lawyer Megan Williams has been named winner of the 2022 Text Prize, with her debut unpublished novel manuscript Let’s Never Speak of this Again.

Having won the prize for young adult and children’s fiction though, Let’s Never Speak of this Again will not remain unpublished for too much longer.

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Grimmish Michael Winkler’s self-published Miles Franklin entry

22 June 2022
Grimmish by Michael Winkler, book cover

Grimmish by Michael Winkler — along with the other books on this year’s Miles Franklin longlist — has somewhat found itself in the shadows as a consequence of the plagiarism controversy surrounding John Hughes’ novel The Dogs, which has since been removed from the longlist.

This could have been unfortunate as the 2021 title by the Melbourne based Australian author has an historic claim to fame. Grimmish is the first ever self-published novel to be included on the longlist of the long running Australian literary prize.

Variously described as “exploded nonfiction“, and an “experimental historical novel“, Grimmish recounts the story of Italian American boxer Joe Grim, and his tour of Australia in 1908 and 1909. Grim who fought in over one-hundred-and-fifty bouts, only prevailed on twenty-four occasions. That didn’t prevent him from developing a reputation for his showmanship and extraordinary physical resilience, and earning the moniker of the “the human punching bag” in the process.

But Grim isn’t the only player in this story with tenacity. Like many authors, Winkler struggled to find a publisher interested in looking at his manuscript. But that was only the beginning. He was also subjected to numerous taunts and sneers, being told Grimmish, with its unconventional format, was “wearisome”, and “repellent.” Publishing houses, it seemed, did not want to take a punt on a book they felt certain would not sell.

At that point Winkler decided to self-publish. But self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted. In addition to writing a novel, an author is required to take on all the functions of a publishing house, editing, printing, marketing, and distribution, among them. An abundance of resolve and stamina — matching that, I dare say, of a champion boxer — is required.

The Miles Franklin shortlist will be announced tomorrow, Thursday 23 June 2022, and Grimmish has more than a few fans gunning for its inclusion. Rave reviews aside — the novel has garnered a respectable 4.25 out of five rating on Goodreads, Grimmish is almost deserving of a shortlist place purely on account of Winkler’s drive and determination in getting his book published.

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Brouhaha buys film rights for The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

22 June 2022

Here’s the book to screen adaptation we’ve been waiting for. The film rights for Sydney based Australian author Charlotte Wood’s highly acclaimed 2019 novel The Weekend, have been bought by Brouhaha Entertainment, a production company with offices in London and Sydney.

The 2019 book, published by Allen & Unwin, follows three friends for one last, life-changing long weekend, during a subtropical Sydney Christmas. As they declutter the beach home belonging to the fourth member of their quartet, who died the previous year, there is an escalating sense of tension as frustrations and secrets bubble to the surface.

And to the obvious question, who are they going to cast?

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Robert Lukins talks about his novel Loveland with Ben Hobson

20 June 2022

Melbourne based Australian author Robert Lukins discusses his latest novel Loveland, with Brisbane based writer and teacher Ben Hobson, on Tuesday 28 June 2022, from 7PM until 9PM.

Robert’s critically acclaimed debut novel, The Everlasting Sunday, was shortlisted for a number of awards including NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in two categories. His second novel, Loveland, was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin in March 2022. His work has appeared in Crikey, Overland, The Big Issue, Rolling Stone, Broadsheet, Time Off, Inpress, and other odd places.

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Kathy Lette: impale your enemies on the end of your pen

20 June 2022

Australian born London based author Kathy Lette co-wrote her first book, Puberty Blues, a proto-feminist, coming of age novel in 1979, with Gabrielle Carey.

The book sent shockwaves through Australian society at the time, with, among other things, gritty depictions of adolescent sex. Puberty Blues was adapted to film by Australian filmmaker Bruce Beresford in 1981, and later in 2012, made into a TV series.

Lette has authored twelve books since Puberty Blues, and in a recent piece for the Sydney Morning Herald, wrote about the joys of putting pen to paper:

So, wannabe authors, if you have a story to tell, pick up your pen and get scribbling. It’s worth it for the poetic justice alone: impaling enemies on the end of your pen is so satisfying. Best of all, most people only get to have the last word on their epitaph. But writers get to have the final say with every novel: The End.

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Upswell: the author publisher relationship is one of trust

18 June 2022

A statement from Terri-ann White of Upswell, publisher of Australian author John Hughes novel The Dogs, made in the wake of additional allegations of plagiarism by Guardian Australia:

I have published many writers who use collage and bricolage and other approaches to weaving in other voices and materials to their own work. All of them have acknowledged their sources within the book, usually in a listing of precisely where these borrowings come from. I should have pushed John Hughes harder on his lack of the standard mode of book acknowledgements where any credits to other writers (with permissions or otherwise), and the thanks to those nearest and dearest, are held. I regret that now, as you might expect.

I think the sympathy of most people lies with Upswell. As White points out, the relationship between writer and publisher is one of trust. A publisher cannot be expected to check every last sentence in a manuscript to ensure there are no duplications between it and another work. It is the author’s obligation to declare such borrowings, and is something just about all do.

On the other hand, it is also unrealistic to expect works to be completely devoid of references to other titles. For example, I could understand how a sentence — perhaps read in a book years ago — might linger in the mind of a writer to the point they come to think of it as theirs. And while I’m not sure many people would expect to see upwards of sixty instances of such borrowings in a single book, authors referencing each other’s work is, and always has been, intrinsic to writing.

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John Hughes accused of more instances of plagiarism

16 June 2022

Allegations of further instances of plagiarism have been levelled against Australian author John Hughes, following a Guardian Australia investigation which identified almost sixty similarities between Hughes’ 2021 novel The Dogs, and a 1985 book, The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich.

Although Hughes apologised, describing his use of the phrases and passages from Alexievich’s title as inadvertent, another probe has found The Dogs — which has since been withdrawn from the longlist of this year’s Miles Franklin literary award — apparently contains sentences drawn from other notable literary works, including The Great Gatsby and Anna Karenina.

It has since been revealed that The Dogs also contains passages which are similar to books including The Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina and All Quiet on the Western Front. Guardian Australia has cross-referenced all the similarities between Hughes’ work and those classic texts and found some cases in which whole sentences were identical or where just one word had changed.

Some people might have been prepared to give Hughes the benefit of the doubt after he apologised for using Alexievich’s work, given the explanation he offered seemed some what plausible. Unfortunately it is difficult to look passed these latest allegations. I’d been looking forward to reading The Dogs, as I do any title on the Miles Franklin longlist.

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The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner a memoir by Grace Tame

14 June 2022
The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner a memoir by Grace Tame, bookcover

The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner is a memoir by activist, advocate for survivors of sexual assault, and former Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, being published by Pan Macmillan Australia in September 2022.

From a young age, her life was defined by uncertainty – by trauma and strength, sadness and hope, terrible lows and wondrous highs. As a teenager she found the courage to speak up after experiencing awful and ongoing child sexual abuse. This fight to find her voice would not be her last. In 2021 Grace stepped squarely into the public eye as the Australian of the Year, and was the catalyst for a tidal wave of conversation and action. Australians from all walks of life were inspired and moved by her fire and passion. Here she was using her voice, and encouraging others to use theirs too.

Tame is also a talented artist, having illustrated the artwork for the cover of her book, “using a cheapo $1 ballpoint pen from Woolies,” and in the past has accepted commissions from John Cleese, and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode.

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Robert Lukins speaks with Corrie Perkin about Loveland

14 June 2022

Melbourne based Australian novelist Robert Lukins, speaks with Corrie Perkin on her Spotify podcast The Book Pod, about his recent book Loveland, a title, incidentally, I finished reading a few days ago.

When a man writes women in domestic noir and gets it so right he’s one to watch. Corrie chats to Melbourne writer Robert Lukins about his long and winding road to to getting Loveland published, and also how he managed to inhabit his, female characters with such clarity.

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2022 Australian Book Industry Awards Winners

10 June 2022

Love & Virtue by Diana Reid won Book of the Year, and Literary Fiction Book of the Year, in the 2022 Australian Book Industry Awards. In other categories, Before You Knew My Name, by Jacqueline Bublitz, won General Fiction Book of the Year, while the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year went to Amani Haydar for The Mother Wound.

Books + Publishing have posted a full list of ABIA 2022 winners across all award categories.

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QUEER: Stories from the NGV Collection

9 June 2022
QUEER: Stories from the NGV Collection, bookcover

QUEER: Stories from the NGV Collection, published by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), is not only a catalogue for the exhibition of the same name running until Sunday 21 August 2022 in Melbourne, but also a collection of LGBTQIA+ stories and histories, edited by Ted Gott, Angela Hesson, Myles Russell-Cook, Meg Slater, and Pip Wallis.

More than 60 essays from authors with comprehensive knowledge of the historical and contemporary subjects encompassed by the NGV’s QUEER project are presented along side stunning reproductions of more than 200 works from the NGV collection, either by queer artists or engaging with queer issues. The essays in QUEER: Stories from the NGV Collection explore the history of LGBTQ+ activism; the creation of queer spaces and communities; queerness as an artistic strategy; the expression of love, desire and sensuality; queer aesthetics; and the concepts of camp and the fantastic.

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2022 Text Prize shortlist for unpublished manuscripts

9 June 2022

Seven middle-grade and young adult writers have been named on the 2022 Text Prize shortlist for unpublished manuscripts.

  • Bellamy Jones and the Lost Treeheart, by Emily Beck
  • How to be Normal by, Ange Crawford
  • One Thing You Can Feel, by Robbie Taylor Hunt
  • Year of the Dog, by Kate McCabe
  • Finding Liminas: The Sudden Tree, by Bria McCarthy
  • The Collector of Gifts, by Jamie Ramjan
  • Let’s Never Speak of this Again, by Megan Williams

The winner of the 2022 Text Prize, along with the recipient of the Steph Bowe Mentorship for Young Writers, will be named in late June.

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2022 Australian Book Design Awards winners

7 June 2022

The winners in the 2022 Australian Book Design Awards (ABDA), which recognise outstanding book cover design, were announced on Friday 3 June 2022.

In Moonland (published by Scribe Publications, August 2021), by Melbourne based Australian author Miles Allinson won the Best Designed Literary Fiction Cover, while Catch Us the Foxes (published by Simon & Schuster, July 2021), by Sydney based Nicola West, took out the award for Best Designed Commercial Fiction Cover.

Cover designs in twenty categories were nominated, and all winners can be seen on the ABDA Instagram page.

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Winnie Dunn, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, speak with Roanna Gonsalves

6 June 2022

Roanna Gonsalves, creative writing lecturer and author, speaks to Winnie Dunn and Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad, at Waverley Library, in Bondi Junction, Sydney, on Saturday 11 June, from 11AM until 12PM.

Dunn is the general manager of the Sweatshop Literacy Movement, while Ahmad’s third novel The Other Half of You, was published last year. The speaking event is part of an initiative by Waverley municipal council to curb racism in the community.

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Zelensky, a book by Andrew L Urban, Chris McLeod

6 June 2022
Zelensky, by Andrew L. Urban, Chris McLeod, book cover

Zelensky (published by Wilkinson Publishing, April 2022), is a portrait of Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, written by Australian author and former film critic Andrew L. Urban, and journalist and author Chris McLeod, which examines Zelensky’s resilience in the face of the Russian invasion of his country.

No one has been more surprised by Zelensky’s power to inspire and mobilise his countrymen and the world than Vladimir Putin, who expected Russia’s conquest of its beleaguered neighbour to be the work of an afternoon. Outfoxed and isolated, Putin is not the first person to have underestimated the former comedian with a spine of steel.

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Literary speed dating results in potential publishing offers

2 June 2022

A recent Australian Society of Authors (ASA) literary speed dating event, whereby prospective authors pitched ideas to Australian publishers or literary agents, yielded an impressive success rate. Nearly forty-one percent of writers were “matched”, about one hundred and eighty from a field of four hundred and forty three, saw interest in their ideas.

Over two days the ASA hosted our largest event yet, with 16 publishers and 7 agents, facilitating 443 pitches from members across Australia. We are delighted to share that of these pitches, 40.41% received an expression of interest from a publisher or agent!

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A Kind of Magic a memoir by Anna Spargo-Ryan

31 May 2022
A Kind of Magic, by Anna Spargo-Ryan, bookcover

Speaking of Australian writer Anna Spargo-Ryan, her new book, a memoir this time, titled A Kind of Magic (published by Ultimo Press), which explores her mental health journey, arrives in bookshops in October 2022.

Anna’s always had too many feelings. Or not enough feelings – she’s never been quite sure. Debilitating panic. Extraordinary melancholy. Paranoia. Ambivalence. Fear. Despair. From anxious child to terrified parent, mental illness has been a constant. A harsh critic in the big moments – teenage pregnancy, divorce, a dream career, falling in love – and a companion in the small ones – getting to the supermarket, feeding all her cats, remembering which child is which. But between therapists’ rooms and emergency departments, there’s been a feeling even harder to explain … optimism.

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Small independent publishers dominate Miles Franklin longlist

31 May 2022

Six of the titles named on the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist were published by members of the Small Press Network, a Melbourne based organisation representing more than two hundred and fifty small and independent publishers across Australia, and include one self-published title.

In much the same way small businesses are a vital component of the Australian economy, so too are small and independent publishers to Australian literature.

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Still Alive by Safdar Ahmed wins NSW’s Book of the Year 2022

30 May 2022
Still Alive by Safdar Ahmed, bookcover

Sydney based Australian artist, writer, and refugee advocate Safdar Ahmed was named winner of the Book of the Year award in the 2022 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, for his graphic novel Still Alive (published by Twelve Panels Press, April 2021), which explores the experiences of asylum seekers in Australia’s Immigration detention system.

Those seeking asylum in Australia due to war, strife and violence in their home countries face extraordinary challenges both during their journey and upon arrival. Ahmed’s book focuses on people who arrive in Australia by boat. For these people, a long, perilous journey ends with the often equally perilous obstacles they face when dealing with Australia’s legal processes, with the privations of onshore and offshore detention centres, and with inadequate health and psychological support.

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