Showing all posts tagged: literature

Male authors name their favourite woman writers

1 June 2022

Men don’t seem to read too many books written by women. Why this should be, who knows. But if I were to take a guess at it, I’d say men are more likely to be given recommendations for books authored by men, from their male friends. Then there’s also the point that it may not occur to men to read titles written by women in the first place, which is unfortunate.

Some of my recent reads include novels by Sally Rooney, Sophie Hardcastle, Susanna Clarke, Jane Caro, Holly Wainwright, Katherine Brabon, and Madeleine Watts.

British author and journalist Mary Ann Sieghart, writing for The Guardian, notes “studies show men avoid female authors,” while “women read roughly 50:50 books by male and female authors; for men the ratio is 80:20.”

To redress the imbalance, Sieghart spoke to male writers including Ian McEwan (who I’ve read), Salman Rushdie, Richard Curtis, and Lee Child among others, asking them to name their favourite women authors. There’s some solid reading ideas here.

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the html review, for literature made to exist on the web

27 April 2022

the html review is home to literature made to exist on the web, and is edited by New York City based author and technologist, Maxwell Neely-Cohen.

Every year we will publish works of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, graphic storytelling, and experiments that rely on the web as medium. the html review was started out of a yearning for more outlets comfortable with pieces built for our screens, writing that leverages our computational networked tools, both new and old, for the art of language, narrative, and exploration.

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#IndieApril and ways to support writers everywhere

7 April 2022

While there may not be a whole lot of Australian government support for authors in this part of the world, as book readers there are things we can do. Jake Uniacke posted a few #IndieApril suggestions on Twitter, but these are ideas that can be acted upon at anytime of the year.

  • Review their work. Goodreads, Amazon, and Google are good places to start.
  • Share their work. Spread the word on your social media channels, Twitter, Facebook, Booktok, and Bookstagram.
  • Buy their books. Through the author’s website if possible, or an indie bookshop, any bookshop really.
  • Interact with their content. Instagram stories, Twitter polls, and Q&A sessions, are a few suggestions.

Joe Walters, writing for Independent Book Review, also offers a number of suggestions.

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Where the Crawdads Sing tops Dymocks Top 101 books 2022 poll

5 April 2022

Where the Crawdads Sing, by American novelist Delia Owens, has emerged as the winner of the Dymocks Top 101 books 2022 poll. A film adaptation, directed by Olivia Newman, will show in Australian cinemas from Thursday 14 July 2022, by the looks of things.

Also among the top ten titles voted for in the Australian bookshop’s poll, are The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, and The Happiest Man on Earth, by Eddie Jaku.

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Unforgettable descriptions of food in literature

4 April 2022

Some meal time reading for sure… twelve of the most unforgettable descriptions of food in literature, curated by Adrienne LaFrance, executive editor of The Atlantic. The writing of Haruki Murakami, Nora Ephron, Marcel Proust, and late American writer and illustrator Louise Fitzhugh, among others, is featured.

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The Barbara Jefferis Award 2022

30 March 2022

Entries are open for the biennial Barbara Jefferis Award, to commemorate the life of the late Australian author, who died in 2004. The literary prize was established in 2007 through a bequest from Jefferis’ husband John Hinde, an Australian broadcaster and film critic, who died in 2006.

The Barbara Jefferis Award is offered biennially for “the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society”.

With a prize A$50,000 for the winner, and a further A$5,000 shared among those named on the shortlist, the award is one of the richest in Australian literature. Entries close on Monday 9 May 2022, with the shortlist scheduled to be announced in August.

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Lauren Hough on novel plots free of conflict

24 March 2022

Writing in response to being removed from the nominations for this year’s Lambda Literary Awards, for her collection of essays, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing, Berlin based author Lauren Hough highlights something I’ve been noticing a little recently: bizarrely, a dislike of conflicts in novel plots.

My book won’t win a prize because my friend Sandra Newman wrote a book. The premise of her book is “what if all the men disappeared.” When she announced the book on twitter, YA twitter saw it. This is the single most terrifying thing that can happen to a writer on twitter. YA twitter, presumably fans of young adult fiction, are somehow unfamiliar with the concept of fiction. YA twitter doesn’t do nuance. They don’t understand metaphor or thought experiment. They expect fictional characters to be good and moral and just, whether antagonist or protagonist. They expect characters and plot to be free of conflict. They require fiction to portray a world without racism, bigotry, and bullies. And when YA twitter gets wind of a book that doesn’t meet their demands, they respond with a beatdown so unrelenting and vicious it would shock William Golding. They call it “call-out culture” because bullying is wrong, unless your target is someone you don’t like, for social justice reasons, of course.

The problem of plots free of conflict isn’t restricted to “YA Twitter” though. Scanning through a range of book reviews on aggregator websites reveals a similar pattern. Readers will fault a novel if they find a character “unlikable”. Never mind said character’s unpleasantness is a crucial plot device, creating a challenge of some sort for a protagonist to overcome.

Others have stopped reading a book after learning a character is, say, engaged in an extra-marital affair. Sure, it’s behaviour not to be condoned, but it still happens, every day, all over the world, no doubt since people first walked the planet. Refusing to read a book where such an activity is occurring is surely akin to burying one’s head in the sand.

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The Tolkien Estate, a repository of J. R. R. Tolkien’s work

23 March 2022

The Tolkien Estate looks to be the ultimate resource of the work and life of British author, poet, and academic J. R. R. Tolkien, writer of The Lord of the Rings, and other works. It’s incredible to think — given the depth and scope of his writing output — that Tolkien worked mainly as a teacher at Oxford University, instead of a full time author.

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2022 Indie Book Awards winners

22 March 2022

Love Stories by Trent Dalton, and Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy, are among the 2022 Indie Book Awards winners that were announced yesterday, Monday 21 March.

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2022 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) longlist

22 March 2022

The 2022 Australian Book Industry Awards longlist (ABIAs) was announced this afternoon.

It’s a big field, with close to one hundred contenders spread across twelve categories including New Writer of the Year, Small Publishers’ Children’s Book, International Book, General Non-fiction Book, and my personal favourite: Literary Fiction Book of the Year.

The Australian Book Industry Awards, or ABIAs, which were established in 2006, recognises the work “of authors and publishers in bringing Australian books to readers.” The shortlist will be released on Monday 23 May, with the winners being named at a ceremony on Thursday 9 June 2022 in Sydney.

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2022 Australian Book Design Awards longlist

18 March 2022

Especially for those who enjoy judging books by their covers, the 2022 Australian Book Design Awards longlist has been announced. There are over one hundred and sixty titles vying for recognition across twenty categories, plus the Deb Brash Emerging Designer of the Year award.

Fiction titles are essentially separated into four groups, children’s, young adult, commercial, and literary. The Other Side of Beautiful, by South Australian author Kim Lock, The Younger Wife, by Melbourne novelist Sally Hepworth, are among candidates in the commercial fiction category, while In Moonland, by Miles Allinson, is one of the nominations in the literary fiction segment.

Over four-hundred-and-ninety titles were considered in this year’s award, before the longlist was unveiled. The shortlist will be made public in early April, with the winners in each category being named on Friday 3 June 2022, in Melbourne.

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The 2022 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize

16 March 2022

Entries are open in the 2022 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. Works of fiction, written in English, consisting of two thousand to five thousand words, are eligible, with a prize money pool totalling A$12,000 on offer. Entries close on Monday 2 May 2022. While an Australian based prize, submissions will be accepted from anyone regardless of their location.

Established in 2010, the prize was renamed the following year in honour of late British born Australian writer Elizabeth Jolley. Although she had been writing for decades, Jolley’s first book was not published until she was fifty-three. She also taught writing at what is now Curtin University, in Perth, Western Australia, and renowned Australian author Tim Winton was among her students.

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2022 International Booker Prize longlist

11 March 2022

Thirteen titles have been named on the 2022 International Booker Prize longlist. Awarded in its present format since 2016, the International Booker celebrates works translated into English, with the £50,000 prize split equally between the author and translator.

Among the titles translated from eleven languages into English, is Tomb of Sand, by New Delhi based Indian author Geetanjali Shree, and translated by American writer and painter Daisy Rockwell. Shree’s work is the first book written in Hindi to be included on the International Booker Prize longlist.

Just about all of these titles are new to me — the books I read, when time permits, tend to be contemporary Australian, but not always — so it’s good to see something new and not so familiar, that I can add to my to-be-read list.

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Naomi Parry Duncan wins Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship 2022

2 March 2022

Blue Mountains based Australian historian and writer Naomi Parry Duncan has been named winner of the 2022 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship.

The fellowship, which is awarded to Australian biography writers, commemorates late British born Australian writer and biographer Hazel Rowley, who died in 2011.

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The struggle to read classic books, but why bother?

8 February 2022

Alison Flood, writing for The Guardian in 2016, on the topic of classic books because there is some sort of obligation to do:

This week, YouGov tells us that only 4% of Brits have read War and Peace, although 14% wish they had; 3% have read Les Misérables, although 10% want to; and 7% have read Moby-Dick, with 8% aiming to.

Aside from my school days, when reading some of the classics was requisite, I’ve made little effort to pick any up since. That’s probably not the sort of thing I should write on website dedicated to books, but there you are. I did try though. Moby-Dick. The Great Gatsby. Pride and Prejudice. The Grapes of Wrath. Vanity Fair. East of Eden. War and Peace. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Much to my (sort of) shame, they were all DNFs, each and every one. All are great books I’m certain, and all contributed to making contemporary literature what it is, but they were titles I could not get into. But I didn’t start reading them because I felt an obligation to, I read them because they were hailed as highly revered works of literature. But most did little for me, and so be it.

Life is too short to read books you don’t want to, no matter how acclaimed they are. But maybe it’s me. I also have difficulty listening to a lot of music — some of which is considered classic — that was recorded prior to the turn of the century. Besides, it not like there is a shortage of contemporary works to read, there’s several lifetimes worth. If the classics aren’t for you, it’s simple, don’t waste time on them.

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Veronica Gorrie wins 2022 Victorian Prize for Literature

4 February 2022

Veronica Gorrie has been named winner of the 2022 Victorian Prize for Literature, for her 2021 book Black and Blue: A Memoir of Racism and Resilience, a memoir which recounts her childhood, and service as an Aboriginal officer with the police force in both her home state of Victoria, and Queensland.

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Book reading suggestions for February 2022

4 February 2022

Ten books to read in February, put together by Jason Steger, books editor at the Sydney Morning Herald. A nice mix of Australian and international titles, fiction and non-fiction, including The Furies by Mandy Beaumont, What I Wish People Knew About Dementia, by Wendy Mitchell, and Found, Wanting, by Natasha Sholl.

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Words in Progress March 2022, hosted by Declan Fry

2 February 2022

Australian writer and poet Declan Fry hosts a panel discussion with Tara June Winch, Charmaine Papertalk Green, Claire G. Coleman, about their writing processes, on Sunday 20 March 2022, from 4:15PM until 5:15PM.

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ASA pre-budget submission hopes to boost investment in Australian literature

2 February 2022

It’s incredible to believe that Federal Government investment in Australian literature has declined by forty percent in the last ten years. It is something the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) hopes to redress in a pre-budget submission to the Australian Treasury. Direct grants to authors, and an increase in public lending rights scheme, are two key areas of interest to the ASA:

  • Direct authors’ grants: the development of a Commonwealth Fellowships and Grants program which includes a focus on First Nations storytelling, designed to fuel the talent pipeline and build the creative economy of the future.
  • A 20% increase to the Federal Government’s Lending Rights Budget to fund the expansion of the public lending rights (PLR) and educational lending rights (ELR) schemes to include digital formats (ebooks and audiobooks), which would modernise the schemes and reflect the reality of library holdings.

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Copyright Agency-UTS New Writer’s Fellowship 2022

31 January 2022

Applications are open for the 2022 Copyright Agency-UTS New Writer’s Fellowship, an initiative co-hosted by the Copyright Agency, and the University of Technology, which aims to assist Australian writers working on their (sometimes difficult) second or third novel. The fellowship helps cover a writer’s living costs for a year, allowing them to focus on their manuscript.

Australian writers are now invited to apply for this residency for 2022. It is well known that completing a second or third book is often difficult. This unique opportunity provides a writer with the financial security to complete a new work, to take creative risks, and to connect with Australia’s leading creative writing program.

Previous recipients include Bri Lee, Fiona Wright, and Christopher Raja. Applications close on Monday 21 February 2022.

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