I completed the Australian Women Writers Challenge for the first time in 2017. I nominated 10 books by Aussie women writers that I planned to read at the start of the year. By the end of the year I’d read 7.5 books from the list (I’m halfway through Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke at the moment) plus a few others.
I didn’t love them all. I didn’t review them all. But I did find some really fabulous books – 10 in total – though not all the same as the list I started out with! Check out my reviews here:
Australian Women Writers Challenge 2018
- Find out more about the background of the challenge on the AWWC website.
Anyone can join, you don’t have to have your own website. We all have Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, so get reading and share your reviews on social media and/or over at Goodreads.
- Find out more about signing up for #AWW2018.
10 books by Australian women writers I plan to read in 2018
Need a starting point? Feel free to follow along with my reading list throughout the year. Based on recommendations from friends, and reviewers around the web (including Booktopia’s definitive 2017 list), these are the 10 books by Aussie women writers I plan to read in 2018.
1. The Life to Come, by Michelle Kretser
I’ve just started reading The Life to Come and I’m loving it already. It made several ‘best of 2017’ lists and is written by Miles Franklin Award-winning author, Michelle de Kretser. Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka it’s been described as ‘profoundly moving as well as bitingly funny’, which is exactly how I like novels to be.
2. The Choke, by Sofie Laguna
Written by another Miles Franklin Literary Award winner, The Choke is another one which I’ve seen pop up again and again in the ‘best of’ lists. The story is about a girl named Justine, raised by her grandfather who has been traumatised by the Burma Railway. She seeks refuge from her difficult (and sometimes very dangerous) childhood at ‘The Choke’ – a section of the Murray River where the banks are so close they almost touch.
3. Force of Nature, by Jane Harper
I bought Force of Nature for a friend’s birthday back in October. I genuinely thought she would like it but it’s the perfect example of buying something for someone else because secretly you want it for yourself!
A crime mystery set in the Australian bush, I think this sentence from the blurb sums it up well: ‘Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.’
4. The Paris Seamstress, by Natasha Lester
I’m a huge fan of Natasha Lester’s historical fiction, having already devoured A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald and Her Mother’s Secret.
The Paris Seamstress starts in Paris, with Estella Bissette – the Parisian seamstress of the title – fleeing the Germans and making her way to Manhattan with just a few francs to her name. Unlike Natasha Lester’s previous historical fiction novels, we’re going to be treated to a split focus – we’re also going to follow Fabienne Bissette in 2015 as she journeys from Australia to The Met to curate her grandmother’s fashion legacy. Of course, there are secrets to uncover and heartbreak to endure along the way.
5. Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illuminae is the first book in The Illuminae Files series. The second book, Gemina, won the 2016 Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction book. Described as “Battlestar Galactica meets 10 Things I Hate About You”, I am very much looking forward to reading this one.
6. Beauty in Thorns, by Kate Forsyth
I read my first Kate Forsyth novel – Bitter Greens – while I was in France in July 2017. I am utterly hooked and can’t wait to read more of her books.
Beauty in Thorns is described as ‘a spellbinding reimagining of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ set amongst the wild bohemian circle of Pre-Raphaelite artists and poets.’ Sounds amazing.
7. The Lace Weaver, by Lauren Chater
The Lace Weaver is set in 1941, Estonia. As Stalin’s brutal Red Army crushes everything in its path, Katarina and her family survive only because their precious farm produce is needed to feed the occupying forces.
Fiercely partisan, Katarina battles to protect her grandmother’s precious legacy – the weaving of gossamer lace shawls stitched with intricate patterns that tell the stories passed down through generations.
8. The Book of Whispers, by Kimberley Starr
The Book of Whispers is set in Tuscany, 1096 AD. Young aristocrat Luca can see demons invisible to others, but must hide the fact. A powerful book seems to hold the key to their mystery, but he can’t decipher it. In Cappadocia, during a Crusade, Luca encounters Suzan, a girl who can read the book’s cryptic language. Together, Luca and Suzan realize their true quest.
9. From the Wreck, by Jane Rawson
From the Wreck ‘tells the remarkable story of George Hills, who survived the sinking of the steamship Admella off the South Australian coast in 1859. Haunted by his memories and the disappearance of a fellow survivor, George’s fractured life is intertwined with that of a woman from another dimension, seeking refuge on Earth. This is a novel imbued with beauty and feeling, filled both with existential loneliness and a deep awareness that all life is interdependent.’
10. Watershed, by Jane Abbott
Watershed was a finalist in the 2016 Aurealis Awards. The debut novel from Jane Abbott, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world – ‘Devoid of rain, the earth has shrunk to dust and salt, hemmed by a swollen sea. Survivors gather to re-establish order but it’s nothing like before. It is Jeremiah’s world.’
Bonus book! – The Sisters’ Song, by Louise Allan
I’ve already started off the year reviewing Louise Allan’s fabulous historical women’s fiction debut, The Sisters’ Song, which I highly recommend. I won’t add it to this list as it feels a bit like cheating!
Disclosure: I’ve received copies of The Lace Weaver and The Book of Whispers from the publishers for the purpose of review. This post contains affiliate links.