While a handful of Australian writers have developed a readership outside of the Great Southern Land, there is an “alternate universe” of writers waiting to be “discovered” by an international audience. I recommend all of these authors/books to you.
There’s something for virtually every taste.
For Australian history/culture, read the books here by Peter Carey, Kate Grenville, Tim Winton, Joan London, and Elizabeth Harrower.
For insight into Indigenous culture, read Tara June Winch, Chloe Hooper, Claire Coleman, and Kate Grenville.
For stories of contemporary Australian life and issues, read Kavita Bedford, Felicity Castagna, Alice Bishop, Josephine Rowe, Michelle de Kretser, and Felicity McLean.
For a distinctly dark Australian police procedural and character study, read Peter Temple.
For mind-bending speculative fiction, read Max Barry and Claire Coleman.
Rohan Wilson’s “To Name Those Lost” takes us to 19th century Tasmania for a “Wild West” outlaw story of a father in search of his young son.
Chris Womersley’s “City of Crows” tells the story of a young mother searching for her kidnapped son in 17th century Paris, aided by a recently released prisoner. His first novel, “Bereft,” is also excellent.
Note: While putting together the books for the accompanying photo, I inadvertently omitted books by Charlotte Wood (“The Natural Way of Things”) and Heather Rose (“The Museum of Modern Love”), both of which won the Stella Prize, awarded to the best work of fiction by an Australian woman. I also neglected to include anything from one of Australia’s greatest writers, Richard Flanagan. I recommend “The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” which won the Booker Prize in 2014. Of all the books to overlook, right? 😉
For poetry, the work of Les Murray is uniquely Australian and utterly brilliant. For essays, you can’t beat the work of Helen Garner.
Have you read any of these authors/books? What did you think? I’ll be interested to read your comments.