Australian Women Writers Challenge Round-Up

Untitled design-32013 was the first year in which I participated in the Australian Women Writers Challenge, the goal of which is to promote the reading and discussion of books written by Australian women writers. This is obviously a topic dear to my heart seeing as I am one! Besides that, however, I liked the idea of seeking out writers I might not otherwise come across or that I might have overlooked by participating in the challenge. So how did I do?

I signed up for the Franklin level challenge, which was to read 10 books by Australian women writers and to review at least 6. I’m pleased to say I rose to the challenge! I read and reviewed:

1. Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner – this was a re-read for me but I read it aloud to my daughters, for whom it was new.

2 & 3. Nine Days by Toni Jordan and Addition by Toni Jordan – Nine Days was my favourite of these.

4. Fractured by Dawn Barker – this was one of my Best Reads for 2013.

5. Pilgrimage by Jacinta Halloran – I was on a panel with Jacinta at the Perth Writers’ Festival and it was great to talk with her about the ideas behind this book.

6. The Women in Black by Madeleine St John – I loved this book; St John is one of the sharpest dialogue writers around.

7. How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman – I was lucky enough to meet Emma while she was living in Perth and we were able to join forces every month with 4 other Perth writers in our Writers Ask Writers blog series.

8. Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears – this was one of the most emotionally challenging but ultimately rewarding books I’ve read for a while.

9. Welcome to Your New Life by Anna Goldsworthy – this memoir is laugh out loud funny and a must read for all mothers.

10. The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman – I think I came to this book with expectations too high; I enjoyed it, but less than I expected to.

11. Elemental by Amanda Curtin – My favourite work of historical fiction for 2013.

12. In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl – A delightful discovery of an author I hadn’t heard of, was recommended to read, and enjoyed every minute of the book.

13. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – a book that truly makes you feel you are in Iceland, one-hundred and fifty years ago, watching a convicted murderess.

14. The Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell – an absolute page-turner, make sure you have a couple of spare days to read this.

15. Finding Jasper by Lynne Leonhardt – gorgeous prose, enthralling history and a dramatic twist.

awwbadge_2013I also read lots of kids books by Australian women writers to my children, which I haven’t reviewed or included in my list; perhaps this year I’ll try to do more reviewing of these to bring some more attention to them.

The best thing about the challenge was discovering authors whose other works I will now watch out for, having so enjoyed the books I read in 2013. I certainly read books I may not have otherwise prioritised, and I pulled books off my shelf that I had bought at second-hand book sales over the years and had never got around to reading, such as The Women in Black, which I loved. So it was definitely a worthwhile experience and one which I can recommend to all book-lovers. Hope to see you in the challenge in 2014!


  1. Anita Fredericks

    Gday Tash!

    Happy New Year – I hope all is good?

    I just saw your post and thought Id mention that I met Carla van Raay the other day – she is the author of Gods Callgirl. Wondered whether you had read it? Interesting lady.

    Anyway – will be in touch another time with something longer. Mean time – keep cool & smoke-free.

    Neets xx

  2. Once I plough through the 12 books I already have on my 2014 Must-Read list, I think a couple of these might get added. Falling Snow and Secret of the Tides have caught my attention upon your positive summary. I really enjoy your blogs…keep them coming!
    PS: The lady that won your books at the fundraiser night, was so excited to receive them. Ironically she was a avid fan of Australian female writers.

  3. Wow, Natasha, you did really well with the 2013 challenge, especially with the number reviewed! Thanks for including Elemental. 🙂

  4. And thanks for including Fractured too! You certainly did your bit for Australian Women Writers – well done!


  5. I loved Toni Jordan’s Nine Days. I have bought Burial Rites, but so far can’t get into it.

  6. I read (and loved) many of these last year and have now added several more to my (ever expanding!) list. 🙂

  7. Burial Rites was my favourite, loved Fractured and Light Between the Oceans. Don’t give up Kaili on Buriel Rites

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