Tag Archives: australian women writers

Award-winning Australian Women (SF, Horror and Fantasy Books) 2012

I can’t believe it’s more than a year since I wrote this post as a resource for the Australian Women Writers Challenge – award-winning books by Australian Women writers, editors etc. for people looking to diversify their reading. Awards are only one way to find a great book, but you know that at least a few people have considered them the best of the year, which is a good start!

The list is a bit clunky and not nearly as comprehensive as I originally planned it to be – it was written in a haze of wild-eyed internet searches. I will update the list with 2012 winners shortly.

So what happened award-wise for Australian women writers of speculative fiction in 2012? It’s certainly looking pretty healthy right now!


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My AWW Reading Challenge in 2012

Will you be doing the Australian Women Writers Challenge in 2013? I certainly will! I’ve enjoyed the community aspect of the challenge, and the focus on Australian women writers – while I tend to read a majority of women writers anyway, I do have a tendency to stay within certain genre comfort zones, and often to neglect Australian writers over international ones, unless they are very close friends. And while my list for this year’s reading definitely involved a bunch of books by my friends (did I mention how many talented friends I have? A WHOLE BUNCH) I also tried to challenge myself by trying new authors, reading some books that have languished on my To Read Shelf for too long, and in the case of Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens, NOT neglect a certain title that I know is going to be wonderful just because it’s the size of three regular books.

I met my own challenge parameters back in June (the Franklin – 10 books, review at least 6) but have continued to add to the list and was delighted today to count up and realise that I hit 25. Sounds impressive, though considering I read 175 books this year (including graphic novels & audio books), it’s still only a small proportion.

DEFINITELY coming back for more next year, at the same level. We have some great female writers in Australia and they really do miss out on the recognition that is due to them, in general book media.

“Four times as many living Australian male writers than female writers appear on First Tuesday Book Club’s list of Top 50 Aussie reads.”

On a personal note, I really think that the AWW has helped me as a writer, too – I noticed far more reviews going around of the Creature Court trilogy and Love and Romanpunk in 2012 than in previous years, and I think the Challenge has a lot to do with that.

What will you be reading next year? How will you be reading next year? What great books by Australian women can we look forward to next year?

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Australian Women Writers Challenge: Walking Shadows by Narrelle M Harris

Just to make it all about me for a minute – this is exciting! I just added up some recent reads to discover that I have made my target of 10 books by Australian women read this year, mostly without even trying too hard. I’m going to keep going for the rest of 2012 because, well, it’s an awesome thing to do, plus I’ve already read one and a half MORE and it would feel sad to leave them out.

Walking Shadows by Narrelle M Harris is one of the bundle of books I acquired at Continuum last week and have been reading through in an attempt to actually read books when they arrive in my hot little hands, instead of hoarding them for three years. I was excited about this book being published because I’m very fond of Narrelle, and I know it’s been a long hard road for her with this book in particular. Very happy on a personal level that she’s now with a new publisher, ClanDestine, who are treating her books with respect.

And then I went to her book launch on the first night of the con, and it was quite a con for book launches! She had a smallish panel room but it was packed out, standing room only. Jason Nahrung gave a lovely speech, and Narrelle read a hilarious, horrible piece from her book that had her audience squirming and chuckling, sometimes at the same time. So basically I was primed to come home and read this book super fast, which I did.

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Friday Links Can’t Do It Alone

I empathised deeply with this post about the solitary existence of writers and the way we need our people around us to keep us sane, and professional.

As part of the ongoing excellent advocacy work coming out of the #AWW challenge, here’s a list of Australian women writers of Asian heritage to help you include some diversity in your choices.

The Australian government is running an online survey about our opinions on gay marriage. So far the interim response is pretty depressing (running at only a bit over 30% saying YES GAY MARRIAGE) but it’s not based on very many people’s opinions. So if you’re Australian, go, take five minutes and register your own thoughts on the issue.

Alisa Krasnostein, Cheryl Morgan, Lynne M Thomas and many other smart people share their opinions on awards in the latest SF Mind Meld.

One of my favourite Tor.com posts this week – Redskirts looks at some of the portrayals of women among the traditional ‘redshirt’ junior-Starfleet-person-of-the-week tradition in the original Star Trek.

The new Doctor Who companion has been announced and we still know very little about her – Ritch Ludlow asks some questions about fan response to Amy Pond and considers what kind of standards might be applied to this new character.

Oooh, another great one from Tor.com! Comic artist Faith Erin Hicks whose work I really enjoyed on ‘Friends With Boys’ has drawn a personal response to The Hunger Games as a popular story, drawing upon her family experience (as the daughter of a Vietnam veteran). I love to see the comics form used to tell powerful memoir and this brief piece is very compelling.

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Friday Links Prefers To Be Called ‘Sir’

I loved this article at the Mary Sue about women in history who have held the titles traditionally belonging to men. So many interesting women – some of whom I’d never heard of before! The uses of ‘king’ by women particularly interested me because that was something I was trying to do with Velody in the Creature Court books – when there has no one but men holding the title of ‘king’ for as long as people can remember, you keep using the damn word even if there’s a woman doing it now.

Also at the Mary Sue, I loved this depiction of women’s work in World War II, one of my favourite eras/topics of social history.

Amanda linked me to this great post about 20’s and 30’s fashion and how they actually worked (and why they so often don’t look right when worn by modern women) – including some gorgeous images of classic dresses as they might be worn.

Bookseller+Publisher have released the statistics of books reviewed in Australian publications, with gender breakdowns. Eye-opening, occasionally pleasing, and mostly depressing.

I also really appreciated receiving this link, about the choice of teaching texts in high schools, and how books by and about women are being left out. Remember this one when the “oh noes all these books for girls are excluding boy readers” discussion gets rolled out again.

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Bad Power, by Deborah Biancotti

Hate superheroes?
Yeah. They probably hate you, too.

What if there were superpowers in the world, but no superheroes?

Deborah Biancotti has a reputation in Australia for rich, complex prose and bleak stories about the quiet horrors that we all hope will never happen. The Book of Endings, her first collection, made a powerful statement about the kind of fiction she is known for – and Bad Power, her far more slender second collection, makes an entirely different statement about the writer she is going to be.

The stories in Bad Power have a clear, sharp narrative, and a more restrained approach to her prose. As with many of the Twelve Planets collections, the stories are connected and serve to build up a particular world, based on a single premise. In this case, it is the idea that some people have powers, what comics readers or TV/movie fans would immediately designate superpowers, and that there is something deeply sinister about those powers, and those people.

I tore through this book very quickly – it was such a fast-paced read, and so very enjoyable. Once it became clear that the order of the stories was important and that each fed something into the others, the mystery of how to fit all the pieces together added an extra layer of enjoyment. Each story has its own compelling protagonist, and distinct voice. My favourites were Detective Enora Palmer and Detective Max Ponti, just as my favourite stories were “Palming the Lady” and “Crossing the Bridge,” but this is one of those collections where the whole is far more than the sum of its parts.

BAD POWER, by Deborah Biancotti
Twelfth Planet Press

reviewed as part of the Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge

Tansy’s Australian Women Writer’s 2012 Reading Challenge.

1. Eona by Alison Goodman (fantasy)
2. Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood (contemporary crime)

3. Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti (spec fic, superhero)

Australian Women Writers 2012 #1 – Cupcakes, Tigers and Dragoneyes

I stated my intentions for the Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading Challenge here – and it’s been exciting to see all manner of people on my twitter feed, RSS reader & GoodReads updates linking to their early reviews of books for this challenge. Yay readers of Australian women writers!

By the way, someone other than me should TOTALLY put together a list of SF & Fantasy (or any genre really) books by female authors available on the Kindle in the Aus/NZ region – to encourage all those “I got a Kindle for Christmas” participants in the challenge. Let me know if you do this, and I will link to you!

I have started out this month well, I think, with three prose books under my belt already (two of which are by Australian women writers) and four books REMOVED from my to read shelf. All this reading all of a sudden may be causing excessive eye watering, but I’m willing to take that on the chin.

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Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge

Well, of course I signed up. How could I not?

Challenge period: 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2012

Goal: Read and review books written by Australian women writers – hard copies, ebooks and audiobooks, new, borrowed or stumbled upon by book-crossing.

Genre challenges:
Purist: one genre only
Dabbler: more than one genre
Devoted eclectic: as many genres as you can find

Challenge levels:
Stella (read 3 and review at least 2 books)
Miles (read 6 and review at least 3*
Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books)*
* The higher levels should include at least one substantial length review


I’m going to try for the Franklin-fantastic, since it seems entirely do-able considering that I tend to read 100+ books in a year, and a lot of those would naturally be female Australian authors anyway. My own personal twist on the challenge is that I want the books in question to all be taken off my To Read Shelf – because reducing that is the main thing I want to accomplish with my reading next year. I’m not planning to go with genre restraints but ‘dabbler’ seems the most likely category for me, possibly with a side order of ‘devoted eclectic’.

Eligible Books on my To Read Shelf by Australian Women Writers:

Anonymous, The Bride Stripped Bare (erotica? literary?)
A.A. Bell, Diamond Eyes (SF)
Cath Crowley, Chasing Charlie Duskin (YA)
Marianne De Pierres, Angel Arias (young adult, fantasy, hints of SF)
Melaina Feranda, Thirteen Pearls (young adult)
Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender (non-fiction, social science)
Kerry Greenwood, Murder in the Dark (historical, crime)
Narrelle M. Harris, The Opposite of Life (vampire is a genre, right?)
Norma Hemming, Dwellers in Silence: Stories and Plays
Colleen McCullough, Antony and Cleopatra (historical)
Kirstyn McDermott, Madigan Mine (horror)
Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock (YA, spec fic?)
Catherine Helen Spence, A Week in the Future (science fiction, I believe)
Lili Wilkinson, A Pocketful of Eyes (YA)
Kaaron Warren, Mistification (goodness knows)
Danielle Wood, Rosie Little’s Cautionary Tales for Girls (literary?)

I’m also counting whichever of the Twelve Planets books arrive over the next year! I am expecting titles by Deb Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Narrelle Harris, Margo Lanagan, and several more. So, woohoo!

[UPDATE] I’m also counting books which arrived in my house before the 31 December (such as Eona by Alison Goodman & Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood] and books that are technically on My To Read shelf even if they were physically somewhere else in the house (I’ve been cleaning up a LOT this week) or overlooked on said shelf, such as Marianne De Pierres’ Sharp books. So there.

Australian Award-Winning Women (in SF, Horror and Fantasy)

This is a resource for the Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge.

If you spot any awards or writers I am missing that you think might be relevant, let me know! I’m starting with the most obvious SF & Fantasy awards but consider this post a work in progress, mostly because there were only so many awards lists I could read tonight before my eyeballs exploded. Come back later to find out what’s been added…

Works marked with a double asterisk have received international awards.
I have included YA work in with the adult and created a separate children’s section. Just because.
I know the challenge is about books but while I was trawling through lists for info I thought I might as well note the Australian women winning short story awards too. That will follow in a later post.

To make this really useful I am also thinking of differentiating between those books still in print and those not – if you try hunting for any of these and discover they are impossible to access, please let me know in comments! I started trying to use alphabetical order and decided in the end that starting with the most recent and moving down means the books near the top of the lists are the most current ones.

I may reorganise all this data in different combinations at any time. You have been warned.

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