AWW’s 1000+ reviews: Where to from here?

Cross-posted from Blogger

The other day I mentioned that a good part of my time this year has been taken up hosting and participating in the Australian Women Writers Challenge for the National Year of Reading. This week, the challenge reached a milestone. Over 1000 reviews have been posted to the site, and the blog has attracted over 50 000 views.

This represents a fantastic, collective effort from the readers who have responded for my call to help address the problem of gender bias in our literary review pages, and to raise the profile of The Stella Prize.

For me personally, the effort of hosting the challenge has been rewarding. I’ve met many bookbloggers and booksellers, people who devote their lives to reading, and who are happy to promote the best of what they read. It has introduced me to extraordinary books by talented writers – books like Dog Boy by Eva Hornung- that I didn’t know existed a year ago. While I finished the reviewing part of the challenge back in February, I have kept reading books by Australian women in the months since – books like M J Hyland’s Carry Me Down, Charlotte Woods’ Animal People, Honey Brown’s The Red Queen, Kirsty Eagar’s Raw Blue, Virginia Lloyd’s Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement, Wendy James’ The Mistake, and Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts. And they are just the most memorable of a great selection of reading.

The drawback is it has taken me away from my writing.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the good fortune to assemble a team of bookbloggers and readers who will continue to support and promote Australian women writers. With their help, I’ll be able to run the challenge again in 2013, but without the same time commitment.

We’re building a new challenge page on WordPress which will have a lot more user-friendly features. It’s only in draft form yet, but should be fully functioning well in advance of the new year.

It won’t be just the AWW challenge shifting to WordPress. I’m so impressed with the new site and what it has to offer that I’ve decided to shift my personal blog as well. I already have a WordPress site for book reviews. Combining blogs will mean having one spot for all my interests, personal posts, reflective essays, book reviews and perhaps a new category of writing tips. Readers will be able to subscribe by RSS and email to the separate categories. That will prevent anyone’s inbox being inundated with posts that don’t interest them.

To say goodbye to Blogger, I want to share with you this photo. It was taken up in far north New South Wales last week by a wonderful photographer whose way of seeing the world always makes my heart soar. Hope it does the same for you.

Taking flight, Rodney Weidland 2012 (used with permission)
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  1. 1000 reviews! That’s just wonderful. And I too have discovered wonderful new writers like Wendy James. Thanks so much for sharing all this info.


    • Thanks, Kirsten (I thought I replied earlier to this, so if this is a repeat, my apologies.)

      Wendy James has been a great find; they all have. And congrats on your forthcoming book from UWAPress. Can’t wait to read it.


  2. annabelsmith

     /  August 29, 2012

    1000 reviews and 50,000 views is an amazing achievement. I too have made lots of discoveries through taking part in the challenge as well as meeting other like-minded readers, writers and reviewers. I think it’s a fantastic inititative and am happy to hear it will continue next year.



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