Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017

It’s already February and I’ve yet to do my sign up post for #AWW2017. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy.

Over at the AWW blog, we’ve finished our roundups for 2016, started a series on small publishers and hosted a guest post on mid-twentieth-century Aussie midlist author Ernestine Hill. For Australian Day, I compiled a list of forgotten and classic titles by Australian women from 1840-1940 and gave the links in the article, “100 years of Australian Women’s Writing Online.” I’ve also been organising a new series of Q&As with authors who have books coming out this year. (You can see the draft calendar of new releases here.)

Apart from kicking off the AWW challenge, I’ve made time to read a few books and have written several (mostly short) reviews on Goodreads, where I’ve keeping track via our AWW Goodreads group.

So, to my #aww2017 reading so far:

  1. A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower (review)
  2. Medea’s Curse by Anne Buist (review)
  3. Dangerous to Know by Anne Buist (follows on from Medea’s Curse; review)
  4. Where The Light Falls by Gretchen Shirm (review)
  5. The Woman Next Door by Liz Byrski (review)
  6. An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire (review)
  7. Promise by Sarah Armstrong (review)

I’ve also read The Millwood Mystery by Jeannie Lockett, a classic published in serial form in Australian Town and Country Journal in 1886-1887. If you’re interested, you can find Chapter 1 here. I’ve tagged the other chapters and fixed up the digitised text so they can be downloaded, but I’m thinking of putting it all together in an ebook. (Would anyone be interested?) Reading The Millwood Mystery is my first contribution to our “classics” push on the AWW blog this year.

Apart from doing AWW-related things, I’ve been helping my 93-year-old aunt with her memoirs. The ebook is almost finished and we’ll be organising a print run for the family. I’m also continuing to research our family history, with a view to maybe writing something inspired by it. We’ll see.

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If you haven’t already joined the AWW challenge, it’s never too late. You can find out all about it on our sign-up page. And look out for the Bingo cards (coming soon). It should be a lot of fun and there’ll be a great prize this year: Writing the Dream, donated by Serenity Press. (Thanks, Monique!)

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Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016 – the final tally

imageTime to wrap up what I read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge during 2016.

This year I read 35 books and reviewed 12 – up on my reading tally and down on my reviewing from previous years. Although I kept reading in the latter part of the year, I didn’t find the time or energy to review. This was especially true if I left too much of a gap between finishing and putting fingers to keyboard. I tried to make the effort when a publisher sent me a review copy. Of the books I read but didn’t review, the majority were bought or borrowed from the library – or, in the case of My Sister Rosa, won in a competition. (Thanks, Newtown Review of Books!) Some books were chosen simply to help me fill the AWW Challenge Bingo cards. Others were selected as part of my research into 19th- and early 20th-century Australian life, something I’ve become interested in since helping my 93-year-old aunt with her memoirs and researching our family tree.

In terms of categories, my reading lived up to my blog title, “Devoted Eclectic”. Books read included psychological suspense, classics, literary, historical and speculative fiction, YA, “women’s fiction”, romance and nonfiction. Books reviewed tended to be what I think of as “intense human drama”, stories that got my heart and mind churning. Of these, the one that has stuck in my mind most is Dying in the First Person by Nike Sulway. I’m hoping it gets to the Stella Prize long list – if not further! A book I wished I’d made the effort to review is In the Quiet by Eliza Henry-Jones. A very moving debut.

So, here are the books, including hot links to reviews (the first twelve). The remainder includes some books I reviewed on Goodreads but, as they only contained a few lines, I haven’t bothered giving links. (Though every little review helps the authors’ visibility, I’m told. I must update the rest!)

  1. That Devil’s Madness by Dominique Wilson
  2. The Light on the Water by Olga Lorenzo
  3. Ghost Girls by Cath Ferla
  4. I For Isobel by Amy Witting
  5. Out of the Ice by Ann Turner
  6. Dying in the First Person by Nike Sulway
  7. Wild Chicory by Kim Kelly
  8. A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe
  9. Hired By the Brooding Billionaire by Kandy Shepherd
  10. Running Against the Tide by Amanda Ortlepp
  11. Our Eva by Anna Jacobs
  12. Rebellious Daughters eds Maria Katsonis and Lee Koffman
  13. Crown Prince’s Chosen Bride by Kandy Shepherd.
  14. All The Birds Singing by Evie Wyld (audio book)
  15. Defying Doomsday eds Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench
  16. Like I Can Love by Kim Lock
  17. The Group Settler’s Wife, a novella by Anna Jacob
  18. A Pennyworth of Sunshine by Anna Jacob
  19. Intensive Care by Nikki Edwards
  20. Desperate Deception by DB Tait
  21. My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
  22. Wild Lavender by Belinda Alexandra
  23. Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
  24. In the Quiet by Eliza Henry-Jones
  25. Heat and Light by Ellen Van Neerven
  26. Hopscotch by Jane Messer
  27. The Time of the Peacock by Mina Abdullah and Ray Mathew
  28. The Little Bush Maid by Mary Grant Bruce
  29. Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill
  30. Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright
  31. The Safest Place in London by Maggie Joel
  32. Greek Tycoon’s Mistletoe Propoal by Kandy Shepherd
  33. A Match Made in Mistletoe, a novella by Anna Campbell
  34. Millionaire Under the Mistletoe, a novella by Kandy Shepherd
  35. Festive Deception, a novella by DB Tait

How did you go with the challenge? Are you going to participate next year? You can sign up for #aww2017 here. And a reminder that we now have a new Facebook group for AWW challenge participants, and another for authors’ and publishers’ news. Hope to see you there!

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