Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012

Image Links to Challenge Site

Once upon a time, I discovered the works of Dale Spender in my local women’s bookstore.

When it wasn’t so unusual to have an independent feminist bookshop in the community.

When I would go on Friday nights, to browse the shelves and spend money that I should have spent on other things.

And Dale Spender, as writer of Mothers of the Novel, and Women of Ideas, added monumentally to my reading lists in those days.

For many years afterwards, simply reading that an author was Australian on the back cover of a novel at the annual library booksale was enough to ensure that book found its way home with me.

Many of those books are now nestled amongst my — now overflowing — shelves and, when it comes to petting those individual works on my shelves, I have forgotten the original impetus to collect them.

But somewhere the desire to read them is, yet, intact. I’m hopeful that this challenge will put me back on their trail.

I’m signing up for the Stella level of the challenge, which only requires that I read three books, but I hope to exceed my own expectations.

And I’d like to read in more than one genre. I do have several Virago Modern Classics works, which include, I know, a number of Australian women writers’ works that cross genres. (And that makes me a Stella Dabbler.)

But I’d also like to read some works by aboriginal Australian women writers and to sample the speculative and crime fiction that I’ve been hearing so many good things about.

Certainly the bookshelves at the AWWC group are filled with terrific suggestions.

Do check it out!

I’ll record my reads for the challenge below:
1. Elizabeth Jolley’s Miss Peabody’s Inheritance (1983)
2. Elizabeth Jolley’s The Newspaper of Claremont Street (1981)

Because both of these are literary fiction, and I signed up as a Dabbler, my next read must be something other than literary fiction, and this is historical fiction:
3. M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans (2012)

And, I hope to read beyond what I signed up for:

[Edited to add that I didn’t read a fourth, but I did add several new books to my stacks to unofficially read more Aussie authors in 2013 and beyond.]


4 comments to Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012

  • Glad you’ve rediscovered your passion for works by Australian women.

    Have you seen Dr Anita Heiss’s “Black Book Challenge” page? You’ll discover lots of great female indigenous authors there.

    Looking forward to seeing your reviews.


  • Thanks very much, Elizabeth: that looks fabulous. I’ll definitely have a look and try to find some of those books locally!

  • Hallo there,

    I’m writing on behalf of the Australian Women Writers Challenge team and would like to thank you for your participation in the AWW challenge this year. I was also wondering if you’ve seen our feedback survey?

    It’s very quick (10 questions, mostly check boxes, takes 2 minutes), and will provide useful feedback to Bookseller & Publisher.

    Even if you didn’t reach your goal this year, your feedback is valued, and I hope you’ll join us again for AWW Challenge 2013.

    Kind regards,

    • Thanks, Jessica. I did fill it out. I only JUST made my goal, but I had hoped to read beyond the three books, so I guess I’ll have some more Aussie reading to do in 2013; even though I’m not officially joining in this year’s challenge, I am officially making room for more of that in my reading life. My pleasure!

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