The day has arrived. Today we announce Australia’s Top 10 Favourite Authors, as voted by you.
Before anything, we want to extend a HUGE thanks to everyone involved with this poll. To all authors, we owe you thanks on so many levels, but on this occasion thank you for rallying your fans and supporting other authors with such vigour. Oh, and for writing the books that we adore. We love you all.
To the publishers, we couldn’t have done this without your tireless support, and your incredible passion for Australian books.
And last but not least, to all the lovers of Australian books who have voted in this poll, thank you. Booktopia is a proudly Australian owned and operated bookstore, created for Australians by Australians. Your support means the world to us.
That’s why we set up this poll, and made January our month of Australian Stories. We think Australian authors are pretty damn important, and want to do whatever we can to support them.
But for now, before we get any more emotional, on with the show…
A trained educator with a natural gift for storytelling, John Marsden is arguably Australia’s foremost writer of Young Adult fiction.
Whilst working at the prestigious Geelong Grammar School, Marsden made the decision to write for teenagers, following his dissatisfaction with his students’ apathy towards reading and the observation that teenagers simply weren’t reading any more. Marsden then wrote So Much To Tell You in only three weeks, and the book was published in 1987. The book sold record numbers and won numerous awards including “Book of the Year” as awarded by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
In 1993 Marsden published Tomorrow, When the War Began the first book in the Tomorrow Series and his most acclaimed and best-selling work to date. Recently it was selected in the American Library Association list of 100 Best Books for Teens since 1966.
Marsden has won every major writing award in Australia for young people’s fiction, including what Marsden describes as one of the highlights of his career, the 2006 Lloyd O’Neil Award for contributions to Australian publishing. This award means that Marsden is one of only five authors to be honoured for lifelong services to the Australian book industry. John Marsden was also nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2008, the world’s largest children’s and youth literature award, and the second largest literature prize in the world.
Mem Fox was born in Australia, grew up in Africa, studied drama in England, and returned to Adelaide, Australia in 1970. She is Australia’s best loved picture-book author. Her first book, Possum Magic, has sold over four million copies and is still the best selling children’s book in Australia, 29 years after its publication.
She has written over 40 books for children among which are the perennial favourites: Possum Magic, Time for Bed and Where Is The Green Sheep?; and several books for adults also, including her best selling book for parents: Reading Magic: how your child can learn to read before school and other read aloud miracles. Her book: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes was on the New York Times best-seller list for 18 weeks in 2008—2009 and also won best book for young children at the 2010 Turin International Book Festival in its Italian edition. Her books have been translated into 19 languages.
Mem Fox was an Associate Professor of Education at Flinders University in Adelaide where she taught teachers for 24 years until her early retirement in 1996. She has received many honors and awards from various Australian governments and other organisations for services to literature, as well as three honorary doctorates for her work in literacy. She has visited the USA over 100 times as both a consultant in literacy and as an author. She keeps threatening to retire but never quite gets around to it as she is always finding something new to write about or shout about.
Markus Zusak grew up hearing stories about Nazi Germany, about the bombing of Munich and about Jews being marched through his mother’s small, German town. He always knew it was a story he wanted to tell.
“We have these images of the straight-marching lines of boys and the ‘Heil Hitlers’ and this idea that everyone in Germany was in it together. But there still were rebellious children and people who didn’t follow the rules and people who hid Jews and other people in their houses. So there’s another side to Nazi Germany,” said Zusak in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.
At just 37, Zusak has already asserted himself as one of today’s most innovative and poetic novelists. Upon the publication of The Book Thief he was dubbed a ‘literary phenomenon’ by Australian and U.S. critics. Zusak is also the award-winning author of four previous books for young adults: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger, recipient of a 2006 Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature. He lives in Sydney.
Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s writers. He is the author of over 20 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. Over the past 20 years Andy’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, won over 50 children’s choice awards, been adapted as a television cartoon series and sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
Andy is passionate about inspiring a love of books and reading, and this passion drives his work as an ambassador with The Indigenous Literacy Foundation, an initiative of the Australian Publishing Industry, to provide books and literacy resources to remote Indigenous communities around Australia. Andy regularly participates in field trips to remote areas of New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Western Australia to run writing workshops with Indigenous children and to help facilitate the Foundation’s work.
One of the stars of Australian fiction, Monica McInerney is the author of the internationally bestselling novels, A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out, Spin the Bottle, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage, Those Faraday Girls and At Home with the Templetons. Those Faraday Girls was the winner of the General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards.
Her collection of short fiction, All Together Now, was shortlisted for the same award in 2009. At Home with the Templetons was shortlisted in the Popular Fiction category of the 2010 Irish Book Awards and in the Romantic Elements category of the 2011 Australian Romantic Book of the Year Awards.
In 2006 she was the ambassador for the Australian Government initiative Books Alive, with her novella Odd One Out.
Monica grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley of South Australia and has been living between Australia and Ireland for twenty years. She and her Irish husband currently live in Dublin.
Kerry has written twenty novels, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D’Arcy, is an award-winning children’s writer and has edited and contributed to several anthologies. In 1996 she published a book of essays on female murderers called Things She Loves: Why women Kill.
The Phryne Fisher series began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written sixteen books in this series and says that as long as people want to read them, she can keep writing them.
When she is not writing she is an advocate in Magistrates’ Court for the Legal Aid Commission. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered Wizard.
Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of 12 novels. In 2005, Matthew was the first author to participate in the Australian Government’s ‘Books Alive’ initiative, for which he wrote the short novel Hell Island, featuring Shane Schofield. Over 200,000 copies of that work were given away for free in August of 2005.
Matthew’s books are published in over 20 languages and he has sold over 3.5 million books worldwide: over 1 million in Australia alone; over a million in the US; and over a million in the UK.
Walt Disney Pictures have optioned the movie rights to his children’s book, Hover Car Racer, while Ice Station was optioned by Paramount Pictures.
One of the novelists of his generation, Tim Winton’s literary reputation was established early when his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the 1981 Australian Vogel Award; his second novel Shallows, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1984; and his third book, Scission, a collection of short stories, won the West Australian Council Literary Award in 1985.
Winton’s fifth novel, Cloudstreet, the story of two working-class families rebuilding their lives, was a huge literary and commercial success. It has been a best seller since its publication in 1991 and was recently voted the most popular Australian novel by the Australian Society of Authors. Awards include National Book Council Banjo Award for Fiction, 1991; West Australian Fiction Award 1991; Deo Gloria Award (UK), 1991 and the 1992 Miles Franklin Award.
In 2001 his novel, Dirt Music, was published to considerable critical acclaim and impressive reviews. The book was shortlisted for the 2002 Mann Booker Prize and won the 2002 Miles Franklin Award, the West Australian Fiction Award and the Christina Stead Award for Fiction. Film rights have been optioned to Phil Noyce’s film company, Rumbalara Films, with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz reportedly set to star in the film.
Winton’s most recent novel, Eyrie, was another triumph, being nominated by many critics as their favourite book of 2013.
Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, including Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies.
The Husband’s Secret has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and is set to be translated into over 35 languages. CBS Films has acquired the film rights.
With the launch of her most recent novel, Big Little Lies, Liane became the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Film and television rights have already been snapped up by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
Writing as L.M. Moriarty, Liane has also written a series of books for children.
Booktopia is proud to announce, after thousands of your nominations and over 100,000 votes from Australian readers, that Australia’s Favourite Author for 2015 is…
John Flanagan grew up in Sydney, Australia hoping to be a writer. It wasn’t until he wrote a highly uncomplimentary poem about a senior executive at the agency where he worked, however, that his talent was revealed.
John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series originally comprised twenty short stories, which John wrote to encourage his twelve-year-old son, Michael, to enjoy reading. Ten years after writing them he decided to turn them into a novel to publish.
The series has come a long way since then, having been on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 80 weeks, with over 5 million copies being sold in the US alone.
The Ranger’s Apprentice series and his Brotherband series are available in more than one hundred countries, and have had multiple award shortlistings and wins in Australia and overseas.
A $100 million film adaptation of The Ranger’s Apprentice is expected to commence in the next year.
Congratulations John on being voted by Australian readers Australia’s Favourite Author for 2015!
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About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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