Australia’s Favourite Novelist: The Countdown Continues

What a journey it’s been. From the hundreds of nominations, to the tens of thousands of votes, and here we are at the last day of the countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist.

For those who are coming to the party a little late, here’s the story so far:

 

So sit back and enjoy as the countdown towards Australia’s Favourite Novelist continues….


10. Rachael Johns

An English teacher by trade, a supermarket owner by day, a mum 24/7, and a writer by night. That’s some of the ingredients that make up one of the most successful Romance Writers in Australia, Rachael Johns. Rachael’s army of followers spread the good word relentlessly to take her into the top 10 of Australia’s Favourite Novelist.

In a relatively short space of time, Rachael has shown herself a force to be reckoned with, helping to bolster a new movement in Australian Romance writing. At 17 she began writing, enlightened by the thought that she could create whatever ending she liked, and almost a decade later, after many, many attempts at writing different types of novels, she joined the Romance Writers of Australia association.

Our Pick

It was there that Rachael learnt there was more to writing a book than just typing out random thoughts. She learnt about the craft, conflict, consistent characters, etc, and also discovered that she loved contemporary romance.

She lives in rural Western Australia with her husband and their three children.

Congratulations Rachael on coming 10th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to Rachael Johns’ author page


9. Craig Silvey

From the moment Craig Silvey’s first book Rhubarb hit the shelves in 2004, it became clear Australia had unearthed another incredibly exciting talent. In 2005 Silvey was named as one of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelists. Rhubarb was selected as the inaugural book for the ‘One Book’ series of events at the 2005 Perth International Arts Festival, and was included in the Australian national ‘Books Alive’ campaign.

And then came Jasper.

Jasper Jones has become one of Australia’s Favourite Novels. Recently voted 6th in the Tuesday Book Club’s list of Aussie Books to Read Before You Die, it opened the whole world to Silvey and his wonderful writing and thoughts on Australian society, both past and present.

Our Pick

Silvey says of his literary influences that “I’ve always been attracted to Southern Gothic fiction. There’s something very warm and generous about those regional American writers like Twain and Lee and Capote, and it seemed to be a literary ilk that would lend itself well to the Australian condition.”

Congratulations Craig on coming 9th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to Craig Silvey’s author page


8. Markus Zusak

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.

Our Pick

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.

Congratulations Markus on coming 8th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to Markus Zusak’s author page


7. Bryce Courtenay

From the unlikeliest of beginnings, Bryce Courtenay’s sweeping epics found a place in the hearts of Australians everywhere.

Courtenay began writing novels at a relatively late stage in his life after over three decades in the advertising industry.

His first and arguably most well known book, The Power Of One, was first published in 1989 and was adapted soon after into an award-winning film.

His consistency of style and warmth of voice has kept readers enthralled since those early days, and he established himself as one of Australia’s most popular novelists.

Our Pick

It was with immense sadness that word came through earlier this year of his passing. He was a truly wonderful man and there is no better way to honour him than to remember the legacy he left on his beloved adopted homeland.

Congratulations Bryce on coming 7th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013. You will be missed.

Click here to go to Bryce Courtenay’s author page


6. Isobelle Carmody

Isobelle Carmody is Australia’s most highly acclaimed author of fantasy titles for older readers.

She began her first book, Obernewtyn, when she was fourteen and since then she has written some of our greatest works of fantasy. She is perhaps best known for her Obernewtyn Chronicles and for her novel The Gathering (joint winner of the 1993 Children’s Literature Peace Prize and the 1994 CBC Book of the Year Award).

Our Pick

Another of her novels, Greylands, was joint winner of the 1997 Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction – Young Adult Division, and was named a White Raven at the 1998 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. She has also written many short stories for both children and adults.

Isobelle divides her time between Prague in the Czech Republic and her home on the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Congratulations Isobelle on coming 6th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to Isobelle Carmody’s author page


5. Ruth Park

Another in a long line of writers born elsewhere yet able to capture Australian life so beautifully, Ruth Park’s writing has had a lasting effect on both adults and children for over 60 years.

Born in Auckland to a Scottish father and a Swedish mother, Park moved to Australia in 1942 where she had lined up a job with another newspaper.

Her first novel was The Harp in the South, a graphic story of Irish slum life in Sydney, which has been translated into 37 languages. Even though it was acclaimed by literary critics, the book proved controversial with sections of the public due to its candour. It remains her most popular novel and has never been out of print.

Our Pick

Between 1946 and 2004, she received numerous awards for her contributions to literature in both Australia and internationally including the Miles Franklin Award for Swords and Crowns and Rings in 1977. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1987.

Congratulations Ruth on coming 5th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to Ruth Park’s author page


4. John Marsden

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.

Our Pick

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.

Congratulations John on coming 4th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to John Marsden’s author page


3. Monica McInerney

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.

Our Pick

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.

Congratulations Monica on coming 3rd in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to Monica McInerney’s author page


2. Tim Winton

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.

Our Pick

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, and Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz are signed to star in the film.

Winton’s last novel, Breath, was awarded the 2009 Miles Franklin Prize for Literature.

Congratulations Tim on coming 2nd in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to Tim Winton’s author page


Early Favourite Tim Winton finds himself at number 2 in the voting!

Quite the upset, but who pipped him at the post? Come back at 2pm to see who was voted Australia’s Favourite Novelist.

While you wait, Booktopia has a huge weekend for you. Not only do we have one of our famous Flash Sales, with books discounted by up to 90%, but we also have free shipping on all orders placed before midnight on Monday night.

All you need to do is use the free shipping code HOLIDAY at the checkout to get free shipping on as many books, as many orders as you like. It’s that easy.

We’ll see you back at 2pm to unveil the people’s champion, Australia’s Favourite Novelist.

10 Australian books to read before you die – First Tuesday Book Club

banner_10_aussie_booksThe First Tuesday Bookclub on the ABC recently held a popular vote for the 10 Australian books to read before you die. We watched with bated breath as the list was released, and thought we’d share it with you it case you missed it.

While there will be as much talk about the books not on the list as on it, it really is a great place to start with Australia novels. If there’s anything on this list you haven’t read, we strongly recommend checking them out.

Here we go…


cloudstreet

1. Cloudstreet

By Tim Winton

From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch. For twenty years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts. Tim Winton’s funny, sprawling saga is an epic novel of love and acceptance. Winner of the Miles Franklin and NBC awards in Australia, Cloudstreet is a celebration of people, places and rhythms which has fuelled imaginations world-wide.

About The Author
Tim Winton grew up on the coast of Western Australia, where he continues to live. He is the author of eighteen books. His epic novel Cloudstreet was adapted for the theater and has been performed around the world. His two most recent novels, Dirt Music and The Riders, were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has won the prestigious Miles Franklin Award three times, and in 1998 the Australian National Trust declared Winton a national living treasure. The Turning has already won the 2005 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

(Editors note: Cloudstreet also topped the Booktopia 50 Must Read Australian Novels vote some time back. See the full results by clicking here)


2. The Book Thiefthe-book-thief

by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel’s father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word – Kommunist – and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother’s eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

The Book Thief is a story about the power of words to make worlds. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

About the Author
Markus Zusak lives in Sydney with his wife. He has written four novels for young adults: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry and The Messenger. The Boof Thief is his first adult novel.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


3. A Fortunate Lifea-fortunate-life

by A.B. Facey

A Fortunate Life is an autobiographical novel written by Albert Facey and was written in 1981 (nine months before his death) and tells the complete story of his life. It chronicles his early life in Western Australia, his experiences as a private during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I and his return to civilian life after the war. It also documents his extraordinary life of hardship, loss, friendship and love. During the initial days of its publication, Albert Facey became a nationwide celebrity.

The autobiography begins at his birth. He was born in Maidstone, Victoria, Australia. His father died on the Goldfields of Western Australia in 1896 of typhoid fever and Albert’s mother left her children to the care of their grandmother shortly afterwards. In 1899 he moved from Victoria to Western Australia with his grandmother and three of his six older siblings. Most of his childhood was spent in the Wickepin area.

He started working on farms at the age of eight and had little education and therefore could not read or write. As a child he taught himself to read and write. By the age of 14 he was an experienced bushman, and at 18 a professional boxer. He was badly injured at Gallipoli in August 1915 during the First World War, in which two of his brothers were killed. While recuperating he met his future wife Evelyn Gibson and they were married in Bunbury in August 1916. The Faceys lived in East Perth before returning to Wickepin six years later with their children, where they lived until 1934. The couple had seven children – the eldest, Barney, was killed during the Second World War – and twenty-eight grandchildren.

About the Author
Despite his renowned life, Facey considered his life to be simple and “had no idea what all the fuss was about”. He received many letters and appeared on many talk shows. He notably became one of Australia’s most famous heroes. When asked on an interview, where the name of the book originated. He replied, “I called it ‘A Fortunate Life’ because I truly believe that is what I had”.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


4. The Power of Onethe-power-of-one

by Bryce Courtenay

First with your head and then with your heart . . .So says Hoppie Groenwald, boxing champion, to a seven-year-old boy who dreams of being the welterweight champion of the world. For the young Peekay, it is a piece of advice that he will carry with him throughout his life.Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.Bryce Courtenay’s classic bestseller is a story of the triumph of the human spirit – a spellbinding tale for all ages.

About the Author
Formally an advertising executive, Bryce Courtenay was one of Australia’s best loved writers. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra in October 2012. In September 2012, Courtenay announced that he was suffering from terminal gastric cancer. He died on 22 November at his Canberra home.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Harp In The South

5. The Harp in the South

by Ruth Park

Ruth Park’s classic novel The Harp in the South is one of Australia’s greatest novels. Hugh and Margaret Darcy are raising their family in Sydney amid the brothels, grog shops and run-down boarding houses of Surry Hills, where money is scarce and life is not easy.

Filled with beautifully drawn characters that will make you laugh as much as cry, this Australian classic will take you straight back to the colourful slums of Sydney with convincing depth, careful detail and great heart.

About the Author
Born in New Zealand, Ruth Park came to Australia in 1942 to continue her career as a journalist. She married the writer D’Arcy Niland and travelled with him through the north-west of New South Wales before settling in Sydney where she became a full-time writer.

Ruth Park wrote over fifty books, and her many awards include the prestigious Miles Franklin Award for Swords and Crowns and Rings; the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA) for Playing Beatie Bow and The Age Book of the Year Award for A Fence Around the Cuckoo.

She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1987 and in 1994 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letter from the University of New South Wales. She passed away at her home in Sydney in 2010, at the age of 93.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


jasper-jones

6. Jasper Jones

by Craig Silvey

Late on a hot summer night at the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by a knock on his window. His visitor is Jasper Jones.

Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him to his secret glade in the bush, and it is here that Charlie bears witness to a horrible discovery.

In this simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth. By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, tender and wise, Jasper Jones is a novel to treasure.

About the Author
Craig Silvey grew up on an orchard in Dwellingup Western Australia. He now lives in Fremantle, where at the age of 19, he wrote his first novel, Rhubarb, which received the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist Award. In 2007, Silvey released a picture book called The World According to Warren. Outside of literature, Silvey is the singer/songwriter for the band The Nancy Sikes.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


the-magic-pudding-the-adventures-of-bunyip-bluegum

7. The Magic Pudding

by Norman Lindsay

Albert, the magic pudding, can be eaten again and again and will always reform into a new pudding, ready to be eaten again. His three companions must protect him from the pudding thieves who want to steal him for themselves.

First published in 1918, The Magic Pudding is said to have been written to settle an argument: a friend of Lindsay’s said that children like to read about fairies, while Lindsay asserted that they would rather read about food and fighting


About the Author

Norman Lindsay was an Australian artist, sculptor, writer, editorial cartoonist, and scale modeler. He was born in Creswick, Victoria in 1879. He is widely regarded as one of Australia′s greatest artists, producing a vast body of work in different media. He remains most famous for The Magic Pudding, but also published numerous other books for adults.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


the-slap

8. The Slap

by Christos Tsiolkas

To smack or not to smack is the question that reverberates through the interconnected lives dissected in Christos Tsiolkas’ award-winning novel, now in paperback.

At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

It is a single act, but the slap reverberates through the lives of everyone who witnesses it. Told through the eyes of eight of those present at the barbecue, this acclaimed bestseller is an unflinching interrogation of the life of the modern family. Poignant and provocative, THE SLAP makes us question the nature of commitment and happiness, compromise and truth. Whose side are you on?

About the Author
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of four novels: Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He won Overall Best Book the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his latest novel, The Slap. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


the-secret-river

9. The Secret River

by Kate Grenville

In 1806 William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand.

But the colony can turn a convict into a free man. Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself.

Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals—Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring—are finding their own ways to respond to them.

Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.

Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is a brilliantly written book, a ground-breaking story about identity, belonging and ownership.

About the Author
Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s best-known authors. She has published nine novels, a collection of short stories, and four books about the writing process. Her books have been awarded many prizes in Australia, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Britain’s Orange Prize. In 2006 The Secret River was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


picnic-at-hanging-rock

10. Picnic At Hanging Rock

by Joan Lindsay

While Joan Lindsay’s haunting Australian classic Picnic at Hanging Rock is a work of fiction, the story is often considered one of Australia’s greatest mysteries.

In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others.

About the Author
Joan Lindsay was born in Melbourne, where she went to school as a day-girl for a few years at Clyde Girls’ Grammar, then situated in East St Kilda. She knew and loved the Macedon district from early childhood. In 1922 she married Sir Daryl Lindsay in London. The Lindsays travelled together in Europe and the USA, Daryl with his paints and Joan with her typewriter. Picnic At Hanging Rock (1967) is her best-remembered book and was filmed by Peter Weir in 1975. Sir Daryl died in 1976. Joan lived at their country home on the Mornington Peninsula, Mullberry Hill, Victoria, Australia, until her death in December 1984.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Of course, between you and me, we know they got it completely wrong. What would you have chosen?

Have your say on our twitter page @booktopia, our facebook page, or just leave a comment below.

Booktopia Presents: Craig Silvey, the author of The Amber Amulet and Jasper Jones, in conversation with Caroline Baum

You’re in safe hands – The Masked Avenger and Richie the Power Beagle are here to protect you! A brilliant jewel of a book from the acclaimed, best-selling author of Jasper Jones.

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

Please find enclosed this AMBER AMULET.

That must sound unusual to a citizen, but you will have to trust me on this count because the science is too detailed for me to outline here.

All you need to know is that the AMBER AMULET will eliminate your unhappiness by counteracting it with POSITIVE ENERGY.

This should see you straight.

Fear not, you’re in safe hands now.

Take care,

The Masked Avenger

Meet twelve-year-old Liam McKenzie, who patrols his suburban neighbourhood as the Masked Avenger – a superhero with powers so potent not even he can fully comprehend their extent.

Along with his sidekick, Richie the Powerbeagle, he protects the people of Franklin Street from chaos, mayhem, evil and low tyre pressure – but can he save them from sadness?

This perfect jewel of a book by the award-winning author of the 2009 Book of the Year Jasper Jones will hold all readers in its irresistible power.

Click here to buy The Amber Amulet from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Craig Silvey, Peter FitzSimons and Susan Maushart

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog. My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


CRAIG SILVEY

“I would urge any aspiring writer to be patient and stubborn and driven. Writing is incremental, it’s done by degrees. Every day you show up, you nurse the same doubts, you field the same concerns, you fret, you worry, you panic, you prevaricate, and inside that painful, delicate act, you finally let the story come to you in small sparks. It takes time. Reams and reams of it. You should have a healthy appetite for solitude.

The longer I write, the more I come to understand that authors are really just conduits for stories, we are the guardians of their development. For me, my writing works the best when it feels meditative and unforced, which means I need to forget that I’m a fretful author in a dim room with debts and a deadline. I need to almost remove myself from the process altogether, and let the story weave itself on the back of some kind of subconscious intuition.

I would especially urge them against concerning themselves with pointless, external exercises like Word Counts and so forth. Volume is the last thing you need to worry about. Songwriters don’t work to Note Counts. It is what it is. Don’t force it.

And, finally, practice the craft because you love it. It’s a privilege, and it’s good for you. Kurt Vonnegut used to say that practising any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. And I’m inclined to agree. Then again, I’ve got no idea what I’m doing.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Jasper Jones from Booktopia
Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop


PETER FITZSIMONS

“Get width of experience in your life. To be a writer you need to have something to say that others will care about and if you can have had experiences that your readers have not, it will help. Read as widely as you travel, and try to write with the same spirit.

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Mawson from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


SUSAN MAUSHART

“Read, for heaven’s sake! An aspiring writer who doesn’t read constantly is like an aspiring musician who plays Guitar Hero all day.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy The Winter of Our Disconnect from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


For more advice from published writers go here

The 50 Must Read Australian Novels (20 to 11) (The Popular Vote 2010)

A quick glance at the full list of your (remember, you voted for it) 50 Must Read Australian Novels will reveal which publisher is leading the way when it comes to keeping affordable editions of the Australian Classics in print. The Orange Revolution. This list shows that not only are these wonderful books remembered, but they are being read, talked about and shared amongst friends. So publishers, listen up – give us more great Australian content – and when you’re done, don’t forget to tell us you’ve done it, and we’ll read it. Promise. (Just don’t publish the books in poo brown, again, or choose dusty old brownish paintings for the covers, or let someone who can’t read design the covers, or publish them in fake red leather and gold lettering on the spine or… etc.)

I step down off my box and reveal the next ten – 20 to 11 of your 50 Must Read Australian Novels. (Full List of 50 Must Read Australian Novels now available – click here)


eucalyptus

20. Eucalyptus

Murray Bail

On a country property a man named Holland lives with his daughter Ellen. Over the years, as she grows into a beautiful young woman, he plants hundreds of different gum trees on his land.

When Ellen is nineteen her father announces his decision: she will marry the man who can name all his species of eucalypt, down to the last tree.Suitors emerge from all corners, including the formidable, straight-backed Mr Cave, world expert on the varieties of eucalypt.

And then, walking among her father’s trees, Ellen chances on a strange young man who in the days that follow tells her dozens of stories set in cities, deserts, faraway countries…

Awarded the Miles Franklin and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Eucalyptus is Murray Bail’s best and most moving novel. It is both a modern fairy tale and an unpredictable love story played out against the spearing light and broken shadows of country Australia.

Haunting and mesmeric, Eucalyptus illuminates the nature of story-telling itself. Continue reading

Get Reading with 50 Books You Can’t Put Down

Get hooked on Australia’s largest celebration of books and reading!

Get Reading is the Australian book industry’s annual promotion of books developed through the Australia Council for the Arts. It runs from August 25 to September 30.

Get Reading encourages all Australians to GET LOST, GET FRESH, GET HOOKED, GET REAL and GET COMFY with a good book.

To ensure we all GET READING, we have prepared a list of 50 Books You Can’tPut Down

tickled onions 978014330560610 stories you must read 9781864711592For each book you purchase from the Get Reading “50 Books You Can’t Put Down” selection, you are eligible to choose a FREE copy of either Tickled Onions or 10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2010.

The collection of short stories – 10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2010 – showcases contemporary Australian writing across a range of genres.

Contributors include 2009 and 2010 ABIA Book of the Year winners – Craig Silvey and Christos Tsiolkas – plus Maggie Alderson, Georgia Blain, Mark Dapin, Nick Earls, Alex Miller, Judy Nunn, Malla Nunn and Rachael Treasure.

Be sure to join in the fun and grab yourself one of the 50 Books You Can’t Put Down to win a free book.

2010 Miles Franklin Award Shortlisters Answer Ten Terrifying Questions

On the eve of the announcement of the winner of the 2010 Miles Franklin Award we are delighted to be able to offer readers an insight into the minds of some of those shortlisted.

The following four shortlisted authors have answered our

Ten Terrifying Questions.

Here is a taste – one question and answer each – click on ‘More…‘ or the author’s photo to be taken through to their answers to the full Ten Terrifying Questions.

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ALEX MILLER – award winning author of Lovesong, The Ancestor Game, Journey to the Stone Country

Taste: Question 3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

At eighteen I believed in the moral progress of our species. More…

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CRAIG SILVEY – author of Jasper Jones, Rhubarb and The World According to Warren

Taste: Question 5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Because a knee injury prevented me from a promising career in interpretive dance. More…

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DEBORAH FORSTER –  author of The Book of Emmett

Taste: Question 7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope they get confused about love because I think if it’s not confusing, it’s not real. I hope the characters are so alive you think about them for a very long time. I hope they are memorable. More…

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Photograph of Brian Castro by Susan Gordon-BrownBRIAN CASTRO – author of Birds of Passage, Shanghai Dancing, The Bath Fugues and more

Taste: Question 3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

At eighteen I believed I could read all the books in the university library shelved between 820 and 900. Now, with failing eyesight, I think of Borges and dream imaginary libraries. More…

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Booktopia’s Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by a wide variety of authors, from Jackie Collins and Lee Child to Tara Moss and Michael Koryta – from Rodney Hall to Peter Allison! – And we’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all for participating!

Click here to view our full list of participating authors.

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Here are the 2010 Miles Franklin Award shortlisted novels:

Lovesong

by Alex Miller

Chez Dom – a small, rundown Tunisian cafe in Paris run by the widow Houria and her niece Sabiha – offers a home away from home for the North African immigrants working at the abattoirs of Vaugiraud.

One day a lost Australian tourist, John Patterner, seeks shelter in the cafe from a sudden Parisian rainstorm. John is like no one Sabiha has met before – his calm grey eyes promise her a future she was not yet even aware she wanted. Theirs becomes a contented but unlikely marriage, and yet because they are essentially foreigners to each other, their love story sets in train an irrevocable course of tragic events.

Years later, living a small, quiet life in suburban Melbourne, what happened at Vaugiraud seems like a distant, troubling dream to Sabiha and John, who confides the story behind their seemingly ordinary lives to Ken, an ageing, melancholy writer. Lovesong is the story of a marriage, of people coming undone by desire, of ordinary lives and death, love and struggle. Into the wonderfully evoked contemporary settings of Paris and Melbourne, memories of Tunisian family life, culture and its music are tenderly woven. Buy Now

The Bath Fugues

by Brian Castro

The Bath Fugues is a meditation on melancholy and art, in the form of three interwoven novellas, centred respectively on an aging art forger; a Portuguese poet, opium addict and art collector; and a doctor, who has built an art gallery in tropical Queensland.

These characters are tied by more than their art, each dealing with questions of deception and discovery, counterfeiting and rewriting, transmission and identity and each stretching the bonds of trust and friendship. Buy Now

Jasper Jones

by Craig Silvey

Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie.

So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress.

Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it’s here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper’s horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu. Buy Now

The Book of Emmett

by Deborah Forster

A stunning first novel from a Melbourne author. The story of the Brown family will wrench at your heart and make you hug those you love ever tighter.

Emmett Brown is as dark as Heathcliff, and as unpredictable. Sometimes he’s an inspiration, but not often. He’s a man of booze and obsessions: one of them is his ‘System’, an attempt to bend the laws of probability. But when the lottery numbers and horses fail him, so do love and reason, and he becomes an ogre to his wife and children.

For the innocents – Louisa, Rob, Peter, Daniel and Jessie – the bonds formed hiding in hedges at the end of the street, waiting for the maelstroms to pass, are complex and unbreakable. Over the years, the consequences of Emmett’s rages shape both their spirits and psyches, but as he lies dying they discover that love – however imperfect – is the best defence against pain. Buy Now

Truth

by Peter Temple

At the close of a long day, Inspector Stephen Villani stands in the bathroom of a luxury apartment high above the city. In the glass bath, a young woman lies dead, a panic button within reach.

So begins the sequel to Peter Temple’s bestselling masterpiece, The Broken Shore, winner of the Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel.

Villani’s life is his work. It is his identity, his calling, his touchstone. But now, over a few sweltering summer days, as fires burn across the state and his superiors and colleagues scheme and jostle, he finds all the certainties of his life are crumbling. Truth is a novel about a man, a family, a city. It is about violence, murder, love, corruption, honour and deceit. And it is about truth. Buy Now

Butterfly

by Sonya Hartnett

On the verge of her fourteenth birthday, Plum knows her life will change. But she has no idea how.Over the coming weeks, her beautiful neighbour Maureen will show her how she might fly. Her adored older brothers will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends – her worst enemies – will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down.Who ever forgets what happens when you’re fourteen? Buy Now


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