Countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist: 20-11 as voted by you

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

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

We hope you’re all looking forward to tomorrow when we unveil  Australia’s top 10 Favourite Novelists, as well as the launch of our Australian Stories Initiative. Booktopia is proudly Australian Owned and Operated and we all love Australian books. So we thought, well, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what we’ve got in store for you. Let’s just say buying Australian Books has never been easier.

Plus there will be loads of discounts and freebies on offer from tomorrow through to Monday.

But what a list we have for you today. 20-11 in the voting. Sit back and enjoy.


Our Pick

20. Helen Garner

Helen Garner’s first novel, Monkey Grip, was published in 1977, and immediately established her as an original voice on the Australian literary scene. She is known for incorporating and adapting her personal experiences in her fiction, something that has brought her both praise and criticism, particularly with her novels, Monkey Grip and The Spare Room.

Throughout her career, Garner has written both fiction and non-fiction. She attracted controversy with her book The First Stone about a sexual harassment scandal in a university college. She has also written for film and theatre, and has consistently won awards for her work.

Our Pick

In subsequent books, she has continued to adapt her personal experiences. Her later novels include The Children’s Bach and Cosmo Cosmolino. In 2008 she returned to fiction writing with the publication of The Spare Room, a fictional treatment of caring for a dying cancer patient, based on the illness and death of Garner’s friend Jenya Osborne. She has also published several short story collections: Honour & Other People’s Children: two stories, Postcards from Surfers and My Hard Heart: Selected Fictions.

Click here to go to Helen Garner’s author page


19. Fiona McIntosh

Fiona McIntosh is a fantasy author originally born in Brighton, England. At the age of nineteen, she travelled first to Paris and later to Australia, where she has lived ever since.

She worked for many years in the travel industry but after her shift to full-time writing she roams the world researching and drawing inspiration for her novels.

Our Pick

Adelaide is her home base, which she shares with her husband and twin sons, but Fiona does most of her writing from the peace of southern Tasmania.

To date she has written 24 adult novels across various genres and seven novels for children.

Click here to go to Fiona McIntosh’s author page


18. Keri Arthur

Keri Arthur first started writing when she was twelve years old, and to date, she’s finished fifteen novels.

Her books have received many nominations and prizes, including making the final five in the Random House Australia George Turner Prize.

Our Pick

She has also been nominated in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards, received a ‘perfect 10′ from Romance Reviews Today, as well as being nominated for Best Shapeshifter in PNR’s PEARL Awards.

She’s a dessert and function cook by trade, and married to a man who not only supports her writing, but who also does the majority of the housework. They have one daughter, and live in Melbourne,

Click here to go to Keri Arthur’s author page


17. Dianne Blacklock

Dianne Blacklock was born in Sydney and grew up in the St George area, completed a bachelor of arts degree at the University of NSW, then married, raising four children. She has been a teacher, trainer, counsellor and market researchers.

Dianne was 39 and a part-time TAFE communications teacher when her first novel was chosen from the “slush pile” of unsolicited manuscripts at Pan Macmillan in 2000.

Our Pick

She has since had eight novels published, Call Waiting, Wife for Hire, Almost Perfect, False Advertising, Crossing Paths, Three’s a Crowd, The Right Time and The Secret Ingredient.

When she’s not writing she goes on rampages through the house, cleaning and emptying out cupboards and making everyone do extra chores. Needless to say, the family prefers it when she’s writing.

Click here to go to Dianne Blacklock’s author page


16. Geraldine Brooks

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issues.

In 1982 she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City. Later she worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans.

Our Pick

She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel March. Her first novel, Year of Wonders, is an international bestseller, and People of the Book is a New York Times bestseller translated into 20 languages. She is also the author of the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence.

Click here to go to Geraldine Brooks’ author page


15. Kate Grenville

Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s best-known authors. She’s published  eight books of fiction and four books about the writing process. Her best-known works include the international best-seller The Secret River,  The Idea of Perfection, The Lieutenant and Lilian’s Story.

The Secret River has won many prizes, including the Commonwealth Prize for Literature and the Christina Stead Prize. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Miles Franklin Award.

Our Pick

Several of her novels have been made into major feature films, and all have been translated into European and Asian languages.

In March 2010 Kate Grenville was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of New South Wales and in November 2012 she was awarded the same honour by the University of Sydney.

Click here to go to Kate Grenville’s author page


14. Mandy Magro

Mandy Magro lives in the picturesque country township of Mossman, North Queensland, with her husband and daughter.

Our Pick

She loves writing about the Australian outback and all the wonderful characters that live there, and her own adventures on the land have made her the passionate country woman she is today.

Her previous novels include Rosalee Station and Jacaranda.

Click here to go to Mandy Magro’s author page


13. Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of ten novels: Ice Station, Temple, Contest, Area 7, Scarecrow, Hover Car Racer, Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones, The Five Greatest Warriors and Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves.

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.

Our Pick

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.

Click here to go to Matthew Reilly’s author page


12. Nick Earls

Nick Earls writes long, short and medium-sized fiction, so far including twelve novels and numerous shorter works. With the publication of the first installment of the Word Hunters series in September 2012, he is now officially also a writer for children.

Reputable reviewers have compared his work with that of Nick Hornby, Raymond Carver, Martin Amis, VS Naipaul, JD Salinger, Woody Allen and Jeffrey Eugenides, which just goes to show that, if you write enough and publish enough, anything can come your way.

Our Pick

He is the winner of a Betty Trask Award (UK) and Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award. Perfect Skin was the only novel to be a finalist in the Australian Comedy Awards in 2003, and was adapted into a feature film in Italy (Solo un Padre, Warner Brothers/Cattleya). 48 Shades of Brown was a Kirkus Reviews (US) book of the year selection, and was adapted into a feature film in Australia (Buena Vista/Prima). Five of his novels have been adapted into stage plays.

He has also written for newspapers, including the New York Times, the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He was born in Northern Ireland, but has spent most of his life in Australia, where many of his books have been bestsellers.

Click here to go to Nick Earls’ author page


11. Mem Fox

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.

Our Pick

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.

Click here to go to Mem Fox’s author page


Don’t forget to come back tomorrow at midday as we announce the Top 10 votes for Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

Get Reading with Booktopia

Here is a question for you. Is there a scent that you associate with books? I don’t mean the smell of the paper, or the leather when you walk into a room full of old books. I mean, is there a smell that immediately transports you to reading heaven? Do you associate a perfume with a particular memory of reading, or a particular book?

For me, it is an easy ask. The minute I catch even a whiff of jasmine, I am in sensory heaven – jasmine poking through the paling fence, a sprig or two tucked behind one ear, sun on my back, book in my hand, sheltered from the cold early spring wind in a walled courtyard, pot of tea steaming by my Continue reading

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

I just wanted to share my excitement about the imminent publication of Geraldine Brooks’ new book, Caleb’s Crossing.

Geraldine’s particular passion is for bringing to vivid life shards of little known history. With Year of Wonders we were all instantly transported to the terror and the marvel that was the English plague of the mid-seventeenth century. In People of the Book she illuminated the Jewish world going back through the centuries, and in March, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize, she gave us a compelling alternative view on Little Women.

I am only about a third of the way through my proof of Caleb’s Crossing, and I haven’t yet sighted a finished copy. So far it has proved itself to be beautifully written, measured in pace, nourishing to the imagination and utterly compelling to read.

As to the theme, it puts me in mind of some other great Australian novelists who have so recreated that clash of civilisation brought about when a colonising force comes face to face with first people – Kate Grenville’s Secret River, Richard Flanagan’s Wanting, and most recently (and probably most authentically) Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance. As an aside, it is fascinating to read an Australian’s take (albeit she probably has dual citizenship by now) to an American story.

Caleb’s Crossing is available from May 1 and can be pre-ordered now. A beautiful hardback edition is also available.

In the meantime, go here to read Brooks’ answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions.

As for her fascinating forays into non-fiction, try Nine Parts of Desire.

Geraldine Brooks spent six years covering the Middle East through wars, insurrections, and the volcanic upheaval of resurgent fundamentalism. Yet for her, headline events were only the backdrop to a less obvious but more enduring drama: the daily life of Muslim women. Nine Parts of Desire is the story of Brooks’ intrepid journey toward an understanding of the women behind the veils, and of the often contradictory political, religious, and cultural forces that shape their lives. Defying our stereotypes about the Muslim world, Brooks’ acute analysis of the world’s fastest growing religion deftly illustrates how Islam’s holiest texts have been misused to justify repression of women, and how male pride and power have warped the original message of a once liberating faith

In Foreign Correspondence, Geraldine Brooks longs to discover the vivid places where she believes history and culture are made. Penfriends from the Middle East, France and America offer her the window she craves on life beyond Australia’s isolated backyard. With the aid of their letters, Brooks turns her bedroom into the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, the barricades of Parisian student protests and the swampy fields of an embattled kibbutz. Twenty years later and worlds away from her sheltered girlhood, Brooks is an award-winning foreign correspondent covering war and famine. Still intrigued by the foreign correspondents of her adolescence, she embarks on a human treasure hunt in Israel, France and the US to find them.

Geraldine Brooks, author of Caleb’s Crossing, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Pulitzer Prize Winner

Geraldine Brooks

author of Caleb’s Crossing, Year of Wonders, Nine Parts of Desire and more…

Ten Terrifying Questions

——————————

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born on Bland Street, Ashfield in Sydney’s inner west. Raised in nearby Concord. Schooled at St Mary’s Concord, Bethlehem Ladies College Ashfield, University of Sydney, Columbia University, New York City.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

A journalist, from the time I was eight years old. My father worked as a proof reader for a Sydney newspaper, and I loved the feel of the presses rolling underfoot, the ink-misted air, the spin of the newsprint through space and the feel of the paper when I took it off the conveyor belt, warm in my hand. Hot off the presses. The sense of being the first to know the news.

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

That it was easy to change the world for the better. I lived through a period of miraculous reform during the brief Whitlam years. It made me over optimistic. Now I know that the forces of reaction are hideously tenacious.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

When I was very young, my big sister took me to the Art Gallery of NSW to see an exhibition of Rodin sculptures. I loved, especially, the Burghers of Calais. There was a whole story told there.

I was in my 20s when I saw my first Papunya Tula painting. It changed forever the way I looked at the Australian landscape. Continue reading

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

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