Countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist: 30-21 as voted by you

We find ourselves at the halfway point of the countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist, as voted by you. Here’s the story so far:

50-31

Don’t forget to pencil in January 25th as a big day on the calender as we celebrate the Australia Day weekend in style with the announcement of Australia’s top 10 Favourite Novelists, as well as the launch of our Australian Stories Initiative. There will also be loads of discounts and freebies on offer for the weekend.


30. Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier currently lives in Western Australia. While Marillier writes mostly for adults, her recent books have included Cybele’s Secret, a sequel to her novel for young adults Wildwood Dancing.

Marillier has said that it takes her about a year to finish a novel and that she is often researching one book while writing another and editing a third. She also says that she usually bases a story on two elements: what the main character learns about herself and her world that makes this adventure personally significant; and the bigger picture, showing this character’s role in something outside herself, such as saving a community or forging peace between two warring tribes. The first idea reinforces the second, making the writing both personal and realistic.

Our Pick

Cybele’s Secret won a 2008 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel – Young Adult. Her latest release is “Flame of Sevenwaters”, a companion novel to the Sevenwaters trilogy.

Click here to go to Juliet Marillier’s author page


29. Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the ‘good drawer’ which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery.

Our Pick

Books such as The Rabbits, The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar’s WALL-E. He is currently directing a short film with Passion Pictures Australia; his most recently published book is The Oopsatoreum: inventions of Henry A. Mintox, written in conjunction with the Powerhouse Museum.

Click here to go to Shaun Tan’s author page


28. Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell has written six multi award-winning historical romances and her work is published in eleven languages.

She has won numerous awards for her Regency-set romances including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (four times).

Our Pick

Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. She launches her first series, “Sons of Sin”, with Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed in October 2012.

Click here to go to Anna Campbell’s author page


27. Sara Douglass

Sara Douglass was born in Penola, South Australia, and moved to Adelaide when she was seven. She spent her early working life as a nurse before completing three degrees at the University of Adelaide. After receiving a PhD in early modern English history,

Sara worked as a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at La Trobe University, Bendigo, until 2000.

Sara′s first novel, BattleAxe, was published in 1995 and she wrote a further 19 books of epic and historical fantasy fiction, a collection of short stories, and two books of non-fiction.

Our Pick

Three of her novels won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy and many were shortlisted.

Sara shifted to Hobart, Tasmania, in 2005 and lived there writing full-time until her death in September 2011.

Click here to go to Sara Douglass’ author page


26. Bronwyn Parry

International award winner Bronwyn Parry’s romantic thrillers set in Australia’s wild places have been published in Australia, the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic, with her third novel, Dead Heat, released in April 2012.

Our Pick

The manuscript for her first novel, As Darkness Falls,  won a prestigious Golden Heart Award from the Romance Writers of America, and her second novel, Dark Country, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America RITA awards – the Oscars of romance writing.

Dark Country  also won the Australian Romance Readers Association award for Favourite Romantic Suspense in 2010.

Click here to go to Bronwyn Parry’s author page


25. Kerry Greenwood

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.

Our Pick

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.

Click here to go to Kerry Greenwood’s author page


24. Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta’s first novel, Looking for Alibrandi, swept the pool of literary awards for young adult fiction in 1993, winning the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) among many others. In 2000 it was released as a major Australian film, winning an AFI award and an Independent Film Award for best screenplay as well as the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award.

Our Pick

Melina taught secondary school English and History for ten years, during which time she released her second novel, Saving Francesca, in 2003, followed by On the Jellicoe Road in 2006, and Finnikin of the Rock in 2008. Saving Francesca won the CBC Book of the Year Award for Older Readers. On the Jellicoe Road was also published in the US as Jellicoe Road, and it won the prestigious American Library Association’s Michael L Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2009. In 2008, Melina’s first work of fantasy, Finnikin of the Rock, won the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel and was shortlisted for the 2009 CBCA Award for Older Readers.

Melina’s most recent novel, The Piper’s Son, was published in 2010 and has been long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Melina’s novels have been published in more than sixteen countries and twelve languages.

Melina lives in Sydney, where she writes full-time.

Click here to go to Melina Marchetta’s author page


23. Garth Nix

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia. A full-time writer since 2001, he has worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve.

Our Pick

Garth’s books include the award-winning fantasy novels Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen; and the cult favourite YA SF novel Shade’s Children. His fantasy novels for children include The Ragwitch; the six books of The Seventh Tower sequence, and The Keys to the Kingdom series.

More than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world, his books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian and The Australian, and his work has been translated into 37 languages.

He lives in a Sydney beach suburb with his wife and two children.

Click here to go to Garth Nix’ author page


22. Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than twenty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both children and adults.

Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with The Gypsy Crown – which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, The Lightning Bolt, was also a CBCA Notable Book.

Our Pick

Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback, a bad-tempered black cat, and many thousands of books.

Click here to go to Kate Forsyth’s author page


21. Peter Carey

Peter Carey is one of only four writers to have won the Booker Prize twice—the others being J. M. Coetzee, J. G. Farrell and Hilary Mantel. Carey won his first Booker Prize in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda, and won for the second time in 2001 with True History of the Kelly Gang. In May 2008 he was nominated for the Best of the Booker Prize.

Carey has won the Miles Franklin Award three times and is frequently named as Australia’s next contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Our Pick

In addition to writing fiction, he collaborated on the screenplay of the film Until the End of the World with Wim Wenders and is executive director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York.

Click here to go to Peter Carey’s author page


Don’t forget to come back tomorrow at midday as we continue to countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

Don’t forget to pencil in January 25th as a big day on the calender as we celebrate the Australia Day weekend in style with the announcement of Australia’s top 10 Favourite Novelists, as well as the launch of our Australian Stories Initiative. There will also be loads of discounts and freebies on offer for the weekend.

Froi of the Exiles: BookTwo of the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

The Lumatere Chronicles

Froi of the Exiles (available in October 2011)

Blood sings to blood … Those born last will make the first … For Charyn will be barren no more.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home … or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior’s discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place.

It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood … and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

Gripping and intense, complex and richly imagined, Froi of the Exiles is a dazzling sequel to Finnikin of the Rock, from the internationally best-selling and Continue reading

The Miles Franklin Literary Award Longlist 2011

Congratulations to all of the longlisted authors!

Update: Click here for The 2011 Miles Franklin Award Shortlist

The longlisted authors are:

Jon Bauer – Rocks in the Belly

How far can you push a child before he snaps?

Rocks in the Belly tells the story of an eight-year-old boy and the adult he becomes. When he is young his mother fosters boys, despite the jealous turmoil it arouses in her son: jealousy that reaches unmanageable proportions when she fosters Robert, a child she can’t help bonding with. As the connection between them grows, the son’s envy triggers an event that profoundly changes everyone. Especially Robert.

At twenty-eight, still haunted by his childhood, the son returns to face his mother, who is now chronically ill. He hasn’t forgiven her for what happened to Robert, and yet she isn’t the same domineering woman anymore. Now she’s the dependent one and he the dominant force — a power he can’t help but abuse.

Written in two startlingly original voices, Rocks in the Belly is about the effortless destruction we wreak on one another in the simple pursuit of our own happiness, and a reminder that we never leave our childhood behind. A fast-paced, powerful, yet often beautiful and funny novel.

Order your copy of Rocks in the Belly here

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Honey Brown – The Good Daughter

Rebecca Toyer and Zach Kincaid each live on the outskirts of town, but come from very different sides of the tracks. When Zach’s wealthy mother goes missing, Rebecca – the truckie’s daughter – is implicated in her disappearance.

In the weeks that follow, Rebecca and Zach are drawn into a treacherous, adult world. Eager to please, Rebecca finds herself in danger of living up to the schoolyard taunts she so hates, while Zach channels his feelings through the sights of his gun.

In the fading summer light, grudges are nursed and tempers fray, and as old lies unravel it seems nobody can be relied on. But beyond the fallout, the hard lessons in love and betrayal have not been wasted. Rebecca and Zach realise that judgements can be flawed – and that trust is better earnt than given.

Original, unsettling and compelling, The Good Daughter is the much-anticipated second novel from Continue reading

Melina Marchetta hits the right note with The Piper’s Son

A welcome return to form from Melina Marchetta who captured the hearts and minds of young adults (and their mums) with Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca. Marchetta did garner new fans with Finnikin of the Rock and On the Jellicoe Road, but she is at her best in the inner city and it is here that she has returned with The Piper’s Son.  I have long been a big fan, but I am leaving the running here to Shoshana Booth, who is bang smack in her target market, and who is much more eloquent than I on the subject of the very talented Ms Marchetta.

Here is her review.

I don’t think any Australian girl twenty years or under should miss the phenomenon that was Looking for Alibrandi, Marchetta’s debut novel set in Leichardt, Sydney. Written from a sixteen-year old Italian-Australian’s point of view, Marchetta explored race, cultural identity, exams, boys, and growing up. In her second novel, Saving Francesca, the main character a teenager with a similar background, but this time dealing with depression, family obligation, and (of course) growing up. Personally, I preferred Saving Francesca – I found it funny, insightful and so honest I cried (several times). I have just re-read Saving Francesca in anticipation of her Continue reading

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