To celebrate January, Booktopia’s Month of Australian Stories, we asked you just who is Australia’s Favourite Novelist. The response was overwhelming, and after tens of thousands of votes were cast, these are the results.
Australia’s 50 Favourite Australian Novelists for 2013. If you aren’t familiar with any of them, there’s no better time than now to get familiar and celebrate Australian Literature this year with Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore.
50. Peter Temple
Peter Temple is the author of nine novels, including four books in the Jack Irish series. He has won the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction five times, and his widely acclaimed novels have been published in over twenty countries.
The Broken Shore won the UK’s prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger for the best crime novel of 2007 and Truth won the 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the first time a crime writer has won an award of this calibre anywhere in the world.
Temple’s first two novels Bad Debts and Black Tide have been made into films with Guy Pearce starring as Jack Irish.
49. Jay Kristoff
Jay Kristoff was born and brought up in Perth. He grew up reading and collecting books and spent most of his free time playing Dungeons & Dragons.
He graduated with an Arts degree and then spent ten years in the field of creative advertising for which he won several awards.
Jay is the author of The Lotus Trilogy, a Japanese-inspired fantasy series published in 2012.
He currently lives in Melbourne with his wife and dog.
Nikki Gemmell has written the novels, Shiver, Cleave, Lovesong, The Bride Stripped Bare, Wih My Body and The Book Of Rapture, as well as the non-fiction book, Pleasure: An Almanac for the Heart. Her work has been internationally critically acclaimed and translated into many languages.
In France she’s been described as a female Jack Kerouac, in Australia as one of the most original and engaging authors of her generation and in the US as one of the few truly original voices to emerge in a long time.
The French literary review “Lire” has included her in a list of what it calls the fifty most important writers in the world – the ones it believes will have a significant influence on the literature of the 21st century. The criteria for selection included a very individual voice and unmistakeable style, as well as an original choice of subject. Nikki Gemmell was selected along with such novelists as Rick Moody, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Froer, Rohinton Mistry, Tim Winton, Colum McCann, Michel Faber and Hari Kunzru among others.
Charlotte Wood is the author of four novels – Pieces of a Girl, The Submerged Cathedral, The Children and Animal People, as well as a collection of short personal reflections on cooking, Love & Hunger.
She was also editor of the anthology of writing about siblings, Brothers & Sisters (2009). Her books have been critically well received and frequently short-listed for prizes.
Animal People was longlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award. She has a background in journalism and has also taught writing at a variety of levels.
She currently lives in Sydney. She is working on a fifth novel. Charlotte Wood also writes about food and cooking at her blog, http://www.howtoshuckanoyster.com.
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 15 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 has had a long-standing collaboration with illustrator Terry Denton. Their latest collaboration is The 13-Storey Treehouse which was voted ABIA’s 2012 Book of the Year for Older Readers, and September 2012 sees the hugely anticipated The 26-Storey Treehouse. Meanwhile Andy and Terry are also working on a collection of inspirational writing exercises called Once Upon a Slime for English teachers and emerging writers and illustrators to be published in April 2013.
Di Morrissey is one of Australia’s most popular female novelists. She grew up in Pittwater, north of Sydney.
She became a journalist on London’s Fleet Street, and worked for CBS in Honolulu. After moving back to Australia, she published her first book ‘Heart of the Dreaming’ which instantly became a bestseller. Since then she has published another 20 bestsellers.
Morrissey is an environmentalist and activist. She has been a longtime supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi and has visited Burma several times where she is now helping raise funds to build a monastery school in Sagaing. Morrissey’s latest book, The Golden Land, is set in Burma.
Christina Stead (1902-1983) was an Australian novelist and short-story writer acclaimed for her satirical wit and psychological penetration. She wrote 15 novels and several volumes of short stories in her lifetime.
Her first novel, Seven Poor Men of Sydney, dealt with the lives of radicals and dockworkers. Stead’s best-known novel, with the ironic title The Man Who Loved Children, is largely based on her own childhood, and was first published in 1940. It was not until the poet Randall Jarrell wrote the introduction for a new American edition in 1965 that the novel began to receive a larger audience.
In 2005, the magazine Time included The Man Who Loved Children in their “100 Best Novels from 1923–2005”, and in 2010 American author Jonathan Franzen hailed the novel as a “masterpiece” in The New York Times. Stead’s Letty Fox: Her Luck, often regarded as an equally fine novel, was officially banned in Australia for several years because it was considered amoral and salacious.
Christos Tsiolkas was born in Melbourne in 1965. Loaded, his first novel, was published in 1995 and later made into the award-winning film Head On. In 1996 he collaborated with Sasha Soldatow on the dialogue Jump Cuts. His novel The Jesus Man was published in 1999.
He is the author of several plays including Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?, Dead Caucasians and Non Parlo di Salo, co-written with Spiro Economopoulos.
His critically acclaimed novel Dead Europe was published in 2005 and in 2008 he reached bestselling status with the bold The Slap which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award.
Rachael Treasure currently lives in southern rural Tasmania with her two young children, Rosie and Charlie. Her three novels, Jillaroo, The Stockmen, and The Rouseabout, have all been bestsellers in Australia, selling more than 100,000 combined copies by the end of 2007. in 2008 Random House signed her to a 4 book contract for British release.
A former jillaroo and reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on rural affairs, she is a passionate working dog trainer and in 2007 received Tasmania’s rural woman of the year award.
Morris Gleitzman grew up in England and came to Australia when he was sixteen. He was a frozen-chicken thawer, sugar-mill rolling-stock unhooker, fashion-industry trainee, student, department-store Santa, TV producer, newspaper columnist and screenwriter until he wrote his first children’s novel in 1993.
He is now one of the world’s best-known and loved children’s authors. Gleitzman tackles tough subjects in a funny and offbeat way . He has never set out to write “issues books” and says that his writing is as much for himself as for his readers.
Fleur McDonald grew up in Orrorroo, South Australia but completed her secondary education in Adelaide.
After school she spent a couple of years jillarooing in South Australia and Western Australia.
Fleur lives with her husband and two children on a station near Esperance in Western Australia. She is highly involved in the daily management of their 8000 acres.
She is the author of the bestselling novels Red Dust, Blue Skies and Purple Roads.
Jackie French’s writing career spans sixteen years, 42 wombats, 120 books for kids and adults, translations into nineteen languages, and slightly more awards than wombats, both in Australia and overseas.
Her books range from provocative historical fiction such as Hitler’s Daughter and They Came on Viking Ships to the hilarious international bestseller, Diary of a Wombat with Bruce Whatley, as well as many nonfiction titles such as The Fascinating History of Your Lunch, and To the Moon and Back (with Bryan Sullivan), the history of Australia’s Honeysuckle Creek and man’s journey to the moon.
In 2000, Hitler’s Daughter was awarded the CBC Younger Readers’ Award. To the Moon and Back won the Eve Pownall Award in 2005. Macbeth and Son, and Josephine Wants to Dance were both shortlisted for the 2007 CBC Awards.
Colin Milton Thiele (1920 – 2006) was renowned for his award-winning children’s fiction, most notably the novels Storm Boy, Blue Fin, the Sun on the Stubble series, and February Dragon.
Thiele wrote more than 100 books, which often described life in rural Australia, particularly the Eudunda, Barossa Valley, and Murray River/Coorong regions of South Australia. Several of his books have been made into films or television series.
In 1977 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, the second highest level of the order, for his services to literature and education.
Colleen McCullough was born in western New South Wales in 1937. A neuroscientist by training, she worked in various Sydney and English hospitals before settling into ten years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the USA.
In 1974 her first novel, Tim, was published in New York, followed by the bestselling The Thorn Birds in 1977 and a string of successful novels, including the acclaimed Masters of Rome series.
In 1980 she settled in Norfolk Island, where she lives with her husband, Ric Robinson, and a cat named Shady.
Fiona Palmer lives in the tiny rural town of Pingaring in Western Australia, three and a half hours south-east of Perth.
She discovered Danielle Steel at the age of eleven, and has now written her own brand of rural romance.
She has attended romance writers’ groups and received an Australian Society of Authors mentorship for her first novel, The Family Farm. She has followed on from its success with two more novels Heart of Gold and The Road Home.
Patrick White was born in England in 1912 and taken to Australia, where his father owned a sheep farm, when he was six months old. He was educated in England and served in the RAF, before returning to Australia after World War II.
Happy Valley, White’s first novel, is set in a small country town in the Snowy Mountains and is based on his experiences in the early 1930s as a jackaroo at Bolaro, near Adaminaby in south-eastern New South Wales.
White went on to publish twelve further novels (one posthumously), three short-story collections and eight plays. His novels include The Aunt’s Story and Voss, which won the inaugural Miles Franklin Literary Award, The Eye of the Storm and The Twyborn Affair.
He was the first Australian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1973, and is considered one of the foremost novelists of the twentieth century.
David Malouf is the author of ten novels and six volumes of poetry.
His novel The Great World was awarded both the prestigious Commonwealth Prize and the Prix Femina Estranger. Remembering Babylon was short-listed for the Booker Prize.
He has also received the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He won the inaugural Australia-Asia Literary Award in 2008
He has lived in England and Tuscany however for the past three decades most of his time has been spent in Sydney.
Tara Moss is the author of the bestselling crime novels Fetish, Split, Covet, Hit and Siren. Her novels have been published in seventeen countries in eleven languages, and have earned critical acclaim around the world.
Her non-fiction writing has appeared in The Australian Literary Review, Vogue, ELLE, The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, among other publications.
Moss hosted Natgeo Presents and the international crime documentary series Tara Moss Investigates on the National Geographic Channel, and has participated as a guest and panelist on numerous popular TV programs. She has also conducted hundreds of talks at literary festivals, schools, universities and corporate events.
The Paul Jennings phenomenon began with the publication of Unreal! in 1985. Since then, readers all around the world have devoured his books.
Paul Jennings has written over one hundred stories and has been voted ‘favourite author’ over forty times by children in Australia, winning every children’s choice award.
The top-rating TV series Round the Twist and Driven Crazy are based on a selection of his enormously popular short-story collections such as Unseen! which was awarded the 1999 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Children’s Book.
In 1995 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to children’s literature and was awarded the prestigious Dromkeen Medal in 2001. Paul has sold more than 8 million books worldwide.
Keneally was known as “Mick” until 1964 but began using the name Thomas when he started publishing, after advice from his publisher to use what was really his first name. He is most famous for his Schindler’s Ark (later republished as Schindler’s List), which won the Booker Prize and is the basis of the film Schindler’s List.
Many of his novels are reworkings of historical material, although modern in their psychology and style.
In 1983 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. In March 2009, the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, gave an autographed copy of Keneally’s biography Lincoln to President Barack Obama as a state gift.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mandy Magro lives in the picturesque country township of Mossman, North Queensland, with her husband and daughter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations Markus on coming 8th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations John on coming 4th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.
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.
Congratulations Monica on coming 3rd in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.
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.
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.
A huge congratulations to Kate Morton on being voted Australia’s Favourite Novelist. After tens of thousands of votes were cast, it became clear that early favourite Tim Winton would be trumped by the international bestseller from Brisbane.
Raised on a healthy diet of Enid Blyton, Morton decided to become a writer after completing a summer Shakespeare course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Putting her dreams of acting aside she concentrated on writing and completed two manuscripts (which may never see the light of day) and began to construct the narrative of what would eventually become the bestseller The Shifting Fog.
Kate Morton’s books are published in 38 countries. The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 and a New York Times bestseller in 2008. The Shifting Fog won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards, and The House at Riverton was nominated for Most Popular Book at the British Book Awards in 2008.
Her second book, The Forgotten Garden, was a #1 bestseller in Australia and Spain, and a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2008. It won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2009 Australian Book Industry Awards and was a New York Times bestseller in 2009. The Distant Hours was an international bestseller in 2010 and won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2011 ABIAs.
Congratulations Kate on being named Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.
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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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