After three weeks of nominations and voting, with over 80,000 votes cast, we have our Top 50 Australian Authors for 2016 as voted by you!
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.
49. 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.
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 many more novels all bestsellers.
Anh Do (born 2 June 1977) is a Vietnamese-born Australian author, actor and comedian. He has appeared on many Australian TV shows such as Thank God You’re Here and Good News Week, and was runner-up on Dancing With The Stars in 2007. He studied a combined Business Law degree at the University of Technology, Sydney.
He is the brother of film director Khoa Do and has acted in several of Khoa’s films, including Footy Legends, which he co-wrote and produced. In 2012, his TV show Anh Does Vietnam began airing.
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 launched her first series, “Sons of Sin”, with Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed in October 2012.
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.
Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author.
He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood.
Paterson’s more notable poems include Waltzing Matilda, The Man from Snowy River and Clancy of the Overflow.
On the night of Paterson’s death, Vance Palmer broadcasted a tribute: ‘He laid hold both of our affections and imaginations; he made himself a vital part of the country we all know and love, and it would not only have been a poorer country but one far less united in bonds of intimate feeling, if he had never lived and written’.
Anita is a writer, poet, activist, social commentator and academic. She is the author of Yirra and her deadly dog, Demon, I’m not racist, but…, My Story: the diary of Mary Talence, and a series of bestselling chick lit novels including Not Meeting Mr Right, Manhattan Dreaming and Paris Dreaming.
Her work has been shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Young People’s History Prize and she has won the DEADLY award for writing a number of times.
She is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, but grew up in Matraville, Sydney.
Helene won the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012 and was shortlisted in 2013.
She was also voted most popular romantic suspense author by the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) in 2010 and 2011, and was shortlisted for the same award in 2012. Burning Lies was shortlisted for the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award Mystery/Suspense in America.
When she’s not writing or flying with Australia’s largest regional airline you can find Helene sailing the high seas with her partner, Capt G, and Zeus the salty sea dog, aboard their catamaran Roo Bin Esque.
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.
Charlotte Wood is the author of five novels and a book of non-fiction, and editor of The Writer’s Room Interviews magazine.
Her novel, Animal People, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award and her other books have been shortlisted for many prizes including the Miles Franklin and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.
The Australian described her as “one of our finest and most chameleonic writers”. She lives in Sydney.
Liz Byrski was born and brought up in England and has lived in Western Australia since 1981.
She is the author of a number of non-fiction books, and has worked as a staff and freelance journalist, a broadcaster with ABC Radio and an adviser to a minister in the WA Government.
Liz now lectures in professional writing at Curtin University. She is also the author of Gang of Four; Food, Sex and Money; Belly Dancing for Beginners; Trip of a Lifetime, Bad Behaviour and Last Chance Café.
Hugh Mackay is a social researcher and the author of sixteen books – ten in the field of social psychology and ethics, and six novels. His latest book, The Art of Belonging, was published in 2014, and his sixth novel, Infidelity, was published in 2013.
In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, he has been elected a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW and Western Sydney universities.
A newspaper columnist for over 25 years, Hugh is currently an honorary professor of social science at the University of Wollongong, an adjunct professor in the faculty of arts at Charles Sturt University, and a patron of the Asylum Seekers’ Centre. He was previously deputy chairman of the Australia Council, chairman of trustees of Sydney Grammar School and the inaugural chairman of the ACT government’s Community Inclusion Board. In 2015, Hugh was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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.
Judy Nunn’s career has been long, illustrious and multifaceted. After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for television and radio, Judy decided in the 90s to turn her hand to prose.
Her first three novels, The Glitter Game, Centre Stage and Araluen, set respectively in the worlds of television, theatre and film, became instant bestsellers, and the rest is history, quite literally in fact. She has since developed a love of writing Australian historically-based fiction and her fame as a novelist has spread rapidly throughout Europe where she is published in English, German, French, Dutch, Czech and Spanish.
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.
Fiona McCallum spent her childhood years on the family cereal and wool farm outside a small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. An avid reader and writer, she decided at the age of nine that she wanted to be the next Enid Blyton! She completed her final years of schooling at a private boarding school in Adelaide.
Fiona writes “heart-warming journey of self-discovery stories”. Her first novel Paycheque was released on April 1, 2011 and became an ‘instant bestseller’. Her second novel Nowhere Else was an even bigger hit, outselling Paycheque by early January 2012.
Fiona’s third novel, Wattle Creek, was released April 1 2012. Wattle Creek’s success saw it chosen as one of the Get Reading! “50 Books You Can’t Put Down” for 2012.
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.
Di Morrissey is one of the most successful authors Australia has ever produced. She trained as a journalist, working in the media around the world. Her fascination with different countries; their landscape, their cultural, political and environmental issues, forms the inspiration for her novels.
Her first book Heart of the Dreaming instantly became a bestseller. Since then she has published another 20 bestsellers.
Di Morrissey’s books have touched the hearts and emotions of readers around the world. She writes about personal relationships, the environment, Aboriginal reconciliation, identity and Australia’s relationship with its South East Asian and Pacific neighbours. All her novels are inspired by a particular landscape.
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of five 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 in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his novel, The Slap, which was also announced as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer.
He lives in Melbourne. Christos’ latest novel is Barracuda, which was published here and in the UK to rave reviews in late 2013 and became an instant bestseller.
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author.
She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into six different languages.
She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films.
Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.
Alison Lester is one of Australia’s most popular and bestselling creators of children’s books.
She has won many awards, including the 2005 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award for Are We There Yet? and the 2012 CBCA Eve Pownall Book of the Year Award for One Small Island.
Her picture books include Running With the Horses, a story based on the evacuation of the world-famous Lipizzaner horses from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna during World War Two; One Small Island, about the possibility of hope and environmental preservation for a World Heritage listed island and for the world itself; Sophie Scott Goes South about a little girl’s voyage to Antarctica and the sense of wonder that it brings; and Kissed by the Moon, a lyrical celebration of the natural world and all that it has to offer a child.
Alison lives on a farm in the Victorian countryside. She spends part of each year travelling to schools around Australia, helping students and teachers develop their own stories.
Tara Moss is an author, journalist, TV presenter and human rights advocate. Since 1999 she has written 10 bestselling books, published in 19 countries and 13 languages, including the acclaimed Mak Vanderwall crime fiction series and the Pandora English series.
She is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney, and has earned her private investigator credentials (Cert III) from the Australian Security Academy.
Her first non-fiction book, the critically acclaimed The Fictional Woman, was published in 2014 and became a number one national non-fiction bestseller, and her iconic cover design, featuring her face labeled with ‘fictions’ or stereotypes about women won Best Non-Fiction Book Design at the Australia Book Design Awards in 2015 with HarperCollins Publishers.
27. 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.
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.
Fiona McIntosh is an internationally bestselling author of novels for adults and children.
Originally born in Brighton, England, at the age of nineteen, McIntosh travelled first to Paris and later to Australia, where she has lived ever since.
She is a travel columnist and co-founded an award-winning travel magazine with her husband, which they ran for fifteen years before Fiona became a full-time author.
Fiona now roams the world researching and drawing inspiration for her novels. Although Adelaide is her family’s home, she admits her best writing is done from the peace of Tasmania.
Tony Park was born in 1964 and grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. He has worked as a newspaper reporter in Australia and England, a government press secretary, a public relations consultant, and freelance writer. His novels have been acclaimed bestsellers since his very first, Far Horizon.
He is also a Major in the Australian Army Reserve and served six months in Afghanistan in 2002 as the public affairs officer for the Australian ground forces.
He and his wife, Nicola, divide their time between their home in Sydney and South Africa, where they own a tent and a Series III Land Rover.
24. Jacqueline Harvey
It wasn’t until November 2012, that Jacqueline Harvey took the giant step away from a 20 year career in schools as a teacher, Deputy Head of Junior School and most recently, Director of Development, to become a full time writer.
Jacqueline Harvey’s bestselling Alice-Miranda series began as an idea for a picture book but it soon became apparent that this perpetually positive seven-and-a-quarter-year-old had a lot more to say. The series has been sold to the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil (for Portuguese translation) and has been shortlisted for children’s book awards in Australia.
The Clementine Rose series for younger readers has followed closely in the footsteps of Alice-Miranda’s success, with the series being sold to the United Kingdom and Brazil. Jacqueline’s first and only picture book, The Sound of the Sea was an Honour Book in the 2006 Children’s Book Council Awards.
Jacqueline lives in Sydney with her husband Ian and is currently working on more Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose adventures. She relishes any opportunity to get back into school and work with the children who inspire her writing. In her spare time she likes to play golf in exotic locations.
23. 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.
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 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, and The Lieutenant.
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.
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.
John Flanagan grew up in Sydney, Australia hoping to be a writer. It wasn’t until he wrote a highly uncomplimentary poem about a senior executive at the agency where he worked, however, that his talent was revealed.
John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series originally comprised twenty short stories, which John wrote to encourage his twelve-year-old son, Michael, to enjoy reading. Ten years after writing them he decided to turn them into a novel to publish.
The series has come a long way since then, having been on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 80 weeks, with over 5 million copies being sold in the US alone.
The Ranger’s Apprentice series and his Brotherband series are available in more than one hundred countries, and have had multiple award shortlistings and wins in Australia and overseas.
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.
In 2007, Graeme completed his PhD in information systems and enrolled in the professional screenwriting course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He has made a number of short films and his screenplay, The Rosie Project, won the Australian Writers Guild/Inception Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script in 2010. While waiting for The Rosie Project to be produced, he turned it into a novel which in June 2012 won the Victorian Premier’s award for an unpublished fiction manuscript.
Readers of The Rosie Project will know that Graeme Simsion has a first-class sense of humour. At professional conferences he has given addresses from on top of a ladder, dressed as a duck, and he once engaged a group of spellbound chartered accountants in community singing.
Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985. As a teenager she travelled to Iceland on a Rotary Exchange, where she first heard the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir.
Hannah is the co-founder and publishing director of Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings, and is completing her PhD at Flinders University.
In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award.
Burial Rites is her first novel. It has been translated into twenty languages.
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.
Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. He is descended from Irish convicts transported to Van Diemen’s Land in the 1840s. His father is a survivor of the Burma Death Railway. One of his three brothers is Australian Rules football journalist Martin Flanagan. He grew up in the remote mining town of Rosebery on Tasmania’s western coast.
His novels, Death Of A River Guide, The Sound Of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book Of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, Wanting and The Narrow Road to the Deep North have received numerous honours and are published in twenty-six countries.
He directed a feature film version of The Sound Of One Hand Clapping. A collection of his essays is published as And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?
His latest book The Narrow Road to the Deep North won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
13. 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. He has remained one of Australia’s most popular writers even after his passing in November 2012.
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.
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 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 Shifting Fog was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007, a New York Times bestseller in the US, won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards and 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. Kate was voted Australia’s Favourite Novelist by Booktopians in 2013.
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.
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.
Last year’s The 65-Storey Treehouse by Andy and illustrator Terry Denton was the bestselling book in Australia in 2015 with 312,000 copies being sold. Its predecessor The 52-Storey Treehouse was named Book o f the Year at the 2015 Australian Book Industry Awards – the first time a children’s book had received the accolade – and was the best-selling book in Australia in 2014.
The first book in the series, The 13-Storey Treehouse, meanwhile, has been turned into a stage play.
One of the novelists of his generation, Tim Winton’s literary reputation was established early when his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the 1981 Australian Vogel Award; his second novel Shallows, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1984; and his third book, Scission, a collection of short stories, won the West Australian Council Literary Award in 1985.
Winton’s fifth novel, Cloudstreet, the story of two working-class families rebuilding their lives, was a huge literary and commercial success. It has been a best seller since its publication in 1991 and was recently voted the most popular Australian novel by the Australian Society of Authors. Awards include National Book Council Banjo Award for Fiction, 1991; West Australian Fiction Award 1991; Deo Gloria Award (UK), 1991 and the 1992 Miles Franklin Award.
In 2001 his novel, Dirt Music, was published to considerable critical acclaim and impressive reviews. The book was shortlisted for the 2002 Mann Booker Prize and won the 2002 Miles Franklin Award, the West Australian Fiction Award and the Christina Stead Award for Fiction. Film rights have been optioned to Phil Noyce’s film company, Rumbalara Films, with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz reportedly set to star in the film.
Winton’s last novel, Eyrie, was another triumph, being nominated by many critics as their favourite book of 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.
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 40, 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.
One of the stars of Australian fiction, Monica McInerney is the Australian-born Dublin-based author of the best-selling novels Hello from the Gillespies, The House of Memories, Lola’s Secret, At Home with the Templetons, Those Faraday Girls, Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters, Spin the Bottle (Greetings from Somewhere Else in the USA), Upside Down Inside Out and A Taste for It; the novella Odd One Out and a short story collection All Together Now, published internationally and in translation. Her articles and short stories have appeared in newspapers, magazines and anthologies in Australia, the UK and Ireland.
The House of Memories was a Number 1 Australian bestseller and was shortlisted for the 2013 Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Awards in the UK in the Contemporary Romantic Novel category. Lola’s Secretwas shortlisted for the General Fiction Book of the Year in the 2012 Australian Book Industry Awards. At Home with the Templetons was a Number 1 bestseller in Australia and was shortlisted for the General Fiction Book of the Year in the 2011 Australian Book Industry Awards and for the Eason Popular Fiction Award in the 2010 Irish Book Awards. Those Faraday Girls won the General Fiction Book of the Year in the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards. All Together Now was shortlisted in the same category in the 2009 Australian Book Industry Awards.
In 2006, Monica was the main ambassador for the Australian Government’s Books Alive national reading campaign, for which she wrote a limited edition novella called Odd One Out.
For more than 20 years, she and her Irish husband have been moving back and forth between Australia and Ireland. They currently live in Dublin.
Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of 12 novels. In 2005, Matthew was the first author to participate in the Australian Government’s ‘Books Alive’ initiative, for which he wrote the short novel Hell Island, featuring Shane Schofield. Over 200,000 copies of that work were given away for free in August of 2005.
Matthew’s books are published in over 20 languages and he has sold over 3.5 million books worldwide: over 1 million in Australia alone; over a million in the US; and over a million in the UK.
Walt Disney Pictures have optioned the movie rights to his children’s book, Hover Car Racer, while Ice Station was optioned by Paramount Pictures.
Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, including Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies.
The Husband’s Secret has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and is set to be translated into over 35 languages. CBS Films has acquired the film rights.
With the launch of her most recent novel, Big Little Lies, Liane became the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Film and television rights have already been snapped up by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
Writing as L.M. Moriarty, Liane has also written a series of books for children.
Before writing full-time Michael Robotham was an investigative journalist in Britain, Australia and the US. In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and show business personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were bestsellers with combined sales of more than 2 million copies.
His first novel The Suspect, a psychological thriller, was chosen by the world’s largest consortium of book clubs as only the fifth “International Book of the Month”, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries.
Michael’s novels have since been translated into 23 languages. He is a twice winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Australia’s Crime Novel of the Year and has twice been twice shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers Association Steel Dagger and twice for the CWA’s acclaimed Gold Dagger Award, beating out J.K. Rowling, Belinda Bauer and Stephen King to win the award last year for Life Or Death.
Isobelle Carmody is one of the world’s most highly acclaimed authors of fantasy and young adult fiction. At fourteen, she began Obernewtyn, the first book in her much-loved Obernewtyn Chronicles, and has since written many works in this genre. Her novel The Gatheringwas joint winner of the 1993 Children’s Literature Peace Prize and the 1994 CBCA Book of the Year Award, and Greylands was joint winner of the 1997 Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction (Young Adult category), and was named a White Raven at the 1998 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
Isobelle’s work for younger readers includes her two series, The Legend of Little Fur, and The Kingdom of the Lost, the first book of which, The Red Wind, won the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers in 2011. She has also written several picture books as well as collections of short stories for children, young adults and adults.
After living in Europe for more than a decade, these days Isobelle divides her time in Australia between her home on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, and Brisbane, where she is working on a PhD at the University of Queensland.
Congratulations Isobelle on being voted Australia’s Favourite Author for 2016!!!
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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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