I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge this year—the first reading challenge I’ve undertaken. I chose the Franklin level, committing myself to read at least ten books by Australian women writers and to review at least six. The year is nearly over, and it’s time to look back at my totals: twenty-three books read, six reviewed. Challenge successfully completed, although clearly there has to be a could do better comment against the reviewing total.
I noticed a couple of things in my pattern of reading. First, it decreased generally in the second half of the year and, especially, in the last two months. I wonder whether that’s just me or if other people experience that same sensation of life speeding up as the year draws to a close, with less time available for reading? And second, I have a bias towards reading Western Australian women writers. I’m sure the same could have been said of my reading in previous years, and I make no apology for it.
And so, here is my summary for 2013, with links to reviews and also to short extracts featured in my Reasons to love a novel series:
Dawn Barker, Fractured (Hachette, 2013)
Emma Chapman, How to Be a Good Wife (Picador, 2013) *extract here
Caroline Hamilton, Consumed (ABC Books, 2008) *reviewed here
Wendy James, The Mistake (Penguin, 2012)
Favel Parrett, Past the Shallows (Hachette, 2011)
Iris Lavell, Elsewhere in Success (Fremantle Press, 2013) *reviewed here
Lynne Leonhardt, Finding Jasper (Margaret River Press, 2012) *reviewed here
Natasha Lester, What Is Left Over, After (Fremantle Press, 2010) *extract here
Kirsty Murray, Vulture’s Gate (Allen & Unwin, 2009)
M.L. Stedman, The Light between Oceans (Vintage, 2012)
Courtney Collins, The Burial (Allen & Unwin, 2012) *reviewed here
Julienne van Loon, Harmless (Fremantle Press, 2013) *reviewed here
Felicity Young, Antidote to Murder (crime fiction, HarperCollins, 2013)
Hannah Kent, Burial Rites (Picador, 2013)
Deb Fitzpatrick, The Amazing Spencer Gray (junior fiction, Fremantle Press, 2013)
Yvette Walker, Letters to the End of Love (UQP, 2013) *reviewed here
Romy Ash, Floundering (Text, 2012)
Kirsten Krauth, just_a_girl (UWA Publishing, 2013)
Marlish Glorie, Sea Dog Hotel (Etext Press, 2013) *extract here
Paddy O’Reilly, The Fine Colour of Rust (HarperCollins, 2012) *extract here
Angela Savage, Behind the Night Bazaar (Text, 2006)
A.J. Betts, Zac & Mia (Text, 2013)
Debra Adelaide, The Household Guide to Dying (Picador, 2008)
These are fine works deserving of acclaim and respect—and my list only scratches the surface of what’s available from Australian women writers. A quick browse through the reviews on the AWWC site will introduce you to many more.
If there is to be an Australian Women Writers Challenge in 2014, I will sign up again—and resolve to do better with reviews!
And finally, I would just like to acknowledge some of the wonderful bloggers who chose to review or otherwise support Elemental in 2013 (some through the AWWC):
Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
Magdalena Ball, The Compulsive Reader
Rashida Murphy, Rashida WriteNow
Serje Jones, Kill Your Darlings
Marisa Wikramanayake, Guys Read Gals
Marlish Glorie, Book Stew
Natasha Lester, While the Kids Are Sleeping
Britt Ingerson, Buggalugz Book Blog
Louise Allan, Life from the Attic
Emily Paull, The Incredible Rambling Elimy
Joy, Book Coasters
John Paul Newbury, Open Writing
A big heartfelt thank-you to you all!
19 responses to “Australian Women Writers Challenge—2013 wrap-up”
Thanks, Amanda. It was an absolute delight to read and review ‘Elemental’ — one of my favourite reads of the year. Here’s to much more reading and writing and reviewing in 2014 — particularly writing! Are you writing another novel? Or is it a secret?
Thanks so much for your support, Louise, and I’ll join you in that virtual toast to 2014. Cheers! 🙂 (oh, and my current writing project consists of two novellas)
Oh yes, Elemental changed me forever, and I was considerably changed after Sinkings and Inherited 🙂 It’s hard to use language to explain something that profoundly changes you and you do that with every book you write, Amanda. It was such a pleasure to read your reviews as I was writing mine. Thank you for an awesome year 🙂
I can’t believe you would ever have trouble with language, Rashida! 🙂 It’s a huge pleasure to read your reviews—and anything else you write—and I cannot wait to read the work of art you are creating. Thanks so much for your support through 2013.
Thank you Amanda for writing Elemental. In fact, thank you for being a writer and for giving so much to your readers. Your blogs and posts on face book are superb. I suspect that even your shopping lists are works of art! And I cannot wait to read your two novellas. p.s. happy to read your shopping list too! 🙂
I’d like to be able to read my shopping lists, Marlish. As it is, I have to stand in the supermarket, wondering what it is I need that begins with T and ends, a squiggle later, with something that might be an E or maybe an R. It’s a mystery. 🙂
Thanks for your support, and here’s to a brilliant 2014 for you, Sea Dog Hotel, the tea lady and her staff!
Many thanks for your support Amanda. But what a rewarding way for you to end the year! Everyone I bump into is talking about your brilliant Elemental. So many lovely reviews. You must be over the moon.
Thanks to you, Lynne. And yes, it’s lovely to know people are enjoying it! 🙂
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Great list of books read Amanda (and I’m sorry I haven’t read your book yet – which is not because I don’t want to but because I’ve read almost nothing I’ve chosen for myself. Almost all my reading was of books sent for review or books scheduled for my reading group or books given to me. I will do my best to read you and some of the other Aussie women I haven’t read yet! Thanks though for your wonderful support of the challenge. It’s much appreciated.
Oh, and like you, my reading slowed down too in the second half of the year. I went overseas for seven weeks and read little then. Got back in October and whoosh, the year went. Quite frustrating.
Oh, no problem, Sue. I understand those kinds of pressures! 🙂 Thanks, and it’s a pleasure to take part in the challenge.
Seven weeks overseas—fabulous! Where did you go?
Thanks Amanda … Spain and Portugal for 3 weeks, a week in country France, and three weeks in Germany, mostly South and East. Of these, I’d only been to South Germany before so it was wonderful. My husband had also been to Spain a LONG time ago.
Sounds like my kind of trip (esp. country France)! Spain and Portugal are high on the list of places I haven’t been to and want to go. So many places… 🙂
So many places, so many books, so little … you know the rest …
Hi Amanda, all the best for 2014 and I hope you are hard at work on your next book?
BTW I couldn’t resist nominating Elemental as a choice for a Read Scotland challenge that I cam across, see http://peggyannspost.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/read-scotland-2014.html and scroll right down to the bottom of the comments where I have spruiked Elemental to the world!
Lisa, what a 22-carat champion you are! Thank you for doing that 🙂 (Actually, I might sign up for that challenge… I’m up for a bit of Scottish literature. 🙂 No time, mind you, but I’d like to try!)
And a very big Happy New Year to you. I hope it brings you happy days and happy reading, which are delightfully intertwined goals, don’t you think?
I have been doing some editing work over the past few months, but I’ll be returning soon to my manuscript. Thanks for asking, and thanks again for your wonderful support—it means a lot.