Home to more than just kangaroos, in recent years, books from Australia are becoming high quality works. Home to close to 24 million people, Australia is essentially an island nation far from the influence of Europe and the United States.
When we think of Australia, we think of the cute animals that live there. We think of sandy beaches, the outback, and the Sydney Opera House. However, you should start considering Australia as a strong literary voice in the world.
Australia has a dark and complicated colonial history. Even today there are issues between indigenous peoples and the general population. It’s a country where the causes and effects of climate change are being felt deeply. Issues like immigration and gender equality are hotly debated and on the forefront of Australian minds. The works coming out of Australia are from this unique perspective.
Here’s a list of some of the best books to come from down under brought to you by the talented sheilas who call Australia home.
1. The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
Pulitzer prize winning Geraldine Brooks’ most recent work is a biblical historical fiction. The Secret Chord tells a humanizing story about King David. She traces the full mythology of David, from his humble beginnings to his righteous reign and downfall.
2. Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser
Michelle de Kretser used to be an editor for the Lonely Planet guide books, so we are eager to check out her novel, Questions of Travel. This is a fictionalized story of a woman who grows up in Sydney and sets off to see the world. The book portrays travel as a transformative and sometimes shallow and illusory experience.
3. The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss
A non-fiction and semi-memoir from Tara Moss, The Fictional Woman is an excellent read for those interested in exploring the fictions told about women. This memoir also functions as a kind of handbook to feminism. An insightful read!
4. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
This new dystopian novel by Charlotte Wood is all too realistic. Rooted in truth, this book centers around women who wake up on a farm in the outback with no idea why they are there. They soon realize that the only thing that links them together is that they were involved in a sex scandal with a powerful man. The Guardian called it a masterpiece of feminist horror. Say no more! Must be read.
5. When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett
Australia is called down under because it’s in the southern hemisphere. It’s easy to forget that it’s just a boat ride away from Antarctica. When the Night Comes tells two stories: one about life on a boat in Antarctica and the other about a girl’s life in Tasmania. Sometimes melancholy but always touching, this is a great read.
6. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
A runaway hit by first time author M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans tells the story of an isolated family running the lighthouse on the Australian coast. Recently adapted into a film, this novel is a story about moral ambiguity and its winners and losers.
7. A Guide to Berlin by Gail Jones
A Guide to Berlin is a rich and unique read from one of Australia’s best known authors. Six international travellers meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. The group nestles in the deep winter of Berlin, but the city is haunted for them, and a flash of violence shatters the group, rewriting their stories.
8. Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright
A collection of 10 essays on Fiona Wright’s lifelong struggles with an eating disorder. Known as a great poet and author, her essays are candid and combine memoir with travel writing and literary discussion. A perfect non-fiction read from a strong Australian voice.
Thanks for reading our list of books from the best female authors from Australia! Which authors would you add to this list?
Happy Reading, Mates and Sheilas!
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