The Australian Women Writers’ Challenge is part of the growing world-wide movement to raise awareness of excellent writing by women. It helps readers to challenge the subconscious stereotypes that govern our choice of books to read. We are excited to be entering our third year and hope that we can help you do something about this issue.
I’ve always read a more-than-average number of books by female writers — I’m guessing maybe a third of my reads were by women, although I don’t have any data to back that up — but almost all of them were by Americans or Brits. When I realised this, it left me scratching my head. I love reading book set in my own backyard, and I want to see a healthy Australian publishing industry (partly for selfish reasons, I admit), so why didn’t I read more Aussie books?! Eventually I realised that a lot of that was because at the time I was buying all my books from big-chain bookstores, and so my biases reflected what was on the shelves.
In the last two years I’ve really been embracing online reading challenges to encourage myself to find time to read, and last year I discovered the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge. I figured, why not? After all, I wanted to see the ratio of male to female writers that I read being closer to fifty percent, and I want to support Aussies across the board. I set myself the challenge to read and review six books by Australian women, and ended up coming in at twelve read and eleven reviewed. (More details are here, if you’re curious.)
The end result was that I didn’t decrease the number of books I read by men; instead, I increased the overall number of books, and the increase was almost all by women. In fact, I overachieved a little — almost 60% of the books I read were by women. Still, after all this time of the blokes hogging the lion’s share of my attention, it’s time the lionesses got a go. Rawr!
What is the point of this epic ramble? First off, I want to encourage you to sign up for the 2015 challenge too. You don’t have to be a reviewer; there is a “read only” option if that’s more your style.
And the other is to share some of the amazing books by Australian ladies that I’m planning on reading this year! This is in no particular order, for two reasons. Because when it comes to books I have no self-control and because, as you can see, some of these books don’t even have covers yet!
Second caveat: Illuminae is being co-written with Jay Kristoff, who is a Australian but isn’t, as far as I am aware, a woman. Likewise, IT STILL COUNTS!
As you can see there’s a lot of YA and NA there, but a handful of adult novels as well, and one non-fiction because I’m trying to broaden my horizons.
What are your favourite books by Australian women? Are there books that I should add to my list?
Cassandra Page is an Australian woman and a writer. Which is not to say you should read her book, because that would be shameless self-promotion and she has some shame left. But if you did, that’d be awfully nice of you. 😉