Aussies Rule Prompt 19 – An Aussie Debut


Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I posted a pure Aussies Rule topic, so today I thought I would talk about some great Aussie debut novels from recent years. There’s a mix of genres so you should be able to find something that interests you!

The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley – a fictional retelling of the life of Elizabeth Gould, wife of John Gould, who illustrated John’s works about Australian birds. The hardback edition is gorgeous.

Black British by Hebe de Souza – based on the author’s childhood, a look at what happened to anglicised Indian families once British colonialism ended.

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox – disgraced former cop teams up with a convicted murderer to investigate the disappearance of a local author.

Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic – profoundly deaf investigator Caleb Zelic is determined to find the answer to his friend’s murder.

The Dry by Jane Harper – Aaron Faulk returns to his home town to investigate his friend’s murder.

Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks – set in the distant future Australia is now a desert wasteland roamed by nomadic traders and war machines, with helpings of big lizards and killer sandstorms.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – a fictional retelling of the last days of the life of Agnes, the last woman executed in Iceland.

Terra Nullius by Claire Coleman – Australia has been colonised and the Natives are running from the Colonists and trying to save their people and their culture.

The Strays by Emily Bitto – Lily meets Eva at school and is sucked into her family – her father is an avante-garde painter and her family is living very much outside the conservative 1930s world.

Down the Hume by Peter Polites – I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s been on my pile since it first came out; Goodreads describes it as a confronting and powerful story of addiction, secrets and misplaced love.

Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven – A book in three parts Van Neerven’s traditional story-telling incorporates myth and mysticism, the feeling of belonging and what it is to be human.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada – Gene hacking and a plague that makes people explode, what more could you want?

Deadly Kerfuffle by Tony Martin – Martin was a favourite of mine back in his radio, comedy and film days. I haven’t read this one yet but I’m sure it will be worth a look.

Wasted by Elspeth Muir – part memoir part journalism, Muir reflects on her brother’s suicide from the Story Bridge in Brisbane while completely drunk, and the drinking culture in Australia that helped him get there.

What other great Aussie debuts have you come across? What will you be reading for this part of the challenge?


Aussies Rule Challenge prompt 14 – Poetry


Hi folks!

I’ve moved this topic up the chain due to a request from JennyM over on Litsy (I’m over there as @Sue as I’m very creative about handles). Feel free to hit me up if you have a specific prompt you would like me to talk about sooner rather than later.

If you’ve spent any time in this country at all you’ve probably been bludgeoned with the poetry of Patterson and Lawson. Poetry is still alive and well in Australia and being produced by a great variety of Australians who are not old white men.

I don’t read a whole lot of poetry, but here are three of my favourites who have produced books recently:

Ellen van Neerven

Van Neerven is a Yumgambeh woman who identifies as queer. She gained some press last year as she was attacked on social media by students after her poem Mango was used on the GCSE. (Who even does that?) One of my highlights of 2017 was accidentally ending up at one of her poetry readings, which included poems from Comfort Food and the new collection she is working on.

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Beneba Clarke was shortlisted for the Stella Prize in 2017 for her remarkable memoir The Hate Race. Her poetry is beautiful and confronting and all the things you want from contemporary Aussie poetry. I follow her on twitter (@slamup) and she will often post poetry there, as well as general fabulousness.

Omar Sakr

Who needs more queer Arab Aussie poetry in their lives apart from me? I can’t remember how I came across Sakr originally, but I’m pretty sure it was due to the magic of twitter. This collection is wonderful.

Here are some other contemporary poets for you to check out:

  • Krissy Kneen
  • Judith Bishop
  • Shastra Deo
  • John Kinsella
  • Stuart Barnes
  • Jordie Albiston
  • Sarah Holland-Batt
  • David Brooks
  • Samuel Wagan Watson
  • M.T.C Cronin

All of these poets and a bunch of others have collections available through UQ Press.

Do you have a favourite contemporary Aussie poet who I haven’t mentioned? Let me know!