Book Week isn’t just about finding a fun costume for whatever events your school, uni or workplace are putting on – it’s a great time to start thinking about picking up that book you’ve been meaning to jump into, or going on the hunt for your next favourite read.
Australia is home to some truly exceptional female authors, some you might know, others you don’t. This Book Week, whether you’re into mysteries, real-life stories, or fantastical fiction, here’s our top ten recommendations for books written by Australian women.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (fiction)
In the depths of a nineteenth-century winter, a little girl is abandoned in the narrow streets of London. Adopted by a mysterious stranger, she becomes in turn a thief, a friend, a muse and a lover. Then, in the summer of 1862, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she retreats with a group of artists to a beautiful house on a quiet bend of the Upper Thames. Tensions simmer and one hot afternoon a gun-shot rings out.
Fight Like A Girl by Clementine Ford (non-fiction)
Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women.
The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (fiction)
On the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tetovierer “the tattooist” to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance.
The Survivors by Jane Harper (fiction)
Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces when Kieran and his young family visit his parents in the small coastal community he once called home. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge.
Growing Up Aboriginal In Australia by Anita Heiss (non-fiction)
Accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities sit alongside newly discovered voices of all ages, with experiences spanning coastal and desert regions, cities and remote communities. All of them speak to the heart – sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect.
The Secret River by Kate Grenville (fiction)
After a childhood of poverty and petty crime in the slums of London, William Thornhill is transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and children in tow, he arrives in a harsh land that feels at first like a death sentence. But among the convicts there is a whisper that freedom can be bought, an opportunity to start afresh.
Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina (fiction)
Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since she died. Her dad, a detective, is the only one who can see and hear her – and he’s drowning in grief. But now they have a mystery to solve together. Who is Isobel Catching, and what’s her connection to the fire that killed a man? As Beth unravels the mystery, she finds a shocking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town, and a friendship that lasts beyond one life and into another.
The Dictionary Of Lost Words by Pip Williams (fiction)
Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the ‘Scriptorium’, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word ‘bondmaid’ flutters to the floor.
Any Ordinary Day: Blindsides, Resilience And What Happens After The Worst Day Of Your Life by Leigh Sales (non-fiction)
As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories – and a terrifying brush with her own mortality – sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event. What are our chances of actually experiencing one? What do we fear most and why? And when the worst does happen, what comes next?
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner (fiction)
Helen Garner’s gritty, lyrical first novel divided the critics on its publication in 1977. Today, Monkey Grip is regarded as a masterpiece-the novel that shines a light on a time and a place and a way of living never before presented in Australian literature- communal households, music, friendships, children, love, drugs, and sex.