What Am I Reading?

The Price of Two Sparrows – Christy Collins

The Price of Two Sparrows – Christy Collins

Christy Collins’ writing previously won a Seizure la Novella Prize, and her first novel The Price of Two Sparrows (Affirm Press 2021) confirms her place as an author to watch. Collins’ interest in race, religion, ethnicity, poverty, classism, exclusion and intolerance...

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing – Jessie Tu

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing – Jessie Tu

The title of this novel by Jessie Tu – A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing (Allen and Unwin 2020) – is absolutely apt. Jena is indeed a lonely girl, disassociated from friends, lovers, family, her musical genius, her work, and that does make her dangerous, not only to...

The Abstainer – Ian McGuire

The Abstainer – Ian McGuire

The Abstainer (Scribner 2020) by acclaimed author Ian Maguire, is set in Manchester in 1867, when Stephen Doyle, an Irish-American veteran of the Civil War, arrives from New York and joins the Fenians, a secret society intent on destroying the British rule over...

Lament – Nicole Kelly

Lament – Nicole Kelly

Everybody knows the story and the legend of Ned Kelly, but what if he could have escaped his past and built a different life for himself? Author Nicole Kelly (presumably no relation, but who knows?!) explores this idea in her novel Lament (Hawkeye Publishing 2020)....

Welcome to Blackwood – Khaiah Thomson

Welcome to Blackwood – Khaiah Thomson

Welcome to Blackwood (Hawkeye Publishing 2020) by Khaiah Thompson is a young adult paranormal fiction novel about a town where ‘nothing is as it seems’. Featuring shape shifters, handsome strangers, a fairy-tale feel, Truth-Seekers, the Mundanes, genetics,...

The Prophets – Robert Jones Jr

The Prophets – Robert Jones Jr

Powerful, painful, heartbreaking and devastating, The Prophets (Riverrun 2021), the debut novel by Robert Jones Jr, is an intimate portrait of the lives of black slaves on a plantation in the Deep South of America two hundred years ago. At the heart of the story is...

Winning Short Story Competitions – LE Daniels and C Sawyer

Winning Short Story Competitions – LE Daniels and C Sawyer

I don’t know if the art of creating a story can ever be taught but you can certainly learn a lot through workshops, reading helpful books and taking feedback from others. Winning Short Story Competitions: Essential Tools for the Serious Writer (Hawkeye Publishing...

The Labyrinth – Amanda Lohrey

The Labyrinth – Amanda Lohrey

The Labyrinth (Text Publishing 2020) is a gorgeous literary novel by author Amanda Lohrey. Written in exquisite prose, the novel leaves so much white space for the reader to imagine what is going on in those spaces. Lohrey gives us a complex and intimate story, with...

The Rock – Aaron Smith

The Rock – Aaron Smith

The Rock (Transit Lounge 2020) by Aaron Smith is subtitled: Looking into ‘Australia’s heart of darkness’ from the edge of its wild frontier, and the book certainly lives up to this promise. Opening first with a quote from Oodgeroo Noonuccal: ‘Let no one say the past...

Bone and Beauty – Jeanette M. Thompson

Bone and Beauty – Jeanette M. Thompson

Bone and Beauty (UQP 2020) is an imaginative combination of history and literary fiction by Jeanette M. Thompson about the convict uprising at Bathurst in 1830, an event mostly forgotten but brought to life through Thompson’s highly accessible approach to history. In...

After Australia – Michael Mohammed Ahmad (editor)

After Australia – Michael Mohammed Ahmad (editor)

The cover of After Australia (Affirm Press 2020) is impressively distinctive: an old-fashioned picture, similar to those found in the Ladybird children’s books, shows a (white) nuclear family, but each of the faces has been scribbled over. It’s an image that is...

Emigree – Jane Ireland

Emigree – Jane Ireland

Jane Ireland’s novel Emigree (Shawline Publishing Group 2020) is the first in her planned trilogy The Crying Tree series. Set in the two decades following World War Two, in Brisbane and rural New South Wales, Emigree is a book that is difficult to define…part magical...