Apropos of that discussion we were having a couple of weeks ago about the writers that have influenced us, in which it was quite rightly observed that very few of my big influences were women (Dame Agatha aside), the Australian Women Writers blog has come along with a very timely challenge: read and review more books written by Australian women. More, in this case, would really mean ‘any’. With the exception of a personal friend (Andrea K Host) and a close relative (my mum), I don’t recall the last time I read anything by a female Australian author.
As far as I can tell, this has not been by deliberate act of exclusion, mind. I just…haven’t. Clearly there’s some kind of blind-spot bias going on there that warrants examination. So to that end I am accepting the challenge above. In 2012 I will read and – to some lesser extent to be determined at the time – review a number of books by Australian women numbering not less than six. This lofty goal corresponds with the “Miles” Challenge Level (read six, review at least three). To place a further constraint on myself, I won’t count anything by either Mum or Andrea in my count. I would have read whatever they put out anyway, so it seems like a cheat to bolster my figures thus. I’m also reserving the right to not review anything that doesn’t really appeal to me. I don’t have the energy to write recommendations for things I think are mediocre. If I love, like or really hate a book, I’ll review it, but if you don’t hear details on a particular title then it’s safe to assume that I didn’t especially care about it.
So, to get things started, Australian writer (and woman) Tansy Rayner Roberts has helpfully posted a list of recent award-winning works in the SF&F genres that meet the basic criteria herein. (Note that Tansy Rayner Robert’s ‘Power and Majesty’ beat out Andrea’s ‘The Silence of Medair’ for Best Fantasy Novel at the 2010 Aurealis Awards, so I’m thinking I will include it on my list for purposes of comparison. It will have to have been bloody good to be better than TSoM, in my opinion). There’s clearly plenty of action in this part of the publishing industry, and that’s before we even widen the net to include non-speculative fiction genres.
Who would like to recommend something – what is it, who’s it by and why do you think I might be interested? (Outside the speculative genre is fine – I like crime and mysteries too, and am very partial to good comedic fiction, but I will consider all recommendations).
(Thanks to Patrick O’Duffy for tweet-alerting me to the AWW 2012 challenge).