We absolutely love these books.
Carey's A Long Way From Home is full of verve and vernacular, and is reminiscent of his much-loved Illywhacker. Michelle De Kretser's The Life to Come has been adored by all, with its exquisite prose and insightful examination of internal psyche, and is sure to eclipse her wondrous book Questions of Travel.
Chris Womersley brings his best work yet with City of Crows, a gritty tale of fate and trust in plague-ridden Paris that is almost cinematic in description, yet full of heart. Sofie Laguna's Choke is a stunning portrayal of rural hardship, tension and love.
Richard Flanagan's First Person tells of a ghost-writer whose biographical subject becomes rather unwieldy, and Alex Miller's most autobiographical work, The Passage of Love, shows the author striving to define his very life and cultural contribution.
These works are profoundly beautiful, and will touch you deeply.
Enjoy these tall poppies over the warmer months - they are sure to bring colour into your reading life.
There simply isn't enough room to showcase all of the stand-out literary works this year, and it’s clear that our country is overflowing with literary talent.
Here's a hand-picked bunch of some of the more thoughtful and captivating books we’ve enjoyed so far. It's a rich and varied bouquet too: Dennis Glover imagines George Orwell's life as fiction in The Last Man in Europe and Cass Moriarty explores family trauma in Parting Words. Luke Slattery places Elizabeth and Lachlan Macquarie in a beautifully wrought love triangle with architect Francis Greenway in Mrs M, and Jess Blackadder finds that the certainty of family life can change abruptly in Sixty Seconds.
These are remarkable creations, and they are sure to reward your reading time well.
Dazzling debuts are arriving thick and fast this year, all of them strong new voices with vivid narratives that are accomplished with style. We highly recommend the new crowd to you. Many are shortlisted for prizes or winning awards already, like Wimmera by Mark Brandi, The Lost Pages by Marija Pericic, and Dancing Home by Paul Collis. Collis also joins Claire G.Coleman (Terra Nullius) in the new wave of indigenous authors writing passionately about their country.
You'll be glad you got on to these authors early, as these stars are on the rise!
“None of these novels draws on familiar tropes of Australian literature, yet each brings a distinctive pitch of truth and insight into the Australian experience. (They) explore the restorative power of love, the pernicious influence of the past on the present, the tragedy of the present avoiding the past, the challenge of unconventional identities, the interweaving of lives across communities, the devastation of grief, and the war zone that is the media, masculinity and a small country town.”
-State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian Richard Neville said on behalf of the judges, The Australian
The Miles Franklin Award 2017 went to Josephine Wilson for her splendid novel, "Extinctions".