My support for Australian women writers dwindled in 2016 because of several factors and it wasn’t just Australian or women authors that I ignored.
For the first time in four years, I failed to meet the level of reading and reviewing books I’d nominated with the Australian Women Writers Challenge.
First the excuses. I contracted shingles (varicella-zoster virus) which wasn’t treated with anti-viral medication in time to prevent severe Illness. The virus affected the trigeminal nerve in my face, including the branch that goes to my left eye. The disease debilitated me and convalescence seemed very slow and painful.
Reading and writing went to the bottom my ‘to do’ list when my energy and enjoyment diminished. I did manage to write about the disease here.
In the second half of the year, the Spirit of the Streets Choir offered me the position of Leader for the second stage of their exciting Narrative Research Project, after a synchronistic chain of events. I jumped at the opportunity. My previous career trajectory (nurse, counsellor, advocate, manager) as well as my PhD in Writing all pointed to a fulfilling and exciting experience in this new job.
My job description states that I must attend choir rehearsals each week. A non-singer (or at least, an off-tune singer) I find this both confronting and a joy. Quite simply, I love what I do! But I also began to read research material way outside the area that lends itself to reviews of books.
I hate it when I fail to meet challenges, especially ones I set myself. To not complete the challenge last year felt as if I’d let down the side. And myself.
But here I am again for 2017. I’m back. I have new reading glasses and I’m and ready to commit to another year’s Australian Women Writers Challenge.
About the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
‘The AWW challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, living in or outside Australia, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up. You can choose to read and review, or read only.’ (From the website.)
This year, I’ll be gentle with myself, and read six books and review four. That’s easily manageable. I can always do more if I like. I’m looking forward to a delicious diet of books old and new.
I’d really love the company of friends on this journey. Please consider joining the challenge as a way to support Australian women writers.
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