This has been the first year I have participated in the Australian Women Writers Challenge. What a good experience it has been! I had an incentive to review books by Australian women authors. Books could be in any genre and from any period.
As well as reviewing, I also became part of an online community of reviewers and bloggers. This opportunity is open to women and men (here). The members of the AWW Challenge community are strong advocates of Australian women writers. They also share a passion for reading and for writing about the books they’ve read.
I look forward to one day reading a review by a Challenge participant of my memoir, Other People’s Country. It is the story of life in the Aboriginal Community at Jigalong in Western Australia, where I worked as a nurse. This memoir was a long-list finalist in the Non Fiction Book Award section of the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, 2008. It was also short-listed for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (History) that year.
As a newcomer to the AWW Challenge in 1014, I opted for the Miles Level. At that level, a participant undertakes to read six books and review four. So far, I have reviewed six and read many more than that. Next year, I’ll keep a list of all the books I read.
As a memoir-writer and facilitator of life-writing groups, I had expected to read more memoir and other non-fiction than fiction. I was surprised that I reviewed two novels, one full-length non-fiction book, a shorter piece by the same author,and only two memoirs.
These are the books I reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014, with links to my blogs.
Let Her Go by Dawn Barker (2014) is a fast-paced psychological thriller which raises many questions about surrogacy and family relationships.
Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Helen Garner (2004). This is a true, compelling and very uncomfortable story. In it, Helen Garner, one of my favourite authors, attempts to honour a young man, Joe Cinque, the victim of a senseless crime..
The Beloved by Annah Faulkner (2013) is another family drama. The protagonist is a an artistic child with a disability. The plot revolves around daughter/mother conflict, and more.
All Good Things by Sarah Turnbull (2013) is an intensely personal memoir. The theme of the author’s infertility underlies what might otherwise be thought of as a travel memoir.
Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey (2013) tells the story of the author’s somewhat tenuous, but non-the-less engaging, connection with Western Australian writer, Randolf Stow.
‘Killing Daniel,’ in True Stories: Selected Non-Fiction by Helen Garner (1993). ‘Killing Daniel’ should be compulsory reading for everyone who is involved in, or who cares about the protection of children.
Already I’m looking forward to the Australian Women’s Writing Challenge for 2015. I hope to commit myself to reviewing more books than I did this year. I like to think I’ll review at least one classic, as well as books from genres other than those to which I usually turn.
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