I have completed the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2012 – I have read ten Australian female authors this year, and a total of eighteen novels, in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. I got to read a few new authors, re-introduce myself to a few old favourites, and generally enjoyed this challenge a lot.
The authors and books I have read for the challenge are (links go to the reviews)
- Melina Marchetta (Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles)
- Alison Goodman (Eon and Eona)
- Rebecca Lim (Mercy, Exile, Muse and Fury)
- Trudi Canavan (The Magician’s Apprentice)
- Kate Forsyth (Bitter Greens (includes author interview))
- Kirsty Eagar (Night Beach)
- Jo Spurrier (Winter be my Shield)
- Paula Weston (Shadows)
- K. J. Taylor (The Dark Griffin, The Griffin’s Flight, The Griffin’s War, The Shadow’s Heir)
- Jennifer Fallon (The Undivided)
I’ve really liked challenging myself to read Australian female authors, but I have noticed that my personal library is almost evenly split between male and female authors. Furthermore, while having read ten female authors this year, I have read three male Australian authors – Duncan Lay, Jay Kristoff and Sam Bowring.
I recognise that there needs to be more attention given to the amazing work of Australian female authors, but these authors have a better representation in Speculative Fiction than in many others – a convention of Australian Speculative Fiction authors will be almost guaranteed to have female representation, and more often than not representation approaches parity between the genders. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but at the same time I can only comment on the statistics my reading preferences show.
With all this in mind, and with my growing disquiet about my readership of Australian male SF authors, I have decided that next year I will endeavour to read ten Australian authors – five male and five female. Of these I will probably also challenge myself to read at least four authors in total that I have not read before. I believe this is the best way for me to challenge myself and highlight Australian Speculative Fiction as a whole, given my reading habits and preferences. This decision is a personal one, and undertaken without the expectation of others agreeing/disagreeing.
With the end of 2012 looming (scary thought that one!), and AWW2013 coming up, I can honestly say that I am very exited about the direction the challenge is going next year in catering for all types of genre fiction, and also about the part that I will play (more information to come!)