Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge

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Readers of my first post might remember my interest in writing by women and how – contrary to my expectations – it represented less of my reading than I would have initially guessed.

I worked to address this in my own reading but Blue Mountains blogger Elizabeth Lhuede has gone much further by issuing a challenge to all readers: read more writing by Australian women and review two or three of them on your blog during 2012.

I think her Australian Women Writers 2012 Challenge is a fantastic idea and have just signed up.
The lively discussions there already threaten to be at least as interesting as many of the books themselves. Join in when you can.

I’ll be drawing at least some of my reading for this challenge from a key publishing pioneer, responsible for the rediscovery of many books written by women. Since 1978, Virago Press has published an impressive range of women authors, including Australians, under the banner Virago Modern Classics.
There’s a great range of Australian fiction sporting Virago’s distinctive green spines, including some of the best writers that this country has yet produced.

As the Australian authors were published early in the VMC run, most are no longer in print from Virago but secondhand copies are reasonably easy to find. Failing that, many have been issued by other publishers; recently Miegunyah have re-issued Christina Stead’s Letty Fox:Her Luck in a charming new paperback.

Virago Modern Classics: 31 Australian Women Writers

VMC # Novel Author
4 Letty Fox: Her Luck Christina Stead
5 For Love Alone Christina Stead
35 My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin
37 Cotters’ England Christina Stead
48 The Getting of Wisdom Henry Handel Richardson
49 Maurice Guest Henry Handel Richardson
52 My Career Goes Bung Miles Franklin
59 A Little Tea, a Little Chat Christina Stead
60 The People with the Dogs Christina Stead
86 The Beauties and the Furies Christina Stead
97 Miss Herbert Christina Stead
119 Tomorrow & Tomorrow & Tomorrow M. Barnard Eldershaw
120 The Roaring Nineties Katharine Susannah Prichard
150 Golden Miles Katharine Susannah Prichard
151 Winged Seeds Katharine Susannah Prichard
161 The Puzzleheaded Girl Christina Stead
172 Bobbin Up Dorothy Hewett
190 The Persimmon Tree Marjorie Barnard
191 The Little Company Eleanor Dark
211 Some Everyday Folk and Dawn Miles Franklin
212 Lantana Lane Eleanor Dark
229 The Salzburg Tales Christina Stead
230 Cindie Jean Devanny
231 Painted Clay Capel Boake
244 The Three Miss Kings Ada Cambridge
271 The Overlanders Dora Birtles
335 Borderline Janette Turner Hospital
405 The Transit of Venus Shirley Hazzard
427 The Last Magician Janette Turner Hospital
469 The Sugar Mother Elizabeth Jolley
470 The Newspaper from Claremont Street Elizabeth Jolley


4 responses »

  1. Hi James

    Thanks for your participation in and promotion of the AWW challenge, especially for the angle you’re taking reading the Virago classics and others. As I’ve mentioned to you on Twitter, there are only a handful of these that I’ve read. I’m looking forward to being introduced to more.

    I know you’ll ping @auswomenwriters when you post your reviews, and hope you’ll also join in AWW Wednesdays – when participants are encouraged to visit other blog reviews, comment, then post the link to Twitter via #aww2012 hashtag (or just chat generally about Aust Women’s Writing & issues).

    Happy reading for 2012!

    • Thanks Elizabeth – my only regret is not having yet made a bigger contribution thus far.
      Your efforts with the AWW challenge are really admirable & I can only wonder at your obvious stores of energy and commitment. Thank you for doing what some only thought about.

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