Last year, I created a shelf on my Goodreads profile just for Aussie novels. I immediately shelved my two all-time favourites, Kate Morton's The Secret Garden and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Over the course of 2012, I added four books to the fledgling shelf:
- A Question of Death: An illustrated Phryne Fisher treasury by Kerry Greenwood
- Foal's Bread by Gillian Mears
- The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
- The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
Now, with eyes primed to see such things, I note that all four titles were written by women–and they were amongst my favourite reads of the year.
So, when I discovered the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013 and its call to read and review books by Australian women, I thought, “Why not?” I'm doing it and loving it already!
The AWW Challenge was established in 2012 to combat gender bias in the world of literary reviews. Not convinced such a thing exists? I wasn't–until I had a gander at this compelling study of book reviews around the world. While a misogynistic conspiracy is implausible, the cold, hard facts are worrisome. The world suffers no shortage of women writers–just reviews of their work. By reading and reviewing books by Aussie women writers, we can all do our bit to help balance out the current state of affairs.
Want to do your part? Here's how. The AWW challenge has four categories:
- Stella – read 4 – review at least 3
- Miles – read 6 – review at least 4
- Franklin – read 10 – review at least 6
- Or you can create your own challenge
I'm committing to the Stella, but I may secretly push myself to the Miles level. I proved I could do four without trying last year, so who knows?
You can read only or read and review. If you choose to review, use your blog or your Goodreads profile. You can stick with your preferred genre or mix things up a bit. You don't have to be Australian, a woman or a writer–so no excuses!
To sign up, just go to the AWW Challenge website. They've simplified the job of finding books by setting up a Goodreads shelf. And if you find that mammoth list overwhelming, try mine: Take your pick from Kate Morton, Kim Wilkins (aka Kimberley Freeman), or Kate Forsyth. Or Sonya Hartnett, Geraldine Brooks (swoon!) or Isobel Carmody…Oh gosh, I could go on and on…
So go grab a book by your favourite Australian woman writer and get reading!