The last few months have been a bit of a blur with the pandemic, and while I don’t want to dwell too much on it here, it has absolutely impacted my reading. On a positive note though, it has changed my connections with the #AusLit community for the better. With the onset of many book launches and book clubs going virtual, I was able to join in with some great online events that I’d previously only heard about (enviously) from afar!
A highlight for me has been reading along and watching Bri Lee’s #BListBookClub that she hosts with the State Library of New South Wales. Joining in from Texas involves a 4am start to my day, but it has truly been a delight to enjoy in real time. The first session session of the bookclub I caught was She I Dare Not Name by Donna Ward, a great memoir looking at the experience of spinsterhood in Australia. If you’re interested, the May read is Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta and will take place next week on 21 May at 7pm AEST (register for free here).
I was also able to watch the Stella Prize being announced live, again an early morning start for me but I loved feeling part of the #AusLit community again over my morning coffee. I found the winning title, See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill an incredibly moving read (review here if you’re interested). It has also been exciting to see an Aussie title on the International Booker Prize shortlist, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (anonymous translator).
The next exciting prize I’m hoping to follow is the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award – the longlist got announced this week, and as I’ve only read a quarter of the titles I have a few new books on my radar now. Particularly pleased to see Tara June Winch’s The Yield listed, and the title I’ll read from the longlist first is Tony Birch’s The White Girl.
#AusLit Content I’ve Been Loving
This year’s #AussieApril, that I co-hosted again with Doris (All D Books), was a very low-key affair. While we didn’t set any prompts or reading challenges, we instead opted to encourage people to participate by reading one Australian book for the month. I’ve compiled a playlist of content you can watch to discover new channels that used the hashtag. On bookstagram, you’ll want to head over and follow Teela Reid and Min Dutton at @blackfulla_bookclub– a First Nations thinking platform with lots of recommendations of books by Indigenous authors. Over on booktube, you’ll want to check out Tia at Capture Curiosity:
You’ll also want to check out the #AussieApril wrapup from the duo at Gunpowder Fiction and Plot:
Recently Read and Reviewed
Blueberries by Ellena Savage / Choice Words edited by Louise Swinn / Melanin Garden by Anisa Nandaula / Little Bit Long Time by Ali Cobby Eckermann / This Little Red Thing edited by Michael Mohammed Ahmad & Winnie Dunn / Paper Emperors by Sally Young
On The Horizon
As an expat, I’m always looking out for when #AusLit releases are coming out in the US, and here are just a few that may be of interest to other readers:
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim (Scholastic) October 2020 (review)
Disclaimer: some affiliate links used and some books were provided for review purposes. All views expressed are my own.