The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction: My Wrap-Up

The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction is announced today. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading my way through the shortlist. I’ve been exposed to authors that I may not have read and bumped up some of those books that I mean to read some day. But most of all, I’ve loved reading the variety of fiction our wonderful Australian writers have to offer. The books are all different in their genre, writing style and plot yet all completely readable. I’m really proud of the quality writing all our authors put out there!

I’ve been debating in my head over the last week or so who will win. It is really, really difficult to make a decision because every single book stands out on its own. Australia Day by Melanie Cheng celebrates the diversity of Australia while highlighting ways in which we don’t look after each other. After the Wreck by Jane Rawson is an eerie exploration of a shipwreck and its aftermath from a survivor’s search for closure to a creature that wants…something from the depths. Jean Harley Was Here by Heather Taylor Johnson is a warts and all look at grief which is beautiful to read. The Lost Pages by Marija Peričić creates a world of frenzied jealousy as an author compares himself to Kafka. The Windy Season by Sam Carmody is a bittersweet coming of age tale that reminds me of Tim Winton’s writing. Finally, Hannah Kent’s The Good People is an evocative read of loss and wanting to fit in – no matter what it takes.

My reviews for each book can be found by clicking on the title:

In the time it took me to write the above, I’m even more conflicted. My heart wants Jean Harley Was Here to win, but my head says The Good People will take it home.

I encourage you to read any or all of the shortlist – you will not be disappointed. Guaranteed. I would like to sincerely thank Readings Books, who invited me to read the shortlist and opened my eyes to these wonderful books. Do check them out if you’re in Melbourne or order online from their website. They have some great gems of books and their staff are super knowledgeable and super helpful, no matter the topic.

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