Who are some of the hot Australian authors on everyone’s lips? One of our reader’s request for recommendations recently sparked an exciting discussion on our Facebook page about favourite Australian authors and our audience threw out so many amazing suggestions that we’ve put together an easy-to-navigate list of the most mentioned authors. Of course, these are just a few of the many talented authors in Australia. Let us know the ones you love most in the comments below or in the comments thread on Facebook.
The dialogue was opened by Better Reader Susan Jan, who requested recommendations primarily for fantasy and science-fiction, but also expressed interest in thriller, crime, mystery, and adventure. You can read her full request here. There were loads of familiar names thrown out, including literary heavyweights such as Helen Garner, Geraldine Brooks, Tim Winton, and Peter Carey to name a few, but in the spirit of discovering new authors we have compiled a mix of authors both new and old, well-loved and obscure, familiar and unknown:
Joy Dettman: Joy Dettman was born in Echuca, Victoria, and now lives in Melbourne. It was a creative writing course in 1988 which helped to turn a lifelong interest into an obsession. As well as being a mother of four, Joy is now a full-time writer and published author of several award-winning short stories as well as her best-selling novels Mallawindy, Wind in the Wires, and The Silent Inheritance.
Natasha Lester: For fans of historical fiction, Natasha Lester is the author of three books, most recently Her Mother’s Secret, due for publication on 28 March, which tells the story of love and ambition from England to Manhattan in the 1920s through to the 1940s.
Isobelle Carmody: Fans of fantasy will be no stranger to Carmody, author of the wildly popular Obernewtyn Chronicles, a trilogy set in a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian world, which follows the story of Elspeth Gordie who, gifted with unique abilities, lives in a world of danger. A confirmed global bestseller!
John Marsden: We know you’ve probably heard of him before with Tomorrow, When the War Began, but Marsden is always worth a mention in any Australian author list. If you’re already familiar with his famous series, then try South of Darkness released in 2014, a story of historical fiction that traces the journey of one man who commits a crime in the 1700s to reach a mysterious place called Botany Bay, Australia.
Trudi Canavan: Not only is Trudi Canavan one of the most prolific Australian authors in the fantasy realm but she’s also known for a massive loyal cult following. Her books are jammed with magic and enough fantastical happenings to satisfy any high-brow fantasy enthusiast. It’s often quoted that The Black Magician Trilogy is her masterpiece.
Monica McInerney: Monica brings a different flavour to our list. Although she resides in Dublin, she’s homegrown Aussie talent, and her best regarded work Hello From The Gillespies (2014) tells the story of Angela Gillespie, who always sends an annual letter to her friends and family around the world, but one year decides to tell the truth. It was featured in our 2016 Better Reading Top 100 Reads, as chosen by our audience!
Matthew Reilly: Surely he needs no introduction, and yet any list of stunning Australian authors must mention him. Matthew Reilly rose from humble, self-published beginnings to becoming the authority in exhilarating, theatrical fiction. Don’t overlook his earlier works such as Contest and Ice Station – they’re wicked reads! Also click here to check out our very recent interview with Matthew Reilly in LA!
Candice Fox: She’s up there with the juggernauts of crime writing, producing explosive book after book and showing no signs of relenting. Most recently she has published Crimson Lake, which is this week’s Book of the Week. Before that, not only did she work alongside James Patterson for his Australian-based thriller Never Never, but also wrote two spectacular books, Eden and Hades. Honestly we can’t recommend her highly enough.
Juliet Marillier: This is a very common misconception and not just in the world of books, but Juliet Marillier is from New Zealand and now lives in Western Australia. And yet we had to include her in this list because, well, Juliet has been steadily writing a staggering volume of high-fantasy and has published over twenty books in fewer years. Give Daughter of the Forest, the first book in the Sevenwaters Series, a flick.
Jane Harper: Latest thriller The Dry is the debut murder mystery from Jane Harper and has taken bookshelves by storm. She is some serious new talent that we at Better Reading will watch with great interest.
Garth Nix: Who could forget the classic Garth Nix young adult Kingdom of the Keys series? More recently he has worked on The Old Kingdom Trilogy, with the first book Sabriel telling the story of the titular character returning to a treacherous world to fulfil her destiny . . .
Melina Marchetta: No doubt Melina Marchetta is a household name in the world of Australian fiction, and she has somersaulted around genres enough to write a book for everyone’s taste. Her most famous book Looking for Alibrandi (made into a feature film – also worth a watch!) offers all things YA, while latest venture into crime Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil demonstrates her skills as a powerful storyteller.
Michelle de Krester: Another oddball in this list, Michelle de Krester won the Miles Franklin Literary Award back in 2013 for Questions of Travel. The novel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination – a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel.
Nick Earls: It’s impossible to pick up a copy of ZigZag Street by Nick Earls and not want to immediately tear through the pages. Richard Derrington is twenty-eight and single. More single than he’d like to be. More single than he’d expected to be, and not coping well. Since Anna trashed him six months ago he’s been trying to find his way again. He’s doing his job badly, he’s playing tennis badly, his renovating attempts haven’t got past the verandah, and he’s wondering when things are going to change. A seriously underrated modern voice – Better Reading gives Nick Earls a seriously high recommendation!
Jaye Ford: Another standout crime thriller writer, Jaye Ford is a former journalist who has been recognised for her standout psychological suspense novels. If you’re just getting into her books try Blood Secret – a weave of secrets and mysteries that’ll have the pages turning themselves for you.
Kylie Chan: Another fixture in the fantasy world, Kylie Chan combines elements of Taoist philosophy with a Hong Kong setting in her well-regarded Dark Heavens Trilogy. The first in the series, White Tiger, is an adventurous debut released in 2006 and is a fast and furious story balanced between the celestial and the mortal, the powerful and the innocent . . .
Helen Garner: Do we have a greater champion than Helen? From the spine-tingling true crime accounts in Joe Cinque’s Consolation and This House of Grief, to classic novel Monkey Grip, and the recent collection of essays Everywhere I look, it’s hard to dispute that Helen may very well be the unchallenged literary voice of our times.
Frank Hardy: politically-charged novelist Frank Hardy was popularised for the controversy around his book Power Without Glory, since scooped up by Vintage and included in their iconic, red-spined classics collection. This is a tale of corruption stretching from street corner SP bookmaking to the most influential men in the land – and the terrible personal cost of the power such corruption brings. It is a heavy read, but the rewards it reaps by the end are staggering.
And that’s it for now from us at Better Reading. Hopefully you’ve unearthed some new writers and books to explore. Click on the links below to find out more about any of the mentioned titles.