Rising Stars

Rising Stars

Change is in the air. Women are being heard now, like never before. Speaking up and speaking out, demanding recognition and respect.

We put the spotlight on some remarkably talented women by nominating some of the rising stars in Australia’s literary scene, the women writers whom we are convinced, are set to dazzle this year:

dyschronia

Jennifer Mills, Dyschronia

Her novel Dyschronia (Picador) tells the story of Sam, a young girl who lives on a coastal Australian town and is haunted by migraines that cause her perceptions of time to splinter, giving her a glimpse into the future. What she sees is near-apocalyptic: the ocean disappears, and her hometown becomes a ghost town, a tourist attraction, a failed experiment.

Possibly the most thoughtful and imaginative novel of the last few months, simply because it weaves together fantasy and reality with the effortlessness of books such as Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Mills is also the author of The Diamond Anchor, Gone, and a collection of short stories The Rest is Weight.

Dervla McTiernan, The Ruin

Dervla McTiernan’s The Ruin (HarperCollins) has zoomed up the Australian bestseller list, fuelled by its excellent word of mouth long before the rave reviews could begin to appear. The story follows Irish policeman Cormac Reilly who is forced to revisit a cold case from twenty years ago. Lauded for blind sighting readers with its great twists, singular unpredictability, rich use of language and skilfully drawn characters, all features that easily qualifies The Ruin as the most addictive crime debut of 2018 and its author one to watch out for.

Writing a novel is never easy, but Irish-born Dervla who now lives in Perth, faced more challenges than most. Not only was The Ruin written in the dead hours between putting her daughter and son asleep, and getting up for work the next day, she revealed to the Sydney Morning Herald that she’d received two pieces of life-changing news in one day: First, that she had a brain tumour, then that a literary agent wanted a copy of her manuscript. Dervla is at the forefront of what is being called a new golden age of Australian crime writing, alongside some other very talented Australian women writers.

xlittle-gods.jpg.pagespeed.ic.LqG0KvMoZIHeather Morris, The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Echo/Bonnier) is a beautiful, haunting novel, based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, prisoner 34902. Sokolov was a Slovakian Jew, held prisoner during World War 2 in the now infamous Auschwitz prison camp. After being apprenticed to the camp Tätowierer, he eventually became the chief tattooist, a position that came with certain privileges. He ate in an administration building. Was given extra rations and slept in a single room.

As chief tattooist, Sokolov was forced to mark each prisoner with one of the enduring and most immediately recognisable symbols of the Holocaust – the small blue numbers tattooed on prisoners’ arm. He learned the rules quickly: Keep your head down. Don’t cause trouble. And above all, tattoo whoever comes off the train and lines up in front of you, man, woman or child. One such prisoner was a young woman named Gita and in a place full of hate, Lale and Gita somehow fell in love. Their amazing love story and tale of survival that ends with them moving to Melbourne after the war, is one of great beauty and hope.

Heather was born in New Zealand but has spent much of her life living in Melbourne, where she studied scriptwriting. Having met Lale Sokolov and his incredible story, she first started writing The Tattooist of Auschwitz, as a script. In this form, it won the International Independent Film Awards competition in 2016. Inspired by this success Heather converted it into a novel.

 S. A. Jones, The Fortress

The Fortress (Echo/Bonnier) is the third novel from S. A. Jones, a Melbourne-based author who worked many jobs over the years before turning her hand to writing. She has published two previous novels: Red Dress Walking and Isabelle of the Moon and Stars.

The Fortress is a boundary pushing book that lingers long in the heart and mind. The Vaik, an all-female civilisation, exist alongside the everyday world in a self-sustaining city-state called the Vaik. Men are only allowed into The Fortress as supplicants, and this story’s protagonist, Jonathon Bridge, enters on the condition that he is forbidden to ask questions, to raise his hand in anger and to refuse sex. Absorbing, moving and confronting, this novel is a feminist-charged conversation starter that asks questions about consent, power, love and fulfilment.

book-ninja-9781925640298_lgKelly Rimmer, Before I Let You Go

Choosing Kelly for this list kind of seems like cheating, since she’s already sold more than 600,000 digital copies of her previous four novels: Me Without You, The Secret Daughter, When I Lost You, and A Mother’s Confession. But her latest novel Before I Let You Go (Hachette) is special because it’s the first time Rimmer is being published in print across Australia and New Zealand.

Before I Let You Go is the story of two sisters embroiled in a murky legal and moral predicament. It begins when Lexie, a physician who is accustomed to receiving emergency calls in the dead of night, wakes up to a call from her sister Annie who is high on drugs and believes she’s dying. Lexie has no idea how drastically her life is about to change. Although she urges her drug-addicted sister to call an ambulance, Annie doesn’t want to go to hospital because she’s pregnant she confesses, and terrified authorities will take her unborn child away.

What follows is a dilemma like no other: one in which Lexie must confront her own profession and the rules that govern it in order to protect her younger sister from losing her family.

Bridie Jabour, The Ways Things Should Be

Although she has been known as a Fairfax and Guardian journalist for some years now, The Ways Things Should Be (Echo/Bonnier) is Bridie Jabour’s first foray into fiction. The story is a beautiful microcosm of the expectations and disappointments faced by people and captures the experience of tense family relationships gone haywire.

The novel centres on four adult siblings in the lead-up to a wedding in a country town, exploring themes such as ‘the complex relationships between parents and adult children, what we expect and what live gives us, and how our relationships evolve with our siblings, friends, and ourselves.’

Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus, Book Ninja, released June 2018

risingstarsAnother debut novel, this time co-written. Book Ninja (Simon & Schuster) is a clever, funny and wryly observed story about books and discovering who you really are. The authors, Ali and Michelle, created the Books on the Rail initiative in 2016 to encourage people to distribute and circulate books on public transport.

Sometimes love means having to broaden your literary horizons. Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or a date with a semi-normal person will do. It’s not that she hasn’t tried. She’s the queen of online dating. But enough is enough. Inspired by her job in a Melbourne bookstore, she takes fate in her own hands and embarks on the ultimate love experiment.

Her plan? Plant her favourite books on trains inscribed with her contact details in a bid to lure the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams . . . will it work?

Holly Ringland, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, April 2018

xthe-way-things-should-be.jpg.pagespeed.ic.UWjovoDKZeHolly has already had a novelist’s upbringing, and there’s sure to be a memoir somewhere down the track. She grew up in her mother’s Northern Australian tropical garden. When she was nine, her family lived in a campervan and travelled through North America for two years. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert. Now she lives between the UK and Australia. Phew!

Now, about the novel. Spanning two decades, set between sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the desert, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (HarperCollins) follows Alice’s unforgettable journey as she learns that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.

Brooke Davis has already sung its praise, calling it ‘vivid, compelling, utterly moving’ and Kate Forsyth said it was ‘heartbreaking and life-affirming.’

Jenny Ackland, Little Gods, April 2018

A rare, original and stunning novel with echoes of Jasper Jones and Cloudstreet, about a remarkable girl who learns the hard way that truth doesn’t always set you free. It’s Ackland’s second novel, her first being The Secret Son, a Ned Kelly-Gallipoli mash-up about truth and history.

In Little Gods (Allen & Unwin), Olive Lovelock has just turned twelve. She is smart, fanciful, and on the cusp of something darker than her small Victorian town has ever known. When she learns she had a baby sister who died, Olive becomes convinced it was murder. Her obsession with the mystery and quest to find out what happened, has seismic repercussions for her family and the rest of the community.

lace-weaverFunny and heartbreaking, Little Gods is a novel about the mess of family, about secrets, vengeance, and innocence lost.

Lauren Chater, The Lace Weaver, April 2018

Lauren Chater is based in Sydney even though her fiction is not. Her debut novel The Lace Weaver (Simon & Schuster) is historical fiction that emphasises women’s stories during 1941, Estonia.

It follows Katarina and her family who battle against Stalin’s brutal Red Army to protect their grandmother’s legacy – the weaving of gossamer lace shawls stitched with intricate patterns that tell the stories passed down through generations. All the while, a different woman flees Moscow for Estonia, desperate to uncover her mother’s Baltic heritage and yearning for freedom from her prison of privilege.

Vanessa Carnevale, The Memories that Make Us

Vanessa’s debut novel The Florentine Bridge was published last year to much acclaim, so it’s no wonder we’re so excited to hear that her next book The Memories That Make Us (Harlequin) is ‘a warm, hopeful and distinctly Australian novel that reminds you what is important in life,’ as Sally Hepworth puts it.

After an accident leaves Gracie with severe amnesia, she is forced to decide to live a life that is made up of other people’s memories of who she was, or start a new life on her own. Leaving her fiancé Blake behind, she moves to the country where she takes on the task of reviving her late mother’s abandoned flower farm.

While deciding whether to let Blake back into her life, she forms a deep connection with Flynn, her neighbour, and feels the kindling of new love. The novel asks: if you had your time over, would you live the same life twice?

xlovesome.jpg.pagespeed.ic.LPqbZ3mP93Rebecca Freeborn, Hot Pursuit, May 2018

Rebecca wrote her debut novel Hot Pursuit (Pantera) in the early hours of the morning before sunrise. She is one of those multi-talented writers who can juggle a husband, three kids, and a job for the South Australian Government while managing to write fiction.

Hot Pursuit is about a missing rockstar, a suspected murderer on the run, and a chase through some of the world’s most romantic destinations. Sarah Burrowes is left with a shattered heart and a huge mortgage after the love of her life runs out on her. Heartbroken and fed up, Sarah takes an assignment of a lifetime in Europe, writing for a gossip magazine. But there’s a catch: she’s paired with Nick, her ex’s best friend. But when things take a sudden dark turn, she discovers there’s more to the story than meets the eye . . .

Sally Seltmann, Lovesome, May 2018

Sally Seltmann’s debut novel Lovesome (Allen & Unwin) is a tender, funny and romantic entry into the literary world by the Aussie songwriter and performer.

In 1995, 21-year-old Joni Johnson is fresh out of art school and loving life. Lucy, the owner of the French restaurant that employs her, and the chef Dave, make her evenings entertaining and complicated. By day, Joni sets up her easel in her backyard, turns on music and paints.

But when Joni’s best friend Annabelle arrives on the doorstep one night, ecstatic in love, everything changes. The life Joni has built for herself seems lacklustre in comparison to Annabelle’s rising star. And when Annabelle makes a beeline for the one man who seems interested in Joni, it looks unlikely that their friendship will survive.

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                      Sally Seltmann
                      About the author

                      Sally Seltmann

                      Sally Seltmann is an Australian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. From 2000 to 2009, she used the stage name, New Buffalo. Under that name, she wrote, performed, arranged and produced her debut album in September 2004. Her second album appeared in March 2007. Seltmann and Canadian singer-songwriter Feist co-wrote the song, 1234, which became a Top 10 hit on the United States Billboard Hot 100. In 2010, she released her third solo album and formed an indie rock trio, Seeker Lover Keeper, with fellow Australians Sarah Blasko and Holly Throsby. They issued a self-titled album in June 2011, which peaked at number three on the ARIA Albums Chart. She is currently working on a new solo album and a new Seeker Lover Keeper album, both of which are likely to be released in the new twelve months. Lovesome is her first book.

                      Books by Sally Seltmann

                      Rebecca Freeborn
                      About the author

                      Rebecca Freeborn

                      Rebecca Freeborn lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills with a husband, three kids, a dog, a cat, a horse, more books than she can fit in her bookcase and an ever-diminishing wine collection. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Professional and Creative Communications and now works as a communications and content editor for the South Australian Government where she screams into the void against passive voice and unnecessary capitalisation. Rebecca loves strong, witty female characters, and wrote Hot Pursuit because she wanted to escape the focus on fashion and personal appearance that is so common in contemporary women 's fiction. She writes before the sun comes up and spends her moments of spare time reading novels and feminist articles and compulsively checking Facebook.`

                      Books by Rebecca Freeborn

                      Lauren Chater
                      About the author

                      Lauren Chater

                      Lauren Chater writes historical fiction with a particular focus on women’s stories. After working in the media sector for many years, she turned her passion for reading and research into a professional pursuit. In 2014, she was the successful recipient of the Fiona McIntosh Commercial Fiction scholarship. In addition to writing fiction, she establishedThe Well Read Cookie, a blog which celebrates her love of baking and literature. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. The Lace Weaver is her first novel, and she is currently working on her second, Gulliver’s Wife.

                      Books by Lauren Chater

                      Jenny Ackland
                      About the author

                      Jenny Ackland

                      Jenny Ackland is a writer and teacher from Melbourne. She has worked in offices, sold textbooks in a university bookshop, taught English overseas and worked as a proof-reader and freelance editor. Her short fiction has been published in literary magazines and listed in prizes and awards. Her debut novel The Secret Son - a "Ned Kelly-Gallipoli mash-up" about truth and history - was published in 2015. Little Gods is her second novel.

                      Books by Jenny Ackland

                      Bridie Jabour
                      About the author

                      Bridie Jabour

                      Bridie Jabour is assistant news editor at Guardian Australia. She has reported on federal politics, state elections and social issues as a general news reporter for the Guardian. She worked as a journalist for Fairfax and News Corp Australia before starting at the Guardian in 2013. The Way Things Should Be is her first novel.

                      Books by Bridie Jabour

                      Holly Ringland
                      About the author

                      Holly Ringland

                      Holly Ringland grew up wild and barefoot in her mother's tropical garden in Northern Australia. When she was nine years old, her family lived in a camper van for two years in North America,travelling from one national park to another, an experience that sparked Holly's lifelong interest in cultures and stories. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert. She moved to England in 2009 and obtained her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester in 2011. She now lives between the UK and Australia. Holly's essays and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and literary journals. In 2015, the first chapter of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart won Griffith Review's annual writer award, which included a week-long fellowship at Varuna House, Australia's top national writing residency.

                      Books by Holly Ringland

                      Kelly Rimmer
                      About the author

                      Kelly Rimmer

                      Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, 2 children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.

                      Books by Kelly Rimmer

                      Vanessa Carnevale
                      About the author

                      Vanessa Carnevale

                      Vanessa Carnevale is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne, Australia, who has contributed to The Green Parent (UK), Women’s Health and Fitness, The Herald Sun, Italy magazine, and Happy Child, among others. She also served as the publisher of Mindful Parenting for over two years. The Florentine Bridge is her first novel.

                      Books by Vanessa Carnevale

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