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Book Related Banter > What qualifies an "Aussie Author"?

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message 1: by Niamh (new)

Niamh | 373 comments The question of what qualifies an Aussie Author popped into my head earlier. I was going to ask a moderator, but then thought that it could really be up to the discretion of the reader. So I want to know from all of you, what makes you qualify someone as an Aussie Author?

I have thought of a few different options, some of which are more likely to qualify an author than others:

1. Born and grew up in Australia
2. Born in a different country but grew up in Australia
3. Born and grew up in a different country but moved to Australia as an adult
4. Born in Australia but grew up in a different country
5. Born and grew up in Australia but moved to a different country as an adult

For me, options 1 and 2 definitely qualify someone. Option 4 rules them out. Options 3 and 5, it depends on when the move happened. Did they start writing before or after the move? How long have they been living in the new country? It's a case-by-case assessment.

If I have left out options that you believe qualifies someone as an Aussie Author, feel free to add them!


message 2: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Stringer | 272 comments I would call an Aussie author any writer who is an Australian citizen, regardless of where they might be now.


message 3: by Susan (last edited Jul 14, 2018 08:51PM) (new)

Susan (goodreadscomsusanaustralia) | 427 comments Another factor might be the subject matter the author chooses, and whether their work displays an "Australian consciousness". I just started thinking about Kathy Lette, who I notice is speaking at this year's Canberra Writers' Festival.

Lette was born and raised in Oz, but moved to another country as an adult (Options 1 and 5). While her first book, Puberty Blues explored Australian teen culture, her more recent works are set in Britain. I would argue that (to use Lette as an example), she would currently be considered a British author, but if she continued to live in Britain but wrote novels set in Australia, she could be considered an Aussie author.


message 4: by Carolyn (last edited Jul 14, 2018 09:10PM) (new)

Carolyn | 8454 comments Lynne wrote: "I would call an Aussie author any writer who is an Australian citizen, regardless of where they might be now."

I think I would broaden that to writers who are Australian citizens (regardless of where they live) or call Australia home. There could easily be immigrant and refugee writers who have settled in Australia and intend to live here but are not citizens.


message 5: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 72357 comments Mod
An Aussie author is someone who was born here, and no longer lives here - and an author who was born overseas and now lives here.

As long as they've lived here for some years, whether born here or emigrated - we call them our own :)

So all your points qualify them Niamh :)


message 6: by Sally906 (new)

Sally906 | 7 comments An "Australian consciousness" wouldn't work if an author has no connection to Australia other than set the story here. Or if they are married to an Australian but weren't themselves boren here, or come here after their marriage.


message 7: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Susan wrote: "Another factor might be the subject matter the author chooses, and whether their work displays an "Australian consciousness". I just started thinking about Kathy Lette, who I notice..."

Agreed Susan. I think being an Aussie (and an author) isn't enough to be considered an 'Australian author'. There has to be something Australian about the stories as well, whether setting or characters. And I think immigrants (not tourists or backpackers) writing about their experiences here also make them Aussie authors.


message 8: by Phrynne, Series Queen! (new)

Phrynne | 12333 comments Mod
Lots of different opinions here and all of them valid. It might be worth noting though that Brenda's definition above is the one we use to check that books qualify in our various challenges.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan (goodreadscomsusanaustralia) | 427 comments Ryan wrote: "And I think immigrants (not tourists or backpackers) writing about their experiences here also make them Aussie authors."

I agree, Ryan. For example, I would describe Russian-born journalist Vitali Vitaliev, who wrote Dreams On Hitler's Couch about his experiences living in Australia as an "Aussie author" (or maybe an "honorary Aussie author".)

Phrynne — I take your point about how we define "Aussie author" for our challenges.


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan (goodreadscomsusanaustralia) | 427 comments Sally906 wrote: "An "Australian consciousness" wouldn't work if an author has no connection to Australia other than set the story here. Or if they are married to an Australian but weren't themselves born here, or ..."

I agree, Sally. For example, I wouldn't describe an American author who had never set foot in, or had no familial connection to, Australia and wrote a novel set in the outback as an Aussie author.


message 11: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 72357 comments Mod
You're right there Susan. A classic example is: Harmony Verna's book Daughter Of Australia by Harmony Verna Daughter Of Australia which I absolutely loved. I thought she was an Aussie, it was so authentic and I actually got in touch with her. It turned out that she's a US citizen and hasn't been to Australia. I was stunned, but removed her from my Aussie author's list :)


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan (goodreadscomsusanaustralia) | 427 comments Brenda — Harmony Verna must have impressive research skills, or perhaps an intuitive understanding of place. I skimmed some of the reviews here, and didn't see anyone saying that the book felt inauthentic.


message 13: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 72357 comments Mod
I was enthralled! I read her second one and absolutely loved it too - not on the same level as her first, but it was still wonderful. And yes, I think her research is amazing!


message 14: by Sally906 (last edited Jul 18, 2018 09:30PM) (new)

Sally906 | 7 comments Research is SO important when an author is writing about a country/place they have never been to.

I was brought up in Lagos in Nigeria. I love reading books set there - and books by Nigerian authors.

A few years back I discovered a romance set in Lagos, but written by an author who lived in the USA.

I was stunned at the inaccuracies. For someone who had never been there, it was no big deal, but she had characters swimming at a beach that no-one swims at to this day because of the danger - locals will sit on it, have market stalls set up on it (very high as rogue waves can wash them away) but never ever go in the water.
Even paddling is fraught with danger. Then she had them drive over a bridge to an island resort. Again - a quick check would have informed her that this island is 30 miles (60ish kms) off the coast. Yes there is a resort - but most people catch a ferry as there is no bridge.

I know it is a small thing but I couldn't read any more of her books after that.


message 15: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 72357 comments Mod
That's extremely poor Sally - and downright lazy! Some authors must think their readers are stupid!


message 16: by Phrynne, Series Queen! (new)

Phrynne | 12333 comments Mod
All she had to do was call the places by made up names and she could have had as many bridges as she liked.


message 17: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 3278 comments Phrynne wrote: "All she had to do was call the places by made up names and she could have had as many bridges as she liked."

So, so true.


message 18: by Graham (new)

Graham Wilson | 29 comments To me it is a combination having lived in the place for a reasonable period and having an affinity for its cultural values. Even though I have not lived in the NT for the last 20 years I grew up there and spent the first half of my working life there so I still think of myself as an NT author. But I also live in Sydney and love it and also think of my myself as a Sydney author too.

However, even though I lived in UK and Ireland for extended periods and feel a strong affinity with both countries and have a good understanding of them I do not think I share their general cultural values and would never call myself an English or Irish author - it would be both presumptuous and misleading


message 19: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 72357 comments Mod
Good points Graham :)


Jülie ☼♄  | 6436 comments I was just wondering about this question after reading The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale as her bio is a bit ambiguous and this being a debut novel left no clues in other people's shelf choices...always another good point of reference for me ;) ... Any feedback for this one?


message 21: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 72357 comments Mod
Did you have a promo paper with the book Jools? Usually it will have an "about the author" on it. But reading what I can around the web, she "grew up in Africa and Australia" which to me means she lived here. So I think you could safely say she's part Aussie :) Also the fact that this book is (at this stage) only being published in Australia could mean she's Aussie as well.


Jülie ☼♄  | 6436 comments Hi Brenda, no they only sent a tax invoice with it lol...maybe I can claim it haha ;)
I see a couple of others have read it for their AWW challenge so I'm happy to accept that she lived here long enough to qualify :)


message 23: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 72357 comments Mod
Haha!! Yes I would qualify her :)


message 24: by Sheree (new)

Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins (keepingupwiththepenguins) | 6 comments Susan wrote: "Another factor might be the subject matter the author chooses, and whether their work displays an "Australian consciousness". I just started thinking about Kathy Lette, who I notice..."

Yep, I'm with you here: Evie Wyld is an example, she's spent the majority of her life in the U.K., but her mother is born-and-bred Australian, and her work is set in Australia with very Australian themes. Plus, Miles Franklin winner. So for me it's more about the Australian-ness of the work (very hard to fake) than quibbles over the author's address. :D


message 25: by Sally906 (new)

Sally906 | 7 comments Sheree wrote: "Yep, I'm with you here: Evie Wyld is an example, she's spent the majority of her life in the U.K., but her mother is born-and-bred Australian, and her work is set in Australia with very Australian themes. Plus, Miles Franklin winner. So for me it's more about the Australian-ness of the work (very hard to fake) than quibbles over the author's address..."

You can quibble as much as you like, but we have to draw a line in the sand, so as far as our definitions go - she would not qualify as an Australian author, just because her mother was born here, so you could not use her in a challenge as an Aussie author.


message 26: by Sheree (new)

Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins (keepingupwiththepenguins) | 6 comments Sally906 wrote: "Sheree wrote: "Yep, I'm with you here: Evie Wyld is an example, she's spent the majority of her life in the U.K., but her mother is born-and-bred Australian, and her work is set in Australia with v..."

Even though she won the Miles Franklin in 2014 for All The Birds Singing? An annual literary prize awarded to "a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases"?


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