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message 1: by Mandapanda (last edited Oct 04, 2010 08:44PM) (new)

Mandapanda This thread is for discerning bibliophiles and readers who enjoy unforgettable Australian literature! You can find many examples of Australian Literary Fiction in our group bookshelf under general fiction. Feel free to comment or make recommendations in this thread.:)

For the purposes of encouraging discussion here are some thoughts and quotes pertaining to Australian Literary Fiction:

Some readers of Australian literary fiction might be wincing at the fact that this discussion has been placed in the “Talk Genre” folder but there are those who argue that Literary Fiction itself has become just another genre (see The End Of Literary Fiction - The Observer, 5th Aug. 2001).

Literary Fiction is often ‘under attack’ in the press. Here is a quote from the article "The Global Reception of Post-national Literary Fiction: The Case of Gerald Murnane" by Paul Genoni, Curtin University of Technology:

“A PERSISTENT theme in literary discussions is that literature itself is in crisis. Literary fiction is widely felt to be threatened by television, the internet or any number of more common forms of neglect. Why read Kafka when you can shop? Writers are censured for ignoring the burning social issues that animated Dickens, or for failing to experiment in the tradition of Joyce, Proust or Faulkner. They are writing too close to life or at too great a remove from life; writing too much or writing too little."

But George Williamson says in an article he wrote after returning from a trip to London:

“When I returned home soon afterwards, it was with a newly awakened sense of what Australian literature was good for: helping us define ourselves in relation to an Anglo past and American present, for example, or airing the wounds suffered by indigenous Australia, or inhabiting those new frictions that result from our expanding cultural pluralism. Above all, it could teach us to dwell more easily in a landscape that did not accord with the metaphors and myth-kitty that was our northern inheritance.” “Bugger the bloggers: old-world critics still count” - The Australian 1st Sept. 2010

Just three years ago the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, created the “Prime Minister‘s Literary Awards to celebrate the contribution of Australian literature to the nation's cultural and intellectual life. The awards, held annually, recognise literature's importance to our national identity, community and economy. There is a tax free prize of A$100,000 in each category, making it Australia's richest literary award for Australian books. There are now four categories; fiction, non-fiction, young adult and children's fiction.

However our most prestigious literary award is still The Miles Franklin Literary Award which recognises and celebrates the essential “Australianess” of our literary fiction. Miles Franklin was an Australian writer and feminist who is best known for her autobiographical novel, My Brilliant Career, published in 1901. While she wrote throughout her life, her other major literary success, All That Swagger, was not published until 1936. She was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature, and she actively pursued this goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers' organisations.

Hope this gets you all thinking!:D

message 2: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 136 comments I like that quote by George Williamson. Your post got me thinking. A shame there's no facility here to "like" it as on the reviews.

message 3: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Velvetink wrote: "I like that quote by George Williamson. Your post got me thinking. A shame there's no facility here to "like" it as on the reviews."

Yes I loved that quote too. It gives such a strong, personal and convincing argument for the worth of Aussie literature.

message 4: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) You can add that quote to the quotes database here on GR, then invite people to 'like' it.

message 5: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Cheryl wrote: "You can add that quote to the quotes database here on GR, then invite people to 'like' it."

I thought quotes had to be from a book Cheryl. That one's from an article. Maybe I'll try to add it anyway!:) Thanks for the tip.

message 6: by Mandapanda (last edited Oct 05, 2010 03:31PM) (new)

Mandapanda Update. I've added it to the Goodreads quotes section. You can find it here:

message 7: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Well, if articles aren't ok for sources, I'm not telling. It can stay up until someone objects. :)

But I don't see the 'like' button. :(

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

There is no 'like' button as such. To the right of the quote is a add to your favourites (or something like that, it disappeared when I added it.)

message 9: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) I did the add to favorites, but it didn't give me credit for liking it. Hm.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

LOL, maybe you aren't Australian enough Cheryl.

message 11: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) !!

message 12: by Mandapanda (last edited Oct 06, 2010 03:49PM) (new)

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I would also add Frank Hardy I loved POWER WITHOUT GLORY it was brilliant.

I'll add more as I think of them,

Patrick White should also be included. I confess I haven't read any of his books though I do have a couple on my book shelves at home.Christina Stead with The Man Who Loved Children which I have read and would also recommend.

message 14: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Gail "cyborg" wrote: "I would also add Frank Hardy I loved POWER WITHOUT GLORY it was brilliant.

I'll add more as I think of them,

Patrick White should also be include..."

Thanks Gail. I was surprised as I grabbed the links to those authors' names that most of them don't have bios or photos on their author sites. I think that'll be my good deed for the next 2 weeks. Updating the author pages for our most renowned writers on Goodreads... (Lucky I'm on holidays!)

message 16: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Jan wrote: "What about Marcus ClarkeMarcus Clarke
and Henry Handel RichardsonHenry Handel Richardson

and Kate Grenville"

Thanks Jan.:D

message 17: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 136 comments There's Delia Falconer....I've only read The Service of Clouds but fell in love with it.
Delia Falconer is a best-selling novelist, acclaimed essayist and critic.
Her novel, The Service of Clouds, was published in Australia by Picador in 1997, breaking sales records for a literary first novel, and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and other high-profile literary awards.
It was published in the USA by Farrar Straus and Giroux (hardcover) and Picador USA (paperback), and in German translation by S Fischer Verlag. Delia’s second novel, The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers, was published in Australia by Picador, 2005, and in the USA by Soft Skull Press, 2006.

The Service of Clouds on GR
her new book "Sydney" - australian review; here;

message 18: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda I just saw Delia Falconer's book Sydney when I was checking some magazines for new releases and the reviews spoke very highly of her work. I'll add her to our bookshelf. Thanks VI!

Sydney by Delia Falconer The Service of Clouds by Delia Falconer The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers by Delia Falconer

message 19: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 136 comments :) I was very taken with The Service of Clouds, it was about a photographer...maybe I am biased because of that but I hope her other works live up to my recommendation.

message 20: by Mandapanda (last edited Oct 13, 2010 01:44PM) (new)

Mandapanda I love a couple of the lines in the blurb for The Service of Clouds:

"Katoomba, a town high in Australia's Blue Mountains where the air is too thin to support any certainties"


"My mother, being possessed of a practical temperament, did not use metaphors lightly: she expected them to do a full day's work"

message 21: by Mandapanda (last edited Oct 10, 2010 05:38PM) (new)

Mandapanda Here are a couple of excellent and very readable articles on the history of Australian literature:

The History of the Australian Novel

Australian Literature - Reflecting Old and New Influences

Highly recommended for anyone interested in this subject.

message 22: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Just added another quote about Australian literature to the Goodreads list. You may like to add it to your quotes so here is the link:

"We keep reading our own fiction because when it's poor it's disappointing, but when it's good, nothing matters more. If people are reading less, they are still alert for what's terrific. We want voices: we want our own stories told."
— David Marr

message 23: by Pam (new)

Pam Walter G'day Mates!! I usually post to Historical Fictionistas, but found so much pleasure in this book that I just HAD to come here and post a link!! I loved this book. Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time

Happy Reading!!

message 24: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 313 comments Pam,
Haver you seen the film ?
A good hanky job :-o)

message 25: by Pam (new)

Pam Walter Yes, thank you Geoff!!
boxahankey job!!

message 26: by Mandapanda (last edited Nov 12, 2010 10:51PM) (new)

Mandapanda In today's Australian:

Shorts are back in

THE Australian short story has been undergoing something of a renaissance in recent years.
Collections such as Cate Kennedy's Dark Roots, Steven Amsterdam's Things We Didn't See Coming, Nam Le's The Boat, Paddy O'Reilly's The End of the World, Bob Franklin's Under Stones and Tom Cho's Look Who's Morphing (to name only a handful) is indicative of a renewal of interest in the form and the breadth of local talent.

A notable feature of this resurgence is its spirit of playfulness. These are writers unbounded by conventional notions of realism or literary respectability, willing to experiment with genre and incorporate fanciful or offbeat concepts into their fiction.

The short story has seemingly provided a more amenable way for many contemporary authors to exploit the essential contingency of storytelling. For O'Reilly, Franklin and Cho, a robust sense of humour is an intrinsic part of this conceptual freedom. Read more.

message 27: by Monya (new)

Monya (monyamary) Thanks for that, Mandy! There's simply been nowhere much to submit short stories in Australia for years. I mean the popular type, not the literary. (Maybe I'm being a commoner here!)

When I was a teenager (oh, Lord, I'm doing the grandma thing again) there were magazines, notably The Australian Journal, devoted entirely to the genre. And the big magazines printed three or four per issue, not the single tale that now appears in the big glossy. Or the one-page pieces we see in the mags more devoted to celebrity gossip.

I didn't get published, but the editor actually sent you a critique! (REALLY the olden days. And a small population.) And short stories are such great practice for novel writing.

message 28: by Laura (new)

Laura Rittenhouse | 200 comments Monya wrote: "Thanks for that, Mandy! There's simply been nowhere much to submit short stories in Australia for years. I mean the popular type, not the literary. (Maybe I'm being a commoner here!)

When I was a..."

Monya, I've tried submitting a few short stories on the rare instances I see submissions are welcome, but never hear anything back.

A small local newspaper ran a short story written by a resident of NSW every week with a small prize (something like movie tickets). I submitted but heard nothing. And then the short stories stopped appearing. I emailed asking if they had stopped because they ran out of prizes (I said as an author, I didn't need a prize) or because the quality of submissions wasn't up to snuff and they were waiting for one worthy of printing (in which case I'd try again). They didn't even answer my query. Perhaps I should send them this article to remind them people actually like short stories!

message 29: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Today's Australian reviews three new release anthologies of Australian short stories just in time for Christmas:

Griffith Review 30: The Annual Fiction Edition
Edited by Julianne Schultz
Text Publishing, 260pp, $24.95

New Australian Stories 2
Edited by Aviva Tuffield
Scribe, 346pp, $29.95

The Best Australian Stories 2010
Edited by Cate Kennedy
Black Inc, 270pp, $29.95

"THESE three admirable examples of the annual batch of summer holidays anthologies are mainly full of short stories, about 100 in all, which amount to a disquieting anatomy of contemporary Australia, as well as excursions with several of its ghosts." Read more.

Griffith Review 30 The Annual Fiction Edition by Various New Australian Stories 2 by Aviva Tuffield The Best Australian Stories 2010 by Various

message 30: by Mandapanda (last edited Dec 03, 2010 03:46PM) (new)

Mandapanda Again from today's Australian...

This is a great article by Geordie Williamson (The Australian's chief literary critic) looking at the best Aussie fiction and poetry for summer as well as making a few insightful and funny comments on the state of today's book industry.

"A bumper year for fiction both here and overseas is coming to its Christmas crunch in the weeks ahead. Tiptoe past the leaning towers of bestsellerdom, with their colour-by-numbers tales of mass murder or frock-shopping in Milan, and keep an eye out for several novels in which intellectual substance is allied to pure reading pleasure."

I especially like this comment, "The e-reading revolution may have reached our shores this year but it has yet to reckon with Australia's summer holidays. Intense sunlight plays havoc with screens and the sand invades every nook and cranny, so as convenient and sexy as your new iPad may be, the battered paperback, its pages pocked and swollen from contact with briny hands, will likely remain the beach format of choice for a few years yet." Read more.

Books mentioned in this article include:
The Philanthropist by John Tesarsch The Body in The Clouds by Ashley Hay Five Bells by Gail Jones The Rest on the Flight Selected Poems by Peter Porter

P.S. I love my ereader but completely understand those who detest them and feel that print books are the only way to read. For you I have added the above quote about ereaders to Goodreads Quote list. If you'd like to add it to your favourite quotes list you'll find it here:

message 31: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Good point, made in that quote!

message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

I couldn't find the perfect spot for this so here will do. This site came to my attention identifying literature of a historical nature. I have picked out the Australian section for you to look at but it covers just about everything you could think of. It is worth having a look anyway.

message 33: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda That's a wonderful resource Gail. There's a conversation in the Talk Genre folder called WW11 novels so I think I'll change the topic to Historical Fiction and add your link there too! Thanks.:)

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