The AWW challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, living in or outside Australia, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year.
I’ve been involved with the AWWC since 2018 when I first signed up for the challenge. Until then I had no idea how heavily weighted my reading had been towards male writers. An unreasonable proportion of my go-to authors were male, which I can only blame on unconscious bias.
Making an effort to seek out not only female, but local female authors quickly became more than a habit. I revelled in the pleasure of discovery, the library again that magical childhood place full of possibilities. Bookshops have become as dangerous as the corner shop used to be with its selection of mixed lollies. So comprehensively have my reading habits changed since 2018 that I can hardly remember that previous impoverished time. Australian authors make up probably 80% of my reading now with some wonderful discoveries among the male authors too.
In 2019 I volunteered as the General Fiction editor for the AWWC, and in 2020, while I continued to read, I participated in the Challenge only as an observer. AWWC reviewers do so much to promote Australian women writers that this year I’m determined to mend my ways and join them again. I’ll take the Franklin challenge where I read at least 10 books (easy) and review at least 6 of them (this is where I get in trouble – moving on to the next book before giving due time to the last!)
Right now I’m reading ‘The Golden Age’ by Joan London, a wonderful West Australian author whose work I discovered last year with ‘The Good Parents’, a Patricia Highsmith-like sparse psychological thriller. Yes, I should have reviewed it, but I that’s what New Year’s resolutions are all about—I aim to do better in 2021!
I’d like to know—do you have a favourite female Australian author (or three?)