Female Authors in Australia
Though male writers have historically dominated the literary world, the past few years have seen more and more female writers get recognised for their work. In the Guardian’s 2017 list of ‘eight new Australian writers you should read’, half of the Australian authors listed were women, including poets Caitlin Maling and Shasta Deo, and Indigenous Australian authors Claire G Coleman and Ellen van Neerven.
Top 10 Australian Female Authors
Crime, Mystery, and Horror Writers
Women are not limited to the fantasy and romance genres either! The Sydney Morning Herald has said that Australian female authors have been dominating the crime fiction scene for several years.
Joan Lindsay was born in 1896 in St. Kilda East, Victoria. Lindsay was a novelist, painter, playwright, and essayist, and published six books in her lifetime, including a children’s book entitled Syd Sixpence and her most well-known work, Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Picnic at Hanging Rock is often regarded as one of Australia’s greatest mystery novels. The story revolves around a class of private school girls as they go on an excursion to an isolated rock. Tragedy and mystery ensue after the disappearance of three girls and one teacher.
Moriarty was born on November 15, 1966, in Sydney, where she currently resides. The Australian writer has published several crime-fiction and thriller novels, such as The Husband’s Secret, Truly Madly Guilty, and her most famous work Big Little Lies, which has been adapted to an HBO show.
Kerry Greenwood is an Australian lawyer and writer who was born on June 17, 1954, in Melbourne. She has written over 20 historical mysteries including Cocaine Blues and Flying Too High.
These are the women who were at the forefront of Australian literature and have written classic novels that are considered required reading for any self-respecting Aussie.
Ruth Park was born in New Zealand on August 24, 1917, but is an Australian through marriage.
Park wrote The Harp in the South, which is considered one of the greatest Australian novels of all time. The story is deceptively simple one about a young Sydney couple scraping by to make ends meet for their family.
Miles Franklin was born on October 14, 1879, in Talbingo, New South Wales. Franklin was a feminist and novelist whose best-known work is My Brilliant Career. The book, published in 1901, was written by Franklin when she was only around 20 years old. The story centres on a headstrong woman who, despite growing up in the Australian outback, dreams of achieving success as a writer. My Brilliant Career, along with Franklin’s other novel, All That Swagger, are considered true classics of Australian literature.
Jeannie Gunn was born in 1870 in Carlton Melbourne. In 1901, she married journalist and explorer Aeneas James Gunn, with whom she travelled the Australian outback. This trip became the inspiration of her classic novel, We of the Never Never. Her other book, Little Black Princess, also explores life in the Australian Outback.
Historical Fiction Novelists
Brooks is an Australian American journalist. She was born on September 14, 1955, in Sydney. She wrote historical fiction novels People of the Book, The Secret Chord, Year of Wonders, and March, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005. Today, she resides in Waterford, Virginia, USA.
Australian Children’s Authors
Mem Fox is one of the most prolific Australian children’s authors of all time. Fox was born on March 5, 1946, and has been publishing children’s books since her first smash hit, Possum Magic, which was released in 1983. She had actually begun writing the book five years prior but was met with rejections from various publishers. Today, Fox has written over 40 children’s books, along with several non-fiction books as well.
Alison Lester is another beloved Australian children’s authors. Lester was born on November 17, 1952, in Foster in Victoria. She studied teaching at The Melbourne Teacher’s College and is an illustrator as well as an author.
Lester has written quite a number of widely popular children’s picture books including; When Frank Was Four, Tessa Snaps Snakes, Rosies Sips Spiders, Clive Eats Alligators, Ernie Dances To The Didgeridoo, and Celeste Sails to Spain.
Indigenous Australian Authors
Alexis Wright is an Indigenous Australian writer who was awarded the Miles Franklin Award for her novel Carpentaria, as well as the Stella Prize for her memoir of aboriginal activist Leigh Bruce Tilmouth.
Alexis Wright is of Waanyi ancestry and is an advocate for land rights.
Melissa Lucashenko was born in Brisbane in 1967 and is of European and Bundjalung heritage.
Lucashenko’s most acclaimed novel Mullumbimby is about her ancestral relationship to the land and tackles issues of colonialism and Indigenous rights.
Historically, the most famous Australian authors are men, but these 12 amazing writers show that the best Australian authors are women. For readers looking to immerse themselves into some distinctly Australian novels, you can’t go wrong with these 12 authors.