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Sunday, March 08, 2015

Australia's Favourite Authors - Some More Info!

In January I posted the list of Australia's favourite authors, as taken by Booktopia, which invited readers to vote. My only comment, from my friend Lan Chan, said she had never heard of half of them. As I have no idea which half, I thought I would re-post the list with the names of some books written by each, because a lot of the time, people slap their foreheads and say, "Oh! Him! Of course!"

So here we go.

10. John Marsden - best known for the Tomorrow When The War Began series for teens. He has done his first adult book recently, but this series is what made him famous and gets him about $750 an hour for school visits(or did - it may be more by now)

9. Mem Fox - best known for Possum Magic, that delightful picture book in which an invisible possum travels Australia trying to become visible again and sees a lot of Australian icons. The wonderful artist is Julie Vivas. It was rejected by nine publishers who must now be kicking themselves, because it's sold in the millions.

8. Markus Zusak - mostly YA writer, though these days everyone is reading The Book Thief and watching the film. I heard him speak at a conference when he'd done only one book; he looked about sixteen.

7. Andy Griffiths - huge favourite of children, for the Just! Series, the (multi) Storey Treehouse series and the Bum series that began with The Day My Bum Went Psycho. Famous for his very silly, over-the-top style, which kids love(and so do I)

6. Monica McInerney - heard of her, but have no idea what her writing is like. I had to Google this one. She's Australian, but doesn't live here - she is Dublin-based. Top of the list on her web site is a novel called Hello From The Gillespies. There's also a quote from the Sun Herald describing her as a modern Jane Austen. What - gentle comedy-of-manners romances? Well, I'll take their word for it. She is Australia's sixth favourite writer.

5. Kerry Greenwood - Best known for her Phryne Fisher series, now on TV, and Corinna Chapman mysteries, not yet filmed and she says they won't be unless an appropriately fat actress can be found to play the lead - Magda Zubanski, who would have been a lovely Corinna, has taken off weight! She has written a number of children's and YA books but they're lesser known than the mysteries.

4. Matthew Reilly - writes thrillers in which, he told a Melbourne Writers Festival audience, characters are chased by monsters across the landscape. Something or someone is blown up every other page. I managed to read about 250 pages of Temple before throwing it aside in disgust and deciding it was perfect for fourteen year old boys, but even as a teacher librarian I couldn't bring myself to finish it. So it went in my library, where teenage boys could read it. But I'm in a minority, judging by his sales and by the fact that he ranks above John Marsden on this list.

3. Tim Winton - as a teacher-librarian I have only read his Lockie Leonard books, lovely, gentle things set on the coast of Western Australia, but most adults would probably know him better for such books as Cloudstreet.

2. Liane Moriarty - I see, on a Google, that she's the sister of YA novelist Jaclyn Moriarty, of whom I have heard. Apparently she wrote three children's books, early in her career. Her book Big Little Lies is a NY Times bestseller, but I haven't read it and can't comment, alas. Her sister, on the other hand, has a book on this year's Aurealis Awards shortlist.

1. John Flanagan - Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband. Fabulous adventure stories for children set in an alternative universe not unlike mediaeval earth, but cleaner and everyone drinks coffee, not just Arabs. And funny! Even my US readers will have heard of these, as I know there are US editions.

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to a radio interview with that wonderful writer Tom Keneally, in his eighties and still going strong. I'm a bit surprised he didn't get into the list, but then, it is a vote on one web site. And Booktopia sells a lot of books to a lot of readers. He has, however, just won a Lifetime Achievement award, which tells you that his real achievement is in a lot of books; it might be easier if there was just one or, maybe two, books for which he was best known.

Hope this is of help to those who, like Lan, hadn't heard of some of the people on this list!

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