I've been following Booktopia's reader-voted "Australia's favourite authors." This week we have seen the finalists from #50 onwards. Each year, there are new authors and old favourites. People who were closer to the top last time may be a bit lower this year, depending on who voted - or maybe who wanted to give someone else a go this time. We all have our favourites and as we read we acquire new ones.
Anyway, here are those who have come up so far. I have mostly stuck either to children's and YA authors or those I know have written for kids at some stage. They're all authors whose work I have read, including the two writers for adults I stuck in at the bottom. If you want to check out the rest, why not head over to the Booktopia web site?
#46 - John Flanagan - the author of the wonderful Ranger's Apprentice series. Go read them NOW!
#44 - Garth Nix - author of the fabulous Old Kingdom series(Sabriel, etc.) and the children's series Keys To The Kingdom.
#41 - Melina Marchetta - these days best known for Jellicoe Road, but her first, Looking For Alibrandi, is my favourite. Also the author of the fantasy Lumatere series beginning with Finnikin Of The Rock.
#40 - Tara Moss - I admit I don't read the crime fiction for which she is best known, but her YA fantasy novels are a hoot!
#37 - Kate Forsyth - the author of a lot of adult novels based on fairy tales, such as Bitter Greens, but also quite a few children's books, such as The Puzzle Ring.
#34 - Shaun Tan - my favourite of his books is The Arrival, which is straight art, telling the story of a refugee's arrival in an unnamed country. Not a single bit of text, but utterly powerful!
#30 - Isobelle Carmody - probably best known for her Obernewtyn books, but also the author of several stand-alone books. Personally, I am STILL waiting for the final volume of Legendsong, which stopped on a cliffhanger around sixteen years ago. Sigh!
#26 - Ruth Park - mostly an author for adults, she also wrote two wonderful YA fantasy novels, My Sister Sif and the amazing Playing Beattie Bow, which was made into a delightful film.
#22 - Morris Gleitzman - author of a LOT of amazing children's books. The most popular, for good reason, are the series that began with Once and most recently Soon. The hero is Felix, a boy who has a lot of adventures while on the run from the Nazis. He loses a lot of people he cares for. He is such a great kid! And in the third book, halfway through the series, the author flies into the present day and tells the story from the viewpoint of his Australian granddaughter. Lovely stuff!
#20 - Emily Rodda - most famous for the Deltora series for children, but also writes mysteries for adults under her own name, Jennifer Rowe. At one time she was editor of the Australian Women's Weekly.
#17 - Jackie French - author of a huge number of historical novels for children, former Australian Children's Laureate, several CBCA shortlistings under her belt. Amazingly popular in my school, considering how hard it is to get our kids to read historical fiction!
#16 - Graeme Base - fantastic artist and picture storybook author. One of his first books was Animalia, a wonderfully clever alphabet books with detailed paintings that invite the young reader to find all the pictures starting with the letter of that page. For example, "Diabolical Dragons Daintily Devouring Delicacies" has a background window through which you can see the Doctor and a Dalek. And a donkey. There's a background picture of a dagger hanging over someone. "Dagger" might be okay for kids, but as in the Asterix comics, there's a bit more for the adults reading with them - Damocles, right? It had a CBCA shortlisting, but didn't win. The book that did win is long forgotten. While Animalia has become a classic - I have the app on my iPad. The kids at my school used to have it out every lunchtime, by the way.
#15 - May Gibbs - author of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, classic Aussie picture storybook. Her home has become a museum.
#12 - Paul Jennings - the predecessor of Andy Griffiths. His books are hilarious and some of the short stories were used in the TV series Round The Twist. He hasn't written much in recent years, alas. I think he's done one or two picture books, which I must check out.
And adult writers I like are historical novelist Geraldine Brooks at #19 and national treasure poet Banjo Patterson at #11. He wrote all those bush poems, such as"Clancy Of The Overflow" and "The Man From Snowy River" and guess what? "Waltzing Matilda" is his too!
Tomorrow we will know who are the top ten - stand by!