In January the Underground Team took up the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2020, pledging the Franklin-level challenge where we committed to read at least ten books by Australian women writers and review at least six. Well we sure followed through with that, reading a whopping 21 books by Australian women writers and reviewing all of them! Plus a few interviews with Australian women authors and illustrators thrown in. We even went so far as to interview Theresa Smith, Team Coordinator and Historical Fiction Editor for the Australian Women Writers Challenge.
We kicked off January with Shelley’s reviews of A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop and The Lost Summers of Driftwood by Vanessa McCausland, and Jemimah’s review of What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra.
We then skipped to March with two children’s books reviewed by Jess Rae: Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour and Lucky & Spike by Norma MacDonald. Also in March we had reviews of Challenge Accepted: A 30-day short story project by R J Amos and The Daughter of Victory Lights by Underground Alumni Kerri Turner, both reviewed by Shelley.
In April Jemimah reviewed The Fragments by Toni Jordan and In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black, and our first Junior Editor review came from Max, who read and reviewed The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks, whom Max also interviewed about her book.
Our only review in June was from another Junior Editor (and now full member of the UW team!) Ebony with Vivian Pham’s The Coconut Children. I then reviewed Ashley Kalagian Blunt’s How to be Australian.
In August Dylan reviewed Caroline Reid’s prose and poetry collection Siarad. In September Dylan also reviewed Fauna by Donna Mazza, The History of Mischief by Rebecca Higgie, and Skyglow by Leslie Thiele.
In November’s issue 32: Horror Jess Gately reviewed Little Jiang by Shirley Marr, and for general release our new Junior Editors shone with reviews of Karen Wyld’s Where The Fruit Falls, reviewed by Lauren, and Katerina Bryant’s Hysteria, reviewed by Grace.
We already have a collection of excellent works by Australian women authors lined up for release in January and February, and we can’t wait to take on this challenge again!