Last year the Underground team took on the Australian Women Writers Challenge, committing to the Franklin level challenge to read at least ten books by Australian Women Writers and review at least six of them. We knocked it out of the park with a whopping 21 books read and all of them reviewed, plus a few interviews with Australian women authors for good measure. This year we’ll be committing again to the Franklin level challenge, and below are some of the books that we hope to read and bring you reviews for:

Jemimah Halbert Brewster

My Father’s Shadow by Jannali Jones

This one has been on my TBR for a while and I finally got my hands on a copy last month, so this is top of AWWC list for 2021!

The Farm at Peppertree Crossing by Leonie Kelsall

A little out of my usual wheelhouse, this is a rural romance about family, hope and healing that I’ve been meaning to get to for months, so I intend to get to it soon.

Deep Water by Sarah Epstein

I read Epstein’s debut Small Spaces back in 2018 and utterly devoured it, so I can’t wait to sink my teeth into her second YA thriller.

Ebony Bryant

The Breaking by Irma Gold

Last year I challenged myself to read books that weren’t my usual choice, and so to continue with this mindset, I was keen to get my hands on a copy of The Breaking. Set in Thailand, this debut follow Hannah Bird who gets swept up in what is sure to be a thrilling adventure of rescuing elephants. This book is set for release March 1st.

Hold Your Fire by Chloe Wilson

I’ve been meaning to read more short story collections for the longest time and this debut sounded like a fantastic addition to my TBR.

One Hundred Days by Alice Pung

When sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant, her over-protective mother confines her to their fourteenth-story housing commission flat for 100 days. Said to be a ‘fractured fairytale exploring the fault lines between love and control’, I can’t wait for its release in June this year.

Paul Dielesen

The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey

Released last September, The Morbids found its way into my TBR pile by offering an exploration into anxiety seeded by trauma with the main character having to find new courage to work through their constant fear of death.

Smart Ovens For Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan

I had the opportunity to listen to Elizabeth Tan speak at the Kembali Festival in Perth towards the end of 2020 and felt inspired to read her work. Tan’s discussion seemed incredibly genuine and honest and I couldn’t help but imagine these qualities would transfer into her short story collection.

The History of Mischief by Rebecca Higgie

The History of Mischief was positively reviewed by the Underground Team a few months back and the review managed to spark my imagination and get me excited for a whimsical, time-travelling tale of adventure.

Kate Lomas Glendenning

Eye of a Rook by Josephine Taylor

When I undertook my internship at Fremantle Press in 2019, Taylor’s book had just been commissioned, and since then I have been waiting over a year to get my hands on it! Set in 1860s London and present-day Perth this fictional novel investigates the history of hysteria and the female body.

A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr

Since reading (and falling in love with) Little Jiang by Marr, I have been waiting for a new piece of children’s literature from her. Just reading one of the blurb notes: “A Glasshouse of Stars is based on the real childhood experiences of the author, brushed with a light touch of magic realism” sends tingles down my spine.

Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek across 1700 Miles of Australia by Robyn Davidson

Although Davidson originally published her novel in 1980, I stumbled across a 2017 reprint the other week. A young woman, equipped with a dog and four camels, undertakes a journey across the Australian desert.

Lauren Pratt

Everyday Madness by Susan Midalia

This book is coming out in March; a vacuum cleaner-salesman and his wife Gloria who suddenly stops talking—sounds like the perfect entertaining read for me!

The Yield by Tara June Winch

The Yield has been recommended to me by a few people so I am definitely going to be reading this award-winning book in 2021.

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu

I have seen Jessie Tu’s novel in many book stores and this year for AWWC I am going to go and buy myself a copy!

Shelley Timms

Where the Fruit Falls by Karen Wyld

This historical fiction debut follows a family of First Nations women as they deal with the impact colonisation has had on their relationship with the land on which they grew up. I hadn’t heard of this book until recently, however it won the 2020 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, so I have high hopes!

Smart Ovens for Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan

This short story collection seems like it is going to be a delight to read. I first heard about this on Natalie Meree’s YouTube channel, and I was intrigued by the interesting title and concept.

Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson

As soon as the synopsis mentioned ‘ancestral spirits’, this book went on my TBR. I’m a sucker for buzzwords like those! This book follows the Billymil family as they navigate the fraught race relations in the small town of Darnmoor. These issues seem to come to a head when something shocking occurs that further drives a wedge between the Indigenous and settler residents.

Underground Team

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