We are only half way through 2013 but a review of the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge has revealed some impressive figures. In just six months participants have written 1,100 reviews, reviewed the work of over five hundred Australian women authors and read nearly seven hundred books.
It is the participants of the Challenge who have generated this groundswell of interest in the writing of Australian women authors. In the first six months 187 volunteers have taken the effort to write about the books by Australian women authors that they have read and share their reviews online. These reviewers range from those who have little experience in reviewing to those who are published authors and/or reviewers. Everyone is invited to participate in whatever way they can.
Most books have been reviewed just once but 26% of the books have received more than one review. Our ‘Top Five’ list shows the most popular books so far this year:
|Books Reviewed: The Top Five|
|Title||Author||Number of Reviews|
|2||Dark Horse||Honey Brown||11|
|The Girl in the Hard Hat||Loretta Hill|
|3||Paper Chains||Nicola Moriarty||9|
|The Railwayman’s Wife||Ashley Hay|
|The Wild Girl||Kate Forsyth|
|4||Hope’s Road||Margareta Osborn||8|
|The Husband’s Secret||Liane Moriarty|
|House for all Seasons||Jenn J McLeod|
|Web of Deceit||Katherine Howell|
|5||Sea of Hearts||Margo Lanagan||7|
|Shallow Breath||Sara Foster|
|Beneath Outback Skies||Alissa Callen|
|Saving Grace||Fiona McCallum|
Understandably most of the books in the top five most reviewed books for the last six months have been categorised by the participants as contemporary fiction but there are also several historical fiction books, some romance, and a speculative fiction book in the list.
The chart above demonstrates the range of genres that are covered in the Challenge reviews. Participants decide what genre(s) the book they have reviewed fits into. Nearly two hundred reviews were of books that Challenge participants regarded as ‘literary’.
The top five most reviewed authors by Challenge participants were:
|Author||Number of Reviews|
It is notable that there are many other authors and books which are very close to being in the top five. Seven authors have received nine reviews and many more are just two or three reviews away from the top five.
Challenge participants like to review newly published books. Books published in 2013 received the most reviews of any publication year. 43% of reviews were of books published in 2013 and 94% of the reviews were for books published this century.
The aim of this Challenge is to increase the reading of books written by Australian women and foster conversation about these books. Through this we hope to raise awareness of the extent and depth of Australian women’s writing. The statistics for the first half of 2013 demonstrate that the Challenge has contributed to raising awareness of women’s writing in Australia this year and encouraged discussion about books written by women.
|At a Glance: the first six months of 2013||Number|
|Participants who have published reviews||187|
* This total does not count the women authors contributing to multi-authored collections.
I’m Yvonne Perkins. For the last few years I have been working as a research assistant on a variety of historical projects one of which was an investigation of the history of teaching reading in Australia. Currently I am researching the beliefs, religious or otherwise, of soldiers who served in World War I. In my spare time I enjoy reading history and writing about it on my blog, Stumbling Through the Past. I can also be found @perkinsy on twitter.