mateship-with-birdsKate Grenville, Sarah Thornhillam-I-black-enoughlieutenantprecipice

Participants in the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012 were recently invited to nominate their favourite reviews from last year’s challenge in the Literary, Classic or Nonfiction categories. Reading through the nominations to choose a top three, what struck me most was the amazing diversity of the books being reviewed.

As you might expect, the list contained some of Australia’s best-known writers, such as Kate Grenville, but also featured many emerging and even debut writers, such as Jessie Cole. There were reviews of new releases, like Claire Corbett’s When We Have Wings, and of books dating as far back as 1980, such as Shirley Hazzard’s The Transit of Venus.

A broad range of genres was featured in the nominated reviews, including historical non-fiction, autobiography, speculative fiction, erotic and crime fiction, and the books broached topics and issues such as schizophrenia, child abuse and homelessness, racism, white settlement of Australia and, on a lighter note, birds!

Choosing the three best reviews was no easy task, as many of the nominated reviews were of a very high quality. The best reviews were those that went beyond an analysis of the technical prowess of their authors and engaged with the broader issues raised by the books, considering them within social and political as well as literary contexts. In addition, the three reviews I chose as the winners conveyed a certain personality and flair with language which rendered them valuable as texts in their own right, as well as reflections on the texts of others.

Winners of the Scribe giveaway (for reviewing):

The top three reviews, in no particular order, are:

1. Michelle at Book to the Future for her review of Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany

2. Marilyn at Me, You and Books (USA) for her review of Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville

3. Linda at The Newtown Review of Books for her review of Am I Black Enough For You? by Anita Heiss.

Winners of the Scribe giveaway (for their nominations)
4. Kath O’Donnell for her nominations of both Me, You & Books and The Newtown Review of Books

5. Danielle Burns for her nomination of Book to the Future.

I would also like to commend Sue at Whispering Gums for her review of Kate Grenville’s The Lieutenant (nominated by Cathy Powell) and Bernadette at Fair Dinkum Crime for her review of Virginia Duigan’s The Precipice (nominated by Helene Young).


AWW notes: Congratulations to all the winners. Thanks, Annabel, for judging and everyone who nominated a review.  Winners will be contacted via email, blog or Twitter and invited to choose a book by an Australian women published by Scribe, including Stella Prize longlisted authors, Cate Kennedy and Amy Espeseth. Contact details for winners will be forwarded to Scribe to arrange delivery of the books.




annabel-smith-thumbAnnabel Smith is the author of Whiskey Charlie Foxtrot and A New Map of the Universe. You can find her on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.