The big news on the History, Memoir, Biography (HMB) scene this month was the recent announcement of the winners for the PM’s Literary Awards Non-Fiction.
Two Australian women writers shared the top prize – Karen Lamb for her biography on Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather and Sheila Fitzpatrick’s history book, On Stalin’s Team: the Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics.
Two of our members have already reviewed Lamb’s book –
And, although, no-one has tackled Fitzpatrick’s book yet, Janine Rizzetti has reviewed her earlier memoir, Spy in the Archives. A little something to whet your appetite perhaps?
The other big AWW news, for those of us in Sydney at least, was the appointment of the new Artistic Director for the Sydney Writer’s Festival. Michaela McGuire will replace Jemma Birrell, who directed the last four festivals so successfully.
McGuire is a Melbourne based writer with three non-fiction books to her name – Last Bets: A True Story of Gambling, Morality and the Law, Apply Within: Stories of Career Sabotage and the Penguin Special A Story of Grief. She also co-edited, with Marieke Hardy The Women of Letters books. Our AWW reviews for these books are linked below.
Yours Truly: Women Of Letters
Sincerely: Women Of Letters
Women Of Letters
Next year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival dates are 22nd – 28th May 2017.
Our very few October HMB reviews take us from Hidden Hamilton (a suburb of Newcastle) with a very personal history by Ruth Cotton – reviewed by Debbie here – all the way to the pain and joy of surrogacy with Shannon Garner’s, Labour of Love reviewed by Simone.
Janine provides a thoughtful review on a stolen generation memoir by Marie Munkara called Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea while Jennifer explores the grief and confusion of a mother trying to come to terms with her son’s untimely death in Crying in Silence by Sandra Russet-Silk.
Finally, Kim adds to the growing love and regard for Helen Garner’s, Everywhere I Look here.
Hopefully, the lack of reviews this month, merely reflects that, like me, you are halfway through a few fabulous HMB books right now and just trying to find enough time to finish them!
About Bronwyn: I have been a book blogger at Brona’s Books since 2009 and a bookseller (specialising in children’s literature) in Sydney since 2008. Prior to this I was as an Early Childhood teacher for 18 years in rural NSW.
I taught myself to read when I was four by memorising my Dr Seuss books. I haven’t stopped reading since.
You can find me on Twitter @bronasbooks and Litsy @Brona.
Thanks for the roundup, Bronwyn. I’ve been going over the 2015 AWW stats for nonfiction, and they are significantly less than for fiction, especially when you compare it with what gets reviewed in mainstream media. I wonder what we can do to stimulate more NF reviews? (Attracting a review of Fitzpatrick’s book would be an excellent start!)
Yes good question, Elizabeth. It speaks, I suppose, to the focus of our readers here, and to book bloggers in general. Most of the book bloggers I read only read a smattering of non-fiction. Those n-f reviewers in the mainstream, Elizabeth, do they draw from the same pool of reviewers or are they more likely to be specialists in their field, ie historians, scientists, sports journalists, social commentators, etc?
Janine is one of our biggest NF readers, and it’s great to have her input. However, that said, Brona, you’ll have one from me in November!
And people like me read NF very slowly!
One of my blogging friends hosts #NonFicNovember which is a great way of finding lots of great new reads – but they tend to be US UK focused and my Aussie books don’t get much feedback.
Maybe we could host a #MemoirMarch? #HistoryMonth? #Autobio/BioAugust? or all three??
Oh and thanks for the link Brona