Hello Fabulous Readers of 2020!

Let’s talk about the year that was — literarily speaking anyway…

As we often note, Non-Fiction & Poetry are an unlikely pairing and the reviews for these genres are sometimes on the smaller side compared to other popular ones on this site. However, since taking over as editor in August, I can safely say this does not reflect the quality of the reviews. They are informative, thoughtful, and engaging.

The review numbers for both Non-Fiction and Poetry books have remained relatively steady since 2019, with no major increases or decreases. 


Non-Fiction Reviews 2020

Total reviews for 2020: 127

Compared to 2019: 131

The Most Reviewed Non-Fiction Books Were:


1. The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

Reviewed 4 times

Chloe Hooper, The Arsonist


2. Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales

Reviewed 3 times


3. City of Trees by Sophie Cunningham

Reviewed 3 times


4. Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

Reviewed 3 times


5. Reasonable Doubt by Xanthe Mallett

Reviewed 3 times


6. The Bushfire Book: How to be Aware and Prepare by Polly Marsden

Reviewed 3 times


7. The Details by Tegan Bennet Daylight

Reviewed 3 times


8. The Other Side of Absence by Betty O’Neill

Reviewed 3 times


I had to go with the somewhat strange number of eight top books as there was a significant tie between all the titles that had been reviewed three times.


The Top Reviewers of Non-Fiction Were:

1. Georgia Rose – 17 reviews

2. Cass Moriarty – 11 reviews

3. Jennifer Cameron-smith – 9 reviews

4. Tracey at Carpe Librum – 8 reviews

5. Jonathan Shaw – 7 reviews


Poetry Reviews 2020

Total reviews for 2020: 29

Compared to 2019: 27

The Most Reviewed Poetry Books Were:


1. Empirical by Lisa Gorton

Reviewed 2 times


2. Punch and Judy by Kelly Van Nelson

Reviewed 2 times


3. Throat by Ellen van Neerven

Reviewed 2 times


The Top Reviewers of Poetry Were:

1. Cass Moriarty – 7 reviews

2. Jonathan Shaw – 6 reviews

3. Nancy Elin – 5 reviews

4. Georgia Rose – 4 reviews

5. Sue Whispering Gums – 2 reviews

A big thanks to everyone who contributed a review this year. Every one of them helps us achieve our goal of recognising and promoting the diversity of Australian women’s writing.


December 2020 Round Up

As to the month just passed…

For December there was:

Reviews: 17

Reviewers: 11

Books Reviewed: 14 (3 poetry)

The most reviewed title this month was: The Other Side of Absence (2020) by Betty O’Neill with 2 reviews.

This sounds like a wonderful memoir and personal history with an array of thought-provoking relevancies. Amanda at Mrs B’s Book Reviews sums it up wonderfully: “A crucial and extensive family history memoir, Betty O’Neill’s The Other Side of Absence is a sincere text that reminds us of the strength of the human spirit to withstand great challenges. A reminder of the carnage of the war to the victims, their loved ones and future generations, Betty O’Neill’s memoir is a must read.” While Alex Daw at Family Tree Frog’s review adds that “This book is fractured in terms of genre. Yes, it is a memoir but it is also a detective story or mystery of the kind that genealogists or family historians love best. It is interesting on so many levels.”

Chloe Hooper, The ArsonistOtherwise, a special mention to Shelleyrae at Book’d Out’s review of The Arsonist (2018) by Chloe Hooper which, by sneaking into the December slot, confirmed it as the most reviewed book in Non-Fiction this year. I loved the last line of the review: “Having ignored much of the Aboriginal wisdom in managing the land with fire, there is ample fuel for people to ignite for any one of the complicated reasons arsonists do so, and Hooper suggests we ignore the risks at our peril.” As with the other reviews this year, the resounding opinion is that this is a masterfully written and constructed book about Australian fires.

If you’re interested in comparing this to the other 3 reviews this year you can read them below: 

Janine Rizzetti — review here at The Resident Judge of Port Phillip

Sue review here at Whispering Gums

Georgia Rosereview here at Goodreads

As we all hurtle into the new year and turn our thoughts to what we will read and review next, I think I will leave it there for December. But thanks to all the reviewers who submitted in a month that is not the easiest time to get a piece out into the world.


Until Next Month!

Happy Reading 🤓📚

And remember, you can join the Australian Women Writers Challenge at any time. You don’t need a website or even a Goodreads account. You can post your review on Facebook, Instagram or any other online medium – Sign Up for the Challenge or Add Your Review now.


By Tegan Edwards

About Me: I’ve worked extensively on nineteenth century fiction by women and decided it was high time I was more acquainted with books from this period that are closer to home. Did you know that the first book ever published on mainland Australia was by a woman?!

I write mostly about literary history and classic books which make up much of my research work. However my more personal writing often deals with different concepts such as illness, interpretation, trauma, injustice, and melancholia. My 2021 website relaunch will be happening very soon.