And so, just as the year is ending, here is the Round Up for 2021. Overall, there were 154 reviews returned
of 105 books.

The following books received multiple reviews during 2021

  1. The Husband Poisoner by Tanya Bretherton  (4 reviews)
  2. With My Little Eye by Sandra Hogan (4 reviews)
  3. Growing Up Disabled in Australia edited by Carly Findlay (3 reviews)
  4. Fury by Kathryn Heyman (3 reviews)
  5. One Last Dance by Emma Jayne Holmes (3 reviews)
  6. Vida: A Woman for Our Time by Jacqueline Kent (3 reviews)
  7. The Schoolgirl Strangler by Katherine Kovacic (3 reviews)
  8. Daughter of the River Country by Dianne O’Brien and Sue Williams (3 reviews)
  9. The Freedom Circus by Sue Smethurst (3 reviews)

Out of curiosity, I went back to see which books had received the most reviews since the Australian Women Writers Challenge started. There have been 1545 reviews in total of 857 books, which suggests that many books received more than one review over the ten years that the challenge operated.

The 21 most reviewed books were:

  1.  The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke (18 reviews)
  2. The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein (16 reviews)
  3. Am I Black Enough For You? By Anita Heiss (15 reviews)
  4. Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales (12 reviews)
  5. Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee (12 reviews)
  6. Reckoning by Magda Szubanski (11 reviews)
  7. Finding Eliza by Larissa Behrendt (10 reviews)
  8. The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss (10 reviews)
  9. Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright (10 reviews)
  10. Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss (9 reviews)
  11. Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright (9 reviews)
  12. The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie (9 reviews)
  13. Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird (8 reviews)
  14. Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea by Marie Munkara (8 reviews)
  15. Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir by Kristina Olsson (8 reviews)
  16. Stasiland by Anna Funder (7 reviews)
  17. You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead by Marieke Hardy (7 reviews)
  18. Your Own Kind of Girl by Claire Bowditch (7 reviews)
  19. Vida: A Woman for Our Time by Jacqueline Kent (6 reviews)
  20. Hearing Maud  by Jessica White (6 reviews)

And in keeping with the three-part structure of this genre in the Challenge, here are the top three books under each category

HISTORY: Finding Eliza by Larissa Behrendt;  Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright and Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird (which could have gone under biography too)

MEMOIR: The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke; Am I Black Enough for You? by Anita Heiss; Reckoning by Magda Szubanski

BIOGRAPHY: The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein;  Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales, Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

As you have no doubt realized from other Round Ups, the Australian Women Writers Challenge will be changing direction from 2022, focussing on women writers from the 19th and 20th centuries. Of course, history memoir and biography from earlier times will continue to be represented here, but if you want more contemporary reviews, please join the  Facebook groups: Love Reading Books by Aussie Women and Australian Women Writers News and Events.

Thank you to the many reviewers who have been generous with their opinions and appraisals. And thank you, too, to the organizers behind the scenes- Elizabeth and Theresa during my time of involvement. From the perspective of ten years on, certainly in terms of memoir, Australian women writers are well-represented. However, for history and to a lesser extent biography (and I know that this is special pleading), I think of Clare Wright’s anecdote about going to airport bookshops to check out their ‘history’ table (she rather more colourfully called it ‘the d**k table’), dominated by thick books written by blokes with their names in big letters. Soldiers, battles, explorers, sportsmen and male politicians continue to feature, despite women historians doing very well in Prime Ministers’ and Premiers’ history prizes year after year. For myself, I’ve really enjoyed spurring myself to keep the ‘H’ in the History, Memoir and Biography genre of the Challenge. Long may it be so!