The Australian Women Writers website began life as a reading and reviewing challenge in 2012. Its purpose was to promote reviewing of books by Australian women and was inspired, in part, by the statistical evidence supplied by the VIDA report, and later the Stella Count, that works by women were less likely than works by men to be reviewed in mainstream media and literary journals.
The challenge was instigated and initially coordinated by Elizabeth Lhuede, and from 2017 coordinated by Theresa Smith. Along the way many bloggers, authors and academics contributed to the project. (A list of past and present AWW team members appears here.) This phase of the challenge included works in all genres by Australian women, regardless of date of publication. Over the course of ten years, the AWW blog helped to bring attention to many contemporary and past writers, including may Indigenous authors, writers with disability, and Lesbian and Queer women writers. (Please see our pages relating to reading for Diversity as well as our database for books reviewed for the challenge 2012-2021.)
From 2022, with a much smaller team, the website has no longer hosted the challenge for works by contemporary authors. Instead it has focused on 19th- and early to mid-20th-century writers, including authors who may not have achieved prominence in their lifetimes, or whose works have been forgotten and/or overlooked because of past gender bias. While the blog’s focus has changed, we hope the broader challenge, which includes many varied bloggers’ reviews of contemporary works, will continue elsewhere on social medica, particularly in our Facebook groups, Love Reading Books by Aussie Women. We will also keep on Australian Women Writers News and Events group.
You can search for reviews written for the challenge in previous years here.
If you want to join in reading, reviewing and discussing work by early Australian women writers, please let us know via the contact page.