At the start of the year, I heard through the fountain of all knowledge (Twitter) of the Australian Women Writers Challenge. My original post had me aspiring to be a Franklin Fantastic which was to read at least 10 and to review at least 4, dabbling in a variety of genres.
The books I read and reviewed were
- The Freudian Slip– Fiction
- The art of being Melbourne– Non-fiction (Art History)
- Paris- a guide to the city’s creative heart– Non-fiction (travel)
- No sex in the city– Fiction
- Melbourne– Non-fiction (History/memoir)
- The harp in the south– Fiction
- Unnatural habits– Fiction Crime
Along the way I also discovered Kate Morton (The forgotten garden, The House at Riverton ) Caroline Overington (Ghost Child) and Kate Forsyth (Bitter Greens).
With the exception of The Harp in the South and Paris- a guide to the city’s creative heart, all my books were sourced from my local public library, or the library in which I work. The method in which I chose the titles was largely serendipitous- if it came across my path and if the book met the criteria of having been written by an Australian woman writer, then I usually read it with the purpose of reviewing. I am so glad that the collection management policies of my library and my local library were able to help me :).
What have I learned from this challenge?
During the year, I also read more newspaper reviews of titles, taking note of the gender of the author, the author’s nationality, as well as the gender of the reviewer (would a female reviewer be more likely to review books by women writers, or use more favorable language? These are questions which need further exploration). It really heightened my awareness of the number of female authors who are reviewed, and how they are reviewed.
I rediscovered that women’s writing is eclectic, exciting, and wonderful to read, given the chance to be exposed. If this challenge has enabled people to discover new authors, new voices and new perspectives then that’s a wonderful achievement.
Finally I also realised that you cannot be complacent about gender equality. Even if equality may have been achieved legally, indirect and unconscious discrimination still exists, and you have to be vigilant in fighting the good fight.