Favourite Aussie authors?

A little while back, on one of my literary posts, on nominations for the ‘dullest authors’, a couple of people commented on how they found Australian writers , in the main, boring and/or unreadable. I thought I’d actually give you a chance here and now to nominate those Australian authors you actually like–whether classic or modern. They can be novelists, poets, non-fiction writers or whatever you like, and either writing for children or for adults. The thing is you should love them, rather than just writing a list of those that are considered great, but that you don’t necessarily like.
Here’s my own preliminary, off-the-top-of-the-head list, to get you started. They’re all writers whose books I very happily spend time with, and don’t get bored at all:

Novelists and short-story writers: Christopher Koch, Patricia Wrightson, Martin Boyd, Alan Gould, Robert Drewe, Ursula Dubosarsky, Alex Miller, Ruth Park(both adults’ and children’s books), Darcy Niland, Ivan Southall, Garth Nix, Hesba Brinsmead, Henry Lawson, George Johnston, Catherine Jinks, Peter Corris–and coming up, our very own, wonderful Wendy James!
Poets: Judith Wright, Les Murray, Peter Kocan, Kenneth Slessor, AB Paterson, Michael Sharkey, Andrew Landsdowne, Bruce Dawe, Clive James, Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Non-fiction: Eric Rolls, Helen Garner(I prefer her non-fiction to her fiction–in fact I think she is peerless as a non-fiction writer), Inga Clendinnen, John Carroll.
I’ve probably missed a few, but hopefully someone will jog my memory. You’ll notice I haven’t put some very well-known authors there, such as Peter Carey–that’s because I’m distinctly underwhelmed by their work, no matter how well they’re rewarded in the publishing and literary world.

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Georg
2022 years ago

A good list to start, I would put Helen Garner in the fiction pile as well, The Children’s Bach is one of my favourite books. I can read it again and again and never fail to enjoy it.

I would like to add to poets: Bruce Beaver, Alan Wearne and Dorothy Porter.

Polly
Polly
2022 years ago

AB Facey
Peter Corris
Peter Carey
Ruth Park
Bruce Dawe
Henry Handel Richardson
Patrick White

Tom Davies
Tom Davies
2022 years ago

Greg Egan is a first-class science fiction writer.

John Morhall
John Morhall
2022 years ago

Peter Carey, Patrick White, Tim Winton, David Malouf, JM Goetzee, Paul Davis (the latter two are now resident in Oz)

harry
harry
2022 years ago

John Birmingham.

Short stories by Leigh Blackmore.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

I’m one of those who has not sampled Australian literature as much as I should have.

Helen Garner, Darcy Niland, Alan Moorehead (especially his WWII journalism) and Joanna Murray-Smith. I think Garner is the finess essayist and narrative journalist currrently writing.

James McAuley, Les Murray. Les Murray is quite possibly the world’s greatest contemporary poet. (Much prefer him to the late Ted Hughes – Birthday Letters excepted.)

Vee
Vee
2022 years ago

Jon Cleary

Tony.T
2022 years ago

Those Roman books by Colleen McCulloch are fantastic.

Kent
2022 years ago

To add to the not-so-literary list: John Marsden, Alan Marshall, Colin Thiele, Matthew Reilly.

Michael Warby
2022 years ago

For sheer good-natured fun and Melbourne-enjoyment, Kerry Greenwood.

Stephen Hil
Stephen Hil
2022 years ago

Patrick White
David Malouf
Frank Moorhouse
Elizabeth Jolley
Frederic Manning
Francis Stuart (Well He Was Born here)
Les Murray
Gerald Murnane

And also maybe

Robert Drewe (i’m thinking mainly of his NF)
Early Peter Carey

Cameron Riley
2022 years ago

Another for Greg Egan. Not only is he Australia’s best, but the world’s best IMNSHO. Greg Egan’s website can be found here -> http://gregegan.customer.netspace.net.au/

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Some others:

Jessica Anderson
Barbara Baynton
Olga Masters
Janette Turner Hospital
Charmian Clift
Eleanor Dark

Beverley Farmer — possibly our very best short story writer.

wbb
wbb
2022 years ago

There is not a lot of Oz lit that I have read and liked but the following authors have written books that I’ve enjoyed.

Rolf Boldrewood
Morris Lurie
Barry Dickens
Andrew McGahan
Janette Turner Hospital
Helen Garner
AB Facey
Clive James
Frank Hardy
George Johnston

Manas
2022 years ago

Gwen Harwood.

Tony.T
2022 years ago

Janette Turner Hospital?

Is that a real name? Or a nom de place?

Tony.T
2022 years ago

What about barbarian Boynton?

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Tony,

Janette T H tells a story about getting phone calls from patients looking for Turner Hospital – which just happened to be the hospital in the Canadian city she lived in — so yes & yes – a name & a place!

wen
wen
2022 years ago

I’d say Barbarian Boynton’s version of “Squeaker’s Mate” would feature a mate of the canine variety. Maybe she could make it a little more upbeat than the original, provide a happy ending, even.

(It took me ten whole hours to figure out that comment, Tony. Talk about SLOW.)

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Greg Egan. One of the best hard SF writers around, though it’s a bit difficult to understand his books without a background in maths/computers/physics.

Ampersandduck
Ampersandduck
2022 years ago

Poetry: Rosemary Dobson, Jordie Albiston, Nan McDonald, David Campbell, Shaw Neilson.

Prose: Charmian Clift, Dymphna Cusack, Barbara Hanrahan, Murray Bail, Helen Garner, Kate grenville, Kathleen Stewart.

Looking forward to reading more Joan London (Gilgamesh).

TimT
2022 years ago

A.D. Hope and Jim McCauley for poetry, also Rosemary Dobson has her moments.

Greg Egan deserves a place in the pantheon, though his talents only really show through in the short stories – I’ve read two of his novels, and they’re boring.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

Just adding one novelist – Frederick Manning.

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

Whats the recieved wisdom on Xavier Herbert these days?

I haven’t gone back to re-read the books but at the time I read them, years ago, I was very impressed with Poor Fellow.

saint
2022 years ago

George Johnston remains a favourite.

One of the more interesting children/teen writers of recent years – Gillian Rubenstein, who also writes under other names.

Poets: Kenneth Slessor, Judith Wright and the much overlooked John Shaw Neilson. I think Paul Kelly is a poet.

Clive James only because he’s Clive James.

I agree that authors like Peter Carey are overrated. I sometimes suspect Carey’s success in particular is more due to marketing than talent.

In trying to think of favourite Aussies it struck me that we may have a lot of one hit wonders, or authors who aren’t consistently good (not that every work has to be a winner…) Is that just me? Or is that what we should expect given our small local market?

And some questions born out of curiousity and ignorance: do Australian authors tend to publish here first and then try overseas? Does it make it easier to break into the Aussie market by getting published overseas first? Do we have Aussie authors who are better known, or maybe exclusively known overseas rather than here (I suspect that might be the case for sci fi, but am not sure)

Pat
Pat
2022 years ago

PETER GOLDSWORTHY!!!
Maestro
Wish