It’s the beginning of a new year and what better time to support homegrown voices that whisper secrets of sun-drenched coasts, spin yarns of outback resilience, and paint vibrant portraits of diverse communities.
So, pour yourself a cuppa, and be prepared to be swept away by the stories of these amazing Australian authors
Here are our top books by Australian authors that we highly recommend:
Australian Multicultural Stories
'A girl is a burden. A girl is a curse.'
Madurai, 1992. A young mother in a poor family, Janani is told she is useless if she can't produce a son - or worse, bears daughters. They let her keep her first baby girl, but the rest are taken away as soon as they are born - murdered before they have a chance to live. The fate of her children has never been in her hands. But Janani can't forget the daughters she was never allowed to love.
Sydney, 2019. Nila has a secret, one she's been keeping from her parents for far too long. Before she can say anything, her grandfather in India falls ill and she agrees to join her parents on a trip to Madurai - the first in over ten years. Growing up in Australia, Nila knows very little about where she or her family came from, or who they left behind. What she's about to learn will change her forever.
Welcome to Cinnamon Gardens, a home for those who are lost and the stories they treasure.
Cinnamon Gardens Nursing Home is nestled in the quiet suburb of Westgrove, Sydney – populated with residents with colourful histories, each with their own secrets, triumphs and failings. This is their safe place, an oasis of familiar delights – a beautiful garden, a busy kitchen and a bountiful recreation schedule.
But this ordinary neighbourhood is not without its prejudices. The serenity of Cinnamon Gardens is threatened by malignant forces more interested in what makes this refuge different rather than embracing the calm companionship that makes this place home to so many. As those who challenge the residents’ existence make their stand against the nursing home with devastating consequences, our characters are forced to reckon with a country divided.
Contemporary Australian Fiction
We never talked about what happened in 1992. Did it quietly haunt him the way it did me?'
In the small seaside town of Queenscliff, two boys from opposite sides of the world forge a friendship over a summer of sun, adventure and brotherhood. Until a catastrophic event shatters their idyllic childhoods.
Two lives are lost. A lie is told.
Years later, when Tom dies in suspicious circumstances, Drew flies from the US back to Australia for his friend's funeral. Still haunted by that night in 1992, he's about to find out if Tom ever told anyone the truth, if the two events are connected, and if their friendship was worth the price they paid.
essa is a thoroughbred. A young, brilliant barrister from a working-class background now at the top of her game: defending, cross-examining and lighting up the shadows of doubt in any case. The law is a game and she is its most talented player.
One sickening night, though, Tessa finds herself in a position countless women - one in three - have been in before her. And she's faced with a gut-wrenching, life-changing decision. Will she take the stand to testify about her rape, with the full awareness that the system has not been built to protect her?
Drawn from the internationally acclaimed play, Prima Facie is a propulsive, raw look at the price victims pay for speaking out and the system that sets them up to fail. With breakneck prose and a devastating emotional intensity, this is a novel for our times, by one of Australia's most impressive writers.
The most exciting debut in 2023, The Visitors is an audacious, earthy, funny, gritty and powerful re-imagining of a crucial moment in Australia's history - an unputdownable work of fiction.
On a steamy, hot day in January 1788, seven Aboriginal men, representing the nearby clans, gather at Warrane. Several newly arrived ships have been sighted in the great bay to the south, Kamay. The men meet to discuss their response to these visitors. All day, they talk, argue, debate. Where are the visitors from? What do they want? Might they just warra warra wai back to where they came from? Should they be welcomed? Or should they be made to leave? The decision of the men must be unanimous -- and will have far-reaching implications for all. Throughout the day, the weather is strange, with mammatus clouds, unbearable heat and a pending thunderstorm ... Somewhere, trouble is brewing.
Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing — behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.
Bruce's comments on his book compared to Gammage's: 'My book is about food production, housing construction and clothing, whereas Gammage was interested in the appearance of the country at contact. [Gammage] doesn't contest hunter gatherer labels either, whereas that is at the centre of my argument.'
Books by our Australian Sport Legends
Follow Sam Kerr’s incredible journey from playing Aussie Rules as a kid to becoming one of the world’s greatest athletes as she prepares to captain the Matildas in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Sam Kerr is widely considered to be one of the best female footballers of all time. She is famous worldwide for her skills on the soccer pitch – but before she was the Matildas captain and the leading goal scorer for Chelsea, she was just an average Aussie kid who wanted to play AFL. This is her incredible football journey to the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, from making the switch to soccer to becoming one of the best female strikers in the world. Sam gives us insights into what keeps her motivated, how she handles the pressures of life as a professional athlete and what she believes is really important in life.
It's a tennis story. It's a family story. It's a teamwork story. It's the story of how I got to where and who I am today.
I'm only in my mid-twenties, and some might think that's young to write a memoir. Who does that, right? But for me and my team it's always been important to reflect on every part of the journey, especially the end. In that context, the timing is perfect to share my story, from the first time I picked up a racquet as a 5-year-old girl in Ipswich to the night I packed up my tennis bag at Melbourne Park after winning the 2022 Australian Open. This book gives me a chance to look back at every moment of the 20 years in between, and to think carefully through the highs and lows, the work and the play, the smiles and the tears.
Telling my story also gives me an opportunity to do more than simply thank those who mean the most to me – it provides a way to honour them as an integral part of that tale, as the very secret behind my success. Some of them you might know – such as my longtime coach, Craig Tyzzer – and some of them you might not – like my first childhood coach, Jim Joyce. There are mates like Casey Dellacqua and Alicia Molik. Mentors such as tennis icon Evonne Goolagong Cawley and mindset coach Ben Crowe. My parents and sisters and my husband have sacrificed as much as I have over the years – this book is also for them.
Winner of the Australian Book Industry Awards, Social Impact Book of the Year
Longlisted for the 2023 Indie Book Awards
It’s a long, hard road from the Nullarbor to the MCG.
How does a self-described ‘skinny Aboriginal kid’ overcome a legacy of family tragedy to become an AFL legend? One thing’s for sure: it’s not easy. But then, there’s always been something special about Eddie Betts.
Betts grew up in Port Lincoln and Kalgoorlie, in environments where the destructive legacies of colonialism – racism, police targeting of Aboriginal people, drug and alcohol misuse, family violence – were sadly normalised. His childhood was defined by family closeness as well as family strife, plus a wonderful freedom that he and his cousins exploited to the full – for better and for worse.
When he made the decision to take his talents across the Nullarbor to Melbourne to chase his footballing dreams – homesickness be damned – everything changed. Over the ensuing years, Betts became a true giant of the sport: 350-plus games, 600-plus goals, multiple All-Australian nods and Goal of the Year awards, and a league-wide popularity rarely seen in the hyper-tribal AFL.
Along the way, he battled his demons before his turbulent youth settled into responsible maturity. Today, the man the Melbourne tabloids once dubbed ‘bad boy Betts’ is a dedicated husband and father, a respected community leader and an increasingly outspoken social activist.
Shop local, read local, and lose yourself in a world painted with vibrant Aussie voices, all from the comfort of your favourite chair.