The Australian Women's Writers Challenge - Debut Review
January 9, 2015
I have just signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2015. Thank Godsling for the AWW challenge, and thank you to the bright-eyed geniuses who thought of it. As a reader I’m itching to get started, as a first-time author I’m close to collapsing into an exhausted pile of grateful tears at the discovery that such a forum exists.
After months of researching and pitching to bloggers and websites, the AWW is just about the best tool I have come across to help me connect with non-blood-relative readers. This is not because it offers a chance at being reviewed, but because it gives me something to write about and as any ebook author – fledgling or otherwise – will tell you, a presence on social media is vital.
When I created this website I was eager to begin blogging. I had no illusions about my blog becoming a busy hub of literary discussion - I simply wanted to tap-out some thoughts on my keyboard a few times a week and maybe attract a little feedback. The aim was to join the conversation about books and writing in Australia and to announce my hopes of becoming part of this community that dresses in black and knows how to pronounce Tsiolkas.
But every time I sat down to write I was struck by a feeling of panic. Each blog would be a little emissary for my real writing. My book and manuscripts for subsequent books had been sweated-over and re-written, torn-up, then written again. The blog posts needed to be worthy of them. But between writing, my day job and everything else I didn't have time to research and polish a fresh, pithy piece commentary each week. The blogosphere is a competitive place. Unless I could come up with something of value to say, blogging would be a waste of my time and the time of the two or three people who may accidently stray onto the page.
But reading? Well, I could do that. Reading was already the base of the pyramid in my healthy-writer's diet. The Australian Women Writers Challenge gives me something to blog about. And, as a topic for my blog, what could be more worthy than the words of other Australian women’s voices. Books, short stories and in particular Australian stories have enchanted me for as long as I can remember. From May Gibbs, Mem Fox and Jackie French to Chloe Hooper, Anna Krien and Helen Garner (and Hannah Kent, Geraldine Brooks, Jessica Rudd, Kate Morton, Zoe Foster, Kathy Lette – how long have you got?) they have nourished and entertained and educated me. What better way to show my appreciation than to take the time to write about what they mean to me and share it with others?
I’m starting with Whisky Charlie Foxtrot by Annabel Smith because it’s what I happen to be reading as I begin the AWW2015. I'm about 60 pages in I’m already in awe of Smith’s skill as a story-teller and can’t wait to see where this story goes.
After I've finished Whisky Charlie Foxtrot I plan to devote this blog to discussing first time authors - hence the name Debut Review. I made this decision because I know first hand how difficult it can be to attract reviews as a new author, but I also know that just because something isn't getting wide-spread press, doesn't mean it isn't precious and wonderful.
One of the last books I read last year was Up and In by Deborah Disney. It was funny it was fulfilling and – as is the case with everything I read – it made me reflect on what worked, why it worked, and how I could improve my own work. I know that by filling my days with the work of other Australian writers, I will not only enhance my presence in the writing community it will also enhance my writing. Thank Godsling for that.
You can read my Goodreads review of Deborah Disney’s Up and In here.