Writers on writers

Ever wanted to know what your favourite authors like to read? In this series, some of Australia's most celebrated scribes reflect on a book that's had a lasting impact on their creative lives.

These essays were commissioned in partnership with the Copyright Agency for its Reading Australia project.

On ‘The Natural Way of Things’, by Charlotte Wood

The women in Charlotte Wood’s powerful and distinctive novel are prisoners in an imaginative landscape that we know only as a remote location somewhere in inland Australia. It is not a place, or a literature, that we have encountered before. There is nothing like it in our literary past.

On ‘The Complete Stories’, by David Malouf

THERE ARE ALWAYS two landscapes in a Malouf story. The one you can touch with your hands, and the one that is dreamed – discoverable by language, always on the verge of disappearing.

On ‘Five Bells’, by Gail Jones

GAIL JONES’ FIFTH novel, Five Bells, is many things: a love letter to Sydney and its physical beauty; a deeply moving exploration of the effects of grief and loss; and, perhaps most importantly, a luminous and shimmering reflection on time, memory and mortality.

On ‘Grace’, by Robert Drewe

THE ‘SOCIAL REALIST novel’ that Robert Drewe quite deliberately set out to write with Grace could have sunk under the weight of its own ideas, were it not for the thriller foil the story is wrapped in.

On ‘Don’t Take Your Love to Town’, by Ruby Langford Ginibi

N 1988, DON’T Take Your Love to Town became the first of five autobiographies that Ruby Langford Ginibi would have published during her almost thirty-year career as a writer, Aboriginal historian, activist and lecturer. Indeed it was this first book, her life story covering five generations of familial bonds, written in what would become her trademark conversational style, which would have a historic impression on Indigenous literature in Australia.

On ‘Nine Parts of Desire’, by Geraldine Brooks

Welcome to the artful world of literary and narrative non-fiction, where the author’s experience is shuffled and edited in ways that dramatise and personalise the story for readers.