This year I am participating in the Australian Women Writers Challenge, a reading challenge that was prompted by a number of incidences that highlighted the gender bias women authors face in gaining critical attention from traditional media. When the challenge was first proposed I was interested mainly because I had already decided to make an effort to read more books by Australian authors this year, it having being declared The National Year of Reading here in Australia. Despite being a fairly voracious reader, I have not read a lot of books by Australian authors, not that I have deliberately avoided them, they just didn’t seem to be on my radar very much. Last year I participated in the Aussie Author’s challenge and discovered some wonderful authors and books, several ending up with 5 star ratings that I couldn’t believe I had overlooked. I had already signed up for the challenge again, when the Australian Women Writers Challenge came to my attention.
As I read the rationale for the AWW challenge, I was intrigued, the driving force behind the challenge, Elizabeth Lhuede, saw a need for the promotion of Australian women’s writing particularly after some comments made in response to a blog post by Australian author, Tara Moss and some disturbing statistics published by Vida that show a clear bias against books written by women in the media. Elizabeth, a reader and writer, wanted to do something positive to to celebrate Australian women writers during the National Year of Reading and felt a challenge would do that. I became an active supporter because the book blogosphere and social media were quite new to Elizabeth and I offered to help her find her feet. During that first month there were only a dozen or so sign ups but word began to spread and to date, there are over 300 participants, including readers, bloggers, authors, and booksellers of both genders, and from all over the the world.
Technically, I completed the AWW 2012 Challenge a few weeks ago. My goal was: Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books) at the Devoted eclectic level but my personal goal is to read and review 100 books by Australian women writers during the year, Here is what I have read to date: (click the image to read my reviews, *reviews for the last two have not been published yet)
I am amazed at the breadth of talent I have discovered and as I read the reviews added the AWW 2012 linky by other participants, 365 at last count, I discover more books to add to my reading list. You can continue to keep an eye on what I am reading for the challenge on my Australian Women Writers Challenge page.
I wanted to do a little more than just read and review books for this challenge though as I knew I would complete it quickly so, I decided to create a feature to promote an Australian woman writer on my blog each month. I reached out to a handful of authors whose new releases were on my reading list and was thrilled when they responded positively to my invitation. I also contacted Australian local publishers and found them eager to support the challenge, so much so, I decided to make room in my schedule to feature a few Australian women authors each month. I love being able to introduce these authors and their work to my readers, and I feel I am doing something positive not only to support the immensely talented Australian women writers but contributing to readers finding great books. The Featured Australian women writers page lists the authors who are participating with guest posts, author interviews with more being added all the time.
If you are interested in joining the challenge, you can combine it with any others you are participating in, the Australian Women Writers Challenge is open to everyone, and you can sign up throughout the year. The Challenge levels include Stella (read 3 and review at least 2 books), Miles (read 6 and review at least 3), Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books) plus there are additional challenge elements as well. The official website is Australian Women Writers, there is also a Goodreads group and Facebook page as well as a twitter hashtag #aww2012
It’s Sunday, so I do have a question for you:
What was the last book you read by an Australian woman writer?
(feel free to leave a link to your review).
If you haven’t read a book by an Australian woman author, why not?