As a modest-sized nation, Australia has a modest number of literary works and authors who've achieved worldwide acclaim.
Australia's support of literature has been evident since the beginning. The Commonwealth Literary Fund came into existence in 1908 mere years after the colonies on the continent joined to form the Commonwealth of Australia.note
Thus support for authors and literature has always been significant, and the result has been a diverse array of works. These range across the creative spectrum, from highbrow masterpieces such as Schindler's Ark
(the inspiration for Schindler's List
) to quirky but globally popular children's fantasy such as Deltora Quest
Popular internationally or merely in Australia are:
- Graeme Base, who is both an author and an illustrator. His book Animalia inspired a TV series of the same name.
- Trudi Canavan, best known for her Black Magician Trilogy.
- Isobelle Carmody, best known for The Obernewtyn Chronicles and The Legendsong Saga.
- Greg Egan, who puts the Hard Science back into Hard Science Fiction. Books of his with their own entries on this wiki are Quarantine and Diaspora.
- Paul Jennings, who writes a lot of short stories for children. His stories usually centre around Wish Fulfillment, showing intelligent young children overcoming evil and stupid adults and bullies. He also wrote for the television series Round the Twist which was inspired by, and largely adapted from these books.
- Robin Klein, the author of such teen fiction as Came Back to Show You I Could Fly and Hating Alison Ashley.
- Melina Marchetta, a YA author best known for her classic debut novel Looking for Alibrandi.
- Garth Nix, a young adult author most famous for his Old Kingdom, Keys to the Kingdom, and The Seventh Tower series. Also the author of Shade's Children.
- Banjo Paterson. Journalist, essayist and most famously a magnificent 'Bush Poet' from the late 19th/early 20th Century. Wrote "Waltzing Matilda" which was later set to a much older tune to become one of the most famous songs in Australia. Also wrote "The Man from Snowy River" which was made into a movie that spawned a sequel and a TV series. Some people also remember another of his poems, "Clancy of the Overflow" but only because the character crops up again in "The Man from Snowy River".
- Matthew Reilly, author of such novels as Ice Station, Temple, Contest and several others. Noted mostly for how action-packed his work is. Seriously, it would make Michael Bay cry.
- Shaun Tan, an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator. In addition to illustrating many books including John Marsden's The Rabbits, has written and illustrated several picture books of his own, such as The Arrival, The Lost Thing and The Red Tree. In 2011, he (jointly) won an Academy Award for his part in the short film adaption of The Lost Thing.
- Kerry Greenwood, the author behind the literature/Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman mysteries.
- The Arrival
- Books of Pellinor - a series of epic fantasy novels by Alison Croggon concerning the adventures of Maerad, The Chosen One in a typical fantasy land.
- The Black Magician Trilogy
- The Book Thief
- The Bum Trilogy - an extremely silly action series about a fight between bumfighters and renegade bums (as in posteriors, not homeless people fortunately).
- The Drums of War
- Came Back to Show You I Could Fly
- A Confusion of Princes
- Dark Heavens
- Deltora Quest series
- Dragon Keeper Trilogy - a series set in Ancient China chronicling the journey of a slave girl named Ping's journey with a wise dragon, named Danzi. Written by Carole Wilkinson.
- The Fallen Moon trilogy - the start of a fantasy series being written by K.J. Taylor.
- A Fraction of the Whole
- Galax-Arena by Gillian Rubinstein, one of the best known Australian sci-fi YA novels of the 90s, if not to date.
- Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left
- Hating Alison Ashley
- I Am the Messenger - its original Australian title is actually just The Messenger.
- Ice Station
- Jennifer Government
- The Keys to the Kingdom series
- The Legendsong Saga
- A Little Bush Maid
- Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, which centered around an Australian-Italian teenager trying to figure out her place in the world. It is popular among young people due to accurately portraying adolescents and their behaviour, without being patronising, and is often studied in class.
- The Lost Thing
- Machine Man
- Masters of Rome series
- Monster Blood Tattoo - a fantasy series by D. M. Cornish, built around a world called the Half-Continent. The current trilogy follows Rossamund Bookchild and his Coming of Age Story. Similar in scope and sheer bulk of information to The Lord of the Rings.
- Nims Island - a preteen adventure-fantasy novel by Wendy Orr, first published in 1999. Followed by a more-famous American film adaption where the main characters are American.
- The Obernewtyn Chronicles
- Old Kingdom series
- Orthogonal trilogy
- A Phaery Named Phredde series
- The Phryne Fisher novels - a series of mystery novels set in 1928, about the bored, wealthy, Melbourne-based aristocrat Phryne Fisher.
- Puberty Blues
- The Ragwitch
- Ranger's Apprentice series, a best-selling series by John Flanagan.
- Rowan of Rin
- Schild's Ladder
- Shade's Children
- Sun Bleached Winter - a post-apocalyptic psychological horror novel by D. Robert Grixti.
- The Red Tree
- The Seventh Tower series
- The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas's gritty urban novel set in Melbourne, following the ramifications of a man slapping someone else's child at a party. Adapted for television in 2011.
- Tales of the Otori - a fantasy series about a pair of Japanese teenagers who become ensnared in a secret war between between two powerful warrior clans.
- Teen Power Inc., the closest thing to an Australian version of The Famous Five.
- The Thornbirds, a sweeping Generational Saga about the Clearys, a New Zealand family who travel to Australia to run Drogheda, a large cattle station in the NSW countryside and in particular the youngest daughter, who falls in love with the local priest. Adapted for television in 1983.
- The Three Worlds Cycle, an internationally best-selling eccentric and cynical fantasy by Ian Irvine.
- The Tomorrow Series, by John Marsden, who is revered for his books dealing with serious teenage issues such as abuse, war, sex, cancer and mental illness.
- Two Weeks with the Queen
- The White Tiger
- The Corinna Chapman mysteries, centering on a Melbourne baker/Mystery Magnet.
Notable authors and/or works without pages on this wiki:
- Patrick White, Australia's first Nobel Prize winner for literature. Although he was born in England and preferred it to Australia (he was accused many times of un-Austalian sentiments), Australians have a natural habit of ignoring that anyway. His works include The Tree of Man, Voss and The Eye of the Storm. Sadly not well known among the majority of Australians.
- Max Barry, author of satire and science fiction: Lexicon, Machine Man, Company, Jennifer Government, and Syrup.
- Peter Carey, an internationally acclaimed cynical satirist. Currently lives in the USA.
- Jackie French, an author of over one hundred books for all ages. Has a slight wombat obsession. Lives in the bush, in a shed to prevent distractions.
- Morris Gleitzman; an ex-pom, who uses his experiences travelling to write witty books for teens. Co-wrote two series, Wicked! and Deadly! with Paul Jennings. Also wrote Two Weeks with the Queen and Bumface, among others.
- Andy Griffiths... no, not the American guy. Famous for the The Bum Trilogy (known in the US as the Butt Trilogy) and the Just... Series, which inspired a Canadian TV Show. Uses a lot of Toilet Humour, and the main characters are based upon him, his childhood best friend, and his family.
- Thomas Keneally, famous for writing Schindler's Ark, which was adapted as Schindler's List.
- Melissa Lucashenko, author of Steam Pigs, Hard Yards and Killing Darcy.
- Henry Lawson, Australia's poet inebriate. The other of Australia's great 'Bush Poets.' Worked for the same newspaper as Paterson, at the same time. The two are said to have had a rivalry, and wrote a series of poems, The Bulletin Debate, attacking each others' poetry. Less remembered today due to the more depressing tone of his works compared to Patterson's generally upbeat style. In the grand tradition, died young and alcoholic.
- Sarah Mayberry, author of Romance Novels.
- Emily Rodda (real name: Jennifer Rowe). She's known for writing children's fantasy, such as Deltora Quest (now an anime), Rowan of Rin, Fairy Realm and Teen Powers Inc., along with writing crime fiction for adults under her own name. She also started a crime fiction series for kids called Teen Power Inc.. Some of her books was adapted to television (Finders Keeper), anime, manga and video game (Deltora Quest).
- Christos Tsiolkas, an internationally acclaimed author of gritty realism. His most famous works are probably Dead Europe and The Slap.
- Markus Zusak, best known for The Messenger (to use its original publishing title; it's only known as I Am the Messenger in the USA) and The Book Thief.
- Miles Franklin, a writer and feminist best known for My Brilliant Career, written at the turn of the century. Left a provision in her will for an annual literary prize to be presented to an Australian author, the Miles Franklin Award.
- Colleen McCullough, author of the Masters of Rome series and The Thornbirds.
- It should say something about Australia that one of our most beloved children's books, The Magic Pudding, was:
- written due to a bet
- by a racist
- who made pornographic etchings.