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Australian Literature

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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:



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.
  • Jack Heath, author of the Fero Files and the Six of Hearts series. Spent a year reading only books by women in an effort to raise the profile of female authors.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Norman Lindsay. 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.
  • Dorothy Wall wrote multiple children's novels in the 1920s through the 1930s, but her most notable was a series of stories about a cheeky young anthropomorphic koala named "Blinky Bill", whose first story she published in 1933. Ironically, the character is much more well-remembered for the animated cartoon created 60 years later.
  • Another early Australian author of note for children's literature was May Gibbs, who created the "Gumnut Babies" universe by creating comic sketches and later full-fledged novels of fairy-like creatures inspired by the flora of Australa's bushlands.