Here’s a guest post by Elizabeth Lhuede on the Reading Matters blog on Australian Women Writers. It’s gratifying to be mentioned in the company of so many other wonderful writers. This story of Lhuede’s is astonishing though…
‘I assumed it would be easy to find books to read, but when I asked my local library staff for recommendations, I was stunned that neither of the two (female) library assistants on duty could name one living female Australian author. The author they did name, Elizabeth Jolley, was one of the few I’d read as an undergraduate. Other authors I knew were all either dead, of an older generation, or expatriates, many of whom had achieved recognition for their work outside Australia, including Shirley Hazzard, Helen Garner, Kate Grenville, Thea Astley and Janette Turner Hospital.
Where were the books by authors of my own generation and younger?’
2 Replies to “Australian Literature Month on Reading Matters”
That is a horrible story, and instances like that make me all the moe happy and grateful when I walk into Maclean's Bookshop in Newcastle and say, "do you have the books on the Stella Prize shortlist?" and the first words out of the bookseller's mouth are, "well, there's Sea Hearts, but that's fantasy, you'll have read that" – and then three of the other four are in stock and he's able to quickly locate and hand them to me.
Help me keep indy bookshops open, people!!
That is a great point, Thoraiya. We've become good friends with staff at our local bookstore, Megalong Books, and have been oriented towards many interesting books we'd never have found otherwise. It's critical that people who work with books in any capacity are informed and passionate and want to share their love and knowledge. I use every birthday party my children are invited to as an opportunity to help keep my local bookstore alive.