Quite frankly it is ridiculous to try and narrow down the incredible talent the Australian book world has to just five favourites. For this post, I just went with my gut and the first five I thought of when I imagined my favourite writers.
Sonya Hartnett is an incredibly well known, multiple award winning author. As a teenager, I deeply connected with the atmosphere of her novels like Sleeping Dogs and The Devil's Latch. These stories had a kind of inexplicable sadness. They were dark, morally questionable and powerfully moving.
As an adult, I don't connect quite so emotionally, but still strongly appreciate the craftsmanship Hartnett employs. She's also written some lovely children's books and short stories.
Regular news is posted on her website here.
Jaclyn Moriarty has been a favourite since high school, a time I reread Finding Cassie Crazy so often it's one of the only books I own where several pages have fallen out. Unlike a lot of novels I loved as a teen, the writing in Moriarty's books is a poignant and resonant to me today, ten years later.
Moriarty experiments with narrative and storytelling, constructing each of her novels in the Ashbury/Brookfield series in different ways, often through letters, notebooks and even HSC English exam essays. While it might look confusing, you are quickly drawn in, and the story pulls you through the unusual reading experience.
Her recent trilogy, The Colours of Madeline, is written mostly in prose but is still a unique and powerful story filled with imagination, emotion and beauty.
You can find more about Jaclyn Moriarty on her tumblr.
Steven Herrick is the reason I gotta into poetry and the source of my undying love for verse novels. I was in grade nine when his novel The Simple Gift was assigned in class. I loved it despite the fact that my English teacher that year was one I found terrifying. Surviving the taint of an enjoyable class is a big recommendation for a novel.
Since then I've continued to pick up his novels whenever I come across them, and though I started out with his YA novels (and still like them), I've developed a strong affinity for his work aimed at younger readers. Pookie Aleera Is Not My Boyfriend is one of the funniest books I read as well as dealing with the complexities facing primary school students, which are often dismissed or trivialised.
Steven Herrick blogs regularly here.
Alexis Wright is my most recently discovered favourite author. She is the author I tell everyone to read. It might be silly, given her novel Capricornia is over 600 pages, so already a lot of people are never going to pick it up. But I strongly believe a novel that requires some work is well worth it, especially when it is a beautifully written as Capricornia. Her most recent book, The Swan Book completely blew my mind in every sense of the phase. It is intense, challenging and lyrical.
As well as her award-winning novels, Wright has written a number of essays, a non-fiction book Grog Wars all of which are worth reading. This is not only because, as a Waayni woman, Wright provides an often ignored perspective in Australia, but also the incredible skill of her writing, through which she refuses to limit her Indigenous culture, writing outside of Western traditions.
If you have access to Auslit you can find a complete list of her works here.
Melina Marchetta has been on the Australian literary scene for many years now. Her first novel Looking for Alibrandi is a cultural icon, one which resulted in a movie adaptation. Since then she has continued to publish young adult fiction and, I would argue, improve as a writer.
My favourite of Marchetta's work is her fantasy trilogy, The Lumatere Chronicles, which was so intense and dark and emotional that the entire experience was one I struggle to articulate. The kind of reading experience that continues to affect you after you finish and you can't stop thinking about.
Her latest novel, an adult mystery novel, was truly fabulous. As with all her books, Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil, left you satisfied but still thinking, and deeply caring about its complex and flawed characters. I'm very excited for the movie adaptations to come.
You can find fairly up to date news on her website.