Every month we see a new or emerging fiction writer knocking on the door for our attention, and July is no exception.
My colleague Jess Au finds much to admire in Jennifer Mills’s short-story collection The Rest is Weight. Already with a couple of books under her belt, here is a writer that one senses is only going to grow in stature in the years to come.
And Nick Earls, with his own collection Welcome to Normal, proves that it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve gone around the track as an author, you’re only as good as your last work.
Now although publishers do like to trumpet their powers of divination in terms of recognising bullion in the slush pile and the like, sometimes they are just damn serendipitous with their publishing programs. Dear old Black Inc. must be in a state of glee over the recent Fifty Shades phenomenon – for who’s publishing a book this month called The Sex Lives of Australians? Move over Christian Grey – the real question is: were the Kelly Gang gay?
Finally, to a grab-bag of mid-winter goodies:
- an important debut, Majok Tulba’s Beneath the Darkening Sky, which Alice Pung introduces in an interview with the author
- a stunning new edition of the increasingly award-encrusted 1835 by James Boyce
- some fine Australian crime writing on debut from Jessie Cole (Darkness on the Edge of Town) and Andrew Grimes (The Richmond Conspiracy)
- Dancing with Empty Pockets, a history of Australian bohemianism by Tony Moore (which I’m sure must unearth a lot of very entertaining tales)
- and the inimitable Bill Leak returns with Unaustralian of the Year, which I understand will include not just the cartoons that typically don’t hold back, but some rather controversial writing by Bill as well.
Martin Shaw is Readings’ Books Division Manager - what they call a ‘career bookseller’, which might be an interesting concept as the world turns ‘E’. Formerly an avid fiction reader, now active pursuer of a particularly curious 17-month-old.