Bronte Coates

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Bronte Coates is the Digital Content Coordinator, as well as the Prize Manager for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. She is a co-founder of literary project, Stilts.

Reviews

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Early reviews have compared this much-hyped debut from 26-year-old Yaa Gyasi to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and it’s easy to see why. Like Morrison, Gyasi sets out to reveal the truth through fiction, i…

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Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

In this crisp, elegant memoir, Margo Jefferson recounts her experiences growing up within Chicago’s black elite. The memoir takes its title from the name she uses to refer to herself and her peers, a…

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Wasted by Elspeth Muir

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

In 2009, Elspeth Muir’s youngest brother, Alexander, went out drinking with friends. That same night, he climbed over the railing of the Story Bridge and jumped 30 metres into the Brisbane River belo…

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Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Eligible is the fourth book to be released as part of the Jane Austen Project; a series that sees contemporary authors adapt Austen’s stories to modern-day settings. This time around, Curtis Sittenfe…

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When We Collided by Emery Lord

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Set in an idyllic beach town on the coast of California, this big-hearted romantic adventure sees two very different teenagers crashing haphazardly into one another, each facing some tough challenges…

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Our Man Elsewhere by Thornton McCamish

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

A famed war correspondent, a bestselling author of popular histories who inspired Clive James and Robert Hughes, an early conservationist who earned praise from David Attenborough – Alan Moorehead wa…

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A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Either, like me, you’ve read the first two books of Jaclyn Moriarty’s Colours of Madeleine trilogy and have been waiting anxiously to find out what happens next to the wonderful characters that inhab…

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Talking to My Country by Stan Grant

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

In 2015, veteran journalist and Wiradjuri man Stan Grant caught the attention of Australia with his short but passionate response to the booing of footballer Adam Goodes. Earlier this year, he got th…

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When the Floods Came by Clare Morrall

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Set in a future imagining of Britain that is scarily believable, the latest novel from Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author Clare Morrall is a literary thriller that forces readers to consider questio…

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

A Harry Potter-esque romantic adventure story set in a boarding school from Rainbow Rowell? Yes please, thank you very much.

Like other fans of Rowell’s earlier books I’ve been very much anticipatin…

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The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

If you’re already reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, you know why this author is considered a literary sensation by readers worldwide. Her books are shattering and enthralling, intimate and …

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Described as required reading by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ searing missive to his 15-year-old son Samori is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Through an…

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Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

If you’re looking for something fun and frothy to read as you snuggle under the doona this winter, Life Moves Pretty Fast would be an ideal pick. Hadley Freeman’s personalised handbook to North Ameri…

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Funny, gruesome and thought-provoking, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is Caitlin Doughty’s candid account of her early experiences working with dead bodies, first as a crematorium operator and then at morti…

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The Green Road by Anne Enright

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The latest novel from Man Booker Prize-winning author Anne Enright is a gorgeously raw and expansive examination of the Madigan family. Sprawling thirty years, The Green Road follows the four childre…

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Mothermorphosis edited by Monica Dux

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Religion, politics and money are usually cited as the top three topics to avoid at a dinner party, but surely parenthood trumps them all. To the uninitiated, the mysterious world of ‘tummy time’, ‘co…

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On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Eula Biss’s elegant examination of our fear of vaccination opens with Achilles being dipped into the River Styx and closes with the metaphor of a garden. In between, Biss talks about milkmaids and sc…

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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels are relentless and ferocious, and wholly absorbing. With each new book, the story of Elena Greco and her friend, Lina Cerullo, intensifies, and in Those Who Leave a

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How to be Both by Ali Smith

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Two dual narratives form Ali Smith’s new novel. In one, George is a teenage girl grieving the sudden death of her mother and starting to explore her sexuality. In the other, Francesco is an Italian r…

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Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Reading Sonya Hartnett’s Golden Boys is unnerving, an experience akin to treading deep water. Everything above the surface appears calm, but there’s the lingering sensation that anything could be lur…

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Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The new book from the Orange Prize-winning, and Man Booker Prize-shortlisted, novelist Linda Grant is joyously bold. Our narrator Adele opens with: ‘If you go back and look at your life there are cer…

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Only The Animals by Ceridwen Dovey

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The animals who narrate the stories in Ceridwen Dovey’s collection have each been killed during a human conflict of the past century: Himmler’s dog is abandoned in the woods; a bear starves to death …

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The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Here, Meg Wolitzer has given us a delicious, utterly absorbing novel of epic scope, concerning six characters who meet as teenagers in 1974 at an exclusive summer arts camp. They ironically refer to …

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Bark by Lorrie Moore

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Lorrie Moore fans rejoice. Her first new collection of stories in 15 years is here and reading it will remind you of why you fell in love with her corrosive wit in the first place. Darker and more ov…

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Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Canadian writer and director Sarah Polley has created a tender and unforgettable love letter to her parents with this documentary, a pastiche of dramatised retellings and ‘home videos’, genuine archi…

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Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Shot over just twelve days at Joss Whedon’s own home, Shakespeare’s classic comedy of sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick (and sappy lovers Claudio and Hero) is given a modern twist in this film th…

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Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes by Per Petterson

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Norwegian novelist Per Petterson writes beautifully – his prose slicing across the page in swift, clean strokes – and now English readers can take pleasure in his literary debut. First published in 1…

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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

In 2011 I saw Ann Patchett speak at the Brisbane Writers Festival. The Orange Prize-winning author was tremendous on stage: funny and smart, teeming with confidence, she seemed to have a natural grac…

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The Electric Lady by Janelle Monáe

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

I’m crushing so hard on this album at the moment. Janelle Monáe’s music is fun and inventive and even though I know it’s too early to say this - I have a sneaking suspicion The Electric Lady is going…

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The Hunt by Thomas Vinterberg

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

While I cry easily in films, I can attest to the fact that there are few which can somehow persuade me to curl up into the fetal position while in a cinema and let loose loud, wracking sobs that caus…

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News

Exploring Charlotte Wood’s backlist

by Bronte Coates

Charlotte Wood has recently been named the winner of this year’s Stella Prize for her fifth novel, The Natural Way of Things. Here’s a look over her earlier books for readers who loved this novel, and now want to explore her backlist. (I haven’t included Wood’s 1999 debut novel, Pieces of a Girl, as it is sadly out of print. However, this is a great excuse to visit your local second-hand booksho…

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Great reads for tweens becoming teens

by Bronte Coates

Bridging the gap between middle fiction books and young adult books can be tricky for readers. Here are some books that speak to those late childhood and early teen years. (As an added bonus, many of the authors listed here have terrific backlists to dive into if they prove a hit with your young reader.) TRICKY RELATIONSHIPS

Tweens are often coming to terms with shifting friendships and f…

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A guide to Pride and Prejudice adaptations

by Bronte Coates

For a reader who’s looking for smart, irreverent contemporary fiction…

Eligible is one of my favourite adaptations – of anything! – I’ve ever read. Curtis Sittenfeld (who wrote the bestselling novel Prep) has a sharp tongue, a keen ability for crafting cutting social commentary and a snarky sense of humour – all perfectly suited to a modern adaptation of Austen. Set in suburban Cincinnati, her…

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Reimagined visions of Australia in YA books

by Bronte Coates

Last week, Marlee Jane Ward’s Welcome to Orphancorp was named the winner of the Prize for Writing for Young Adults as part of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Set during Mirii’s last few days at an industrial orphanage, this punchy genre-busting debut presents a dystopian vision of our nation that is terrifying in its familiarity and fascinating in its strangeness. Ward’s re-positioning o…

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Four books that broke my heart in 2015

by Bronte Coates

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

No piece of writing has ever made me cry as much as this raging, eloquent letter from Ta-Nehisi Coates to his 14-year-old son, Samori. In my review I wrote, ‘I read with my heart in my throat and for the final 50 or so pages I cried without stopping. Between the World and Me attests to the power of literature.’ Coates writes specifically about the e…

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My favourite page-turners of 2015

by Bronte Coates

The Every series by Ellie Marney

I tore through Ellie Marney’s Sherlock Holmes-inspired YA detective trilogy in a single weekend. Smart, sexy, and suspenseful, these novels were dangerously readable and had me staying up late into the night. I loved spending time with Watts as she navigated being a teenager and intrepid investigator (the latter sometimes unwillingly). She goes through a scary …

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