In honour of International Women’s Day, here’s a roundup of some fine female authors based in our very own city of Sydney. These gifted women have carved a distinctive niche for themselves through their explorations into families, love, relationships, society, and everything in between.
1. Liane Moriarty
If you haven’t read Liane Moriarty’s books, you’ve probably heard of the show based on her book with the same title — Big Little Lies. What Moriarty does exceptionally well is write interesting, relatable characters; she also breaks down the complexities of relationships with finesse. Our top recommendations include Nine Perfect Strangers, What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret if you want a good psychological thriller to complement this weather.
2. Celeste Barber
Celeste Barber isn’t just funny, she’s downright hilarious. I lost count of the number of times I snorted laughing while reading her part-memoir — Challenge Accepted. She writes with an honesty that is rare and relatable and her bluntness and musings are super refreshing. We highly recommend getting on the Celeste Barber bandwagon if you haven’t already.
3. Jackie French
Jackie French is a legend, and we don’t use the term lightly. This highly accomplished author has written over 140 books and won over 60 national and international awards. Perceptive, powerful and imaginative — French’s books are real page-turners. Our recommendations include — classic Aussie favourite Diary of a Wombat, They Came on Viking Ships and Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies — a poignant story about how society’s ‘lovely ladies’ won a war.
4. Melina Marchetta
Marchetta is best known for her teen novels. She has authored critically and commercially acclaimed books such as Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road. Her books have an undeniable appeal, particularly to young adults but can be enjoyed by all age groups. We highly recommend On the Jellicoe Road, a beautiful story about tragedy, heartbreak and long-standing friendships. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is another great read if you enjoy suspense fused with drama.
5. Kate Grenville
This list of Sydney-based female authors won’t be complete with this literary staple. Kate Grenville expertly tackles complicated ideas about class, race and gender and forces you to rethink heavily ingrained ideologies. A Room Made of Leaves is an absolute delight as is The Secret River and The Idea of Perfection.