My Favourite Australian Writers

The follow up to my earlier post, this is the list, by no means comprehensive, of my fave Australian writers / books. 

Norman Lindsay – Age of Consent.  Old Norman was a dirty sod.  But he could paint, and as this book bears out, he was a scribbler of some talent.   

Ion Idriess – most of his scribblings.  The language is getting dated, but he tells a good yarn.

Colin Bowles – Adventures of a flying doctor in north western Australia.  Very enjoyable read.   

Tom Cole – Hell West and Crooked.  Buffalo and crocodile hunting, along with some fascinating insights to Australia’s pioneering days.  His follow up book, The Last Paradise, details his work in Papua New Guinea after the war, tea planting, and shooting some monster crocs.  Very gutsy bloke.  But not as gutsy as the natives who used to leap into the water to catch the shot crocs before they sank! 

John O’Grady –  if there’s a bad J O’G book then I’m yet to read it!

Frank Hardy – I’ve read most of Franks’ stuff, Power Without Glory, Retreat Australia Fair, Billy Borker Yarns, and other selected novels, (Outcasts of Foolgarah) and collections of short stories.

Hugh Lunn – Over the Top with Jim.  Behind the Banana Curtain.

Hector Holthouse – impeccable research, good yarn spinner.

Robert G. Barrett – The Les Norton books are a favourite, and have proven very popular with workmates who haven’t read a novel since their school days.  Bob’s laconic, humorous, and down to earth writing style appeals to a wide range of readers.  Very popular up here as it’s always good to read about a Queenslander belting the living daylights out of New South Welshmen.

Simon Haynes – Hal Spacejock was the first e-novel I read.  Well written, captivating and rollicking yarn.  It’s available as a free download from here: http://www.spacejock.com.au/  

Mike Hayes –  Mike’s Prickle Farm books had me laughing out loud, and I’m very sorry I loaned them to a mate who never returned them.

Kenneth Cook –  Attack of the Killer Koala, Frilled Neck Frenzy and other humorous short stories.  Ken used to write a weekly column for People magazine (back when it wasn’t a porn mag), and I used to quite look forward to his barely believable, but extremely funny yarns.  Again, lent my complete collection to another mate who has disappeared off the face of the earth. 

AB Facey – A Fortunate Life.  Not very fortunate.  Bloody hard going actually.  But still a good read. 

Peter Watt – Cry of the Curlew is the first of several novels that tell a roaring yarn about the early days of the Australia.  Peter has style very similar to Wilbur Smith, and each book is a page turner from start to finish.  Highly recommended. 

Bill ‘Swampy’ Marsh – found Looking for Dad in my local library years ago and became an instant fan.  Bill was one of the first authors I emailed many years ago, and I received a very well written, humorous response the next day.  Unfortunately I lost the damned email, because it was great source of motivation for me.  His collection of Australiana yarns are well worth a read. 

Poetry

Henry Lawson – I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Harry.  I like Banjo’s poetry, but Henry will always top him.  Faces in the Street, Andy’s Gone with Cattle, and selected short stories, some funny, some tragic. 

Banjo Paterson – The Man from Snowy River still brings a chill down the back of my neck.   

Creeve Rowe (Victor Daley) – Ballad of Eureka.  Brings tears to my eyes every time I read it: “… but the river of St. Lawrence he would never see again…”    

Many of the above writings I’ve got stashed away here at home, and I re-read them from time to time.  With a bit of luck, one of my children will get as much enjoyment from them as I have over the years. 

Feel free to contact me with your favourites, because I’m always looking for new authors to add to my list.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “My Favourite Australian Writers

  1. Sounds like I have some homework to do then, GB! I just ‘got through’ my first Tim Winton (Dirt Music), which was okay. You didn’t like Cloudstreet, but the librarian said I must give it a go.

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