I just thought I'd tell you about a little Aussie reading challenge I'll be participating in next year. Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge encompasses all genre's and readerships, with just one common factor - Australian female authors.
The objective, as the website states:
Objective: This challenge hopes to help counteract the gender bias in reviewing and social media newsfeeds that has continued throughout 2011 by actively promoting the reading and reviewing of a wide range of contemporary Australian women's writing. (See the page on gender bias for recent discussions; also this page for the rationale behind the challenge.)Next year is an especially great time to get involved in this challenge, because there will be a lot of events going on in preparation for the first Stella Prize in 2013. For those of you who don't know, the Stella Prize will be Australia's first annual literary prize for Australian women's writing. It's a fantastic initiative, and has been a long time coming;
Readers should approach this challenge with a spirit of willingness. There are no failures, just personal goals. Reviews can be long or short, favourable or "this book is not for me". Hopefully, along the way, we'll all discover some future classics and perhaps a few surprises among genres we're not familiar with. The main aim is to have fun.
From the Website:
It will raise the profile of women’s writing, and will reward one writer with a $50,000 prize. The shortlisted and winning books will be widely publicised and marketed in order to bring readers to the work of Australian women writers.
In short, the Stella Prize will celebrate and recognise Australian women’s writing, encourage a future generation of women writers, and significantly increase the readership for books by women.
So next year, as apart of my Australian Women Writers challenge, the first two book reviews I post on my blog will be by (and about!) Australian women writers. The first book will be Loretta Hill's new release, 'The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots', a magnificent contemporary outback romance. For my second challenge review, I'll be looking an illustrated biography about one of Australia's first and most successful writer/illustrators, 'May Gibbs: More Than a Fairy Tale' by Robert Holden and Jane Brummitt.
I don't need much incentive to read books by Australian female authors (ALL of my favorite Aussie YA books are by female writers!) but it's nice to take a stand and actively support the cause!
This challenge is going to be really fun, so I hope some of you think about getting on board and promoting those Aussie female writers we love so much!
I intend to be a Stella-Dabbler. Here are the challenge specifics:
Purist: one genre only
Dabbler: more than one genre
Devoted eclectic: as many genres as you can find
Stella (read 3 and review at least 2 books)
Miles (read 6 and review at least 3* )
Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books)*
* The higher levels should include at least one substantial length review