English Studies Information Server

An Australia Reading List

Australian writing came into its own in the 1890s, when a strong nationalistic movement leading up to eventual Federation in 1901 produced writers like Henry Lawson and balladeer "Banjo" Paterson, who romanticized the bush and glorified the mateship ethos, while outstanding women writers, like Miles Franklin and Barbara Baynton, gave a feminine slant to the bush tale and set a trend for a strong female authorship. In the twentieth century Australian novelists in particular have come to be recognized in the international arena, with Patrick White awarded a Nobel Prize in 1973 and Peter Carey taking the Booker Prize in 1987.
Under the progressive Whitlam Labor Government in the 1970s, the Australia Council was established and its Literature Board struck out strongly to nurture new writing through Writers' Grants; these days Australian writing is flourishing, with a dedicated Australian readership. Although many of its most loved authors have not been heard of overseas, you'll be surprised at the range of home-grown literature available in Australian bookshops, though be prepared to pay more than you would at home.
We've given the publishers of each book, where available, in Britain (UK), the United States (US), and where there's no British or US publisher, in Australia (Aus). Obviously most of these Australian-interest books are more widely available in Australia.

Travel and General

Society and Culture

History and Politics

Contemporary Fiction

Australian Classics


Aboriginal Peoples' Writing

Specialist and Wildlife Guides

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