To celebrate World Poetry Day, we decided to take a look at some of the finest literature produced by Australian writers. From Man Booker Prize winners to coming-of-age novels, these are five must-haves for your bookshelf.
The winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize, this epic-form novel from Richard Flanagan details the story of an Australian doctor struggling with memories of his time as a prisoner of war on the infamous Thai-Burma Railway and a love affair with his uncle’s wife. The premise of the book was influenced by Flanagan’s father’s experiences in WW2.
Timothy Conigrave penned this poignant memoir of his relationship with husband John Caleo, from the time the pair met as boys at Xavier College to John’s death in 1991 following their diagnosis with HIV. It was released in 1995, just one year after Timothy passed away, offering a unique portrayal into growing up gay in the 1970s.
This 2009 novel follows the story of Charlie Bucktin and titular character Jasper Jones after the latter’s girlfriend is found dead in the rural town of Corrigan. The book investigates themes of race and identity, and has been described as the Australian equivalent of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Another Booker Prize winner, Schindler’s Ark is most well-known for its conversion into the Steven Spielberg-directed Schindler’s List but originated as a brilliant work of historical fiction by Australian author Thomas Keneally. The plot surrounds Nazi Party member Oskar Schindler as he saves more than 1,000 Jews from dying in concentration camps throughout Germany and Poland.
Chronicling the intertwining lives of two distinct families, the religious Lambs and the carefree Pickles, Cloudstreet is arguably the most famous Australian novel of all time. Written by the award-winning Tim Winton, the book explores community and connection against the backdrop of significant world events over two decades.