Looking for some of the best Australian authors of all time? Here’s our guide to 10 literary talents you won’t be able to put down!
Whether it’s a breezy beach day or its raining buckets, there’s always a perfect occasion to tuck into a good book (especially if you’ve already had your Netflix binge). Sometimes overlooked on an international scale, there’s a whole host of amazing books written by Australian authors.
From comedy to mystery, real crime and historical non-fiction, this diverse group covers established writers and debut novelists – with nothing but Antipodean roots and gorgeous storytelling in common. So, for bookworms looking for something new, here’s our pick of the top 10 Australian authors to look out for in 2023!
Hailing from New South Wales, Charlotte Wood is an Australian author, described by The Australian as “one of our most original and provocative writers”. She’s written six novels so far, including The Natural Way Of Things which won The Stella Prize in 2016. In that year, she also won the Writer in Residence Fellowship at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre where she works with health specialists to offer literary views on the complex topic of ageing.
Clive James is not simply just a writer, but also a journalist, critic, poet and broadcaster whose wealth of wit and language has made him a favourite among many. Born in Sydney, James was first named Vivian, but was later allowed to change it as it became known as a female name, leading him to choose Clive. His memoirs in particular are known for their satirical nature, and his own friendships and acquaintances with some of the 20th centuries most iconic cultural figures makes them a dazzling read.
Twice named one of the best the Best Young Australian Novelists by The Sydney Morning Herald, Western Australia’s Craig Silvey is one of the most prominent voices in contemporary Australian literature. He published his first novel, Rhubarb, in 2004 at the young age of just 19, which garnered him critical attention and helped him receive the Australian Council’s New Work Grant. It’s with the help of this that he wrote the much-acclaimed Jasper Jones, a coming of age modern classic which he helped write into a screenplay for a movie released in 2017. To this day he continues to work on novels, alongside screenplay writing.
Moving to Victoria at the age of eight, Harper has since made her name in the internationally competitive field of thriller fiction, with crime novels sold in 40 territories worldwide. Following an early career in journalism, in 2014 she submitted a short story to the Big Issue’s annual fiction edition, and after it’s selection for publication, Harper decided to pursue creative writing full time. Her 2018 release, The Lost Man, received a plethora of awards including Best Paperback at the International Thriller Writers Awards. Dive into Harper’s work for gripping tales and haunting voices, and one of the best modern Australian authors.
Liane Moriarty moved from great novelist to international sensation after her work Big Little Lies caught the likes of Reese Witherspoon and was adapted by HBO with an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman and Zoe Kravitz. Yet Moriarty’s work is so much more than simply Hollywood staples; with eight novels currently published, she covers human drama and thrilling plots across our repertoire, making her totally un-put-down-able. One of the best female Australian authors, Liane Moriarty is a literary superstar for a reason.
Born in Sydney in 1975, Marcus Zusak is an Australian writer of German heritage that is best known for his two international bestsellers, The Book Thief and The Messenger. Although these aren’t his only literary offerings, Marcus’ existing work of six novels are each fascinating and enthralling in their own right. Famed for being one of the best Australian authors of all time, we promise that Marcus Suzak will surely leave a mark in 2023!
Another Sydney-born writer, Matthew Reilly’s background in law has resulted in a prolific collection of high-quality action thrillers. Following rejections from numerous publishing houses, Reilly famously self-published his debut novel Contest back in 1996, and made sure it got sold in Sydney bookshops popular with publishers. Today, Reilly has sold over seven million copies of his novels across the world and is most famous for his Jack West Jr series. Equally thrilling as they are action-packed, you won’t be able to put down a Matthew Reilly novel once you start.
Indigenous writer Melissa Lucaschenko is known for writing novels for teenagers, but also has created works of adult-fiction and non-fiction. Her first novel, Steam Pigs, was published in 1997 winning the Dobbie Literary Award for Australian Women’s Fiction. However, her critical acclaim did not end there, with last year’s release Too Much Lip winning the highly prestigious Miles Franklin Award. If you’re looking for a popular Australian author book, this is it.
West Australian Tim Winton has been named a Living Treasure by The National Trust and has won an impressive four Miles Franklin awards. He’s written a total of 11 novels and a handful of short stories, drawing strongly on his home of Western Australia’s coast, claiming place itself is a key feature of his novels. This, may well be the thing which has led him towards environmental advocacy, despite expressing some discomfort of life in the public eye.
The current it-boy of Australian literature, Trent Dalton began his career in journalism working for the Courier-Mail and The Australian where he still works as a staff-writer. His debut novel, Boy Swallows Universe, jettisoned into a best-seller when it was released back in 2018, scooping up a plethora of awards as it did so. His next novel, Lola in the Mirror is set to be released in October 2023.
Wanting to read a book written by an Australian author? We’ve got you covered with our list of the 10 Best Australian Books to Add to Your 2023 Reading List. And, there’s no better way to flick through a new book than at one of Australia’s 10 Best Bookstore Cafes.