The importance of supporting and reading Australian authors.

by |August 25, 2017

According to a 2015 Macquarie University study into the book industry, Australian authors on average only receive $12,900 a year from their practice as an author, with only 20% being able to afford to work full-time on their craft.

This $12,900 is not even strictly from book sales, it’s a collation of authors’ incomes from teaching writing, royalties from library books borrowed, and writers’ festival appearances. That’s why many supplement their earnings with other forms of income.

So how does it work?

For every book that is sold, authors make roughly ten per cent of the recommended retail price. If there are multiple authors or collaborators (for example, children’s books usually have an author and illustrator), then that ten percent is split between all parties.

Irma Gold, author of children’s book Megumi and the Bear, reveals her personal earnings. “My picture book retails for $27.95 which means that on every book sale I receive 5% or $1.40 (as does the illustrator, Craig Phillips). But this is only the case on full price sales. If the book is sold at a discounted rate the author may earn next to nothing. For example, on my latest royalty statement a bunch of Megumis were sold at discount, netting me the grand total of 13 cents per book.”

Buying from international retailers also decreases royalties. The best way to ensure an author receives their fair (and deserved) share of the profits is to buy their book from your local, physical bookshop.

If you can’t buy their book, borrowing it from a library is just as good. What many people don’t realise is that at the end of every financial year Australian authors receive PLR (Public Lending Rights) and ELR (Education Lending Rights) payments based on the estimated number of copies held by Australian libraries. According to Gold, “these funds are significant, and often exceed royalties on sales.”

Earlier this year Booktopia asked Australia to vote for their favourite Australian authors. Over 100,000 votes revealed the below top 50 authors. Have you read their books? Borrowed them from your library? If not, why not consider them the next time you’re after a great read. They’re some of the most talented wordsmiths in the world and our support will guarantee their continual exceptional work.

50 Must Read Australian Authors

50. Belinda Alexandra

Belinda Alexandra has been published to wide acclaim in Australia and New Zealand, France, Germany, Holland, Poland, Norway and Greece. She is the daughter of a Russian mother and Australian father, and has been an intrepid traveller since her youth.

Her love of other cultures and languages is matched by her passion for her home country, Australia, where she is a volunteer rescuer and carer for the NSW Wildlife Information and Rescue Service (WIRES). Her latest release is Southern Ruby (2016).

Belinda chats about her latest book and about her writing process on the Booktopia podcast. Visit Belinda’s Booktopia author page.

49. Graeme Simsion

Graeme Simsion worked as a computer operator, programmer and database specialist before founding a consulting business in 1982. Until the success of The Rosie Project enabled him to concentrate on his writing, he continued to deliver seminars around the world.

He has made a number of short films and his screenplay, The Rosie Project, won the Australian Writers Guild / Inscription Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script in 2010. While waiting for The Rosie Project to be produced, he turned it into a novel which in June 2012 won the Victorian Premier’s Award for an unpublished fiction manuscript.

His latest novel is called The Best of Adam Sharp (2016). Graeme chats about this latest book on the Booktopia podcast. Visit Graeme’s Booktopia author page.

48. Charlotte Wood

The Australian has described Charlotte Wood as ‘one of our most original and provocative writers.’ Her latest novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Indie Book of the Year and Indie Fiction Book of the Year prizes, won the Stella Prize and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. She has also been longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award.

Charlotte was also editor of the short story anthology Brothers and Sisters, and for three years edited The Writer’s Room Interviews magazine. Her work has been shortlisted for various other prizes including the Christina Stead, Kibble and Miles Franklin Awards. Visit Charlotte’s Booktopia author page.

47. Fleur McDonald

Fleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life. After growing up in the small town of Orroroo in South Australia, she went to Jillarooing, eventually co-owning an 8000-acre property in regional Western Australia.

Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experiences in rural Australia. She is the best-selling author of Red Dust, Blue Skies, Purple Roads, Silver Clouds and Crimson Dawn. She has two children and a Jack Russell terrier. Her most recent novel is Sapphire Falls, released in 2016. Visit Fleur’s Booktopia author page.

46. John Flanagan

John Flanagan’s bestselling Ranger’s Apprentice adventure series originally comprised twenty short stories, which John wrote to encourage his twelve-year-old son, Michael, to enjoy reading. The series has come a long way since then. Now sold to more than twenty countries, the series regularly appears on the New York Times Bestseller List and has been shortlisted in children’s book awards in Australia and overseas.

John, a former television and advertising writer, lives with his wife, Leonie, in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly. His most recent title was The Battle of Hackman Heath, part of the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

45. Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of five novels: Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award.

He won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his novel, The Slap, which was also announced as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. Christos’ latest novel is Barracuda, which became an instant bestseller. Visit Christos’ Booktopia author page.

44. Garth Nix

Garth Nix was born in Melbourne, Australia. He previously worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve.

Garth’s books include the award-winning young adult fantasy Old Kingdom series; the dystopian novel Shade’s Children; the space opera A Confusion of Princes; and a Regency romance with magic, Newt’s Emerald.

His fantasy novels for children include The Ragwitch; the six books of The Seventh Tower sequence; The Keys to the Kingdom series; and the Trouble Twisters series and Spirit Animals: Blood Ties (co-written with Sean Williams). Garth’s most recent release was Goldenhand (2016), the next in The Old Kingdom Series. Garth chats about this latest book on the Booktopia podcast. Visit Garth’s Booktopia author page

43.Fiona McCallum

Fiona McCallum spent her childhood years on the family cereal and wool farm outside a small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. An avid reader and writer, she decided at the age of nine that she wanted to be the next Enid Blyton.

She completed her final years of schooling at a private boarding school in Adelaide. Fiona maintained her literary interests by writing poetry and short stories, and studying at TAFE via correspondence. In 2001 she realised her true passion lay in writing full-length fiction, and in 2002 completed her first manuscript.

Fiona writes “heart-warming journey of self-discovery stories”. Standing Strong is her latest book, the sequel to Wattle Creek. Visit Fiona’s Booktopia author page.

42. William McInnes

William McInnes is one of Australia’s most popular writers, delighting readers with his memoirs, novels and his insight into Australian life since the 1940s.

In 2011, with his wife Sarah Watt he co-wrote Worse Things Happen At Sea, which was named the best non-fiction title in the ABIA and the Indie Awards in 2012. In 2014, he wrote Holidays, his unique perspective on the Australian obsession with taking a hard-earned break.

Also an award-winning actor, William has won two Logies and an AFI Award for Best Actor for his role in the film Unfinished Sky. He received critical and public acclaim for his leading role in the film Look Both Ways. His latest book is Full Bore (2016). Visit William’s Booktopia author page.

41. Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta’s first novel, Looking for Alibrandi, swept the pool of literary awards for young adult fiction in 1993, winning the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) among many others. In 2000 it was released as a major Australian film, winning an AFI Award and an Independent Film Award for best screenplay. Her latest book is Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, a crime novel. Listen to Melina chat about this book in the Booktopia podcast. Visit Melina’s Booktopia author page.

Melina taught secondary school English and History for ten years, during which time she released her second novel, Saving Francesca. She has released many titles since then. Melina’s novels have been published in more than sixteen countries and twelve languages.

40. Tara Moss

Tara Moss is an author, journalist, TV presenter and human rights advocate. Since 1999 she has written 10 bestselling books, published in 19 countries and 13 languages, including the acclaimed Mak Vanderwall crime fiction series and the Pandora English series.

Her first non-fiction book, the critically acclaimed The Fictional Woman, was published in 2014 and became a number one national non-fiction bestseller, and her iconic cover design, featuring her face labeled with ‘fictions’ or stereotypes about women won Best Non-Fiction Book Design at the Australia Book Design Awards in 2015 with HarperCollins Publishers.

Tara chats about her latest book Speaking Out on the Booktopia podcast. Visit Tara’s Booktopia author page.

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39. Annabel Crabb

Annabel Crabb is one of Australia’s most beloved journalists. She is the ABC’s chief online political writer, writes a weekly opinion column for Fairfax, is the author of the bestselling book The Wife Drought and is a sought-after speaker and presenter.

As host of the ABC’s enormously popular series Kitchen Cabinet, Annabel has broken bread with Australia’s most influential political leaders and shared her magnificent desserts in kitchens around the country.

In 2015, she revealed some of her favourite recipes and political adventures in Special Delivery and in the Booktopia podcast.

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38. Fiona Palmer

Fiona Palmer lives in the tiny rural town of Pingaring in Western Australia, three and a half hours south-east of Perth. She has attended romance writers’ groups and received an Australian Society of Authors mentorship for her first novel, The Family Farm.

She has followed on from its success with many more novels, all bestsellers. She has extensive farming experience, does the local mail run, and was a speedway-racing driver for seven years. Her latest book, Secrets Between Friends, will be released in September 2017. Visit Fiona’s Booktopia author page.

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37. Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books, ranging from picture books, poetry, and novels for both children and adults. Her most recent book is The Beast’s Garden, a retelling of Grimms’ Beauty and The Beast set in Nazi Germany.

Her most recent children’s book is Battle of the Heroes. She completed a doctorate in fairytale retellings and her books have been published in 17 countries. She lives in Sydney, with her husband, three children, a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback, a bad-tempered black cat, and many thousands of books. Her latest book is Beauty in Thorns, a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. Visit Kate’s Booktopia author page.

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36. Kaz Cooke

Kaz Cooke is an Australian author, cartoonist and radio broadcaster. Her background is in news and feature journalism in Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin. Since becoming a Mum in 1998 she has mainly worked from home writing books in her pyjamas. Kaz illustrates her own work with cartoons, since 1983 often featuring Hermoine the Modern Girl.

She continues to write books with her trademark mix of meticulous research and trustworthy information untainted by commercial interests, and blended with her friendly tone, honesty, sharp wit, and pyjamas. Kaz’s latest book is Girl Stuff for Girls Aged 8-12 (2016) and you can listen to Kaz chat to Booktopia about it. Visit Kaz’s Booktopia author page.

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35. Clementine Ford

Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women.

Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat. She is a freelance writer, broadcaster and public speaker based in Melbourne.

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34. Shaun Tan

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery.

The Rabbits, The Red Tree, Tales from Outer Suburbia, Rules of Summer and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated and enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, a concept artist for animated films including Pixar’s WALL-E, and directed the Academy Award-winning short film The Lost Thing with Passion Pictures Australia. Visit Shaun’s Booktopia author page.

33. Magda Szubanski

Magda Szubanski is one of Australia’s best known and most loved performers. She began her career in university revues, then appeared in a number of sketch comedy shows before creating the iconic character of Sharon Strzelecki in ABC-TV’s Kath and Kim. She has also acted in films (Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, The Golden Compass) and stage shows.

Reckoning is her first book – heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory. Reckoning won many awards including the 2016 ABIA Book of the Year, the 2016 ABIA Biography of the Year and the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction.

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32. Rachael Treasure

Tasmanian-born Rachael Treasure gets as excited about dung beetle activity in the soil as she does by beautiful writing. Rachael sparked a publishing boom in 2002 when her first novel Jillaroo woke the world up to contemporary women’s stories beyond the city lights.

She has been dubbed an agricultural activist, farm feminist and literary pioneer and has worked as a rural journalist, radio broadcaster, truffle sniffer dog handler, professional wool classer, stock camp cook, drover, farm manager and working dog trainer.

Some of her novels include The Stockman, The Rouseabout and The Cattleman’s Daughter. Her latest novel is Down the Dirt Roads. Visit Rachael’s Booktopia author page.

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31. Peter FitzSimons

Peter FitzSimons is one of Australia’s most prominent and successful media and publishing identities. He launched his journalistic career with The Sydney Morning Herald in 1989. Two years later he released two best-selling books and signed a contract with the Nine Network that resulted in him presenting current affairs and sports programs.

His association with Foxtel commenced in 1995 and continues to this day. In 2001 he was Australia’s biggest selling non-fiction author with just under 250,000 sales. He duplicated that feat in 2004 with his book on Kokoda and had similar success in 2006 with his book on Tobruk. He has recently released Victory at Villers-Bretonneux and The Great Aussie Bloke Slim-Down. Peter chats to Booktopia about his weight-loss experience. Visit Peter’s Booktopia author page.

30. Isobelle Carmody

Isobelle Carmody is one of the world’s most highly acclaimed authors of fantasy and young adult fiction. At fourteen, she began Obernewtyn, the first book in her much-loved Obernewtyn Chronicles.

Her novel The Gathering was joint winner of the 1993 Children’s Literature Peace Prize and the 1994 CBCA Book of the Year Award, and Greylands was joint winner of the 1997 Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction (Young Adult category), and was named a White Raven at the 1998 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Isobelle’s work for younger readers includes her two series, The Legend of Little Fur, and The Kingdom of the Lost. Isobelle was voted our Australia’s Favourite Author for 2016.

Have a listen to Isobelle Carmody chat about the long anticipated final book in the award-winning Obernewtyn Chronicles, The Red Queen. Visit Isobelle’s Booktopia author page.

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29. Tony Park

Tony Park was born in 1964 and grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. He has worked as a newspaper reporter in Australia and England, a government press secretary, a public relations consultant, and freelance writer. His novels have been acclaimed bestsellers since his very first, Far Horizon.

He is also a Major in the Australian Army Reserve and served six months in Afghanistan in 2002 as the public affairs officer for the Australian ground forces. He and his wife, Nicola, divide their time between Sydney and southern Africa where they own a home on the border of the Kruger National Park. Visit Tony’s Booktopia author page.

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28. Judy Nunn

Judy Nunn’s career has been long, illustrious and multifaceted. After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for television and radio, Judy’s first three novels, The Glitter Game, Centre Stage and Araluen became instant bestsellers.

Her fame as a novelist has spread rapidly throughout Europe where she is published in English, German, French, Dutch, Czech and Spanish. Her subsequent bestsellers, Kal, Beneath The Southern Cross, Territory, Pacific, Heritage, Floodtide, Maralinga and Tiger Men confirm Judy’s position as one of Australia’s leading fiction writers.

We spoke with Judy Nunn about her novel Spirits of the Ghan, which you can listen to here. Visit Judy’s Booktopia author page.

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27. Rachael Johns

An English teacher by trade, a supermarket owner by day, a mum 24/7, and a writer by night. In a relatively short space of time, Rachael has shown herself a force to be reckoned with, helping to bolster a new movement in Australian Romance writing.

At 17 she began writing, enlightened by the thought that she could create whatever ending she liked, and almost a decade later, after many, many attempts at writing different types of novels, she joined the Romance Writers of Australia association. Her latest novel, The Greatest Gift, will be released in October 2017. Visit Rachael’s Booktopia author page.

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26. Ruth Park

Born in Auckland, Ruth Park moved to Australia in 1942. Her first novel was The Harp in the South, a graphic story of Irish slum life in Sydney, which has been translated into 37 languages. It remains her most popular novel and has never been out of print.

She wrote over fifty books, and her many awards included the prestigious Miles Franklin Award for Swords and Crowns and Rings; the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA) for Playing Beatie Bow and The Age Book of the Year Award for A Fence Around the Cuckoo. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1987. Ruth Park died in December 2010. Visit Ruth’s Booktopia author page.

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25. Monica McInerney

Monica grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley of South Australia and has been living between Australia and Ireland for twenty years. She and her Irish husband currently live in Dublin.

She was a book publicist for ten years, working in Ireland and Australia and promoting authors such as Roald Dahl and Tim Winton. Monica McInerney is the author of the internationally bestselling novels, A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out, Spin the Bottle, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage, Those Faraday Girls and At Home with the Templetons. In 2006 she was the ambassador for the Australian Government initiative Books Alive, with her novella Odd One Out. Visit Monica’s Booktopia author page.

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24. Kate Grenville

Kate Grenville was born in Sydney and worked in the film industry after graduating from university. She is now one of Australia’s best-known authors. She has published eight books of fiction and four books about the writing process.

Her best-known works include the international best-seller The Secret River, The Idea of Perfection, The Lieutenant and Lilian’s Story. The Secret River has won many prizes, including the Commonwealth Prize for Literature and the Christina Stead Prize. Several of her novels have been made into major feature films, and all have been translated into European and Asian languages. Her most recent book is called One Life. Visit Kate’s Booktopia author page.

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23. Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally won the Booker Prize in 1982 with Schindler’s Ark, later made into the Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg. Some of his non-fiction titles include the memoir Searching for Schindler and Three Famines.

His novels The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest and Confederates were all shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while Bring Larks and Heroes and Three Cheers For The Paraclete won the Miles Franklin Award.

The People’s Train was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia division. His most recent title is Australians: A Short History. Visit Thomas’ Booktopia author page.
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22. Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman grew up in England and came to Australia when he was sixteen. He was a frozen-chicken thawer, fashion-industry trainee, student, department-store Santa, TV producer, newspaper columnist and screenwriter. Then he had a wonderful experience: he wrote a novel for young people.

Now he’s one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors. His books explore serious and sometimes confronting subjects in humorous and unexpected ways. His titles include Two Weeks With The Queen, Doubting Thomas, Snot Chocolate and the series Once, Then, Now, After and Soon. Morris lives in Sydney and Brisbane, and his books are published in more than twenty countries. Visit Morris’ Booktopia author page.

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21. Fiona McIntosh

Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980.

Fiona is now an internationally bestselling author of novels for adults and children. She co-founded an award-winning travel magazine with her husband, which they ran for fifteen years while raising their twin sons before she became a full-time author. Fiona roams the world researching and drawing inspiration for her novels, and runs a series of highly respected fiction masterclasses.

Some of her titles include The Perfumer’s Secret, Royal Exile and Tapestry. Her most recent novel is The Chocolate Tin. Visit Fiona’s Booktopia author page.

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20. Emily Rodda

Emily Rodda’s first book, Something Special, was published in 1984. It marked the beginning of a career that has seen her become one of the most successful, prolific and versatile writers in Australia. She has won the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for a record five times.

A former editor of The Women’s Weekly, Emily is also the best-selling author of adult mysteries under her own name of Jennifer Rowe. Her children’s books, for a range of ages and genres, exhibit a mastery of plot and character. She has been a full-time writer since 1994; she is well-known for her Deltora Quest series. Visit Emily’s Booktopia author page.

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19. Geraldine Brooks

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer and also worked for The Wall Street Journal. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel March.

Her novels, Caleb’s Crossing and People of the Book, were New York Times bestsellers. Her first novel, Year of Wonders is an international bestseller, translated into more than 25 languages. She is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction works Nine Parts of Desire, Foreign Correspondence and The Idea of Home. Her most recent title is The Secret Chord. Visit Geraldine’s Booktopia author page.

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18. Hannah Kent

Hannah Kent is a Melbourne-based writer, born in Adelaide in 1985. Her first novel, Burial Rites, has been translated into over twenty languages and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and the Guardian First Book Award. It won the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year, the Indie Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year and the Victorian Premier’s People’s Choice Award.

Her second novel, The Good People, set in pre-famine rural Ireland, is set to be adapted into a film. Listen to Hannah chatting with us about The Good People. Hannah is also the co-founder and publishing director of Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings. Visit Hannah’s Booktopia author page.

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17. Jackie French

Jackie was the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014/15 and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. She is also an historian, ecologist, dyslexic, and a passionate worker for literacy; she believes in the right of all children to be able to read, and the power of books.

Jackie’s writing career spans 25 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages, 3,721 bush rats, and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas. Her books range from provocative historical fiction such as Hitler’s Daughter to the hilarious international bestseller, Diary of a Wombat with Bruce Whatley, as well as many nonfiction titles. Visit Jackie’s Booktopia author page.

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16. Graeme Base

Graeme Base is one of the world’s leading creators of picture books. His alphabet book Animalia, received international acclaim when it was first published in 1986, and has achieved classic status with worldwide sales approaching three million copies. It has now inspired an animated TV series.

In 2003, his first novel for young readers, TruckDogs, was released. It was short-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards the following year. In 2009 Graeme produced the the fascinating, beautiful and challenging book Enigma. Visit Graeme’s Booktopia author page.

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15. May Gibbs

May Gibbs (1877-1969) came to Australia at the age of four. Even as a child May drew and painted, encouraged by her parents. She studied art, both in Western Australia and in England, before settling in Sydney to follow a successful career as a writer and illustrator of children’s books.

Her most famous book, Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, was published in 1918. Her bestselling series featuring the Gumnut babies, their friends and their foes, established an enduring mythology of the Australian bush for generations raised firmly on traditional European fairytales. In 1955, she received an MBE for her contribution to children’s literature. Visit May’s Booktopia author page.

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14. Colleen McCullough

Colleen McCullough was born in western New South Wales in 1937. In 1974 her first novel, Tim, was published in New York, followed by the bestselling The Thorn Birds in 1977 (her most well-known) and a string of successful novels, including the acclaimed Masters of Rome series.

The depth of historical research for the novels on ancient Rome led to her being awarded a Doctors of Letters degree by Macquarie University. Visit Colleen’s Booktopia author page.

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13. Kate Morton

Kate Morton fell avidly in love with books very early. Her favourites were those by Enid Blyton. It was a love deeply felt, for it is still mysteries and secrets that dance around the edges of Kate’s mind, keeping her awake deep into the night, turning or typing pages.

Kate began writing in earnest and completed two full-length manuscripts (which lie deep and determinedly within a bottom drawer) before settling finally into the story that would become The House at Riverton (The Shifting Fog). The Shifting Fog won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA).

Her second book, The Forgotten Garden, was a #1 bestseller in Australia and Spain, and a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2008. It won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2009 Australian Book Industry Awards and was an Amazon Best of the Month pick and a New York Times bestseller in 2009.

Kate’s books are published in 39 countries and in 32 languages. She currently lives in London with her family and continues to write the sorts of books she can disappear inside. Visit Kate’s Booktopia author page.

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12. Paul Jennings

The Paul Jennings phenomenon began with the publication of Unreal! in 1985. Since then, readers all around the world have devoured his books.

Paul Jennings has written over one hundred stories and has been voted ‘favourite author’ over forty times by children in Australia, winning every children’s choice award. The top rating TV series Round the Twist and Driven Crazy are based on a selection of his enormously popular short-story collections such as Unseen! which was awarded the 1999 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Children’s Book.

In 1995 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to children’s literature and was awarded the prestigious Dromkeen Medal in 2001. Paul has sold more than 8 million books worldwide. Visit Paul’s Booktopia author page.

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11. Banjo Paterson

Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson (17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941) was an Australian bush journalist and author. He was popularly known as “Banjo” Paterson from his pen name, “The Banjo”. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales where he spent much of his childhood.

He is best known for his rousing folk classics The Man from Snowy River and Waltzing Matilda and is widely acknowledged as Australia’s greatest and most popular balladist. His poems, written with great gusto and humour, celebrate all the romance and rough-and-tumble of old Australia. Visit Banjo’s Booktopia author page.

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10. Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak is the author of the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which is translated into more than forty languages and has spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list.

In 2014, Zusak received the American Library Association’s Margaret Edwards Award for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature, for his body of work ranging from The Underdog to The Book Thief. Visit Markus’ Booktopia author page.

9. Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors. Andy is best known for The Treehouse series (illustrated by Terry Denton), The JUST! books and The Day My Bum Went Psycho. Over the last 20 years Andy’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, adapted for the stage and television, and won more than 50 Australian children’s choice awards.

Andy, a passionate advocate for literacy, is an ambassador for The Indigenous Literacy Foundation and The Pyjama Foundation. Visit Andy’s Booktopia author page.

8. Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty is the author of seven internationally best-selling novels, including The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty. Liane became the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list with Big Little Lies. Film and television rights were snapped up by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

Truly Madly Guilty also debuted at number one in its first week of publication on the New York Times bestseller list, and both Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty were number one bestsellers in Australia. Listen to Liane chat about Truly Madly Guilty. Visit Liane’s Booktopia author page.

7. Di Morrissey

Di Morrissey is one of the most successful Australian authors, with over two million copies of her books sold. She trained as a journalist, working in the media around the world. Her fascination with different countries – their landscape, and their cultural, political and environmental issues – forms the inspiration for her novels.

Some of Di’s titles include: Heart of the Dreaming, The Last Rose of Summer, The Songmaster, Scatter the Stars, Blaze, The Reef, The Valley, The Silent Country, The Plantation, The Opal Desert, The Golden Land, The Winter Sea, The Road Back and Rain Music. Her new novel A Distant Journey was published in 2016. Listen to Di chat about this latest novel. Visit Di’s Booktopia author page.

6. Anh Do

Anh Do is a Vietnamese-born Australian author, actor and comedian. He has appeared on many Australian TV shows such as Thank God You’re Here and Good News Week, and was runner-up on Dancing With The Stars in 2007.

His children’s books include the popular WeirDo series, The Little Refugee and his latest, What Do They Do with All the Poo from All of the Animals at the Zoo? His memoir is The Happiest Refugee. He’s won multiple awards including the ABIA (Australian Book Industry Awards) Book of the Year, ABIA Biography of the Year 2011, ABIA Newcomer of the Year 2011, and the Non-fiction Indie Book of the Year 2011. Visit Anh’s Booktopia author page.

5. John Marsden

John Marsden is Australia’s most popular writer of young adult fiction. His books have sold more than a million copies worldwide, and he has either won or been shortlisted for every major award for young adult literature in Australia. This includes the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year, the National Children’s Book Award, and many children’s choice awards.

The gripping war series, which began with Tomorrow When the War Began, broke all sales records for young adult fiction and was recently released as a feature film. So Much to Tell You, originally published in 1987, was his first young adult novel. Visit John’s Booktopia author page.

4. Bryce Courtenay

Bestselling author Bryce Courtenay was born in 1933 in South Africa. He grew up among farm folk and the African people. His life inspired incredible stories such as The Power of One, Tania, The Night Country and many more bestsellers.

Bryce died in Australia in 2012. The Silver Moon: Reflections and Stories on Life, Death and Writing was published in 2014, where Bryce reflected on how he tried to make the most out of life. Visit Bryce’s Booktopia author page.

3. Mem Fox

Mem Fox is Australia’s most highly regarded picture-book author. Her first book, Possum Magic, is the best selling children’s book ever in Australia, with sales of over three and a half million. And in the USA Time for Bed and Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge have each sold over a million copies. Time for Bed is on Oprah’s list of the twenty best children’s books of all time.

Mem has written over thirty picture books for children and five non-fiction books for adults, including the best-selling Reading Magic, aimed at parents of very young children. Her book Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes beautifully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, was on the New York Times bestseller lists for 16 weeks in 2008/2009. Visit Mem’s Booktopia author page.

2. Tim Winton

The pre-eminent Australian novelist of his generation, Tim’s first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the Australian Vogel Award and his second novel Shallows, won the Miles Franklin Award. Tim’s fifth novel, Cloudstreet has been a bestseller since publication in 1991. The Riders was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Dirt Music was published to critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize, and won the 2002 Miles Franklin Award. Breath was awarded the 2009 Miles Franklin Prize for Literature.

His latest title is his memoir, The Boy Behind the Curtain. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and three children. Get an intimate and rare view of Tim’s imagination in his chat with John Purcell. Visit Tim’s Booktopia author page.

1. Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling author of numerous novels including Ice Station, Area 7, Scarecrow (books in the Scarecrow series), Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors (books in the Jack West Jr. series), Contest, and Hover Car Racer.

Published in over 20 countries and known for their highly visual style, fast pace and large-scale action scenes, over 7.5 million copies of his books have been sold around the world, more than a million copies apiece between Australia, the UK and the USA.

Some of his works have been optioned by film studios for series or feature production, and he continues to create works of fiction across all major media platforms, from short stories, through to novellas and screenplays.Visit Matthew’s Booktopia author page.

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About the Contributor

Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the former editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.


  • Philip

    August 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Thank-you Anastasia, and to all your voting readers for this excellent list. I have read books by many of these Australian authors, and several by an author that I voted for – Alex Miller – but it looks like he might have been number fifty-one (he has won the Miles Franklin Award twice)!

  • August 26, 2017 at 10:54 am

    I’ve been pushing my own ‘Buy Australian Made’ message home for the last 3 years, one small town library event at a time. I travel Australia full time in a 25 foot fifth wheeler caravan I call Myrtle the Turtle and at author events I tell regional readers to make sure they buy/borrow Australian, use their library (or lose it) and their local bookshop (if lucky enough to still have one – most are not, in whcih case I send them to Booktopia!) #nomadicnovelist

  • August 27, 2017 at 5:13 am

    I’m surprised not to see David Malouf, short-listed for the Booker prize, on this list. The Great World is a wonderful novel.

  • Jacob Knowles

    August 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Don’t forget there are some quality Aussie Indi authors!
    One springs to mind, Keith McArdle. He writes fast paced action.
    A friend recommended his books and I found his author page on facebook.
    Well worth checking out!

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