The beach is a common setting for Australian novels, which often capture its darker side.
While tourism campaigns often portray the beach as an idyllic, isolated haven, many of our beach stories depict it as a darker, more complex place. Here are ten worth reading.
Gerald Murnane has long been recognised as one of Australia’s finest writers.
This award to a long neglected writer shows that there is still a place in Australian life for works of art that challenge us to think.
A memorial in Kukenarup to the massacre that took place in the area, in which 30-40 Aboriginal men, women, and children were killed.
Kim Scott, whose novel Taboo is shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin award, circles around colonial violence in his work.
The Miles Franklin authors with their novels, clockwise from top left: Felicity Castagna, Eva Hornung, Kim Scott, Michelle de Kretser, Catherine McKinnon and Gerald Murnane.
Courtesy Perpetual/ Copyright Agency/ Martin Ollman/Timothy Hillier. Eva Hornung image: Noni Martin.
For many years, the Miles Franklin award was a bastion of monoculture. But this year's stories are a diverse reflection of Australia.
Behrouz Boochani photographed on Manus Island.
Jason Garman/Amnesty International via AAP
Behrouz Boochani wrote his memoir of incarceration on Manus Island one text message at a time. Translating this work of 'horrific surrealism' from Farsi to English was a profoundly philosophical experience.
Guy Pearce as the Chandleresque private investigator Jack Irish: in the early years of Australian crime fiction, convicts and bushrangers featured prominently.
Australia's rich tradition of crime fiction is little known – early tales told of bushrangers and convicts, one hero was a mining engineer turned amateur detective – but it reveals a range of national myths and fantasies.
The study shared by Donald and Myfanwy Horne photographed in 2014.
Karl Schwerdtfeger Photography.
A new room will open at the NSW State LIbrary today, furnished with objects from Donald and Myfanwy Horne's study. Their daughter, Julia, reflects here on a writing partnership and the room that fostered it.
Four of the six shortlisted books for the 2018 Stella Prize were from smaller presses, as was the winner, Alexis Wright’s Tracker.
As major publishers chase bestselling books, small ones are leading the way in publishing Australian literary fiction. And of late, they have been sweeping our major literary awards.
None of the books on the Stella shortlist offer a comforting vision of contemporary Australian life.
A Stella winner is a book that challenges its readers; it attempts to do a bit of work in the world. And this year’s shortlist doesn’t disappoint.
The pyjama girl mystery, as featured in Famous Detective Stories no. 6.
State Library of New South Whales
Once typecast as 'bad' or 'good' in true crime tales, women are now more likely to be presented as complex figures in them. And many more women are writing true crime themselves.
Joan of Arc depicted on horseback in an illustration from a 1505 manuscript.
Forget Wonder Woman and Batman. The Maid of Orléans - an uneducated, teenage girl who led armies to victory - is a hero for our times.
Eugenia Falleni in 1920. An Italian-born-woman-turned-Sydney-dwelling-man, Falleni was convicted of murder in 1920.
An Italian-born-woman-turned-Sydney-dwelling-man, Eugenia Falleni was convicted of murder in 1920. Researching a novel about Falleni left this author literally, and figuratively, at sea.
Summer afternoon, Templestowe by Louis Buvelot, 1866. The bush was commonly seen by 19th-century writers as a place of despair.
White settlers and authors once saw the bush as an alien, despairing place. But writers from Tim Winton to Rachael Treasure now portray the land in complex and optimistic ways.
Shortlisted Stella authors, clockwise from top left: Cory Taylor, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Catherine de Saint Phalle, Heather Rose, Emily Maguire and Georgia Blain.
Stella Prize/The Conversation
All six books nominated for the Stella Prize - to be announced tonight - engage the brain, and the heart. These are books that matter because they show us how to live in desperate times.
Georgia Blain: Her work draws attention to the tiny incandescent moments that make up our lives.
The Australian writer Georgia Blain, who died last week, wrote extraordinary portraits of family relationships, in luminous prose, with devastating insight. And when she became ill, she wrote about her cancer.
How many non-white writers are published in Australia each year? Is their job to remain at the exotic margins of our literary culture?
A recent attempt to broaden the Stella Count by measuring the diversity of writers reviewed proved to be a hard ask. Is the bigger problem here the whiteness of our publishing industry?
Judith Wright: she opened our eyes to our dark history, to modernist poetry and to the beauty of our landscape.
courtesy of Meredith McKinney
Judith Wright was possibly our greatest poet and a passionate social activist. But a new biography suggests that in writing her family memoirs, Wright avoided evidence that her settler forebears likely participated in the murder of Aborigines.
Carl Rahl’s Orestes Pursued by the Furies (1852).
The tale of a married woman who joins her lover in Paris, The Beauties and Furies is a modernist classic. Like Joyce's Ulysses, the action is concentrated in one city, but dreams are nightmarish in this city of night, not light.
The search for a quintessentially Australian novel has turned up a formidable shortlist.
All five novels explore alienation. But each is remarkably readable; with a wonderful sense of story and its elements: character, pacing, setting and yes, even plot.
Michael Mohammed Ahmad asks us to reconsider who the insiders and outsiders are in modern Australia.
Arab-Australian identity is not some singular, homogeneous label. Rather it exists as a spectrum and contains more complexity and diversity than the mainstream media allow.