Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 15, 2015

Authors from Victoria #1 (Australian Authors #1)

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while: compile a list of Victorian authors reviewed on this blog.  With the 2015 Melbourne Prize for Literature coming up this year (it’s a triennial prize), I’ve finally got round to it.

But it’s not an easy task.  How does one define ‘Victorian’?   The Melbourne Prize is presented every three years to a Victorian author ‘whose body of published or produced work has made an outstanding contribution to Australian literature, as well as to cultural and intellectual life’.  I don’t know what their criteria are so I’m not sure how the prize differentiates a ‘Victorian author’: does it mean born here, resident here, or resident here at some stage or for most of the time the body of work was created?  Would Germaine Greer be eligible after all this time away as an expat? What about Peter Carey and Lily Brett?

Previous winners of the Melbourne Prize for Literature are unequivocally Victorian.   They are:

Anyway, for what it’s worth, this is my list.  I’ve been liberal in claiming these authors as Victorian (so not all of them may be eligible for the prize) and I’ve defined a ‘body of work’ as five books or more, and I’ve included non-fiction, poetry and essay writers.  I’ve also included an Honour Roll of authors who are no longer with us.

Victorian Authors with a body of work, reviewed on this blog (last updated 5/7/15)


Of course there will be other major authors that I haven’t reviewed here, and I welcome suggestions for additional Victorian authors of significance that I should read.

My Victorian Authors To Read and/or Review list

  • Lily Brett (I’ve read Just Like That and Too Many Men, but that was before I started this blog).
  • John Marsden (I’ve read Tomorrow when the War Began, but only reviewed it at GoodReads).
  • Stephanie Alexander (A hugely influential writer, and not just in the kitchen.  I think we’ve got all her cookbooks and her writing is superb, but I’ve never reviewed any of them).
  • Arnold Zable  (I’ve read Cafe Scheherazade but pre-blog).

PS Lest you think me parochial, I will one day get round to doing a similar page for the other states, but in the meantime visit Whispering Gums because Sue has done a number of posts on the same topic.


  1. I love the idea Lisa, and we have so many great authors. Sue at Whispering Gums, often mentions the writers from Canberra. I hope you do read more of Lily Brett, her latest one 2013, Lola Bensky, is a great read and Melbourne is in the story.


    • Yes, I just recently read Sue’s post about novels set in Canberra and most of those are written by Canberrans, of course. But she’s also done Tassie and Qld, I think, and maybe others? I loved the early novels of Lily Brett, I’ve still got them on my shelves.


  2. Lisa, Liam Davison’s dates should read 1957 – 2014. Thanks for the list – a good idea.


    • Thank you, Mary, I don’t know how I made that mistake, I’ve fixed it now.
      (And I really do like it when a kindly reader brings an error to my attention. I would always much rather know and be able to fix it).


  3. Nice one Lisa – and a bit different to what I’ve been doing which has been more a small selection of significant authors from each state/region, more by way of intro. But thanks for the mention.

    As for rules, I don’t think you need many. I’d say any author who identified at some time in their career as Victorian counts (if they count somewhere else then so be it) and I’d be happy to accept “significant” body of work rather than a number. Some writers – like your Perlman e.g. – aren’t prolific but what they’ve written is significant. So, I agree, be liberal in your definitions!


    • Well, it’s always nice to be inclusive, eh? Have you tagged your posts in some way on your blog so that people can find them? I had a look but I might have missed them. (You can see that I have somewhat ambitiously titled this one #1, though the rest of the series is just a frolic in my imagination at this stage)


      • Yes, I reckon! As for tagging, no, they are just Monday Musings, and Australian literature, plus other ad hoc tags on some that seemed relevant. I wonder about tagging some of these sub-series BUT am not sure what to tag them with. I don’t want a lot of unique tags, if that makes sense.

        Will you add to this post as you read more Victorian writers?


        • What about a ‘State by State’ tag? That would put them all together. (Yes, I know that technically Canberra isn’t a state, but I don’t think that matters, it would convey the idea.)
          Yes, I plan to add to mine. I mean, there are authors who haven’t written enough yet to be considered as having a ‘body of work’ e.g. Anna Funder who’s only written two books, but unless she gives up writing she would qualify in due course. And there are other authors like Chris Womersley and Jacinta Halloran who are on their way as well.


          • You mean Victorian writers. Tasmanian writers. and so on? Then would I do Australian writers (which I already have) and Victorian writers every time I wrote about a Victorian writer? I guess this isn’t a bad idea. Would I say New South Welsh writers? Or? And then there is that issue of writers of multiple affiliations, like Robert Drewe who seems to have moved around a bit. I think I included him in my West Coast Writers because of his early books there. Oh dear – it does bog one down BUT I do need to tag this I agree.


            • Well, I have tagged this one Victorian writers, to help people find it when they Google, but no, what I really meant was to label all the posts you’ve done (Canberra, Tassie, Qld. etc) with the same tag or category ‘State by State’ so that people see that tag in your tag cloud or category list. If you look in my categories, you can see that I’ve used it under the parent category Australian Literary Fiction.


              • Thanks Lisa … I see what you mean. I will do something like that, but will sleep on it to get my head around what I’ll call it/them.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you ever worry that mentioning too many Australian writers might dilute the brand?


    • Nope! This blog exists to promote Oz Lit because it is too often diluted by other more dominant brands!


  5. […] to showcase the outcome of the competition.  Who will the nominees be?  Take a guess from my list of Authors from Victoria but remember, they’re only the ones I’ve reviewed on this blog, so feel free to […]


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