Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 19, 2018

ANZLitLovers is 10 years old today!

I never imagined when I uploaded my first post here at ANZ LitLovers on July 19th, 2008, that one day I would be celebrating my 10-year anniversary…

I celebrated my first milestone in August in 2009 when I reached 15,000 hits.  Back then I was convinced that most of those had stumbled on my little blog by mistake.  But I made it to 25,000 hits that October, and 50,000 hits in April of the following year.  Later in 2010 I celebrated 100,000 hits, and 250,000 in 2012.  In 2014 I reached half a million hits, and in June this year the blog had its millionth hit.

2011 was the year that Roger McDonald christened me the ‘Ambassador for Australian Literature’ at the Miles Franklin Awards ceremony here in Melbourne.  It’s an epithet I’ve  used ever since as the tagline in the blog’s header.

2012 was a big year in more ways than one: I won an award for Best Australian Blogs Word Category and Pandora started archiving the blog for the National Library of Australia.  I joined a Multi-Story panel on 3RRR to talk about The Watch Tower by Elizabeth Harrower with presenters Elizabeth McCarthy and Louise Irving, (and was invited back but it was just too hard to manage time constraints when I was still working fulltime.)

2012 was also the first time I was invited to chair a panel for the Stonnington Literary Festival, and I went on to chair further panels for Stonnington in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  Since then I’ve also done a couple of sessions for the Bendigo Writers Festival in 2015, and also the Williamstown Festival this year.

I’ve published 2,845 posts representing 2318 authors in these major categories:

  • 887 reviews of Australian fiction, 190 of them debut novels
  • 77 reviews of New Zealand fiction, 15 of them debut novels
  • 675 works of fiction from around the world including 287 translations
  • 261 reviews of Australian Non-fiction, but only 2 from New Zealand
  • 216 Life stories (biography including 22 literary bios; autobiography and memoir)

And while I do not read to any particular agenda, I monitor the gender of the authors I review.  The ratio hovers around 45/55 f/m but as of today 46% of books reviewed were written by women.  There are also 33 countries represented among the heritage/ethnicity of the Australian authors I’ve listed on my diversity page and also 26 books about LGBTIQA themes.

I’ve featured 78 authors in Meet an Aussie Author (45 female, 33 male) and 7 in Meet a Kiwi Author (4 female and 3 male).

I’ve done my bit to make sure great Aussie writers are not forgotten.  I hosted Christina Stead week in 2016 and Elizabeth Jolley Week in 2018, and in 2014 I paid tribute to Liam Davison who died in the Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash by sourcing and reviewing all four of his wonderful novels.

I’ve showcased books from 87 Australian publishers, (mostly small indie publishers), and 10 from New Zealand.   I’ve reported on 102 author events and festivals.  I’ve hosted and participated in Shadow Juries too.

I’ve hosted Indigenous Literature Week every year since 2012, reviewing 79 Indigenous authors myself but also harvesting reviews from participants who’ve collaborated to create the ANZ LitLovers Indigenous Reading List which is used by schools and universities here and overseas as a resource.

Four of my top posts ever are reviews of African titles, obviously being accessed by students for whom they are set texts.  Most of my top Australian titles are set texts too, and from my Stats page I know that they are referred here to my blog by school and university libraries from around Australia: Tasmanian Aborigines A History since 1803 by Lyndall Ryan, followed by Patrick White’s Voss, and then Potiki by Patricia Grace from New Zealand. Patrick White is also in my Top 30 with The Eye of the Storm and The Solid Mandala, along with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, I for Isobel by Amy Witting, Margaret Olley, far from a Still Life by Meg Stewart, Merry-go-round in the Sea by Randolph Stow, My Place by Sally Morgan, Ransom by David Malouf, The Harp in the South by Ruth Park, Bush Studies by Barbara Baynton, and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally.

And ANZ LitLovers is included in the Wikipedia entry for LitBlogs!

None of this happens in a vacuum.  Although I have a huge library of my own, I am the grateful recipient of recent releases for review from publishers around Australia, and some from overseas publishers as well.  But I am also part of a network of litbloggers in Australia and around the world and we all read each other’s blogs, take up each other’s recommendations, participate in each other’s projects and bounce ideas around.  It’s this amazing community of readers which sustains and enriches this blog, along with all the wonderful people who take the time to post a comment.

My thanks to all of you!

 


Responses

  1. Congratulations! An impressive and enviable record.

  2. You’re fab and my gateway to,ANZ literature I never would have discovered otherwise!

  3. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. Note that I choose to avoid the use of “10 year anniversary” as it is redundant. I greatly appreciate your site, that has outgrown the designation of BLOG.v

  4. Congratulations Lisa on the success of ANZ LitLovers blog. You have made significant contributions to Australian and Global Literature worldwide.

  5. Many congratulations!

  6. Congratulations Lisa., This is amazing ans awesome. You truly deserve all the awards and the most distinguished, ‘Ambassador for Australian Literature.’ Well done my friend. I am proud to know you. :-)

  7. Happy Birthday, Lisa. Your sheer capacity to read and review such a wide range of Australian and international literature never ceases to impress me. But most importantly, I can attest that you are as warmhearted and committed ambassador for literature in person as online!

  8. Wow, that is some achievement! Happy Anniversary, Lisa. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

  9. Congrats Lisa you are a shining beacon for book blogging

  10. Congratulations, Lisa! I use your blog and Sue’s at Whispering Gums as my primary source for recommendations for lit from ‘down under’. You’ve never steered me wrong, and have introduced me to several authors I would not have otherwise read.

    Thanks for your voracious reading, and superlative reviews.

  11. Congratulations Lisa – what an achievement! Well done!

  12. Congratulations, and thank you Lisa, for your wonderful blog. I am always eager to hear and read what you have to say. I know reading is a pleasure, but the hard work you have to apply to your blog would not be so easy. Your ten years of contribution to readers, authors and diversity of books is appreciated.

  13. You’re amazing! Great achievement, Lisa.

  14. What an achievement Lisa. Lots of blogs seem to be abandoned after about 5 years when bloggers run out of steam but yours just goes from strength to strength. Hope you get to do something fun to celebrate

  15. Congratulations what an amazing achievement- you are an integral part of the literary landscape. Well done.

  16. Congratulations Lisa and happy anniversary. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to shout if from the hilltops and rooftops . . . you are an incredible beacon for publishers, writers and readers. Your reviews are a perfect guide for book buyers, in my opinion. We don’t all like the same thing, we just need to read an honest appraisal and that will help with our decisions because – let’s face it – there are sooo many books and there is never enough time or money to get to them all. Speaking of time, your capacity to read and review so many publications astounds me.
    You are indeed a wonderful ambassador and if I am looking for an excuse tonight to pop a cork, this is a fine one. Cheers.

  17. Happy Birthday, Lisa, from someone who thinks very highly of you and your reviews. I often get the books you recommend. Hope you’re doing something nice to celebrate this milestone.

  18. What a nice surprise to wake up this morning and find all these lovely messages here:) Thank you everybody!

  19. Words fail me – well English ones do. I shall just echo every lovely comment that’s been posted so far and tease you with some new ones: Congratulations! toutes nos félicitations! complimenti! selamat! እንኳን ደስ አለዎት поздравления! meala-naidheachd! !מזל טוב

  20. Congratulations, Lisa! What fabulous support for Oz lit.

  21. I’m amazed – at your stats and that you keep them. 5.5 posts/week for 10 years, that’s a lot of work! Keep it up, it’s fun following you, working with you.

    • You know that you are part of my treasured network, Bill.

  22. Congratulations, Lisa, and many happy returns. How nice to see the grown-up you. (I had the same childhood haircut, btw.) I wonder if you sensed ten years ago how impoverished the literary pages of our newspapers would become. Most books don’t get a look-in nowadays, and so your commitment to reviewing Australian and NZ literature has become not just important but necessary. Without your blog I wouldn’t find out about many good books, especially those from small presses — the ones taking the risks. I am truly in awe of how much reading you do in a week. (The Poet [spouse] worries that you don’t get enough exercise.)

    To your health and continued dedication to literature…

    • *chuckle* Please tell the anxious spouse that I walk the dog every day!

      • While listening to an audiobook I assume? :)
        Very impressive: here’s to ten more!

        • No… while writing a novel in my head. (One that will never see the light of day).

  23. Well done Lisa. That is a lot of reading and witing for all of us to enjoy🐧🤠.

  24. Congratulations Lisa, and happy birthday. Kudos to you!

  25. Congratulations and long may your wonderful blog continue. I have so much respect for your commitment to Oz writing in all its genres. I recommend you to everyone for I have been so delighted to discover so many wonderful writers both current and from the past. I would have mised so many gems if I had not discovered your blog. Thanks a million and another.

  26. Congratulations Lisa. An absolutely wonderful list of achievements and great legacy which will be mined for years, not to mention all the marvellous work you do today.

  27. Happy blog birthday! And congratulations, what a wonderful achievement!

  28. So many congratulations. One of my reasons to have the Internets.

  29. Thank you all, I wish you could see my smile:)

  30. Your blog has played a huge part in my far too late in life discovery of our literature Lisa. Congratulations on 10 great years.

  31. Eyyyy! Congratulations!

  32. This is a stellar achievement, Lisa. Warmest congratulations, and thank you for all you have done. And I’m so pleased that you included a photo—lovely to put a face to the name.

    • Thanks, Amanda:) Still the same haircut, just a little ‘product’ to get the fringe out of the way!

  33. Congratulations, Lisa! Well done.

  34. Congratulations Lisa!

  35. Congratulations Lisa! That is a lot of reading and writing. Thank you for being such a supportive blogger to me and others over the years. You have widened my horizons with your recommendations.

  36. Woo hoo! Happy blog birthday, Lisa! Your blog is my favourite blog hands down and it’s been great to follow your reading and blogging journey all this time. I think I have you to blame for all the Australian books I purchase 😉

    • Kim, you’ll be coming up to 20 years in a couple of years, I think you might be the ‘oldest’ of us all?

      • Well, I’ve just turned 14, so there’s a while to go yet 😉 BTW, has your book turned up yet? I was hoping it would arrive before your actual birthday …

        • You’re a naughty girl, you shouldn’t have sent anything at all. No, it hasn’t arrived yet, not surprising really, considering that postcards sent from Norfolk Island arrived her two weeks after I sent them, i.e. after I got back home!

  37. That’s pretty amazing. Congratulations!

  38. Happy anniversary!
    I’m impressed by all your literary achievements and activities. I wonder how you managed to keep such a reading and writing pace.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read everything you publish but I wish I could read everything.

    You sure helped me discover Australian lit.

    See you soon! :-)

    • Thanks Emma and Nicole.
      How do I do it? I don’t do anything else!

  39. Congratulations on ten years – you do a wonderful job.

  40. Many congratulations, Lisa. I’m looking forward to the next ten!

  41. Congratulations, Lisa. I’ve only been following your blog for a short while, but I’ve really appreciated the depth of your reviews and for highlighting books that I might not have come across otherwise. And yes, you are responsible for my rapidly growing TBR. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  42. Congrats on your ten years Lisa (I’ve just hit nine) so I have some idea how much reading, writing and researching has gone into that time.
    I’m heading off to check the wikipedia entry now :-)

    • We’re a bunch of stalwarts, eh?

  43. Congratulations Lisa! Such wonderful achievements and a very worthy blog :-)

  44. Congratulations Lisa! Thank you for all you have done for Australian and NZ literature. You are an inspiration and an example of the difference one blogger can make. I’ve always been impressed by the way you consciously seek out marginal voices. Your attention to WA literature has been very welcome.

    • One day, Nathan, I will be reviewing your bio of KSP and LOL I am going to have to forget these kind words if I am to be properly impartial about it:)

  45. Hi Lisa, thanks so much for all your support of ANZ writers – especially small presses, debut novelists and writers from so many different backgrounds. It really makes a huge difference to have online support via your readers and blogger networks. And more thanks also for books you’ve mentioned like The Dyehouse,and The Beauties and the Furies, which prompted me to sit down and read them. (Have just got hold of Squadron after your recent review, using it for research and am grateful to be reminded of it.) A thousand thanks, Emma

    • Hello Emma, thank you for your kind words! I wish you could see the smile on my face when I read the word ‘research’ because I think that means there is another novel for me to enjoy on the way?


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