Sunday, February 24, 2008

There's Something In The Water

I've wanted to visit Australia since, like, forever. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to go down under to meet the kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. They have the spectacular natural phenomena of the Great Barrier Reef (the picture above is of an adorably heart-shaped barrier island), Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), and the wild and deadly Outback. Populated by surfers, crocodile hunters, Crocodile Dundee, and the descendants of the exiled criminals of Georgian England, it just has to be a supercool place. (Okay, maybe Crocodile Dundee doesn't support my argument.) Everything about the continent/country seems exotic.

These days, however, I have another reason for my fascination with Oz: the young adult literary connection. There is a wealth of talent springing from that quadrant of the Southern Hemisphere of late. Here's a limited and selective list of Aussie Authors.

1. Markus Zusak -- I detailed his talents (and his cuteness) in my Geeky Cute AuthorBoyz post last month, but he definitely deserves slot #1 on this list. The Book Thief author is a two-time Printz Award Honor winner, a Sydney native and an avid surfer.

2. Garth Nix -- This Melbourne-born bestselling author has penned more than twenty novels, most notably the Old Kingdom, Keys to the Kingdom, and Seventh Tower fantasy series for teens. He has millions of books in print.

3. Justine Larbalastier -- Justine is the award-winning author of the Magic or Madness trilogy and the awesome-sounding-upcoming How To Ditch Your Fairy (Bloomsbury, September 2008), keeper of an enthralling blog, and (quite notably, but not most importantly) the wife of superstar author Scott Westerfeld (also see Geeky Cute AuthorBoyz post). She hails from Sydney, and now spends much time in NYC with the previously mentioned superstar author husband.

4. Jaclyn Moriarty -- I've save the best (in my completely biased opinion) for last. I am in awe of her amazing talent. You can read a few entries in her too-infrequently-updated blog (I recommend the Letters to Charlie) to get a delicious taste of her style. Then you can go buy the Year of Secret Assignments and the Murder of Bindy Mackenzie to get the full flavor. She is a genius. I can but hope to aspire to her talent. (Though I do wish she would get a proper website or MySpace so I could obsessively emulate her in every way.)

There are, of course, dozens (or perhaps dozens of dozens) other fantastic authors born of or residing in Australia. My agency sister, Amanda Ashby, comes to mind (she lives in New Zealand now, but was born in Oz), as well as Printz award nominee Judith Clarke. And England-born author Sara Hantz almost qualifies (she lives in New Zealand which I'm sure is a completely separate country, but from the other side of the globe it seems pretty darn close). These are all my exhausted mind can come up with this week. Who have I missed? Or is there another country with oodles of literary talent streaming into bookstores?

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, May 2008


stephhale said...

I love that picture of the heart-shaped barrier reef! Oh, and I love Crocodile Dundee too. I've had The Murder of Bindy McKenzie in my TBR pile forever. I've got to get to it, especially after reading her letters to Charlie. :)

TinaFerraro said...

I spent about a month in Australia in 2002, and it's a trip I'll never forget. Definitely on my list to go back! And I am pleased to call Aussie authors Anna Campbell and Vanessa Barneveld friends, too!

Anonymous said...

You missed Melina Marchetta (which if you haven't read any of her books are amazing!) and Trudi Canavan. I agree they have amazing authors!!

Amanda Ashby said...

Oh, I haven't been here for ages and it looks like I came by just in time to see Aussie authors getting some love!!! Another couple are Allison Rushby who does great chick lit and ya books an$d Nick Earls who is like an Australian Nick Hornby!

Can't wait to see all the Buzz girls at San Fran!!!!

Marley Gibson said...

I dreamed this weekend that I went to Sydney and had my picture taken outside the opera house! = )

Sara Hantz said...

I'll second Amanda's comment.... can't wait to meet you girls in San Fran.

Yes NZ is a separate country but so many people think NZ and Oz are the same place...... there is a rivalry between the two countries (especially in sport) so it's best to know they are two different countries when you come over to visit!!

Me said...

Steph -- Read BINDY now!!!

Tina -- I am soooooo jealous.

Anon, Amanda, and Sara -- Thanks for the addenda to my list.

Marley -- Maybe it was a premonition?

For the record, the quip about NZ being the same as Oz was, well, a joke. I would never intentionally insult the Kiwis. (Go All Blacks!)

Authorness said...

G'day, Tera Lynn! I hope we see ya here in Australia some day. Isobelle Carmody, Catherine Jinks and Alyssa Brugman are all wonderful Aussie YA writers too.

Tina, you're so sweet. I'm pleased to call you a mate, and I know Anna is too. (Okay, I don't usually say g'day or mate, but it seems appropriate here).

:) Vanessa