April 26th is Hug an Australian Day! If you can’t get your arms around an Aussie on this day, may we suggest some books by some fantastic Aussie authors? Schindler’s List was written by Thomas Keneally and tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a German who risked his life to save the lives of Jewish people in Nazi-occupied Poland. This book won the Man Booker Prize in 1982, and was made into a film in 1993. The film, starring Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes won 7 Oscars.
Colleen McCullough wrote The Thorn Birds in 1977. This book tells the story of the interwoven lives of the Cleary family of Australia, which covers fifty years and three generations. This best-selling novel was also made into a mini-series for American television in 1983. McCullough published Bittersweet in 2014 which told the story of four unforgettable sisters in 1920’s Australia.
In The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Liesl is a 9 year old girl living with a foster family after her parents were taken away to a concentration camp in 1939 Nazi Germany. Her book stealing and story telling talents help sustain the family and the Jewish man they are hiding as the bombs fall. Death narrates Liesl’s story. This book is available as an audiobook as well. This book was made into a film in 2013 and stars Sophie Nelisse and Geoffrey Rush.
Garth Nix is known in young adult literature circles as a fantastic author of fantasy novels, due in large part to his Abhorsen series. Sabriel is the first in this series. In this book, Sabriel, daughter of the necromancer Abhorsen, must journeyinto the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead. She soon finds companions who travel deep into the Old Kingdom with her, even as threats mount on all sides. Every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death — and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own hidden destiny.
The last Aussie author I’d like to mention is Shaun Tan. His graphic novel The Arrival tells a story of immigration without any words at all. The illustrations tell the full emotional story of a man who leaves his troubled homeland and sets off for a new and unfamiliar country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.
It would be impossible to mention every Australian author out there, but hopefully these can get you started on a fine journey of discovery Down Under. Please tell me in the comments if you have a favorite Aussie Author that you would recommend!