Top 5 Contemporary Young Adult Authors from Australia
Australia has some of the best things to offer to the world: from music to film, to bookkeeping Brisbane services, and a culture that is profoundly and deeply explored in Australian Young Adult and Adult fiction. Australian Young Adult Contemporary literature is densely packed with authors whose books have been internationally recognized. Today, we have included only five of them, but, many other Aussie authors write contemporary YA fiction that’s dark, yet funny, but profound and different from any other YA fiction. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five YA authors whose books should be on everyone’s to-read list.
Melina Marchetta is commonly referred to as the Queen of Australian Young Adult Contemporary Fiction. Melina Marchetta’s first breakthrough happened back in 1992 with the release of the novel Looking for Alibrandi. Later on, she wrote the screenplay for the film based on the book. She received awards for both the novel and the screenplay.
However, Melina Marchetta gained worldwide recognition with her second and third novels, Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road, published in 2003 and 2006 respectively. Both novels have been translated into multiple languages and sold in over six different countries. The Jellicoe Road, the US edition, won the 2009 Printz Award for literary excellence in young adult literature.
Melina Marchetta published the fantasy epic, Finnikin of the Rock, in 2008, and received numerous awards for young adult literature, including the 2008 Aurealis Award for the best young adult novel. The novel has received starred reviews in American journals, from Publisher’s Weekly to the Booklist and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.
Melina Marchetta’s newest novel was released in 2010. Titled the Piper’s Son, the novel is a companion to Saving Francesca. The story is told from the point of view of a different character in the book.
Kristy Eagar’s debut novel, Raw Blue, won the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adult fiction. Raw Blue marks the beginning of Kristy Eagar’s career and shares the story of a girl who is taking back her life (and her sexuality) after a sexual assault. The novel, like the title, is extremely raw and deep, and while the topic is not unique to YA these, Kristy Eagar’s approach to it is remarkably realistic.
But, Kristy Eagar’s books are quite varied. The novels that followed raw blue, Saltwater Vampires and Night Beach, are as different from Raw Blue as possible. Saltwater Vampires belongs in the paranormal genre, while Night Beach is a blend of contemporary horror, supernatural gothic elements, and surf.
Meanwhile, Kristy Eagar’s newest novel, Summer Skin, presents the readers with a protagonist that is neither polite, likable, nor prim. In Summer Skin, we meet a character who defies all previously established stereotypes about YA heroines, which makes Kristy Eagar’s newest novel, and all the others, a must read for any YA fan.
Sean Williams is a prolific Australian author who writes for a lot of franchises, including Star Wars. He has over eighty short stories published and thirty-nine novels.
He is the co-author of three books in the Star Wars: New Jedi Order series, and he wrote Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – which is a retelling of a computer game in novel format. Best of all, The Force Unleashed is the first novel that retells the story of a computer game and debuts at #1 on the NYT bestseller list.
His other works include the Twinmaker trilogy and the Troubletwister series. His novels belong in the science fiction genre, but explore modern day social issues and technological advancements through the eyes of the protagonists.
Sean Williams has received multiple awards for his works and is a multiple recipient of the Ditmar and Aurealis Awards.
Cath Crowley’s best-received novel up to date is Graffiti Moon. Published back in 2010, it won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction in 2011. Graffiti Moon follows four teens on the cusp of adulthood and shares their adventures during intense and exciting 24 hours of their lives. Graffiti Moon was named an Honor book of the Children’s Book Council, Book of the Year.
Cath Crowley is also the author of the Gracie Faltrain trilogy and Chasing Charlie Duskin. Her newest novel, Words in Deep Blue, tells the story of a second-hand bookstore, a letter library, and of two people who come together when everything else seems tragic. The letter library is a place where people can leave messages for each other in books, or just write in the margins of the pages of the books, and share their stories: happy, sad, tragic. The protagonists, both of whom are point of view characters, struggle with love, loss, and the inevitable fact that life moves on and things change.
Vikki Wakefield, like Melina Marchetta, has received numerous awards for her work. In her first novel, All I Ever Wanted, we meet Mim, a teen who has created rules for herself to make sure that she doesn’t end up like her brothers – in prison, or like her mother. But, when she accepts to make a delivery for her mother, Mim’s life and rules are shattered to make way for the change.
All I Ever Wanted won the 2012 Adelaide Festival Literary Award for YA fiction.
Vikki Wakefield’s second novel, Friday Brown, explores the life and adventures of Friday Brown, a girl on the run. Friday Brown also won the Adelaide award in 2014. Also, it was an Honor Book at the Children’s Book Council of Australia in 2013, and it was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Awards.
Her third novel, the Inbetween Days, was also an Honor Book at the CBCA in 2016 and it was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Awards as well. Vikki Wakefield writes YA contemporary fiction that explores the lives of troubled teens with extraordinary lives and families, and her books, while targeted at young adults, can be enjoyed by adults as well.