Friday, 6 November 2020

Australian Novellas

A few days ago, what I thought would be a very simple request to fulfil - to list a few Australian novellas to help those of you keen to combine two reading events with the one book - turned out to be anything but!

I naively believed that all I had to do was google 'Australian novellas' and there would be a lovely definitive list compiled by some intrepid Aussie list-making novella aficionado. 
But no. 
That has not turned out to be case at all. 

Wikipedia listed a mere handful of choices (included below) but I knew there had to be more.

Naturally, one of the first problems encountered was determining the exact nature of a novella. 

A word count of 17,500 to 39,999 is considered to be the norm, but I've also sited a 10,000 to 50,000 word limit range. Whichever word count you finally settle on though, makes no difference to the average reader in the end, as most books do not come with that kind of detail included.

Cathy and Rebecca have hit upon the 150 page mark with an upper limit of 200 pages. But, of course, it then depends on which edition of the book you are reading. As you can see, it was very easy to become pedantic and get caught up in the details, at the expense of making a list, that might actually be useful.

I also discovered that a novella usually (but not always) contains one central conflict, often from one point of view. Backstory is brief or non-existant, and most will have one location within a continuous time frame. A novella can usually be read in one sitting.

So here it is, after a bit of scrounging - a list!

Australian Novellas:
  • Carly Cappielli - Listurbia
  • Christy Collins - The End of Seeing
  • Nick Earls - Wisdom Tree series (Noho, Juneau, Vancouver, Venice, Gotham)
  • Delia Falconer - The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers
  • Beverley Farmer - Alone 
    • The Seal Woman 
    • The House in the Light
  • Helen Garner - The Children's Bach 
  • Lana Guineay - Dark Wave (review by Lisa @ANZ Lit Lover)
  • George Haddad - Populate and Perish
  • Marion Halligan - Spidercup
  • Elizabeth Jolley - Miss Peabody's Inheritance
  • Cate Kennedy - Love & Desire: Four Modern Australian Novellas
  • Michelle de Kretser - Springtime: A Ghost Story
  • Mary-Rose MacColl - The Water of Life
  • Colleen McCullough - The Ladies of Missalonghi
  • David Malouf - An Imaginary Life
    • Fly Away Peter
  • Drusilla Modjeska - Ripe To Tell
  • Joseph Mostafa - Offshore
  • Rose Mulready - The Bonobo's Dream
  • Hoa Pham - The Other Shore
  • Doris Pilkington - Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence
  • Julie Proudfoot - The Neighbour
  • Jane Rawson - Formaldehyde
  • Jane Jervis Read - Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall
  • Mirandi Riwoe - The Fish Girl (review by Sue @Whispering Gums)
  • Stephen Scourfield - Unaccountable Hours: Three Novellas
  • Nicole Smith - Sideshow
  • Elizabeth von Armin - Elizabeth and Her German Garden
  • Bryan Walpert - Late Sonata
  • Marlee Jane Ward - Welcome to Orphancorp
  • Patrick White - The Cockatoos (review by Bill @Australian Legend)
  • Daniel Davis Wood - Blood and Bone
  • Stephen Wright - A Second Life

The Griffith Review Novella Project is now up to its 7th edition. Some of the novellas can be read online through the links provided. You can only read a few for free per month, though, so click wisely.

If you know of any more Australian Novellas, please let me know.



  1. Looks like a great list. Which one would you recommend to start with?

    1. I am rather partial to Colleen McCullough's Ladies of Missalonghi - a comforting romance set in the Blue Mountains early 1900's & also of interest because of it's strong resemblance to LM Montgomery's story The Blue Castle.

      I've just finished a novel by Riwandi Riwoe, so I'm keen to go back and try her novella now as well.

    2. Oh, thank you. I really liked The Thorn Birds. It's not available here anymore but I could order it as a used copy. Should arrive sometimes next week. Looking forward to that. Thanks again.

      Have a nice weekend.

  2. This is brilliant Brona! What a great list.

    1. Thanks Cathy, I hope it helps both of us :-)

  3. I agree with Cathy...a great list!
    I have 3 contemporary AUSSIE novellas ready to read.
    As soon as the new President USA is official...hopefully today
    ...then I can start reading my novellas.

    1. I guess we have to wait for Pennsylvania to officially call their own state, but it seems like a done time to get reading !!

    2. Done deal...finally. 16:34. CET....CNN calls Pennsylvania for Biden.
      Poured myself a glass of wine....then cooked a delicious dinner!
      Last night was my first good sleep in a week....tension was excruciating until Biden reached the necessary 270 electoral ballots. Today was detox from news....tomorrow start reading again!

  4. Thanks for the awesome list. I have only read 3 authors among these, and no novella. Most Australian authors I have read had long books, including The Tree of Man, by White

    1. You're one up on me Emma, I have still to read a White or any length!

  5. Dammit, I've read the Ladies but seem to have passed them along!


I love hearing from you but I understand that blogger commenting can be a frustrating experience for many.

Blogger is a google product, so it is usually easy to comment on Blogger using a google browser. Make sure you're logged into your account before writing your comment. I have occasionally found lost comments by hitting the back arrow button.

If you'd like to know about any replies to your comments, tick the NOTIFY ME box.

All anonymous spam comments will be deleted and reported.

If all else fails, you can contact me on my fb page, goodreads or twitter.