Australian authors on list marking Queen’s reign

Kate Grenville's book The Secret River  is among the 70 novels chosen to mark the Queen's reign.

Kate Grenville's book The Secret River is among the 70 novels chosen to mark the Queen's reign. Photo: Getty

Australian authors Thomas Keneally, Markus Zusak and Kate Grenville are among the literary stars to feature on a list of 70 books to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Tim Winton, Colleen McCullough and Joan Lindsay also feature among the BBC’s Big Jubilee Read campaign created to celebrate books by authors from across the Commonwealth published during the 70 years of the monarch’s reign.

A panel of librarians, booksellers and literature specialists chose the titles from a readers’ choice longlist, with 10 books for each decade.

Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark, Zusak’s The Book Thief, Grenville’s The Secret River, Winton’s Cloudstreet, McCullough’s The Thorn Birds and Lindsay’s Picnic At Hanging Rock were among the books chosen.

The list spans 31 countries and six continents.

Among the selection is Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which was later adapted into an award-winning TV series.

Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo also made the list, as well as Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney’s 1966 collection Death of a Naturalist which received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Life of Pi by Canadian author Yann Martel also features after its West End theatrical adaptation recently scooped a host of Olivier Awards.

The book was also adapted in 2012 into a blockbuster film starring Suraj Sharma, which won four Oscar awards including best director for Ang Lee.

Indian author Arundhati Roy makes the list with her 1997 novel The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997.

The 1962 cult classic A Clockwork Orange by English author Anthony Burgess is also among the titles alongside English-Indian author Salman Rushdie’s 1981 effort Midnight’s Children, with both books being later adapted into films.

Some notable titles did not make the list including the Harry Potter series by creator JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

The Big Jubilee Read campaign plans to use the list to “unite the public around the shared stories that define our social and cultural heritage” through public libraries, reading groups, publishers, bookshops and authors.


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