13 Best Australian Authors Of All Time

Are you looking for the best Australian authors of all time? Australia has a rich history with lots of literature, so take a look at a few of the greatest Australian writers below.

Australia is a fascinating country with European roots along with Aboriginal culture. Both cultures shine through and are reflected in the work of some of the best Australian authors. With fantastic cities such as Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth, people from Australia have rich experiences that they use to produce works of fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, and short stories.

Australian literature is just as varied as its cultural background, and Australian books have a lot to share with readers worldwide.

Popular Australian Authors

Best Australian Authors

If you want to dive into a few Australian novels, who are some of the greatest Australian writers?

1. Tim Winton

Best Australian Authors: Tim Winton
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Tim Winton is arguably the most popular Australian writer of all time. He is from the town of Karrinyup in rural Western Australia. When he was young, he was fascinated by the unique landscape of Australia, and he decided to support himself by writing books about the Australian landscape.

He published his first book, An Open Swimmer, while he was still in school, but his career took off after posting Breath. This book focuses on the lives of two Australian teenagers growing up on the coast during the 1970s. The book explores surfing and the lessons this sport teaches them.

Breath: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Winton, Tim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 228 Pages - 05/27/2008 (Publication Date) - Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Publisher)

2. Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta is an Australian author who focuses on the experience of Italian-Australians who grew up in Australia. Her most beloved story is called Looking for Alibrandi.

This story follows a girl of mixed Italian and Australian descent. She goes to an all-girls school and struggles to fit in because of her unique cultural identity.

Marchetta would later publish many other books, earning a powerful reputation for crime novels and thrillers. Marchetta is still one of the most revered writers in the history of Australia, and she has served as an inspiration to female writers who have come after her.

Looking for Alibrandi
  • Marchetta, Melina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 05/09/2006 (Publication Date) - Knopf Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

3. Kate Grenville

Best Australian Authors: Kate Grenville
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Australian women have contributed significantly to this country’s rich history, and one of the most superb female Australian writers is Kate Grenville. She has won several major literary awards during her career, and she was on the shortlist to win the Man Booker Prize at one time. She wrote 15 excellent novels, but one of her most famous works is The Secret River.

This was a groundbreaking work that told the story of the suffering indigenous Australians experienced at the hands of white European settlers. While the book was criticized by many in her own country, it received a positive response from many Aborigines living in Australia. As a result, it is still one of the most popular books in the history of Australia.

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The Secret River
  • Canongate Books
  • Grenville, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 334 Pages - 04/10/2007 (Publication Date) - Canongate U.S. (Publisher)

4. Richard Flanagan

Best Australian Authors: Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan is widely described as one of the greatest Australian novelists in history. While he has always been interested in literature, he did not achieve a breakthrough until later in his career. He is famous for his works of historical fiction, and one of his most popular works is titled The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

This is a story that focuses on prisoners who were captured by the Japanese during World War II. They are sent to labor camps north of Australia and forced to work on the Thai- Burma Railway. This book won the Man Booker Prize in 2014.

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North
  • Vintage Books
  • Flanagan, Richard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 04/14/2015 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

5. Helen Garner

Best Australian Authors: Helen Garner
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Helen Garner’s career began when Australian authors were still relatively new on the global literary scene, and Australian female writers were virtually unheard of. Her writing focused on important feminist topics, and it has a significant realist tone to it. Many of her works focus on obsession, covering issues such as love and sexuality.

One of her most famous works is called Monkey Grip. It focuses on an Australian teenage girl who has an obsession with a boy growing up in her town, but the boy is a heroin addict. The book follows their lives as their paths cross throughout the story.

Monkey Grip
  • Garner, Helen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 245 Pages - 02/07/1984 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

6. Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly is arguably the most famous thriller writer in Australian history. In Australia, his works are celebrated just as much as those of Stephen King and Lee Child. His books are known for having a tremendous amount of action, a wide variety of twists and turns along the way, and a relatively fast pace.

One of his most famous books is Ice Station, set in Antarctica. Even in the warm climate of Australia, it is likely that readers will feel the chill of this book as the story unfolds. This is an excellent introduction to his writing, and it served as a launch point for numerous books that he has published since this one was released.

7. Jane Harper

Jane Harper spent the majority of her childhood growing up in Victoria. She was always interested in writing, and she decided to dive into crime and thriller novels at a young age.

Even though she went to school to study journalism, she decided to become a novelist after submitting a short story to a fiction publication in 2014. Once the publication chose to publish her work, she decided to become a writer full-time.

One of her most popular books is The Lost Man, about a man trying to find his way. It received a wide variety of awards, including the Best Paperback award at the Thriller Writers Awards.

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The Lost Man
  • The Lost Man Hardcover
  • Hardcover Book
  • Harper, Jane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 02/05/2019 (Publication Date) - Flatiron Books (Publisher)

8. Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty is arguably the most popular Australian writer with international acclaim. She became interested in writing at a relatively young age, and she achieved her big breakthrough with Big Little Lies. While the book is fantastic, this series is known for its HBO adaptation, which put her on the map overseas.

The series spurred additional interest in Big Little Lies, which landed at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. It is a gripping story containing many twists and turns, keeping people guessing until the end. Because of the popularity of this series, Moriarty has already sold the rights to some of her other novels, allowing them to be made into TV shows and movies as well.

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Big Little Lies
  • Berkley Books
  • Moriarty, Liane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 08/11/2015 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

9. Melissa Lucaschenko

Melissa Lucashenko is a famous Australian writer of Aboriginal descent. Most of her works are published for a teenage or young adult audience, but she also writes works of fiction and non-fiction meant for adults. One of her most popular books is Steam Pigs, which won the Dobbie Literary Award for Australian Women’s Fiction.

This is a story that follows Sue Wilson, who is a young woman of Aboriginal descent. She decides to run away from her large family, having significant financial difficulties, and heads for the big city. She is enticed by everything the big city offers, but she has difficulty finding her way because of her background.

Steam Pigs
  • Lucashenko, Melissa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/01/2005 (Publication Date) - Univ of Queensland Pr (Publisher)

10. Craig Silvey

Best Australian Authors: Craig Silvey
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Craig Silvey is one of the most popular Australian writers of the younger generation. He has received numerous awards for his writing, and he published his first book when he was just 19 years old.

One of his most famous works is called Jasper Jones. This is a classic coming-of-age story that covers the ups and downs of a teenage boy. It became such a powerful book that it was adapted into a movie shortly after publication.

In addition to his work as a novelist, Silvey also spends his time working on screenplays.

Jasper Jones
  • Silvey, Craig (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 08/17/2022 (Publication Date) - Allen & Unwin (Publisher)

11. Sally Morgan

Sally Morgan is a famous writer from Australia from an Aboriginal background. She was born in Perth, and she is a descendant of the Bailgu Aboriginal population. Many of her works focus on her native background, with one of her most popular books being My Place.

This is a story that details the history behind her experiences. She focuses on the ups and downs that her population has faced since the arrival of European settlers.

This novel won the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Humanitarian Award. In addition to her work as a novelist, she is also known for her beautiful paintings of Aboriginal landscapes. Many of her works are displayed in museums across the country, showcasing her unique talents with the pen and the brush.

My place
  • MORGAN, Sally (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 358 Pages - 08/17/1987 (Publication Date) - Fremantle Arts Centre Press (Publisher)

12. Mem Fox

Best Australian Authors: Mem Fox
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Mem Fox is one of the most popular children’s authors in the history of Australia. Most people who grew up in Australia have read the story Possum Magic.

The story focuses on two possums traveling through Australia. They come into contact with a wide variety of wacky animals that cannot be found in other parts of the world. This is one of the most common ways children in Australia learn about the animals that live around them.

Even though many of her books were published decades ago, they are still found in just about every elementary school classroom. As a result, she is one of the most iconic authors in Australian history, and she has left her mark on Australian literature.

Possum Magic
  • Fox, Gem (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/01/2002 (Publication Date) - Omnibus books (Publisher)

13. Patrick White

Best Australian Authors: Patrick White
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Patrick White was a prolific Australian writer. He published 12 novels and several short stories. He also served in World War II.

His work contains a lot of humor. His prose floats beautifully from page to page, and he writes books with many shifting points of view and narratives. He won several awards during his career and wrote eight plays.

One of his most famous books is called Voss. It focuses on the life of a Prussian explorer in the middle of the 19th century, Ludwig Leichhardt. He was exploring the Australian Outback and disappeared, never to be heard from again.

Voss (Penguin Classics)
  • White, Patrick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 01/27/2009 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

The Final Word On The Best Australian Authors

These are just a few of the greatest Australian authors in the history of this country. Australia has a tremendous amount of history, and it has a unique blend of cultures between European settlers and indigenous cultures.

Many writers from Australia have won awards, including The Stella Prize, and there are lots of books to add to your reading list. Whether you are looking for a thriller, a children’s book, or even a work of Australian historical fiction, there is something for everyone.

FAQs About The Best Australian Authors

Are Australia And New Zealand Similar In Terms Of The Literature They Write?

There are many similarities between Australia and New Zealand, but they are two separate countries with different histories. Therefore, if you read enough books written by Australian and New Zealand writers, you will probably find some differences.

What Are Some Things I Might Notice If I Read Books By Australian Writers?

Aussie writers have a compelling cultural identity. Therefore, you will probably find many books that focus on some of the issues facing Australian society, particularly in the 21st century. The continent’s struggles during World War II and the unique dynamic between people of European descent and people of Aboriginal descent are common themes.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this guide on the best Australian authors, you might be interested in our round-up of the best British authors.

You may also like our explainer on the best American authors

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