MWF’s Summer Reading List

The books we can’t wait to get into this summer.

Marieke Hardy, Artistic Director
Chloe Hooper’s The Arsonist is so excellent I maaaaaaaaay have already started it before going on my break, please don’t judge me. Purchased Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends simply because Normal People was so amazing. Max Porter’s Lanny, which I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of, looks devastating and amazing. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Anna Burns’s Milkman (I do usually like Man Booker picks), and Alice Pung’s Close to Home: Selected Writings because dammit she’s a national treasure.

Shona Barrett, Chief Executive Officer
I am really excited to get started on Tim Winton’s new novel, The Shepherd’s Hut, which I picked up from the Readings Festival Bookshop this year, and can’t wait to read Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin, as I was blown away by her reading at MWF’s closing night this year. I’m lining up Jane Harper’s The Lost Man (I loved The Dry), and alongside these new releases, I’ll also be pulling out a couple of older books from the queue, including Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

Tania Owen, Head of Marketing & Development
This summer I’ll be mixing it up with a bit of fiction and nonfiction. I’m looking forward to exploring the gripping true story of two extraordinary French women Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore who challenged gender boundaries, and ultimately risked their lives to overcome oppression at the turn of the 20th century against Hitler’s rising forces in Never Anyone But You by Rupert Thompson. I’m curious to see how Thompson tackles the subject of lesbian love.
I recently watched an eye-opening seven-minute video with antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo discussing ‘white fragility’ and then found I could really sink my teeth into the topic with her New York Times bestseller White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Understanding that I am myself most likely guilty of behaviour that stymies meaningful cross-racial dialogue, I hope to challenge what I do with greater knowledge about it in the future.

Gene Smith, Program Manager
I find summers difficult (I melt easily), so I’m looking forward to fanning open the pages and revelling in the gust of Man Booker Prize–winning artistry that is Anna Burns’s Milkman. Michael Cunningham’s The Hours has been a constant in my to-read pile since a friend gifted it to me a few months ago (a consequence of her shock and horror from learning I had not yet read it). Having had the pleasure of recently hearing him talk at Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, Uzodinma Iweala’s Speak No Evil is also in the pile, and not only because of the cover art. Sally Rooney’s latest novel, Normal People, was a gentle and intimate reading experience, and I’m eager to sink my teeth into her much-acclaimed debut Conversations with Friends to quell my hunger for her gifted storytelling. Kintu, by Windham-Campbell Prize winner Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, is also there, right beneath Jenny Xie’s poetry collection, Eye Level, and Laura Elvery’s short story collection, Trick of the Light. And in those shaky moments between novels, I’ll meander my way through Brow Books’s Going Postal, a collection of writing from the lead-up to the 2017 marriage equality postal vote.

Tamsien West, Development Executive
This summer I’m going to make a start on some of the 30 books I want to read before I turn 30. It’s a pretty eclectic list, and I am hoping the mixture of genres will keep me engaged all year long. First up will be two classics by iconic 20th-century women, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. Then a couple of relatively recent releases that explore intergenerational narratives of trauma and belonging with Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Finally, if I have time I’ll make a start on The Left Hand of Darkness, sci-fi classic by the late Ursula K Le Guin.

Irene Kalpakas, Marketing Coordinator
I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately just looking at my to-be-read pile, so I’m definitely looking forward to knocking a few off this summer! I’ve got Hanif Abdurraqib’s They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Less by Andrew Sean Greer, Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby (I loved Goodwood), The Library Book by Susan Orlean, Sally Rooney’s Normal People and the award-winning Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin (the latter two coming highly recommended from people in the MWF office) at the top of my list – wish me luck.

Nicole McKenzie, Administrator
Staying by Jessie Cole – this book’s content is very close to home so I have been waiting until I feel ready to read it, with time to take it in and a hand to hold nearby. Other books on my list include Growing up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss, Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles, Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, and The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper.
I have already started cooking and baking from Hetty McKinnon’s latest cookbook Family (orange and rosemary cake has been a hit with family and colleagues), however I plan on baking a pear tart and brewing some tea for an afternoon of reading about great food and beautiful people.