10 New, Enthralling Books by Australian Authors

Despite the tumultuous events of the past two years, 2021 is proving to be a very successful year for Australian writers and their literary accomplishments.

Article by Jordan Turner

Photography by CottonBro.

With more and more Australian authors achieving international success, there is no better time to look inside our own literary world for inspiration and influence. Never mind that it’s halfway through the year, this curated list will guide you through the rest of 2021 with the most engaging new book releases by Australian authors.

The Other Half of You, by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
Hachette Australia,  2021

A novel that illustrates the sheer power of love when family, tradition and faith are against you. The Other Half of You depicts the life of a Muslim Australian man as he makes his own choices and defies what is expected of him. If you enjoyed Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, this novel is for you.

Who Gets to be Smart, by Bri Lee
Allen & Unwin, 2021

Bri Lee is an author with a cult following known for breaking the rules and challenging our institutional structures. Her latest book is a blistering examination of privilege and class, questioning historical figures and their legacies, when asking who really gets to be smart in Australia.

We Were Not Men, by Campbell Mattinson
Harper Collins, 2021

Campbell Mattinson’s soul-nourishing novel follows twin brothers going through a rollercoaster of emotions in the wake of tragedy. There is a demanding eagerness to this book that will draw you in and hold you captive. Make sure this is at the top of your reading list this year.

Daughter of The River Country, by Dianne O’Brien
Echo, 2021

A deeply personal memoir from a Yorta Yorta woman who has risen above tragedy more than once. From a stolen childhood during the White Australia policy to domestic violence, addiction and betrayal, O’Brien finds the strength to forgive. It is gigantic and cruel. Inspiring and heart-wrenching, yet in the face of adversity her survival power sings – giving us all hope.

She Is Haunted, by Paige Clark
Allen & Unwin, 2021

A debut collection of short stories from a new voice in Australian literature. From a widow who transforms herself into her husband to escape grief, to the peculiar yet familiar dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship, themes of identity and trauma shout from these pages. All the stories echo the same deep yearning for connection in a modern world.

When Things Are Alive They Hum, by Hannah Bent
Ultimo Press, release date 28 July 2021

To give away the details of the plot would be to deny you the intoxicating bond that sisters Marlowe and Harper share in this heartbreaking novel. Trent Dalton says “When literature is alive it hums, and rattles and warms and hurts and heals.” That is precisely what Hannah Bent has created with this intensely moving book.

Muddy People: A Memoir, by Sara El Sayed
Black Inc., release date 3 August 2021

Anyone who has immigrant parents will know what it’s like to grow up in another country with rules, values, traditions and food that do not match those of your peers. El Sayed recounts growing up as an Egyptian Muslim in an eccentric household. A must-read for fans of Benjamin Law’s The Family Law.

Our Exceptional Friend, by Emma Shortis
Hardie Grant, release date 18 August 2021

This book challenges the age-old Australian idea that we have one choice: the US or China. 2021 marks our 70th year of the Australia-US alliance and US history and political expert Emma Shortis challenges our traditional instincts. She backs a compelling argument with history, ideals of morality, and current affairs in a bid to overhaul our biggest political relationship and look at it with fresh eyes.

Plum, by Brendan Cowell
Harper Collins, release date 29 September 2021

Don’t let the occupation of the protagonist fool you because this ex-NRL player is about to embark on a literary journey of self-discovery. After a life-changing medical discovery, the former football star makes sudden changes to his life with a little help from Charles Bukowski and Sylvia Plath. It’s a poetic novel about men, their inarticulate pain and what they need to do to save themselves.

QAnon and On, by Van Badham
Hardie Grant, release date 27 October 2021

Conspiracy theories have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic and Australia sits as the fourth largest country for QAnon activity. Van Badham delivers the who, what, when and why of QAnon like you’ve never read before. We meet all sorts of believers, learn about their beguiling beliefs and shocking political connections. This impeccably researched investigation comes together like a thriller. One that just so happens to be non-fiction.

The Watch That’s so Loud it Might Give You Tinnitus

The luxury Swiss watch brand unveils the first every bright yellow ceramic watch.

Article by Luke Benedictus

The Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic may be a watch that demands lots of attention, but it’s certainly not high maintenance. Photography courtesy of Hublot.

The lowdown

Hublot is an iconoclastic watch brand. Forty-one years ago, they cheerfully subverted the course of traditional watchmaking by putting a rubber strap on a gold watch to mix luxury and utilitarian elements in a thrilling way. That gamechanging dress watch would forge the path for Hublot’s future tagline: “The Art of Fusion”.

That slogan continues to inform the brand as it pushes the boundaries of material science. Hublot, for example, has worked with the Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology to produce new alloys, like their scratch-proof “Magic Gold”, while the brand continues to invest heavily in cooking up innovative watchmaking composites.

Hublot’s adventures in high-tech ceramic are particularly eventful. This ultra-tough material is made with a base of zirconium that’s sintered at very high temperatures. That heating process is so intense that it typically limits your colour options due to the fact that it incinerates the actual pigments. But Hublot have found a secret way around this to make high-tech ceramic in vivid hues from smurf blue to fire-engine red.  Their latest watch shows Hublot’s renewed efforts to conquer the rainbow, one primary colour at a time.

The hardware

Suffice to say, this isn’t a watch that you’d wear if you doubt yourself – it’s bold, bright and the colour of a perfectly ripe banana (nope, there no green tinges here). That yellow is splashed all over the ceramic case and rubber straps while the numerals, hands and indices, minutes are similarly bathed in the canary hue.

That brilliant colour is countered by the blacks and greys of the skeletonised dial through which you can spy Hublot’s in-house movement within. These dark shades highlight the watch’s internal complexity with the high-contrast scheme also helping to circumvent the issue of legibility – a common problem with skeleton dials.

The flashy looks of the Yellow Magic are backed with robust functionality in the form of a 72-hour power reserve and 100 metres of water resistance. It may be a watch that demands lots of attention, but it’s certainly not high maintenance.

The verdict

Playful and exuberant, Hublot will never be a watch brand for everyone. But in creating what they claim is the first-ever bright yellow ceramic watch, they demonstrate what they do so well. Here is a brand that’s forward-thinking, energetic and determined to stretch the horological boundaries. In a watch world that often feels a little po-faced, those qualities are particularly welcome. The Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic feels like it’s made not out of ceramic but unadultered serotonin. After all, everybody loves the sunshine. Price: $36,600.