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Presented by State Library Victoria

Classic Coming Of Age Books in Australian Literature

Cover of My Brilliant Career

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

First published in 1901, My Brilliant Career is the story of sixteen year old Sybylla Melvyn, one of the most endearing heroines of Australian literature.  A woman ahead of her times she is headstrong, passionate, rebellious and determined to have a career as a writer – even if it means losing love.

Cover of The Women in Black

The Women In Black by Madeline St John

Set in 1950’s Sydney over the Summer as teenager Lisa, awaits her Leaving Certificate results and works in F.G. Goode Department store in Ladies’ Cocktail Frocks. Here she learns about life from the other ladies sales assistants and is drawn to the exotic European immigrant, Magda. This novel has been adapted to stage and soon to be made into a film.

Cover of Cloudstreet

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Winner of the Miles Franklin Award and recognised as one of the greatest works of Australian literature, Cloudstreet is Tim Winton’s sprawling, comic epic about luck and love, fortitude and forgiveness, and the magic of the everyday.

Cover of Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Set in the Summer of 1965, bookish 13 year old Charlie Bucktin world is shaken when Jasper Jones, a mixed-race outcast, pleads for his help. In vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.

The Getting of Wisdom

The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson

Set in a prestigious Melbourne boarding school in the early 1900’s, :Laura Rambotham is a wild, imaginative character who finds it hard to fit in and who readers will find hard to forget.

Cover of My Brother Jack

My Brother Jack by George Johnston

David and Jack Meredith grow up in a patriotic suburban Melbourne household during the First World War, and go on to lead lives that could not be more different. This book is the story of a family affected by war, a story of Australia between the wars and the story of growing up in the shadows of a larger than life sibling.

Cover of the strays

The Strays by Emily Bitto

On her first day of school, Lily Struthers meets Eva, one of the daughters of the infamous avant-garde artist Evan Trentham. Set in the 1930’s bohemian art scene, it is the story of Lily and Eva’s deep friendship and of discovering the costs and sacrifices of artistic ambition.

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