Explore the 2024 Program

Books You May Have Missed in 2023

Even as we sink into the new year and turn our attention to upcoming new releases, there remain some titles from 2023 that we didn’t quite get to or that slipped by us.

Looking back over the past year, we’ve compiled a list of titles across fiction and non-fiction which came out in 2023 that you may have missed amongst a plethora of exciting new releases. If these did escape your radar, be sure to take the chance now to add them to your TBR stack.

We hope that these books spark your interest and that pick up one or two from our friends at Gleebooks, or from your local independent bookstore, or your favourite library.


Once a Stranger by Zoya Patel

Six years ago, Ayat became estranged from her mother and sister when she rejected a marriage arranged by her sister. Now, living in Melbourne, Ayat is a completely different woman to the one her mother and sister once knew. Is it possible to reconnect the family bonds that were broken years before?

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God Forgets About the Poor by Peter Polites

Author of Down the Hume and The Pillars tells this new story of working-class Greek migrants to Australia through the character of Polites’ mother. Longlisted for the Indie Book Award for Fiction 2024, God Forgets About the Poor is a “triumphant reclamation” and a “contemporary epic of homecoming” (The Saturday Paper).

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The Flirtation of Girls / Ghazal El-Banat by Sara M Saleh

Sara M Saleh wears a lot of hats as a poet, human rights activist, community organiser, and refugee campaigner. Her first full-length poetry collection takes an equally multi-faceted look at the lives of girls and women as Arab Australian Muslims navigating war, violence, and migration, as well as love and family.

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Backwaters by Emma Ling Sidnam

Emma Ling Sidnam is an award-winning slam poet and fourth generation Asian New Zealander. In her newest work, awarded the prestigious Michael Gifkins Prize in Aotearoa New Zealand, Emma dives into the diaries of her great-great-grandfather Ken as he journeyed from Guangzhou and established a new life in a foreign land. In the process, Emma has to face her own identity and reckon with her past.

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Lioness by Emily Perkins

For those who love stories about the inner workings of the rich and famous, Emily Perkins’ next novel traces the slow implosion of a woman married into wealth and privilege. Seduced by her neighbour’s recent life-style decluttering, Therese must reckon with feelings of powerlessness in her own life.

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One Illumined Thread by Sally Colin-James

Recommended for fans of Geraldine Brooks and Pip Williams, this debut historical novel traces a thread of connection between women living centuries apart. Weaving together lives of love and loss, this sweeping herstory is creative, evocative, and beautiful.

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A Brilliant Life: My Mother's Inspiring Story of Surviving the Holocaust by Rachelle Unreich

When journalist Rachelle Unreich’s mother became ill with cancer, Rachelle started interviewing her as a distraction, not realising the truths that would be revealed in the process. Not only did Mira discuss how she survived the Holocaust concentration camps, she also showed Rachelle the power of kindness and the inherent goodness of people.

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She and Her Pretty Friend by Danielle Scrimshaw

It has been common practice for decades to diminish or misrepresent women’s relationships as close friendships despite evidence of something more. In this debut from historian Danielle Scrimshaw, Danielle works to dispel the myth of Australia’s female besties throughout history. A great choice for those who loved Iris by Fiona Kelly McGregor, Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo or Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters.

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The Shape of Dust by Lamisse Hamouda & Hazem Hamouda

In 2018, while on his way to a family trip in Cairo, Hazem Hamouda went missing, only later to be found by his daughter, imprisoned in the notorious Egyptian prison system. Told by both father and daughter, The Shape of Dust is an incredible true story of trying to free Hazem while reckoning with prejudice, racism, and corruption along the way.

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Jali by Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist is a natural–born storyteller who effortlessly weaves memories of violence and fear with lightness and humour in this memoir of his family’s fourteen–year journey fleeing genocide in Rwanda. Expanding on the performance that originally wowed audiences on the Griffin Theatre stage in 2020, Jali is a story of reflection, resilience, and hope.

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I'll Let Myself In by Hannah Diviney

When Hannah Diviney was growing up, she knew she was different from her school friends and their plethora of after-school activities, so she turned to the escapism of books only to find people like her were nowhere to be seen in books, either. This debut memoir, Hannah reminds us not to wait to be invited to the table but to break the door down and demand to be heard.

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Did we miss anything? What under-rated gem would you recommend to us?

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