23 February 1968 |
Box Hill, Victoria, Australia
|Pen name||Cameron S. Redfern|
|Genres||Novels, especially young adult fiction; children's picture books|
|Notable award(s)||Guardian Prize
Astrid Lindgren Award
Sonya Hartnett (born 23 February 1968 in Box Hill, Victoria) is an Australian author of fiction for adults, young adults, and children. She has been called "the finest Australian writer of her generation". For her career contribution to "children's and young adult literature in the broadest sense" Hartnett won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council in 2008, the biggest prize in children's literature.
She was thirteen years old when she wrote her first novel and fifteen when it was published for the adult market in Australia, Trouble All the Way (Adelaide: Rigby Publishers, 1984). For years she has written about one novel annually. Although she is often classified as a writer of young adult fiction, Hartnett does not consider this label entirely accurate: "I've been perceived as a young adult writer whereas my books have never really been young adult novels in the sort of classic sense of the idea." She believes the distinction is not so important in Britain as in native land.
According to the National Library of Australia, "The novel for which Hartnett has achieved the most critical (and controversial) acclaim was Sleeping Dogs" (1995). "A book involving incest between brother and sister and often critiqued as 'without hope', Sleeping Dogs generated enormous discussion both within Australia and overseas."
Many of Hartnett's books have been published in the U.K. and in North America. For Thursday's Child (2000, UK 2002), she won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children's writers.
Landscape with Animals controversy
In 2006, Hartnett was involved with some controversy regarding the publication of Landscape with Animals, published under the pseudonym Cameron S. Redfern. The book contains many sex scenes and Hartnett was almost immediately "outed" as the author. She said that she wanted to avoid the book being accidentally shelved with her work for children in libraries and denied that she used a pseudonym to evade responsibility for the work or as a publicity stunt à la Nikki Gemmell's The Bride Stripped Bare. In a review published in The Age, Peter Craven savaged the book describing it as an "overblown little sex shocker", a "tawdry little crotch tickler" and lamented that Hartnett was "too good a writer to put her name to this indigestible hairball of spunk and spite". It was defended vigorously in the The Australian by Marion Halligan ("I haven't read many books by Hartnett, but I think this is a much more amazing piece of writing than any of them") who chastised Craven for missing the joke ("How could an experienced critic get that so wrong?") and wonders why female authors writing frankly about sex is so frowned upon.
Works and awards
- The Boy and the Toy (2010)
- Come Down, Cat! (2011)
- Sadie and Ratz (2008)
- The Children of the King (2011)
Teen and young adult fiction
- Wilful Blue (1994)
- Sleeping Dogs (1995)
- The Devil Latch (1996)
- Princes (1997)
- All My Dangerous Friends (1998)
- Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf (1999) (first published in the UK in 2004)
- Thursday's Child (2000)
- Won - Guardian Children's Fiction Prize
- Won - Aurealis Award, Best Young Adult Novel (Australian speculative fiction)
- Shortlisted - Australian Publishers Association Award (2000)
- Shortlisted - CBCA Children's Book of the Year Award: Older Readers (2001)
- Shortlisted - New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards (2001)
- Shortlisted - Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (2002)
- Forest (2001)
- The Silver Donkey (2004)
- Won - Courier Mail award for young readers (2005)
- Won - CBCA Children's Book of the Year Award: Younger Readers (2005)
- Surrender (2005):
- The Ghost's Child (2007)
- Butterfly (2009)
- The Midnight Zoo (2010)
- Trouble All the Way (1984)
- Sparkle and Nightflower (1986)
- The Glass House (1990)
- Black Foxes (1996)
- Of a Boy (adult, 2002) (first published in the UK as What the Birds See in 2003)
- Landscape with Animals (2006), as by Cameron S. Redfern
- (National Library of Australia identity file). Virtual International Authority File (VIAF). Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- Peter Craven (20 May 2006). "Landscape with Animals" (review). The Age.
- "2008: Sonya Hartnett: A Concealed Yet Palpable Anger". The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Ray Cassin (14 March 2008). "Hartnett wins top prize for children's literature". The Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au). Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- "Hartnett, Sonya (a.k.a. Hartnett, S. L.)". Austlit Agent Details. Retrieved 2007-08-28. (subscription required for full access)
- It has been classified as Juvenile Fiction by some libraries. Trouble All the Way in libraries (WorldCat catalog). Retrieved 2013-06-03.
- "Sonya Hartnett: London, 2002" (interview, part 1 of 5). ACHUKA (achuka.co.uk). 2002.
- The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2002 (top page). guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". guardian.co.uk. 12 March 2001. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- Sonya Hartnett (28 May 2006). "Faking It". The Age.
- Marion Halligan (24 June 2006). "Sex and the singular woman". The Australian.[dead link]
- Official website
- Sonya Hartnett at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Sonya Hartnett at British Council: Literature
- Sonya Hartnett at publisher Penguin Books
- 2002 interview
- 2007 interview