What 2017 holds for book lovers

Dan Brown is back. Tolkien is back. Tony Abbott is back. Harry Potter is back (well, recycled in four new editions). 

And 119 years after H G Wells, the Martians are back.

Next year is a big one for fiction debuts, including the story of Lizzie Borden the axe murderer – part of a trend towards using historical characters and retelling ancient myths.

Karl Ove Knausgaard has finished his My Struggle cycle of novels (one remains to be published in English), but he’s still writing about his life: Autumn (August) and Winter (November), two of four books named after the seasons, are out with Penguin Random House. 

The Mirror and the Light (Fourth Estate, August) is the final novel in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy.

Neil Gaiman tackles the Viking world in Norse Mythology (Bloomsbury, February); and in House of Names (Picador, March), Colm Toibin looks at the Atreus series of Greek stories from the female point of view.

Kamila Shamsie reworks the Antigone legend in a Muslim family in Home Fire (Bloomsbury, September). And Edward St Aubyn has a contemporary version of King Lear (PRH, October).

Paul Auster’s first novel in seven years is 4 3 2 1 (Faber & Faber, February).

Arundhati Roy’s first novel since she won the Booker Prize 20 years ago is The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (PRH, July). Hannah Tinti’s The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley (Hachette, April) is described by Ann Patchett as part-Tarantino, part-Scheherezade. Haruki Murakami has a book of short stories, Men Without Women (PRH, May).

JRR Tolkien’s Beren and Luthien (HarperCollins, May) is the first published stand-alone version of his saga of a man and an elf.

F Scott Fitzgerald’s last collection of unpublished stories is titled I’d Die For You (Simon & Schuster, May).

And what’s a year without new J K Rowling releases? To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in June, Bloomsbury is publishing four “house editions” named after the Hogwarts school houses, with new fact files, character profiles and illustrations.

And Stephen Baxter has written an authorised sequel to HG Well’s The War of the Worlds, The Massacre of Mankind (Hachette, February).


Standouts for 2017 include Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done (Hachette, April) about the Lizzie Borden murder case, and Tracy Sorenson’s The Lucky Galah (Picador, September) described as “Madame Bovary with red dust and tropical cyclone Steve”.

Michael Fitzgerald’s The Pacific Room (Transit Lounge, July) is about Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa; Dennis Glover’s The Last Man in Europe (Black Inc., July) is about how Orwell came to write Nineteen Eighty-Four. Black Dog institute founder Gordon Parker has written a rollicking tale of mental illness, In Two Minds (Ventura, April). 


Candice Fox has two books on the way: Crimson Lake (PRH, February) and a second novel written with James Patterson, Last Chance (August). Award-winning Emma Viskic’s new novel is And Fire Came Down (Bonnier, September). Look out for new novels from Michael Robotham (Hachette, August) and The Dry author Jane Harper (Picador, later in the year).

Dan Brown has a new Robert Langdon novel, Origin (PRH, September). David Lagercrantz has written Millennium V, fifth in the series that began with Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Hachette, September). Jo Nesbo has a new Harry Hole novel, The Thirst (PRH, May). 


And the late Michael Crichton, creator of Jurassic Park, has a recently discovered novel about fossil hunting, Dragon Teeth (HarperCollins, June).


Look out for Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei’s book about himself and his father (PRH, September); Armistead Maupin’s autobiography (PRH, October); and Richard Ford’s memoir about his parents, Between Them (Bloomsbury, May).


The outstanding history title for 2017 could be The Vandemonian Wars by Nick Brodie (Hardie Grant, July) about the attempted genocide of the Indigenous people of Tasmania. Simon Schama’s latest is The Story of the Jews (PRH, December).


Is there any politician who hasn’t written a memoir yet? Tony Abbott is onto his second, Reflections (MUP, August), considering the case for conservatism.

Timely books include Please Explain: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Pauline Hanson by Anna Broinowski (PRH, June); David Marr’s Quarterly Essay on the Australian brand of the politics of resentment (Black Inc, March); and Rodney Syme’s Time to Die (MUP, February).

With The Case Against Fragrance (Text, February), Kate Grenville promises to make you smell the world differently.



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