When Holly Ringland was nine she travelled around the US for two years with her family in a camper van. Since then she was worked in a remote Indigenous community in central Australia, studied creative writing, and written her first novel, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (HarperCollins).
THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF SNUGGLEPOT AND CUDDLEPIE
One of my earliest book memories is when I was three years old and besotted with May Gibbs' stories. It was powerful to recognise the flora and fauna around me in the magical world of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. I emerged from my bedroom clutching my copy and announced, "Mama, when I grow up, I'm going to be an author. Like May Gibbs." From that point, my true north didn't change.
In my early 20s I read At Risk, a powerful novel about the prejudice and trauma 11-year-old Amanda and her family endures after Amanda's AIDS diagnosis. Reading hints of magical realism in fiction as the key to the interior lives of characters changed me as a reader and taught me how to be brave and truthful as a writer. I have since sacrificed food and clothing on my travels to keep Alice Hoffman novels with me.
WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
When I was 33 and read this book for the first time, I couldn't have dreamed that two years later I would go to the US and study fairytales, archetypes and trauma with Dr Estes, using Women Who Run With the Wolves as the source. Finding my courage to finish writing the first draft of my debut novel was in part due to following where this book took me. As Dr Estes says, stories are medicine.
Ali Cobby Eckermann
I read Ruby Moonlight in 2014. The inconsolable yearning it left me with still lingers. This generous and warm verse novel doesn't pull any punches in telling Ruby's story of survival after her family is massacred by white settlers. I wish I could visit 16-year-old me and press a copy into her hands. Ruby Moonlight is a profoundly affecting book that reminds me how individual and universal our need for love is.