Books that changed me: Maya Linnell

Books that changed me: Maya Linnell


Maya Linnell is a former rural journalist and blogger for Romance Writers Australia. Her first novel, Wildflower Ridge, is published by Allen & Unwin. She lives in rural Victoria with her husband and three children.

Both my parents are migrants and Dad tried to instil a sense of Kiwi pride by sitting us on his knee in an old wooden rocking chair and regaling us with these ripping poems. I can’t imagine how many times we made him reread our favourite (Belinda the cow, who was exceedingly vain, hated the sun and was timid of rain – by Gloria Rawlinson) but it kicked off an early love of books and reading.

Maya Linnell’s first novel has just been published.Credit:Louise Agnew

Mary O’Hara
I was a horse-mad tween with an insatiable appetite for pony-themed stories and this was the first novel I remember making me cry. I still recall sobbing in my childhood bedroom, surprised a book could rouse such emotion. My horse-crazy phase ended when I realised how much work was involved in caring for one. I ditched the horse, belted around the paddock on a motorbike instead and fulfilled my horse fantasies fictionally thereafter.

Marian Keyes
A friend pressed this novel into my hands after the birth of my first child. For someone who had always loved books, it had been a cruel twist of fate to be unable to concentrate on a fictional world at a time I needed it most. But as I recovered from my post-natal illness, I found Marian Keyes’ books the perfect reintroduction to reading. Her courage for speaking publicly about her mental health battles adds to her absolute brilliance.

Trent Dalton
This stunning debut was my favourite book of 2018. I’m not sure whether it was the 1980s Brisbane setting, the harrowing life of a boy being raised by drug dealers, or the underlying optimism that ran through his story, but my love for this book exploded tenfold when I discovered it was semi-autobiographical. It reinforced that notion that magic happens when you own your life experiences, weave them into something you’re proud of and send them out into the world.

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