I committed myself to the Miles challenge – to read 6 books and write reviews for at least 4 books. Despite moving interstate, and then overseas and starting a new job in a new country, I was determined to meet my commitment, and I’m very happy that I succeeded. Not only did I read all 6 books, I wrote reviews for them as well. Participating in the AWW Challenge, I found myself searching for new books to read and in the process discovered some brilliant women authors whose work I had never read before, and also was able to read new works by authors who I already knew and admired. I encountered a host of vibrant characters: there’s Meggie Tulloch, the courageous fish gutting girl, with the flaming red hair, in Amanda Curtin’s Elemental; the aging Ruth who hears a tiger huffing and panting her living room, in Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest; Harry the Victorian dairy farmer, who has an affinity for bird watching, in Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with Birds; the collection of short stories that convey the cultural differences between Australia and Cambodia, and highlights attitudes to life, relationships, death, superstitions and sex, in Laura Jean McKay’s Holiday in Cambodia; orphans Anna and Stephen Quayle and their interaction with middle class North Shore socialites, the Howard family, in post-war Sydney, in Elizabeth Harrower’s In Certain Circles; and young Lily, an outsider, who is mesmerised by the Trentham family and the artistic community they create in their home, in Emily Bitto’s The Strays. These characters and their experiences have travelled with me over this past year and reading their stories was a richly rewarding experience, one that I intend to repeat next year.