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Matthew Reilly voted Australia's favourite author for the third time

Matthew Reilly voted Australia's favourite author for the third time

In 1994, a 19-year-old author from Sydney named Matthew Reilly was down in the dumps. His debut thriller, Contest, had been rejected by multiple publishers.

He decided to self-publish instead, and sold 1000 copies into Sydney bookstores himself in the hopes of finding readers.

One of those readers was a commissioning editor at Pan Macmillan. She tracked down Reilly and signed him a two-book deal. His follow-up book, Ice Station, was so popular that it was reprinted six times in its first two years of release.

‘Ice Station was a direct response to Hollywood action movies,’ Reilly has said. ‘I figured that when you make a movie, you are limited by your budget. Put simply, it costs big dollars to make big action scenes. But when you write a book, you can create the wildest and biggest action scenes you like and it doesn’t cost you a cent. The only limit is the limit of your imagination!’

He has now sold over 7.5 million copies of his books, including the blockbusters Hover Car Racer, The Great Zoo of China and last year’s bestselling The Three Secret Cities.

One of the original self-published copies of Contest recently sold on eBay for $1200.

In Booktopia’s annual Australian Favourite Author vote, Reilly has taken the top spot two years running. It’s his third time hitting number one, while no other author has won more than once.  

The announcement comes just days after Reilly announced his next book, The Secret Runners of New York, an apocalyptic time-travel novel (Reilly has a thing for time travel – he owns a DeLorean dmc-12, the car featured in Back to the Future).

The top 10 Australian Favourite Authors of 2019 also includes repeat favourites Monica McInerney, Kate Morton, Markus Zusak, Tim Winton, Anh Do, Jane Harper and Liane Moriarty.

Actor Celeste Barber secured the silver medal after the publication of her comedic memoir and advice manual, Challenge Accepted.