books

Alumni Books

New Books by Varuna Alumni

 

Varuna Alumni Association: the craft, the writing life

 



Elisabeth Hanscombe, The Art of Disappearing

IP, November 2017

The Art of Disappearing cover 'Elisabeth Hanscombe’s memoir, The Art of Disappearing, tells the story of one child’s struggle to navigate life within a large family dominated by a mother tied to the Catholic Church and a father traumatised by war and his experience of sexual abuse during childhood.


The book then explores the way sexuality in adulthood becomes warped and bent as a consequence of such childhood sexual abuse.


Despite its sometimes painful content, it is a book filled with hope and optimism given the narrator’s capacity to observe the vagaries of the world into which she is born and to emerge in young adulthood with a voice of her own.


REFERENCE: Reviews


 

Taryn Bashford, The Harper Effect

Pan Macmillan, December 2017

The Harper Effect cover The dining room is where the ghosts and monsters play. That’s what Jacob said when I was five and he was six, necks curling around the half-open door, our eyes blurting fright. On a dare, we’d tiptoe into the room, dash around the table then jump through the French windows into the garden, screaming with delighted terror. Nearly twelve years later, it’s still my least favourite room in the house. Maybe that’s because it’s where the recent pep talks have taken place and the grandfather clock seems to count down the seconds to the end of life as I know it.


The story of a girl who learns to win from a boy who has lost everything.
Harper Hunter doesn't know how it came to this.
Her tennis dreams are collapsing; her coach says she doesn't have what it takes to make it in the world of professional tennis.
Her new doubles partner is moody, mysterious and angry at the world. What is he hiding?
Harper's in love with Jacob, her neighbour, but he is her sister's boyfriend. Or, he was. Harper could never betray Aria with Jacob ... could she?
As her heart and dreams pull her in different directions, she must figure out exactly what she wants. And just how hard she's willing to fight to get it.


REFERENCE: The Harper Effect


 

Wendy J. Dunn, Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters

MadeGlobal Publishing, August 2016

Falling Pomegranate Seeds cover Wendy J. Dunn’s third historical novel has now been translated into Spanish. Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters recounts the early years of Katherine of Aragon, before she leaves the court of her mother, Isabel I of Castile, to marry Prince Arthur, the eldest son of Henry VII. Told through the point of view of Beatriz Galindo, the tutor of Katherine of Aragon, the story covers a momentous and fascinating period in Spanish history.


Praise for the novel:

"This book is a masterpiece in so many ways; it covers Katherine’s early life (which is rarely explored) and gives life to a frequently overlooked figure and shows life in great detail in late 15th century Spain. It is very well written and gives the reader the impression that they are actually there, with minor details about everyday life to political decisions which impact the whole country ~ Charlie Fenton, for the Tudor Society.


“It is refreshing to see a historical fiction devote so much time to Katharine’s formative years, and sets the stage for the next books in her Katharine of Aragon series.” And the review ends with these glowing words “I recommend this book to all history buffs and those of you who like me, are very passionate about Tudor history” ~ Minerva Casterly, webmistress of Tudors and Other Histories.


Wendy Dunn’s novel, Falling Pomegranate Seeds… is magnificent, riveting reading that this reviewer highly recommends as MUST reading! - Viviane Crystal, Crystal Book Reviews.


REFERENCE: Falling Pomegranate Seeds…


 

Noëlle Janaczewska, The Book of Thistles

UWA Publishing, 2017

Book of Thistles cover The Book of Thistles fuses essay, monologue, poetry, digressions and archival collage.


Some plants have sustained empires and sparked wars. Some have ignited public outrage. Think tea, opium, tulips—and thistles. Yes, thistles. In 1852 South Australia passed its Thistle Act, probably the first weed control legislation anywhere in the world.


The word ‘thistle’ refers to a large and widespread group of plants. Several hundred species within the Asteraceae family, plus a bunch of other plants we call thistles—even though technically, botanically, they’re not. Google ‘thistles’ and many of the sites will tell you how to get rid of them. Dig a little deeper, however, and from this weedy territory other narratives begin to emerge.


Part accidental memoir, part environmental history and part exploration of the performative voice on the page, The Book of Thistles is about the cultural and social life of this group of plants we call thistles.


REFERENCE: UWA Publishing


 

Claire Aman, Bird Country

Text Publishing, September 2017

Bird Country cover Claire Aman’s short fiction collection Bird Country was published by Text Publishing in September. Varuna was very deeply connected to the book’s long evolution. Claire says a heartfelt thank you to Varuna for making her feel like a writer. Among her happiest times were spent at Varuna desks, nothing but writing. Or talking with Peter Bishop, who truly understood what the work was about. Varuna is especially valuable for country writers, who really do work in isolation. In the country, writing can feel embarrassing, a kind of pretentious hobby. You just have to keep plugging away, taking advantage of every bit of encouragement that is offered.


Something Claire discovered was that there is nothing to lose by sending work into the world of competitions and publishers. Text picked up the Bird Country manuscript from their unsolicited submissions pile.


Bird Country is a collection of 16 short and longer stories set in country towns. Text describes it as ‘moving and evocative stories about love and loss and yearning—and the things we don’t say.’ A boat trip in a squall to scatter the ashes of an old man, who was not loved. A young father, driving his daughters home across grass plains, unable to tell them that their mother has died.A mother hiding her fugitive son in a cockatoo cage as the river rises. A woman longing for the right person to tell about her sister’s death, while she works night shift at a roadhouse.


REFERENCE: Text Publishing


 

Susan Green, How Bright Are All Things Here

Macmillan 2017

cvr How Bright Are All Things Here Susan Green is the author of the award-winning Verity Sparks series for children. The Truth About Verity Sparks was published after a Varuna fellowship in 2008, and she’s just released her second ‘Varuna’ book, How Bright Are All Things Here. It’s also a first - it’s written for adults.


“After twelve children’s books it might seem like a sudden change of direction, but this story has been on the go for nearly ten years. My books are all about the characters. Whether child or adult, if they grab hold of me and don’t let go, I know I’m onto something. This was the case with Bliss Henderson, the main character in this novel. At times it felt like she was dictating her own story.”


Glamorous Bliss has lived a flawed and fascinating life, from country Australia and pre-war Melbourne to the art world of London in the 1950s and 60s. In her last days she’s reliving it all. As she excavates her past, secrets emerge. Her three stepchildren hover. She wants them to judge her fairly, but how can they? They don’t really know who she is. Do we ever really know the ones we love?


Susan’s parents lived in London and Europe in the 1950s, and their experiences provided some of the inspiration. Family stories, photographs, postcards, travel diaries and artworks all made their way into the story. “The book is very personal to me and I didn’t want to give up on it, even though it took a while to find a publisher. I’m lucky that my agent Sheila Drummond believed in the book too, and so did Pan Macmillan.”


“If I’m asked for advice by aspiring writers, based on my experience, I say ‘don’t give up’. I began this book in 2007. The Varuna Publisher Fellowship in 2008 gave me an enormous boost but there was still lots more work to be done. Nearly ten years later, that first spark of an idea is finally a book.


REFERENCE: Macmillan


 

Paula Keogh, The green Bell, a memoir of love, madness and poetry

Affirm Press, March 2017

cvr The Green Bell Described by Kevin Brophy as ‘an intense firework of a book’, The Green Bell is a love story complicated by illness and shot through with poetry. In 1972 in the psychiatric ward of the Canberra Hospital, the poet Michael Dransfield meets Paula Keogh, a fellow patient. Within a day, they are in love.


Paula recovers a self she thought she had lost while Michael is caught up in a rush of creative energy and writes the poems that become The Second Month of Spring. Together, they commit to ‘living life as a poem’ and plan for ‘a wedding, marriage, kids – the whole trip’. But once outside the hospital, madness and grief challenge their luminous dream.


The Green Bell is a lyrical and profoundly moving story about love and madness. It explores the ways extreme experience can change us: expose our terrors and open us to ecstasy for the sake of a truer life, a reconciliation with who we are. Ultimately, this memoir reveals itself to be a hymn to life. A requiem for lost friends. A coming of age story that takes a lifetime.

REFERENCE: Affirm Press


 

Sara Rena Vidal, Bella and Chaim

Hybrid Publishers, August 2017

cvr Bella & Chaim Bella and Chaim are the author’s parents. Known as Basia and Heniek, for 18 months from late 1943, they lay in a small hole in the ground under a sawing machine in the home of a retired Polish policeman in a suburb of occupied Warsaw. In claustrophobic dark, they waited while outside a world war raged. Their inspirational story begins with life in Warsaw in loving families, transcends the catastrophic circumstances in which they meet, fall in love, are witness to the destruction of a way-of-life and murder of their families, and endure entombment; it concludes with rescue, liberation, and immigration to make a new life. This testament to the human spirit, embraces their memories and mingles them with fragments of the 1950s, the author’s real-time journal entries, the historical record, and musings on the light, dark, and potential, of being alive.

REFERENCE: Hybrid Publishers


 

Val Carter, A Piece of Good Land

Vivid Publishing, October 2016

cvr A Piece of Good Land The district of the Shire of Dandaragan in Western Australia is steeped in wonderful history. In 1955, Ron and Val Carter took up location 3757 at the western end of Bibby Springs and Cadda Road. It was virgin scrubland. They established their property over a period of twelve years by travelling up from Meckering for a week or two each year to carry out clearing, fencing and cropping before living on the property permanently from 1967. This is their story of courage, faith, family and a hard-working community that never gave up.

REFERENCE: Vivid Publishing


 

Sarah Schmidt, See What I Have Done

Hachette, March 2017

cvr See WhatI Have Done Sarah Schmidt's debut, See What I Have Done, is a reimagining of the Lizzie Borden case and has been described by Paula Hawkins as 'Eerie and compelling, Sarah Schmidt breathes such life into the terrible, twisted tale of Lizzie Borden and her family, she makes it impossible to look away.' It has already sold to 8 territories and TV rights optioned.

 

See What I Have Done was originally awarded a Varuna Publishing Fellowship in 2009.

REFERENCE: Hachette


 

 

Caitlin Maling, Border Crossing

Fremantle Press, 2017

cvr Border CrossingCaitlin Maling's second volume, Border Crossing, continues to showcase the development of an exciting new voice in Australian poetry.

Now Maling's poems shift from the first volume's gritty treatment of childhood and adolescence growing up in WA, to a consideration of what it is to be an Australian in America, where the conflicting voices and identities of home and abroad jostle against and seek their definitions from each other. In this volume, as in the first, her emphasis on place – geography and environment – is as strong as ever.

REFERENCE: Fremantle Press


 

Gabrielle Williams, My Life as a Hashtag

Allen & Unwin, June 2017

cvr My LIfe as a HashtagI'd been warned – in French, no less. By a tram-riding, mermaid-swaying, wolf-eaten, peace-sign flipping friend. I knew she wouldn't be happy if I stayed out here by the pool, with Jed's nail tracing the length of my neck.
But I didn't want to go inside. I didn't want another drink. I wanted to stay out here and see what would happen.
What happens when your parents have split up; your mum's trawling Tinder; and one of your best friends has decided not to invite you to the biggest party of the year, which you watch unfolding on everyone else's social media feeds?
You get mad as hell, that's what you do.
MC's life is disintegrating in the most public way possible, but what begins as one girl's #MadAsHell moment quickly turns into something else. A movement. A phenomenon. A complete and utter disaster.
A novel for anyone who's ever wished they hadn't pressed send.


 

Betsy Roberts, Summer Feet

Malua Publishing, December 2016

cvr Summer FeetSummer Feet is a kaleidoscope of one family's experiences of leaving and finding home. It is ultimately a story of hope and change, set in motion by Rob Williams' decision, in 1952, to leave what his wife, Margaret, sees as a comfortable living in Melbourne, for an abandoned dairy farm on the NSW Far North Coast.
Sixteen years later, Margaret's 'new' house is finished, and the children are leaving.
This is a nostalgic glimpse into growing up in what was a very different time and place. It is a book for frustrated dreamers, desperate housewives, anyone who remembers the 50's and 60's, and those who wish they could.


 

Jane Rawson, From the Wreck

Transit Lounge, March 2017

cvr From the WreckFrom the Wreck tells the remarkable story of George Hills, who survived the sinking of the steamship Admella off the South Australian coast in 1859. Haunted by his memories and the disappearance of a fellow survivor, George's fractured life is intertwined with that of a woman from another dimension, seeking refuge on Earth. This is a novel imbued with beauty and feeling, filled both with existential loneliness and a deep awareness that all life is interdependent.



REFERENCE: transitlounge.com.au


 

Caroline Miley, The Competition

Australian Ebook Publisher, October 2016

cvr The CompetitionCaroline Miley's Debut Novel: The Competition

Completed with the aid of a Varuna PIP Fellowship 2015.

‘Mr Turner’ meets ‘North and South’: An unrivalled insight into an artist’s life in Georgian England.

“To take a sheet of paper and a pencil and make something where before there had been nothing; to feel the paper under my fist and the sound of the crayon's whisper across the page; to bring to life on the blank surface line, light and shadow…”

Two hundred years ago, Edward Armiger stood at his easel and wondered what to paint. His problems are contemporary, even if his setting is different. His was a world in the grip of war, change and radical new ideas, but what was his place in it?

He and his friends enter a painting competition at the Royal Academy that will establish the winner professionally, but when he’s pitchforked into the gritty world of northern woollen mills, frame-breaking and food riots, his ideas are disrupted by Luddites and progressive political thinkers. When he returns to London, his new beliefs put career and friendships in jeopardy and his pursuit of love falters. Total failure is never far away. But what constitutes success?

 

REFERENCE: Australian Ebook Publisher


 

Joan Cahill, Buddha's Left Foot

Wistman Publishing, 2016

cvr Buddhas Left FootJoan Cahill’s first collection of poetry Buddha’s Left Foot is filled with glimpses of a lifetime of insight, reflection, and good humour according to poet David Gilbey.

The book is divided into four sections:
• Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
• Love doesn’t come without some angst.
• Picasso paints important people purple
• ‘Be careful what you tell her, it could end up in a poem’.

Les Wicks says “even her laughing dissections of people are done with such bonhomie that the ‘victims’ don’t even know what is happening to them”.

Joan is grateful for her 2008 Litlink Varuna residency, Peter Bishop mentorship and for the support given to her by Booranga Writers Centre.

REFERENCE: wistmanpublishing.com


 

Katherine Johnson, The Better Son

Ventura Press, October 2016

cvr The Better Son1952. Tasmania. The green, rolling hills of the dairy town Mole Creek have a dark underside — a labyrinthine underworld of tunnels that stretch for countless miles, caverns the size of cathedrals and underground rivers that flood after heavy rain. The caves are dangerous places, forbidden to children. But this is Tasmania — an island at the end of the earth. Here, rules are made to be broken.

For two young brothers, a hidden cave a short walk from the family farm seems the perfect escape from their abusive, shell-shocked father — until the older brother goes missing. Fearful of his father, nine-year-old Kip lies about what happened. It is a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Fifty years later, Kip — now an award-winning scientist — has a young son of his own, but cannot look at him without seeing his lost brother, Tommy. On a mission of atonement, he returns to the cave they called Kubla to discover if it’s ever too late to set things right. To have a second chance. To be the father he never had.

The Better Son is a richly imaginative and universal story about the danger of secrets, the beauty in forgiveness and the enthralling power of Tasmania’s unique natural landscapes.

WINNER - The University of Tasmania Prize (Tasmanian Literary Awards 2013)
WINNER - People’s Choice Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Writer (Tasmanian Literary Awards 2013)
WINNER - The Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Award 2013

REFERENCE: Ventura Press


 

Lee Kofman, Rebellious Daughters

Ventura Press, August 2016


cvr Rebellious DaughtersIn Rebellious Daughters, some of Australia’s most talented female writers share intimate and touching stories of rebellion and independence as they defy the expectations of parents and society to find their place in the world.
Powerful, funny and poignant, these stories explore everything from getting caught in seedy nightclubs to lifelong family conflicts and marrying too young. Beautifully written, profoundly honest and always relatable, every story is a unique retelling that celebrates the rebellious daughter within us all.

Not every woman is a mother, grandmother, aunty or sister – but all women are daughters.


 

Craig Cormick, The Floating City

Angry Robot Books (UK/USA), 2015

cvr The Floating City
Recreating a fictional Venice using characters and plot from the original Italian stories that Shakespeare adapted into his plays Othello, the Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet, The Floating City tells the story of the three Montecchi daughters, Giuliette, Disdemona and Isabella. They are struggling with love and loss – and trying to write their own destinies. And moving amongst them all is the mysterious and deadly Shadow Master, who seems to be directing everyone like players in a game.


 

 Craig Cormick, Ned Kelly Under the Microscope

CSIRO Publishing, 2014

 
cvr Ned KellyWinner of the Collaborative Community Award at the 2015 Victorian Community History Awards.

An anthology of the best research into defining the facts about Ned Kelly. With contributions from anthropologists, odontologists, historians, archaeologists and even hand-writing analysis, the book cut through the many myths about Ned Kelly to better understand the man. The book also details the 20-month scientific process of identifying the remains of Ned Kelly through DNA and forensic anthropology.


 

 Craig Cormick, Uncle Adolf

Ginninderra Press, 2014

 
cvr Uncle AdolfWinner of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards 2015.

The year is 1982 and Adolf Hitler has been living anonymously on the south coast of New South Wales for almost thirty years, waging small wars with his neighbours and the local council. And then one day, during the height of the Falklands War, his old comrade Martin Bormann comes to visit, bearing a secret that will affect both their destinies,


 

Katherine Seppings, When Embers Dance

MPU, November 2015


cvr When Embers DanceKatherine E Seppings’ first poetry collection, When Embers Dance, was edited by Anne Elvey and published by Melbourne Poets Union.

When Embers Dance has been called ‘a fearless first collection’ by Sue King-smith who describes the chapbook as ‘an empathetic and hard hitting rendering of life in contemporary Australia. Katherine invites us into a bleak and often speechless world of debilitating drought, bush fires, animal exploitation and family violence. These explorations are interspersed with poems of hope and quiet joy—a bar in Seville where people communicate without words, the birth of faith in a spring garden, poetic musings over coffee and a blank page.’

‘The constant note sounded in Katherine E. Seppings’ poems is one of compassion,’ says Ross Donlon, who notes ‘she is able to express her feelings in precise, unsentimental language and through arresting imagery.’

Poet and environmentalist, Peter Hay, describes Katherine’s writing as ‘poetry of moral power and emotional punch. It is poetry that compels – that challenges, and demands to be read.’

REFERENCE:Katherine Seppings    Melbourne Poets Union


 

Helen Thurloe, Promising Azra

Allen & Unwin, August 2016


cvr Promising AzraAzra is smart and knows how to get what she wants. She thinks. When she wins a place in a national science competition, she thinks her biggest problem is getting her parents’ permission to go. But she doesn’t know they’re arranging her marriage in Pakistan to a cousin she’s never met. In just three months’ time.


Can she find a way to do what she wants, while keeping her parents happy? Or must she choose between being a good daughter or having her own freedom?


Helen’s debut novel is about forced child marriage in contemporary Australia, based on extensive research and interviews.


The development of Promising Azra was supported by a mentorship from the Children's Book Council of Australia (NSW), as well as two residential fellowships through the NSW Writers’ Centre, and Varuna The National Writers House.


‘Reading Promising Azra prompted me to revisit stories I have heard too many times to count. Forced marriage is not bound to a certain culture or religion, it's an epidemic affecting children from many diverse backgrounds where culture reforms are essential. For real change to be possible, it’s important for us to hear these stories.’ Dr Eman Sharobeem, National Community Engagement Manager, SBS

 

REFERENCE: www.allenandunwin.com


 

Isabelle Li, A Chinese Affair

Margaret River Press, July 2016


cvr A Chinese AffairA Chinese Affair
brings a new, exciting voice to the Australian literary landscape and is one of the few works of literary fiction in English to explore the experience of Chinese migration.

“‘Be of service to the people.’ Chairman Mao’s command was once printed on posters, the front covers of journals, the flaps of school satchels, and I grew up believing that was to be my mission. But who are my people? Have I been of service to anyone? As if walking in a snowstorm, I look back to find that my footprints have been erased. I do not know where I am and can no longer find my way back.”

In sixteen exquisite stories, Isabelle Li explores recent Chinese migration to Australia and elsewhere. Some are explicitly connected, through common characters or incidents; in others, the threads are both allusive and elusive – intergenerational and interracial relationships, the weight of history and indebtedness, the search for meaning, and the muteness peculiar to cultural dislocation and the inexpressibility of self in a second language.

The stories explore what it means to leave behind one’s familiar environment and establish a new life, the struggle to survive and thrive, the triumph and compromise, love and heartache, failure and resilience.

REFERENCE: Margaret River Press


 

Sarah Armstrong, Promise

Pan Macmillan, July 2016


cvr Promise
When a new family moves in next door, it takes Anna just two days to realise something is very wrong. She can hear their five-year old daughter Charlie crying, then sees injuries on the little girl that she cannot ignore.
Anna reports the family to the police and social services, but no one comes to Charlie’s aid.
So when the girl turns up at her door asking for help, the only thing Anna can think to do is to take her and run.
Raising deeply felt questions about our responsibility for the children around us, Promise asks: if Charlie were my neighbour, what would I do?

 

 

REFERENCE: Pan Macmillan


 

Aden Rolfe, False Nostalgia

Giramondo, May 2016

cvr False NostalgiaAden Rolfe’s first collection, False Nostalgia, has been published by Giramondo. The book was developed with the support of the Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship for Poetry from Varuna in 2013.


False Nostalgia is rare among poetry collections, a work which is both lyrical and philosophical. It explores the way memory works, and the role memory plays in our sense of identity and what we take to be the significant moments in our lives. Through standalone poems, exploratory sequences, and essays which read like extended prose poems, Rolfe considers the complex relationship between experience and recollection, the drive to document the moment, the fear of forgetting, the power of nostalgia, and the creative unreliability of memory itself. He approaches his subjects from oblique angles, evoking feelings of connection and disconnection, the experience of never quite grasping your own understanding of things. The poems place the reader in half-remembered places – on beaches walked during holidays, in festival gatherings and forests, film screenings and auction houses – asking not only what it means to look back fondly on a second-rate experience, but what it means to look forward to looking back on a moment while you’re still living through it.

 

REFERENCE: Giramondo


 


Suzanne Leal, The Teacher's Secret

Allen & Unwin, June 2016

cvr The Teachers Secret
A teacher with something to hide and a new principal determined to uncover the truth.

It's a new school year and Terry Pritchard, Assistant Principal at Brindle Public School, can’t wait to see all the kids again. But things are different this year. There is a new principal at the school and she wants him gone.

Set in a small coastal community, The Teacher’s Secret explores the lives of its residents as they struggle to cope with life when forced to give up the things they most cherish: Terry Pritchard faces the loss of his life’s work as a teacher; Rebecca Chuma tries to adapt to a new country while negotiating the difficult path to gaining asylum; Nina Foreman struggles to cope as a single mother while managing the challenges of a new school and a hostile classroom.

The Teacher’s Secret, Suzanne Leal’s second novel, is a tender and compelling story of scandal, rumour and dislocation, and the search for grace and dignity in the midst of dishonour and humiliation.

‘Suspenseful, moving and full of heart. I couldn’t put it down.’ Richard Glover

‘Elegantly structured, unsettling, yet with moments of surprising wit—in this novel Suzanne Leal captures the life of a small community with real tenderness.’ Kathryn Heyman


REFERENCE: Allen &Unwin

 


 

After Before Time, Robbi Neal

HarperCollins, April 2016

cvr AfterBeforeTime
Stories of life from a remote Aboriginal community that sing with vivid and simple life, truth and power.

‘The Old Fella had said to me, “You’re a storyteller. You write, you write it down and tell people about our lives. We want the rest of the world to respect our Culture.”’


At the end of 2008, Robbi Neal and her family moved from country Victoria to a remote community Aboriginal Community in Queensland. They only meant to stay for one year.Over nearly seven years, Robbi fell in love with the place, and the people. Some of the Elders asked Robbi to write about their lives and so, inspired by their experiences she created these stories and they gave her their blessing to share them with the world.

The stories sing with vivid and simple life, truth and power. They are tales of shame, pain and sorrow, but also joy, love and humour. They are stories of individuals, but they tell the story of a community, and of history. They are fresh, vital and immensely engaging.


Robbi Neal’s first manuscript, Sunday Best, was a winner of the Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Award and was published by HarperCollins in 2004. She has been awarded two Australia Arts Council Grants and has also been published by Allen and Unwin in two anthologies. From the beginning of 2009 until recently, Robbi and her family lived in a remote Aboriginal community.

 

REFERENCE: HarperCollins


 

The Last Days of Ava Langdon, Mark O'Flynn

UQP, May 2016

cvr The Last Days of Ava LangdonA piercing and witty portrait of a true maverick

It has been twenty years since Ava Langdon published her much-lauded novel The Apple Pickers. Now, she leads a reclusive life in the Blue Mountains, with two rats and her typewriter as her companions. She dresses in men’s clothes and carries a machete in her belt; she speaks French to the townspeople, paying no heed to their confusion. Above all else, however, she is still a fearless writer,inspired to seek beauty and perfection, and – despite her isolated existence – to imagine the inner lives of other people.

Poetic, poignant, and at times bitingly funny, The Last Days of Ava Langdon takes us into the mind of an utterly singular character, who at once revels in her individuality and yet is also trapped by it.

Release Date: 16/05/2016


REFERENCE: UQP


 

Nursing Fox, Jim Ditchfield

Odyssey Books, January 2016

cvr Nursing FoxAt the outbreak of World War I, Lucy Paignton-Fox enlists in the Australian Army Nursing Service and leaves her family’s cattle station in the Northern Territory to join the war effort. During the Gallipoli campaign she serves in hospitals in Egypt, but when the Anzacs are posted to France she moves with them. A talented and spirited nurse, with dreams of one day becoming a doctor, Lucy finds more opportunities than she ever imagined: working alongside doctors and surgeons, sharing the soldiers’ dangers, helping them through their pain, and making lifelong friends.


But with war comes suffering. Lucy sees it all around: sorrow, disease and death. How long can she stay separated from it all?


Adam Hayward joins the British Army after a devastating attack on his family. Accepted into the air force, Adam tests his luck in the cockpit fighting for those he loves. But with aircraft technology booming, can Adam continue to stay ahead of the game?
John Mitchell’s determination leads him slowly up the ranks. With more responsibility than ever, he becomes disillusioned with the horrors of war, but he can’t help admiring the brave nurses who do so much to help the wounded men.


Nursing Fox details the experiences of Australian nurses during the Great War. It honours their journeys and shows the impact that the nurses had on the soldiers with whom they crossed paths.


Jim Ditchfield is an Australian author who spends months each year travelling around the Australian Outback researching the history of the Australian pioneers. Before retiring, Ditchfield was an electronics engineer and a naval architect. On top of his time in the Royal Marine Commandos, Ditchfield is no stranger to the consequences of war. At two years old, Ditchfield’s parents were killed two months apart, his father at Dunkerque and his mother in the Blitz of Liverpool. In 2003, CQUP published Ditchfield’s non-fiction book, Angels Don’t Go Droving, which is the biography of a former drover, Dick Scobie. Nursing Fox is his first novel.


REFERENCE: Odyssey Books


 

Leaving Elvis and other stories, Michelle Michau-Crawford

UWA Publishing, February 2016

cvr LeavingElvisWe’re travelling light, without excess, into our future. Gran had been rough as she uncurled my hands from their position, gripped around the open car doorframe, and shoved me into the passenger seat.

A man returns from World War II and struggles to come to terms with what has happened in his absence. Almost seventy years later, his middle-aged granddaughter packs up her late grandmother’s home and discovers more than she had bargained for. These two stories book-end thirteen closely linked stories of one family and the rippling of consequences across three generations, played out against the backdrop of a changing Australia.

A debut collection—as powerful as it is tender—from the winner of the 2013 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize.


REFERENCE: UWA Publishing


 

Silvery Elms, The Kaleidoscope, Joanne M McCarron

ASA, December 2015


cvr SilveryElmsThe KaleidoscopeNEVER FORGET... Ava, David and Chris looked at the words written on the side of the kaleidoscope. Never forget what? The sentence wasn't finished. Some of the words were missing.

When Chris meets a mysterious woman in white beneath a prunis tree on Silvery Elms and David finds an unusual kaleidoscope in Great Aunt Mary's old house they are lead to a wonderful courtyard in a land called Aartemia. There they meet the fairy-princess, Ava, a girl with an intimate beauty and a quizzical interest in all things. Guided by King Alexander and Queen Brianna, the great white tigress Tamika - Ava's guardian - along with Elyse the mermaid, Gadrian the dragon, and the wisest of all the elves, The Story Keeper, the children set out on a quest to find the owner of the magic kaleidoscope and learn what it is they're meant never to forget.

With that, their lives are changed forever more.

Silvery Elms, The Kaleidoscope is now available on the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) website.

Praise for Silvery Elms, The Kaleidoscope:

“There’s a child’s sense of wonder in the heartbeat of this book. It speaks from the magic faraway tree of childhood. As an adult reader I read with a poignant sense of loss –the magic faraway tree is so very far away when you’re over 60! This is a book I would love to remember from my childhood –and I know that in fifty years or so there will be many children remembering its magical world with gratitude.” Peter Bishop, Founding Creative Director, Varuna, The National Writers' House

REFERENCE: Silvery Elms, The Kaleidoscope on the ASA website.


 

Inspiring Australians: The first fifty years of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trusties, Penelope Hanley

Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2015 

 

cvr InspiringAustraliansThe commission to write a history of the Trust was an honour, and interviewing Churchill Fellows all over Australia was inspiring and fascinating. The values of the Trust were in accord with my own, a rare find in these times of the compulsory corporatisation of every aspect of our lives. In 1942, Churchill said, ‘The human race cannot make progress without idealism.’ The Churchill Fellows travel overseas to improve their skills and about new developments in their field, and they do this because they are idealistic. They return and put what they have learnt into practice by contributing to their communities. Churchill Fellows are fascinating, passionate, generous people who use their energy and talent to help make a better world. The difference they make to their communities and to Australian society as a whole is incalculable. Some of their stories are in this book.


Books can be ordered from the Churchill Trust Shop


 

Red Moon: Secrets Of A Sixties Schoolgirl, Pam Mariko

Fordham Publishing, 2015


cvr Red MoonRed Moon: secrets of a sixties schoolgirl,
is a ‘coming of age’ novel, based on the author’s life in the mid 1960s, UK: a world of pirate radio, Beatles, duke boxes, suspenders and a horse called Flash, set against fog and furnaces to final sunshine. This journey through the dark ‘night of the soul’ is an evocation of childhood rebellion, discontent and decisions, which will take some baby boomers down memory lane.


...Andrea Hampton is going to break through the north midland gloom and her fog of misery her way. She’ll get young John Lennon look-alike, Brendan James, and lose her virginity. But Andrea hasn’t planned on being a fourteen-year-old mum, or, on the move south to London – where life could be fun...


Chimney columns mirror the pillars of opposites inherent in life’s situations – and within the self. Ultimately, it’s an uplifting story set during a unique time in history.

Available through Booktopia


 

The Waiting Room, Leah Kaminsky

Random House, September 2015


cvr The Waiting RoomThe Waiting Room captures the sights, sounds, accents and animosities of a country overflowing with stories.


Dina is a family doctor living in the melting-pot city of Haifa, Israel. Born in Australia in a Jewish enclave of Melbourne to Holocaust survivors, Dina left behind a childhood marred by misery and the tragedies of the past to build a new life for herself in the Promised Land.

After starting a family of her own, she finds her life falling apart beneath the demands of her eccentric patients, a marriage starting to fray, the ever-present threat of terrorist attack and the ghost of her mother, haunting her with memories that Dina would prefer to leave on the other side of the world.

Leah Kaminsky plumbs the depths of her characters' memories, both the sweet and the heart-wrenching, reaching back in a single climactic day through six decades and across three continents to uncover a truth that could save Dina's sanity – and her life.

Compelling, moving and memorable. Graeme Simsion.

REFERENCES: Random House, Review




 

Oh, Baby!, Lisa Southgate

In Fact Books, October 2015


cvr OhBabyGet rid of it. It sounds like it should be one word. Get-rid-of-it. It sounds like something you say when you’re smoking in the bedroom and your mother’s coming down the hallway. It sounds like stubbing out a cigarette and stuffing it down the bathroom sink.


When Brisbane teen Lisa Southgate fell pregnant in the mid 1980s she booked herself into a Salvation Army-run shelter for unmarried mothers, intending to give her baby up for adoption.


Now a memoirist and a Varuna alumna, Lisa tells her story in a baby memoir called ‘Boothville’ – part of an anthology published by In Fact Books, publishers of the US-based Creative Nonfiction Magazine.


Oh, Baby! True Stories about Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor and Love is edited by Lee Gutkind, the man they call ‘the godfather of creative nonfiction.’


REFERENCES: Creative Nonfiction Magazine, In Fact Books

 


 

Salt Creek, Lucy Treloar

Pan Macmillan, August 2015


cvr SaltCreekSalt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections with passing travellers and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Stanton's attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family apart.

Lucy Treloar is the winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Pacific Region) and the 2013 Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award

‘Brilliant… In its larger compass, Salt Creek refigures the historical novel in Australia, compelling us to unfix assumptions about frontier life, domestic and economic, relations between men and women, and generations, European and indigenous people.’ Peter Pierce, The Australian

‘The story she tells is utterly compelling and almost mythic.’ Caroline Baum, Booktopia

REFERENCES: Pan Macmillan, Review.


 

Harry Mac, Russell Eldridge

Allen and Unwin, August 2015

 

Harry Mac cover

What happens when a child overhears a terrible secret, one that threatens to drag his family into a nightmare?


Set in apartheid South Africa in the early 60s, Russell Eldridge's debut novel is a chilling yet poignant story of a family, a community, of a whole country struggling to survive as one of the most infamous regimes of the past century grinds towards the peak of its power.


The story is told through young Tom MacGregor, whose father, the Harry Mac of the title, is a newspaper editor. Harry Mac is a formidable figure and he's on a collision course with the Government.


Nelson Mandela is on the run, new laws are making it almost impossible for Harry Mac's paper to publish the truth. And young Tom knows Harry Mac's secret.


The author, Russell Eldridge, lived through these times.

Harry Mac won the 2013 Byron Bay Writers’ Festival LitLink & Varuna Unpublished Manuscript Award.

"What makes it distinctive and memorable is how beautifully calibrated the story telling is, how perfectly the young narrator’s voice and character develop as the foreboding of imminent threat builds." - Caroline Baum, Booktopia Book of the Month.

"One of the best coming-of-age novels I have read." - Jean Ferguson, Illawarra Mercury.


REFERENCES: Allen & Unwin website, Review.


 

One True Thing, Nicole Hayes

Random House, May 2015

 

One True Thing cover

Nicole Hayes' second book, One True Thing, is a YA novel about politics, music, and friendship, and was published in May 2015 (Random House).


When is a secret not a secret? When your whole life is public.


Frankie is used to being a politician's daughter, but with her mum now running for Premier, life's a whole lot crazier than usual. All Frankie wants is to lose herself in her music. So when her best friend, Kessie, invites a student journo to interview the band, Frankie is less than thrilled.


But Jake's easy to talk to, and he seems to really like Frankie. That doesn't stop her from wondering if he's just after the ultimate scoop, especially when photos surface of Frankie's mum having a secret rendezvous with a younger man. With her family falling apart around her, Frankie is determined to find out the truth - even if it means losing Jake.


REFERENCES Random House website for further details.


 

Long Bay, Eleanor Limprecht

Sleepers Publishing, August 2015

 

Long Bay cover

Set in Sydney in the first decade of the 1900s, Long Bay is based on the true case of a young female abortionist who was convicted of manslaughter and served out her sentence in the newly opened Long Bay Women’s Reformatory – the first of its kind in Australia. The woman, Rebecca Sinclair, was pregnant when she went to prison.


Long Bay is a compelling fictional account of how Rebecca became involved in the burgeoning illegal abortion racket in Edwardian-era Sydney and how she was drawn into Donald Sinclair’s underworld.


In unadorned prose, it examines the limiting effects of poverty, the mistakes we make for love, and the bond between mother and child.


"In equal parts harrowing and mesmerising, Long Bay is simply a wonderful book. Rebecca Sinclair is a character who will live on in my memory long after turning the final page on her story - which seems only just, as Limprecht has surely rescued an otherwise forgotten women from archival obscurity. What makes a society civil? What constitutes evil? At what cost freedom? Who pays the price of love? And, when your back's against the wall, where does love end and survival begin? Deftly researched, deeply satisfying." - Clare Wright, author of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka


"Limprecht is a fine writer - her prose is elegant and assured, and her representation of life in Sydney shortly after Federation is wonderfully evocative." - Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites


Part of Long Bay was written at a Varuna Fellowship Writing Retreat in 2013.


REFERENCES Sleepers Publishing website, Eleanor's website


 

The Handbook: surviving and living with climate change, Jane Rawson and James Whitmore

Transit Lounge, 1 September 2015

 

Handbook cover


Climate change has arrived, and it's not going away. The Handbook is not another book about climate change science or politics. Rather it is an intelligent guide, and a potential ground breaker, for all of us who feel helpless in the face of government disagreement and want practical advice on how we can adapt now. The Handbook will give you stories and advice from individuals who are already quietly doing amazing things. Jane Rawson and James Whitmore, former and current environment editors for The Conversation, look at how to establish your risk and face your fears; where to live and with whom; and how to survive heat, fire and flood. They investigate ways to provide your own food, power and water, make sure you can still get around, and get rid of your waste and sewage. They talk about new ways to think about home and possessions, the sadness of living through climate change, and how, for both individual and common good, we might positively change the way we live.


REFERENCE www.survivingclimatechange.net/about/


 

Northern Heat, Helene Young

Penguin Random House, May 2015

 

Northern Heat cover


In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown's youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and the opportunity to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark. The local GP is hiding her own secrets and struggling to raise her feisty teenage daughter alone.


When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they'll both lose someone they love.


"With Northern Heat Helene Young firmly establishes herself as one of the leading queens of rural romance." - Cheryl Akle, Better Reading


About Helene

Ever wondered what a plane crash feels like? It's all in a day's work for multi-award-winning author and airline pilot, Helene Young. A check captain with Australia's largest regional airline, her job is to ensure aircrew can handle all inflight emergencies. It comes in handy for writing fast-paced suspense novels starring feisty women and sexy men. When she's not writing or flying you can find Helene sailing the high seas with her partner, Capt G, and Zeus the salty sea dog, aboard their catamaran Roo Bin Esque.


Helene won the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012. She was also voted favourite romantic suspense author by the Australian Romance Readers Association in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, and was shortlisted for the same award in 2012. Burning Lies> was shortlisted for the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award Mystery/Suspense in America.


REFERENCE www.heleneyoung.com


 

A Thoroughly Wet Mess, Aden Rolfe

ABC RN, June 2015

 

A Thoroughly Wet Mess cover


Set to debut on ABC RN on Friday 26 June, A Thoroughly Wet Mess is an eight-part serial radio drama, written and directed by Varuna alumnus Aden Rolfe. Based on the unsolved riddle of the Mary Celeste, it’s a tale of mystery, confusion and flirtation, set on the high seas. It’s also ABC RN’s inaugural digital-first drama, available via the Radiotonic podcast, and featuring the talents of Toby Truslove (Utopia, The Strange Calls), Tina Bursill (Neighbours, The Moodys) and Mark Lee (Gallipoli, Packed to the Rafters).
Follow the series: http://ab.co/1BaCzd1. http://ab.co/1BaCzd1


 

The Soup’s Song, Mark O’Flynn

Picaro Press, 2015

 

The Soup’s Song cover


“From ekphrasis to lipogram, dramatic monologue to cut-up, historical vignette and traditional lyric to bold experiment, these accomplished and often striking poems always tell a good tale, with gentleness, wry humour, dark acceptance, and a twist to refresh the jaded eye. A fine and absorbing collection, full of the vanity of human wishes: a living, breathing commedia dell'arte.” - David Brooks


“In his new collection, Mark O’Flynn displays all his customary humour, his delight in word play, his fascination with the idiosyncrasies of human beings and other creatures. As well, the poems display a keen interest in poetic form. The book opens with an impressive set of ekphrastic poems based on the work of the Hill End painters. Next there’s a set of poems dealing with the natural world – birds, animals, even midges. The second section opens with a set of surreal prose poems, some lipograms and then a set of poems dealing with more historical and mythic themes. The delight in O’Flynn’s work stems from his ability to find whimsy, humour, linguistic playfulness even when, beneath that, there is a serious matter being explored.” - Ron Pretty


 

An Indrawn Breath, Gillian Telford

Picaro Press, May 2015

 

An Indrawn Breath cover


An Indrawn Breath, a second collection of poems by this poet, was completed with the assistance of a 2014 Varuna/Picaro Press Publisher Introduction Fellowship.


"The poems … travel the continent and beyond— through road trips, wilderness, visual art, crime scenes, haircuts, and the complex landscapes of the heart. Telford’s voice is intimate, poised and compassionate. But her tools are unobtrusive— the precise music of these poems is always in service to their humanity. Before you know it, they may well take your breath away." Andy Jackson


"There is a refreshing clarity of image and refinement of purpose in Gillian Telford’s poetry that frees her language from convention. These sculpted verses are assured; they give voice to the uncertainty of the mind, to the fragility of our journey with nature. An Indrawn Breath is a wise, accomplished, courageous book. It walks a tightrope across the landscapes of memory and forgetting." Michelle Cahill


To order copies:
REFERENCE Picaro Press New Books
or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Moments of Perfect Poise, Gillian Telford

Ginninderra Press, September 2008

 

Moments of Perfect Poise cover


Moments of Perfect Poise is a first collection of poetry and includes poems previously published in literary journals and anthologies.


"Gillian Telford’s poems deliver what the title of her collection suggests. Always mindful, often subtle in their argument and surprising in their intensity, these poems display a range of moods, attitudes and technical approaches to her subjects.” Michael Sharkey


“ … these poems have the glide and weave of deep contemplation, the sharp-edge turns of acute perception, and the lifting skirt of a playful sensuality … all the makings of deeply pleasurable poetry.” Judy Johnson


To order copies
REFERENCE Ginninderra Press
or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Last Day in the Dynamite Factory, Annah Faulkner

Picador, July 2015

 

Last Day in the Dynamite Factory cover


Christopher Bright is a well-respected conservation architect, good neighbour and loyal friend. He has a devoted wife, two talented children and an old Rover. He plays tennis on Saturdays and enjoys a beer with his business partner after work.


Life is orderly, yet an unresolved question has haunted him for as long as he can remember: Who is his birth-father?


Devotion to his adoptive parents prevented Chris from enquiring too deeply but when one of them dies, explosive information from the past triggers a chain of events that rock his closest relationships.


As light is cast on his father, attention turns to his birth-mother. But when Chris goes in search of the person behind the photo, he encounters a conspiracy of silence. Determined to expose the truth, Chris finds the price of knowledge becomes increasingly costly.


Nevertheless, the truth must be told …


Or must it?


REFERENCE Pan Macmillan website item

 

The Beloved, Annah Faulkner

Picador, July 2012

 

Te Beloved cover


The Beloved won the 2011 Qld Premier's Literary Award. In 2013 it was short listed for the Miles Franklin Award and won the Kibble Award.


‘It came one morning with the milk, and seemed – at first – almost as innocent…’


When Roberta ‘Bertie’ Lightfoot is struck down with polio, her world collapses. But Mama doesn't tolerate self-pity and Bertie is nobody if not her mother’s daughter – until she sets her heart on becoming an artist. Through drawing, the gifted and perceptive Bertie gives form and voice to the reality of the people and the world around her. While her father is happy enough to indulge Bertie’s passion, her mother will not let art get in the way of the future she wishes for her daughter.


In 1955 the family moves to post-colonial Port Moresby, a sometimes violent frontier town, where Bertie, determined to be the master of her own life canvas, rebels against her mother’s control. In this tropical landscape, she thrives amid the lush palette of colours and abundance, secretly learning the techniques of drawing and painting under the tutelage of her mother’s arch rival. But Roberta is not the only one deceiving her family. As secrets come to light, the domestic varnish starts to crack, and jealousy and passion threaten to forever mar the relationship between mother and daughter.


Tender and witty, The Beloved is a vivid portrait of both the beauty and the burden of unconditional love.


REFERENCE Pan Macmillan website item

 

Cracking the Code, Leah Kaminsky with Stephen and Sally Damiani

Random House Books, April 2015

 

Cracking the Code cover


A family doctor shares a mother and father's determination to save their son.


This story of a father's search to find a diagnosis, and ultimately a cure, for his son's mystery disease is an inspiration that has set the world of genetic medicine and research abuzz with the possibilities for the future. After Cracking the Code screened on Australian Story Stephen Damiani and his extraordinary ordinary family, have been inundated with messages of support for Mission Massimo.


Cracking the Code is simultaneously a wonderful family memoir and the story of some mind-blowing discoveries in medicine.


"Kaminsky seamlessly inserts Stephen and Sally's voices, allowing them to express the impact of their ordeal in their own words. She also emphasises that it was the Damianis' strength and determination that heralded this international breakthrough in medical science." - Dianne Dempsey in The Sydney Morning Herald


Proceeds from the sale of this book go to research into childhood genetic conditions.


REFERENCE Random House website item, and SMH Entertainment review

 

The Sound of Red, Brenda Saunders

Ginninderra Press, 2013

 

The Sound of Red  cover


Rich with insight and sensuous music, the poems in this collection radiate real power and authority. The strength of these poems is in the writer’s ability to place you, absolutely, at a point of seeing. Beyond ekphrastic, these poems describe the palette of being, in exceptional ways. Herself a fine artist, Saunders creates small poetic masterpieces, which respond tautly to place, the train-wreck of life and art. Many of these poems have won poetry awards including ‘Waiting for De Chirico’, which won the Society of Women Writers Poetry Prize in 2009. Many of the poems in this collection can be found in both national and international literary journals, such as Aesthetica (UK) and Rampike (Canada).

 

Looking for Bullin-Bullin, Brenda Saunders

Hybrid Press, 2012

 

Looking For Bullin Bullin cover


Brenda Saunders' first collection of poetry is a significant contribution to contemporary Aboriginal literature. Moments of lyrical beauty, song and poignancy sit side-by-side with portraits of suffering, anger and loss. Reflections on Country, family and nurturing culture are measured by the harrow of colonisation, mining and fear. Saunders' poems are knots of memory and resilience, expressions of survival and richness. Above all, and especially in her remarkable poems about musicians and painters, Saunders reminds us that her art is first and foremost a deeply human utterance, to be spoken, heard and shared. Her insightful poem, Wonderland/em>, set in Alice Springs, won the Banjo Patterson Poetry Prize in 2010. This collection was short-listed for the David Unaipon Prize, (Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards 2011).

 

The Abyssinian Contortionist, David Carlin

UWA Publishing, March 2015

 

The Abyssinian Contortionist cover


"This book would be about Sosina, the epitome of ‘not me’. But it would also feel wrong to pretend I wasn’t involved, to pretend that telling, making and sharing stories across cultures isn’t complicated. In Circus Oz they never hide the rigging in their acts” – Author of The Abyssinian Contortionist, David Carlin


Sosina Wogayehu learnt to do flips and splits at the age of six, sitting on the floor of her parents’ lounge room in Addis Ababa, watching a German variety show on the only television channel in the land. At the age of eight she sold cigarettes on the streets, and dreamed of being a circus performer.


Twenty-five years later, Sosina has conjured herself a new life in a strange country, Australia. She has fled one circus, and beguiled audiences with another on the stages of New York and London. Haunted by the memory of the brother she couldn’t save, she tries to juggle worlds.


Sosina juggles stories, too, and shares them with her friend and ex-Circus Oz colleague, David Carlin, the author of the acclaimed memoir Our Father Who Wasn’t There. He becomes drawn into her life, travelling, as she has done, far from home and everything familiar, to write a biography of hope for troubled times.


“Thus together, but from completely different places, we set out…”


“Exactly the kind of creative non-fiction Australia needs: Carlin’s sensitive, engaging and articulate portrait of the sassy somersaulting Sosina Wogayehu is a delicate cross-cultural balancing act which will surely be met with thunderous applause.”
Maxine Beneba Clarke, Author of Foreign Soil and The Hate Race


“Quietly compelling and subtly radiant. Sosina is a rock of strength and determination and her biographer David Carlin is a self-deprecating guide who chronicles her tumultuous and triumphant journey from Ethiopia to Australia and back again with rare sensitivity and grace. A timely read for Australians, given the controversial issue of immigration and asylum. I couldn’t put it down.”
Robin Hemley, Author of Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art, and Madness


REFERENCE UWA Publishing website item

 

The Compassionate Englishwoman, Emily Hobhouse in the Boer War, Robert Eales

Middle Harbour Press Pty Ltd., 2015

 

The Compassionate Englishwoman cover


Emily Hobhouse went to southern Africa during the Boer War to investigate reports that women and children were having a difficult time in the conflict. With considerable difficulty she threaded her way through the war, all on her own and undaunted by the danger. What she found was very disturbing.


She discreetly urged the authorities to act, first in southern Africa, then in Britain - to no avail. As fatalities rose, her campaign escalated. But the government did not want anyone to hear her story and they made life very difficult for her. In the meantime, what she had discovered on the veld turned into a major tragedy. Eventually, her work saved many lives.


If she were alive today, Hobhouse’s courageous and committed work would be acclaimed around the world. This book reveals a slice of history as it has not been told before and gives this remarkable woman the credit she is due but never received in her lifetime. It is a compelling story well told.


Author’s note: This non-fiction book is about the woman who discovered what the British were doing to civilians, mainly women and children, in the Boer War in South Africa more than 100 years ago. If Emily Hobhouse were alive today, she would receive world-wide recognition and accolades for her quite remarkable work. She was not only compassionate, but also courageous, adventurous, committed, intelligent and could write very well. I need hardly tell you that I found her inspirational. But in her lifetime, her own government did not want you to hear her story and they made life very difficult for her. Now, through this book, I hope everyone will get to know her story. This compelling book will arouse many emotions and may change your view of our common history, including the history of our time.


An arresting work of historical scholarship… Emily Hobhouse is a foremost example of all those courageous women who have agitated for the rights of humanity and thus paved the way for expanded conceptions of human rights. (Marilyn Lake, Professor in History at the University of Melbourne and Immediate Past-President of the Australian Historical Association)


A well-researched and readable account of the humanitarian work of Emily Hobhouse, offering a too little aired perspective on the atrocities of the British forces in the Anglo-Boer War. (Dorothy Driver, Professor in English at Adelaide University)


On the part of Emily Hobhouse it is a story of determination and persistence and we see the human spirit at its best. (Jennifer Hobhouse Balme, Author of books on Emily Hobhouse and custodian of her papers)


Read Helen Barnes Bulley's review in Alumni News.


REFERENCE Middle Harbour Press website


Obtaining a copy

The Compassionate Englishwoman is available from many on-line book stores. Check your favourite one. However, the best way to get it is via the web site of the publisher, Middle Harbour Press Pty Ltd. The price is AU $29.95 or its equivalent. The site accepts credit card payments via PayPal so you will be charged in your own currency.


Your local bookshop may also order it for you (mention ISBN 9780992527624).


The eBook is also available from a wide range of on-line sellers in many parts of the world, including Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iBooks and Kobo. (eBook ISBN 9780992527631)

 

Cut A Long Story Short, Peter Lach-Newinsky

Puncher & Wattmann, 2014

 

Cut A Long Story Short cover


What a trip! The trajectory of life-long flight, from the first slap to intimations of the last breath. With the press of the ancestors, crowding behind, pushing the story forward. The personal, intimate life marches hand-in-skinny-importunate-hand with history, prognostication looms. This is dazzling work, cool and fierce and resolute. (Jennifer Compton)


Buckle your seat belts, hold on to your hats, Cut a Long Story Short is a helter-skelter auto-biography that careens through history and culture with all sorts of poetry clinging to the running boards. Allusive, angry, iconoclastic, cynical, funny and tender, it is, above all, exciting. (Brook Emery)


In Cut a Long Story Short Lach-Newinsky creates a resonant and lucid rave, a memoir that subverts and extends the genre, while waging a campaign to show us the incalculable facts of war, eco-troubles, the downhill slide to death and the leavening joys of life. It’s a mash-up of realities in the 20th & 21st centuries that ropes in The Wasteland, Rilke and Whitman, language as bridge & barrier, Macgiver, Frisbees and A4 batteries. [Lach-Newinsky has the knack to bring the reader around so suddenly that you are surprised to find that it’s your own self you are considering.] A salutary read. (Carol Jenkins)


A startling interweaving of family biography and a social and political overview of the twentieth century, rich in reference and striking detail, adventurous in its structures, deeply moral in its intent. I came away from this powerful narrative both shaken and enlightened. (Ron Pretty)


REFERENCE Puncher & Wattmann website

 

The Country Wife, Anne Gorman

Random House Books, March 2015

 

The Country Wife cover


When she is five, Anne Gorman’s family disintegrates. After thirteen pregnancies and the death of two children, her devout Catholic mother has a breakdown and Anne and her sisters are placed in a convent.


Struggling to survive a childhood marred by fear and uncertainty, Anne sees education as her lifeline to freedom. After graduating from university, she’s set to take on the world.


But her plans come unstuck when she falls in love. Marrying a farmer and becoming a mother of five was a life she never imagined. Yet in this alien landscape she finds love and a sense of belonging.


When her husband becomes gravely ill, Anne has to find the courage to keep the farm and her family afloat.


Against a backdrop of dramatic historic change, from the shadow of war to the rise of feminism, an uncertain young girl grows into a woman of substance.


REFERENCE Random House Books

 

 

Out of Place, Tangea Tansley

That’s Entertaining, November, 2014

 

Out of Place cover


‘I say to you, Dana, come prepared to enjoy yourself. That’s the only way this will work…’


When, finally, Dana turns her back on her own career to join her husband Dekker on a company camp in Saudi Arabia, she smothers her apprehension with the conviction that she is doing the right thing. This is the brave new world of the Sixties after all. What harm can come from taking six months, a year perhaps, as time-out? But she is totally unprepared for the harsh reality and restrictions of her new environment, for the frustration and unhappiness she will uncover and for the predicament in which she finds herself. On the one hand she tries to support her friends, on the other she is blind to the traps she herself is falling into.


Out of Place is an intense psychological drama about loss of identity and trying to live up to expectations – a story of the intimate lives of ordinary people, their passions, secrets and all-too-human frailties.


REFERENCE Amazon.com for print or Kindle, Smashwords for other ebook formats.

 

 

The Dangerous Bride, Lee Kofman

Melbourne University Press, October 2014

 

A memoir of love, gods and geography

The Dangerous Bride cover


What do you do when your husband claims to be madly in love with you, but doesn't desire you sexually? When your therapist is more interested in opening an online sex-toy shop with your husband than in saving your marriage? Do you try yet another counsellor, get divorced or settle for a sexless marriage?


Lee Kofman, rebellious daughter of ultra-orthodox Jews, has always sought her own way. True to her Bohemian dream where love can coexist with sexual freedom, she decided to experiment with an open marriage . . . despite the fact that her previous non-monogamous relationship ended in disaster.


Our cultural mores suggest that love without monogamy is impossible, but Lee hoped she could do better the second time round and embarked on a personal exploration to find out whether she could save her marriage while being non-monogamous in an ethical way. For several months she talked to swingers, polyamorists, cross-dressers, suburban families, artists and migrants—in short, to anyone who has ever been involved in an unconventional relationship.


Set during Lee's first years in Australia, it is also the story of migration, and an exploration of the eternal conflict between our desire for security, but also for foreign places—in love and elsewhere. The Dangerous Bride tells the story of her quest.


‘Kofman's book is flushed with her fearless lovely writing, her questioning curious energy, the true full feeling of a truly fulfilling memoir. She writes of non-monogamy and infatuation as if they're what everyone should study, but the descriptions by a newcomer to Australia are another kind of love story here. Strikingly candid and candidly engrossing. I need Kofman to be my next new best friend.' (Kate Holden)


'Tender and challenging, The Dangerous Bride strikes an exquisite balance between the investigative and the deeply personal that typifies the very best memoir writing.' (Readings)


REFERENCE MUP store

 

 

Sideshow, Nicole Smith

Seizure by Xoum Publishing, June 2014

 

Sideshow cover


‘The music begins. We climb. The wind picks up a little. The lights snap on. The audience looks up. … Six figures are caught in the glare.’


Take your seat, sit back and enjoy the show. From Rio to Oostend to Amsterdam and beyond, a troupe of acrobats travel the world, performing miracles in the air, enthralling audiences. In between gigs, they drink, play and taunt each other. They get bored. They get up to no good. Then they jump on a plane to do it all again somewhere else.


Sideshow is an hilarious and rollicking take on the thrill and drudgery of a life on the road and on what it takes to perform day after day after day…


‘That’s the problem with live performance. You have to be great over and over again. It’s a bit like life.’

‘Wonderfully entertaining, with the funniest cultural observations and fastest page-turning,’ (Mark Macleod)


‘How I loved to read a novel that’s just kicking its legs in the air out of the sheer pleasure of being! A joyous adventure in travel and performance and character’ (Peter Bishop).


REFERENCE Seizure store also, Nicky reading from Sideshow

 

 

Silvery Elms, The Singing Stone, Joanne M McCarron

ASA, June 2014

 

Silvery Elms, The Singing Stone cover When Great Aunt Mary’s stone dragon comes to life one stormy night an adventure begins which takes Anna to a magical land full of all the fairy creatures she has heard so many stories about. But it is only when Anna realises that it is she who must break the spell that keeps the Princess from her true love and defeat the Sorceress to save Aartemia that she really understands the power of those stories.


Silvery Elms, The Singing Stone is now available on the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) website.


Praise for Silvery Elms, The Singing Stone:
"There’s charm, and there’s something warm and haunting in Joanne McCarron’s manuscript Silvery Elms, The Singing Stone. Fairylands have no time and place – but this one hovers around a very Australian property, and the dissonance between the two is most delightfully and delicately managed. The climax of the story is one of those heartstopping moments that could be a defining moment for a child susceptible to the enchantment of storytelling.


Silvery Elms, The Singing Stone…stands wonderingly in an enchanted space, and can take young readers there. I do commend Anna and her secrets and discoveries to your attention." Peter Bishop.


REFERENCE Silvery Elms, The Singing Stone on the ASA website.

 

 

My Life Without Matches, Claire Dunn

Black Inc, June 2014

 

My Life Without Matches cover In the tradition of Wild and Tracks, one woman’s story of how she left the city and found her soul.

Disillusioned and burnt out by her job, Claire Dunn quits a comfortable life to spend a year off the grid in a wilderness survival program. Her new forest home swings between ally and enemy as reality – and the rain – sets in.

Claire’s adventure unfolds over four seasons and in the essential order of survival: shelter, water, fire and food. She arrives in summer, buoyant with idealism, and is initially confronted with physical challenges: building a shelter, escaping the vicious insects and making fire without matches. By winter, however, her emotional landscape has become the toughest terrain of all. Can she connect with her inner spirit to guide her journey onwards?

Brimming with earthy charm and hard-won wisdom, My Year Without Matches is one woman’s quest for belonging, to the land and to herself. When Claire finally cracks life in the bush wide open, she discovers a wild heart to warm the coldest night.

“A brave and adventurous book … Claire’s writing is full of life and profound surprises.” Anne Deveson


REFERENCES My Life Without Matches webpage and Claire Dunn's webpage (from mid-May).

 

 

Grace's Table, Sally Piper

UQP, March 2014

 

Grace's Table cover Grace had not had twelve people at her table for a while. This wasn’t the kind of family who shared regular Sunday meals. But you don’t turn 70 every day.

As her friends and family arrive for lunch, memories are rekindled but not all of them are welcome. As the meal is served, it becomes clear that events of the past have left their mark on everyone at the table in vastly different ways. Grace is reminded that age is no guarantee of wisdom and there is much still to learn from the young at heart. As the family finally confront a shocking event in their past, Grace is forced to face her own shortcomings as a parent and wife and left to contemplate the ways in which grief and regret have resonated through her life.

This moving and often funny novel dissects the lives of women over three generations, explores the pull and power of memory and celebrates the triumph of endurance.


Praise for Grace's Table

The characters of elderly Grace and her girlfriends will draw readers to Grace’s Table like bees to honey cake. These women don’t heed the rules for ageing quietly, and they pull us into their past and present with their wisecracking talk, acerbic wit and the quiet wisdom of their lives.

But the younger characters in Grace’s difficult family, street-smart, funny, nearly upstage them over a long lunch in which food is a character itself, filling this fine novel with the after-taste of roast garlicky lamb, sponge cake straight from a country fair, tomatoes fresh from the vine.

- Kristina Olsson, author of Boy, Lost

 

 

How I Rescued My Brain, David Roland

Scribe Publications, July 2014

 

A psychologist’s remarkable recovery from stroke and trauma

How Rescued My Brain cover As a psychologist specialising in court assessments, David Roland often saw the toughest, most heartbreaking cases. The emotional trauma had begun to take its toll — and then the global financial crisis hit, leaving his family facing financial ruin. So when he found himself in a local emergency ward with little idea of where he was or how he got there, doctors wondered if he had had a nervous breakdown — if the strain of treating individuals with mental-health problems had become too much. Eventually they discovered the truth: David had suffered a stroke, which had resulted in brain injury. He faced two choices: give up or get his brain working again.

kintsukuroi Drawing on the principles of neuroplasticity, David set about re-wiring his brain. Embarking on a search that brought him into contact with doctors, neuroscientists, yoga teachers, musicians, and a Buddhist nun, he found the tools to restore his sense of self: psychotherapy, swimming, music, mindfulness, and meditation.

How I Rescued My Brain is the story of David’s neurological difficulties and his remarkable cognitive recovery. It is also an account of a journey to emotional health and wellbeing. In the tradition of Marc Lewis’ Memoirs of an Addicted Brain and Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight, this is an amazing tale of one man’s resilience, and his determination to overcome one of the most frightening situations imaginable — the fear that he had lost his mind, and might not get it back.

The cover design is based on the Japanese concept of kintsukuroi, the art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.


 

 

The Italians at Cleat’s Corner Store, Jo Riccioni

Scribe, April 2014

 

The Italians at Cleat's Corner Store cover In 1949, the arrival of an Italian family sets tongues wagging in Leyton, an English farming community still recovering from the war. For seventeen-year-old Connie Farrington, however, the newcomers provide a tantalising glimpse of the wider world — a world beyond the gossip and petty concerns traded over the counter of Cleat’s Corner Store.

Under their father’s stern eye, the Onorati brothers adapt to their new life in remarkably different ways. While the charismatic Vittorio is determined to reinvent himself and embrace all things English, the solitary Lucio is haunted by the secrets of his past, events that tether him to the war in the mountains of Lazio.

As both brothers begin to cast an unexpected influence over Leyton, Connie realises that, like them, she must grapple with her ambitions and dreams for the future. But what can any of them hope to find in the ruins of all they’ve lost?

Set in England and Italy, The Italians at Cleat’s Corner Store, is a vividly observed tale of small town life, exploring love prejudice and identity in the wake of World War II.


"A polished and absorbing debut from a new talent in Australian fiction"— Cate Kennedy, author of The World Beneath.


"Assured from the first page and beautifully written with a light touch, Riccioni's engaging novel pits free spirits against the confines of a postwar English village" — Paddy O’Reilly, author of The Fine Colour of Rust.


REFERENCE The Italians at Cleat’s Corner Store webpage.

 

 

A Harp of Truest Tone, Joanne M McCarron

September 2013

 

Harp of Truest Tone cover In love anything is possible, especially the extraordinary.


Two women - centuries apart - bound by a precious brooch with a song of love still vibrating in its crystalline memory. Lesley Seymour, a gifted jeweller in modern day Melbourne, longs to find enduring love. Haunted by dreams of an ornate brooch and a sad young woman - Ally O’Leary - she finds a link to Ally and the mysterious brooch via a photo of John Boyle O’Reilly, an actual convict who escaped Bunbury in 1869. Stung by the recent split from her fiancé and the reappearance of her high school sweetheart, Cameron Donne, Lesley sets about tracing the history of the convict and the brooch only to find they lead her back to an event in her own family’s past. But can she prevent history from tragically repeating itself? With the unfolding of seemingly unrelated events and through it Cameron’s unwavering fidelity to her, she comes to understand that in love, time stands still; in love, two are one; in love, in the field of possibilities, anything is possible, especially the extraordinary.


A Harp of Truest Tone is now available on the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) website.


Praise for A Harp of Truest Tone:
"It is a very good book with great potential and I enjoyed reading it." Craig Cormick


REFERENCE A Harp of Truest Tone on the ASA website.

 

 

Currawong Creek, Jennifer Scoullar

Penguin, June 2013

 

Currawong Creek cover Heartfelt and passionate rural romance from the bestselling author of Brumby’s Run.


Currawong Creek is the story of Clare Mitchell, a young Brisbane lawyer who is very caught up in her career. When she becomes the unlikely guardian of a little boy, a problem foster child named Jack, her ordered life is turned upside down. In desperation she takes leave of her job and goes with Jack to Currawong Creek, her grandfather’s Clydesdale stud at Merriang in the foothills of the beautiful Bunya Mountains. Clare arrives to find part of the property leased by a local vet, Tom Lord. Tom is an advocate of equine therapy for traumatised children.


Jack falls in love with Currawong’s animals, and Clare falls in love with Tom and the life of a country vet. But trouble is coming, in the form of the Pyramid mining company. A vast coal seam gas field lies beneath the picturesque town of Merriang. This discovery threatens to not only destroy Clare’s new-found happiness, but also the peace and beauty of the land she loves.


REFERENCE Currawong Creek webpage.

 

 

White Light, Mark O'Flynn

Spineless Wonders, July 2013

 

White Light cover In White Light, a single mother seeks refuge in a religious cult, a young girl hijacks road machinery as her family sleeps and a marriage feels threatened by the arrival of a well-travelled ex-lover. O'Flynn illuminates the ordinary, noting with humour and generosity, the challenges and puzzles life throws at us all. His characters delight, his language never ceases to surprise. An accomplished poet and playwright, O'Flynn here turns his hand to linked short stories, micro-fictions and monologues. With the skill of a ventriloquist, he conjures Shakespeare's Iago and an illiterate inmate, Banjo. The result is a heady and highly entertaining mix of wordplay, philosophical ruminations and astute social observation.


REFERENCE White Light web page.

 

 

What Was Left, Eleanor Limprecht

Sleepers Publishing, September 2013

 

What Was Left cover A beautiful and moving account of the fierce and complex love parents have for their children.


Find Eleanor at her webpage or her Facebook page or on Twitter.

 

 

Lightning, Felicity Volk

Picador, July 2013

 

Lightning cover Amid the chaos of sweeping bushfires, Persia gives birth alone at home with tragic consequences. Traumatised and grieving, she travels north, and encounters Ahmed, a refugee fleeing deportation and his past in Pakistan.


So begins a road trip to the dead heart of Australia, a journey that transcends the limits of ordinary experience. In Persia and Ahmed’s world, ancient winds wreak havoc across generations, lightning ignites flames that both destroy and rejuvenate, and water drowns then delivers.


Lightning is an odyssey across continents and centuries that explores identity and connection, and our yearning to reveal ourselves even when cloaked in crippling grief. A moving meditation on finding hope in the rubble of our lives, Lightning celebrates the way our stories and their telling keep us alive when all else is pulling us under.


“This beguiling, fearless, passionate novel gripped me right from the start. Like an antipodean version of One Thousand and One Nights, it’s full of the power of stories, not just to enchant and distract and hold off death, but rather to reawaken love and to cherish life, however brief that might be." Debra Adelaide, The Household Guide to Dying.


Find Felicity at her webpage or her Facebook page.

 

 

Half Moon Bay, Helene Young

Penguin, May 2013

 

Half Moon Bay cover Ellie Wilding has been running from her past, but when the residents of Half Moon Bay call for help she knows it's finally time to return home. As an international photojournalist, she's used to violence in war zones, but she's shocked when it erupts in the sleepy hamlet on the north coast of New South Wales, threatening all she holds dear.


Battle-weary Nicholas Lawson walked away from his military career leaving unfinished business. In a coastal backwater, that decision returns to haunt him. He remembers all too vividly his last lethal assignment in Afghanistan when Ellie's sister, Nina, was shot and killed. Ellie's been in his dreams ever since, even if she doesn't remember him…


As a storm rages and floodwaters rise, Ellie struggles to save her community. But who can she trust? Nick Lawson, the dangerously attractive stranger with secrets, or an old friend who's never let her down?

Find Helene at her web page or her Facebook page.

 

 

Dream Wheeler, Deb Hunt

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, May 23, 2013

 

Dream Wheeler cover Dream Wheeler by Deb Hunt is a remarkable true story that proves you're never too old to follow your dreams, and it's never too late to look for love.


Against the advice of family and friends, 64 year-old Jane Lambert swapped her ex council flat in London for a remote cottage in north western France. Being in a wheelchair was the least of her worries. She faced freezing winters, plagues of mice and blocked drains, her meagre budget barely enough to renovate the near derelict house. Undeterred, she strapped herself into her wheelchair and created a gardener's paradise from the empty plot of land. But her biggest challenge lay ahead.


After three years in France, Jane set out to find a French lover. She embarked on a series of disastrous blind dates, telling none of them about the wheelchair. Eventually she met Rene, a cantankerous, opinionated ex-Parisian, who turned out to be the love of her life.


And that was when her problems really began.


Dream Wheeler is available in paperback and on kindle from Amazon and Bookdepository.com (free delivery worldwide).


Fifty percent of all proceeds from the book will go to Jane. Find out more on Deb's blog.

 

Losing February, Susanna Freymark

Pan Macmillan, 3 February 2013

 

Losing February cover This story of love without sex and sex without love is told by a woman who is trying to flee the pain of having loved and lost too much.

Bernie hadn’t been looking for love. Recently divorced, she has her children, her writing and her house on a hill near Byron Bay. Then Jack comes back into her life and their connection is fuelled by the fevered exchange of emails and texts. But Jack is married and when their sexless affair ends, Bernie seeks solace in the strange world of internet chatrooms, where she encounters men hungry for her in a way that Jack is not. Virtual sex is addictive and before long Bernie is meeting up with her online pursuers, and engaging in acts of increasingly deviant and dangerous sex.

Losing February describes, in sometimes disturbingly graphic detail, what happens when a strong, energetic, capable woman in her early 40s completely loses her sense of self and mistakes grief for punishment.

This is Susanna’s first novel and she has drawn on real life experiences to tell a raw story of love, longing and a lot of bad sex.

www.susannafreymark.com

 

Chasing the Light, Jesse Blackadder

Fourth Estate (Harper Collins), 1 February 2013

 

Chasing the Light cover It’s the early 1930s. Antarctic open-sea whaling is booming and a territorial race for Antarctica between Norwegian and British–Australian interests is in full swing. This was the era when Antarctica was closed to women, in spite of hundreds applying to expeditions (including those of Scott, Mawson and Shackleton). Aboard a ship setting sail from Cape Town are three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way onto the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde Wegger, a grieving widow who’s been forced to join the trip by her calculating parents-in-law; and Ingrid Christensen, who has longed to travel to Antarctica since she was a girl and has made a daunting bargain with her husband to convince him to take her.

Chasing the Light is the compelling novel based on the story of the first women to see Antarctica. It draws on Jesse Blackadder’s extensive research into the forgotten journeys of the first women to journey to the southern continent – and her discovery of new information about who was the first to land. Jesse was awarded the 2011-12 Antarctic Arts Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to Antarctica and won the 2012 Guy Morrison Prize for Literary Journalism for an essay about her research.

www.jesseblackadder.com

 

The Forgotten World, Mark O'Flynn

Harper Collins Fiction, 1 February 2013

 

Forgotten World cover When I was a babe in rags my father had three wives …

Half-brothers Byron and Clancy Wilson are inseparable during their childhood. They run wild in the dark valleys of the Blue Mountains, run riot during their school years in Katoomba, and run afoul of the ogre of the town, Constable Barnaby Clout. But it is a love triangle between the brothers and emerald-eyed Violet Kefford, as well as a dramatic jewel heist, that ultimately tests their unconventional family.

The Forgotten World is a breathtaking story that lyrically charts the landscape and people of the Blue Mountains in the late 1800s, and sees real characters in Australian history, such as Sir Henry Parkes, artist Julian Ashton and Lord and Lady Carrington dancing through its pages. Poignant and unforgettable, it plumbs the depths of family loyalty and betrayal.

Read Mark O'Flynn's bio

 

Travelling with the Wrong Phrasebooks, Jean Kent

Pitt Street Poetry, August 2012

 

TWP cover When I was a babe in rags my father had three wives …

Jean Kent's fourth poetry collection travels between Paris, Lithuania, and Lake Macquarie, NSW. Written over the last fifteen years, and completed in Paris, at the Literature Board's Keesing Studio in 2011, it includes the poems that were awarded the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize, the Somerset National Poetry Prize and the inaugural Dorothy Porter Prize. The book is available in a limited hardback edition, with specially commissioned artwork by Sydney artist, Oliver Watts; as a paperback; and as an e-book.

Some of Jean’s poems from the book, as well as Jottings about the experience of working with an artist to create what Pitt Street Poetry promised would be ‘An Entirely Beautiful Book’ can be read online at Jean's website

 

False Start, Mark O'Flynn

Finch Publishing, 2012

 

False Start cover A memoir of things best forgotten is a sly, tongue-in-cheek look at three of Mark’s short-lived careers where things went horribly wrong, yet horribly wrong in an entertaining way. Three times when Mark was mistaken for someone he is not: an expert. The book questions the nature of memory, as well as taking us on a journey from outback Queensland, via the stage, to a monastery in outback Ireland – that is, encompassing Science, Art, and Religion. All things to all people, yet in a modest way. In another it looks at the growth of a narrative voice from one slightly precocious, to one a little more mature. We hope.

Read Mark O'Flynn's bio

 

Thirst, L.A. Larkin

Murdoch Books, August 2012

 

Thirst cover L.A. Larkin travelled to Antarctica to research Thirst on a former Russian oceanographic research vessel. She learnt about crevasse rescue, Antarctic survival and how to sew up a wound (nobody was harmed, the pig’s leg she practised on came from the butcher). After the success of her first thriller, L.A. Larkin gave up her climate change consultancy role, and now divides her time between writing thrillers, public speaking engagements and running thriller writing courses both in the UK and Australia. She lives in Sydney.

www.lalarkin.com

 

Love and Hunger, Charlotte Wood

Allen&Unwin, July 2012

 

Love & Hunger cover 'A love of food oozes from Charlotte's every pore in this wonderful book. Her recipes and ideas come with great practical advice but even better her warmth and emotional honesty reflect the generosity of food and continually made me smile (sometimes with nudging tears).'

'So many tidbits shared, so many 'aha' moments and things I needed to know!' - Maggie Beer

'What's important is the fact of eating together - the gathering at the table, the conviviality.'

Love & Hunger is a distillation of everything Charlotte Wood has learned over more than twenty years about cooking and the pleasures of simple food well made. In this age of gastro-porn and the fetishisation of food, the pressure to be as expert as the chefs we've turned into celebrities can feel overwhelming.

An instant antidote to such madness is this wise and practical book - an ode to good food, prepared and presented with minimum fuss and maximum love. Visit Charlotte's website.

 

The Boy Who Loved Apples, Amanda Webster

Text Publishing, July 2012

 

The Boy Who Loved Apples cover When it became clear that Amanda Webster's eleven-year-old son Riche was not just a little too skinny but dangerously ill, people were often surprised.

Do boys get anorexia? they would ask. And then, How did he get it?

That was the question Amanda asked herself, too. She had trained as a doctor; she knew that every disease has a cause. And if her son had an eating disorder, she wondered what the cause could possibly be but something she and her husband Kevin had done—or failed to do?

Brave, honest and ultimately uplifting, The Boy Who Loved Apples is a compelling and beautifully written account of life with an eating disorder, and a gritty, moving testament to a mother's love.

Text Publishing - The Boy Who Loved Apples

 

Burning Lies, Helene Young

Penguin Australia, July 2012

 

Burning Lies cover Kaitlyn Scott is searching for the truth about her husband's death, even if that means revisiting the most painful day of her life. But what she uncovers is a criminal willing to stop at nothing to keep his secret.

Ryan O'Donnell, an enigmatic undercover cop, is investigating arson attacks when he is drawn into Kaitlyn's world. He tries to fight his attraction for her, hoping the case might put his own demons to rest, but it only threatens to push him over the edge.

With Kaitlyn and Ryan on a collision course, the arsonist seizes the chance to settle some old scores. As the Atherton Tableland burns, the three of them are caught in a fiery dance of danger and desire, and not everyone will come out alive.

Set in Australia's tropical far north, this is an explosive story of peril and passion by the author voted by the Romance Writers of Australia as the most popular novelist of the year.
www.heleneyoung.com

 

A Distant Land, Alison Booth

Random House, 1st June 2012

 

A Distant Land cover Back in 1957, nine-year-old Zidra Vincent met Jim Cadwallader for the first time. Fourteen years later, their bond of friendship - forged during a childhood in the beautiful coastal town of Jingera - is still strong. But is friendship all they dream of?

Jim is now a respected war correspondent in Cambodia, though he has plans to come home for good. Because there is something very important he wants to say to Zidra.

Zidra, meanwhile, is an ambitious reporter at the Sydney Morning Chronicle, and the seeds of a major story have just landed in her lap. Life is looking good, if only she could share it with the man who knows her best.

Then, while at work in the newsroom one morning, Zidra catches sight of a wire service bulletin. A story out of Cambodia. The body of a Western journalist has been discovered near Phnom Penh.

And her world collapses around her ...

Website: A Distant Land

 

The Mind of a Thief, Patti Miller

UQP, May 2012

 

Mind of a Thief cover By history and chance and long ancestry I am from Wiradjuri country and I am part of its story.

How can we belong to a stolen land? And to what extent does our birthplace form our identity? These are the questions acclaimed author Patti Miller investigates in her beautifully wrought and absorbing new book The Mind of a Thief.

What began as a restless inquiry turns into years of obsessive research, as Patti digs deep into missionary diaries, old newspaper articles and letters, seeking the true history of her beloved but stolen country. Along the way she forms new friendships with the Indigenous people she grew up alongside but never knew, uncovers a complex land rights battle which is far from over, and returns to a town facing rising crime, fear and harboring old prejudices.

The Mind of a Thief is Patti Miller's sixth book and a universal story about reconciliation and the many layers of country that bind us. It's a compelling, evocative and transformative journey of belonging, meaning, kinship, memory and the threads with which we stitch our identities. Whilst seeking the Wiradjuri stories of her birthplace, Patti begins to question the authenticity of her own story when an Elder tells her she may even have a secret Indigenous history herself.

 

Legend of the Three Moons, Patricia Bernard

Clan Destine Publishing Melbourne, April 2012

 

Legend of Three Moons cover Legend of the 3 Moons for 10 -14 year old readers. This is a fantasy. Due to one of the three young and beautiful Queens of M'dgassy refusing to marry him, the High Enchanter kidnaps five of the M'dgassy royal family and turns them into creatures that are kept either frozen on Tartic Island, under the sea at Whale Island, chained to General Tulg's wrist in Bataar or in a golden cage in the Castle of Doom.

Knowing how strong the High Enchanters magic was, the third Queen, enchanted the sons and daughters of her sister and herself and placed them in a forest that changes daily, she also removed the children's memories so they will not pine for their past lives.

Due to the three Queens being born at the same time as the three moons of M'dgassy, their fate is linked with the three moons. During an eclipse one of the children, Lem, 15 years old, is sung to by the moons. The song tells him the truth about the three moons, his parents and the High Enchanter. This starts the five on five journeys to free their parents and the third Queen, but first to know where to go they must leave the forest, which as the spell has been broken, has now been invaded by mosterous Gorfs and their cruel Gorfmasters, and find an oracle, sand reader, future teller who can decypher the words of the moons' song.

 

Silent Fear, Katherine Howell

Pan Macmillan Australia, February 2012

 

Silent Fear cover On a searing summer's day paramedic Holly Garland rushes to an emergency to find a man collapsed with a bullet wound in the back of his head, CPR being performed by two bystanders, and her long-estranged brother Seth watching it all unfold.

Seth claims to be the dying man's best friend, but Holly knows better than to believe anything he says and fears that his re-appearance will reveal the bleak secrets of her past – secrets which both her fiance Fraser and her colleagues have no idea exist, and which if exposed could cause her to lose everything.

Detective Ella Marconi suspects Seth too, but she's also sure the dead man's wife is lying, and the deceased's boss seems just too helpful. But then a shocking double homicide related to the case makes Ella realise that her investigations are getting closer to the killer, but also increasing the risk of an even higher body count.

www.katherinehowell.com/silent-fear.html     (Also available as an Audio Book)

 

Edge of the World, Ian Trevaskis

Walker Books Australia, February 2012

 

Edge of the World cover I'm really excited about the forthcoming publication of Edge of the World, my next picture story book, to be published by Walker Books Australia. Set in a remote fishing village near the edge of the world, it has been beautifully illustrated by award winning illustrator, Wayne Harris, who has been slogging away in his Sydney studio for the past two years to make this book, in the words of my editor Donna Rawlins, "a doozy."

www.iantrevaskis.com.au

 

Liar Bird, Lisa Walker

HarperCollins, January 2012

 

Liar Bird cover Is the truth just what you’re made to believe?

PR whizz Cassandra Daley isn’t afraid of using all the dirty tricks of the trade to spin a story her way. A glamorous city-slicker from the wrong side of Sydney she has been happy to use her looks and moves to stay ahead of the game.

It had been drummed into her by her boss and PR mentor ‘Wazza’: ‘Do what it takes girl, but don’t let them catch you’. So she shouldn’t have been surprised when he sacked her for a PR disaster with a potoroo. Disgraced and mortified, she flees the city for an anonymous bolt hole. But small-town Beechville has other plans for her.

Feral pigs, a snake in the dunny, a philosopher frog and a town with a secret--could things get worse? Add one man who has the sexiest way with maps she’s ever seen and they soon do. Her best friend Jessica thinks she’s been brainwashed by some kind of rural cult, and Jessica could be right. Can Cassandra reinvent herself or will she always be a liar bird?

Liar Bird is smart, funny and utterly engaging Australian fiction.
www.lisawalker.com.au

 

Untested Cures, Mark O'Flynn

Picaro Press, December 2011

 

Untested Cures cover Mark's fourth collection of poetry develops the variety seen in his previous volumes. The book includes some prize winning poems and two long sequences both shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, whose judges commented recently on the 'intellectual and formal voraciousness.' However anyone who has heard Mark read knows there is more to it than this. There is humour as well as poems of moving empathy, a kind of domestic philosophy, with an eye to the eccentric. As Peter Minter wrote: 'There are poems here which are lyrically confident confirming O'Flynn's reputation as a poet with extensive range.' Similarly, Geoffry Lehmann and Robert Gray observe that Mark's poetry ...'is consistently intelligent, and he is able to isolate oddities and strangeness with vivid economy.' Published by Picaro Press in conjunction with the Varuna Publisher Fellowships.

 

Memoirs of a Suburban Girl, Deb Kandelaars

Wakefield Press, November 2011

 

Memoirs of a Suburban Girl cover It is 1979 and a teenage girl is charmed by a man she meets in a disco. Before long, like Alice through the looking glass, she tumbles into a violent world of strange and frightening characters. Desperate to escape, she takes the reader into the darkness and out again, delivering her tale with wit, warmth and furious zest. Memoirs of a Suburban Girl is the cautionary tale of an everyday girl who makes a wrong turn.

'After reading this powerful and touching book, you will share an insight into the turmoil sometimes lurking below the surface of domestic life in Australia.' Chris Kenny, Goodly Fabric Blog, The Australian

'Deb Kandelaars takes the reader safely into a place where she herself was never safe. Ever since I first saw material from this book I knew it was something astonishing. This wholehearted, witty and vividly accomplished account of the fascinating and terrible reality of a violent relationship offers us an understanding that we'll all wonder how we've lived without.' Peter Bishop, Varuna, The Writers' House

'Harrowing but brilliant.' - Daily Telegraph

'Gritty and confronting – powerful stuff.' – Sunday Age

Deb Kandelaars       Wakefield Press

 

Re:reading the dictionary, Tim Sinclair

Cottage Industry Press, September 2011

 

Re:reading the dictionary cover Recently debuted at the Queensland Poetry Festival, Tim Sinclair’s new collection is an alphabet book like no other, an A-Z that will have you looking askance at that innocent-seeming reference text. Available in ebook format directly from Tim’s website.

“If you took to the good bits of these poems with a highlighter, you’d end up with all fluorescent.” ~ Bel Schenk

“These small gems of paragraphs perplex, amuse, intrigue and delight. I have no real idea what the book is about but I know it’s wonderful.” ~ Kate Holden

www.timsinclair.org/Dictionary.htm

 

Two Steps Forward, Irma Gold

Affirm Press, September 2011

 

Two Steps Forward cover It's easy to get stuck in a rut. What binds the characters in Two Steps Forward is an indomitable desire to climb their way out. Located in familiar Australian settings, this collection of stories brilliantly weaves together authentic characters and adverse scenarios. You'll encounter battlers, underdogs and people who are doing it tough. Folks to applaud and causes to cheer. In this moving, assured debut, Irma Gold celebrates courage and challenges our notions of what it takes to be happy.

"These stories catch the poignant sensuousness of difficult lives, their daily tragedies and unexpected joys." Marion Halligan

"With prose that's both sharp and ravishingly metaphorical, Gold burrows into her characters' lives until walls give way and emotion rushes in." Steven Conte

www.affirmpress.com.au/two-steps-forward

 

Waiting for a Wide Horse Sky, Elaine Kennedy

Transit Lounge, September 2011

 

Waiting for a Wide Horse Sky cover One woman’s unexpected story from South Korea. An exhilarating true tale of friendship, danger, and the possibility of new beginnings.

The plight of migrant factory workers in South Korea leads Katoomba-based author Elaine Kennedy to question her own motives for travel and working in Daegu. Heartbreaking and surprisingly intimate, Kennedy’s memoir is full of true drama and incident. This is a ‘stranger than fiction’ story that compels like the best written novels. The reader is drawn deeper and deeper into the beauties, mysteries and injustices that surround and disturb the author, while Kennedy’s undercover fight to assist those who have come to Korea without her own privileges is tense and gripping. This original, warm and suspenseful story is peopled with wonderful characters and rings with the passion and authenticity of truth.

WideHorseSky.wordpress.com

 

Give Me Four Reasons, Lizzie Wilcock

Little Hare, August 2011

 

Give Me Four Reasons cover One woman’s unexpected story from South Korea. An exhilarating true tale of friendship, danger, and the possibility of new beginnings.

A mix-up . . . A wrong impression . . . A complete new set of rules . . .

Paige has been best friends with Elfi and Rochelle for as long as she can remember. On the last day of the school year they make a vow to stay friends forever. But when Paige gets back to school after the summer, she accidentally falls in with the popular crowd and things start to get complicated. Can Paige stay true to her old friends when her new friends don't like them? And can she stay true to herself when she isn't sure who she is anymore?

www.lizziewilcock.wordpress.com

 

Extinction 2: The Explosive Conclusion, Lizzie Wilcock

Scholastic Press, August 2011

 

Extinction 2 cover Eight of us are marked with the infinity symbol. We are the chosen ones. We have to stop the human extinction.

The chosen eight face a life-or-death mission, one that will force them on a perilous journey back through time and within the reach of their enemy, Rufus Keller. From the past, they must command their powers over the earthly elements in an explosive battle that will decide the future of humankind . . . But if they succeed, will they have destroyed the need for their own existence?

www.lizziewilcock.wordpress.com

 

Days Like This, Alison Stewart

Penguin, 1 August 2011

 

Days Like This cover Eight of us are marked with the infinity symbol. We are the chosen ones. We have to stop the human extinction.

I want to go back to the days when life made sense. The days before our parents became strange; before the warming ate away at all the living things in the world; before The Committee and their Blacktroopers. Before the Wall. Lily is a prisoner in her own home. Forced to stay inside by The Committee and guarded by their increasingly distant parents, Lily and her brother Daniel are beginning to ask why. Then, when Daniel disappears just before his seventeenth birthday, Lily knows she is next. Days Like This challenges us to examine what we value. Do we value a sense of historic and literal place, the natural environment and the dignity of the individual, or do we instead seek a world that satisfies us only materially? Runner-up in the 2010 YA Penguin/Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

www.alisonstewartwriter.wordpress.com

 

The Courier's New Bicycle, Kim Westwood

HarperCollins Voyager, 1 August 2011

 

The Courier's New Bicycle cover Set in Melbourne just a few years and socio-political changes from now, The Courier’s New Bicycle is twenty days in the adrenaline-fuelled life of Salisbury Forth: bike courier, animal protection vigilante and accidental sleuth.

www.kimwestwood.com

 

Small Indiscretions: Stories of Travel in Asia, Felicity Castagna

Transit Lounge, 1 August 2011

 

Small Indiscretions cover A traveller becomes a Monroe impersonator in the casinos of Macau. An obsessive son of Australians living in Jakarta confronts his strange rituals. A young woman is trapped in the boredom of her father’s ministry in exotic Borneo. A daughter defies her mother and travels to Bali. Castagna’s twenty stories range across countries: including Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and China, deftly exploring the relationships of parents and children, lovers and enemies, the transient and the resident. In the spirit of Rattawatt Lapacharoensap’s Sightseeing, Castagna’s fiction powerfully captures the landscapes and cultures of Asia and the intriguing interactions of Westerners with it.

 

When We Have Wings, Claire Corbett

Allen & Unwin, July 2011

 

When We Have Wings cover She had never seen the sky in all her life before. How high could she fly? What was the limit? She was already so high the earth was no longer real. Only her in the sky. Every spiral pure joy. This was Flight. It was for this she’d risked and endured so much. It had to be worth it.

The dream of being able to fly is now physical reality but only the rich and powerful can afford the surgery, drugs, and gene manipulation to become fliers. Peri, a poor girl from the regions, will sacrifice anything to get her wings and join this elite but the price is higher than she could have imagined. So why then does she throw it all away?

Feel the exhilaration and terror of flight - over vertiginous skyscrapers, into wild storms and across hypnotic wilderness - in this beautiful and daringly imaginative novel that explores the limits of self-transformation.

www.clairecorbett.com

 

No Bears, Meg McKinlay

Walker Books, 1st June 2011

 

No Bears cover Ruby is in charge of this book. And she'll tell you something right now. There are NO BEARS in it. Not even one.

You don't need bears for a book. You need pretty things like fairies and princesses and castles. Maybe funny things and exciting things – but definitely no bears!

No Bears is a humorous picture book from Meg McKinlay, with illustrations by Leila Rudge – the team that created Duck For a Day. Peppered with fairytale references, the multilayered text and illustrations will have children reading the book over and over.

www.megmckinlay.com

 

Watercolours, Adrienne Ferreira

HarperCollins 4th Estate, 1st May 2011

 

Watercolours cover Eleven-year-old Novi is a descendent of the first Italian silk growers in northern New South Wales. He has the most eccentric parents in town and a habit of drawing the stories of the people around him. He also harbours a secret conviction that the river murdered his grandfather.

Young teacher Dom Best is new in town and eager to help Novi with his creative gift. Together with Camille, the enigmatic and attractive school librarian, Dom encourages Novi to release his inhibitions and unravel his unusual family history through his art. The consequences of this benign act ricochet throughout the town with unexpected and disturbing consequences.

Watercolours is a poignant debut novel with a mystery at its heart, an unexpected love story and a surprising twist. Most of all, it celebrates the clarity and colour a child's-eye view brings to the adult world.

www.adrienneferreira.net

 

Past the Shallows, Favel Parrett

Hachette Australia, April 2011

 

Past the Shallows cover Hauntingly beautiful and told with an elegant simplicity, this is the story of two brothers growing up in a fractured family on the wild Tasmanian coast. The consequences of their parents' choices shape their lives and ultimately bring tragedy to them all.

www.hachette.com.au/books/

 

The Secret Fate of Mary Watson, Judy Johnson

Harper Collins, April 2011

 

The Secret Fate of Mary Watson cover The Secret Fate of Mary Watson is based on the true story of an amazing heroine who lived on Lizard Island in the 1880s and died of thirst after taking to sea in an iron tank her husband used to boil sea slugs in. The tank diary that Mary kept in her last days provides the opening to the novel.

 

Little People, Jane Sullivan

Scribe Publications, April 2011

 

Little People cover When Mary Ann, an impoverished governess, rescues a child from the Yarra River, she sets in motion a train of events that she could never have foreseen. It is not a child she has saved but General Tom Thumb, star of a celebrated troupe of midgets on their 1870 tour of Australia.

From the enchanting Queen of Beauty Lavinia Stratton to the brilliant pianist Franz Richardson, it seems that Mary Ann has fallen in among friends. She soon discovers, however, that relationships within the troupe and its entourage are far from harmonious. Jealousy is rife, and there are secrets aplenty: even Mary Ann has one of her own. Relief gradually turns to fear as she realises that she may be a pawn in a more dangerous game than she imagined …

This gripping historical novel has all the colour and flair of the circus, complete with sideshows starring the little people themselves. A fantastical tale of intrigue and showtime glamour, Little People will charm and beguile you.

 

Extinction: The Day the World Ended, Lizzie Wilcock

Scholastic Press, March 2011

 

Extinction 1 cover The world is going to end on the 21st September. We know this because we've seen it. We were there.

Twins Annie and Mac are the only survivors when humanity is wiped out - or so they think. A mysterious website reveals that they are not alone, and that they have the ability to undo the mass-extinction. But there is someone who will do anything to stop them . . .

www.lizziewilcock.wordpress.com

 

Surface Tension, Meg McKinlay

Walker Books, March 2011

 

Surface Tension cover The day Cassie Romano was born, they drowned her town. Lower Grange was in the way of progress, the expansion of the weir necessary to irrigate the rapidly growing region around them. Years later, when Cassie and Liam - a boy from her school whose troubled history is enmeshed with that of the town - start swimming at the lake neither of them realises the dark secrets that lie beneath. As summer heats up and the lake waters become lower and lower, the shocking truth is slowly uncovered. And soon, both their lives will change - forever. Surface Tension is an atmospheric mystery title for ages 8-13-ish, with the inspiration for the story coming from Meg’s own visit to a real ‘drowned town’ – Tallangatta in north-eastern Victoria – all the way back in Year 8.

www.megmckinlay.com

 

The Indigo Sky, Alison Booth

Random House, January 2011

 

Indigo Sky cover The Indigo Sky is shaped by the stories of Lorna, a resilient Aboriginal girl, and Philip, a vulnerable musical prodigy. Although from very different backgrounds – Lorna is from a dispossessed and impoverished family, and Philip from a wealthy and privileged one – there are parallels in their experiences. Both are thrown into tough environments with institutionalized bullying. Both are cut off from their families. For Lorna, censorship precludes interaction with the outside world, while Philip’s stutter impedes communication. How each will survive – or not – is one of the main threads of the novel. Their narratives are connected by the strong mother-and-daughter team of Ilona, the refugee from Latvia, and her independent-minded daughter, Zidra. Other characters’ stories weave through the book: George Cadwallader, the butcher with a romantic streak and a troubled marriage, and his brilliant son, Jim, whose feelings towards Zidra develop as the tale unfolds.

www.alisonbooth.com

 

Streets on a Map, Dale Harcombe

Ark House Press, December 2010

 

Streets on a Map cover Every choice carries a price as Abby discovers when she marries Joel. If she had known when Joel first walked into Clancy’s what lay in store, she would have stopped the relationship before it got started. However, by the time she found out it was too late. The choice was made. Or so she thought.

But then between her and her one friend in Astley, Laila, they arrive at solution that could benefit Abby and the small county town. A deliberately lit fire and an unplanned pregnancy threaten to bring their carefully laid plans and Abby's dreams undone. Problems of some newcomers to the town impinge on Abby's life too, but it is the arrival of an old resident of Astley that could end up destroying everything and not just for Abby. Read as this entwining plot thickens to see who else's lives will be affected and changed forever. Will the unwelcome arrivals in Astley destroy everything Abby and Laila have worked to achieve?

What is the secret that will have all of Astley reeling?

www.daleharcombe.com

 

Violent Exposure, Katherine Howell

Pan Macmillan, December 2010

 

Violent Exposure cover When Suzanne Crawford is found stabbed to death and her husband Connor is missing, it looks like just another tragic case of domestic violence to Detective Ella Marconi. But as the investigation progresses, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. Why is there no record of Connor Crawford beyond a few years ago? Why has a teenager who worked for the pair gone missing too? Is trainee paramedic Aidan Simpson telling the truth about his involvement? And above all, what was the secret Suzanne knew Connor was keeping at all costs - even from her?

As Ella begins to build a picture of the Crawfords' fractured lives, things around her are deteriorating. Her relationship with a fellow officer is hanging by a thread and her parents seem to be keeping secrets of their own. But Ella only has time for the job she loves, and she knows she has to see her way through the tangled web of deceit and lies to get at the truth - before it's too late.

www.katherinehowell.com

 

Halfway House, the Poetics of Australian Spaces, Jennifer Rutherford & Barbara Holloway

University of Western Australia Printing, November 2010

 

Halfway House cover Halfway House is about Australia as an uneasy, interesting and unsettling place to 'dwell'. Barbara Holloway’s ‘Keith and Merle’ story is a comic account of wildly separating expectations and realities of the Grey Nomad trail.

Halfway House has 20 more sober essays by an interesting mix of well-known and new writers including cultural theorists like Ross Gibson and Paul Carter, the Melbourne architect Alex Selenitsch, dance theorist Rachel Fensham, discussion of the WA science fiction writer Greg Egan, the transformating of the old Botany Bay from a fishing village, 'place' in computer games, and Vietnamese refugees’ experience of Australia.

Generously illustrated.

 

Fall Girl, Toni Jordan

Text Publishing, November 2010

 

Fall Girl cover Meet Ella Canfield, highly qualified evolutionary biologist. Attractive, if a little serious-looking in those heavy glasses—but then she’s about to put her career on the line. Dr Canfield is seeking funding for a highly unorthodox research project. She wants to prove that an extinct animal still roams in one of Australia’s most popular national parks. Meet Daniel Metcalf, good-looking, expensively dishevelled millionaire. Quite witty but far too rich to be taken seriously. He heads the Metcalf Trust, which donates money to offbeat scientific research projects. He has a personal interest in animals that don’t exist. Problem number one: There is no such person as Dr Ella Canfield. Problem number two: Della Gilmore, professional con artist, has never met anyone like Daniel Metcalf before. Someone is going to take a fall. A sparkling, sexy read from the author of Addition, Fall Girl is a story about passion and loyalty, deceit and integrity, and the importance of believing in things that don’t exist.

 

Stitching Things Together, Leah Kaminsky

IP Picks Best Poetry, November 2010

 

Stitching Things Together cover This collection travels well, from the author's engagement with science as a medical practitioner to her appreciation of and penetration into the issues facing contemporary Jews and the State of Israel and the experiences faced by migrants to Australia. It is a poetry of risk but also one of transcendence over the challenges facing people in an increasingly dangerous and unpoetic world.

 

The Pen and the Stethoscope, Leah Kaminsky (editor)

Scribe, November 2010

 

Pen and the Stethoscope cover The Pen and the Stethoscope is a unique collection of fiction and non-fiction by doctor–writers that gives us a fascinating look behind the doctor’s mask, and gets inside the minds of those who deal with enormous existential issues and traumatic situations on a daily basis. These stories canvass emotional experiences acutely felt by doctors: an awareness of our mortality, of how humanity interplays with medicine, of the weight of responsibility carried by the profession. They bring into sharp focus, in many cases, the point of view of the patient, illuminating the experience of grief, trauma, illness, and ageing that doctors witness through their work. With a foreword by Jerome Groopman, contributors include Oliver Sacks, Atul Gawande, Irvin Yalom, Jacinta Halloran, Abraham Verghese, Gabriel Weston, Peter Goldsworthy, John Murray, Robert Jay Lifton, Danielle Ofri, Perri Klass, Nick Earls, Ethan Canin, Sandeep Jauhar, and Leah Kaminsky.

 

The Post-Man Letters & Other Poems, Peter Lach-Newinsky

Picaro Press, November 2010

 

Post-Man Letters cover This book is the result of the author’s 2009 Varuna-Picaro Publishing Fellowship. Poet Deb Westbury has described it as “a significant achievement” containing “richness of almost every kind – in form, subject matter, breadth of thought, diction, voice, experimentation, erudition, word play” and praising its “grace, beauty and profundity.” Rob Riel has called the volume “a sophisticated, astute, and remarkably well crafted tour de force.” Two longer poems, ‘Love in the Suburbs’ and ‘The Post-Man Letters. An Evolutionary Epic’ anchor the volume while the shorter poems are grouped into five sections that could be loosely characterised as pastoral, poetics, personal, political and personae. The latter section contains a poem commemorating Eric Dark (‘Dark Tracks’) and was written while staying in the Darks’ room during a Varuna residency in 2008.

 

The Romantic, Kate Holden

Text Publishing, October 2010

 

The Romantic cover This is the spellbinding follow-up to Kate Holden’s memoir In My Skin, but it has a different story to tell. The Romantic describes Kate’s journey from Melbourne to Rome and Naples, from romance and sex to love, from loss to understanding—and back again. This is a book about everything from sex with strangers to the heartbreaking realities of being in love. It’s about the pride of fierce independence and the crushing weight of loneliness. It’s about losing yourself in love and then finding yourself through your lover. But most of all, The Romantic is the story of one woman’s pilgrimage to discover who she really is. And to learn to like what she finds.

 

Genesis, the Rosie Black Chronicles, Lara Morgan

Walker Books, October 2010

 

Rosie Black Chronicles cover Rosie Black is on the run to save her family and uncover the truth.

Five hundred years into the future, the world is a different place. The Melt has sunk most of the coastal cities and Newperth is divided into the haves, the “Centrals”; the have-nots, the “Bankers”; and the fringe dwellers, the “Ferals”. Rosie Black is a Banker. When Rosie finds an unusual box, she has no idea of the grave consequences of her discovery. A mysterious organisation wants it – and they’ll kill to get it. Forced to rely on two strangers, Rosie is on the run. But who can she trust? Pip, the too attractive Feral, or the secretive man he calls boss? From Earth to Mars, Rosie must learn the secrets of the box. Before it’s too late.

http://laramorgan.wordpress.com
www.rosieblack.com

 

Always Jack, Susanne Gervay

Harper Collins, October 2010

 

Always Jack cover Jack, his sister, Nanna, Mum, friends ... these great kids and people are part of your life. Jack’s like YOU and life’s crazy sometimes, and funny, and terrific. Jack loves banana cake, jokes, surfing, inventing... and annoying his sister.

Then his Mum gets sick.

Getting cancer isn’t the end of everything, it can be all right if everyone pitches, supports each other. Who pitches in? Nanna with her wobbly teeth. Rob who's the best dish washer-er in the world. Samantha who loves dogs. Anna who, I think, loves Jack? Chris and his refugee Vietnamese parents. Leo with his surfing. Jack’s teacher, neighbours, school, kids. EVERYONE.

 

Serenade For A Small Family, Ingrid Laguna

Allen & Unwin, September 2010

 

Serenade For A Small Family cover Ingrid Laguna never did things the easy way – she spent much of her young adulthood rebelling against conformism, playing in a mostly girl band and travelling around Australia, before marrying Ben and going to live in Alice Springs.

Pregnancy didn’t come easily either but, through IVF, she finally fell pregnant. And when she went into premature labour at 23 weeks and her twin sons were born – each weighing about the same as a pat of butter and small enough to fit into the palm of her hand – she had to call on all her strength and stubbornness to see the journey through and be the mother her sons needed.

Serenade for a Small Family is an earthy, honest and heartbreaking memoir about what it means to love; and about the terrible powerlessness and torment involved when there is fear of losing a child. Yet despite the pain and anguish, Ingrid’s memoir is at its heart about how we can experience unimaginable difficulty – and still somehow find the spirit to come through blazing with love and optimism and even a kind of joy.

 

EleMental, Steven O’Connor

Pier 9, June 2010

 

EleMental cover It’s the year 2050. It’s a city with ziptrams that screech across the horizon and hyperboards that zoom through the air. Three teenagers – Zeb, Willis and Arizona – are drawn to a new kind of games console and a weird demo game supplied to them by a mysterious stranger named Grimble Dower. EleMental was awarded four out of four stars by The Bookseller and Publisher and described as ‘a fantastic and exciting debut novel’ with an ‘entertaining mix of futuristic sci-fi, horror, action and angst […] a great book for reluctant readers’. The novel was launched at the 2010 Melbourne Writers’ Festival by Prof. Pat McGorry, Australian of the Year.

 

Six Impossible Things, Fiona Wood

Pan Macmillan, August 2010

 

Six Impossible Things cover Fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortunes, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business and a Thom Yorke obsession, a just-out gay dad and an impossible crush on girl next door Estelle. His entire life is a mess but for now he’s narrowed it down to just six impossible things. Dan's name is an anagram of Cinderella, and this is a modern-day fairytale about a boy who finally gets to go to the ball - or year nine social, in his case. Along the way he reconsiders and reconstructs life in his entirely changed world. A funny, emotionally honest story about first love, with a fairytale backbeat.

 

This Barren Rock: A True Tale of Shipwreck and Survival in the Southern Seas, Sylvie Haisman

ABC Books, June 2010

 

This Barren Rock cover Imagine one woman, forty-seven men and a three-year-old boy, shipwrecked on a tiny sub-Antarctic island. For seven months they eat albatross and burn penguin skins for fuel, before a passing whaler picks them up. The woman was Fanny Wordsworth. She and her son, Charlie, were migrating from Scotland to New Zealand. Two months out, their ship struck a rock, halfway between Antarctica and Madagascar... The Scottish clipper Strathmore sailed from London in 1875, laden with gunpowder, iron and immigrants. Wrecked at night in furious seas, half her passengers struggled ashore to the bare, inhospitable rocks of the remote Crozet Islands. There they remained stranded, struggling to survive the bitter southern winter, given up for lost by their families and friends. Over 130 years later, Fanny's great-great-great-granddaughter, award-winning writer Sylvie Haisman rediscovers her ancestors' epic adventure. Drawing on their journals, faded photographs and letters, she unearths a story of gallant sailors, orphaned children, cruel hunger and debilitating cold.

 

The Truth About Penguins, Meg McKinlay

Walker Books Australia, June 2010

 

The Truth About Penguins cover The penguins are coming and there is great excitement at the zoo. But what’s a penguin? The animals don’t quite know what to expect - but they all have an opinion, each more outlandish than the last. When the truth about penguins is finally revealed, everyone is in for a surprise! The Truth About Penguins is a zany romp that demonstrates the fine line between fact and fiction in the animal world.

 

Hopscotch Book 2: Golden Scarab, Ian Trevaskis

Walker Books, June 2010

 

Golden Scarab cover The golden scarab takes Hannah and Jake back to ancient Egypt where they must fight once again to complete their task. After finding their way back to Pelican Bay Jake and Hannah must play the mystical hopscotch game again. Sent back to ancient Egypt by Kostas, the Game Master, their journey in the time of King Thutmose leads them to battle ancient spirits and evil tomb raiders. Will they ever make it home again? And even if they complete their task, will Jake want to return to Pelican Bay or will his desire to be the mighty warrior Jakanah keep him in ancient Egypt?

 

Indelible Ink, Fiona McGregor

Scribe Publications, June 2010

 

Indelible Ink cover Marie King is fifty-nine, recently divorced, and has lived a rather conventional life on Sydney’s affluent north shore. Now her three children have moved out, the family home is to be sold, and with it will go her beloved garden. On a drunken whim, Marie gets a tattoo — an act that gives way to an unexpected friendship with her tattoo artist, Rhys. Before long, Rhys has introduced Marie to a side of the city that clashes with her staid north-shore milieu. Her children are mortified by their mother’s transformation, but have their own challenges to deal with: workplace politics; love affairs old and new; and, of course, the real-estate market. Written with Fiona McGregor’s customary savage wit and keen eye, Indelible Ink uses one family as a microcosm for the changes operating in society at large. In its piercing examination of the way we live now, it is truly a novel for our times.

 

The Perfume River, Catherine Cole (editor)

UWA Press, April 2010

 

The Perfume River cover The Perfume River offers the reader perspectives on Vietnam from both inside and outside the country. The diverse array of writers include renowned authors of the Vietnamese literary canon, 2nd generation ex-pats (based in Australia & America), and non-Vietnamese authors who have special ties with the country and its culture. The only book of its kind on the market, The Perfume River is a collection of short stories and poetry. It explores a multitude of rich themes including origin, the rural/urban divide in Vietnam, family, generation gaps, lost love, the effects of war, migration, foreigner’s impressions of Vietnam, the East/West divide, ex pats, Western attitudes to Vietnam and Asia, Vietnamese attitudes to the West and everyday life in Vietnam. Contributors include Nam Le, Andrew Lam, Bao Ninh, Pham Thi Hoai and Pam Brown.

 

Border Watch, Helene Young

Hachette Australia, March 2010

 

Border Watch cover High above the crystal-blue waters of North Queensland, Captain Morgan Pentland patrols the vast Australian coastline. When Customs Agent Rafe Daniels joins her crew, she is immediately suspicious. Why is he boarding her plane when she isn’t there? And why is he asking so many questions? What Morgan doesn’t know is that Rafe has her under surveillance. Critical information about their Border Watch operations is being leaked and she is the main suspect. Morgan’s ex, elite police officer Carl Wiseman, is back on the scene after she finally found the courage to throw him out. Is he trying to regain Morgan’s affections, or are his intentions more sinister? When Morgan and Rafe are shot down in a tragic midair attack, they realise they have to start working together – and quickly. One of Australia’s most loved icons is the next target and they have only nine days to stop it.

 

Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs, Malcolm Fraser & Margaret Simons

Melbourne University Press, March 2010

 

Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs cover Malcolm Fraser is one of the most interesting and possibly most misunderstood of Australia's Prime Ministers. In this part memoir and part authorised biography, Fraser at the age of 79 years talks about his time in public life. From the Vietnam War to the Dismissal and his years as Prime Minister, through to his concern in recent times for breaches in the Rule of Law and harsh treatment of refugees, Fraser emerges as an enduring liberal, constantly reinterpreting core values to meet the needs of changing times. Written in collaboration with journalist Margaret Simons, Malcolm Fraser's political memoirs trace the story of a shy boy who was raised to be seen and not heard, yet grew to become one of the most persistent, insistent and controversial political voices of our times.

 

Delilah’s Dream, Ian Trevaskis

October 2009

 

Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs cover Delilah, the hen, dreams of adventure. She pictures herself soaring through the sky and flying amongst the stars. Delilah’s sisters Priscilla and Esmerelda make fun of her lofty ideas. However they soon change their tune as Delilah comes to the rescue of her sisters and fellow farmyard friends. This is a gentle tale about following your instincts and reclaiming friends.

 

Alzheimer's - a Love Story, Vivienne Ulman

Scribe, October 2009

 

Alzheimer's - a Love Story cover When the last of Vivienne Ulman’s four children left home, she and her husband were poised to enjoy their freedom. Then, her mother’s Alzheimer’s intervened. In this book, Ulman records with tender lyricism and searing honesty the progress of her mother’s Alzheimer’s, her own grief over the gradual loss of her beloved mother, and the way in which her parents’ enduring love for each other sustained them. Into this she weaves an account of her family’s history, in particular her father’s rise from farm boy to confidant of prime ministers — achievements made possible by the loving strength of the woman by his side. In a reversal of roles, he amply returned this support. This inspiring Australian story is a tale for the sandwich generation, squeezed on one side by concerns for their children and on the other by anxiety about their parents. It is about illness, grief, and hardship, but it is also about love, determination, and joy.

 

Brothers & Sisters, Charlotte Wood (editor)

Allen & Unwin, October 2009

 

Brothers & Sisters cover 'Your brother or sister, it might be said, is your other self

- your grander, sadder, braver, shrewder, uglier, slenderer self ... '


A girl sneaks into her brothers’ rooms to rummage through their pockets while they’re out. A man boards a plane to attend his brother’s funeral, and another man’s brother comes home from jail. A young woman watches her sister embrace life and London while she is left behind, and two girls compete for the colour pink and their father’s love. Trespass and abandonment, old secrets and new truths, rivalry and protection, love and fear: twelve of Australia’s best writers tell surprising stories of the abiding bonds—bad, beautiful or broken— between brothers and sisters. An anthology of newly-commissioned stories by well-known and new writers — Nam Le, Christos Tsiolkas, Tony Birch, Tegan Bennett Daylight, Robert Drewe, Ashley Hay, Cate Kennedy, Roger McDonald, Paddy O'Reilly, Virginia Peters, Michael Sala.

 

The River Wife, Heather Rose

Allen & Unwin, June 2009

 

The River Wife cover In the central highlands of Tasmania, deep in ancient rainforest, is the river wife. Her duty is, and has always been, to tend the river. Her rituals are unquestioned, the landscape eternal. Until a man comes to the river and seeks to find a story of his own. His name is Wilson James and together he and the river wife embark on the precarious journey into love. Stories emerge of friendship, time, magic and water, but none is more captivating than the story Wilson James and the river wife weave together. But there is always a price to pay for love, and eternity.

 

The World Beneath, Cate Kennedy

Scribe Publications, September 2009

 

The World Beneath cover Once, Rich and Sandy were environmental activists, part of a world-famous blockade in Tasmania to save the wilderness. Now, twenty-five years later, they have both settled into the uncomfortable compromises of middle age — although they’ve gone about it in very different ways. About the only thing they have in common these days is their fifteen-year-old daughter, Sophie. When the perennially restless Rich decides to take Sophie, whom he hardly knows, on a trek into the Tasmanian wilderness, his overconfidence and her growing disillusion with him set off a chain of events that no one could have predicted. Instead of respect, Rich finds antagonism in his relationship with Sophie; and in the vast landscape he once felt an affinity with, he encounters nothing but disorientation and fear. Ultimately, all three characters will learn that if they are to survive, each must traverse not only the secret territories that lie between them but also those within themselves.

 

The Ghost at the Wedding, Shirley Walker

Penguin, June 2009

 

The Ghost at the Wedding cover Three generations, two world wars, one family.

In the year of 1914, in the canefields of northern New South Wales, the young men couldn't wait to set off for the adventure of war. The women coped as best they could, raised the children, lived in fear of being next to receive an official telegram. They grieved their dead, and came to learn that for returned men there are worse things than death in combat. They bore more children to replace those lost in the First World War, and the sons were just the right age to go off to the second. The Ghost at the Wedding is like no other account of war, chronicling events from both sides – the horror of the battlefields and the women who were left at home. Shirley Walker's depictions of those battles – Gallipoli, the Western Front, the Kokoda Track – are grittily accurate, their reverberations haunting. Written with the emotional power of a novel, here is a true story whose sorrow is redeemed by astonishing beauty and strength of spirit.

 

The Knee Monologues and Other Poems, Peter Lach-Newinsky

Picaro Press, July 2009

 

Knee Monologues cover A bright new voice in Australian poetry, Peter Lach-Newinsky is the recipient of a Bronze in the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Poetry Prize. This strong new work explores a variety of poetic forms and themes range from the topical and political to the metaphysical and pastoral. Threads of wit, irony and humour run through many poems. The Knee Monologues is written from the knees' perspective and encompasses mini-skirts, Milton, sex, class and the moon landing. Black Blood praises the end of cheap oil. Signs celebrates the deep mysticism of Australian road signs. Two poems deal with the public trauma of Chernobyl and 9/11. One poem imagines the hot morning of Columbus' setting sail to 'discover' America in August 1492.

 

Hollywood Ending, Kathy Charles

Text, September 2009

 

Hollywood Ending cover Set in a glamorous and seedy Los Angeles, Hollywood Ending is a story that will make your heart skip a beat. Pink-haired Hilda and endearing punk Benji, both seventeen, have an obsessive hobby—they haunt the places where Hollywood celebrities have died. In rundown Echo Park, once the hub of the movie business, they find the squalid apartment where a second-rate silent movie star stabbed himself to death with nail scissors. Its current tenant is Hank, an old man with a mysterious past. While Benji dives deeper into the cult of celebrity death, Hank and Hilda make an unlikely pair. Then Jake the screenwriter turns up. What’s his story? Kathy Charles has talent to burn and takes the reader into the heart of the movie world, and the shadows of our own personal histories. Hollywood Ending is a thriller, a comedy about the weirdness of growing up, and a wry love-letter to Los Angeles.

 

Mannie and the Long Brave Day, Martine Murray & Sally Rippin (illustrator)

Allen & Unwin, September 2009

 

Mannie and the Long Brave Day cover 'Wait a minute! What's in the box?' Mannie is going on an adventure. She's taking her favourite elephant Lilliput and her doll Strawberry Luca. And she hasn't forgotten her special box of secret things, just in case the adventure gets adventurous... A magical story that celebrates friendship, courage and the wonder of a child's imagination.

 

Measuring Up, GJ Stroud

Scribe Publications, September 2009

 

Measuring Up cover Until recently, Jonah’s life has been wonderfully simple: school, partying and surfing with his mates. It’s been uncomplicated — like riding the perfect wave. But that’s all about to change. With the stress of year 12 looming, Jonah’s mission to have sex before his eighteenth birthday is not going well. Jonah’s lack of self-confidence is fuelling his fear that he’s destined to live in the shadow of his legendary older brother, Link. And just when he thinks that things couldn’t get any more complicated his brother drops a bombshell on his unsuspecting family. But life has a funny way of sorting out the big issues from the small. And Jonah discovers that sometimes the answers you’re looking for are right in front of you … Measuring Up is a fresh and funny story of friendship, surf and raging hormones.

 

What Came Between, Patrick Cullen

Scribe, August 2009

 

What Came Between cover In 1989, the Newcastle earthquake opens up fault-lines in the relationships of three couples who reside in adjoining terraces, changing their lives irreparably. Each of those six people has to discover new ways to negotiate marriage and infidelity, careers and unemployment, friendship and loss. First they need to learn how to survive each day. Then, a decade later — as the city’s major employer, the steelworks, shuts down — they must begin to live as if each night were their last. Written in spare prose, What Came Between takes ordinary lives and makes them both familiar and extraordinary. Through the accumulation of telling details, Patrick Cullen creates a compelling portrait of a place, a time, and a city.

 

The Ice Age, Kirsten Reed

Text, August 2009

 

The Ice Age cover A teenage girl is in the passenger seat; the driver is an older man. As they criss-cross America, destined for who knows where, she watches him and wants…what he is, what he has. She sees the black looks and knowing smiles they attract but believes they are safe in their small, charmed world of backroads, motels and diners. Her companion knows the road does not go on forever. The Ice Age is a brilliant new take on the road novel. It evokes Kerouac and Nabokov in equal measure, describing an irresistible arc through the shining, translucent moment at the end of childhood. Earthy, lyrical, laced with sly humour and sharp observation, Kirsten Reed’s superb debut presents a young protagonist to fear and rejoice for — and a young writer to watch closely.

 

Omega Park, Amy Barker

UQP, August 2009

 

Omega Park cover Omega Park is a housing commission estate on the fringes of Queensland's Gold Coast. Dingo Patterson and Jacob Box are growing up and trying to survive. Surrounded by broken families, crime and desperation, they are young men with dreams of a different life. When a car chase ends in tragedy for one of the boys, relations with police and within the community reach crisis point. Amy Barker tells a sobering tale of modern warfare in the suburbs with confidence and assurance. This striking debut novel explores how life on society's margins can mean the end of the road for some, and offer the possibility of escape for others.

 

The Big Dig, Meg McKinlay

Walker Books, July 2009

 

The Big Dig cover When their local pool closes down suddenly, forcing them to be 'centralised' at the too-crowded, too-far-away, too-expensive, too-much-of-everything-really whizzbang Aquatic Centre, Nathan and his mates have other plans. Equipped with a big, empty backyard, some hoses joined together with duct-tape, and a bucket of quick-dry cement, they decide it's time to take matters (and shovels) into their own hands. Dig. Dig some more. Put water in. Swim. It's the world's simplest plan. And simplicity is good, isn't it? Who needs professionals and measurements and a keen eye for the laws of physics? This pool is destined for greatness. What could possibly go wrong?

Aimed at readers aged 8-12, The Big Dig is Meg's second book in Walker Book's popular Lightning Strikes series, featuring the hapless trio of Nathan, Ronnie and Weasel readers came to know and roll their eyes at in Going for Broke.

 

Medusa Stone, Ian Trevaskis

Walker Books, June 2009

 

Medusa Stone cover When Hannah and Jake discover an ancient scroll in Kostas the Giant’s boathouse they are intrigued. What does the rhyme mean? A simple game of Hopscotch catapults them into a strange world. Trapped in mythological ancient Greece, Hannah must find three objects – and Jake. Will they ever make it back home to Pelican Bay? Aimed at children in Years 5 and above, Medusa Stone, published by Walker Books Australia, will be released on June 1st 2009 and is the first book in the Hopscotch series. Ian is currently working on the draft of the second book in the series to be titled Golden Scarab and once again featuring teenage ‘warriors’, Hannah and Jake.

 

The Weight of Silence, Catherine Therese

Hachette, May 2009

 

The Weight of Silence cover The Weight of Silence is the gravity of all the unsaids, the unseens, and how they shape our lives. A father's drinking, a mother's shame, a daughter's longing to hold onto a trouser leg to hear someone speak of what never happened. The Weight of Silence = 9 lbs 4 ozs. In her achingly funny, heartbreaking childhood memoir, Catherine Therese takes the reader inside her head, and upside down on a unique emotional rollercoaster from picking her belly button in her backyard in Blacktown, pulling her hair out standing on her head, to the stage; hiding inside her wardrobe interpreting silence, to the bedroom of a boy with half a thumb and to the labour ward, in an unforgettable story of remembering, forgetting, pretending, of becoming who you are.

 

Grandma Magic, Janet Hutchinson (editor)

Allen & Unwin, April 2009

 

Grandma Magic cover Stories by and about grandmothers - grandmothers youthful and elderly, playful and strict, joyful, sorry and stern, exotic, ordinary. Stories filled with wonder and love and the mystery of being - and having - a grandmother. Stories told by grandmothers themselves, by mothers who become grandmothers, and by the children and grandchildren who love them and share their love. These twenty tales speak of unconditional affection, joy and laughter; of mistakes redeemed, of family secrets and patterns stamped on generations, shame and hardship, memory and loss. They take you into realms both familiar and unknown, on a voyage around many grandmothers that is rich, engaging and irresistible.

 

Waiting Room, Gabrielle Carey

Scribe, April 2009

 

Waiting Room cover ‘It all started with her bare feet. I’d never seen them like that before, from that angle, looking so vulnerable.’

When Gabrielle Carey’s mother, who is usually pedantically punctual and organised, begins to forget basic things like where she put her purse, Gabrielle knows that something is wrong. Scans reveal a brain tumour, and doctors advise its urgent removal. But there is another urgency at hand. Biding the dreadful passing of time in doctors’ waiting rooms, Gabrielle begins to realise how much her mother has left untold, how many questions she still wants to ask her, and how little time there is left for answers. Amid organising appointments, looking after her own children, and battling her mother’s stubbornly principled idea that she should be left to die, Gabrielle begins to voice the unasked — to attempt to discover the mother whom she has lived with all her life but never truly known. In this sharp and honest memoir, we see what it is that families, in all their complex dynamics, can give to each other, and just what they stand to gain when they lay down their arms and let each other in.

 

Pescador’s Wake, Katherine Johnson

4th Estate (HarperCollins), January 2009

 

Pescador’s Wake cover Katherine was a winner of the HarperCollins Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development in 2007.

They will trespass the sea for the catch of a lifetime … The Uruguayan-flagged Pescador has been sported fishing illegally for Patagonian toothfish in the waters off Heard Island. The crew of an Australian patrol vessel, the Australis, has been given instructions to pursue the Pescador and not let her out of its sight. Equally determined, Carlos, the Pescador’s master, sets an escape course south, directly into a storm. But the Australian boat in hot pursuit is not the only source of anxiety among the crew of the Pescador. Each has his own secrets and ambitions. As the drama unfolds at sea, so too do the stories of the human lives caught in its nets. For the men on board the boats, and the women they’ve left behind on shore, there is much at stake. In this gripping debut, Katherine Johnson evokes the danger and the heartbreak of lives at the mercy of the sea, and weaves a breathtaking story of love, loss and hope.

 

New Australian Stories, Aviva Tuffield (editor)

February 2009

 

New Australian Stories cover This eclectic anthology of new stories showcases some of our finest short-story writers and proves that the short story is alive and well in Australia. From seasoned practitioners of the form through to rising and emerging stars of the short-story firmament, New Australian Stories caters for all tastes. There’s humour, mystery, drama, and even some delusion and deceit. Whole lives are captured in just a few satisfying pages. Ideal for dipping into and perfect for those seeking inspiration and escape, this collection is designed for your reading pleasure. Alumni contributors include Cate Kennedy, Paddy O'Reilly, Patrick Cullen, Virginia Peters, Claire Aman, Mark O'Flynn and Julie Gittus.

 

The Gene Thieves, Maria Quinn

Harper Voyager, February 2009

 

The Gene Thieves cover Lonely genetic scientist, Piggy Brown is desperate for a child, but he’s in a tricky situation; he needs a lawyer to help him. Dancer is able to create contracts which push the envelope of the law, and he has his own reasons for wanting to find a way to grant this brilliant man’s wish. The Conjugal-Contract lawyer visits The Nest, the official centre for surrogates, and inveigles then into recommending someone they have used before, someone who won’t ask too many questions about the baby she carries. But choosing a surrogate can get risky, and this one, Angela, comes with baggage, her own child, Molly ... a six-year-old who has already seen too much of her mother’s world. When a grotesque murder and kidnapping happens, everyone’s life is thrown into chaos and Jack Lee, Chief Investigator for the UN Ethical Science Council decides it’s time to take charge, for the sake of the future.

 

Sleepers Almanac No. 5

Sleepers Publishing Soho Press NY, February 2009

 

Sleepers Almanac No. 5 cover The annual Sleepers Almanac is a collection of short stories, poetry and cartoons, which specialises in bringing together authors of some repute alongside tyro writers. When Sleepers was founded by Zoe Dattner and Louise Swinn six years ago, their aim was to bring to the reading public the most exhilarating experience on the page. The previous Almanacs demonstrated how successful they were and now, in its fifth incarnation, the Sleepers Almanac has become an Australian institution. The Sleepers Almanac 5 includes stories from Alumni authors Patrick Cullen, Tim Richards, Virginia Peters and Melissa Beit. Coupled with the now-legendary literary events, the Sleepers Salons, the Sleepers Almanac has made a name for itself for taking risks, showcasing quality up and coming talent, and looking darn fine to boot. It’s like a mixed bag of lollies – you stick your hand in and something delicious is bound to turn up.

 

Deep Night, Caroline Petit

Soho Press NY, December 2008

 

Deep Night cover Leah Kolbe’s father, a dealer in antiquities, left the business to her when he died. Now, the Japanese have occupied most of mainland China and threaten the British colony of Hong where Leah lives. When they unexpectedly invade, her fiancé becomes a prisoner of war, interned under the harshest conditions with the rest of the colonialists. She escapes to Macau arriving there penniless after everything — including her shoes – have been stolen. Leah finds a job at the British consulate and is accepted into local Portuguese society. But when she is asked, she agrees to become a spy and to take a Japanese armaments manufacturer as a lover, putting her life in constant peril. The information that he reveals to her is valuable to the embattled Chinese and the American Air Force in Chungking. Hoping that her finance will be among the survivors of the brutal regime, she longs for the end of the war and with it, the end of moral compromises. But when it comes, will she everything changed, including herself.

 

Culture is … Australian Stories across Cultures, Anne-Marie Smith (editor)

Wakefield Press, October 2008

 

Culture is cover This collection of poetry, prose and drama communicates the passion, pain, humour and struggle of contemporary Australians wrestling with ideas of culture. What and where is our home? How do we see ourselves? Will we ever be accepted? Is tolerance enough? Can we lay claim to two, three, or more ‘cultures’? This national anthology has a substantial ratio of entries from indigenous Australians, South Australian and non-metropolitan writers, and women. Emerging writers are represented in the selected pieces which cover a wide scope of authors from different linguistic origins.

 

The Penguin Book of the Road, Delia Falconer (editor)

Penguin, October 2008

 

The Penguin Book of the Road cover Roads, in Australia, have never been the ‘glossy black dance floors’ of Nabokov’s America. We have produced no home-grown Whitman or Kerouac to sing the freedom of the open road or riff on the exhilarations of the highway. On the whole, roads make us uneasy. If we celebrate them at all it is for their strangeness; their Big Pineapples, desert hermits and marauding hoons. Our pleasures are more likely to be found off-road, ranging through trackless bush like the Wild Colonial Boy or forging empty beaches in a four-wheel drive. In our collective imagination the road is usually a place traversed on the way to somewhere better. While the American road speeds forward, Australian tracks tend to wind back. Even our iconic song ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ is less about the road itself than the nostalgic home comforts at its end…

Australia is a nation of drivers. We spend more time behind the wheel than almost anyone else, on fast highways, lonely bush tracks, jammed city lanes and suburban streets. The road has always been the place where the great dramas of our lives unfold, the route to our greatest pleasures as well as our worst nightmares. In this landmark collection, spanning from the classic to the modern, acclaimed novelist and essayist Delia Falconer brings together the best of Australian writing on our love affair with the road.

 

The Devil's Eye, Ian Townsend

Harper Collins, October 2008

 

The Devil's Eye cover At the end of the 19th Century one of the most powerful storms in history is born. A hurricane named Mahina moves across the Coral Sea. To a remote part of the Queensland coast come the hundreds of sails of the northern pearling fleets, a grieving aboriginal warrior, and a Native Policeman trying to solve a murder. Nearly 2000 men women and children are gathering near Cape Melville, unaware of the approaching storm that’s about to cause Australia’s deadliest natural disaster. Based on real events, this is the story of an unstoppable force of nature and the birth and death of an Australian dream.

 

Postcards from the Asylum, Karen Knight

Pardalote Press, August 2008

 

Postcards from the Asylum cover In her fifth collection of poetry, award-winning poet Karen Knight captures with disarming skill, sensitivity and piercing black humour her experiences as an inmate at the Royal Derwent Psychiatric Hospital in 1969. Karen was sent to live at the RDH as a young woman who, like many of her era, was seen as challenging the system and the status quo of the 1960s. For concerned parents whose authority was questioned, the hospital provided a more 'stable' environment in which a teenager could be sent to deal with her rebellious nature. Postcards from the Asylum details Knight's frustration and confusion where her every day is askew - reflecting on the confronting experience of being institutionalised and submitting to the power of doctors and medication.

 

The Divided Heart, Rachel Power

Red Dog Books, August 2008

 

The Divided Heart cover A divided heart; a split self; the sense that to succeed at one means to fail at another. Do women still confront the attitude that a dedicated artist will forsake children for the sake of her career? And if she chooses to have children — how does she balance the demands of family life with her artistic life? Some of Australia’s most respected artists, writers and actors speak about the wrench between motherhood and an artistic life. Journalist Rachel Power navigates through the divided heart of the women to reveal the shocking, funny and moving truth of the overwhelming demands of motherhood, and the undiminished passion for their work. Featuring interviews with Rachel Griffiths • Nikki Gemmell • Clare Bowditch • Joanna Murray-Smith • Kirsty Martin • Jocelyn Moorhouse • Elena Kats-Chernin • Polixeni Papapetrou • Robyn Rowland • Anna Maria Dell’Oso • Sarah Watt • Davida Allen • Alice Garner • Brenda Walker • Tegan Bennett-Daylight • Beth Norling • Sarah Tomasetti • Emma Matthews • Sally Rippin • Martine Murray • Franki Sparke • Helen Bodycomb • Kathy Drayton • Isobel Kirk • Felicity Bott • Sally Richardson.

The Divided Heart

 

The Daughters of Moab, Kim Westwood

Harper Voyager, August 2008

 

The Daughters of Moab cover Down in the generator rooms at the Kingdom Fort True Believer Centre, transfect ‘E’ is confessing, and the Nathans are taking it very badly … Assumpta Viali likes her solitude. A chronic loner, she dispenses rough justice ‘as required’ for Eustace Crane II, the Nathans’ crotchety Head of Council. For Eustace, however, nothing has gone right since Tribulation. He’s been left the leader of a bunch of pithless wonders hiding in their crumbling citadels, something blasphemous tucked in their basements. And while his minder heads off on secret business of her own, out in the Sorry Plains the Children of the Maglev prepare for the Afterlife. But one among them has a far less sacrificial future planned.

 

Saltwater Moons, Julie Gittus

Lothian, August 2008

 

Saltwater Moons cover Sun and Tycho embark on a relationship with an exchange of poems. He visits her at home. But when Sun is invited down to his parents’ beach house for the weekend, events twist in a direction she would never have expected. It seems as if Tycho is still involved with someone else, and then Sun is plunged into a powerful relationship with Mark, who used to be with Nicky, Sun’s best friend. Naturally, Sun’s life instantly becomes complicated. Nicky won’t talk to her and to make things worse, Sun then falls from her horse and breaks an arm. As Sun struggles to deal with the issues surrounding her first sexual relationship, the secret poem exchange between Tycho and herself continues.

 

The Last Sky, Alice Nelson

Fremantle Press, August 2008

 

The Last Sky cover Adrift in a failing marriage, Maya Wise is alone in a strange world far from home. Until, intrigued by an elderly Chinese man carrying a caged nightingale, she begins to follow him through the streets of Hong Kong. Drawn to Ken Tiger and his painful tale of lost love in wartime Shanghai, Maya begins to piece together other stories, other histories from the world around her, and so comes to imagine another life, a different future for herself. A eulogy for the end of love, The Last Sky is also a moving meditation on exile, memory and the ways in which we reconcile ourselves with loss. It was shortlisted for the The Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 2004 and won the 2006 T A G Hungerford Award.

 

Walking to the Moon, Kate Cole-Adams

Text, July 2008

 

Walking to the Moon cover When I stood up I could not see my mother. She was not on the beach, and when I looked back across the water she was not there either. ‘Where is she?’ I asked, or was about to ask, when I saw something floating a little way off, not far from the shore. In the icy elongated moment that followed I could neither move nor hear nor speak.

A woman wakes from a coma, its cause unknown. She refuses to see her family; she does not say why. Slowly, almost reluctantly, she becomes stronger. Now she will walk. Where?

Kate Cole-Adams’ enthralling, seductive first novel is both a psychological journey and a piercing exploration of abandonment and loss. A work of striking subtlety and maturity, it heralds the arrival of a brilliant new voice in Australian literature.

 

Beneath the Bloodwood Tree, Julienne van Loon

Allen and & Unwin, June 2008

 

Beneath the Bloodwood Tree cover Pia Ricci has come to Port Hedland to free her life of complications and distractions. But when she discovers a bundle of money and men's clothing buried on the outskirts of town, she has an uncomfortable feeling that things are about to change. Is it connected to the foreigner Joachim, a new arrival in town? Or to the ghosts in her own past? As Pia and Joachim grow closer, Pia can see he has secrets. The widow Barnes, one of Joachim's nursing charges, also holds secrets, and they're coming to the surface. As these three misfits come together, their world starts to change in ways they could never have expected. Set against the vast inhospitable landscape of the Pilbara, this is a powerful, tightly-woven desert tale of ghosts, grief and love.

 

Bird, Sophie Cunningham

Text Publishing, June 2008

 

Bird cover Ana-Sofia's mother was famous: Anna Davidoff – 'Bird' – post-war refugee, fifties movie starlet, sixties party girl and drug-charged acolyte of the jazz greats. Anna, who abandoned her daughter to take vows as a Buddhist nun – who shaved her head and finally died alone in a Himalayan cave. Anna, whom everybody knew and no one knew at all. Certainly not Ana-Sofia. Now, at the age Anna was when she died, Ana-Sofia feels the need to return to India and Nepal, to confront the ghosts of the past, and those who loved her mother. To find out who Anna was and how, in the end, she achieved her peace. Sophie Cunningham's Bird is the ambitious and compelling next step in a brilliant new literary career: an emotional odyssey into the heart of a calamitous century.

 

Let Me Show You A Ripple, Kristen Lang

self-published, May 2008

 

Let Me Show You A Ripple cover A book of poetry and photographs, in which the words and images rub and weave together as equal partners. Taken largely in northwest Tasmania, the photographs are of small details: the textures of a river surface, ice crystals, tangled leaves, a breaking wave… Beauty can be found here: the subjects hold both fragility and essentialness, and in their patterns there is rhythm and contrast. Photographing them is like framing music. The poems, too, are of small moments, probing textures of thought and feeling. Human locations, the ripples, the slow lichen and the rough stones of our emotional lives, just as striking, just as fragile, just as exquisite, sift through the 'paint' of the words. Let me show you a ripple is at odds with the haste and pressure of so many of our (too consuming) routines.

 

Going for Broke, Meg McKinlay

Walker Books, May 2008

 

Going for Broke cover Nathan Foley is desperate for greatness. Not ‘nice manners, son – here’s your merit award’ greatness. Real greatness. Record-breaking greatness. With fame in his sights, Nathan launches himself at the record books, again and again and again. He’s got a splintery skateboard and a bucket of cockroaches. He’s got a lawnmower engine and a bottle of craft glue. He’s got the world’s most clueless pit crew. Planning? Who needs it? Research? What’s that? Nathan’s on a path to glory, on a rusty old bike, with a poor sense of balance. What could go wrong?

 

The Great Arch, Vicki Hastrich

Allen & Unwin, May 2008

 

The Great Arch cover In 1924 the planned and long-awaited Sydney Harbour Bridge represents an impossible ideal - to span the great waters of the harbour and take a war-scarred nation into a dazzling future. No one is more enthusiastic than Reverend Ralph Anderson Cage of Lavender Bay, whose imagination is seized by the scale of this thoroughly modern vision. Ralph is a grand dreamer with all-too-human failings and in the Bridge, which he can see under construction from his Rectory verandah, he finds an obsession to last a lifetime. Sermons become paeans to the creative will of God - and the beauty of girders and pylons - and his parish papers wax lyrical about rivets and granite. But as he urges his long-suffering wife Stella, his children, his parishioners and the phlegmatic housekeeper Mrs Pessey to dream as big as he does, Ralph fails to notice those left behind by the bridge: the dispossessed families whose houses are destroyed in its path and the workers who lose their lives in accidents on its precarious heights. The Great Depression wears on, and the Bridge becomes a bitter reminder to his hungry parishioners of a promised prosperity that never comes. As Ralph invests everything in his obsession, the great arch he so loves and admires threatens to become his undoing. Inspired by true people and events, and as open and colossal as the bridge itself, Vicki Hastrich's deeply moving novel links two centuries, two world wars and two generations. By turns wickedly funny and breathtakingly poetic, this is the story of an ordinary man, and an ordinary life, made grand.

 

Sweet Sorrow, Mark Wakely

Melbourne University Press, May 2008

 

Sweet Sorrow cover This remarkable book - at times heart-breaking, at times humorous - is dazzling for its profound honesty. Like most of us, Mark Wakely had always put death in the too-hard basket. Around death he was painfully awkward, strangely self-conscious: death-shy. He was curiously distanced from his own parents' deaths. Thirty years later, he went on a journey to confront one of the most intensely personal yet universal experiences: our own mortality. With Mark as our guide, we are introduced to morticians and embalmers, rabbis and doctors, coffin makers and gravediggers. He reveals the fashions and the fads, the rituals and the deep emotion in a heartfelt and whimsical investigation into this timeless subject. All you need to pack for the trip is a curiosity about life.

 

The Retreaters, Sharlene Miller Brown

ABC Books, May 2008

 

The Retreaters cover You know,’ he says, ‘they have a name for people who work out here.’ ‘Yes,’ she says, watching his lips. ‘Retreaters.’

After losing both her only living relatives and her hearing under mysterious circumstances, Liv attempts to escape the ensuing rumours by taking a live-in job at a secluded wine country retreat fifteen kilometres outside her town. Here, she finds herself surrounded by an array of other ‘misfits’, including Jake, a young boy captivated by what he believes is his sister’s ghost, and Mason, an elusive gardener with a hidden past. As Liv begins to uncover the reasons behind her unexplained deafness, so too do the pasts of her colleagues begin to unravel, until the point is reached where emotions can no longer be denied nor secrets kept. The Retreaters is an evocative tale about the mysteries we find not only in others, but in ourselves — a meditation on loss, love, and the difficult act of being human.

 

The Darkest Hour, Katherine Howell

Pan Macmillan, May 2008

 

The Darkest Hour cover Paramedic Lauren Yates stumbles into a world of trouble the night she discovers a dead man in an inner city alley, for the killer still lurks nearby. When the murderer threatens to make her life hell if she tells the police, she believes him – he’s Thomas Werner, her sister’s ex and father to Lauren’s niece … and a very bad man indeed. But when a stabbing victim tells her with his dying breath that Werner attacked him too, she finds herself with blood on her hands and Detective Ella Marconi on her back. Keen to cement her temporary position in the homicide squad, Ella knows Lauren is the perfect witness for the murder since she can testify to the victim’s last words. But when Lauren tries to change her statement, Ella realises that Lauren is hiding something big, and, while her colleagues label her suspicion an obsession, she begins her own investigation. The harder she digs into Lauren’s past, however, the more Lauren resists, and the worse the threat from Werner becomes. Will Ella’s investigation put her career on the line, just when she’s finally got her foot in the door? And as trouble deepens, can Lauren keep her family safe before Werner makes good on his promise, or will they all – Ella included – pay the ultimate price?

 

I Con, Tim Thorne

Salt Publishing, April 2008

 

I Con cover This volume indicates both the high quality and the wide range of Tim Thorne's poetry. Here you will find delicate love lyrics, hard hitting political satire and dramatic monologues for voices from the streets. There are poems which make delightful use of intricate and traditional forms alongside highly successful "experiments" with free verse.

 

Still Waters, Camilla Noli

Hachette, April 2008

 

Still Waters cover In the suburbs, a young mother is looking after her two children. She has been a successful career woman in control of her life, sexually aware and attracting her husband's undivided attention. But now her control is slipping away. Motherhood is devouring her life. She wants to reclaim her sense of self, her power — even if that means destroying the people she is meant to protect.

 

Before You Met Me, Alan Close

William Heinemann, February 2008

 

Before You Met Me cover "Was this anything akin to love, this melodrama we seemed to bring out in each other? Was she really the one? I was trying my best to make her the one, or at least the one with whom I would stay. But one way or another, sooner or later, I knew I'd leave, she'd leave, we'd break up. I knew this. When hadn't we - when hadn't I? Every time."

At the age of forty-four, with the wreckage of a dozen broken relationships smoking behind him, Alan Close was single again. Again! This time, he decided to stop and take stock - and make a change. With unflinching honesty, Close explored his relationships, affairs, family history and struggle with a secret eating disorder in a desire for intimacy and peace with the past. No man has ever written about relationships in this way. Humorous, lyrical and disarmingly candid, this memoir from novelist and former Good Weekend columnist Alan Close takes us inside what is to be a man today. Beautifully written and utterly compelling, it reveals much about men's emotions and their attitudes towards relationships. It will hold a mirror to male readers and provide a rare insight for women.

 


 

Acknowledging Varuna

 

Varuna alumni and other writers involved with Varuna are free to choose the extent of acknowledging how Varuna's role has helped them with their writing project. It is always pleasing when writers formally acknowledge the assistance they have enjoyed through the Varuna experience. The Varuna library, with its many books containing authors' acknowledgements and inscriptions, illustrates Varuna's valued role in supporting writers.

Acknowledgements may identify and celebrate different aspects of this experience. Examples:

Varuna the Writers' House - Some writers simply acknowledge Varuna The Writers' House. Others include specifics, such as uninterrupted writing time, meeting and sharing ideas with other writers, or gaining inspiration or focus.

Varuna individuals - Writers sometimes highlight the helpfulness of a particular person associated with Varuna.

Varuna programs - Writes who have been awarded Varuna fellowships or have been involved in major activities hosted by Varuna, sometimes acknowledge these as major forms of assistance.



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