Books

Skyglow

Book Review: Lose yourself in Leslie Thiele’s short story collection Skyglow

January 21, 2021

A woman adjusts to her new urban landscape. A slaughterman comes to terms with the death of his wife. A rodeo ringer blows into town, wreaking havoc. These are just a handful of the eclectic characters, locations, and stories that come gloriously together in Leslie Thiele‘s recent collection Skyglow. Bouncing from the past to the […]

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Indie Book Awards

Shortlist announced for 2021 Indie Book Awards

January 20, 2021

This morning the shortlist for the 2021 Indie Book Awards have been unveiled. The twenty-four shortlisted books, the best books of the year as nominated by Australian independent booksellers, now go on to vie for the coveted Overall Indie ‘Book of the Year’ for 2021.  A panel of judge will choose the winners in each […]

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The Forest of Moon and Sword

Book Review: Join Art on the quest to save her mother in Amy Raphael’s middle grade folk tale The Forest of Moon and Sword

January 19, 2021

In the dead of night, the Witchfinder General’s men came to Kelso and snatched away Art’s mother. Narrowly avoiding being taken herself, Art was left with nothing but a sword, her mother’s trusty book of remedies and salves, and her faithful horse Lady. It’s not much, but with the forest to guide her, she sets […]

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Outlawed

Book Review: Anna North ventures into the feminist Wild West in Outlawed

January 14, 2021

  There are few things that will turn a woman to becoming an outlaw faster than the threat of being hanged as a witch. So it is for Ada, the protagonist of Anna North’s latest novel, Outlawed.  Described as a mash up of The Handmaid’s Tale with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Outlawed takes place in “the year of […]

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LitFestBergen

Perth to feature in LitFestBergen’s Eurovision-style literary event

January 14, 2021

“Hello Perth, this is Bergen calling.” Perth and Writing WA will be featured, along with ten other international locations, in LitFestBergen’s Literature Live Around The World on February 12th. One of the few positives that has come from the global Covid-19 pandemic, is the increasing use of the virtual. In 2020, Literary Awards and Book Festivals […]

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Vida

Book Review: Jacqueline Kent’s Vida spotlights a determined woman’s campaigns for social justice

January 12, 2021

Vida Goldstein’s surname might have been used to denote a federal electorate, but she’s hardly a household name. This trailblazing woman was a steadfast women’s rights advocate who toiled away in Australia and abroad in the early 20th century. Jacqueline Kent‘s new biography chronicles this inspiring lady’s work in the social justice and political spheres. Kent […]

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My Best Friend's Murder

Book Review: Polly Phillips’ debut My Best Friend’s Murder hooks you in from the first chapter

January 7, 2021

There have been a number of big commercial thrillers which explore the dangers that hide inside ordinary homes and behind seemingly innocent faces; but none have been quite so relatable to me as the debut novel by Perth-based writer, Polly Phillips. My Best Friend’s Murder follows aspiring journalist Bec, who finds herself in her thirties, […]

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Beowulf

Book Review: Maria Dahvana Headley breathes new life into an old classic in Beowulf

January 5, 2021

Beowulf is one of those stories that a lot of people think they know. That’s because it’s an iconic work of early English literature. Not only that, there have been countless translations and adaptations in the intervening centuries since the heroic tale was first uttered by a bard. Amongst its translators and adaptors are some […]

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The Awful Truth

Book Review: Adrian Tame’s The Awful Truth celebrates journalism, larrikinism and fanaticism

December 31, 2020

Adrian Tame certainly understands the adage, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” The English-Australian journalist has notched up over five decades in the business working in Australia, the US and the UK. In his fourth book, The Awful Truth: My Adventures with Australia’s Most Notorious Tabloid he gives us […]

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Anticipated Books 2021

The AU’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021: Jan – Mar

December 30, 2020

2020 you are done! Well, close enough!  With the New Year only days away we decided it was time to look forward and see what literary treats we have in store for us in 2021.  With so many books published each week, month and year, this list can only serve as a snapshot of what’s […]

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When I Come Home Again

Book Review: Scattered viewpoints water down the heartbreak in Caroline Scott’s When I Come Home Again

December 23, 2020

Caroline Scott’s fiction debut, 2019’s The Poppy Wife was that rare kind of historical novel, which is at once comfortingly familiar and refreshingly original. She returns to writing about the aftermath of the First World War with When I Come Home Again. The novel follows a returned solider with amnesia who is sent to convalesce in an English […]

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Un-Cook Yourself

Interview: Nat’s What I Reckon on Un-cook Yourself: A Ratbag’s Rules For Life, stand up comedy and his bucket list

December 14, 2020

Nat’s What I Reckon has had a massive year, even by his own reckoning, “2020 is a hard year to beat.” He wowed the world with his frank take on bottled pasta sauce, toured his sold-out stand up show, spoke at BIGSOUND and hosted Rage on the ABC. And, now he’s adding author to his […]

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Best Books of 2020

The 14 Best Books of 2020

December 11, 2020

By now it goes without saying that 2020 has been a rough year. From wildfires to a global pandemic there has disruption and upheaval on a scale rarely, if ever, seen in “peacetime”. Pretty much every sector of society has taken a hit this year. And the publishing world, as with much of the Arts […]

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Lucky's

Book Review: Andrew Pippos toasts community and family in his debut Lucky’s

December 10, 2020

Debut author Andrew Pippos has used his own family history as a leaping off point for his first novel Lucky’s.  The multi-generational family saga details the rise and fall (and rise again?) of Lucky, a second-generation American-born Greek entrepreneur, restauranteur and erstwhile family man. Having found himself stationed in wartime Australia, impersonating clarinetist Benny Goodman […]

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Indie Book Awards 2021

The Indie Book Awards continue to champion great Australian writing with their 2021 Longlist

December 9, 2020

This morning the longlist for the 2021 Indie Book Award has been announced. The award, which celebrates the best Australian writing, is made up of titles nominated by Australian independent booksellers. The Awards cover the best Australian book across six categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Debut Fiction, Illustrated Non-Fiction, Young Adult (12+) and Children’s. The Shortlist will […]

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The best Christmas gifts in Australia for 2020

December 7, 2020

Christmas is almost here, and given the year we’ve just had, it’s go hard or go home. This holiday season is – pending none of 2020’s indulgent curve-balls – going to have a lot riding on it. It’ll be like cannoning-balling into that perfectly temperature controller pool after trudging through the Sahara, and hearing those […]

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Sydney Writers' Festival

Sydney Writers’ Festival returns to Carriageworks for four events this Summer as part of Sydney Festival

December 4, 2020

Sydney Writers’ Festival and Sydney Festival are joining forces for one weekend in January to present four major events at Carriageworks. The four events, presented under the banner Something to Talk About will see Sydney audiences spending time with the 2020 Booker Prize Winner, Douglas Stuart; perennial Festival favourites Jennifer Byrne, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and […]

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Broken Rules

Book Review: It’s all in the mind with Barry Lee Thompson’s debut collection, Broken Rules and Other Stories

December 3, 2020

There’s a lot of subtlety to Barry Lee Thompson‘s short story collection, Broken Rules and Other Stories. It’s clear from the first story that this collection is incredibly literary. Most of the stories have their action take place in a character’s mind and draw tension from a close examination of the social contracts that govern the […]

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Shore Leave

Book Review: David Whish-Wilson’s Shore Leave is a well-paced edgy thriller full of local flare

December 1, 2020

Shore Leave centres around an American Naval vessel that docks in Fremantle in 1989. The drama that surrounds that vessel and the sailors onboard will be etched in the minds of many locals for years to come.  Readers are introduced to a range of characters, a criminal with six months left on their prison sentence; […]

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Life After Truth

Book Review: Ceridwen Dovey’s Life After Truth might just be the book we need to round out 2020

November 26, 2020

Ceridwen Dovey‘s latest novel is a bit of a departure from her previous offerings. Set at Harvard University, during the week of a fifteen year reunion, Life After Truth follows five friends as they navigate the many parties and events of the week, all the while wondering if they’ve taken the right path in life. The […]

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Death Leaves The Station

Book Review: Alexander Thorpe brings intrigue and crime to the Goldfields in Death Leaves The Station

November 24, 2020

Alexander Thorpe’s debut novel, Death Leaves The Station introduces a standard Australian farmhouse in Western Australia’s wheatbelt to a world of crime, homophobia and racism.  Set on Halfwell Station, Mullewa, in 1927 Death Leaves The Station is also a coming-of-age novel. Ana, a young woman, starts encountering the world outside the seclusion of the family […]

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Booker Prize

Douglas Stuart wins the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction for his debut novel Shuggie Bain

November 20, 2020

New York-based Scottish author Douglas Stuart has been announced as the winner of the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction, with his debut novel Shuggie Bain. Stuart is only the second Scottish author to win the prize in its history.  Although a work of fiction, Shuggie Bain draws upon Stuart’s lived experience, and takes the reader deep […]

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Biting The Clouds

Book Review: Fiona Foley critically (re-)examines Queensland’s colonial past in Biting The Clouds

November 19, 2020

Biting The Clouds is the latest book from visual artist, writer and academic Fiona Foley. Adapted from her doctoral thesis, Biting The Clouds, is a compelling critical examination and exhumation of Australia’s, specifically Queensland’s, colonial history from an Indigenous perspective.  Foley is from the Wondunna clan of the Badtjala nation, and is a renowned visual […]

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Islands of Mercy

Book Review: Rose Tremain’s Islands of Mercy looks promising but under-delivers

November 17, 2020

Well-known English writer, Rose Tremain‘s latest novel, Islands of Mercy explores the concept of places of safety, and contrasts two very different storylines – tenuously connected – in an attempt to explore what it means to have a meaningful life. Unfortunately, while the settings are richly drawn, both plotlines are ponderous and the book fails to excite. […]

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The Freedom Circus

Book Review: Survival, love, and circus clowns abound in Sue Smethurst’s The Freedom Circus

November 12, 2020

The first time Sue Smethurst sat down with her husband’s grandmother and asked about her experiences during the Holocaust, she was shooed away. Surrounded by fellow survivors in the Montefiroe Jewish nursing home in Melbourne, Mindla (pronounced Marnya) Horowitz felt no need to share her story. Everyone around her had one much the same, after […]

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Clanlands

Book Review: Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish’s Highlands travelogue Clanlands is for the Outlander faithful

November 10, 2020

Last year, Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish set off for the Scottish Highlands in a questionable campervan, keen to explore more of the country they grew up in. From Glencoe to Culloden and countless lochs and castles in between, Clanlands is a record of their adventure filming what would eventually become Starz doco […]

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A Wind from the Rift

Book Review: Bonnie Wynne ups the ante in The Price of Magic sequel, A Wind From the Rift

November 5, 2020

Gwyn just wants to go home. After months of imprisonment, first in the Clockwork City’s Bird Tower prison, then its horrific Charnel Vaults, her control over her magic is weakening, and the sooner she’s safe amongst friends, the better. But the Mancers of the Syndicate have come to a decision. Too dangerous to be freed, […]

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Reprehensible

Book Review: Reprehensible by Mikey Robins is a hilarious look at historical bad behaviours

November 4, 2020

Reprehensible, from comedian and broadcaster Mikey Robins, is an informative and rollicking guide through the shameful behaviour of humanity’s most celebrated figures.  As Robin notes, “We are under bombardment from all of our screens, all of the time, reminding us with just one click what a dreadful time we are living through. But, here is […]

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Our Shadows

Book Review: The great wave of family history hangs over the characters in Gail Jones’s Our Shadows

November 3, 2020

Gail Jones‘s latest book, Our Shadows, looks at the history of a Kalgoorlie family through three generations. The story is told from several points of view; from those of Frances and Nell, two sisters who were raised by their grandparents in the fictional Midas Street, Kalgoorlie (located in the ‘shadow’ of the super pit) after the […]

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Schoolmaster's Daughter

Book Review: A girl and a nation come of age in Jackie French’s The Schoolmaster’s Daughter

October 29, 2020

It’s hard to keep track of just how many books Jackie French has published. This year alone she will have published five books and according to her website, her total publications number around two hundred. French describes herself as an “Australian author, ecologist, historian, dyslexic and honourary wombat.” It’s not hard to see why generations […]

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