In This Issue (June 2006)
Table of contents
Letters to the editor
I particularly enjoyed your article about letter writing (April issue). My dear friend of over twenty years and I write to each other constantly. Joy lives in Adelaide, and when I arrive home from work to find one of her letters waiting for me in the letterbox I can't wait to get inside to read it. Our letters are just accounts of our daily happenings, but Joy has such a great life. Her last letter told me of her visits to the Adelaide Writers' Week. I have kept all of her letters and plan to put them into a book entitled Letters from Joy one day when we are both too old to care about the consequences (we often write about our children). We always write by hand and will continue to do so.
Your magazine is like food for the starving, I just devour it as soon as it arrives in my mailbox. Thank you gr for feeding my hunger pains.
Dear Folk at gr
The length of time it has taken me to respond in no way reflects the delight I felt when I unwrapped an impressive parcel and found a copy of Humanity: A Celebration of Life, sent to me from Hachette Livre with an accompanying note telling me I was a winner in the gr subscribers' giveaway in the December/January issue. I belong to the endless list of people who fall over backwards if ever they do win anything, declaring I've never won anything in me life! So I am just so-o-o stoked! Should I be thanking you? Blessing you? Renewing my subscription &? Just to be on the safe side, I shall do all three, and also drop a line to Hachette by way of thanks.
The month comes round so quickly that it's always a lovely surprise to see gr in my letterbox. I usually rip the plastic envelope off and scurry inside to plant the magazine under my pillow, as if it's something illicit. I love being steered onto a good read, especially if it is perhaps something I wouldn't normally tackle. I think it is safe to say it would be a rare edition of the magazine that didn't have something to motivate me into polishing the spikes on my running shoes and haring off to the local bookseller's.
Coffs Harbour, NSW
I recently visited Books Illustrated at Gasworks Arts Park, Melbourne for the first time. It's a child- and dog-friendly specialist children's bookshop and gallery - a treasure trove of quality children's literature in a warm creative environment. Downstairs, the bookshop has everything from picture books to stories for older teens; upstairs is a gallery dedicated to original artwork for children's books, and a reading room. During my visit, we were treated to a reading of Dimity Dumpty, the Story of Humpty's Little Sister, written and illustrated by Bob Graham. Afterwards the storyteller introduced the author-illustrator himself. Bob entertained us all with a live drawing of his heroine and told us how his pastel collection started off beautifully colour co-ordinated and neat and slowly declined into a colourful mangled mess! The upstairs gallery was at the time displaying original artwork by Anne Spudvilas, illustrator of Woolvs in the Sitee by Margaret Wild. It's a magical place, well worth the trip. I'll be going back for more story time!
Letter from the editorWith the crime book genre at an all-time high of popularity, we've gone all grisly this month and things that go bump - and a whole lot worse - in the night are very much to the fore. So make sure your house is secure, your lights are on and your nerves are calm before you read any further.
Our author profile is of internationally successful crime writer Val McDermid, who has been terrifying the living daylights out of her fans for close on twenty years now. In person, of course, she’s anything but terrifying - but she is one very feisty lady, as you’ll discover on page 10.
I remember sitting up all night, years ago, reading Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, the book that more or less started the modern true crime genre. I was completely riveted. Australia’s Sandra Harvey has written and co-written four acclaimed true crime books about deeds that shocked the nation: the 1984 Milperra bikie massacre; the murder of Megan Kalajzich by her millionaire hotelier husband; the 'Granny Killer’ murders; and the story of the unsolved murder of gay millionaire Ludwig Gertsch. On page 18 she surveys the true crime genre for us, concentrating on that Capote classic but also looking at the scene in Australia today.
Our review section this month has three pages of crime fiction, including an interview with underrated British crime novelist Andrew Taylor by freelance writer Guy Mosel. Finally, in our 'Last word' section, Sophie Masson - best known for her hugely popular fantasy novels - sticks up for the late lamented queen of them all, Agatha Christie, whose books still outsell those of everyone else yet whose oeuvre is frequently sneered at by people who dismiss her as a 'cosy' novelist.
But as ever, we don’t let one type of book monopolise the magazine. Our cover story is on the lovely Célestine Hitiura Vaite, one of a growing army of gorgeous young Australian novelists who seem to be taking over the world. Read her interview with Jody Lee on page 16 and discover the excellent use to which she’s putting the fruits of her international success in her original home country, Tahiti.
On page 30 there's also an entertaining interview that veteran reviewer and contributor Alan Gold had with Bernard Cornwell, whose brilliant historical novels are enjoyed by countless thousands of people, when he was visiting Australia earlier this year. On page 22 we run a delicious (well, so I’m assured - I don’t eat meat so I can't vouch for it personally!) recipe for pork chops from another Australian making waves overseas, Jill Dupleix. Our article on the tenth Byron Bay Writers' Festival, to be held in August, begins on page 27. Finally, in our book bite section that begins on page 50, we run a story from Swallow the Air by terrific new indigenous writer, Tara June Winch.
So if you want goosebumps or simply a rattling good read, you’ll find something to suit this month.
If your letter is published, you will receive a MightyBright XtraFlex 2 LED Booklight vakued at $26.95! The wonderfully useful and stylish booklight has 2 LED lights on one head on a flexible arm.
The manufaturer Arnott's of Australia (who's tagline is 'Not the biscuit co'), says the globes will never need replacing.
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