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In her latest novel, Melbourne author JANE RAWSON adds an air of otherworldliness to the story of her ancestor who survived a 19th-century shipwreck. She talks to MAUREEN EPPEN about history, aliens and the benefits of having been a ‘hack writer’ for 25 years. 
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • From an investigation into the scandals of the Catholic Church by Tom Keneally to Jeffrey Archer’s thrilling last instalment in the ‘Clifton Chronicles’ series or a tale of a shrewd female locksmith in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, these books will delight you over the long, languid days of summer. Read on >
  • A young woman named edie channels the dead through her work with the shady Elysian Society in a dytopian first novel from SARA FLANNERY MURPHY. The Oklahoma-based author tells EMMA STUBLEY about her encounters with ghosts and Greek mythology and how they influened The Possessions. Read on >
  • I switched on to watch ABC TV’s The Drum one evening and discovered Jodi Picoult sitting on the panel discussion.What a great performer she is – not only an impressive writer but also an impressive speaker.The discussion at the table was raging around whether a white author has the right, or could even have the understanding, to write about black characters. As a white woman, how could she really know what’s it’s like to be a black woman, let alone a black man? How could she write black characters and make them authentic without knowing how they feel? Read on >
  • KIRI FALLS was introduced to the works of English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) when she saw the 2004 BBC production of North & South. Last year, the 150th anniversary of Gaskell’s death, Kiri decided to make a pilgrimage to the newly renovated Manchester home of the great lady. Read on >
  • ABC journalist and science writer IAN TOWNSEND cut his teeth as a novelist in 2007 with Affection, which told the story of a plague outbreak in 1900. His next novel, The Devil’s Eye, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2009. Now with Line of Fire, he turns his pen to narrative non-fiction to tell the story of Richard Manson, an 11-year-old boy who was accused of espionage and shot by the Japanese during World War II in New Guinea. Read on >
  • Stretching across generations and set on the Atherton Tablelands where she lives, the latest novel from prolific Australian author BARBARA HANNAY is a saga of loss, love, secrets and salvation. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN 
about her writing life, and how The Grazier's Wife evolved.   Read on >
  • Lynda La Plante changed the face of crime fiction and television with Prime Suspect and its stoic lead character, DCI Jane Tennison. Her new series details how Tennison cut her teeth on London’s crime-ridden, gang-ruled streets in the 80s. We asked the queen of crime 10 questions ahead of her new book release, Hidden Killers. Read on >
  • Sydney-based novelist LAUREN SAMS, author of She’s Having Her Baby, has worked for magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Her new book, Crazy Busy Guilty, reprises the heroine Georgie Henderson, who tries frantically to juggle work and family. We spoke recently with Lauren, who talked about the US election, writer’s block and wacky parenting strategies.  Read on >
  • Who would have thought that in the largely homogeneous country of China that there could be a group of people who could trace their lineage back to invading Romans? TONY GREY uncovered this intriguing bit of information while travelling in China, and here he tells how he came to write his historical novel, The Tortoise in Asia, which tells the story of Romans travelling along the Silk Road in ancient times. Read on >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • After reading a few thrillers lately I got to thinking about writers in the crime and thriller genres and the research they need to do to make their books seem real. Research can be an exciting part of writing any book. Determining how a killer might think and how their victim could become entrapped is one thing, but I can’t imagine looking at dead people or reading detailed reports of the methods that serial killers use to stalk and murder their prey.That’s the sort of awful stuff police deal with and psychologically struggle with for the rest of their lives. But could even researching this sort of thing affect a writer?  Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Lovely big, doggy illustrations and just a few lines of text on each page make this a perfect book for the littlies – especially if they have a four-legged friend at home.   Read on >

  • You’ll love Piggy and his ove rsized red glasses. And the big, bright and happy illustrations filling every page must surely make for a happy ending. Read on >

  • The details about how to use the app are on the book’s back cover. There is also an informative website – wordhunters.com.au – that includes helpful tips for teachers. Read on >

  • This involved tale has many twists and turns that sometimes leave the reader a little puzzled. The narration has an old-fashioned quality, reminiscent of Gothic European fairytales. Read on >

  • Chris Riddell has created a world of whimsy and charm, brought to life by his quirky illustrations. Ottoline is a resourceful and creative young lady who, despite missing her parents, manages to cope very well. Of course, having a friend like Mr Munroe is a bonus. Read on >

  • This is not a tale of triumph. At the end of six weeks, Japanese and Australian losses from air combat were about equivalent. The subsequent and much more famous Kokoda campaign was, in fact, a symptom of imperial Japanese desperation. Read on >

  • The short, blunt sentences in Leah’s narration seem jolting at first, but they create a flat and deliberate pace that sets the dull and desperate tone for the book and the lives of its residents. If you like bleak snapshots of small-town America, this book is for you. Read on >

  • Saltwater is a memoir of sorts written by a Queensland lawyer. It recounts her time working for the Aboriginal Legal Service in North Queensland. Read on >

  • Reading this book made me realise the need to make better choices to improve our collective health and to make a personal contribution to the earth’s future sustainability on every level. Read on >

  • The energy in James Rollins’s writing is palpable. He draws readers in to the action from the outset, creating enough twists and turns in the events to maintain a level of intensity that carries through to the final page. Read on >

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