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A childhood fascination with the maze of rooms and corridors in museums was the start of CHRISTOPHER BOLLEN’s involvement in the world of fabrication that is the stock-in-trade of the novelist. EMMA HARVEY asked the American author and journalist about his day job as an interviewer of famous people, why Greece fascinates him and about his latest book, The Destroyers.
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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • Serious social issues, including the plight of unwed mothers, domestic violence and the place of women in Australia's history are wrapped up in poignant romace in VICTORIA PURMAN's new novel, The Three Miss Allens. She spekas with MAUREEN EPPEN about the inspiration behind the family saga set on the South Australian coast. Read on >
  • When she’s not training her inquisitorial blowtorch on politicians and other people who have questions to answer, ABC reporter and presenter SARAH FERGUSON loves to delve into a book. Her new book, The Killing Season Uncut, recounts the behind-the-scenes tales of the television program about the tumultuous Rudd–Gillard years. We asked the multi-award winning Four Corners reporter to tell us about the books that have influenced her. Read on >
  • It’s often said that whatever happens in our childhoods resonates throughout the rest of our lives – for good or for ill. This was certainly the case for TIM ELLIOTT, who grew up with a father who suffered from bipolar disorder. TIM GRAHAM spoke to him about the lingering effects of a tumultuous childhood and his memoir ofpaternal madness, Farewell to the Father. Read on >
  • Teachers of writing classes often tell their students ‘show, don’t tell’. But showing – which means providing vivid description so that readers can clearly imagine what is being represented – depends to a large extent on memory and an alertness to the present moment. Writer and memoir instructor PATTI MILLER, author of Ransacking Paris, shows here how you can draw on sensory memory to enhance your writing. Read on >
  • Heart surgeon PROFESSOR STEPHEN WESTABY has worked for 35 years to save ailing hearts and, in many cases, give his patients a second chance at life. In his new memoir, Fragile Lives, Westaby recounts remarkable and poignant cases, such as the baby who had suffered multiple heart attacks before reaching six months of age. We asked him to tell us a bit about his life as a surgeon. Read on >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author Amy Stewart stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with a officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series based around Constance and her two sisters, set in New Jersey in 1915. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, Angus Dalton finds out more. Read on >
  • Communicating the most exciting new developments in science to non-scientific readers can be a challenge. But Know This: Today’s most interesting and important scientific ideas, discoveries, and developments, takes up the challenge and lets dozens of eminent scientists tell us what they think are the most interesting recent developments in science. Here are two extracts from the book. Read on >
  • Kit, only 19 years old, works for Shen Corporation
as a phenomenaut – a person who projects their consciousness into the bodies of animals bred for research purposes. This is the strange and intriguing premise of The Many Selves of Katherine North. ANGUS DALTON puts some questions to EMMA GEEN, author of this new novel. Read on >
  • Alison Evans is a genderqueer writer, lover of bad movies, and co-founder of the zine Concrete Queers. Here Alison tells us about her new spec-fic novel, Ida, and non-binary identities in YA fiction. 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • He’s had a university, a lake, a bank and much more named after him. But Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth governor of the colony of New South Wales, is  an equivocal figure who seems to have been forgotten in recent years. Author MICHAEL SEDUNARY set out to dig up the old chap and take another look at him in his new book, The Startling Story of Lachlan Macquarie. Read on >

  • This superb novel is beautifully written, thought-provoking and a truly magical door to the minds and experiences of those who seem very different but who are, as we discover, just like us. Read on >

  • Next time you use your smartphone camera to snap a cute baby, a glorious sunset or – quelle horreur! – a selfie, take a moment to think about Louis Daguerre, one of the founding fathers of photography. This novel, a mix of history and imagination, takes the reader to Paris in the first half of the 19th century. Read on >

  • Whether you’re a fan of historical fiction, or just looking for something different, give Beauty in Thorns a go. Read on >

  • In a world where the power of the media and other traditional establishments is being weakened by ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation’, where clickbait articles about celebrities generate hits while corruption or secret deals go unreported, Orwell’s vision feel as fresh and relevant today as when he was writing in the mid-1940s. Read this and then re-read Nineteen Eighty-Four. Read on >

  • If I had to sum up Hinterland in a couple of words, I would describe it as uniquely Australian. Steven Lang paints a vivid Australia of scorching landscapes and curious, eclectic characters shaped by diverse experiences. He cleverly explores the power that place has over people’s lives, embedding personal stories with descriptions of cities, landscapes and streets. Through this little town he manages to explore a large, diverse Australia. Read on >

  • Adrian Goldsworthy is a respected ancient historian and also the author of the very entertaining ‘Napoleonic Wars’ series, which started with True Soldier Gentlemen. Vindolanda draws on his expertise in Roman military history and, in particular, on the fabulous find of hundreds of everyday letters, written on thin, postcard-sized pieces of wood in the late first century CE. These priceless documents have been excavated in the eponymous Roman fort in the vicinity of what became Hadrian’s Wall. Read on >

  • The Last Garden is beautifully written and will doubtless evoke a quiet fascination in the discerning reader, provided they don’t expect much action or resolution in the narrative. Read on >

  • Being a book reviewer can be a tough life because reviews, like the books on which they are based, attract varying levels of invective and approval. Author David Free, himself a reviewer, has written a novel about a book reviewer at the centre of a murder investigation. Read on >

  • Anyone who has ever visited the Argyle Diamond Mine in the eastern Kimberley region of Western Australia, or flown over it on the way from Kununurra to the Purnululu National Park (formerly known as the Bungle Bungles), will be fascinated by this novel. Read on >

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