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You might think that artistic scandals, like Hermann Nitsch’s freshly slaughtered bull in his recent performance at Tasmania’s Dark Mofo, are a modern phenomenon. But Paris has been a magnet for provocative and groundbreaking artists for over a century. Australian writer ALLI SINCLAIR outlines here how the sometimes scandalous Ballets Russes, founded in 1909, inspired her to create her new novel, Beneath the Parisian Skies.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • Read this and the ordinary world disappears,’ says Stephen King of
‘The Passage’ series. ANGUS DALTON talks with bestselling author JUSTIN CRONIN about his post-apocalyptic trilogy, the vampiric creatures he created to end humanity, and the last instalment of the series, The City of Mirrors. Read on >
  • Think of the typical problem drinker, and we usually imagine alcoholics, drink-drivers, underage drinkers and the perpetrators of one-punch attacks. The brother of Brisbane writer ELSPETH MUIR was none of these things. But three days after a heavy night of drinking, he was found dead in the Brisbane River – his blood alcohol level was 0.25 at his time of death. Elspeth tells us about her memoir, Wasted, an investigation into Australia’s drinking culture, and what might have been done to prevent Alexander’s death.  Read on >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. Read on >
  • It’s 100 years since
 Roald Dahl’s birth on 13 September 1916. For many years now, 13 September has been celebrated as Roald Dahl Day.  I love all of Roald Dahl’s books. I love the naughty antics his characters get up to in so many of his stories. I love reading about the fascinating life he led – especially his wartime flying exploits – and I really loved how he made the nasty grandmother in George’s Marvellous Medicine just go ‘pop’ and disappear. I think we all have someone in our life we’d like that to happen to occasionally. If you are yet to read his memoirs – Boy and Going Solo – I can’t recommend them highly enough. Read on >
  • He has worked as a wilderness guide, a ranch hand and a dogsled musher – and he’s also a skilled marksman. But ERIK STOREY, a lover of the great outdoors, has come in out of the wild for long enough to turn out his first novel, Nothing Short of Dying. A thriller set in the mountainous landscape of western Colorado, it features Clyde Barr, a man with a military past who is fresh out of prison. We talked with Erik recently about dealing with rejection, the lure of western Colorado and his number-one tip for surviving in the wild. Read on >
  • The changing moral code and shift in gender roes of World War II provide the backdrop for JENNIFER RYAN's debut novel The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN about the people and events that inspired the story. Read on >
  • Paul Mitchell is a poet, short story writer, and now a novelist with the release of We. Are. Family. Read on to find out about Paul's poetry, writing, and the way he explores family trauma and masculinity in Australia.  Read on >
  • The BBC released a survey earlier this year in which they asked readers to name the books they had lied about having read. You can see the list below. I think I have read around half, as some I may have read in my youth that I’ve forgotten about (more about that later). How many of them have you read? The truth, please! 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 >
  • 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • 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 >

  • The Sunshine Sisters is a great read and a reminder of the importance of sibling relationships and family. Sometimes the parent that causes the most trouble and is the biggest nuisance can leave the largest hole in a child’s life when they are gone. Read on >

  • This first novel has good bones for its plot. It’s just a pity they are not fleshed out to their full potential.  Read on >

  • This fairytale-inspired thriller has been touted as a breakthrough for Karen Dionne, who has five previous books (including two TV show tie-ins) on her resume. Interspersed with snatches of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale of the same name. Read on >

  • Forgotten will keep you on the edge of your seat. You’ll be anxious, sad, angry and hopeful almost all at once as you get an insight into every parent’s nightmare. Read on >

  • The pacing of this survival tale at times feels laboured, but there is an undercurrent of urgency.  But Year of the Orphan – a compelling take on post-apocalyptic fiction – holds its own. Read on >

  • There’s an immediacy to her writing that keeps you reading, even though the story is confronting. Read on >

  • This is the memoir of a strong-willed, articulate, humorous woman. One can only wonder about what this 60-year-old artist will do next. Read on >

  • Silly Isles reminds me that television is about entertainment as well as information, and it often struggles to communicate much more than a brief survey of a situation illustrated with moving pictures. Read on >

  • Sunrise and sunset have long been known by photo experts as among the best times of day to get great images, and to that end Nick recommends an app called The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which tells you when the sun rises and sets anywhere on the planet. There are tips on the type of gear you need to take, the importance of planning – for the whole trip as well as for individual shots – and hiring a guide. It might seem like an extravagance, but Nick says that a good local guide who understands a photographer’s needs knows things that could take you days to find yourself. Get this book. Read on >

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