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In this extract from Culture Trails: 52 perfect weekends for culture lovers, we follow a literary trail in Santiago, capital city of Chile, and the nearby seaport of Valparaíso, where we discover that literary heroes loom large and the spirit of boundary-pushing Chilean writers has been revived since the demise of the Pinochet regime.

Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • ALL IS GIVEN: A MEMOIR IN SONGS by LINDA NEIL She’s a Brisbane-based songwriter and an awardwinning producer of radio documentaries, and in this memoir LINDA NEIL travels the world, playing music and meeting people along the way. In this extract she recalls as a teenager being given the seemingly tedious duty of reading books to a blind neighbour. But what happened next surprised both the reader and the listener. Read on >
  • Real-life historical figures and 18th-century court cases dealing with adultery inspired one of two interwoven storylines in The Wife’s Tale, a new novel by Australian author CHRISTINE WELLS. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how the true events from the past inform her tale of scandal, intrigue, murder – and love.  Read on >
  • 'Books, and lovers or friends, mark and change us. And we, in turn, mark and change them.' Melbourne novelist CATH CROWLEY writes about her longtime love of secondhand bookshops, and how the histories she found and imagined there led her to write Words in Deep Blue. Read on >
  • Novelist and journalist MAGGIE ALDERSON spent her gap year as a ‘ferocious punk rocker’ working at an advertising agency and starting her own punk fanzine, for which she interviewed Bob Geldoff and Billy Idol. She went on to become the editor of Evening Standard and Elle in London. She also spent eight years in Australia as editor of Cleo and Mode, and covering fashion shows in Milan and Paris for The Sydney Morning Herald. Now back in the UK, Maggie has just released a new novel, The Scent of You. She tells us why reading fairy stories is good training for any writer, who her literary crush is, and why War and Peace is the most emotionally involving books she's ever read. 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 >
  • The author of The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And other inspiring stories of pioneering brain transformation, busts long-held conceptions about how our minds function. Read on >
  • Marine biologist SHANNON LEONE FOWLER was embracing her fiancé, Sean, in the ocean off the coast of Thailand when a box jellyfish stung and killed him.Thai authorities tried to dismiss his death as a drunk drowning. Traveling with Ghosts follows the months Shannon spent on a strange trajectory through Eastern Europe, fleeing from the ocean and from grief. She tells us how her memoir came to be, 14 years after Sean’s death. Read on >
  • Meet the author who won the ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2015, and find out about her latest title, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Read on >
  • For many of us, the streets of London or New York are more familiar
than the towns and settlements of the remote north and centre of our own country. But non-Indigenous artist and writer KIM MAHOOD, who spent many years of her childhood on a cattle station amid Indigenous lands, knows these parts of Australia well. In her new book, Position Doubtful, she recounts
 her frequent journeys from her home in Wamboin, near Canberra, back to Indigenous communities in NT and WA. We caught up with Kim in Alice Springs just as she was preparing to head out on a 1000 km road trip. 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • The Last Train primarily tells the story of two strong women who have been deceived but are determined to take control of their futures, whatever path they may take. Sue Lawrence creates an intricate and suspenseful plot that is a great read. Read on >

  • In the near future, the residents of a small Australian coastal town awake to find that the ocean has disappeared, the shoreline has receded to the horizon, and the land is littered with decaying corpses of marine life. They are confused, their pet dogs are hysterical and they wonder about the impact it will have on their community. Read on >

  • The poems are undeniably simple, but they are also engaging and give platform to a voice that has previously been on the fringe of the literary canon: the experience of a young migrant woman making sense of the world and her place in it. Read on >

  • In 15 beautifully crafted lines, Brooks takes us inside on a cool, rainy night, watching the night begin to fall outside. It left me with goosebumps. Read on >

  • I really enjoyed The Woman in the Window and its Hitchcockian sense of suspense, and the references to the films of the great director. The story took a little while to get going, but it wasn’t long before I was hooked, and by halfway I couldn’t stop. Read on >

  • This new series also draws on many characters and events from the ‘Powder Mage’ series so, while you could read it as a stand-alone, I would strongly advise reading the previous series first, as this will provide greater context, depth and enjoyment, particularly when old characters from the earlier series make their welcome reappearances. Read on >

  • The subtitle and the image on the dust jacket of this hardcover book say it all; the subtitle is ‘A celebration of a great Australian love affair’, and the image is a reproduction of Russell Drysdale’s 1945 painting, The Drover’s Wife. The whole collection is fascinating and has obviously been a labour of love for its editor. Read on >

  • It’s truly a wonderful book about friendship, true love and, most of all, hope. It’s also for young people who find the pressures of life a little too heavy and for those who need to understand them. Read on >

  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt was first published in 1989 and has now become a much-loved classic. This new edition is beautifully produced with a ‘swirling whirling snowstorm’ gracing the cover. I can see a whole new generation of little fans singing the refrain and joining in the bear hunt. Read on >

  • Molly doesn’t live anywhere near the sea but she’s always wanted to be a pirate. So today she puts on her eyepatch, her pirate hat, grabs her sword and rows out to the pirate ship. She frightens Captain Chicken, scares the crew with her backflips and even climbs right up to the top of the rigging. Her mum finds her asleep in the clothes basket under the clothes line. She’s had a busy day. Read on >

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