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When she was 16, MADELAINE DICKIE went to Denpasar, the capital 
of Bali, on a language exchange program.
 Since then she has been fascinated with Indonesia; she has lived and studied in our northern neighbour for three years and
 she speaks Indonesian fluently. Her first novel, Troppo, tells the story of Penny, an Australian expat who flees from her career- minded boyfriend in Perth to a seemingly carefree 
life of surfing in Indonesia. Madelaine tells us how she came to write the novel.
Read more...

Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Recent research has revealed the astonishing capabilities of dogs. We know that they can help vision- impaired people, but they can also sniff out cancer and even help to locate missing people. CAT WARREN in What the Dog Knows recounts how she adopted an unruly German shepherd puppy, Solo, who is eventually trained to locate human corpses. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • LUCY DURNEEN lectures in creative writing in Plymouth, England, and is the assistant editor of the literary journal Short Fiction. We asked her about the apparent resurgence of interest in short stories, her beginnings as a writer, and the blending of realism and fantasy in the stories in her new collection, Wild Gestures. Read on >
  • Find out about the inspiration behind the bestselling brilliance of Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project, his new novel The Best of Adam Sharp, and how he made a name for himself by dressing as a duck. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • JIM OBERGEFELL led a class action in the US Supreme Court that established marriage equality nationwide for Americans. Love Wins, co-written with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist DEBBIE CENZIPER, is the story of the love that inspired the fight for justice. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • 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.  Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • 5 STAR REVIEW Ben and Grace Walker grew up surfing in an Australian coastal town. While Ben rode the swell all the way to surf sponsorships, Grace was always overshadowed by her twin.That is, until a wave comes crashing down on both of them, and Grace is left to wade in the ocean alone. Breathing Under Water is unequivocally Australian.  Read on >

  • 5 STAR REVIEW Imagine a perfect life where the great works of your career are acknowledged and you are given the status you deserve as a master of your craft. This is what any Chronicler would want and feel they deserved after writing what was considered to be one of the Great Tales. Read on >

  • It’s been a year since Tuesday’s father died, but the bleak cloud of gloom that settled on the house at that awful time has not yet lifted. Her mother’s typewriter is covered in dust and Tuesday’s notebooks lie unused. In the world of story, winter has come with a vengeance, covering everything with ice and snow. If something doesn’t happen soon, all the living creatures in that world, including Vivienne Small, will die of cold and starvation. Read on >

  • 4 STAR REVIEW Ona Vitkus is 104 years old and has accepted the fact that she won’t be alive for much longer. That is, until the boy starts visiting her. This child is, for all intents and purposes, a boy scout doing his bit for the community but who brings Ona so much more.  The boy’s life is centered on world records and, intrigued by Ona and her age, he decides that she needs to achieve her own world record. So begins an unlikely friendship that inspires Ona to start living again. Read on >

  • 4 STAR REVIEW Ye Xin is one of over 14 million high school graduates in Chine who were forced to leave the cities during the Cultural Revolution and work in rural areas, where they received re-education from the peasants. They were the zhiqing or ‘educated youth’. In the 1970s Ye Xin, along with masses of others, was allowed to return to his home city if he had no job in the rural area or if he were unmarried. He qualified, but others divorced their spouses and their children were left behind. Many of these zhiqing started new relationships in the city and kept their past lives undisclosed. Imagine the disturbance when, years later, a group of children come to look for their birth parents. Read on >

  • 4 STAR REVIEW Whisper to Me is written in the form of a letter from teenager Cassie to a boy she fell in love with over the summer but left broken-hearted. She is hoping her writing will redeem her and explain her behaviour. Always an outsider, Cassie has experienced a combinationof awkward social moments, accidents and bad luck that have firmly established her as a loner. But it’s the loss of her mother and the guilt Cassie carries around because of her death that triggers her descent into mental illness. Read on >