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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

  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • The Sound, the second book from novelist SARAH DRUMMOND, is set around Western Australia’s King George
Sound. Based on a true story, the novel tells of Wiremu Heke, a Maori man from across the Tasman who sails from Tasmania to WA in 1825 on a mission of vengeance. We asked Sarah to tell us about Wiremu and about The Sound. Read on >
  • The rugged beauty of England’s Lake District looms large in the latest psychological thriller by Perth-based author SARA FOSTER. She shares her passion for the natural world and her concerns about the potential impacts of electronic media with MAUREEN EPPEN. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • The nose is a wonderful thing. A new study has found that the human nose can distinguish between at least one trillion different smells. I love nothing more than sticking my nose inside a blooming rose as I walk Baxter along the street. But I also have a passionate hatred of the choking diesel fumes disgorged from nearby cruise ships. So even though I may be able to detect over a trillion odours, there are many of them I don’t want to smell! Kate Grenville’s new book, The Case against Fragrance, has had me pondering the aromas, the scents and odours that enter my nose – whether I want them to or not. In 2015 Kate started to get frequent headaches and other signs of ill health and, strangely, they seemed to get worse when she was on tour to promote her latest book.After some effort to isolate the cause, she discovered that it was perfumes or other fragrances that were the culprits. She felt debilitated. She loved to meet her readers but was bombarded with fragrances in crowded rooms. She was compelled to find out what it was about perfumes that could be causing her these health problems. She opened a can of worms. 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 >
  • Kentucky-based writer KAYLA RAE WHITAKER tells gr about her debut novel, The Animators, which follows the turbulent creative partnership between two indie animators in New York City. 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 >
  • Church attendance has been plummeting for decades, yet enrolments for church-based schools are soaring. Nearly all non-churchgoers say that they like having a church in their suburb – although they never go inside it. Leading social researcher HUGH MACKAY takes a look at our contradictory attitudes to religion in his new book, Beyond Belief. In this article, Hugh recounts a part of his own spiritual journey and how he came to write the book. 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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