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Seasoned journalist and Stella Prizelonglisted author SONYA VOUMARD tackles the ethics of reportage and the nature of the interview in her new memoir, Skin in the Game. She tells ANGUS DALTON about disastrous encounters with A A Gill, Helen Garner, and Jennifer Byrne.
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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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • This first foray into crime fiction by Australian author Melina Marchetta, best known for her award-winning fiction for young adults, is a cracking read.   Read on >
  • ANGUS DALTON meets British historian, journalist and author L S HILTON as she publicises the most hotly anticipated thriller of 2016, Maestra. Read on >
  • American author and hairdresser DEBORAH RODRIGUEZ lived in the Afghan capital of Kabul for five years, and in that time she founded her own beauty salon and coffee shop. On her return to the US, she wrote a bestselling novel based on the bustling cafe, and now she’s taking us back to Afghanistan in Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • In the early 1900s, the luminescent properties of radium – a highly radioactive metal – had just been discovered, and entrepreneurs were quick to identify its marketing potential. They flooded supermarket shelves with radium-based products, and thousands of young women in North America were hired to paint clock dials with radium. The girls would go home with their hands aglow, oblivious to the bone-destroying radiation they had been exposed to. We spoke with London-based author KATE MOORE about these workers’ stories, which appear in her new book, The Radium Girls. Read on >
  • Born in London, retired doctor TONY ATKINSON spent the first years of his life in a cage dangling out of a window. But he went on to serve the Queen and Winston Churchill during his early career as a footman and waiter, which he recalls in hilarious stories in he memoir, A Prescribed Life. Read on >
  • JANINE
 BURKE is an
 Australian
art historian,
author,
biographer,
photographer and
award-winning novelist.
Her latest book, Kiffy Rubbo,
which she has co-edited with Helen Hughes, collects contributions 
from leading figures in the artistic community that all focus on the dynamic figure of Kiffy Rubbo (1944-80), a pioneering curator
in Melbourne in the 1970s. We asked Janine to tell us about this new book and the books that have shaped her life. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Cleverly written, Unearthed alternates between the two narrators, Mia and Jules. The story moves along at a steady pace, sometimes reminiscent of Indiana Jones’s adventures and at other times more like the ‘Star Wars’ saga. The main characters are resourceful and brave but also awkward and vulnerable in their youthful naivety. Planet Gaia is a dangerous place, not only because of what is on it, but also because of what it could potentially mean for Earth. This is an absorbing tale. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the next instalment. Read on >

  • This is magical realism at its best and grittiest, and the ghosts have a particularly signficant role as the story draws to a close. Sing, Unburied, Sing is a brilliant book by a new luminary in US literature. Read on >

  • Sally Hepworth delves into the lives of four families living in a cul-de-sac of suburban Melbourne. Superficially, they characters are all friends, but the secrets they keep from each other poses the question, do we ever really know our neighbours, or even our own family? Read on >

  • Life on a cattle property enables Thomson to vividly describe experiences on the farm and in the garden. The themes of love and duty, the challenges in marriage, and friendship that can bridge generations make this an enjoyable true-to-life read for all ages. Read on >

  • The author wants his readers to be involved in this dark and violent novel. He invites them to take sides, take on board the ideas he has written and think about poverty, power, privilege, suicide and Aboriginal deaths in custody. But first they must meet some rather unattractive characters. Read on >

  • It’s hard to know what to focus on: Busi’s personal narrative of letting go or the political machinations within the town. Read on >

  • CeCe D’Apliese is one of seven sisters adopted from different parts of the world by a wealthy man. Although he gave her love, affection and security, she has never felt that she has fitted in with her family. Upon his death, he leaves her a clue as to her birthright, and with this scrap of information, she sets off to Australia in an effort to discover her roots. Unsure if she can face her past, she decides to kill a little time in Thailand, where she befriends a man who is not all that he seems. Read on >

  • Secrets emerge about the past, with troubling revelations about the natures of both of their parents. The lengths some of them go to get to the proffered inheritance provide entertaining and riveting reading. Read on >

  • This enthralling novel is extraordinarily rich in historical detail, made all the more fascinating because it’s based on a true story. Stephanie Parkyn vividly brings this world to life: the boredom and peril of ship life, the political undercurrents of the revolution that follow the ships as they traverse the world, and the people, flora and fauna the voyagers discover are all brilliantly evoked. Marie-Louise was possibly the first European woman to visit Van Diemen’s Land, but her amazing story encompasses so much more than this fact. Highly recommended. Read on >

  • This novel is brilliant. The story is compelling and addictive, and I continually questioned Royce’s and Vita’s motives and desires. Dovey’s richly detailed writing evokes both the interior and physical worlds of the two characters, from Royce’s memories of an archaeological dig in Pompeii to Vita’s struggles with the ethics behind her filmmaking. The book offers a profound insight into the nature of the human psyche, such as dealing with the burden of guilt, how the past can control the present and the motives behind creative output, control, desire and obsession.  Read on >

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