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Archive Discoveries

  • Creativity is often thought of as a special gift bestowed on only a handful of lucky people. But as Australian novelist SUE WOOLFE points out, it’s a skill that you can cultivate. Here are five tips she used to create her latest collection of stories, Do You Love Me or What? Read on >
  • As a teenager, GAYLE FORMAN was so obsessed with ‘80s movie star Molly Ringwald that she started to imitate the actress’s trademark nervous lip bite – and now she has a permanent scar. After seven bestselling YA novels and a successful movie adaption of one of her books, she talks with ANGUS DALTON about her first book for adults, Leave Me. 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 >
  • RICHARD ROXBURGH has been extraordinarily versatile over the
decades of his acting career. The Albury-born actor has played both Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, appeared as Count Dracula in the 2004 movie Van Helsing and played the lead role in Rake, a TV show he co-created. But he’s just as talented
on the page as he is on screen and stage; Roxburgh has written and illustrated a new kids’ book, Artie and the Grime Wave. We asked him about his influences and what lead him to this new project. 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 >
  • Perth crime writer David Whish-Wilson reveals how the history of organised crime in WA and his many encounters with criminals, from teaching writing to inmates to meeting biker gangs, has influenced his novels.  Read on >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. 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 >
  • Best known to TV audiences as Goliath fromthequiz show The Chase, MATT PARKINSON was also one half of the Empty Pockets comedy duo. He cleaned up as a champion on Sale of the Century in the 1990s and since then he has served as the brains trust on ABC TV’s The Einstein Factor. We asked this big man (he’s nearly two metres tall) with a big brain about the books that have made him the brainiac that he is.  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 >
  • 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This is a book where the characters come alive very quickly. Emily’s thoughts reveal issues in that era. Her relatives fear a Japanese invasion, while she fears not having a bra for her developing breasts. Communists, Catholics, Italians, Japs and pierced ears are all judged and appraised in snappy dialogue, in a rural Australian setting of heatwaves and drought, rabbit plagues, snakes and screeching cockatoos. Even though Emily’s feelings are described in depth, surprising events keep the action flowing while Robertson’s empathy of William’s post-traumatic stress after war is sensitively portrayed. A warm story of self-discovery. Read on >

  • This is a funny, compelling, poignant and very, very clever book. Read on >

  • Lye writes splendidly and with great feeling and sensuality about the natural world. The bees, their hives, their lives and the rituals of beekeeping all become part of the background to a story that grows more sinister as the drought grips harder. Read on >

  • Reading this novel is like watching a rabbit caught in the headlights of a vehicle. There’s an awful fascination, almost a voyeuristic delight, in watching a man dig himself deeper into a hole of amoral sensationalism. Read on >

  • The Toymakers had me feeling joyful, but also heartbroken, embodied with a sense of happiness but also filled with a sense of dread as the book surprised me with its dark twists. Though Dinsdale laces this literary masterpiece with magic, there still remains the very unmissable presence of the reality of life as he tackles the theme of familial relationships. I highly recommend The Toymakers to you. Read on >

  • A British critic reviewing Winton’s Breath wrote, ‘Australian English must be the most consistently inventive and creative arm of the language’. Using this language in The Shepherd’s Hut, Winton creates one of Australian literature’s most memorable recent characters, while unpacking manhood, faith and the determination to survive. Read on >

  • Still Me begins with the quote ‘Know first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly’. And this is the message at the centre of the book. Fans of Jojo Moyes will know this is the third Louisa Clark book, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone and thoroughly enjoyed. Read on >

  • This book comes at a particularly poignant time in our social narrative. While addressing so many important issues, S A Jones manages to weave an incredibly beautiful story, her descriptions conjuring a beautiful image of the oddly tranquil life behind The Fortress walls. Although there are stark moments of brutality, and times where you erratically flip between loving and hating Jonathon, these moments of turmoil are what made this novel so absorbing and confronting. Read on >

  • There is nothing lofty about this tragic tale, it just is. There is no question that Vlautin is a good writer, but his story is so unrelentingly grim that at times it feels like a sadistic exercise, as if he thought of all the ways he could make Horace suffer and built the story around them. Perhaps there is a deep meaning behind Horace’s plight (socio-economic circumstances, personal choice, etc.), but mostly it just feels sad and frustrating because there is not even the faintest glimmer of hope. Read on >

  • Without revealing too much, it is the stuff of myths and legends, even time travel. And just to thoroughly confound the reader, it turns out one doctor is writing about the other. So, which one is more real, in this work of fiction based on a hideous reality. Read on >

See all Book Reviews for this Issue

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