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Funny man and musician ANDREW HANSEN and his artistically talented partner, JESSICA ROBERTS, have collaborated on their first book for younger readers, Bab Sharkey and the Animal Mummies: The Weird Beard. gr asked them what they love to read, what their inspirations were for their new book and who might be coming to dinner.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • If you set out to write a thriller, you’re going to have to do some research. And while your story will be fiction, you’ll probably uncover more than a few fascinating real-world facts, as Australian thriller author L A LARKIN discovered while researching for her latest novel, Devour. Read on >
  • The 1970s and 80s saw DAVE WARNER lead two influential punk-rock bands. His demanding musician’s lifestyle left little time for writing anything but his next single. Nowadays Dave is a full-time screenwriter, novelist and playwright, but he still takes to the stage every so often for a good old-fashioned rock-out. ANGUS DALTON finds out more about Dave’s life and his latest crime novel, Before It Breaks. 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 >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. Read on >
  • PEPPER HARDING is the pen name of a writer from San Francisco. The Heart of Henry Quantum, Pepper’s new novel, follows a scatterbrained husband’s erratic journey through the streets of San Francisco as he hunts down his wife’s Christmas present – a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Along the way he runs into his former lover, Daisy. We asked the author about his new novel and the eccentric thought journeys that appears throughout its pages. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • I switched on to watch ABC TV’s The Drum one evening and discovered Jodi Picoult sitting on the panel discussion.What a great performer she is – not only an impressive writer but also an impressive speaker.The discussion at the table was raging around whether a white author has the right, or could even have the understanding, to write about black characters. As a white woman, how could she really know what’s it’s like to be a black woman, let alone a black man? How could she write black characters and make them authentic without knowing how they feel? 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 >
  • 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 >
  • AOIFE CLIFFORD is the winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award for one of her crime stories, but All These Perfect Strangers is her first novel. The Melbourne-based crime novelist talks with us about New Year’s resolutions, her Irish poet grandfather and the similarities between writing a novel and creating a papier-mâché puppet.  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

  • A charming novel, its narration across characters and time is deft and often very moving. I thoroughly enjoyed it and shall look for other works by this author. Read on >

  • It is indeed a tribute to Murakami’s skill as a writer that he can keep deploying these same elements to create fascinating stories. He is nothing if not reliable. If you are a Murakami fan, this is well worth a look and if you are not familiar with his work this would not be a bad starting point. Read on >

  • Miss Burma opens during the titular contest in 1956, when the beautiful 15-year-old Louisa sweeps across the stage. There is something about Louisa, it could be her mixed heritage ( Jewish father, Karen mother), it could be her almost unnatural beauty or it could be something else. The narrative then shifts back in time to 1926 and to Louisa’s father, Benny. Read on >

  • The stories begin and end quickly, but still manage to be intimate and fulfilling. Some are easily digested – read, enjoyed and put aside. But a memorable few will sit in the back of your mind, asking to be untangled further. We leave behind the characters, feeling privileged to have known them, even for a short time, and hopeful for how their lives will unfold beyond the pages. Read on >

  • Tom Hope is broken-hearted, but as his name suggests, he is optimistic and carries on stoically. His wife, Trudy, leaves him after a short marriage. She hates living on his farm in Victoria and Tom doesn’t take enough notice when she regularly sighs and says, ‘Another day in Paradise’. He makes a second-chance list of 34 things to do if she comes back. Read on >

  • In 16th-century Carcassonne, 19-year-old Minou Joubert lives with her widowed father, caring for her two younger siblings and working in the family bookshop as her father’s health declines. There she receives an anonymous letter, sealed with a family crest that she does not recognise, that says simply, ‘She knows that you live.’ Read on >

  • When your life is ruined, you look for some sense of renewed purpose. This is what A Stolen Season is all about – three lives that demand re-examination. Each focal character takes their turn as narrator, and the book is sectioned into chapters around these, each interspersing through the other’s narrative. Read on >

  • Almost Love is an incredibly raw look at messy relationships and the way the people in our lives contribute to who we are. The book is shocking and sobering in the way O’Neill forces you to connect with Sarah and even find yourself relating to her in the most obscure ways. Almost Love is a challenging read, but not one that I regret reading. Read on >

  • This moving, engrossing story of a traditional Italian family enduring the worst of times is written by an Italian-Australian author now living in the UK, for whom migrants and migration have always been at the heart of her storytelling. Read on >

  • Despite being a little banal and wordy at times, this book is a fascinating look at an African country in different times. Read on >

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The Good People