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Brisbane writer EMILY O’GRADY meets ANGUS DALTON the day after taking out Australia’s richest prize for an unpublished manuscript, The Australian/ Vogel’s Literary Award. Her winning novel, The Yellow House, was inspired by a murder carried out by the great-nephew of Australia’s most infamous serial killer.   
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Archive Discoveries

  • The town of Sorrento in southern Italy sits high on a clff above the Tyrrhenian Sea, whose waters are sobuoyant and warm that you can doze off while floating on its surface. But as author KATE FURNIVALL found, the nearby city of Naples is steeped in a history of danger and wartime poverty. The UK author tells gr her latest novel, The Liberation, was inspired by the secret tunnels, mafia strongholds and the of child street gangs she encountered on a recent visit to the Bay of Naples. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Best known for his role as a team captain on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks, ALAN BROUGH has also worked as a radio presenter,
actor and stand- up comedian. In the 1990s he also appeared in a series of TV commercials as a drag queen called Marge. He had always wanted to write, and now he has fulfilled that ambition with his new children’s book, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. He tells us about the books that have made him the reader and writer that he is today. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Most of Lonely Planet’s publications can fit snugly at the bottom of a backpack, but The Travel Book is a volume best left at home on the coffee table to inspire adventures.  Read on >
  • RITU MENON loves to travel and she loves to sample the local fare of the places her journeys take her to.Her new book, Loitering with Intent: Diary of a happy traveller, is derived from over a decade of travel journal writing. Here she recounts how she came to write the book and recalls a couple of fabulous Italian feasts. Read on >
  • The symptoms of boredom, loneliness and heartache can often be alleviated by exposure to a good novel. But poetry can also have a similar healing effect. If you suffer from any of the following undesirable conditions, try these three poetic prescriptions that might just do the trick. 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This story is dedicated to the Syrian people and to all refugees. Meeting the characters has increased my awareness of, and empathy for, the violence and injustice refugees face in their search for safety. Sensual descriptions of exotic foods and different landscapes, and thought-provoking philosophy increase the pleasure of this tale of courage and hope. Read on >

  • The tragic collapse of the West Gate Bridge during its construction in the 1970s killed 35 workers, many of whom were migrants. It was a tragedy that could have been avoided if the engineers and bosses of the construction team had had a greater focus on safety. Read on >

  • In a leafy and affluent area of Sheffield, two sets of neighbours meet over a back garden fence while one party is hosting a family barbeque. They are unalike in many ways - the Spinster family is white and English, and the Sharifullahs are from Bangladesh – but both have sprawling families, domestic worries and professional concerns. And both families are haunted by their histories – the Spinsters by decades of marital disharmony, and the Sharifullahs by the atrocities they encountered during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in the 1970s. Read on >

  • Swan Song is based on 10 years’ research and it is brilliantly executed, with its multiple narrative threads and parallel time frames. It reads like a grand tragedy or, more precisely, a series of grand tragedies. However, the self-indulgent Capote soon becomes tiresome, as do the tales of gossip and pretence, and Swan Song becomes a chorus of denial and woe, its technical brilliance overshadowed by its subjects. Read on >

  • Cormac McCarthy springs to mind as an influence on this debut novel; his spare, harsh and uncompromising style is evident in every word. It is set in outback Queensland, and the atrocities detailed within strike right at the heart of Australia’s uneasy relationship with its own colonial history. Read on >

  • Flames is a slim book but it is an extremely evocative and imaginative work that builds the natural landscape into its narrative as a character in its own right. If there is a weakness, it may be that there is too much happening, too many details mutating inexplicably into others. That said, the richness of the imagery and the strange winding narrative that intertwines flight and flame, is undeniably powerful and it is refreshing to see the Australian landscape written about so vividly. Read on >

  • Take a couple of feisty young women born a century apart, add a dedicated naturalist, mix in a mysterious antipodean creature hailed as a hoax by the learned men of English science, and you have an historical romance set in Australia and England. Read on >

  • This is a well-written and considered novel, and enjoyable, however, there is so much going on that I felt that there were opportunities lost to know more about the major characters, to explore the potential of their relationship, and to explore in more depth their professions. Read on >

  • The Neighborhood is being marketed as a detective thriller, but this is a misleading description and perhaps creates a false impression about the novel. Read on >

  • It's 1942 and Eleanor Roy works for the Ministry of Food, arranging paintings and murals for the walls of Britain’s restaurants, bolstering hope during WWII. She lives with her sister, Cecily, a nurse recovering from losing her boyfriend in combat. On an expedition to convince artists to sign up to the program, she meets Jack Valante who, unlike the others clamouring to be paid for their passion at such a bleak time, refuses to enter into a contract. Read on >

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