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A considerable part of TERENCE J QUINN’s international career as a journalist and newspaper publisher was dedicated to editing tabloid rags in the UK. Now based in Noosa, Queensland, the Scottish-born author tells us how his experience in the notoriously histrionic tabloid press lead him to write his debut nautical thriller novel, The Scoop.
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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • UK journalist and editor MARINA BENJAMIN looks at the joys, losses and opportunities of middle age in her new book, The Middlepause. In this extract she writes about the secret misogynistic history of HRT.   Read on >
  • It’s often said that whatever happens in our childhoods resonates throughout the rest of our lives – for good or for ill. This was certainly the case for TIM ELLIOTT, who grew up with a father who suffered from bipolar disorder. TIM GRAHAM spoke to him about the lingering effects of a tumultuous childhood and his memoir ofpaternal madness, Farewell to the Father. Read on >
  • When she’s not training her inquisitorial blowtorch on politicians and other people who have questions to answer, ABC reporter and presenter SARAH FERGUSON loves to delve into a book. Her new book, The Killing Season Uncut, recounts the behind-the-scenes tales of the television program about the tumultuous Rudd–Gillard years. We asked the multi-award winning Four Corners reporter to tell us about the books that have influenced her. Read on >
  • ARMANDO LUCAS CORREA is the Editor-in-Chief of People En Espanol,  the top-selling Hispanic magazine in the U.S. Here he writes of his personal connection to a group of Jewish refugees that departed from Hamburg, Germany in 1939 seeking refuge in Cuba. His novel The German Girl is a fictional account of the doomed voyage. Read on >
  • Heart surgeon PROFESSOR STEPHEN WESTABY has worked for 35 years to save ailing hearts and, in many cases, give his patients a second chance at life. In his new memoir, Fragile Lives, Westaby recounts remarkable and poignant cases, such as the baby who had suffered multiple heart attacks before reaching six months of age. We asked him to tell us a bit about his life as a surgeon. Read on >
  • Sydney-based novelist LAUREN SAMS, author of She’s Having Her Baby, has worked for magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Her new book, Crazy Busy Guilty, reprises the heroine Georgie Henderson, who tries frantically to juggle work and family. We spoke recently with Lauren, who talked about the US election, writer’s block and wacky parenting strategies.  Read on >
  • Australian film director BRUCE BERESFORD (Driving Miss Daisy, Paradise Road) and film producer SUE MILLIKEN (Black Robe and Sirens) have collaborated on several films over their long careers. Their new book, There’s a Fax from Bruce: Edited correspondence between Bruce Beresford & Sue Milliken 1989- 1996, collects the communications – full of industry gossip, news and thoughts on books and films – from a pre-email era between these two filmmaking luminaries. They tell us here about the books that have influenced them. Read on >
  • Australian author of literary and crime fiction DOROTHY JOHNSTON writes about the real-life kidnapping of a camel, coming home to Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, and how she came to write Through a Camel’s Eye. 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 >
  • 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

  • I found this a compelling tale of Willa’s journey towards a point in her life where she wonders if she can break free of the plans others make for her and the paths they expect her to follow. I plan to read some of Tyler’s other 21 novels. Read on >

  • This is a magnificent and compelling novel. The characters are so different from each other that it seems each deserves a novel of their own, but a love of nature and what it might mean to lose it draws them together. But the real stars of the novel are the trees; the story explores what science is now telling us about trees as sentient, social beings and speculates as to where undiscovered cures for diseases might lie. And it compels us to be grateful for the bounty of forests we are thoughtlessly squandering, and to consider what it might be like to live without them. One of the great novels of the year for me. Read on >

  • The Patient X of the title is noted Japanese author Ryunosuke Akutagawa, who lived in tumultuous times before committing suicide in 1927 at the age of 35. Perhaps the best known of Akutagawa’s stories in the west is Rashomon, which used multiple viewpoints to tell the story of a crime. He was influenced by Western authors like Edgar Allan Poe as well as traditional Japanese and Chinese stories, and a combination of Eastern and Western thought and religion. Read on >

  • Ponti Sharlene Teo Ponti (short for Pontianak, the cannibalistic female ghost-monster of Malay legend) is the story of three women; Szu and Circe, teenagers on the cusp of adulthood, and Szu’s mother, Amisa, a former beauty who starred in a series of B-grade horror movies as the Ponti character. Read on >

  • This novel starts with threats of burning and fire-lighting, and continues the bonfire theme throughout. The book consists entirely of entries from a diary, letters, newspapers and police reports, recorded on specific dates. This cleverly makes the story seem factual. Read on >

  • Katherine Collette has created a slice of ordinary life in which to explore the complex dynamics of relationships, loneliness and community. There are wonderfully quirky characters and witty, entertaining accounts of working at a local council – think overzealous health and safety officers and office-wide disputes over biscuits in the tearoom. This little microcosm reflects the wider world in so many ways and, while The Helpline is a thoroughly enjoyable read, you might come away with a few important things to reflect on too. Read on >

  • Asymmetry is certainly one of the strangest books I’ve read recently, both in structure and content, but I believe these quirks made the story more interesting and unique. Asymmetry left me with three distinct and tangible perspectives on life and the importance art and beauty. Read on >

  • Saint Antony is a rewarding novel, unpacking ideas of humanity, philosophy and religion in a unique way. The deeper you get, the more Uhlmann draws you into his fascinating world. Read on >

  • So convincing is the life Murray has created for Cranmer and the paintings she describes, I found myself undertaking an online search to determine whether the artist was more than a fictional representation of generations of women whose lives have been narrowed by patriarchal privilege. Read on >

  • Set against the stormy background of the Spanish Civil War and the lead-up to the World War II, this outstanding and informative blend of true stories and fiction is one of the best books I’ve read this year.  It’s 1937, on the eve of World War II, and Spanish nationalist forces led by General Francisco Franco are in the final stages of preparing to raid Spain by the following year. Meanwhile, up-and-coming celebrity author Ernest Hemingway meets American journalist Martha Gellhorn in a bar in Key West in Florida. There is an immediate attraction between them. When Hemingway leaves to join one of the International Brigades in Spain, Gellhorn follows, catching up with him in Barcelona as Franco’s forces clash with Spanish Republicans. The pair cover the war together as journalists, and fall in love – despite Hemingway still being married to his first wife, Hadley Richardson (author Paula McLain wrote about this relationship in her 2011 novel, The Paris Wife). When Hemingway publishes his bestselling and critically lauded novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, based on the Civil War, his relationship with the highly ambitious Gellhorn, who’s working for the magazine Collier’s Weekly and is an aspiring novelist herself, begins to strain. Gellhorn is now regarded as one of the most important war correspondents of the time, who had a keen interest in the stories of the people affected by war rather than just the political machinations of conflict. Set against the stormy background of the Spanish Civil War and the lead-up to the World War II, this outstanding and informative blend of true stories and fiction is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Reviewed by Jean Ferguson   Read on >

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