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This year marks the centenary of The Magic Pudding, the classic Australian children’s book crafted by NORMAN LINDSAY on the whim of a bet. But there’s much more to be discovered about the writer and illustrator at Springwood, his stone cottage in the Blue Mountains, that now hosts the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum as ANGUS DALTON writes.

Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Biographies have long fascinated readers, serving as guides for how to live our own lives or often just giving us an intriguing peek into the world of extraordinary people. In this round-up we look at a comedian with a disability, a magician with a learning disorder, the real man behind Walter White of Breaking Bad and more. But we’re bending the biography rules a bit by also including a book by a philosopher that will prompt you to think about living a better life, a book about Aussies at war and an account of Queensland police leading lives of corruption. 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I found this book mesmerising. I was absolutely appalled by the main character’s thoughts and behaviour, yet blown away by John Boyne’s literary skills. To me it is an unforgettable read. Read on >

  • Transcription tells the story of Juliet Atkinson, a resourceful girl who is whisked away from the dull hours at her typewriter transcribing for MI5 to become an active participant in the investigation of Nazi sympathisers in 1940s London. Transcription is definitely worth a look for the prose alone, although it’s not as good as Life After Life. I’m yet to pick up A God in Ruins, but this read makes me more likely to do so. Read on >

  • Paris Echo centres around the lives of Hannah and Tariq, who are living in Paris. Hannah is an American academic on a fellowship to research women’s lives during the German occupation in the 1940s. Tariq is a 19 year old from Morocco who illegally stows away on a quest for adventure and to learn about his dead French mother. Hannah and Tariq’s lives soon become intertwined and Hannah begrudgingly allows Tariq to lodge in her apartment. The novel charts their personal journeys as they navigate the city and learn the nuances of its history. Read on >

  • The Apology is an unsettling read. Watkins deals sensitively and deeply with sexuality, sexual misconduct, and the guilt that follows. Read on >

  • My Purple Scented Novel is bright and light – some of his earlier works earned him the name ‘Ian Macabre’. But it still bears his careful characterisation and restrained yet lively prose. It’s easily devoured on a short bus ride or over morning coffee. Read on >

  • In The Mere Wife, Headley finds a whole ecosystem under the formative tale of Beowulf by re-centring the narrative on just about everything other than Beowulf himself. Headley is a seasoned fantasy writer and we get to hear from the mountains, the lakes, the animals, the children, the women, and the monsters, as perspective shifts each chapter. Read on >

  • The Wounded Sinner is the name of an old, decaying house which has been in the Andrews family for generations. Henderson personifies it as a dying being with hard, dry skin of paint peeling away, and loose window panes rattling in shrunken gums. The first inhabitant, Nathaniel Andrews, was an unrepentant rake, so Reverend Stone called him a ‘wounded sinner’ in need of God’s redemption. Read on >

  • Briseis is an interesting narrator, cool, calm and very matter of fact. She breathes life into the women who are at the edges of the Trojan Wars – women who are barely mentioned in history’s recounting of events, yet it was the women who loved, hated, fed, tended to and buried these famous men. An interesting new take on a very old tale. Read on >

  • French Exit is a satire with touches of light humour and fans of the author will be delighted that he has again put pen to paper. I, however, did not enjoy reading the book. I thought the peripheral characters were far more intriguing than Frances or Malcolm … and the cat should’ve been euthanised by page three. It’s a slim novel with short chapters and just 244 pages. Read on >

  • This is a charming novel that deftly portrays the relationship between the women with skill and care. It is, however, entirely predictable; nothing happened that I could not see coming. Having said that, I found it a pleasant read, and an enjoyable way to while away an afternoon. Read on >

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