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If your letter is published this month, you will win a copy of The Turn of Midnight by Minette Walters, valued at $29.99. If your letter is published in the February issue of gr, you will win a copy of The Lost Girls by Jennifer Spence, valued at $29.99.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Real-life historical figures and 18th-century court cases dealing with adultery inspired one of two interwoven storylines in The Wife’s Tale, a new novel by Australian author CHRISTINE WELLS. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how the true events from the past inform her tale of scandal, intrigue, murder – and love.  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 >
  • 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 >
  • GEORGIA BLAIN is a novelist and journalist who lives in Sydney. Her first novel, Closed for Winter, was adapted into movie in 2009. LEONIE DYER asked Georgia about her latest novel, Between a Wolf and a Dog. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • If you think of the German navy in World War II, then you probably conjure up images of grand-scale conflicts such as the Battle of the Atlantic or the Baltic Sea campaigns. But not so many people are aware that German ships were also on the prowl down in the South Pacific and in the Indian Ocean, where they disguised themselves as ordinary freighters before launching their deadly assaults on unsuspecting Allied craft. False Flags, a new account by Canberra author STEPHEN ROBINSON, tells the story of four German raiders, including the infamous attack by one of them, the Kormoran, on the HMAS Sydney in 1941. GRANT HANSEN reports. 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 >
  • The stories of SUSAN PERABO have been likened to the work of George Saunders and Raymond Carver. Her latest novel, The Fall of Lisa Bellow, kicks off when school student Meredith is kidnapped together with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow. Meredith is set free – but Lisa remains. We asked Susan to tell us about short stories versus novels, her love of baseball and writing advice she has received. Read on >
  • 'Books, and lovers or friends, mark and change us. And we, in turn, mark and change them.' Melbourne novelist CATH CROWLEY writes about her longtime love of secondhand bookshops, and how the histories she found and imagined there led her to write Words in Deep Blue. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Chinonso, a poor Nigerian poultry farmer, sees a woman ready to jump off a bridge into the river. He begs her not to, but when she resists him, he rushes two of his prized birds from his car, and throws them in to the river. As they struggle and sink, his sacrifice changes her mind. I cannot do justice in words to the depth of wisdom and mythical imagery Obioma constructs in this Booker-shortlisted novel. Read on >

  • In 1830, Washington Black is an 11-year-old slave on a plantation in Barbados; he is fated to live out his life in misery and torment, his value that of his sweat in the sugarcane fields. But all that changes when he is selected by the brother of the plantation owner, the eccentric and sensitive Titch, who needs a young man of Washington’s weight and temperament to assist him with his scientific observations and experiments surrounding his pursuit of the perfect aerial machine. Washington Black was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and is a fine novel, for all it is missing is that spark of greatness. Read on >

  • We Must Be Brave is a story of the many different kinds of love, loyalty and devotion, and how our experiences in life make us who we are, particularly in times of unspeakable horror. Read on >

  • It’s not often you get a story told from the perspective of a dog and, more remarkably, a dog that lives in a refugee camp. Yet Mutt’s narrative is possibly one of the less unusual aspects of Mohammed Hanif ’s Red Birds, which combines observations about US foreign policy with the lived experiences of those caught up in its international power struggles. Read on >

  • This unassuming little novel didn’t snag much worldwide attention until it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year. It’s a cracking and fast-paced novel that is so hilarious, smart and warm-hearted that it leaves you desperate to grab a beer with its author. The story of the self-deprecating, sad, unlucky-in-love Arthur Less is at times silly and slapstick, but it builds into a tale that is unexpectedly and unforgettably romantic. You’ll whip through Less in a day or two, and with little effort, you’ll have earned the clout to ask smugly of your bookish friends, ‘So, have you read the latest Pulitzer Prize winner?’ Read on >

  • In for a Pound is set in a world of the ’70s drug scene in Sydney, Darwin and South East Asia’s Golden Triangle, where local drug dealers have kidnapped and are holding Sam Leach’s close friend. Sam’s difficult upbringing, with a father who was a gangster, has led her into becoming a drug dealer, with associates smuggling drugs in from Burma. It’s a dangerous endeavor but it earns her a lot of fast money. Read on >

  • This is a fine, entertaining novel, where the characters keep pace with the tumultuous growth of the century. It is worth reading for the Costume Ball alone; it’s a fine lesson in how to get what you want. Read on >

  • The Children’s House is a rather slow-moving novel, but the writing is lovely. It is the story of family and the connections that we make along the way, that make a difference to us whether we realise it at the time or not. And it is a story of the fierce love we can feel for a small child that is not out own, but that we desperately wish to offer a better life. Read on >

  • This is such a fun book. The repetition is delightful and the beautiful soft illustrations will speak to us all. I can imagine the little children listening to this story and joining in with their chick chick, moo moo and squark squark (that’s the cocky wanting more chocolate) and all the other wonderful noises that farm animals make. Try it on your littlies at home. Read on >

  • This is one of those delightful little books that young children fall in love with. Written in rhyme and illustrated in such a beautiful old-fashioned way, it features the five most gorgeous French mice who love fashion and food and hopefully will be clever enough to help Queen Julie out of her dilemma. Read on >

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