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If given the opportunity to permanently remove a memory from your mind, would you take it? In the first adult novel of UK author BRIDGET COLLINS, The Binding, memories can be trapped in books and locked away for good. ANGUS DALTON talks to the author about book binding and the consequences of meddling with memory.

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Archive Discoveries

  • The changing moral code and shift in gender roes of World War II provide the backdrop for JENNIFER RYAN's debut novel The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN about the people and events that inspired the story. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Stretching across generations and set on the Atherton Tablelands where she lives, the latest novel from prolific Australian author BARBARA HANNAY is a saga of loss, love, secrets and salvation. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN 
about her writing life, and how The Grazier's Wife evolved.   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 >
  • Think of the typical problem drinker, and we usually imagine alcoholics, drink-drivers, underage drinkers and the perpetrators of one-punch attacks. The brother of Brisbane writer ELSPETH MUIR was none of these things. But three days after a heavy night of drinking, he was found dead in the Brisbane River – his blood alcohol level was 0.25 at his time of death. Elspeth tells us about her memoir, Wasted, an investigation into Australia’s drinking culture, and what might have been done to prevent Alexander’s death.  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 >
  • Most of us think of Australia as a sunny land filled with straightforward, open and candid people. But in ANNA ROMER’s version of the country, it’s a place filled with secrets and people who will do anything to keep them concealed. She talks with ALEX HENDERSON about her new book, Beyond the Orchard, Victoria’s haunted Otway Coast and the power of fear. Read on >
  • Communicating the most exciting new developments in science to non-scientific readers can be a challenge. But Know This: Today’s most interesting and important scientific ideas, discoveries, and developments, takes up the challenge and lets dozens of eminent scientists tell us what they think are the most interesting recent developments in science. Here are two extracts from the book. Read on >
  • The mystery surrounding Agatha Christie’s 1926 disappearance provided the inspiration for On the Blue Train, the second novel of US-based Australian author KRISTEL THORNELL. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how her research led her to parts of England where the celebrated mystery author lived – and to the North Yorkshire hotel wher she spent jer 'lost' days. Read on >
  • Adelaide writer STEPHEN 
ORR, whose book The Hands
 was longlisted for the 2016 
Miles Franklin Award, likes to
travel the world inspecting
 sites of literary interest – when 
he’s not writing about cattle 
stations and small towns. Here 
he recounts a recent journey to
 the British Isles and Germany on 
which he visited the homes and
 haunts of some of the world’s best known authors. 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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