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JANE CARSWELL went through the painful rejection of her manuscript 16 times by publishers. Years later, after hosting a long line of Chinese guests in her home and having travelled to China to withdraw into the world of meditation and monasteries, she found the book that she was meant to write. The result is Talk of Treasure, her memoir about how to be a writer and, more simply, just how to be. Jane tells us about what she’s reading now, her fear of the Wild Wood and her decision to become a Benedictine oblate.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Writer MIKE LUCAS and illustrator JENNIFER HARRISON tell gr about Olivia’s Voice, a new picture book about a deaf girl. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Marine biologist SHANNON LEONE FOWLER was embracing her fiancé, Sean, in the ocean off the coast of Thailand when a box jellyfish stung and killed him.Thai authorities tried to dismiss his death as a drunk drowning. Traveling with Ghosts follows the months Shannon spent on a strange trajectory through Eastern Europe, fleeing from the ocean and from grief. She tells us how her memoir came to be, 14 years after Sean’s death. Read on >
  • Teachers of writing classes often tell their students ‘show, don’t tell’. But showing – which means providing vivid description so that readers can clearly imagine what is being represented – depends to a large extent on memory and an alertness to the present moment. Writer and memoir instructor PATTI MILLER, author of Ransacking Paris, shows here how you can draw on sensory memory to enhance your writing. Read on >
  • CATHY BURKE is the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, an organisation that aims to end hunger in every part of the world by 2030. She has raised tens of millions of dollars to help empower people in Africa, India, Bangladesh and South America to feed themselves. We asked Cathy about the books that she has enjoyed reading and which have shaped her life, and we also talk about her own book, Unlikely Leaders. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Aristotle said that metaphor consists in giving a thing a name that belongs to something else. Shakespeare used metaphor when he wrote ‘All the world’s a stage’, drawing parallels between the planet and a theatrical performance space so that we might more easily understand what the world is like. Metaphors, by likening one thing to another, help us to understand things, or aspects of them, that might otherwise be difficult to comprehend. In Metaphors Be With You, DR MARDY GROTHE takes a historical look at how metaphors have been used to understand a huge range of topics, from adversity, beauty and curiosity through to love, war and vanity. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This is a story of a thoughtful little boy’s love of exploring the bush and its animals. Of being alone, sitting quietly but feeling the excitement of being part of the world around him. But it’s also a story of a friendship between two children who, even though having their different adventures in different places, can still think and care about one another. No review can do this book justice. The ethereal beauty of the artwork and the author’s poetic language is mesmerising. Every time I turn the pages I see something utterly beautiful and winsome which I have missed before. It is a book to cherish. Read on >

  • But the incredible thing is that all of these people no matter where they are in Australia and what they are doing, are under our most famous constellation, the Southern Cross. And if the sky is clear everyone can look up and see it. And not only in Australia but anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. We may not find this mind-boggling but maybe the children, if given the chance to read this book, will. And just for fun, the author has hidden his dog, Banjo, on every page, and he’s under the Southern Cross too. Read on >

  • This is a great little book for all those kids who are scared of the dark especially when the thunder is rumbling and the lightning is flashing. Marigold and Marvin find out that often those scary noises aren’t really what they sound like. And that when it’s dark, everything seems worse than it is. If you haven’t met these lovable little mice before, then now is the time to introduce them to your littlies. Read on >

  • This is a fun book where the clever illustrations tell the story. The littlies who read this book won’t be scared as they’ll understand what is happening. Imagination is a wonderful thing. Read on >

  • The Meltdown is a wonderful and witty addition to a growing trend of ‘mis-fit lit’ – books that create unlikely heroes out of the lanky and the loser-ish, rather than the Chosen Ones/Harry Potters that so often forefront the YA genre. Read on >

  • Moriarty’s distinctive voice resonates throughout this story, which is similar in tone to her other book: The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone. If you loved that book, you’ll love this one too. The characters are fun, the situation is dire and the adventure is a symphony of danger and intrigue. The only complaint I have is that the author takes a bit too long to get to the crescendo. This would be an ideal gift that could be savoured during school holidays. Read on >

  • The tales are theatrical and extraordinary, with a comprehensive bibliography to support them all. Blending history, biography and science in a style similar to the bestselling UK children’s series ‘Horrible Histories’, this compendium will capture the minds of adults and kids alike. Read on >

  • Dry speculates on the idea that climate change is thrusting us towards devastating disasters. In particular, it explores the insidiousness of drought and the gradual disappearance of water; a resource we simply take for granted. This book will have you thinking about ways to protect a natural resource that could easily dry up. Read on >

  • Wraith was so impossible to put down and beautifully written. It is completely unique, something I have never read of before, each fantastic new idea plunging you deeper into a great adventure! Read on >

  • This is a twist on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. However, there’s nothing Disney about it. There’s no singing teapots and a large, fluffy beast dressed in a gentleman’s clothing. This is real. This story explores the agony, the frustration and the unending guilt that comes to a man who is engulfed in a dark and lonely curse. The characters are dynamic and endearing, the plot grows steadily in tension while hope is an ever-shining beacon, and the resolution is satisfying, while leaving room for a sequel. It’s more than a fairy-tale and more than a gothic horror story; it is an absorbing and compelling drama. Read on >

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