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With the big book awards over for the year, we thought we’d take you through a few titles that were shortlisted, but didn’t quite make the cut. Below you’ll find some locally and internationally shortlisted titles that are well worth a visit.   
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • ALL IS GIVEN: A MEMOIR IN SONGS by LINDA NEIL She’s a Brisbane-based songwriter and an awardwinning producer of radio documentaries, and in this memoir LINDA NEIL travels the world, playing music and meeting people along the way. In this extract she recalls as a teenager being given the seemingly tedious duty of reading books to a blind neighbour. But what happened next surprised both the reader and the listener. 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 >
  • The symptoms of boredom, loneliness and heartache can often be alleviated by exposure to a good novel. But poetry can also have a similar healing effect. If you suffer from any of the following undesirable conditions, try these three poetic prescriptions that might just do the trick. 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 >
  • Meet the author who won the ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2015, and find out about her latest title, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Read on >
  • We talk with PATRICK HOLLAND, a longlist nominee for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award for his novel The Mary Smokes Boys, about his new novel, One, which tells the story of the real-life Kenniff brothers. These two late-19th-century Queenslanders were Australia’s last bushrangers, and vPatrick questions the extent of their supposed villainy. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • FIONA CAPP is the internationally published, award-winning author of three works of non-fiction, including her memoir That Oceanic Feeling – which won the Kibble Award – and five novels, including Gotland, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards. Fiona lives in Melbourne and works as a freelance writer and reviewer. Her latest novel, To Know My Crime, is a story of blackmail, risk, corruption, guilt and consequences set on the Mornington Peninsula. We asked Fiona to tell us about the books that have shaped her view of the world. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Like many young women with ambitious career plans, Bernadette Agius hadn’t exactly factored a child into her life plan when she fell pregnant. The usual anxieties of motherhood were only further compounded when, moments after giving birth, she was told that her newborn son, Richard, had Down syndrome. Read on >

  • Colin Thompson has written this story so subtly and emotionally. I’ve turned the pages many times to look at the incredibly sensitive, detailed and sometimes fun illustrations. Five stars is not enough for this book. It is a work of art. Read on >

  • This picture book is irresistible as it’s all written in verse with big, full-page real-life illustrations. And the story of this earthquake is added which helps to make the whole incredible story real. My problem is, how did those cows keep their balance? Read on >

  • The children will love this book as Diane Jackson Hill tells the story through a baby Shearwater called Hope. Hope has a little metal band on her leg so Ranger Phil and his team can track her flights. The beautiful illustrations by Craig Smith bring the whole remarkable story to life and we are left to wonder how these little birds find their way by just using their own instincts on the same day every year. Read on >

  • This book, with its exquisite illustrations, is an excellent introduction to Aboriginal people’s culture and language. Read on >

  • This is an insightful study of a family affected by mental illness and the effect would be similar no matter what the family’s ethnicity or cultural background. Of course, there are some permutations that are distinctive to people of Chinese heritage, and Wai Chim beautifully captures these in warm and sensitive ways. Read on >

  • This is a confronting and challenging story which describes the pain of growing up gay in a small, conservative small-town community. It doesn’t matter whether the reader is straight or gay; it gives an important insight in what it’s like to grow up ‘different’. There are some explicit sex scenes, which might shock some readers and which pushes the book into the much older teenage category. However, the characters are believable and one can’t help being moved by their tragic circumstances. Sheppard has given us a brave book which deserves attention. Read on >

  • This is a joyous romp, in which mayhem is piled upon mayhem and Tom, his family and friends, find themselves in all sorts of ridiculous situations. Reed’s illustrations add to the fun. It’s a story guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Read on >

  • Robertson skilfully synthesises the moral and legal aspects of this debate to make a fervent plea for the return of stolen treasures to their homelands, and also provides a legal framework for how museums and looted nations might approach reparations. Read this book and you’ll see some cultural institutions in a darker, bloody light. You’ll also hope that the stolen Marbles will soon find their way home to Athens. Read on >

  • These 28 Australian stories of summer, sun and swimming will stir many memories. Mine were of the municipal pool in my Far North Queensland hometown which hosted cane toads when it was emptied to just a puddle. And after having unkempt curly hair following early morning training in the pool, I stood in front of a mirror at home, wet my hair, then cut it so it looked good wet (and of course, looked vile when dry!) Read on >

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February 2021 Subscription Prizes