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Between them, IAN HEADS and NORMAN TASKER have over a century of sporting journalism experience. In this extract from their new book, Great Australian Sporting Stories, they bring together 65 of their stories from on the field and off. In this extract NORMAN TASKER takes us back to where it all began for him, as a copy boy, and the fascinating characters he met along the way.   
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • gr highlights cookbooks to buy for the discerning foodies in your life. Read on >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • A young woman named edie channels the dead through her work with the shady Elysian Society in a dytopian first novel from SARA FLANNERY MURPHY. The Oklahoma-based author tells EMMA STUBLEY about her encounters with ghosts and Greek mythology and how they influened The Possessions. 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 >
  • After reading a few thrillers lately I got to thinking about writers in the crime and thriller genres and the research they need to do to make their books seem real. Research can be an exciting part of writing any book. Determining how a killer might think and how their victim could become entrapped is one thing, but I can’t imagine looking at dead people or reading detailed reports of the methods that serial killers use to stalk and murder their prey.That’s the sort of awful stuff police deal with and psychologically struggle with for the rest of their lives. But could even researching this sort of thing affect a writer?  Read on >
  • ANGUS DALTON meets British historian, journalist and author L S HILTON as she publicises the most hotly anticipated thriller of 2016, Maestra. Read on >
  • Novelist and journalist MAGGIE ALDERSON spent her gap year as a ‘ferocious punk rocker’ working at an advertising agency and starting her own punk fanzine, for which she interviewed Bob Geldoff and Billy Idol. She went on to become the editor of Evening Standard and Elle in London. She also spent eight years in Australia as editor of Cleo and Mode, and covering fashion shows in Milan and Paris for The Sydney Morning Herald. Now back in the UK, Maggie has just released a new novel, The Scent of You. She tells us why reading fairy stories is good training for any writer, who her literary crush is, and why War and Peace is the most emotionally involving books she's ever read. Read on >
  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. 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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Books for Boys