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Inspired by a true story, KIRSTY MANNING’s latest historical fiction offering, The Lost Jewels, unfolds an incredible mystery of thievery, sacrifice and hope through the generations of one family.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • It’s 100 years since
 Roald Dahl’s birth on 13 September 1916. For many years now, 13 September has been celebrated as Roald Dahl Day.  I love all of Roald Dahl’s books. I love the naughty antics his characters get up to in so many of his stories. I love reading about the fascinating life he led – especially his wartime flying exploits – and I really loved how he made the nasty grandmother in George’s Marvellous Medicine just go ‘pop’ and disappear. I think we all have someone in our life we’d like that to happen to occasionally. If you are yet to read his memoirs – Boy and Going Solo – I can’t recommend them highly enough. 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 >
  • LUCY DURNEEN lectures in creative writing in Plymouth, England, and is the assistant editor of the literary journal Short Fiction. We asked her about the apparent resurgence of interest in short stories, her beginnings as a writer, and the blending of realism and fantasy in the stories in her new collection, Wild Gestures. Read on >
  • The rugged beauty of England’s Lake District looms large in the latest psychological thriller by Perth-based author SARA FOSTER. She shares her passion for the natural world and her concerns about the potential impacts of electronic media with MAUREEN EPPEN. Read on >
  • Find out about the inspiration behind the bestselling brilliance of Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project, his new novel The Best of Adam Sharp, and how he made a name for himself by dressing as a duck. Read on >
  • From an investigation into the scandals of the Catholic Church by Tom Keneally to Jeffrey Archer’s thrilling last instalment in the ‘Clifton Chronicles’ series or a tale of a shrewd female locksmith in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, these books will delight you over the long, languid days of summer. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • In her latest novel, Melbourne author JANE RAWSON adds an air of otherworldliness to the story of her ancestor who survived a 19th-century shipwreck. She talks to MAUREEN EPPEN about history, aliens and the benefits of having been a ‘hack writer’ for 25 years.  Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I completely loved the characters in this book – and how Lincoln dealt with everyday teenage issues amongst the more challenging ones. This is the kind of book where you laugh and cry with the characters, and look forward to picking it up in every quiet spare moment. Read on >

  • This thought-provoking, exquisitely realised character study speaks of the timeless and universal need for a place to call home and people to love. Read on >

  • I loved The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, where we first met Thaniel Steepleton, an unassuming young man, and Keita Mori, the talented watchmaker who remembers the future. I started this sequel with anticipation. This is a complex story, but the lyrical nature of the writing kept me absolutely enthralled. You will need to have read the first book to understand the characters, but it is worth the effort. Time, destiny and love collide to literally electrifying effect, and you are left with a deeply satisfying journey. Read on >

  • This book is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and soul-crushingly depressing, in a way I can only describe as reminiscent of Waiting for Godot. Grandma Jean is also one of the best protagonists I’ve read in forever – she’s almost an anti-hero at times but her connection to Kimberly and Sue is so human, and at times heartbreaking. Read on >

  • Booker Prize winning English writer Graham Swift is a contemporary of Ian McEwan. I found myself reminded of McEwan’s On Chesil Beach as the story evolved. Both are set in a similar period, as England moved into the 1960s and both focus on the minutiae of domestic drama and the eloquent writing styles create perfect, if at times heart-breaking, vignettes of young love. Read on >

  • The unusual style of the narrative in this novel made me wonder if it was a translation. Tomasz Jedrowski, born to Polish parents in Germany, wrote the novel in English, which is impressive even if he does gild the lily from time to time. In Swimming in the Dark we meet writer and scholar Ludwik Glowacki, exiled in Brooklyn and feeling depressed and alone as he opens the door to the past to reflect on his ‘summer of forbidden love’. Read on >

  • This is a thoughtful and humorous story, narrated by a clever and inquisitive dog. Tassen seems very human when he is meditating on friendship, ageing and death. But there are lighter moments too, such as Mrs Thorkildsen’s ‘hunting’ (shopping in supermarkets) and consumption of ‘Dragon Water’ (wine). Tassen proves more loyal to Mrs Thorkildsen than the humans in her life but the mutual joy and comfort they derive from each other as they battle life after The Major is uplifting. Read on >

  • This is a magnificent novel. Sharon Penman is a rare novelist who ensures that the story is historically accurate, while writing characters with all their flaws and strengths that resonate with modern readers. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Read on >

  • The Tiniest House of Time tells the story of a middle-class Indian family, ranging from 1930s colonial Burma to nationalist Malaysia in the 1990s, as well as Australia and contemporary Kuala Lumpur. Read on >

  • It’s the story of many lives – searching for a place to call home and finding where true value is. Zhang’s repeated sensual, poetic imagery and the action-packed narrative vividly re-imagines the history of that era through the struggle, hope, and courage of Lucy, Sam, and their parents. Inspirational. Read on >

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Books for Boys