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William McInnes, bestselling author of Fatherhood and A Man's Got To Have A Hobby  tackles the silly season in a way only he can - telling stories brimming with good humour and nostalgia, to remind us what Christmas is all about: family.

Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • The BBC released a survey earlier this year in which they asked readers to name the books they had lied about having read. You can see the list below. I think I have read around half, as some I may have read in my youth that I’ve forgotten about (more about that later). How many of them have you read? The truth, please! Read on >
  • PEPPER HARDING is the pen name of a writer from San Francisco. The Heart of Henry Quantum, Pepper’s new novel, follows a scatterbrained husband’s erratic journey through the streets of San Francisco as he hunts down his wife’s Christmas present – a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Along the way he runs into his former lover, Daisy. We asked the author about his new novel and the eccentric thought journeys that appears throughout its pages. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • ANGUS DALTON meets British historian, journalist and author L S HILTON as she publicises the most hotly anticipated thriller of 2016, Maestra. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Despite its subject matter, the book is not without its humour and, in time-honoured tradition, the denouement has several twists. Agatha Christie-like it may be, but this is pure John Banville mastery. Read on >

  • The contrast between sun and shadow is one of many oppositional elements in the book. The most potent relates to gender. Men are superficially strong and warlike, but inwardly fragile and fearful. The women are perceived as weak, but have an inner ferocious strength. The interaction between Hirut and Ettore – captured prisoner and guard – is pivotal to the narrative. This powerful, sprawling, lyrical epic should be showered with accolades and awards. It deserves every single one. Read on >

  • There will be familiar elements within this narrative which remind you of Shakespearean plays. These are subtle, rather than overt, because O’Farrell’s writing is sublime. This is a magnificently rendered story of love, loss and grief. Read on >

  • This beautiful, bittersweet story offers a fascinating glimpse into contemporary Afghanistan. The world of Kabul and its people are alive on the pages. Sofia is dismayed by the poverty and discrimination but she admires the resilient spirit of the locals, especially the women, and she is always conscious of her Western outsider status. Read on >

  • Our Shadows is a character-driven, gentle story. There isn’t anything surprising or dramatic about it, but it’s a pleasant read carried along by well-crafted characters. I enjoyed it while I was reading it but not long after finishing it, there were aspects of it already fading from my memory. Read on >

  • This novel is beautifully crafted and provides a mature look into suicide and its impacts on those left behind. I felt that Goenawan dealt with themes of anxiety, isolation and trauma with sensitivity and I found her ability to familiarise these emotions and experiences incredibly perceptive. Read on >

  • The times are captured extremely well and the plot’s storylines crisscross each other with equal force. This is wonderful lyrical writing. Read on >

  • Hickey uses different voices in her first-person accounts, ranging from a woman returned from overseas to her old home in a fire-ravaged area, to a mother who uses her own salty language to describe how proud she is of her gay, theatrical son. There’s the healing provided by living in an isolated rural house; and one tension-filled story shows how danger and horror can be found on a desolate beach. Binding these 18 stories together is an over riding sense of family, with one of the most moving the story of the country football coach and his son. Read on >

  • This coming-of-age tale is a captivating read, with echoes of Huckleberry Finn. The courageous and resourceful children encounter cruelty, abuse, racism and despair but also kindness and hope. They learn about the terrible injustices inflicted on Native Americans and the devastating impact of the Great Depression. This is a lyrical, atmospheric saga about the importance of self and the search for home. Read on >

  • Glasgow in the time of Margaret Thatcher: grim, gritty and grey. ‘Rain is the natural state of Glasgow. It keeps the grass green and the people pale and bronchial.’ The mines were closing and Glasgow was a post-industrial wasteland. This is extremely well written but far from cheerful. If you have a loving home, feel free to count your blessings. Read on >

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