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Welcome to the Good Reading Podcasts.

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Browse our podcasts by genre or check out our most recent podcasts below.

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LISTEN TO OUR LATEST PODCASTS 

 

Black River
Matthew Spencer on his brilliant debut crime thriller Black River

Adam Bowman, a second-string journalist at a Sydney newspaper, may be the only person with enough inside knowledge to uncover the links between a murder on the grounds of a private school and the notorious 'Blue Moon Killer'. But Bowman will have to venture into the darkest places of his childhood to piece together a series of shocking crimes.

Detective Sergeant Rose Riley is part of the taskforce desperately trying to find the killer before he strikes again. Bowman may turn out to be her trump card or may just bring the whole investigation crashing down and put her own life in danger.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Matthew Spencer about why the Parramatta River is the perfect setting for Black River, exploring the fraught connection between police and journalists, and creating great characters from apparently ordinary people.

 

Your Best ImmunityDr John Tickell on Your Best Immunity: Build Resistance the ACE Way

Dr John Tickell is a medical doctor, health researcher and author who has spent decades studying the health and longevity of people around the world. His formula of Activity, Coping and Eating, draws on his medical experience, extensive international research, and the lifestyle patterns of the longest living people on earth.

Your Best Immunity: Build Resistance the ACE Way is your guide maintaining and increasing your immunity. How the immune system works and the factors that can depress our immunity are explained along with immunotherapy treatments and the best ways to increase our resistance to everyday viruses and to cancer.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Dr John Tickell about how we all can maintain and improve our immune system beyond what our genetics dictate, how the healthiest people in the world manage to also be the longest living, and how Dr John Tickell's 'ACE way' can improve your immunity through strategies around Activity, Coping and Eating.

The Boxing ButterflyMargaret Cunneen SC on a remarkable career in The Boxing Butterfly

Margaret Cunneen worked for 30 years as a Crown Prosecutor on cases involving murder, pedophiles and rapists and became a specialist in child sexual assault law. In 2019 Margaret took up practise as a defence counsel.

The Boxing Butterfly is Margaret Cunneen looking in the rear-view mirror. It chronicles an eventful career which included cases such as the Skafs gang rapes, the Robert 'Dolly' Dunn pedophilia case and the so-called 'Butcher of Bega' for unspeakable medical practice. This is gruesome and confronting work but Margaret Cunneen has proven herself to be no shrinking butterfly.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Margaret Cunneen about the benefits of being a taekwondo 4th Dan Black Belt, the “reformatting” of her career in the switch from prosecutor to defence counsel, and finding and maintaining empathy and compassion from both sides of the bar.


The Natural History of Love
Caroline Petit on an epic love story across three continents in The Natural History of Love

Carolina Fonçeca is a lonely sixteen-year-old girl confined to a remote Brazilian sugar plantation in the 1850s. Her life changes when the French explorer, naturalist and diplomat, the Count de Castelnau stumbles out of the Amazon rainforest, delirious and near death. With a head full of Balzac and dreams of Parisian life, she nurses him back to health and makes the decision to follow him back to Paris as his lover. What Carolina doesn’t know is that François has a wife and son back in France.

The Natural History of Love is a meticulously researched work of historical fiction based on the lives of the Count de Castelnau and Carolina Fonçeca. From their first meeting in the Brazilian jungle to the Salons of Paris and eventually to Federation-era Melbourne, and against the backdrop of a time when Darwin's theories were transforming society, this is a fascinating story, masterfully told.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Caroline Petit about recreating a grand love story from dusty files and letters, the collision between religion, black magic and the natural sciences, and giving a voice to a remarkable woman silenced by the annals of 19th century history.

Esther's Children


Caroline Beecham on an exceptional World War II heroine in Esther's Children
 

Austria, 1936. Esther Simpson works for a British organisation that rescues academics from the cruel Fascist and anti-Semitic regimes taking hold in Europe. On a dangerous trip to Vienna, Esther falls in love with Harry Singer, a young Jewish academic and musician.

When Harry is detained on the Isle of Man while waiting for news of his parents, Esther pleads with the government for his release. When Harry is eventually liberated, they each face an impossible choice.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Caroline Beecham about bringing Esther Simpson to life in an epic love story, the real person behind the character, the music and the beauty of the city of Vienna, and the important and continuing work of rescuing academic refugees.

Then there Was her

 

Sophie Cachia on a life-changing moment in And Then There Was Her

By the age of 25, Sophie Cachia was a happily married mother and digital marketing expert with a very successful business powered by documenting her every move online. Then, in a single moment, everything changed. Sophie met a woman who prompted her to question her own life and relationship.

And Then There Was Her is a frank and deeply honest memoir, documenting Sophie's path to greater awareness, empowerment and acceptance as she navigated identity, sensuality and the true meaning of authenticity as a mother and a woman.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Sophie Cachia about the momentous event that changed her life, how she now views her privacy differently, and why we should all embrace change in our search for happiness.

The Nurses War
Victoria Purman on the unsung heroes of World War I in The Nurses' War

May 1915. As war rages in Europe, Australian nurse, Sister Cora Barker, leaves her home in Adelaide for England, determined to make her own contribution. She arrives at Harefield House – a stately home donated by its expatriate Australian owners. There she helps transform it into a hospital that is also a little piece of home for recuperating Australian soldiers.

Victoria Purman on the unsung heroes of World War I in 'The Nurses' War'

As casualties mount, the hospital sends out a desperate call for help. Jessie Chester, a quiet young seamstress from Harefield village steps up as a volunteer. She meets Private Bert Mott, a recuperating Australian soldier, but the looming threat of his return to the Front hangs over them.

Cora’s and Jessie’s hearts and lives hang in the balance as waves of injured and dying soldiers threaten to overwhelm the hospital. This is a war against despair and death, fought with science and love and at great personal cost.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Victoria Purman about the treasures housed in the Australian War Memorial archive, honouring the stories of real life war heroines within an epic work of historical fiction, and illuminating an important contribution to the annals of Australian history. 

Bedtime Story
Chloe Hooper on the dark and light of storytelling in Bedtime Story

When Chloe Hooper's partner is diagnosed with an aggressive and deadly cancer she had to find a way to tell their two sons. Could the news be broken as a bedtime tale? To find out, Chloe Hooper went on a quest to find the book that might help.

From the Brothers Grimm to Frances Hodgson Burnett to Tolkien and Dahl, Hooper followed the trail of the world's favourite authors. The result is a moving exploration of the books and the lives of iconic authors in search of the perfect bedtime story.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Chloe Hooper about the revelations she experienced in her exploration of children's literature, how we started avoiding talking about death and loss with children, and how the right language can bring wisdom and light to a difficult subject.

 

Out of the BoxThree generations of Silbery women on personal memories and life's lessons in Out of the Box

You might know them as Isabelle, Kerry and Emmie Silbery from Foxtel’s and Channel 10’s series Gogglebox, a program where they share their thoughts on the week’s TV offerings. But even from the comfort of the couch it was clear that the Silbery's were a connected, supportive and loving family.

In 'Out of the Box', these three strong, independent women open up, sharing intensely personal stories and thoughtful opinions on the female experience across three generations. Motherhood, infidelity, grief, money, feminism, body hair – and men! No topic is off limits. This is a book to inspire mothers and daughters to start talking and sharing, and having conversations that will bring them closer together.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Isabelle, Kerry and Emmie Silbery about the gig that was Gogglebox, growing up under radically different social and economic circumstances, and the messages they want men to hear.

The improbable Life of Ricky Bird

 
Diane Connell on a force to be reckoned with in The Improbable Life of Ricky Bird

Ricky Bird loves making up wild stories for her little brother Ollie. Her outlandish plots and whimsical characters help fortify them against the hopeless reality of their lives. Her father has abandoned her and her family has moved to a bleak new neighbourhood. Worse still, her mother's new boyfriend has come with the furniture.

Ricky's greatest weapon is her imagination and she uses it to set her world to rights. But despite her best efforts Ricky's world starts to spiral out of control, that is, until a gypsy fortune teller makes a life changing prediction.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Diane Connell about the incredible power of storytelling, how sadness and laughter can coexist, and the challenges for young girls growing up in a world with unlimited possibilities but also of dangerous consequences.


 

Wake by Shelley BurrShelley Burr on the unsolved disappearance that haunts a small farming community in WAKE

The small town of Nannine was once a thriving outback centre but years of punishing drought have taken their toll. Nannine still has one claim to fame: the unsolved disappearance of Evelyn McCreery from the bedroom she shared with her twin sister Mina, nineteen years ago.

Mina McCreery's life has been defined by intense and ongoing public scrutiny. That reaches a whole new level when private investigator Lane Holland rolls into town with the million-dollar reward in mind. WAKE is a powerful story of how family tragedies can become public property and the darker motivations to solving a crime.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Shelley Burr about how family trauma ripples through the lives of people in a small farming community, how the speculations of online murder forums can turn private lives into a public obsession, and what the study of soil science brings to the writing of crime fiction.

 
 

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

A F Steadman on the magical world of unicorns in Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

Soar into a world where unicorns are real but also deadly and can only be tamed by the riders who hatch them.

Skandar Smith has always wanted to be a unicorn rider but when the terrifying Weaver steals the most powerful unicorn in the world, becoming a unicorn rider turns out to be very dangerous idea. And what if Skandar turns out to be the villain rather than the hero?

In this episode Gregory Dobbs is joined by young reader Grace Grenfell to chat with Annabel Steadman about what draws her to the dark side of fantasy adventure, why she chose unicorns and turned them into ferocious creatures and what makes a real hero.

True North

Catherine Deveny on emerging from oppression and finding her tribe in True North

When writer Catherine Deveny faced the end of a seventeen-year relationship with the father of her children she knew she had to create space for a new life. She had no idea what lay on the other side of months of tumult but it wasn't the first time Catherine had taken a plunge into the unknown.

In this heartfelt memoir, Catherine traces the path of a tumultuous life from a chaotic childhood to finding herself in share-houses in the 1980s and navigating the highs and lows of a creative life, family legacies and intimate relationships.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Catherine Deveny about moving on from relationships, the importance of acquiring “fuck-off status”, overcoming an oppressive Catholic upbringing and learning to live life on her own terms.

jack of Hearts

 
Jackie Huggins and Ngaire Jarro on a remarkable indigenous serviceman in Jack of Hearts QX11594

Jackie Huggins and Ngaire Jarro are sisters from the Bidjara and Birri Gubba Juru nations. One hundred years since the birth of their father John Henry 'Jack' Huggins III, they decided to research and write about about a man they hardly knew. 

Jack Huggins was one of only fifty indigenous servicemen to enlist in the Australian Armed Forces in WWII. 'Jack of Hearts QX11594' is a great story of tradition and survival that spans more than a century as two sisters look deep into their family history.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Jackie Huggins and Ngaire Jarro about the tradition of indigenous men serving their country in wartime, their own journey to the Thai-Burma Death Railway to walk in the footsteps of their father Jack, and the challenges of bringing together a great oral tradition with dedicated historical research.

 

Missing presumed Dead
Mark Tedeschi on the double murder case that gripped Australia in Missing Presumed Dead

Mark Tedeschi AM QC has worked as a Barrister and Crown Prosecutor on some of Australia's most significant criminal cases. He led the prosecution in the conviction of Bruce Burrell for the brutal murders of Kerry Whelan and Dorothy Davis. Together these cases were a high watermark in the Australian criminal justice system and resulted in important reforms around how a jury makes decisions.

In this fascinating factual account, Missing Presumed Dead begins with an examination of the life of Bruce Burrell and the extreme narcissistic tendencies that sanctioned a life of criminal activity. Mark Tedeschi takes the reader on a journey through the criminal justice system, from the pre-trial hearings and early decisions of the DPP to abandon the trial, to the complex circumstantial case and detailed bodies of evidence that eventually led to Bruce Burrell's conviction.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs talks to Mark Tedeschi, about the depth and complexity of the police investigation underpinning the case and how circumstantial evidence can build a successful prosecution even without the physical evidence of a body.

The author’s proceeds from the publication of Missing Presumed Dead will be donated to Australian charities that assist and support victims of crime, the families of deceased victims, and the relatives of those who have gone missing.

 

The Jane Austen Remedy

 
Ruth Wilson on the healing power of literature in The Jane Austen Remedy  

 At the age of 70 Ruth Wilson found herself grappling with both a physical diagnosis that affected her hearing and balance and unfathomable feelings of sadness. Ruth took the radical decision to leave her conventional life and reclaim her voice in search of personal healing. In this poignant and insightful memoir of love and self-acceptance Ruth discovered the curative power of reading.

From a young age, Ruth had looked to Jane Austen's heroines as the models for whom she wanted to become. Upon re-reading these sixclassic novels with greater intent Ruth found the remedy she was looking for. From the sunshine of 'Pride and Prejudice' to the autumnal notes she found in 'Persuasion', Ruth reveals the wisdom and the lessons they contain for us all.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Ruth Wilson about falling out of love with the world, undertaking a PhD at the age of 80, the art of reading and of re-reading, and how she found the remedy for her ills in her favourite author.

 

The Winter Dress

Lauren Chater on the secrets locked up in 17th century clothing in The Winter Dress

Jo Baaker is drawn back to the island of Texel to investigate the provenance of a 17th century silk dress unearthed by a local diving team. It offers a tantalising opportunity to explore the way people lived during Holland's Golden Age. Jo's research leads her to artist and intellectual Catharina van Shurman and her companion Anna Tesseltje and the mystery deepens as she delves into Anna's history. The beautiful silk dress soon becomes emblematic of lives and fortunes won and lost. 

And Jo has other reasons for returning to her birthplace. As details about her own past emerge it disrupts everything she thought she knew about her own troubled past. 

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Lauren Chater about cultural dress theory, researching the former inhabitants of clothing, turning real historical figures into great female characters and Lauren's habit of disappearing down historical rabbit holes.

 

 

The Understudy

 

Julie Bennett on the grand passion of opera and the underbelly of ambition in The Understudy

Sophie Carlton is an understudy of great promise just waiting for her moment in the spotlight. When star soprano Margaret Gardiner suddenly disappears right before the opening night of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Sophie's greatest wish may have come true. But sometimes dreams come with a price.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Julie Bennett about growing up in the Sydney Opera House, why Madama Butterfly was the perfect operatic companion to the story, her passion for Italian tenors and her long-running love affair for everything Sydney.


 


The Language of Food

Annabel Abbs on the story of Britain's first great cookery author in The Language of Food

In 1845 Eliza Acton produced the first cookery book for domestic use, 'Modern Cookery In All Its Branches Reduced to System of Easy Practice for the Use of Private Families'. It revolutionised cookery in the home and introduced the concept of the recipe as we know it.

But the details of Eliza Acton's life are a mystery. Her recipes, informed and styled by her poetry, are the narrative of her life. Annabel Abbs has reimagined this extraordinary life as a work of historical fiction bringing together not only the food but the facts and the fiction to create a story of great social change and female emancipation.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Annabel Abbs about Eliza Acton's landmark contribution to the culinary arts and how new ingredients transformed British food, exactly why Eliza Acton's recipes read so beautifully and the grand story of imagination and invention Annabel Abbs weaves around them.



The Mother
 

Jane Caro on the horrors of family violence in The Mother

Miriam Duffy is a respectable North Shore widow, real estate agent and devoted mother. When her youngest daughter Ally finds true love, Miriam is cautiously happy. As time goes by Miriam watches in disbelief as Ally's 'perfect' husband begins a campaign of controlling behaviour that cuts them off from her family.

In response to escalating reports of horrifying family violence, fearless commentator and feminist icon, Jane Caro has written a deeply-felt novel about when love turns from nurture to threat in the most surprising of circumstances.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Jane Caro about when love becomes power and control, the fundamentals behind our problem with domestic violence, the obstacle of the law and the importance of compassion, and why men should read this book too.


 

We've Got This

 

Eliza Hull on the trials of disabled parenting in We've Got This: Stories by disabled parents

When writer and musician Eliza Hull fell pregnant her excitement was tempered by the thought of the complexities she was about to face as a person of disability. More than fifteen percent of Australian households have a parent wth a disability but their stories are rarely shared. Eliza set out to gather stories from a diverse range of people on the disability spectrum and in the process, created a valuable resource and provided rare insight into their lives.

So how does a mother who is blind, mix formula? How do people react when a mother and child with dwarfism walk down the street? How do Deaf parents know when their baby is crying? In We've Got This, twenty-five parents who identify as Deaf, disabled or chronically ill discuss the highs and lows of their parenting journeys.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Eliza Hull about the origins of We've Got This, about Disability Pride, the systemic problem of attitude from health professionals in conceiving and raising children as a disabled parent, and the shocking but sometimes heart-warming stories from contributors to this collection.


 

The Leviathan


 Rosie Andrews on a dark and disturbing period in English history in The Leviathan

In a lonely farmhouse in Norfolk, 1703 Thomas Treadwater is a rational, modern man but he is hiding a terrible secret. Upstairs is a woman locked in an endless sleep, but she is beginning to stir and the powers she holds have the potential to unleash horrific consequences.

As Thomas tries to unravel the mystery of what has happened, he uncovers a tale of superstition, of something dark and ancient, linked to a shipwreck years before.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Rosie Andrews about the historical threads than bind this story, the power of witchcraft, the enlightenment and the enthusiasm for knowledge, creating an authentic recreation of a momentous period in history, and taking the step beyond to create a great story


 

How to be Perfect

Michael Schur on How To Be Perfect: The correct answer to every moral question

Have you ever wondered how we can live a more ethical life? Michael Schur has all the answers to the questions we've been asking ourselves for thousands of years. By sifting through centuries of hard work and introspection by some of the smartest people ever known and eliminating the dull and migraine-inducing parts, Michael Schur has produced the ultimate guide to navigating the ethical dilemmas of modern life

Michael Schur is the writer and executive producer of The Good Place, the award-winning Netflix series that made moral philosophy fun. Now he's written this foolproof guide to making the correct moral decision in every situation, anywhere in the world.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Michael Schur about why you should read his book instead of a book by an actual philosopher, a 30-second all-encompassing unifying theory that explains 'good' and 'bad' people, the moral dilemma of leaving the shopping trolley in the carpark, and why Aristotle is eminently more readable that Wittgenstein.

The Good Reading Podcast · Michael Schur on 'How To Be Perfect: The Correct Answer To Every Moral Question'


 

Leo and Mina fink


Margaret Taft on a remarkable partnership in Leo and Mina Fink: For the greater good

During the darkest days of the Holocaust, Leo and Mina Fink rallied all the forces at their disposal to rescue the Jewish survivors of Nazi death camps. Together they initiated welfare programs, provided urgent relief and resettled thousands of Jewish settlers in faraway Melbourne.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Margaret Taft about the Jewish diaspora in Melbourne, what led Leo and Mina Fink to marshal local and international agencies to spearhead the resettlement of displaced Holocaust survivors, and how overcoming bureaucracy and public opinion changed the world for the greater good.

 

The Good Reading Podcast · Margaret Taft on a remarkable partnership in 'Leo and Mina Fink: For The Greater Good'


  

The Very Last List of Vivian Walker

Megan Albany on an exceptionally ordinary life and death in The Very Last List of Vivian Walker

Vivian Walker is dying but that's NOT on her list of things to do. Being terminally ill is frustratingly routine but Vivian is determined to prepare for D-day by making lists of things to do.

The Very Last List of Vivian Walker is the darkly funny debut novel that will make you laugh, cry and wonder if you've crossed out all those things on your own lists of things to do

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Megan Albany about the power of making lists and what happens to them, why we find it so difficult to talk about death, and how lists manage to transcend gender, age and time to become a universal binding force for humanity trying to organise itself.

The Fast 800 Keto Podcast

Dr Michael Mosley on eating well, burning fat and managing weight long term in The Fast 800 Keto

Dr Michael Mosley presents the latest scientific research explaining how the ketogenic diet works and why it is good for you. This new approach helps you lose weight safely, improve mood and reduce blood pressure, inflammation and blood sugars.

The Fast 800 Keto is a dynamic new weight loss program that combines a ketogenic diet with low-calorie intermittent fasting to give you the key to long term success. It includes clear advice on which foods will help put you into ketosis, and an easy step-by-step program along with 50 delicious low-carb recipes and menu plans.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs talks to Dr Michael Mosley about why intermittent fasting and rapid weight loss is the best approach, how to 'flip the metabolic switch', the importance of quitting processed food, and how honesty is the best policy in making a permanent lifestyle change. 

The Paris Bookseller


Kerri Maher on the history-making life of Sylvia Beach in The Paris Bookseller

When Sylvia Beach opens an English-language bookshop on the bohemian Left Bank, Sylvia cannot know she is making literary history. Shakespeare and Company soon becomes the meeting place for emerging writers and a second home for the American Lost Generation living in Paris.

Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound are frequent visitors and profound friendships blossom within the welcoming and tolerant atmosphere of this unique bookstore. None more so than that between James Joyce and Sylvia Beach. When Joyce's controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Beach takes on the task of publishing the most infamous book of the century but at deep personal cost.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Kerri Maher about the real Sylvia Beach, walking the line between fact and fiction, and finding the real people behind the towering literary legacy of some of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

Wild Dogs


Michael Trant on creating an authentic Australian story in 'Wild Dogs'

Gabe Ahern makes his living trapping wild dogs in the remote rangelands of Western Australia. When he stumbles upon a gang of people smugglers about to execute one of their victims, Gabe's solitary life is thrown into turmoil.

When he rescues young Afghan refugee Amin from certain death, Gabe is reluctantly drawn into a vicious game where he becomes the hunted. Confronting crooked police, wily roo-shooter Chase Fowler and a ruthless criminal gang, Gabe must rely on all his bush skills and cunning just to come out alive.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Michael Trant about drawing on real-life experiences to create great characters, his own awakening to the plight of refugees and his respect for the wild dogs of the Australian outback.

The Good Reading Podcast · Michael Trant on creating an authentic Australian story in 'Wild Dogs'


 

Beautiful Little Fools

Jillian Cantor on recasting an American classic in 'Beautiful Little Fools'

F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is an icon of American literature. But what if this timeless classic was told from a completely different perspective?

Jillian Cantor reimagines the glittering world of the Jazz Age through the eyes of three of Fitzgerald's female characters, Daisy Buchanan, Daisy's best friend Jordan Baker, and Catherine McCoy, a suffragette fighting for women's rights and for the life of her sister Myrtle Wilson, trapped in an abusive marriage. Their stories unfold in the years leading up to that fateful summer of 1922, and ultimately the murder of a man driven by money, power, love and desire. This inspired reimagining of The Great Gatsby poses the question: who really killed Jay Gatsby?

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Jillian Cantor about her long-held fascination with The Great Gatsby, finding different points of view for a icon of American literature, and crossing the line from historical fiction to crime fiction.

28 Questions 

Indyana Schneider on the pleasure and the pain of first love in '28 Questions'

Amalia and Alex fist set eyes on each other at an Oxford college bar. What begins as a friendship soon follows the tricky path to romance. But love comes at a cost – its intensity is both thrilling and terrifying when it threatens the most perfect of friendships.

Set across four years and five cities, 28 Questions is suffused with music, literature, art, sex, philosophy and the exquisite pleasure and pain of first love. This is a novel about growing up and figuring out who you are along the way.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Indyana Schneider about creating a queer love story, finding a unique storytelling form, and how music attaches itself to our lives, loves and memories.

 


Freak Out
Tony Wellington on 'Freak Out: How a Musical Revolution Rocked the World in the Sixties'

Freak Out is the story of how we as a nation were dragged into global culture by the unstoppable momentum of rock and pop music. The music of the sixties spoke to young people, encouraging them to engage with the world in a new way and to embrace the changes all around them.

The '60s witnessed an explosion of musical styles that crossed musical borders and changed minds. From The Beatles to Bob Dylan, from the Fugs to King Crimson, Tony Wellington explores the extraordinary chain of events that brought new meaning and exerted enormous influence on the way we lived and viewed the world.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Tony Wellington about why the sixties continues to be a musical and social reference point, how bands like The Beatles and individuals like Bob Dylan bands drove musical and social change, and how Australia came of age in a defining period of music history.

Exit 45

 

Ben Sanders on the hardboiled crime fiction of New York City in 'Exit.45'

Ray Vialoux is in big trouble and he needs Marshall Grade's help. Over dinner in a Brooklyn restaurant the conversation is cut short by a gunshot that leaves Ray Vialoux dead on the floor. As Marshall investigates, he discovers there's more to the murder than meets the eye.

Exit.45 is the third book in the 'Marshall Grade' series and takes us into the depths of the murky world of NYC drug dealers, bag men, bent cops and mob players.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Ben Sanders about the journey from New Zealand to New York, his lifelong passion for crime fiction and the advantages of being a crime fiction outsider.

 

These Precious Days

 

 

Ann Patchett on what it all means in 'These Precious Days'

In this collection of essays Ann Patchett steps outside the world of fiction into the general mess of life. Exploring themes of family, friendship, marriage, failure and success, These Precious Days is a personal meditation on the universal themes that affect us all.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Ann Patchett about the easy joy of the essay, getting your house in order, and how a late night short story led to a life-changing friendship with Tom Hanks.

Tales from the Greek

John Hughes on recasting the stories of the ancients in 'Tales From The Greek'

This monumental collaboration between award-winning author John Hughes and internationally-acclaimed painter and printmaker Marco Luccio breathes new life into ancient stories. A work of art in itself, this magnificent limited edition, individually signed and numbered book brings together Hughes' unique gift for storytelling and Luccio's bold and energetic images in the media of charcoal, etching and drypoint.

In a series of narrative adaptations of Greek tragedies incorporating versions by Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides, John Hughes explores the universal themes of love, power, war, hate, revenge, sadness and ambition in evocative new renderings. In response, Marco Luccio has captured the spirit of ancient Greece, in all its beauty and its terror in a series of images that are the visual equivalent to Hughes epic tales.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to John Hughes about the journey from idea to reality, bringing ancient stories into the present, why the Greek legends still resonate with readers today, and meeting the challenge of a colossal and ambitious production five years in the making.

The Good Reading Podcast · John Hughes on recasting the stories of the ancients in 'Tales From The Greek'


 

The Burning Island

Jock Serong on a harrowing story of love and adventure on the high seas in The Burning Island.

Jock Serong is the winner of 2021 Historical Novel Society's ARA Prize for Historical Fiction for the second part in a three part trilogy exploring the history around the Furneaux group of islands off the north-eastern coast of Tasmania.

Eliza Grayling reluctantly sets off from Sydney Cove on the Danish schooner Moonbird in search of the wreck of the Howrah, lost in the islands of the Bass Strait carrying valuable but uncertain cargo. Her fellow passengers include her blind alcoholic father, a curious cross-dressing captain and the mysterious Dr Gideon, a botanist and apparent man of science.The journey is compromised by several deaths while at sea and when the Moonbird approaches it's destination, the truth they seek is not all is as it seems.

This remarkable work of historical fiction brings together real historical figures and events with vividly imagined characters to recreate a journey into the disturbing heart of a brutal period in Australia's colonial history.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Jock Serong about the role of historical fiction in opening up our hidden history, his fascination with the Furneaux Islands and how real and imagined historical figures can coexist in fiction writing and bring history to life.

The Good Reading Podcast · Jock Serong on a harrowing story of love and adventure on the high seas in 'The Burning Island'


 

Indian Cooking Class


Christine Manfield on bringing the world of Indian cuisine back home in Indian Cooking Class.

Christine Manfield's love affair with India and Indian food goes back more than thirty years. Extensive travel and a brilliant culinary mind, marked by an insatiable curiosity has culminated in a book that goes beyond what we think of as Indian food.

Indian Cooking Class brings together everything Christine has learned and all recipes she has collected into a guide to Indian cuisine that opens up new worlds for the home cook. From classic curries to new takes on salad, recreating irresistible snacks and refreshing our taste for seafood and desserts, this is a book for everyone and all dietary persuasions looking for a way into one of the world's great cuisines.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs talks to Christine Manfield about using Indian spices successfully, making the distinction between spice and heat, looking beyond Vindaloo and Butter Chicken and opening a window on the vast and varied world of Indian cuisine.

The Good Reading Podcast · Christine Manfield on bringing the world of Indian cuisine back home in 'Indian Cooking Class'


 

Girt Nation

 
David Hunt on Australia's journey from colony to nationhood in Girt Nation.

Following on from David Hunt's first two volumes of The Unauthorised History of Australia, Girt and True Girt, Volume 3 takes a humorous look into the people that laid the foundations of a nation and our cultural identity. It's an epic tale of charlatans and costermongers, of bush bards and even bushier beards and ladies who just weren't going to take it anymore.

Meet Alfred Deakin, our second Prime Minister, who took advice from the dead; Sir Henry Parkes, whose legendary libido spawned at least seventeen children; and Catherine Helen Spence whose feminist utopian vision for the future included free contraceptives and easy divorce. These are but a few of the citizens who helped make Australia what it is today – for better or worse!

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to David Hunt about the men and women who set out to define and redefine our national identity, why it's important to crap on our national icons and the dangers of infusing irony into writing about Australian history in Girt Nation: The Unauthorised History of Australia Volume 3.

The Good Reading Podcast · David Hunt on Australia's journey from colony to nationhood in 'Girt Nation'


 

Acting Up

 

Lynne McGranger on a full and joyous life in Acting Up: Me Myself and Irene.

Lynne McGranger is the longest serving female cast member of a television soap opera in Australia, having starred as Irene Roberts on Home and Away for over twenty-eight years. But before 'Home and Away', there was a varied career in the theatre and in the playground at Lugarno Public School as a Grade 4 teacher.

In this hilarious and heart-warming memoir, Lynne talks about her early family life, surviving the perils of fad diets as a teenager, a stint in stand-up comedy and on to a very public career as Irene Roberts on Australia's favourite beach-side soap, 'Home and Away'.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Lynne McGranger about separating Lynne from Irene, the transition from teaching to acting, and the highs and lows of the creative life.

 

The Good Reading Podcast · Lynne McGranger on a full and joyous life in 'Acting Up: Me Myself and Irene'


 

The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar from Elsewhere

 

Jaclyn Moriarty on The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar From Elsewhere.

Oscar is out and about looking for the best place to skateboard when he comes across two other kids who reckon they've found it. Holding a mirror at just the right angle gives you a one-way ticket to the world's greatest skate park. Through a crack in reality, Oscar finds himself on an urgent quest, along with the Mettlestone-Staranise sisters, to unlock a silver spell that's trapped the Elven city of Dun-sorey-lo-vay-lo-hey.

'The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar From Elsewher is the fourth book in Jaclyn Moriarty's 'Kingdoms and Empires' series.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Jaclyn Moriarty about the origins of the cheeky, skateboard-wielding boy named Oscar, how you're never too young to be a sceptic, and how just looking like an adult doesn't necessarily make you one.

The Good Reading Podcast · Jaclyn Moriarty on 'The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar From Elsewhere'


 

The Last Woman in the World

 

Inga Simpson on the perils of a post-apocalyptic world in The Last Woman in the World.

Fear has led Rachel to a reclusive life on the land with only occasional contact with the outside world. Her solitude is interrupted by a hammering on the door. Before her stand a mother and a baby. They are running for their lives from a mysterious sickness sweeping Australia.

Rachel is faced with a difficult choice: to bring these strangers to safety in a world she has completely rejected or continue her precious existence in isolation. The decision she makes will change her life.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Inga Simpson about setting a terrifying doomsday story in the beauty of the NSW South Coast, the glory of a life of solitude and the nexus between nature writing and fiction.

The Good Reading Podcast · Inga Simpson on the perils of a post-apocalyptic world in 'The Last Woman in the World'


 

The Incredible Life of Hubert Wilkins


Peter Fitzsimons on The Incredible Life of Hubert Wilkins: Australia's Greatest Explorer

When we think of great Australian explorers, Sir Hubert Wilkins isn't a name that immediately comes to mind. Despite this, there have been few Australians to have seen more of planet earth and thrived in more hostile environments than Wilkins.

From humble beginnings in rural South Australia, Wilkins' early career was in cinematography but his capacity for acquiring skills together with a consistently evolving scientific mind took him all over the planet: from documenting rare species in Northern Australia, to navigating a path across the North Pole and then sailing a submarine under it, there have been few people his equal.

Peter Fitzsimons' latest book documents, in incredible detail, a life of adventure, of unparalleled achievement, and of uncanny sensibility and foresight.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs talks to Peter Fitzsimons about why Sir Hubert Wilkins doesn't immediately appear in our collective memories as one of Australia's greatest explorers, why Wilkins was a man ahead of his time, and cutting through the mythology around Australian history with great research.

The Good Reading Podcast · Peter Fitzsimons on 'The Incredible Life of Hubert Wilkins: Australia's Greatest Explorer'


 

Wild Place
Christian White on the dangers lurking behind the peaceful facade of suburbia in Wild Place.

In the summer of 1989, a local teen goes missing from the idyllic suburb of Camp Hill. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom Witter becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. As dark secrets are revealed and consequences to past actions are faced, Tom learns that the only way out of the darkness is to walk deeper into it.

Wild Place peels back the layers of suburbia, exposing what’s hidden underneath and poses the question: why do good people do bad things?

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Christian White about what we think we know about the people we share our suburb with, Christian's fascination with everything 1980s, and the art of turning a neglected piece of bushland into an evil presence.

 

The Good Reading Podcast · Christian White on the dangers lurking behind the peaceful facade of suburbia in 'Wild Place'


 

We Are Wolves

 
Katrina Nannestad on the remarkable true story of the Wolfskinder in We Are Wolves. 

We Are Wolves is the winner of the 2021 Historical Novel Society's ARA Historical Novel Prize in the Children's and Young Adult category. Behind this incredible work of fiction lies the true story of thousands of German children left to fend for themselves in the forests of East Prussia at the end of the Second World War.

Liesl, Otto and Mia are leading a perfectly contented life blissfully unaware of the horrors of the Second World War. When the Red Army advances on Germany in 1945, their lives are changed forever. Escaping into a dangerous forest alone and at the the height of a winter blizzard they are faced with unimaginable challenges in their quest to survive.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Katrina Nannestad about turning a true story into an award-winning novel for children and why historical fiction has an important role to play in discovering and explaining history to young people.

The Good Reading Podcast · Katrina Nannestad on the remarkable true story of the Wolfskinder in 'We Are Wolves'


 

Three Sisters


Heather Morris on a remarkable story of courage and survival in Three Sisters

When they are still little girls, Cibi, Magda and Livia make the promise to their father that they will always stay together. When Cibi and Livia are ordered to Auschwitz-Birkenau labour camp by the Nazis, Magda manages to hide out for a time in a neighbour's attic near her family home.

Eventually the sisters are reunited in Auschwitz where they renew that promise, this time to each other. Together they manage to survive the death camp and forge a new life for themselves.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Heather Morris about the fortuitous moment that was the catalyst for Three Sisters, the power of familial bonds and turning real people into great characters to bring history to life.

 

THE UNHEARD

Nicci French on turning the everyday into a nail-biting psychological thriller in The Unheard.

Tess is a single mother with a three-year-old daughter Poppy but being an overprotective mother is complicating all of her personal relationships. When Tess finds a dark and disturbing drawing among Poppy's other colourful drawings she is convinced Poppy has witnessed something terrible. But's it's only a child's drawing – isn't it?

While Tess will do anything to protect her daughter, she doesn't know who or what she is protecting her from. The path Tess takes only leads to more uncertainty and a place where she doesn't know who she can trust.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to writing team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French about the fundamentals of a psychological thriller, cultivating anxiety and uncertainty in their characters and the importance of a well made Negroni in the process of writing. 

Seven Wherewithal Way

 

Samantha-Ellen Bound on magical realms in Seven Wherewithal Way

Celeste is having a very bad summer. Her parents are off travelling the world and she's left with little sister Esme and they're both desperate for adventure. When a magical flying bus crash-lands in their front yard carrying cousin Ferd, they get just want they needed.

Wherewithal Way is Ferd's house and while it looks like an ordinary house it's really a portal to magical realms full of strange creatures and even stranger adventures. When something tries to break in through the portal in the pantry – the door to the mystical Realm of Forests – their entire existence is under threat.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Samantha-Ellen Bound about portal fantasies, folklore and faeries, and what's to come in this brilliant new four-part series, 'Seven Wherewithal Way'.

 

Into the rip

Damien Cave on the Australian way of risk in Into the Rip.

Having worked in Afghanistan and Mexico, Damien Cave thought he understood something about the subject of risk. When he brought his young family to Australia to set up The New York Times' Australian bureau he was unexpectedly confronted with an entirely new approach to managing risk. Instead of being eliminated or romanticised he found a culture that respected and even embraced the idea.

Following extensive research and interviews, Damien began asking himself critical questions about the American approach to risk he was familiar with. Into the Rip explores the idea that a managed exposure to risk where communities undertaken that responsibility together, has the potential to build true self-confidence and a clearer pathway to happiness and fulfilment.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Damien Cave about communal parenting, the Australian institution of Nippers and surf life-saving, the dangers of the self-esteem movement, and overcoming fear in his pursuit of the Bronze Medallion. 

The Good Reading Podcast · Damien Cave on the Australian way of risk in 'Into the Rip'


Nellie

 

Robert Wainwright on an Australian icon in Nellie: The Life and Loves of Dame Nellie Melba.

Dame Nellie Melba was Australia's first international superstar, taking Europe and America by storm with a voice that thrilled the world. Most Australians imagine an imperious Dame dressed in furs and large hats, but behind the public facade lies a story of a young woman struggling to overcome social expectations in pursuit of a dream.

After surviving an abusive marriage she found true love with a would-be King of France, an affair that brought both scandal and personal fulfilment into a life that characterised by both suffering an enormous international success.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Robert Wainwright about the life and loves, the triumphs and the disappointments of a talented woman finding her way in the world.

Dragon Skin by Karen Foxlee 

 

Karen Foxlee on the healing power of magic and friendship in Dragon Skin.

Pip doesn't like going home anymore. Her Mum isn't the same since her new boyfriend moved in and to cap it off her best friend Mika has moved away. When she finds an injured baby dragon that needs her care she starts to believe anything is possible. 

In this charming story of love, loss and survival, Karen Foxlee weaves a magical tale exploring what it really means to love and nurture while finding the courage to embrace change.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Karen Foxlee about becoming emotionally invested in her characters, bringing her storytelling back to Australia, and how daydreaming ignites her imagination.

The Devil's Work

Garry Linnell on the serial killer who shocked the world in The Devil's Work

He was a murderer, swindler, bigamist and suspect in the Jack the Ripper killings. Frederick Deeming was also the most hated man in the world.

Claiming to be haunted by the ghost of his dead mother, Deeming had spent years roaming the planet under various aliases, preying on the innocent, the gullible and the desperate.

But the discovery by Australian police in 1892 of the body of one of his wives in a shallow concrete grave triggered one of the greatest manhunts in history and exposed a further series of grisly murders – those of his first wife and four children - that stunned the Victorian era.

The Devil’s Work is a gothic journey into the twisted mind of a serial killer, set in the dying years of the 19th century when science and religion had collided and some of the world’s most powerful and influential people believed in spirits and an afterlife.

It reveals Deeming’s crime spree across three continents, raising fresh questions about his role in the Jack the Ripper killings and culminating in his sensational trial where he was defended by a future Australian Prime Minister who believed he could also speak to the dead.

 Born bad or simply mad? It’s time to meet Frederick Deeming, the man known and reviled throughout the United States, England and Australia as the Criminal of the Century.


The Housemate by Sarah Bailey

 

Sarah Bailey on the thrill of the cold case in The Housemate

Three housemates. One dead, one missing and one accused of murder.

Melbourne journalist Olive 'Oli' Groves is obsessed with the 'Housemate Homicides' a story that set career in motion nine years earlier. When the one missing housemate suddenly turns up dead the whole story comes flooding back for Oli.

Paired with enthusiastic and tech-savvy millennial Cooper Ng to reinvestigate the case, Oli is forced to confront both her past and the present in a new media landscape that's turned digital. Oli soon discovers that her search for the truth may find the answers lie much closer to home.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Sarah Bailey about the life of a cold case in the news cycle, exploring the friction in generational differences and the challenges of creating a new character.



Daring to Fly by Lisa Millar

 

Lisa Millar on conquering fear and hitting a deadline in Daring to Fly 

As a child growing up in country Queensland Lisa Millar dreamed of having a big life. Now with years on the road as an ABC Foreign Correspondent behind her, she shares her moments of joy among the reporting on grief and tragedy.

Lisa battled a debilitating fear of flying that threatened her life and career but only now has she been able to reflect on a joyful childhood, the journey that brought her here, and the change she has witnessed along the way. 

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Lisa Millar about growing up in an aviation-obsessed family, facing her fears and embracing the big and the small moments in life.

 


The Final Cut by Robert Jeffreys

 

Rosalba Jeffreys on bringing the story together for Robert Jeffrey's The Final Cut

Back after suspension, Detective Sergeant Robert Cardilini is immediately tasked with solving domestic violence cases. To complicate matters, his new partner is the eager and idealistic young Detective Lorraine Spencer.

When a young woman is found bleeding and tied to a chair it leads to a sinister game of exploitation reaching the highest echelons of society. When Spencer goes out on a limb to unravel the mystery, the question is: will Cardilini be there to catch her?

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Rosalba Jeffreys about Perth in the 1960s, the return of Detective Sergeant Robert Cardilini and turning her husband's manuscript into a book.

 

 

The petticoat Parade by Leigh Straw
Leigh Straw on Madam Monnier and Perth's notorious Roe Street brothels in The Petticoat Parade

Josie de Bray was a brothel madam who owned most of Roe Street, Perth from World War I up to the 1940s. This immensely readable social history uses the life of Josie de Bray as conduit into the lives of her friends and competitors – the many women who paraded in their petticoats on the verandas of Roe Street, and who were kept from the public view and were secret keepers themselves in the seamier side of town.

In this episode, author and researcher Leigh Straw chats to Heather Lewis about the stigma of sex work past and present, and the process of writing The Petticoat Parade.

 

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Double Deal by John M Green
John M Green on the third book in the 'Dr Tori Swyft' international spy thriller series, Double Deal
 

Tori Swyft wakes up in a Barcelona hotel room to a gruesome murder scene. With a splitting headache and no memory of the night before, her world is in turmoil. Could she really have done such a thing? If she didn't then who did?

A man known only as The Voice phones her with revelations of a shocking video proving Tori is the murderer. Set within the seedy world of global politics and counter-espionage, Tori soon finds herself in a race against time to prove her innocence.

In this episode, Gregory Dobbs chats to John M Green about the new breed of female spy, the real threat of technology in the arena of geo-politics, and his love affair with the city of Barcelona.

 


 

Long half-Life


P
rofessor Ian Lowe on the complexities of the nuclear industry in Australia in Long Half-life.

Australia has been directly involved in the nuclear industry for decades: from the establishment of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission in 1953 to the secret tests at Maralinga and the decision to export uranium in the 1970s and 1980s. Whether we like it or not we are part of the global nuclear industry and bear a moral obligation as guardian of around 30% of the world's uranium deposits. In Long Half-life, Professor Lowe exposes the fundamental challenges politicians and decision-makers face when their own time horizons rarely go beyond next year's budget or election.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Professor Ian Lowe about landmarks in the political debate around nuclear power, the importance of ordinary people in the decision-making process, and the continuing existential threat to the human race the nuclear industry poses.


 

Lisa Jewell on inventing characters and solving a crime as you write in The Night She Disappeared

Scarlett Jacques is the girl everyone wants to be – charismatic, wealthy and desirable but also dangerous and manipulative. She's the coolest kid at Maypole House, a secondary college for the offspring of the wealthy. When she befriends teenage mother Talullah Murray, things get weird.

When Talullah suddenly goes missing, her mother Kim is thrown into a panic. Meanwhile Sophie Beck, an author of thrillers and recent arrival at Maypole House, stumbles on clues that lead to very dark places. In this tense psychological thriller, people are never what they seem. As relationships form and splinter the past is reawakened and a cold case broken open.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Lisa Jewell about the process of invention, exploring complex relationships and getting to the dark places of crime writing.



Tim Ayliffe on the rise of the white supremacy movement in The Enemy Within

Battle scarred investigative journalist and former war correspondent John Bailey is picking up the pieces of his life after the death of the one woman who helped him hold it all together. He's got a new job, he's given up the drink and he's somehow even acquired a four-legged companion.

When Federal Police raid his home armed with a warrant granting unprecedented powers, Bailey is determined to get to the truth. While investigating the rise of a global white supremacist group, it becomes clear that Bailey himself is now a target and a deadly enemy emerges from the shadows.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Tim Ayliffe about the alt-right movement, politics and the pressures on investigative journalism in a world where opinion often triumphs over truth.



Nikki Gemmell on love, female creativity and finding your voice in Dissolve

In this deeply personal reflection on women's lives and creative desires Nikki Gemmell explores the struggle she experienced in finding her own creative space. Dissolve is a meditation on those difficult times in establishing herself as a writer, but also a conversation with all young women who are seeking to fulfil their own creative desires.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Nikki Gemmell about emerging from the humiliation of heartbreak in her early twenties, building confidence as a writer and how to 'un-lady' yourself.

 


In my defence i have no defenceJohn Doyle on an Australian sporting legend in Blessed: The Breakout Year of Rampaging Roy Slaven

It's 1967 in Lithgow (the 'arsehole of the universe') and a young Roy Slaven is a promising student at the De La Salle Academy. He is already demonstrating early evidence as a sporting savant. Blessed with uncanny abilities with the ball, Roy experiences a moment of religious enlightenment when Uncle Baz presents him with an Australian Rugby League team jersey.

John Doyle was right there beside Slaven during this formative year and when Slaven approached him to record those momentous times in book form, he could hardly refuse. The result is Blessed - an honest and truthful account of the life and loves, the trials and tribulations, and the triumphs and tragedies of the boy who was to become the man, Rampaging Roy Slaven.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to John Doyle about the genius behind the torpedo pass, what constitutes 'Catholic values' and the making of Rampaging Roy Slaven.


In my defence i have no defence

Tim Richards on the joys of Australian train travel in Heading South

Tim Richards is a freelance travel writer and Lonely Planet guidebook contributor who loves chasing down a story with an historical angle. He decided to shake up his life by embarking on an epic train journey across Australia.

Covering some 7,000 kilometres, his train journey began in far north Queensland and boarding iconic trains like the Indian Pacific, Overland and Spirit of Queensland. Along the way Tim encounters giant crocs, archetypal Australian publicans and the ghosts of Australia's pioneering past

In my defence i have no defence

Auntie Di on forgiving the past and discovering her true identity in Daughter of the River Country

Dianne O'Brien (Auntie Di) grew up believing her Irish adoptive mother Val was her birth mother. When Val died while Dianne was still a teenager her whole life changed. Raped at the age of 15 and sentenced to time at the notorious Parramatta Girls Home, Auntie Di suffered years of horrific domestic abuse and a cruel betrayal.

At the age of 36 Auntie Di discovered she was a victim of the 'stolen generation' and is actually a Yorta Yorta woman. This revelation reawakens her fighting spirit and helps her come to terms with a traumatic past.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Auntie Di about surviving child abuse and domestic violence, the power of forgiveness, and finding pathways to a better future.



In my defence i have no defence

Larissa Behrendt on the mother-daughter trip of a life time in After Story

When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine takes her mother Della on an historical tour of the UK's most revered literary sites, Jasmine hopes it will heal old wounds and help them reconcile their past. While Jasmine immerses herself in her literary idols, Della rediscovers the wisdom of her own culture and storytelling. As both women grapple with their place in others' lives, a powerful reminder of a mysterious family tragedy, buried in their past, propels old secrets to the surface.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Larissa Behrendt about the joy of fiction, her journey to the top echelons of the law and academia, and the bright future of Indigenous storytelling.



In my defence i have no defence

 Dr Norman Swan takes on wellbeing 'bullshit' in So You Think You Know What's Good For You?

For over three decades Dr Norman Swan has been answering the questions Australians have been asking about the medical and lifestyles issues that concern all of us. With his trademark honest, straightforward approach Dr Norman Swan brings it all together in this one-stop handbook that helps us get to the truth.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Dr Norman Swan about the real Mediterranean diet, living younger longer and the importance of a wholistic approach to health and wellbeing.



In my defence i have no defence

 

Sinéad Stubbins on achieving self perfection, and her debut book In My Defence I Have No Defence

Sinéad Stubbins has always known that there was a better version of herself lying just outside of her grasp. That if she listened to the right song or won the right (any) award or knew about whisky or followed the right Instagram psychologist or drank kombucha, ever, or enacted the correct 70-step Korean skincare regime, she would become her ‘best self’.

In My Defence, I Have No Defence raises the white flag on trying to live up to impossible standards. Wild and funny and wickedly relatable, it is one woman’s reckoning with her complete inability to self-improve and a hilarious reprieve for anyone who has ever struggled to be better.

In this episode, Sinéad joins Heather Lewis to chat about revisiting all the awkward moments of her life, and how to avoid being too self deprecating.



Year of loving kindness to myself

Brigid Lowry on kindness, honesty and nourishing the soul in A Year of Loving Kindness to Myself

It's not easy to maintain grace and good humour through the peaks and troughs of modern living. Throw in a pandemic, political upheaval and environmental disaster and you've got a recipe for a life of endless worry.

In a time when mental health is more important than ever, Brigid Lowry offers thoughts on living simply and learning how to nourish yourself and those around you. Informed by contemporary psychology and Zen Buddhism, Brigid provides insights into everything from grief and loss to love and friendship, and the importance of self-care.

In this episode, Gregory Dobbs chats to Brigid Lowry about maintaining a positive mind-set, finding joy in life, and cultivating a greater appreciation for hot and cold running water.



Helen Vines on separating fact from fiction in Eve Langley and the Pea Pickers

In 1942 Eve Langley published her first novel The Pea Pickers to critical acclaim. Hailed as a tour de force, it tells the story of two feisty sisters who wander the Australian countryside dressed as men.

In Eve Langley and the Pea Pickers, Helen Vines deftly unravels the threads of a life story that became curiously entangled with the author's works of fiction. This compelling new biography paints a portrait of a complex family constellation plagued by mental illness and obscured by a veil of secrecy.

In this episode, Gregory Dobbs chats to Helen Vines about piecing together a story from previously unexamined letters and repositioning The Pea Pickers as a landmark in Australian literature.



Brian Herd on planning for your ageing parents in Avoiding The Ageing Parent Trap

Most of us fail to confront the reality facing our ageing parents. Our inclination is to wait and see what happens but when a simple thing like a fall occurs, it can precipitate a crisis which can be devastating both for parents and the whole family.

Avoiding the Ageing Parent Trap is an essential guide for all families as their elders approach the years of inevitable physical and mental decline. Packed full of information, cautionary tales and practical strategies and solutions, this book is designed to help families avoid disaster.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Brian Herd about his more than 20 years experience working in Elder law, dealing with family crisis, and how commonsense planning can help you navigate for the best outcomes.



David Price on Western Australian frontier justice in Dark Tales from the Long River

From searches for serial killers and missing persons to the persecution of migrants and Aboriginal people, David Price takes us back to a time when the line between lawmakers and criminals was lightly drawn. Based on a wide array of contemporaneous accounts of life in the Gascoyne, these sometimes shocking, sometimes disturbing true crime stories depict an era when Australia’s laws served to maintain order rather than to secure justice. Dark Tales from the Long River offers a window into an evolving history of Western Australia that is still struggling into the light.

In this episode, David Price joins Heather Lewis to chat about the history of Western Australia's frontier days, and how his family history ties into the book.



Clare Moleta on writing her debut novel and bridging the real and imagined in Unsheltered

In an atmosphere of chaos where social structures and the environment have been shattered by the effects of climate change, Li is tracking her lost daughter Matti across a disintegrating country. Resourceful and determined but alone and on foot, Li will need to draw on every instinct just to survive.

In this relentless and utterly terrifying psychological thriller, Unsheltered poses questions we all dread and asks if our humanity is enough protection in a dystopian world where nothing and nobody can be trusted.

In this episode, Gregory Dobbs chats to Clare Moleta about what makes a refugee, imagining a post-apocalyptic world and how the future may already be here.



Kate Holden on the Croppa Creek killing that rocked NSW in The Winter Road

July 2014, a lonely road at twilight outside Croppa Creek, New South Wales: 80-year-old farmer Ian Turnbull takes out a .22 and shoots environmental officer Glen Turner in the back.

On one side, a farmer hoping to secure his family’s wealth on the richest agricultural soil in the country. On the other, his obsession: the government man trying to apply environmental laws.

The brutal killing of Glen Turner splits open the story of our place on this land. Is our time on this soil a tale of tragedy or triumph – are we reaping what we’ve sown? Do we owe protection to the land, or does it owe us a living? And what happens when, in pursuit of a legacy, a man creates terrible consequences?

In this episode, author Kate Holden joins Heather Lewis to talk about the research process of her first true crime novel, and how the events at Croppa Creek link back to Australia's colonial relationship with the land we reside on.



Kyle Mewburn on a life in transition in her memoir Faking It

Kyle Mewburn grew up in the sunburnt, unsophisticated Brisbane suburbs of the 1960s and '70s in a household with little love and no books, with a lifelong feeling of being somehow wrong – like ‘strawberry jam in a spinach can'.

In this book, Kyle describes this early life and her journey to becoming her own person – a celebrated children’s book author, a husband and, finally, a woman. She shares the dreams, the prejudice and the agony of growing up trans and coming out, the lengthy physical ordeal of facial feminisation surgery, and her experiences as a woman – good, bad and creepy.

In this episode, Heather Lewis chats to Kyle Mewburn about the process of writing her first book for adults and first memoir, and about the trans experience.



Kathryn Heyman on her memoir, Fury, and summoning the power to redraw the roadmap of her life

Kathryn Heyman's childhood was marked by violence, poverty and chaos. She was left with no real example of how to create a decent life but she had one thing in her favour – she was a reader. The power of stories provided a means of escape and a pathway to a reimagined life.

After experiencing the trauma of sexual assault as a young woman, Kathryn made the decision to put her past behind her. She found herself as a deckhand on board a fishing trawler in the Gulf country. Here, among tough working men and the treachery of the sea she rediscovered her true self.

Kathryn Heyman chats to Gregory Dobbs about writing a difficult memoir, rejecting the constrictions of patriarchy and the transformative power of words.


Rod Barton on his accidental entry into the world of espionage in The Life of a Spy

When Rod Barton applied for a job at the Australian Department of Defence he had no idea where it would lead. For the next few decades he found himself disarming militia in Mogadishu, flying to Baghdad