John Purcell Sensationally Bunny-Eared by Stella Prize Winner Clare Wright

Clare Wright visited Booktopia today fresh from her Stella Prize win last night at a ceremony in Sydney.

She posed alongside Booktopia Book Guru John Purcell with copies of her incredible new book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. It looks as though last night’s festivities had no effect on the acclaimed writer and historian, as she threw in one of history’s finest photo pranks on her unsuspecting lanky friend.

Clare and John pose. Little does John know…

…Clare is moving, inching closer to John, and as her left hand begins to move towards his head….


…Clare Wright has bunny-eared the Book Guru! But wait, does he realise? Does he…

…oh yes. He knows. And he can only bow his head in defeat. Bunny-eared defeat.

Which just goes to show that award-winning historians can be practical jokers too!

Stay tuned for our interview with Clare, it’s a wonderful chat.

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka

by Clare Wright

Winner of the 2014 Stella Prize

The Eureka Stockade. The story is one of Australia’s foundation legends, but until now it has been told as though only half the participants were there.

What if the hot-tempered, free-wheeling gold miners we learnt about in school were actually husbands and fathers, brothers and sons? And what if there were women and children inside the Eureka Stockade, defending their rights while defending themselves against a barrage of bullets?

As Clare Wright reveals, there were thousands of women on the goldfields and many of them were active in pivotal roles. The stories of how they arrived there, why they came and how they sustained themselves make for fascinating reading in their own right. But it is in the rebellion itself that the unbiddable women of Ballarat come into their own.

Groundbreaking, absorbing, crucially important—The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is the uncut story of the day the Australian people found their voice.

Grab a copy of PAPERBACK EDITION of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here

or

Grab a copy of HARDBACK EDITION of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here

About the Author

Clare Wright is an historian who has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster. Her first book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans, garnered both critical and popular acclaim. She researched, wrote and presented the ABC television documentary Utopia Girls and is currently writing a four-part series to commemorate the centenary of WWI for ABC1. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.

Grab a copy of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here

New Extended Trailer for The Fault in Our Stars

A new The Fault in Our Stars trailer has just been released!!!!!

Grab a copy of The Fault in Our Stars here

The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis.

But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Grab a copy of The Fault in Our Stars here

Maxine Beneba Clarke, author of Foreign Soil, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

9780733632426The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Maxine Beneba Clarke

author of Foreign Soil

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Sydney, schooled in Sydney’s outer West (Kellyville and Baulkham Hills), before going to University on the South Coast (Wollongong). But now my home is in Melbourne’s West. I’m Australian, but of Afro-Caribbean heritage. In many ways, I feel like I’m a global citizen. Africa, England, the Caribbean and South America are all a part of my family’s migration journey.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was twelve I wanted to be white: because almost everyone around me was, difference was frowned upon and I felt my blackness was the bane of my existence. When I was eighteen, I wanted to be right, because I was young and arrogant and ‘invincible,’ and ‘knew better’ than everyone around me. When I was thirty, I wanted to be wise, because by then I had realised that wisdom was the greatest asset you could carry with you in life.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That the world would eventually sort itself out. That good would eventually triumph – that there was an intrinsic and innate sense of justice inside every one of us that would gradually lead to some kind of universal understanding about humanity, and about what we owe to each other as human beings. I truly believed that my generation was more in tune, would be smarter, would be more compassionate, would act with both head and heart on issues like climate change, world hunger and asylum seekers. That we were destined to clean up the mess our well-meaning parents seemed to be making around us. How tragically wrong I was.

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Author Maxine Beneba Clarke

4.What work of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc –  had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Picasso’s Guernica.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a fiction collection?

Short stories are true soul-food. They allow you to capture a reader in a short time, they allow you to tease with possibility. They entice the reader to engage long after the story has finished. Short stories let you start a dialogue and, I believe, have the potential – much more so than longer fiction – to bleed into the life and consciousness of the reader. How does the story end? What’s going to happen to the angry black kid after he throws that Molotov? Does the young red-haired lawyer turn her car around and drive back to the Detention Centre? Will that scared little boy ever return to Mississippi and if he does, what kind of welcome will he find?

6. Please tell us about your latest novel.

In Melbourne’s western suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train lines, a young black woman is working on a collection of stories.

The book is called Foreign Soil. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney’s notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the warpath through the rebel squats of 1960’s Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way. The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving…

Foreign Soil was the winning manuscript of the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, and is written in English, broken English and accented English.

Grab a copy of Foreign Soil here

97807336324267. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope readers come away from Foreign Soil with more compassion, care for, and connectivity to, people pushed to the fringes of society. I hope their hearts are fuller, and more generous. I hope the book shifts something in them, in some way, for the better.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I admire risk-takers and trailer-blazers. I admire writers who don’t shy away from the difficult, or the heartbreaking, or the overtly political. I like writers who tell it like it is, who are curious, daring and generous with their emotions. I like to read writers who leave a little of themselves in each of their works, because I know how difficult and emotionally taxing that is to accomplish. I like to read work from writers who push forms and genres to the limit. I like writers whose characters are so real you could reach out and hug them, (or slap them, as the case may be). I like contemporary fiction and non-fiction, and try to read a lot of Australian writing. Recently, I’ve enjoyed reading work by Jamaica Kincaid, NoViolet Bulawayo, Jeff Sparrow, Chris Abani, Josephine Rowe, Tony Birch, Alice Pung and Jesmyn Ward. But oh, the list could go on.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I want to write. I want to always be articulate enough to start the conversations I’d like to start, and to hopefully have the privilege of always having those conversations find their way to the shelf. I’d like an ongoing dialogue with my readers. Writing is in many ways such a solitary pursuit, and I’d love for it to be a social one too, as it’s very much my way of digesting what’s going on in the world, making sense of things. I hope also though, that readers get pleasure from reading my work, that it’s something they do enjoy reading.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Keep writing. And keep learning. And most of all, keep submitting and editing. If you want to make a career out of it, look at writing as a marathon, rather than a sprint. Passion is key, but restraint and pace are also crucial in the long-term, or you burn out. And read. For Christ’s sake, you have to read. Read as much as you can, and then re-read as much as you can, and then dissect what it is you love about the books you do read and love.

Maxine, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Foreign Soil here

Clare Wright wins the 2014 Stella Prize for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka  

Melbourne writer, historian and broadcaster Clare Wright has won the second annual Stella Prize for her groundbreaking work The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.

The book was previously named as one of Booktopia’s Books of the Year for 2013.

Kerryn Goldsworthy, chair of the 2014 Stella Prize judging panel:

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka sheds a bright new light on a dark old Australian story. In her account of the Eureka Stockade and the years leading up to it, historian Clare Wright revisits that well-­‐trodden territory from an entirely new perspective, unearthing images, portraits and stories of the women of 1850s Ballarat and the parts they played not only in its society but also in its public life, as they ran newspapers, theatres and hotels with energy and confidence.

A rare combination of true scholarship with a warmly engaging narrative voice, along with a wealth of detail about individual characters and daily life on the goldfields, makes this book compulsively readable.

Clare Wright on winning the Stella Prize:

No one writes books to win prizes, but holy flip it feels astonishingly good to have won the Stella. Of all the prizes on offer, I reckon this one is the sweetest of all. The Stella Prize is like the Brownlow Medal of the literary world: all muscle and spine, with a touch of glamour. Without fail, the books on the 2014 Stella short and long lists demonstrate astonishing grunt, tenacity, courage, grace, vision, skill and sheer determination to reveal the world at its potential fairest. The Stella helps to keep the playing field at its level best. I am honoured to be in the company of these brilliant authors.

My thanks to the Stella judges, the Stella board, the many donors and sponsors who make this a truly grassroots award, my family for their constant love and support in the face of absence and Eureka madness, and to my magnificent publishers, Text Publishing, for taking the plunge on a big book of historical nonfiction about a bunch of noisy sheilas getting up to no good on the nineteenth-­‐century frontier.

Grab a copy of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka

by Clare Wright

Winner of the 2014 Stella Prize

The Eureka Stockade. The story is one of Australia’s foundation legends, but until now it has been told as though only half the participants were there.

What if the hot-tempered, free-wheeling gold miners we learnt about in school were actually husbands and fathers, brothers and sons? And what if there were women and children inside the Eureka Stockade, defending their rights while defending themselves against a barrage of bullets?

As Clare Wright reveals, there were thousands of women on the goldfields and many of them were active in pivotal roles. The stories of how they arrived there, why they came and how they sustained themselves make for fascinating reading in their own right. But it is in the rebellion itself that the unbiddable women of Ballarat come into their own.

Groundbreaking, absorbing, crucially important—The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is the uncut story of the day the Australian people found their voice.

Grab a copy of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here

About the Author

Clare Wright is an historian who has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster. Her first book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans, garnered both critical and popular acclaim. She researched, wrote and presented the ABC television documentary Utopia Girls and is currently writing a four-part series to commemorate the centenary of WWI for ABC1. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.

Who will win The Stella Prize for 2014?

Tonight is a big night on the Australian literary landscape, with the second annual Stella Prize being awarded in Sydney. Will Hannah Kent continue her amazing year of success with Burial Rites? Will Fiona McFarlane take the gong for her hauntingly beautiful The Night Guest? Could Alexis Wright add a Stella to her Miles Franklin with The Swan Book? Or perhaps 2014 will see the first non-fiction title to be awarded the prestigious prize with Anna Krien, Kristina Olsson and Clare Wright all releasing remarkable works this year worthy of consideration.

Who do you think will win? Leave your comments below and stay tuned to our twitter channel @booktopia for live updates throughout the night.


burial-ritesBurial Rites

by Hannah Kent

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men.

Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’ spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’ ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she?

Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about personal freedom: who we are seen to be versus who we believe ourselves to be, and the ways in which we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, where every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

HK-Draft-Author-Image-v2About the Author

Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985. As a teenager she travelled to Iceland on a Rotary Exchange, where she first heard the story of Agnes Magnusdottir. Hannah is the co-founder and deputy editor of Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings, and is completing her PhD at Flinders University. In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award. Burial Rites is her first novel.

Grab a copy of Burial Rites here


night-gamesNight Games

by Anna Krien

‘The Pies beat the Saints and the city of Melbourne was still cloaked in black and white crepe paper when the rumour of a pack rape by celebrating footballers began to surface. By morning, the head of the sexual crimes squad confirmed to journalists that they were preparing to question two Collingwood players … And so, as police were confiscating bed sheets from a townhouse in Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, the trial by media began.’

In the tradition of Helen Garner’s The First Stone comes another closely observed, controversial book about sex, consent and power. At the centre of it is Anna Krien’s account of the rape trial of a footballer.

Krien offers a balanced and fearless look at the dark side of footy culture – the world of Sam Newman, Ricky Nixon, Matty Johns, the Cronulla Sharks and more. What does a young footballer do to cut loose? At night, some play what they think of as pranks, or games. Night games involving women. These games sometimes involve consensual sex, but sometimes they don’t, and sometimes they fall into a grey area.

annakrienBoth a courtroom drama and a riveting piece of first-person narrative journalism, this is a breakthrough book from one of the young leading lights of Australian writing.

About the Author

Anna Krien is the author of Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests and Us and Them: On the Importance of Animals (Quarterly Essay 45).

Grab a copy of Night Games here


the-night-guestThe Night Guest

by Fiona McFarlane

One morning Ruth wakes thinking a tiger has been in her seaside house. Later that day a formidable woman called Frida arrives, looking as if she’s blown in from the sea. In fact she’s come to care for Ruth. Frida and the tiger: both are here to stay, and neither is what they seem.

Which of them can Ruth trust? And as memories of her childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency, can she even trust herself?

The Night Guest is mesmerising novel about love, dependence, and the fear that the things you know best can become the things you’re least certain about. It introduces a writer who comes to us fully formed, working wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to tap the mysterious workings of our minds, and keeping us spellbound

0000007167About the Author

Fiona McFarlane was born in Sydney, and has degrees in English from Sydney University and Cambridge University, and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a Michener Fellow.

Her work has been published in Zoetrope: All-Story, Southerly, the Best Australian Stories and the New Yorker, and she has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Phillips Exeter Academy and the Australia Council for the Arts. The Night Guest, her debut novel, has sold into fifteen territories around the world. She lives in Sydney.

Grab a copy of The Night Guest here


boy-lostBoy, Lost

by Kristina Olsson

Kristina Olsson’s mother lost her infant son, Peter, when he was snatched from her arms as she boarded a train in the hot summer of 1950. Yvonne was young and frightened, trying to escape a brutal marriage, but despite the violence and cruelty she’d endured, she was not prepared for this final blow, this breathtaking punishment. Yvonne would not see her son again for nearly forty years.

Kristina was the first child of her mother’s subsequent, much gentler marriage and, like her siblings, grew up unaware of the reasons behind her mother’s sorrow, though Peter’s absence resounded through the family, marking each one. Yvonne dreamt of her son by day and by night, while Peter grew up a thousand miles and a lifetime away, dreaming of his missing mother.

Boy, Lost tells how their lives proceeded from that shattering moment, the grief and shame that stalked them, what they lost and what they salvaged. But it is also the story of a family, the cascade of grief and guilt through generations, and the endurance of memory and faith

kristina-olssonAbout the Author

Kristina was born in 1956 and raised in Brisbane of Swedish and Australian heritage. She studied journalism at the University of Queensland and went on to write for The Australian, The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail, the Sydney Sunday Telegraph and Griffith Review.

She has also worked as an advisor to government and as a teacher of creative writing and journalism
at tertiary and community level. She supervises and mentors several post-graduate writing students and also works as a manuscript assessor and editor.

University of Queensland Press published her first novel, In One Skin, in 2001. This was followed by Kilroy Was Here (Random) in 2005 and The China Garden in 2009. Boy, Lost, a family memoir, was published by UQP in March 2013.

Kristina has two adult children, as well as three grandchildren. She lives in Brisbane.

Grab a copy of Boy, Lost here


the-swan-bookThe Swan Book

by Alexis Wright

The new novel by Alexis Wright, whose previous novel Carpentaria won the Miles Franklin Award and four other major prizes including the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award. The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning best-seller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale.
art-wright-620x349About the Author

Alexis Wright (born 25 November 1950) is an Indigenous Australian writer best known for winning the Miles Franklin Award for her 2006 novel Carpentaria.

Grab a copy of The Swan Book here


the-forgotten-rebels-of-eurekaThe Forgotten Rebels of Eureka

by Clare Wright

The Eureka Stockade. The story is one of Australia’s foundation legends, but until now it has been told as though only half the participants were there.

What if the hot-tempered, free-wheeling gold miners we learnt about in school were actually husbands and fathers, brothers and sons? And what if there were women and children inside the Eureka Stockade, defending their rights while defending themselves against a barrage of bullets?

As Clare Wright reveals, there were thousands of women on the goldfields and many of them were active in pivotal roles. The stories of how they arrived there, why they came and how they sustained themselves make for fascinating reading in their own right. But it is in the rebellion itself that the unbiddable women of Ballarat come into their own.

Groundbreaking, absorbing, crucially important—The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is the uncut story of the day the Australian people found their voice.

catsmlAbout the Author

Clare Wright is an historian who has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster. Her first book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans, garnered both critical and popular acclaim. She researched, wrote and presented the ABC television documentary Utopia Girls and is currently writing a four-part series to commemorate the centenary of WWI for ABC1. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.

Grab a copy of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here


Stella Prize Longlist


letter-to-george-clooney

Letter to George Clooney

by Debra Adelaide

Debra Adelaide’s new collection of short stories intricately maps both the sublime and the mundane landscape of ordinary lives, with her trademark dark wit and luminous intelligence.

In Glory in the Flower, distinguished but disillusioned British poet, Bill, crosses the world on the promise of a prestigious literary festival only to find himself roughing it with an unlikely group of amateur poets, with surprising results. One man’s attempt to negotiate the Australian taxation system reads like a noir thriller in The Pirate Map, and the minefield of internet dating in Chance artfully balances the absurd and dark side of the human psyche. Harder Than Your Husband follows a serious-minded administrator as he attempts to navigate the induction of a new, and rather perplexing, employee. And the final eclipsing story, Letter to George Clooney, opens a door into a world of terror and deprivation: searing in its devastating restraint, it demonstrates why Adelaide is one of the finest Australian writers of her generation.

DebraAdelaide01-239x300About the Author

Debra Adelaide is the author of several novels, including The Household Guide to Dying (2008), which was sold around the world, Serpent Dust (1998) and The Hotel Albatross (1995). She is also the editor of several themed collections of fiction and memoirs, including Acts of Dog (2003) and the bestselling Motherlove series (1996-1998). As well as a creative writer she has also been a freelance researcher, editor, book reviewer and literary award judge, and is now associate professor at the University of Technology, Sydney where she teaches creative writing.

Grab a copy of Letter to George Clooney here


9780702249921Moving Among Strangers

by Gabrielle Carey

Two literary lives defined by storytelling and secrets.

As her mother Joan lies dying, Gabrielle Carey writes a letter to Joan’s childhood friend, the reclusive novelist Randolph Stow. This letter sets in motion a literary pilgrimage that reveals long-buried family secrets. Like her mother, Stow had grown up in Western Australia. After early literary success and a Miles Franklin Award win in 1958 for his novel To the Islands, he left for England and a life of self-imposed exile.

Living most of her life on the east coast, Gabrielle was also estranged from her family’s west Australian roots, but never questioned why. A devoted fan of Stow’s writing, she becomes fascinated by his connection with her mother, but before she can meet him he dies. With only a few pieces of correspondence to guide her, Gabrielle embarks on a journey from the red-dirt landscape of Western Australia to the English seaside town of Harwich to understand her family’s past and Stow’s place in it. Moving Among Strangers is a celebration of one of Australia’s most enigmatic and visionary writers.

Gabrielle CareyAbout the Author

Gabrielle Carey lives in Sydney, writes books occasionally, and may or may not be related to Peter Carey.

Grab a copy of Moving Among Strangers here


mullumbimbyMullumbimby

by Melissa Lucashenko

When Jo Breen uses her divorce settlement to buy a neglected property in the Byron Bay hinterland, she is hoping for a tree change, and a blossoming connection to the land of her Aboriginal ancestors. What she discovers instead is sharp dissent from her teenage daughter Ellen, trouble brewing from unimpressed white neighbours, and a looming Native Title war among the local Bundjalung families. When Jo stumbles into love on one side of the Native Title divide she quickly learns that living on country is only part of the recipe for the Good Life.

Told with humour and a sharp satirical eye, Mullumbimby is a modern novel set against an ancient land.

indexAbout the Author

Melissa Lucashenko is an Australian writer of mixed European and Murri (Aboriginal) heritage. She was born in Brisbane in 1967, and attended public primary and secondary schools there. Melissa received an honours degree in public policy from Griffith University, graduating in 1990. She lives between Brisbane and the Bundjalung nation.

Grab a copy of Mullumbimby here


the-misogyny-factor

The Misogyny Factor

by Anne Summers

In 2012, Anne Summers gave two landmark speeches about women in Australia, attracting more than 120,000 visits to her website. Within weeks of their delivery Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s own speech about misogyny and sexism went viral and was celebrated around the world. Summers makes the case that Australia, the land of the fair go, still hasn’t figured out how to make equality between men and women work. She shows how uncomfortable we are with the idea of women with political and financial power, let alone the reality. Summers dismisses the idea that we should celebrate progress for women as opposed to outright success. She shows what success will look like.

annesummersAbout the Author

Anne Summers PhD AO (born 12 March 1945) is a writer and columnist, is best known as a leading feminist, editor and publisher. She was formerly Australia’s First Assistant Secretary of the Office of the Status of Women. Her long-term partner is Chip Rolley, the 2010 Creative Director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Grab a copy of The Misogyny Factor here


madeleineMadeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John

by Helen Trinca

At the age of fifteen Madeleine saw herself as a painter and pianist, but Ms Medway peered down at Madeleine during her entrance interview in 1957 and announced: ‘You know dear, I think you might write.’

Madeleine would write. But not for some time. The Women in Black, a sparkling gem that belied the difficulties that had dogged her own life, was published when Madeleine St John was in her fifties. Her third novel, The Essence of the Thing, was shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize, and she continued to write until her death in 2006.

Helen Trinca has captured the troubled life of Madeleine St John in this moving account of a remarkable writer. After the death of her mother when Madeleine was just twelve, she struggled to find her place in the world. Estranging herself from her family, and from Australia, she lived for a time in the US before moving to London where Robert Hughes, Germaine Greer, Bruce Beresford, Barry Humphries and Clive James were making their mark. In 1993, when The Women in Black was published, it became clear what a marvellous writer Madeleine St John was.

HelenTrinca_20credit_20NickCubbin_regularAbout the Author

Helen Trinca has co-written two previous books: Waterfront: The Battle that Changed Australia and Better than Sex: How a Whole Generation Got Hooked on Work. She has held senior reporting and editing roles in Australian journalism, including a stint as the Australian’s London correspondent, and is currently Managing Editor of the Australian.

Grab a copy of Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John here


all-the-birds-singingAll the Birds, Singing

by Evie Wyld

Who or what is watching Jake Whyte from the woods?

Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep – every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake’s unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colour and sound, a story held in the scars that stripe her back.

Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the story of one how one woman’s present comes from a terrible past. It is the second novel from the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.

evie-wyldAbout the Author

Evie Wyld runs Review, a small independent bookshop London. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show’s Best New British Novelists. She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Grab a copy of All the Birds, Singing here

ABIA 2014 Book Awards shortlists announced

The 14th Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) shortlists were announced this morning in Sydney, with a raft of new categories and a host of wonderful writers and books.

The inaugural International Book of the Year award contains Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton and Pulitzer Prize winner Donna Tartt, while the hotly contested Literary Fiction Book of the Year has some extraordinary authors jostling for the gong with Tim Winton and Hannah Kent joined by favourite for the Miles Franklin Award Richard Flanagan.

If any of these books have passed you by, you still have time to be your own judge, with the winners to be announced on Friday 23 May!


International Book of the Year


The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt, author of the phenomenal bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend, returns with a breathtaking new novel.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.

Grab a copy of The Goldfinch here


And the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed is a deeply moving new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another and how the choices we make resonate through history. A multi-generational family story revolving around brothers and sisters, it explores the ways in which they love, wound, betray, honour and sacrifice for each other.

With profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion – and moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos – Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways that we help our loved ones in need and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

Grab a copy of And the Mountains Echoed here


The Luminaries
by Eleanor Catton

The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction, which more than fulfils the promise of The Rehearsal. Like that novel, it is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device.

Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-twenties, and will confirm for critics and readers that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

Grab a copy of The Luminaries here


Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
by Jeff Kinney

Jeff Kinney’s 8th book of this hilarious and highly successful series, and Greg Heffley and his friends now have a whole new set of adventures.

Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story?

Grab a copy of Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid here


I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

In 2009 Malala Yousafzai began writing an anonymous blog for BBC Urdu about life in the Swat Valley as the Taliban gained control, at times banning girls from attending school. When her identity was discovered, Malala began to appear in Pakistani and international media, campaigning for education for all. On 9 October 2012, Malala was shot at point-blank range by a member of the Taliban on the way home from school. Remarkably, she survived. In April 2013, Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

I Am Malala tells the inspiring story of a schoolgirl who was determined not to be intimidated by extremists, and faced the Taliban with immense courage. Malala speaks of her continuing campaign for every girl’s right to an education, shining a light into the lives of those children who cannot attend school. This is just the beginning…

Grab a copy of I Am Malala here


General Fiction Book of the Year


Elianne
by Judy Nunn

In 1881 ‘Big Jim’ Durham, an English soldier of fortune and profiteer, ruthlessly creates for Elianne Desmarais, his young French wife, the finest of the great sugar mills of the Southern Queensland cane fields, and names it in her honour.

The massive estate becomes a self-sufficient fortress, a cane-consuming monster and home to hundreds of workers, but ‘Elianne’ and its masters, the Durham Family, have dark and distant secrets; secrets that surface in the wildest and most inflammatory of times, the 1960s.

The workers leave the great sugar estates as mechanisation lessens the need for labour. And the Durham family, its secrets exposed, begins its fall from grace…

Grab a copy of Elianne here


Watching You
by Michael Robotham

Marnie Logan often feels like she’s being watched. Nothing she can quite put her finger on – a whisper of breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye – and now her life is frozen. Her husband Daniel has been missing for more than a year. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin.

Joe is concerned by Marnie’s reluctance to talk about the past, but then she discovers a book packed with pictures, interviews with friends, former teachers, old flames and workmates Daniel was preparing for Marnie’s birthday. It was supposed to be a celebration of her life. But it’s not the story anyone was expecting…

Grab a copy of Watching You here


The Husband’s Secret
by Liane Moriarty

Cecilia Fitzpatrick, devoted mother, successful Tupperware business owner and efficient P&C President, has found a letter from her husband.

“For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, to be opened only in the event of my death”

But Cecilia’s husband isn’t dead, he’s on a business trip. And when she questions him about it on the phone, Cecilia senses something she hasn’t experienced before. John-Paul is lying. What happens next changes Cecilia’s formerly blissful suburban existence forever, and the consequences will be life-changing for the most unexpected people.

Grab a copy of The Husband’s Secret here


The Tournament
by Matthew Reilly

The year is 1546. Europe lives in fear of the powerful Islamic empire to the East. Under its charismatic Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, it is an empire on the rise. It has defeated Christian fleets. It has conquered Christian cities. Then the Sultan sends out an invitation to every king in Europe: send forth your champion to compete in a tournament unlike any other.

We follow the English delegation, selected by King Henry VIII himself, to the glittering city of Constantinople, where the most amazing tournament ever staged will take place. But when the stakes are this high, not everyone plays fair, and for our team of plucky English heroes, winning may not be the primary goal.

As barbaric murders occur, a more immediate goal might simply be staying alive.

Grab a copy of The Tournament here


the-rosie-projectThe Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. Then a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire—a sixteen-page, scientifically researched document—to find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is strangely beguiling, fiery and intelligent. And she is also on a quest of her own. She’s looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might just be able to help her with—even if he does wear quick-dry clothes and eat lobster every single Tuesday night.

Grab a copy of The Rosie Project here


Literary Fiction Book of the Year


Barracuda
by Christos Tsiolkas

A searing and provocative novel by the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap, Barracuda is an unflinching look at modern Australia, at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families. It is about class and sport and politics and migration and education.

It contains everything a person is: family and friendship and love and work, the identities we inhabit and discard, the means by which we fill the holes at our centre. Barracuda is brutal, tender and blazingly brilliant; everything we have come to expect from this fearless vivisector of our lives and world.

Grab a copy of Barracuda here


Eyrie
by Tim Winton

Tom Keely’s reputation is in ruins. And that’s the upside.

Divorced and unemployed, he’s lost faith in everything precious to him. Holed up in a grim highrise, cultivating his newfound isolation, Keely looks down at a society from which he’s retired hurt and angry. He’s done fighting the good fight, and well past caring.

What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting. Inhabited by unforgettable characters, Eyrie asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.

Grab a copy of Eyrie here


The Night Guest
by Fiona McFarlane

One morning Ruth wakes thinking a tiger has been in her seaside house. Later that day a formidable woman called Frida arrives, looking as if she’s blown in from the sea. In fact she’s come to care for Ruth. Frida and the tiger: both are here to stay, and neither is what they seem. Which of them can Ruth trust? And as memories of her childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency, can she even trust herself?

The Night Guest is a mesmerising novel about love, dependence, and the fear that the things you know best can become the things you’re least certain about. It introduces a writer who comes to us fully formed, working wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to tap the mysterious workings of our minds, and keeping us spellbound.

Grab a copy of The Night Guest here


Burial Rites
by Hannah Kent

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait on the farm of District Officer Jón Jónsson and his family, who are horrified and avoid Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the summer months fall away to winter, Agnes’s story begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she?

Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about freedom and the ways we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, and asks: how can one woman endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Grab a copy of Burial Rites here


The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan

A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

Grab a copy of The Narrow Road to the Deep North here


General Nonfiction Book of the Year

The Good Life by Hugh Mackay
Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia by David Hunt
On the Trail of Genghis Khan by Tim Cope
Stalking Julia Gillard by Kerry-Anne Walsh
Murder in Mississippi by John Safran


Illustrated Book of the Year

The Food of Vietnam by Luke Nguyen
The New Classics by Donna Hay
Love Italy by Guy Grossi
I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson
Gurrumul by Robert Hillman


Biography of the Year

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Ponting: At the Close of Play by Ricky Ponting
Ned Kelly: The Story of Australia’s Most Notorious Legend by Peter FitzSimons
The Crossroad by Mark Donaldson
Madness: A Memoir by Kate Richards
Everything to Live For by Turia Pitt with Libby Harkness


Book of the Year for Younger Children (0 to 8 years)

The Very Brave Bear by Nick Bland
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
The 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, illus by Terry Denton
Ruby Red Shoes Goes to Paris by Kate Knapp
Alphabetical Sydney by Hilary Bell & Antonia Pesenti
Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester


Book of the Year for Older Children (8 to 14 years)

The Kensington Reptilarium by NJ Gemmell
WeirDo by Anh Do
Alice-Miranda in Paris by Jacqueline Harvey
The Last Thirteen Book 1: 13 by James Phelan
Ranger’s Apprentice Book 12: The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan


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Josephine Moon, author of The Tea Chest, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

9781743317877The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Josephine Moon

author of The Tea Chest

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Brisbane and raised in the north-western suburbs. I went to three Catholic schools, St William’s Primary School in Grovely, St Benedict’s College in Wilston and Mt Maria Senior College in Mitchelton. And yes, I had real life nuns as teachers. Some were beautiful, some have scarred me for life!

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve I wanted to be veterinarian because I adored animals and wanted to work with them. At eighteen, having recently discovered that physics and I didn’t get on, and therefore I couldn’t get into vet school, I wanted to be an ecologist. But not long after that I realised that statistics and I didn’t get on either. Problem! So, then I changed my degree to journalism because I knew I wanted to write and I actually had aptitude for that. At thirty I was desperate to be a novelist and had been writing seriously for many years.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I believed an ensemble consisting of black jeans, a flannelette shirt, too much jewellery and Doc Marten boots was cool.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Josephine Moon

Author Josephine Moon

When I was younger, I borrowed a copy of a short story collection by Jeffrey Archer. It is the only thing of his I’ve ever read. But I remember thinking, as I got to the end of that book, that I could do this. I could write. Because until then, I’d had a belief that I didn’t have enough vocabulary—that I didn’t know enough ‘big words’. And I am not for a second saying that Jeffrey Archer was in any way lacking. But I noticed clearly how he had a great skill for using ordinary words in extraordinary ways. And for some reason that was a huge boost for me.

I’m going to cheat a bit here for the next two nominations. I’m nominating the whole of the city of Paris. That place blew my mind. And Paris has made an appearance in my next book and there’s definitely some of my own experiences and emotions in there. And lastly, I’m nominating Radio National, which is consistently entertaining, obscure, fascinating and intelligent and is a constant source of inspiration for my writing.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

A friend of mine recently did a big clean up and found heaps of letters I’d written to her through school and for years afterwards. And another friend once reflected on the amount of emails I sent her while she was overseas and said that I was a prolific writer. And I thought, gosh, am I?? Apparently, I just couldn’t shut up!

I don’t know that it was ever a decision, as such, to write a novel over pursuing other forms of writing, as much as it was an acceptance of what I was drawn to do. The burning desire to write books just didn’t go away. In some ways it was easier just to say, okay, I accept it, now let me get on with it.

97817433178776. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Kate Fullerton, lead tea designer at The Tea Chest, has just inherited 50% of the company from her mentor and must decide what she will risk for her young family to take a chance on herself to follow her dreams. Set across Brisbane and London, with a backdrop of delectable teas and tastes, lavender fields and vintage clothes, The Tea Chest is a gourmet delight you won’t want to finish.

Grab a copy of The Tea Chest here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Joy, inspiration, a sense of empowerment to follow their dreams.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I am in awe of any writer who can write a good quality novel every year. I’d love to be able to do that one day but, right now, I take far too much time ‘marinating’ my work (i.e. leaving it alone for months so I can look at it with fresh eyes). I think that’s an incredible skill to be able to write and assess your work and know where to take it next in such a short time.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Interesting question! I just said to my husband recently, ‘You know what I’ve just realised? I need to set new goals!’ Because, since 1999, the only goal I had was ‘to be published by a big publishing house’. Now that’s happened, I actually need to re-evaluate where I’m going from here.

And right now, with a twenty-two-month-old son running around, my only ambition is to get to a point where I can stay up late enough to watch Offspring rather than having to catch up online later in the week.

I think it’s time to aim a little higher.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be curious. People often say to write what you know. But I think you need to write about what you want to know.

Josephine, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of The Tea Chest here

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