BREAKING NEWS: 2015 Miles Franklin Longlist announced

The 2015 Miles Franklin longlist is one of the most exciting in recent memory, something of a changing of the guard on the Australian literary scene. A cavalcade of not just Australia’s finest writers, but also the nation’s freshest thinkers, find themselves competing for the $60,000 prize.

Debut authors Omar Musa, Suzanne McCourt and Vogel Award winner Christine Piper are joined by literary heavyweights Joan London and Sonya Hartnett, while Favel Parrett makes her second Miles Franklin longlist in as many books with the beautiful When The Night Comes.

Don’t miss the chance to grab a copy of these fantastic books and judge them for yourself.


9781922182968In Certain Circles

by Elizabeth Harrower

Zoe Howard is seventeen when her brother, Russell, introduces her to Stephen Quayle. Aloof and harsh, Stephen is unlike anyone she has ever met, ‘a weird, irascible character out of some dense Russian novel’. His sister, Anna, is shy and thoughtful, ‘a little orphan’.

Zoe and Russell, Stephen and Anna: they may come from different social worlds but all four will spend their lives moving in and out of each other’s shadow.

Set amid the lush gardens and grand stone houses that line the north side of Sydney Harbour, In Certain Circles is an intense psychological drama about family and love, tyranny and freedom.

328874-121027-rev-harrowerAbout the Author

Elizabeth Harrower was born in Sydney in 1928. She lived in Newcastle until her family moved back to Sydney when she was eleven.In 1951 Harrower travelled to London and began to write. Her first novel, Down In The City, was published there in 1957 and was followed by The Long Prospect a year later. In 1959 she returned to Sydney, where she worked in radio and then in publishing. Her third novel, The Catherine Wheel, appeared in 1960.Harrower published The Watch Tower in 1966. Four years later she finished a new novel, In Certain Circles, but withdrew it from publication at the last moment, in 1971. It remained unpublished until 2014. In Certain Circles is Harrower’s final completed novel, though in the 1970s and 1980s she continued to write short fiction. She is one of the most important postwar Australian writers – admired by many of her contemporaries, including Patrick White and Christina Stead. Her novels are now being acclaimed by a new generation of readers and writers. Elizabeth Harrower lives in Sydney.

Grab a copy of In Certain Circles here


9781926428611Golden Boys

by Sonya Hartnett

Sonya Hartnett’s third novel for adults is perfectly formed and utterly compelling, an unflinching and disquieting work from one of Australia’s finest writers.

Colt Jenson and his younger brother Bastian live in a world of shiny, new things – skateboards, slot cars, train sets and even the latest BMX. Their affluent father, Rex, has made sure that they’ll be the envy of the new, working-class suburb they’ve moved to. But underneath the surface of the perfect family, is there something unsettling about the Jensons? To the local kids, Rex becomes a kind of hero, but Colt senses there’s something in his father that could destroy their fragile new lives.

0000002793About the Author

Sonya Hartnett’s work has won numerous Australian and international literary prizes and has been published around the world. Uniquely, she is acclaimed for her stories for adults, young adults and children. Her accolades include the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Of A Boy), The Age Book of the Year (Of A Boy), the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (Thursday’s Child), the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for both Older and Younger Readers (Forest, The Silver Donkey, The Ghost’s Child, The Midnight Zoo and The Children of the King), the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (Surrender), shortlistings for the Miles Franklin Award (for both Of a Boy and Butterfly) and the CILP Carnegie Medal (The Midnight Zoo). Hartnett is also the first Australian recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (2008).

Grab a copy of Golden Boys here


9781743319598The Eye of the Sheep

by Sofie Laguna

Ned was beside me, his messages running easily through him, with space between each one, coming through him like water. He was the go-between, going between the animal kingdom and this one. I watched the waves as they rolled and crashed towards us, one after another, never stopping, always changing. I knew what was making them come, I had been there and I would always know.

Meet Jimmy Flick. He’s not like other kids – he’s both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy’s mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She more…

1_LagunaSophia1About the Author

Sofie Laguna originally studied to be a lawyer, but after deciding law was not for her, she trained as an actor. Sofie is now an author, actor and playwright. Her books for young people have been named Honour Books and Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and have been shortlisted in the Queensland Premier’s Awards. She has been published in the US and the UK and in translation in Europe and Asia. Sofie’s first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong, was also published throughout Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom. Sofie has written the screenplay for the film of One Foot Wrong, scheduled for pre-production in 2014.

Grab a copy of The Eye of the Sheep here


9781741666441The Golden Age

by Joan London

This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life. From one of Australia’s most loved novelists.

He felt like a pirate landing on an island of little maimed animals. A great wave had swept them up and dumped them here. All of them, like him, stranded, wanting to go home.

It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At The Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Hospital in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow-patient, and they form a more…

London, JoanAbout the Author

Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age. Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for Fiction in 2002 and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in April 2008 and won the 2009 Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary awards. Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim. The Golden Age (2014) is her third novel.

Grab a copy of The Golden Age here


9781922147783The Lost Child

by Suzanne McCourt

From the headland, we look across to the lighthouse on Seal Island where Mr Hammett has to take the gas bottle to keep the light flashing at night. Aunt Cele says there is no land between us and the bottom of the world where everything is white ice and there are penguins as big as men, but I know this already because Dunc has told me.

Sylvie is five. It’s the 1950s and she lives in Burley Point, a fishing village south of the Coorong on Australia’s wild southern coast. She worships her older brother Dunc. She tries to make sense of her brooding mother, and her moody father who abandons the family to visit The Trollop, Layle Lewis, who lives across the lagoon.

It’s hard to keep secrets in a small town, but when Dunc goes missing, Sylvie is terrified that she is more…

SuzanneMcCourtAbout the Author

Suzanne McCourt was born in Millicent, on the South Australian coast, and now lives in Melbourne. After a career in teaching, marketing, public relations and private employment, she came late to creative writing. Suzanne has won prizes for her short stories, and several of her poems trundle around Melbourne on trains as part of the Moving Galleries project. She is the author of two books: Old Dogs: Lessons in Loving and Ageing and The Lost Child.

Grab a copy of The Lost Child here


9780670077090Here Come the Dogs

by Omar Musa

In small town suburbia, three young men are ready to make their mark.

Solomon is all charisma, authority and charm, down for the moment but surely not out. His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself. Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family and his homeland, and would do anything for them. The question is, does he know where to draw the line?

Solomon, Jimmy and Aleks: way out on the more…

0000008248About the Author

Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has released three hip hop albums, two poetry books (including Parang), appeared on ABC’s Q&A and received a standing ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. He is currently working on a play, ‘Bonegatherer’, and his first book, Here Come the Dogs, will be published in August 2014.

Grab a copy of Here Come the Dogs here


isbn9780733626586When the Night Comes

by Favel Parrett

The hauntingly beautiful story of a young girl transformed by the power of kindness from award-winning author Favel Parrett.

Running away from the mainland was supposed to make their lives better. But, for Isla and her brother, their mother’s sadness and the cold, damp greyness of Hobart’s stone streets seeps into everything.

Then, one morning, Isla sees a red ship. That colour lights her day. And when a sailor from the ship befriends her mother, he shares his stories with them all – of Antarctica, his home in Denmark and life onboard. Like the more…

Favel Parrett-detailAbout the Author

In 2011, Favel Parrett’s career was launched with the critically-acclaimed and award-winning debut Past the Shallows. A heart-breaking novel, it was sold internationally, shortlisted in the prestigious Miles Franklin Award and won the Dobbie Literary Award. Favel herself won the ABIA Newcomer of the Year Award in 2012.

Grab a copy of When the Night Comes here


9781760113117After Darkness

by Christine Piper

It is early 1942 and Australia is in the midst of war.

While working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote corner of South Australia. There, he learns to live among a group of men who are divided by culture and allegiance. As tensions at the isolated camp escalate, the doctor’s long- held beliefs are thrown into question and he is forced to confront his dark past: the promise he made in Japan and its devastating consequences.

0_piper_christine_smlAbout the Author

Christine Piper’s short fiction has been published in Seizure, SWAMP and Things That Are Found In Trees and Other Stories. She was the 2013 Alice Hayes writing fellow at Ragdale in the United States. Christine has studied creative writing at Macquarie University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Technology, Sydney, where she wrote a version of this novel as part of her doctoral degree. She has also worked as a magazine editor and writer for more than a decade. Both in South Korea in 1979 to an Australian father and a Japanese mother, Christine moved to Australia when she was one. She has previously taught English and studied Japanese in Japan, and currently lives in New York with her husband. Christine is also the 2014 recipient of the ABR Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay. The winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Prize 2014. After Darkness is Christine Piper’s first novel. She was also shortlisted for the Readings New Australian Writing Award 2014.

Grab a copy of After Darkness here


9781922147325Tree Palace

by Craig Sherborne

They tried Mansfield but it was freezing and snowed and people like them don’t fit in because they don’t look prosperous. One time near Yellingbo they found a church no one prayed in and they lived there and for three weeks had stained glass for windows…They got chased out and went to Shepparton but Shane had a run-in and police said move.

Shane, Moira and Midge, along with young Zara and Rory, are ‘trants’—itinerants roaming the plains north-west of Melbourne in search of disused houses to sleep in, or to strip of heritage fittings when funds are low. When they find their Tree Palace outside Barleyville, things are looking up. At last, a place in which to settle down.

But Zara, fifteen, is pregnant and doesn’t want a child. She’d more…

About the AuthorCraigSherborne

Craig Sherborne’s memoir Hoi Polloi (2005) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. The follow-up, Muck (2007), won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. Craig’s first novel, The Amateur Science of Love, won the Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award, and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and a NSW Premier’s Literary Award. Craig has also written two volumes of poetry, Bullion (1995) and Necessary Evil (2005), and a verse drama, Look at Everything Twice for Me (1999). His writing has appeared in most of Australia’s literary journals and anthologies. He lives in Melbourne.

Grab a copy of Tree Palace here


isbn9780733632341Nest

by Inga Simpson

Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds around her house and tending her lush sub-tropical garden near the small town where she grew up. The only person she sees regularly is Henry, who comes after school for drawing lessons. When a girl in Henry’s class goes missing, Jen is pulled back into the depths of her own past.

When she was Henry’s age she lost her father and her best friend Michael – both within a week. The whole town talked about it then, and now, nearly forty years later, they’re talking about it again. Everyone is waiting – for the girl to be found and the summer rain to arrive. At last, when the answers do come, like the wet, it is in a drenching, revitalising downpour.

Inga_Simpson-detailAbout the Author

Inga Simpson is a fresh new voice in Australian writing. She is inspired by regular people and the changing seasons of their lives. Inga began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining a PhD in creative writing. In 2011, she took part in the Queensland Writer’s Centre Manuscript Development Program and as a result, Hachette published her first novel, the acclaimed Mr Wigg, in 2013.

Grab a copy of Nest here


WIN a Shaun the Sheep Prize Pack!

We’re kind of obsessed with Shaun the Sheep, that super cute, woollen funster.

And wouldn’t you know it, we gave our Facebook Fans the chance to win a double pass to see Shaun the Sheep at the movies. Congratulations to Heather Gray, Mary Jane Hurst, Kez McKenzie, Kellie Thorne, Jenny Newstead! Email us at promos@booktopia.com.au to claim your prize.

For those that missed out, not to worry. You can still win a double pass AND a Shaun the Sheep Prize Pack! Simply order anything from our Shaun the Sheep series by March 31st and go in the draw to win.

Click here to see our Shaun the Sheep series

shaun-the-sheep-movieShaun the Sheep

The Book of the Film

When Shaun decides to take a day off to have some fun, he gets more adventure than he baa-gained for!

Shaun’s mischief accidentally leads to the Farmer’s absence from the farm, so it’s up to Shaun and the Flock to travel to the Big City to find him.

Click here to see our Shaun the Sheep series

 

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Paula Hawkins

author of The Girl on the Train

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 Harare, Zimbabwe, I lived there – and went to school there, obviously – until I was seventeen.

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

At twelve, a human rights lawyer (bleeding heart liberal); at eighteen, a foreign correspondent (thanks to romantic notions of what that might entail); at thirty, an author (also thanks to romantic notions of what that might entail).

Paula Hawkins

Author: Paula Hawkins

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

I can’t think of a single one, which suggests that I’m incredibly stubborn (or possibly that I simply can’t remember all the ridiculous things I believed when I was eighteen).

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

Impossible to pick just three, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Macbeth, The Black Paintings by Francisco Goya, and the song Down by the Water by PJ Harvey.

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

Because I can’t draw, or paint, or dance, or play an instrument. Writing is the only thing I’m any good at.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

The Girl on the Train is a story about a lonely commuter, a voyeur who witnesses something shocking on her daily journey to work, and who finds herself drawn into a mystery which, unbeknown to her, she is already an integral part.

Grab a copy of Paula’s new book The Girl on the Train here

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

Talking specifically about The Girl on the Train, I’d like to have given the reader food for thought about the nature of perception, about the judgements we make about the people we see every day and the people that are close to us, and about how flawed those judgements frequently are.

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

I’m a huge fan of authors who can write literary page-turners – the likes of Kate Atkinson or Cormac McCarthy.

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

To write something I’m proud of. That’s all.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Find someone whose judgement you trust to read your work: no one does this all alone.

Paula, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of The Girl on the Train here


The Girl on the Train

by Paula Hawkins

YOU DON’T KNOW HER. BUT SHE KNOWS YOU.

Rear Window meets Gone Girl, in this exceptional and startling psychological thriller.

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

About the Author

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction.

Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller.

 Grab a copy of Girl on the Train here

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Kids author Tristan Bancks plays a game of ‘Would You Rather’

Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teen author with a background in acting and filmmaking. He plays a game of ‘Would You Rather’ with Booktopia’s Andrew Cattanach.

Grab Tristan Bancks’ My Life series here

my-life-and-other-massive-mistakes-signed-copies-available-My Life and Other Massive Mistakes

by Tristan Bancks

This book is 100% gluten free, 100% fat free, 100% organic and 35% fact free.

It has no added sugar and contains absolutely NO NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS AT ALL!

May contain traces of NUTS!

Have you ever helped your pop escape from a nursing home? Does your teacher have a problem with his bowels? Is your sister an evil genius and criminal mastermind? Have you ever mined your teeth for cash? Do you want to know where all the lost socks go? Is there a girl or boy at school who’s in love with you and wants to kiss you? And do you know anyone with the worst case of nits in world history?

I do.

I’m Tom Weekly and this is the third book in my life story.

Welcome to my weird, funny, sometimes kinda gross adventures.

Grab Tristan Bancks’ My Life series here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Bestselling author Sylvia Day on being an overnight success…10 years in the making!

Sylvia Day is the internationally bestselling author of over a dozen novels written across multiple genres, most famously, The Crossfire series, which has sold fifteen million copies plus worldwide. She chats to Booktopia’s John Purcell.

Grab Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series here

sylvia-day-s-crossfire-seriesSylvia Day’s Crossfire Series

Four Book Collection

The first four intensely sensual Crossfire novels by bestselling author Sylvia Day.

Bared to You
Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness – beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart . . .

Reflected in You
Gideon Cross was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn’t stay away. He was my addiction. my every desire. We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession.

Entwined with You
No one knows how much Gideon risked for me. How much I’d been threatened, or just how dark and desperate the shadow of our pasts would become. Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds. We made our own rules and surrendered completely to the exquisite power of possession . . .

Captivated by You
Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened up old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream…

For a limited time only, grab your signed copy of the Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: A.L. Tait on her thrilling new kids series The Mapmaker Chronicles

Allison Tait is a freelance writer and author with more than 20 years’ experience in magazines, newspapers and online publishing. She talks to John Purcell about her acclaimed Mapmaker Chronicles series.

Grab a copy of The Mapmaker Chronicles here

race-to-the-end-of-the-worldThe Mapmaker Chronicles

Race to the End of the World

Adventure and danger lie just off the edge of the map in this swashbuckling new trilogy!

Quinn’s older brothers may long for adventure, but he is content with a quiet life on the farm. Destiny, however, has other plans.

The King is determined to create the first map of the world and has scoured the kingdom for boys who could become mapmakers. When Quinn is chosen for the King’s training school, he’s amazed – but that is nothing compared to his shock when he is selected as one of the three mapmakers and finds himself on board a ship, competing for the big prize.

So begins Quinn’s reluctant journey deep into the unknown, on a ship captained by a slave, with a stowaway girl on board, and a mysterious sea monster that seems to be following them. Hot on their trail are the other competitors for the King’s prize, who will stop at nothing to win.

The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the End of the World is packed with action, adventure and intrigue, as Quinn battles unexpected enemies, discovers strange new lands and tries to conceal two very big secrets from his crewmates…

Grab a copy of The Mapmaker Chronicles here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Robyn Cadwallader on her brilliant debut novel The Anchoress

Robyn Cadwallader’s debut novel The Anchoress has been met with widespread acclaim, with critics comparing it to Hannah Kent’s 2013 debut Burial Rites. She chats to Booktopia’s Editorial Director Caroline Baum.

Grab a copy of The Anchoress here

The Anchoress

(Review by Caroline Baum)

Like Hannah Kent’s award-winning international bestseller Burial Rites, this is one of those out of the box debuts that always sends the publishing world into a frenzy: a startlingly original piece of storytelling from a unknown who demonstrates an ability to create a total, immersive, believable world that is rewarding as much for what it allows the reader to learn as for sheer escapist enjoyment.

Like Hannah Kent, Cadwallader has chosen to write about a singular isolated figure in an unfamiliar past. Unlike Kent, her outsider is not accused of any crime.

the-anchoress

I’m going to stick my neck out and predict this book will be one of the year’s highlights and success stories. It has bold reach and ambition, tangling with questions of morality and scripture, but despite its rarefied theme, this is an essentially human story, rich in period detail and atmospherics.

Sarah is a religious recluse – a young woman in 13th century Britain who chooses the life of an anchoress – which means being literally walled up in a cell, with limited contact to the outside world through her maid and her confessor. Following the death of her sister, Sarah forsakes the world to retreat. It soon becomes apparent that she is also, perhaps seeking sanctuary from danger: the threat posed by the sexually predatory local lord, who has made unwelcome advances. All too soon it becomes obvious that Sarah is battling inner demons – she is aware of the response of the flesh, and seeks to mortify herself to subdue her own desires.

While she faces the unexpected challenges of her cell, and of her limited interaction with the outside world, her vivid imagination tangles with her faith and conjures up the spirit of the previous anchoress- Isabella- a mysterious ghostly presence. As Sarah discovers more about Isabella she learns to face up to her own weakness, pride and examine her capacity for compassion.

Meanwhile Ranaulf, her confessor, is finding his responsibilities more demanding than he could ever have anticipated. He is not used to women who counter his interpretations of the gospels.

The scene is set for conflict as Lord Thomas imposes his will and attempts to intrude on the sanctity of Sarah’s enclosure. The plot is interwoven like a fine tapestry with references to the oppression of the peasantry by their feudal masters and the complex inter relationship between the Church and the landed gentry. Class, illiteracy, superstition, shame, all make pertinent appearances as Sarah is faced with dilemmas that test her faith to the limits of her conviction. An erotic undercurrent gives Sarah’s worship of Christ a powerfully passionate charge while every teaching of the church reinforces the notion of woman as the vessel of sin. Is Sarah safe from temptation? Is she pure in thought and deed? Would she be able to endure the suffering of Saint Margaret, the martyr whose life she studies, who died a graphically horrible death for her beliefs?

A film adaptation can surely not be far behind. Benedict Cumberbatch as Father Ranaulf perhaps? Upcoming Australian star Sarah Snook (to be seen this year alongside Kate Winslet in the eagerly awaited adaption of one of my most favourite Australian novels, The Dressmaker in October) would do the role of Sarah justice. If period fiction with big themes is your thing, this novel could be the answer to your prayers.

Grab a copy of The Anchoress here

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