DONUTS! Now that we have your attention, we’d like to talk to you about One Hundred Days of Happiness. And Donuts.

We all love a great book, and we all love sweet pastries. So our friends at Pan Macmillan Australia decided to combine the two for Booktopians with the beautiful book One Hundred Days of Happiness.

Pre-order One Hundred Days of Happiness by July 31st and you could win a dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme delivered to your door!

What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? For Lucio Battistini, it’s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have—by making every moment count.

In 100 epigrammatic chapters, one for each of Lucio’s remaining days on earth, 100 Days of Happiness is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. Wistful, often hilarious, and always delectable, 100 Days of Happiness reminds us all to remember the preciousness of life and what matters most.


Pre-order your copy of 100 Days of Happiness here

one-hundred-days-of-happiness100 Days of Happiness

by Fausto Brizzi

“Funny, moving. . . I defy anyone to finish this story without tears in their eyes.”—Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project

Womanizing, imperfect, but loveable, Lucio Battistini has been thrown out of the house by his wife and is sleeping in the stock room of his father-in-law’s bombolini bakery when he learns he has inoperable cancer.

So begins the last hundred days of Lucio’s life, as he attempts to care for his family, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn’t felt in years.

From helping his hopelessly romantic, widowed father-in-law find love, discovering comfort in enduring friendships, and finding new ones, Lucio becomes, at last, the man he’s always meant to be.

About the Author

Fausto Brizzi is an Italian director, screenwriter, and film producer. The Night Before Exams, his debut work as a director, won him numerous awards, including the David di Donatello. 100 Days of Happiness is his first novel.

Pre-order your copy of 100 Days of Happiness here

Buy Emily Bitto’s award-winning The Strays in Paperback and receive the eBook free!

For a very limited time when you buy the paperback edition of The Strays, winner of the 2015 Stella Prize,  you will receive the full ebook edition, absolutely free!


The Strays

by Emily Bitto

In The Strays, Evan Trentham is the wild child of the Melbourne art world of the 1930s. He and his captivating wife, Helena, attempt to carve out their own small niche, to escape the stifling conservatism they see around them, by gathering together other like-minded artists.

They create a utopian circle within their family home, offering these young artists a place to live and work, and the mixed benefits of being associated with the infamous Evan. At the periphery of this circle is Lily Struthers, the best friend of Evan and Helena’s daughter Eva.

Lily is infatuated by the world she bears witness to, and longs to be part of this enthralling makeshift family. As Lily observes years later, looking back on events that she still carries painfully within her, the story of this groundbreaking circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.

Grab a copy of Emily Bitto’s The Strays here

Caroline Baum’s Review

Inspired by the bohemian art world of 1930s Melbourne this is a marvellously accomplished and assured debut, announcing a major new talent. Rich in atmosphere and beautifully observed, it tells the story of only child Lily who makes friends with Eva at school and then becomes infatuated with her family, particularly larger-than-life painter Evan and his glamorous wife Helena.

Lily tells the story of her progressive enchantment with their home, their garden, their friends and their expanding creative circle of strays from a retrospective point of view, as an adult now faced with the prospect of reunion with Eva after a long separation: a gallery opening invitation brings back sharp and painful memories of intense relationships.

Poetic, richly visual and faultlessly judged in terms of pace, character and atmosphere, this is writing that has the rich patina of an enduring classic. A stylish and mature addition to the rites of passage, coming of age genre.

Grab a copy of Emily Bitto’s The Strays here


BREAKING NEWS: 2015 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Shortlists Announced


The shortlists for this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have been announced, featuring some of Australia’s most celebrated writers and young up and comers.

How many have you read?


* Ceridwen Dovey – Only the Animals golden-boys(More…)

* Elizabeth Harrower In Certain Circles (More…)

* Sonya Hartnett – Golden Boys (More…)

* Mark Henshaw – The Snow Kimono (More…)

* Joan London – The Golden Age (More…)

* Gerald Murnane – A Million Windows (More…)


* Michael Mohammed Ahmad – The Tribe (More…)9781922213211

* Maxine Beneba Clarke – Foreign Soil (More…)

* Emily Bitto – The Strays (More…)

* Luke Carman – An Elegant Young Man (More…)

* Omar Musa – Here Come the Dogs (More…)

* Ellen van Neerven – Heat and Light (More…)


* Alan Atkinson – The Europeans in Australia (More…)the-bush

* Philip Dwyer – Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power 1799 ‐ 1815 (More…)

* Helen Garner – This House of Grief (More…)

* Iain McCalman – The Reef: A Passionate History (More…)

* Biff Ward – In My Mother’s Hands (More…)

* Don Watson – The Bush (More…)


* Allan Baillie – The First Voyage (More…)9780143307679

* Trace Balla – Rivertime (More…)

* Tamsin Janu – Figgy in the World (More…)

* Glenda Millard, Stephen Michael King (Illustrator) – The Duck and the Darklings (More…)

* Catherine Norton – Crossing (More…)

* James O’Loghlin – The Adventures of Sir Roderick, the Not-Very Brave (More…)


* K.A. Barker – The Book of Days (More…)9781742614175

* Jackie French – The Road to Gundagai (More…)

* Darren Groth – Are You Seeing Me? (More…)

* Justine Larb alestier – Razorhurst (More…)

* Jaclyn Moriarty – The Cracks in the Kingdom (More…)

* Clare Strahan – Cracked (More…)


EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: The 2015 Vogel’s Literary Award winner Murray Middleton in conversation with John Purcell

Melbourne author Murray Middleton was announced the winner of the coveted Vogel’s Literary Award on Monday night for his exquisite short story collection When There’s Nowhere Else To Run.

The award, which offers publication by Allen & Unwin and $20,000 prize money, has been the launching pad for some of Australia’s most successful writers including Tim Winton, Kate Grenville and Gillian Mears.

We were spoiled with a visit from Murray to chat about his win and sign copies of his breathtaking debut. Check out the video below.


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When There’s Nowhere Else to Run – Vogel Winner 2015

by Murray Middleton

For a limited time only, order When There’s Nowhere Else to Run and you will receive a signed copy. *Offer available while stocks last.

The winner of the 2015 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award.

‘Masterfully controlled … lingers long in the memory.’ Rohan Wilson, author of The Roving Party and To Name Those Lost.

In one way or another, isn’t everyone on the run?

A survivor of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires takes asylum with old friends in the Dandenong Ranges. An editor-in-chief drives his sister halfway around the country to an east-coast rehabilitation clinic. A single mother flies to Perth with her autistic son for one last holiday. A father at the end of his tether tries to survive the chaos of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. A group of young friends hire a luxury beach house in the final weeks of one of their lives. A postman hits a pedestrian and drives off into the night.

When There’s Nowhere Else to Run is a collection of stories about people who find their lives unravelling. They are teachers, lawyers, nurses, firemen, chefs, gamblers, war veterans, hard drinkers, adulterers, widows and romantics. Seeking more…

Grab a copy of When There’s Nowhere Else to Run here

middleton-200x0Murray Middleton was born with fractured hips in 1983. He spent the first three months of his life in plaster and has broken most bones since. He won The Age Short Story Award in 2010 with ‘The Fields of Early Sorrow’. When There’s Nowhere Else to Run is his first published collection of short stories. He currently lives in Melbourne and won’t publish a second collection of stories until the Saints win a second premiership.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About The Great Gatsby

great-gatsby-the-us-import-ed-Today marks 90 years since the release of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal novel The Great Gatsby.

To celebrate, we’ve done some digging and found a few quirky facts about the novel many regard as the quintessential ‘Great American Novel’.

1. It wasn’t always going to be called The Great Gatsby

At one time or another, all of these were in consideration: Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Trimalchio; Trimalchio in West Egg; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby and The High-Bouncing Lover.

2. The book was initially a commercial flop…

At the time of his death in 1940, Fitzgerald claimed to have made just $4,000 off the novel, and died believing that his work was doomed to be forgotten and left behind by time and regretted Gatsby.

The New York Times’ obit on Fitzgerald even cited the novel as a sign he never reached his full potential.

3. …and Fitzgerald thought he knew why

Fitzgerald was convinced that the reason the book wasn’t a rousing success was because Gatsby didn’t have a single admirable female character—and, at the time, the majority of people reading novels were women.

He also thought that the title, which was only “fair,” resulted in poor sales.

4. Meyer Wolfshiem was based on a real person

Meyer Wolfshiem is a very thinly-veiled reference to Arnold Rothstein, the man behind The Black Sox Scandal, where eight Chicago White Sox players were accused of intentionally losing the 1919 world series in exchange for money from gamblers.

If the similar names didn’t give it away, the fact that Wolfshiem is said to have fixed the World Series probably did.

5. Fitzgerald was often his own inspiration

The Great Gatsby opens with a famous epigraph by the poet Thomas Parke D’Invilliers: “Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her/ If you can bounce high, bounce for her too/ Till she cry, “Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover / I must have you!” Guess what? He doesn’t exist!

The character was a creation of Fitzgerald’s in This Side of Paradise.

6. Fitzgerald was a horrible speller

The first draft of The Great Gatsby was riddled with spelling errors, but it was hardly a surprise to his editors. F. Scott Fitzgerald was famously deplorable speller.

So bad was he, in fact, that American literary critic Edmund Wilson called an early draft of This Side of Paradise “one of the most illiterate books of any merit ever published.”

7. Fitzgerald rewrote the novel because he was so enamoured with the cover design

Francis Cugat designed the now classic cover art for the novel, and F. Scott Fitzgerald was just as impressed with its haunting imagery as readers have been; the design has become a mainstay in the popular consciousness.

Fitzgerald was so taken with it that he rewrote the novel to place more emphasis on the symbol of the eyes, making T.J. Eckleburg’s business a larger motif of the work.

8. Fitzgerald never expanded on the character of Jay Gatsby outside of the novel

Fitzgerald loved to create discussion around his work, and despite the lukewarm response upon it’s release, he never expanded on Gatsby’s race or religion beyond the novel’s pages. Gatsby himself is open to a number of interpretations.

Although many believe that Jay Gatsby was Jewish (a Jewish associate of Meyer Wolfsheims, James Gatz, is believed to have been a major inspiration), some scholars have argued that Jay Gatsby was black.

9. WWII made The Great Gatsby a household name

At the time of his death, Gatsby’s publisher still had copies of the book in its warehouse—and that was from a second printing of just 3000 books. Fitzgerald’s works saw a revival in 1945. Helping in that revival: 150,000 copies of Gatsby were sent to Americans serving in WWII.

Once the war ended, the book became a staple of high school English lit curricula, and the novel remained a commercial success. By 1960, the book steadily sold 50,000 copies each year, and today it has sold over 30 million copies.

the-great-gatsbyThe Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The lavish and glorious Baz Luhrmann film tie-in edition of The Great Gatsby

Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and extravagent lifestyle of his neighbour, Jay Gatsby.

Jay Gatsby is a self-made man famed for his decadent, champagne-drenched parties. Despite being surrounded by Long Island’s bright and beautiful, he longs only for Daisy Buchanan.

Gatsby pursues his dream and Nick Carraway is drawn into Gatsby’s circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy.

Grab a copy of The Great Gatsby here

To Kill A Mockingbird Set To Become A Trilogy

Nelle Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee has announced her long awaited sequel, Go Set a Watchman, will be the second book in a planned Mockingbird trilogy.

The third book, which has a working title of The Girl Who Killed The Mockingbird, will be set in an alternate reality where humans and birds struggle to co-exist.

Scout is a rouge FBI agent with a taste for vengeance and an eye for danger. But what happens when danger has an eye for her?

Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer are rumoured to have already acquired the film rights, with Nicholas Cage set to play ‘Crunk’, a mysterious space pirate from Scout’s past.


go-set-a-watchmanGo Set a Watchman

The Sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird

Set during the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later.

Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus.

She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.

An instant classic.

Click here for more details about Go Set a Watchman

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.


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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