BREAKING NEWS: 2014 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Shortlists Announced

The shortlists for this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have been announced.

In their 34 year history, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have honoured many of Australia’s greatest writers and most significant works. The Awards help to establish values and standards in Australian literature and draw international attention to some of the country’s best writers and to the cultural environment that nurtures them.

Minister George Souris MP, Minister for the Arts welcomed the announcement of the shortlist. “The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards promote national and international recognition of our dynamic literary community and the work of our talented writers,” Mr Souris said. “The Awards continue to support and encourage great Australian writing, and demonstrate the value and importance of reading to the people of NSW.”

CHRISTINA STEAD PRIZE FOR FICTION

* Georgia Blain - The Secret Lives of Men (More…)

* Richard Flanagan - The Narrow Road to the Deep North (More…)

* Ashley Hay - The Railwayman’s Wife (More…)

* Michelle de Kretser – Questions of Travel (More…)

* Trevor Shearston - Game (More…)

* Alexis Wright - The Swan Book (More…)

DOUGLAS STEWART PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION

* Kristina Olsson – Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir (More…)

* David Hunt – Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia (More…)

* Gideon Haigh – On Warne (More…)

* Michael Fullilove - Rendezvous with Destiny (More…)

* Steve Bisley - Stillways: A Memoir (More…)

* Peter Butt – Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler? (More…)

PATRICIA WRIGHTSON PRIZE FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

* Catherine Jinks - A Very Unusual Pursuit (More…)

* Jackie French - Refuge (More…)

* Penny Tangey – Stay Well Soon (More…)

* Katrina Nannestad -The Girl Who Brought Mischief (More…)

* Tony Davis - The Big Dry (More…)

* Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton - Jandamarra (More…)

ETHEL TURNER PRIZE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE

* Fiona Wood – Wildlife (More…)

* Barry Jonsberg – My Life As an Alphabet (More…)

* Kelly Gardiner – The Sultan’s Eyes (More…)

* Felicity Castanga – The Incredible Here and Now (More…)

* Alison Croggon - Black Spring (More…)

* A.J. Betts – Zac and Mia (More…)

GLENDA ADAMS AWARD FOR NEW WRITING

the-night-guest* Fiona McFarlane – The Night Guest (More…)

* Laura Jean McKay – Holiday in Cambodia (More…)

* Margaret Merrilees – The First Week (More…)

* Yvette Walker – Letters to the End of Love (More…)

What would you pay to have a role in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay?

US online auction house Charitybuzz is giving fans of The Hunger Games the chance to appear in the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

The first item, a non-speaking role for the movie, is estimated to be worth $10,000. Whoever wins will be given time to meet some of the actors and crew working on the film. Bids will be accepted until March 27th.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime! You will have a chance to be a non-speaking extra on the set of the highly anticipated movie, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, which is currently filming in Atlanta, GA, through April 18th. You’ll hang out with the actors (no guarantee to meet the principals) and key crew while you have this amazing experience.

The second item, a visit to the set of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, is valued at $5,000. Producer Jon Kilik will serve as an escort for the winner and one friend. Bidding ends on March 20th.

Witness movie making live and in person on the set of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. You and a friend will be the special guests of Producer Jon Kilik, who will escort you around the set, let you listen in on the actors’ scenes, personally introduce you to some the cast and key members of the crew, and take you to lunch so you can pick his brain about The Hunger Games and being an award-winning movie producer (Babel, Hunger Games, A Bronx Tale, Malcolm X, Dead Man Walking and many more.)

So how big a fan are you? Would you be willing to fork out the big cash to have this once in a lifetime experience? Let us know in the comments below.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland

Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark.

Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victors Tour” of the districts.

Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

Grab a copy of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire here

The Hunger Games

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sisters place and must rely upon her sharp instincts when shes pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared their entire lives.

If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Grab a copy of The Hunger Games here

Book Trailer of the Week – Half Bad by Sally Green!

This week’s Book Trailer of the Week goes to Half Bad by Sally Green.

Intense, mysterious, gripping, our own Sarah McDuling reviewed Half Bad recently and absolutely loved it, saying that, despite her “ridiculously high expectations, Half Bad did not disappoint.”

Could Half Bad be the next Harry Potter? The next Hunger Games?

Order your copy today and find out.

Grab a copy a Sally Green’s Half Bad here

Grab a copy a Sally Green’s Half Bad here

half-bad

REVIEW: Half Bad by Sally Green (review by Sarah McDuling)

half-badEvery so often you hear about a book that’s being touted as a “global sensation”. Usually in such cases the film rights have been bought, the author is being labelled “the next J.K Rowling” and the general consensus seems to be OMG this is it! The New Craze! The Next Big Thing! And so on, and so forth. We’ve heard it all before, right?

And yet it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I hear it, whenever a book like this comes along I get caught up in the hype. My expectations soar to dizzying heights. I find myself thinking, “This book is going to change my life! It will blow my mind and rock my world. It will save the rainforests and end world poverty! God bless this miraculous book!”

Of course, I’m nearly always disappointed.

It’s not the book’s fault. It’s just that sometimes hype can be dangerous. Too much hype can kill a good book, purely because it can’t possibly measure up to the high expectations of the reader. However, Half Bad by Sally Green might just be the exception to this rule

(NB: Half Bad by Sally Green is probably not going save any rainforests or end world poverty.  I mean it might. But probably not. I just want to be upfront about that, before we go any further.)

Sally Green, author of the upcoming Half Life trilogy, really doesn’t have all that much in common with J. K. Rowling. Well … except that they are both British. And female. Also, both are blonde and have children. Does this qualify Sally Green as the next J.K Rowling?  I’m not sure about that. What I am sure of are the following facts:

1). Sally Green is a first time author.Sally Green

2). Her Half Life trilogy has been sold into 42 countries.

3) There was a massive bidding war between major studios in order to secure the film rights.

4) All of this happened before the first book in the trilogy had even been published.

Now that’s a lot of hype to live up to.

In terms of what the book is about, I’m almost reluctant to say. Any kind of synopsis I give is probably going to make it sound like a Harry Potter rip-off. The truth is, comparisons to Harry Potter are unavoidable here. Both books are about teenaged boys with magical powers –  boys who must navigate their way through an intricate world of witches/wizards, burdened by tragic pasts and unwanted notoriety.

Still, despite these superficial similarities, Half Bad is actually a very fresh and imaginative take on a well known theme. At no point does it come off feeling clichéd or unoriginal which (let’s be honest) is an impressive feat for a Young Adult novel about witches. This is not new territory, after all. And yet, somehow Sally Green has managed to put a whole new spin on a familiar tune. Whereas Harry Potter is very much a fanstasy, Half Bad is more of a gritty, comptemporary coming-of-age story … that just happens to include witches. More importantly, it’s an enthralling page turner starring a complex and compelling protagonist. All up, a riveting first act in what promises to be an impressive show.

So. Will Half Bad live up to the hype and become the next big publishing phenomenon? I certainly hope so, but I can’t say for sure. These things can be hard to predict.  All I can say is that I completely understand why people are so excited about this new trilogy. Even handicapped by my ridiculously high expectations, Half Bad did not disappoint.

This is a series I’ll be very glad to see capture the hearts and minds of a new generation of teens.

Spoiler Alert: Despite what you may have heard, Half Bad  does not contain a map to the lost city of Atlantis or the secret to eternal youth. It is, however, a very good book that you will  have difficulty putting down.

__________________

Sarah McDuling is a contributor to the Booktopia Blog and Editor of the Booktopia Young Adult Buzz.  Her hobbies include (but are not limited to) sword-fighting, ghost hunting and lion taming. She is also an enthusiaster fibber. You can read her other posts here or follow her on Tumblr at Young Adult @ Booktopia

Grab a copy of Half Bad here

half-badIn modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both.

Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

Caroline Baum Reviews… When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

Click for more details...Caroline Baum: I’m going to say what everyone else is going to say: When Mr Dog Bites does for Tourette’s what Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time did for Asperger’s.

Dylan Mint (great name) is a wonderfully realised creation, a boy with a wonderfully fruity turn of phrase and a great attitude.

Of course he gets the wrong end of the stick about a lot of adult things, and these misunderstandings provide playful, funny, bittersweet plot twists and turns but it’s his pre-teen personality with its hormonally surges and involuntary outbursts of obscenities that makes this such an entertaining read.

Publisher’s Blurb: Dylan Mint has Tourette’s. His life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in – the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that seems to escape whenever he gets stressed… But a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he’s going to die next March.

So he decides to grant himself three parting wishes, or ‘Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It’. Number one on the list is to have ‘real’ intercourse with his stunning and aloof classmate Michelle Malloy. Secondly, Dylan pledges to ‘fight heaven and earth, tooth and nail, dungeons and dragons’ so that his best friend Amir can find a new ‘best bud’. And finally he has to get his dad back from the war so that mum can stop crying so much.

It’s not a long list, but it’s ambitious, and he doesn’t have much time. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that nothing – and no-one – is quite as he had previously supposed.

Grab a copy of When Mr Dog Bites here

About the Author

Brian Conaghan is the author of the acclaimed The Boy Who Made It Rain (Sparkling Books, 2011). He is a forty-year-old Scot, living and working as a teacher in Dublin, and has an MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. When Mr Dog Bites is his second book.

When Mr Dog Bites comes in this cool YA edition as well…

Book comes in this cool YA edition as well

Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Final Round of Voting

There is only one more week of voting left to decide who is Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

This is the longlist as voted by you, congratulations to all the novelists for making it onto this extraordinary list.

But the job isn’t finished. We need your final vote to decide the order of the top 50.

Vote for all your favourite authors, and spread the word, tell your friends and family to get voting! The poll closes 5pm Saturday.

Next week we’ll announce the Top 50 as voted by you and decide who, in 2014, is Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

 

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 5

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

This is it folks. Your last chance to push your favourite authors into next week’s final round of voting. Last year’s winner Kate Morton is also in this heat!

Next week we’ll have the top 100 authors from all the heats for you to vote for!

Remember you can select as many authors as you like with your vote and give them the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 4

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Heat 4 is full of some huge names and exciting newcomers. Who will you vote for?

Thanks to everyone who has voted so far, the response has been incredible! And thanks to all the wonderful authors and publishers for spreading the word!

Remember you can select as many authors as you like with your vote and give them the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 3

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Today’s list is full of the most popular writers in Australia today, it’s a tough one!

Remember you can select as many authors as you like with your vote and give them the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 2

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Yesterday had some big surprises as Australia searched their hearts and bookcases, will today be the same?

A reminder that this is only Heat 2, so you might see some of your favourites missing today. Don’t worry, over the week you’ll have a chance to vote for all of your favourites in their respective heats.

Today’s list includes Nobel, Pulitzer, Orange and Miles Franklin Prize-Winners!

Vote now to see them advance to the final round of voting next week and have the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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