Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes wins 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize

Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes, an investigation into autism, has won the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize, with judges praising it for ‘injecting a hopeful note into a conversation that’s normally dominated by despair’.

Following on from his groundbreaking article The Geek Syndrome, Wired reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.

Neurotribes beat shortlisted titles including Jonathan Bate’s biography of Ted Hughes, Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks, and Emma Sky’s The Unravelling. Silberman receives £20,000 for winning the prestigious award, last year taken out by Helen Macdonald for H is for Hawk.

‘NeuroTribes is a sweeping and penetrating history, presented with a rare sympathy and will change how you think of autism.’

– Oliver Sacks

Grab your copy of Neurotribes here


by Steve Silberman

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.

What is autism: a devastating developmental condition, a lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more – and the future of our society depends on our understanding it.

Going back to the earliest autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path towards a more humane world in which people with learning differences have access to the resources they need to live happier and more meaningful lives.

kG3hWgJ__400x400Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose ‘little professors’ were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of ‘neurodiversity’ activists seeking respect, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and education, and the right to self- determination for those with cognitive differences.

About the Author

Steve Silberman is an award-winning investigative reporter and has covered science and cultural affairs for Wired and other major magazines for more than twenty years. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, TIME, Nature and Salon.

Grab your copy of Neurotribes here

MAN BOOKER WINNER: Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings wins the 2015 Man Booker Prize

1114-MarlonJames_640x640Marlon James has become the first Jamaican author to win the coveted Man Booker Prize with his incredible novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, a masterfully written novel that explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s.

James says ‘The Booker is that thing you hear about, and it just shapes your writing. This is so surreal. I feel like I’m going to wake up or fall into a barrage of tears.’

xa-brief-history-of-seven-killings.jpg.pagespeed.ic._SLViLO_8m (1)

The novel begins in 1976 as seven men storm Bob Marley’s house with machine guns blazing. The reggae superstar survives, but leaves Jamaica the following day, not to return for two years.

Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killings is an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards’ drug dealer.

Marlon James’s dazzling novel is a tour de force. It traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined – and questions asked – in a masterpiece of imagination.

Grab your copy of A Brief History of Seven Killings here

BREAKING NEWS: Svetlana Alexievich wins the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature

Belarusian investigative journalist and prose writer Svetlana Alexievich has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature!

0,,16549620_303,00Alexievich is one of the world’s most acclaimed investigative journalists, also writing narratives from interviews with witnesses to the most dramatic events in the country, such as World War II, Soviet-Afghan war, fall of the Soviet Union, and Chernobyl disaster, of which her most recognised book Voices from Chernobyl was born.

Alexievich was a heavy favourite with pundits this year and has been tipped to win the award for much of the last decade. She beat out writers of the ilk of Haruki Murakami, Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth and Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

Alexievich’s books have been published in many countries including US, Germany, UK, Japan, Sweden, France, China, Vietnam, Bulgaria, and India with a total of 19 countries in all. She has to her name 21 scripts for documentary films and three plays, which were staged in France, Germany, and Bulgaria.

For books from Svetlana Alexievich click here

Michael Robotham beats Stephen King and J.K. Rowling to win Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of the year

FB_IMG_1443558403338Australia crime writing superstar Michael Robotham has won the prestigious British Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for the best crime novel of the year.

A longtime Booktopia favourite, Michael beat the likes of Stephen King, Belinda Bauer and J.K. Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith).


“For all the fact that it’s lovely to have commercial success, to sell lots of books, to be able to be a full-time writer, something like the Dagger makes you feel you have the respect of your peers and you are part of a long tradition of very fine writers.”


Michael Robotham

In a 2014 review of Life or Death, we remarked ‘What sets Michael Robotham apart? A simple, but often neglected factor. He’s just a wonderful writer.’

It’s always nice to see the world agree.

Grab your copy of Life or Death here

Life or Death

Review by Andrew Cattanach

There seems to be two types of people in this world. Those who love Michael Robotham, and those who haven’t heard of him yet.

life-or-deathIt can be difficult for a crime writer to receive critical acclaim and popularity. Books by design are denser than any cop drama on TV, asking questions designed for reflection rather than ratings. Formulas are examined and broken down, cliches noted, thin characters ridiculed.

What sets Michael Robotham apart? A simple, but often neglected factor.

He’s just a wonderful writer.

Life or Death starts with an intriguing premise. Audie Palmer is on the run, having escaped from jail. 10 years of beatings and torture are behind him. But what’s the twist?

He has escaped just one day before he was due to be released.

In Audie Palmer, Robotham has created a character we can all root for. Lucky in his unluckiness, stoic, brave, principled. He is haunted by the ghosts of the past and by a crime he swears he didn’t commit. But can we trust him? Can we really trust anyone?

While Audie is the heart of the story,  there is plenty of meat around him, an ensemble cast of crooked politicians, kind-hearted criminals and shady FBI agents, not to mention a missing seven million dollars. The waters are murky, and Robotham revels in it.

Life or Death is for the crime fan who likes a story, not just an account. Brilliantly written, intelligent, funny, sad and meticulously mapped out, it’s easy to understand why there has already been so much interest in a big screen adaptation of the novel.

There is nothing more exciting than an author operating at the peak of their powers. With Life or Death, Robotham is doing just that, further strengthening his hold as one of Australia’s finest crime writers. Find out why Audie is on the run, before it’s too late.

Grab your copy of Life or Death here

Grab your copy of Life or Death here

BREAKING NEWS: Big Surprises In 2015 Man Booker Prize Shortlist

This year’s race for the Man Booker Prize promises to be one of the most intriguing in recent memory, with six extraordinary novels being named in a shortlist that shunned big names and early favourites Marilynne Robinson, Andrew O’Hagan and former winner Anne Enright.

Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life remains the early favourite to take out the major prize, with Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, Tom McCarthy’s Satin IslandThe Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings and Sunjeev Sahota’s The Year of the Runaways rounding out the shortlist for the most prestigious book prize in the world.

Haven’t read them all? Be your own judge, and pick up all the books in the 2015 Man Booker Prize today!

Continue reading

BREAKING NEWS: Longlist For The 2015 Man Booker Prize announced

Take a closer look at the 2015 Longlist, and be your own judge…

Continue reading

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



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,891 other followers

%d bloggers like this: