Richard Flanagan wins the 2014 Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North!

Richard Flanagan has won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for 2014 for his incredible novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

A sweeping love story set against war, in a review last year we said ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North isn’t just one of the books of the year, it is one of the finest books of the last decade.’ Read the full review here

It was controversially overlooked for the Miles Franklin Award this year, Andrew Cattanach writes about the decision here.

It was described by Man Booker Prize judges as ‘a literary masterpiece’.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

by Richard Flanagan

the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-northAugust, 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.

Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, and Wanting have received numerous honours and are published in twenty-six countries. He directed a feature film version of The Sound of One Hand Clapping. A collection of his essays is published as And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?.

Judge for yourself – order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


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Will Richard Flanagan win the Man Booker?

I can be a little bitter sometimes…

Around this time last year I finished Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and immediately shouted to the world “THIS WILL WIN THE MILES FRANKLIN!”

the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-northI told everyone who would listen, swelling with literary priggishness, waving them away when they offered up other worthy winners.

“No” I would say.

“You’ve got it all wrong.”

“I mean have you even read it?”

“And if you have, I mean, did you really read it, or just, you know, read it?”

Imagine my horror when, in June this year, The Narrow Road to the Deep North lost out to Evie Wyld’s bold sophomore novel All the Birds, Singing.

You live and die by your literary recommendations, and while Wyld’s talent and bravery is well worth rewarding, I couldn’t help thinking the judges had made a huge mistake, turning away the opportunity to recognise a truly great Australian novel with Australia’s greatest literary honour.

Fast forward four months and I’m sitting here typing with a smug look on my face.

all-the-birds-singingWell, more smug than usual.

Soon the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced, and who do we find sitting equal favourite with the bookies?

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.

Perhaps it is poor form that, on the birthday of Miles Franklin, I find myself willing Flanagan to the prize because of my own hubris, but getting a book recommendation wrong stings. Just ask Oprah.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is an extraordinary novel from one of Australia’s finest writers at the top of their game. It crosses generations and continents. It’s about love and lust, bravery and cowardice, friendship and betrayal. In a strong field, it’s a very worthy winner.

So at around 7:30am tomorrow morning when, touch wood, Richard Flanagan becomes the fourth Australian to win the Man Booker Prize think of me in my living room, punching the air like I’ve won it myself.

You see, as much as I want another Australian win, I really just want him to get up for one reason.

I was right all along.

You see…

…I can be a little bitter sometimes…


Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog and was shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

You can follow his ramblings on twitter at @andrew__cat

PATRICK MODIANO WINS THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE

patrick-modiano-par-renc3a9-burri-pour-magnum-photos-2007

French novelist Patrick Modiano has won the 2014 Nobel Prize in literature.

Modiano is the author of Missing Person and Lacombe Lucien, which was made into a film. He beat a strong field that included bookies favourite Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Belarusian investigative journalist and author Svetlana Alexievich, and Syrian poet Adonis.

American authors Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates and Thomas Pynchon were once again overlooked, while people’s champ Bob Dylan also missed out on the biggest prize in literature.

Modiano takes home eight million kronor (£693,000).

Man Booker News: Australia’s Richard Flanagan named on six book Shortlist for 2014 prize

Could he do it?

That’s the question on everyone’s lips as Richard Flanagan continues his surge towards a Man Booker Prize for his beautiful novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Flanagan’s masterpiece was controversially overlooked for this year’s Miles Franklin.

2010 winner Howard Jacobson is joined by fellow UK writers Ali Smith and Neel Mukherjee, with the new international floodgates appear only slightly ajar, with two US authors Karen Joy Fowler and Joshua Ferris making up the six shortlistees.

Take a closer look at the 2014 Shortlist, and be your own judge…

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Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards Announced

The winners of this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards were announced in Canberra today, marking the official launch of Children’s Book Week!

How many have you read?

OLDER READERS


WINNER

wildlifeWildlife

by Fiona Wood

Life? It’s simple: be true to yourself.
The tricky part is finding out exactly who you are…

“In the holidays before the dreaded term at Crowthorne Grammar’s outdoor education camp two things out of the ordinary happened.
A picture of me was plastered all over a twenty-metre billboard. And I kissed Ben Capaldi.”

Boarding for a term in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sibylla expects the gruesome outdoor education program – but friendship complications, and love that goes wrong? They’re extra-curricula.

Enter Lou from Six Impossible Things – the reluctant new girl for this term in the great outdoors. Fragile behind an implacable mask, she is more…

Grab a copy of Wildlife here


HONOUR BOOKS

9781742758510Fairytales for Wilde Girls

by Allyse Near

‘He’s gone the same way as those little birds that bothered me with their awful songs! And you will too, you and your horrible heart-music, because you won’t stay out of my woods!’

There’s a dead girl in a birdcage in the woods… more…

Grab a copy of Fairytales for Wilde Girls here


the-sky-so-heavyThe Sky So Heavy

by Claire Zorn

From an exciting new voice in Australian YA literature, Claire Zorn, comes a haunting novel, The Sky So Heavy, that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.

For Fin, it’s just like any other day – racing for the… more…

Grab a copy of The Sky So Heavy here


YOUNGER READERS


WINNER

a-very-unusual-pursuitA Very Unusual Pursuit

by Catherine Jinks

A clever adventure with feisty characters, set in a time where science clashes with superstition and monsters lurk in chimneys. Birdie, the singing bogler’s apprentice, will win your heart in this fantastic beginning to an action-packed series.

Monsters have been infesting London’s dark places for centuries, eating every child who gets too close. That’s why ten-year-old Birdie McAdam works for Alfred Bunce, the bogler. With her beautiful voice and dainty looks, Birdie is the bait that draws bogles from their lairs so that Alfred can kill them.

One life-changing day, Alfred and Birdie are approached by two very different women. Sarah Pickles runs a local gang of more…

Grab a copy of A Very Unusual Pursuit here


HONOUR BOOKS

My Life as a Alphabet9781743310977

by Barry Jonsberg

Candice Phee wants to bring light and laughter to those around her, and somehow she succeeds despite the bizarre mix-ups and the confusion she effortlessly creates. An uplifting comedy-drama from award-winning author, Barry Jonsberg.

This isn’t just about me. It’s also about the other people in my life – my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are… more…

Grab a copy of My Life As an Alphabet here


light-horse-boyLight Horse Boy

by Dianne Wolfer

In 1914 Jim and Charlie abandon the Australian outback for the excitement and adventure of the war to end all wars. But in the Light Horse they quickly discover the brutal realities of life on the frontline. And nothing will ever be the same again. Featuring stunning charcoal sketches by Brian Simmonds alongside primary source documents and historical photos, Light Horse Boy goes behind the scenes of the great ANZAC legends for an intimate look at their experience of World War I.

Grab a copy of Light Horse Boy here


EARLY CHILDHOOD


WINNER

the-swapThe Swap

by Jan Ormerod, Andrew Joyner

Caroline Crocodile’s baby brother dribbles. But all Mama crocodile Ever says is how Gorgeous he is. Caroline is very jealous. So she goes to the Baby shop and tries to swap her dribbly brother for a new baby. The trouble is, there’s just something not quite right with any of them…

Grab a copy of The Swap Book here


HONOUR BOOKS

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur9780670076154

by Janeen Brian, Ann James

From award-winning author Janeen Brian and award-winning illustrator Ann James, comes this gorgeous rhyming picture book about a naughty little dinosaur who loves to get dirty. Bright simple illustrations and rounded corners perfect for the very young.

Grab a copy of I’m a Dirty Dinosaur here


banjo-and-ruby-redBanjo and Ruby Red

by Libby Gleeson, Freya Blackwood

A funny and touching story of antagonism and love by award-winning author Libby Gleeson, with illustrations by internationally acclaimed Freya Blackwood. Freya Blackwood’s stunning illustrations perfectly capture the endearing personalities of boisterous Banjo and head-strong Ruby Red. A stunning clothbound cover makes this a beautiful gift item that will be treasured for years to come.

Grab a copy of Banjo and Ruby Red here


PICTURE BOOK


WINNER

rules-of-summerRules of Summer

by Shaun Tan

The much anticipated new book from Australia’s most acclaimed picture-book creator.

Shaun Tan’s books have won world acclaim, the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, as well as an Academy Award for the animated short film adaptation of his book The Lost Thing.

Tan s new book, Rules of Summer, is a deceptively simple story about two boys, one older and one younger, and the kind of rules that might govern any relationship between close friends or siblings. Rules that are often so strange or arbitrary, they seem impossible to understand from the outside. Yet through each exquisite illustration of this nearly wordless narrative, we can enjoy wandering around an emotional landscape that is oddly familiar to us all.

Grab a copy of Rules of Summer here

 


HONOUR BOOKS

king-pigKing Pig

by Nick Bland

Because he was the king, he could make the sheep do whatever he wanted, whenever he pleased. But he just couldn’t make them like him.

A royal romp about a little pig with a lot to learn, from best-selling picture book creator Nick Bland.

Grab a copy of King Pig here


silver-buttons

Silver Buttons

by Bob Graham

At 9.59 on Thursday morning, Jodie draws a duck. Just as she is about to add one final silver button to the duck’s boots, her little brother takes his first step. At this exact same moment, a man buys bread, a soldier leaves home, a baby is being born…

Here is a book, a story, a philosophy so simply told and yet – in true and inimitable Bob Graham style – so rich with emotion and meaning.

Grab a copy of Silver Buttons here


And the winners of the Big Little Lies Girls Night In prize packs are…

During July we gave you the chance to win 1 of 3 Girls Night In prize packs which not only included books but chocolates and a blanket. 

All you needed to do to enter was buy Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty!

And the lucky winners are…

S.Costin, Limpinwood, NSW

R.Davino, Merrylands, NSW

B.Hill, Cheltenham, NSW

BigLittleLiesNewsletterBanner

big-little-liesBig Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

‘I guess it started with the mothers.’
‘It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.’

‘I’ll tell you exactly why it happened.’

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead.

Liane Moriarty’s new novel is funny and heartbreaking, challenging and compassionate. The No. 1 New York Times bestselling author turns her unique gaze on parenting and playground politics, showing us what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.

‘Let me be clear. This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.’

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here


Congratulations to the winners!
For your chance to enter a Booktopia Competition click here

The Ambitions of Jane Franklin wins 2014 National Biography Award

Alison Alexander has won the 2014 National Biography Award for The Ambitions of Jane Franklin. Alexander beat out some stiff competition in the form Gideon Haigh’s On Warne, Sheila Fitzpatrick’s A Spy in the Archives, Exit Wounds: One Australian’s War on Terror by John Cantwell & Greg Bearup, Kitty’s War by Janet Butler and Steve Bisley’s Stillways.

The Award was established to encourage the highest standards of writing in the fields of biography and autobiography and to promote public interest in these genres. The Award’s growth and success recognises and reflects the continuing interest in stories about ordinary people with extraordinary lives.

The Ambitions of Jane Franklin

by Alison Alexander

A genius at publicity before the term existed, Jane Franklin was a celebrity in the mid-19th century. This is her remarkable life, including her extensive travels, her years in Tasmania as the governor’s wife, and her very public battle to save husband, the Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, from accusations of cannibalism.

In a period when most ladies sat at home with their embroidery, Jane Franklin achieved fame throughout the western world, and was probably the best travelled woman of her day. Alison Alexander traces the life of this inimitable woman, from her birth in late 18th century London, her marriage at the ripe age of 36 years to Sir John Franklin, to her many trips to far-flung locations, including Russia, the Holy Land, northern Africa, America and Australia.

Author Alison Alexander

Once Jane Franklin married, her original ambition – to live life to the full – was joined by an equally ardent desire to make her kind and mild husband a success. Arriving in Tasmania in 1837 when Sir John became governor, she swept like a whirlwind through the colony: attempting to rid the island of snakes; establishing a scientific society and the Hobart regatta; adopting an Aboriginal girl, and sending a kangaroo to Queen Victoria. She continued her intrepid travels, becoming the first white woman to travel overland from Melbourne to Sydney.

When her husband disappeared in the Arctic on an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage, she badgered the Admiralty, the public and even the President of the United States to fund trips to locate him, and then defended his reputation when remains of the expedition were located, and there were claims of cannibalism. Single-handedly, she turned him from a failure into one of England’s noblest heroes. She continued travelling well into her 70s and died at age 84, refusing to take her medicine to the last.

Grab a copy of The Ambitions of Jane Franklin here

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