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…)

First Look at Tara Moss’ First Non-Fiction Work The Fictional Woman

“The year is 2002, I am 28 years old and I am sitting in a small, unfamiliar hotel room hooked up to a lie detector machine…”

Tara Moss has worn many labels in her time, including ‘author’, ‘model’, ‘gold-digger’, ‘commentator’, ‘inspiration’, ‘dumb blonde’, ‘feminist’ and ‘mother’, among many others.

Now, in her first work of non-fiction, she blends memoir and social analysis to examine the common fictions about women.

She traces key moments in her life – from small-town tomboy in Canada, to international fashion model in the 90s, to bestselling author taking a polygraph test in 2002 to prove she writes her own work – and weaves her own experiences into a broader look at everyday sexism and issues surrounding the underrepresentation of women, modern motherhood, body image and the portrayal of women in politics, entertainment, advertising and the media.

Deeply personal and revealing, this is more than just Tara Moss’s own story. At once insightful, challenging and entertaining, she asks how we can change the old fictions, one woman at a time.

For more about Tara Moss’ The Fictional Woman click here

12 Years A Slave Wins Best Picture At The Oscars!

Congratulations to 12 Years a Slave, the film adaptation of the eloquent and powerful memoir by Solomon Northup, winner of the 2014 Oscar for Best Picture.

(Facebook comp winners announced at the bottom of this post)

Widely regarded as the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history.

It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery.

He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.

About the Author

Solomon Northup was kidnapped into slavery in Washington, D.C. in 1841. Shortly after his escape, he published his memoirs to great acclaim and brought legal action against his abductors, though they were never persecuted.

Congrats to these lucky Booktopians, winners of double passes to see the film!

Helen Fairyblue Smith, Aileen O’Neill, Helen Concha, Nicole Andary, Jenny May

Please email us at promos@booktopia.com.au with your details!

Grab a copy of Twelve Years a Slave here

Grab a copy of Twelve Years a Slave here

And the winner of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC signed poster is…

ac-dcThe Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC Prize Winner:

L. Heinrich, Chatswood, NSW

The prize:

A laminated poster of THE YOUNGS signed by

- Author Jesse Fink
- AC/DC bass player Mark Evans (Let There Be Rock, TNT, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
- AC/DC drummer Tony Currenti (High Voltage, ’74 Jailbreak, Bonfire, Backtracks)

the-youngsThe Youngs

by Jesse Fink

With sales of over 200 million albums, AC/DC is not just the biggest rock band in the world. It’s a family business built by three brothers: George, Malcolm and Angus Young. And, as with any business, some people prospered while others got hurt along the way.

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC is unlike any AC/DC book you’ve read before. Less a biography, more a critical appreciation, it tells the story of the trio through 11 classic songs and reveals some of the personal and creative secrets that went into their making. Important figures from AC/DC’s long way to the top open up for the very first time, while unsung heroes behind the band’s success are given the credit they are due.

Accepted accounts of events are challenged while sensational new details emerge to cast a whole new light on the band’s history – especially their early years with Atlantic Records in the United States. Former AC/DC members and musicians from bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Dropkick Murphys, Airbourne and Rose Tattoo also give their perspectives on the Youngs’ brand of magic.

Their music has never pulled its punches. Neither does The Youngs. After 40 years, AC/DC might just have got the serious book it deserves.

Grab a copy of The Youngs here


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

Is This The Best Book Trailer Ever Made?

Gary Shteyngart has made a habit of putting together some lovely trailers for his books, but he has saved his funniest for his long awaited memoir Little Failure.

Featuring James Franco, Rashida Jones, Jonathan Franzen and David Ebershoff, if Little Failure is as good its trailer (and we hear it is), we’re marking it down as one of the must-read books of 2014.

Little Failure: A Memoir

by Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart’s loving but mismatched parents dreamed that he would become a lawyer, or at least an accountant, something their distracted son was simply not cut out to do. Fusing English and Russian, his mother created the term Failurchka-’Little Failure’-which she applied to her son. With love. Mostly.

A candid and deeply poignant story of a Soviet family’s trials and tribulations, and of their escape in 1979 to the consumerist promised land of the USA, Little Failure is also an exceptionally funny account of the author’s transformation from asthmatic toddler in Leningrad to 40-something Manhattanite with a receding hairline and a memoir to write.

Grab a copy of Little Failure here

Caroline Baum Wrap-Up: All About Me

Caroline Baum’s author interviews have been one of the biggest highlights of our year at Booktopia. Join us as we revisit the best interviews of 2013, and perhaps discover a new favourite author along the way.

Writing a memoir is something of a balancing act; trying to reveal as much as possible, without oversharing or overexposing those involved. It also requires a great deal of vulnerability and a knack for picking up on the small details which make day-to-day events interesting. Each of the authors in this post share their thoughts on that process with sincerity and self-awareness, which makes for seriously fascinating viewing.

all-good-thingsSarah Turnbull- “All Good Things”

I grew up in a French-speaking suburb of Sydney, and Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French was something of a bible for parents navigating cross-cultural relationships. Sarah is back with All Good Things, which recounts Sarah and Frédéric’s move from Paris to idyllic Tahiti. It takes something very special to be able to recount your own personal story in a way that makes for good reading, and Sarah has perfected that art. She opens up with characteristic candor in our interview below.

Best quote:  “I didn’t want to write another personal book, or I thought I didn’t want to write another personal book. So I did fight this book… I’ve it heard said that it’s the book that you fight the most that you most need to write.”

Click here for more details

Check out Caroline’s interview below:

Pick up a copy of All Good Things today


a-history-of-silenceLloyd Jones- “A History of Silence”

Lloyd Jones is a simply phenomenal writer, and this interview demonstrates exactly why. In his earnest, softly-spoken sentences you can see the bare bones of his beautiful prose. Similiarly to Sarah and Brendan, he holds nothing back from Caroline’s questions and answers very personal questions with honesty and insight. A must-see interview from a must-read author.     

Best quote - “It could be just a face filled with gloom standing on a railway train platform, and it’ll have an echoing sense of recognition for me, I’ll think ‘I know that feeling, that look.’ Actually, in the case of Wales it always seemed to be gloom and a kind of a… vacancy.”

Click here for more details

Check out Caroline’s interview below:

Pick up a copy of A History of Silence today


Brendan Ward – “The Beethoven Obsession”the-beethoven-obsession

What is the difference between a personal experience and an engaging tale? In this interview, Brendan explains that timing and luck are the necessary ingredients, both of which were present in his quest to record Beethoven’s music in Australia for the first time.

Best quote - “That’s what makes such an amazing story because of all these serendipitous events that happened in the nineties in the lead up to the Olympics. Had it not been for the Olympics… it may not have had the same gloss, because everything around Sydney had cachet.”

Click here for more details

Check out Caroline’s interview below:

Pick up a copy of The Beethoven Obsession today

Turia Pitt, author of Everything to Live For, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

everything-to-live-forThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Turia Pitt

author of Everything to Live For

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 F’aaa, Tahiti. My dad was an Australian surfer, living in Tahiti and making surfboards. He fell in love with Mum who was sixteen at the time. They had Genji (my older brother) and I in Tahiti, and decided to move to Australia when I was two. We lived in Maroubra for a few years, before my family made the decision to move down the South Coast. My schooling years after primary school were disordered – I started at Ulladulla High and then moved to St Johns, which was an hour away by bus. One afternoon the bus crashed and one of the students died. My parents pulled me out of the school, a decision which I was not happy with. I then went to the Shoalhaven Anglican School but did not settle in at all. I then went back to where it all began – Ulladulla High!

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

When I was twelve, I wanted to be a doctor. As I got older, I realised this was what mum really wanted me to do – and when you’re young, you have a tendency to rebel – so I changed to wanting to be a mining engineer.

When I’m thirty, I’ll let you know what I want to be…

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

I think the older I’ve gotten, the more confident I’ve become within myself, my appearance and my life journey. Being burnt in that ultra-marathon has actually made me even more determined and even more ambitious than I was before.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

When we were kids, we asked our dad if we could fly, and he said yes. We spent the rest of the day jumping off the roof of the garage, and by the end of the day, we had convinced ourselves that we had flown. This has reinforced to me the power of positive thinking. When people say things can’t be done, that’s like waving a red flag in front of me.

Doing well in my HSC. When I went to pick my subjects, one of the teachers told me that I wasn’t capable of doing the ‘heavier’ subjects like physics and maths extension. That teacher ended up doing me a huge favour – if you want me to do something, all you have to do is tell me that it can’t be done!

The 2011 Kimberley Ultra-marathon. This was really a pivotal moment for me, and I’ll always think of my life ‘before the fire’ and ‘after the fire’.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

No way! I’ve always been a reader, and the thing that I like about books is that they’re a form of escapism – you enter a world constructed by your imagination only. Having said this – I have done other forms of media (such as TV, radio and blogs) to ensure that my story reaches everyone.

everything-to-live-for6. Please tell us about your novel.

Well, it’s basically just the story of my life. I’m an independent and vivacious woman, who enters a 100 km ultra-marathon, unknowing that the event will change her life forever. It details my recovery, and how I’ve overcome my personal adversity. Everyone in the world has their own traumas and challenges – so I think everyone can learn something from my story – whether it be the importance of perseverance, how to stay positive or how not to take your loved ones for granted.

Publisher’s blurb:

Everything to Live For is the story of one young woman’s survival against extraordinary odds, a testament to the human spirit.

In September 2011, Turia Pitt, a beautiful 25-year-old mining engineer working her dream job in the far north of Western Australia, entered an ultra-marathon race that would change her life forever. Trapped by a fire in a gorge in the remote Kimberly region, Turia and five other competitors had nowhere to run. Turia escaped with catastrophic burns to 65 per cent of her body.

With too little unburned skin left for skin grafts, Turia was put in an induced coma in the Burns Unit at Sydney’s Concord Hospital while her body fought life-threatening infections and her surgeons imported skin from California. She lost the fingers on her right hand and her fingers on her left are partially fused together. She needed a new nose. There have been numerous operation, yet there are many more to come…

7. If your work could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

At the moment, I’m working quite closely with a charity called Interplast. This organisation provides free reconstructive surgery to people (including other burn survivors) in developing countries. I actually found out about this charity through my surgeon, who volunteers for Interplast on an annual basis. And when I found this out, it just made me think, if this busy bloke can help out, then surely I can do something too. This is why I am so thrilled to announce that I will be fundraising for Interplast by walking a section of the Great Wall of China in June 2014.

So, to get back to my point! I actually feel very lucky to live in our great country of Australia, where I received the best medical treatment that’s available. I am certain that I would have perished if I was born in a developing country – and if by some miracle I did survive, I would not have the quality of life that I do today. So, if by reading my story, people consider people living in developing countries, and that makes them grateful for their own circumstances – than I’ll be a happy woman.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?head-over-heels

Sam Bailey. A quadriplegic living in rural NSW. After his accident, doctors told him that he wouldn’t be able to be a farmer – a dream of his since a kid. He’s now not only a farmer, but he’s a motivational speaker, an ultralight pilot AND he’s going to be the first person in the world to fly a helicopter! He’s most definitely my hero.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I’ve got so many things that I want to achieve during my lifetime. Win an iron man. Climb Mount Everest. Sail around the world. Have a family with Michael. Get my doctorate. I think achieving all these things will keep me busy for the next couple of decades…

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Hmm. Well I’m not sure I can call myself a writer! I didn’t physically write the book, I had a brilliant ghost writer to do that.

Turia, thank you for playing

Pick up a copy of Everything to Live For here

Nelson Mandela Passes Away, Aged 95

Nelson Mandela on Day After ReleaseFormer South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela has died peacefully at his Johannesburg home after a prolonged lung infection.

His contribution to the world was immense, becoming the first black South African President and a key figure in ending the brutal apartheid regime that had ruled the country since 1948.

After becoming a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for anti-government activities and, with the ANC leadership, was charged with treason several times between 1956 and 1961 although never convicted. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, first on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife. Becoming ANC President, Mandela published his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom and led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory.

He was elected President and formed a Government of National Unity in an attempt to diffuse ethnic tensions. As President, he established a new constitution and initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. His administration also introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty and expand healthcare services. He declined to run for a second term, preferring to focus on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

He received international acclaim for his anti-colonial and anti-apartheid stance, having received over 250 awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

For the full list of books about or by Nelson Mandela click here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Richie Lovett, Author, former Pro-Surfer, and Cancer Survivor, talks to Caroline Baum

The Big Sea

by Richie Lovett & Sean Doherty

‘Richie is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, and his story is testament to the healing power of the ocean.’ Kelly Slater

Richie Lovett might be the world s unluckiest surfer . . . or its luckiest. We re not quite sure which.

He’s been attacked by a shark, washed into the Indonesian jungle by a tsunami, before finally being diagnosed with cancer. Unlucky? Possibly. One thing we know for sure, Richie Lovett is a survivor; he’s still here today, and what hasn ‘t killed him has only made him stronger.

When doctors told him the cancer in his leg was buried so deep he’d never surf again, Richie one of the world’s best surfers begged to differ. After radical surgery to rebuild his leg, Rich set about the challenge of learning to surf all over again, discovering plenty about life, and himself, in the process.

The Big Sea is one of sport s most inspiring stories. But you don t have to be a surfer or a sportsperson to know what it feels like to confront challenges. This is vital reading for anyone who s had to face adversity or felt like they were about to be wiped out.

Engagingly honest, Richie Lovett shows us that attitude is everything.

Grab a copy of The Big Sea: One Man’s Inspirational Story here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: John Howard on Misogyny, Paul Keating, and the new edition of Lazarus Rising

When former Prime Minister John Howard visited Booktopia, John Purcell took the chance to ask him the hard questions in a rare and candid interview.

The Johns discuss Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, his role in the rise of Tony Abbott, the controversial WorkChoices legislation, as well as his views on his Prime Ministerial predecessor Paul Keating and the future of Australian education.

Grab a signed copy of Lazarus Rising : Revised & Updated here

Lazarus Rising: Revised & Updated

John Howard’s autobiography, Lazarus Rising, is the biggest-selling political memoir Australia has seen.

In it he talks about his love for his family, his rollercoaster ride to the Lodge and how – as prime minister – he managed a strongly growing Australian economy and led Australia’s war on terrorism.

Drawing on his deep interest in history, he paints a fascinating picture of a changing Australia.

In this edition, fully updated to take into account the return of the Liberal National Party to government after the 2013 election, Howard analyses the crucial years between the 2010 election which gave rise to the minority government of Julia Gillard, and the consequent unprecedented and destabilising leadership struggles within the Labor party.

He discusses the significance of Tony Abbott’s achievements in defeating the Labor Government in 2013, and provides a masterful summary of legacy of the Rudd/Gillard years for Australia.

Lazarus Rising is essential reading for all followers of politics.

Grab a signed copy of Lazarus Rising : Revised & Updated here

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