David Day, author of Paul Keating: The Biography, chats to John Purcell

David Day is one of Australia’s most respected historians, author of the award-winning biographies of John Curtin and Ben Chifley. He chats to John Purcell about his latest book Paul Keating: The Biography.

Grab a copy of Paul Keating: The Biography here

paul-keating-the-biographyPaul Keating: The Biography

The Story of A Prime Minister

Paul Keating was one of the most significant political figures of the late twentieth century, firstly as Treasurer for eight years and then Prime Minister for five years. Although he has spent all of his adult life in the public eye, Keating has eschewed the idea of publishing his memoirs and has discouraged biographers from writing about his life.

Undaunted, best-selling biographer David Day has taken on the task of giving Keating the biography that he deserves. Based on extensive research in libraries and archives, interviews with Keating’s former colleagues and associates, and walking the tracks of Keating’s life, Day has painted the first complete portrait of Paul Keating, covering both the public and private man.

About the Author

David Day has written widely on Australian history and the history of World War II. His biography of John Curtin won the 2000 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards Prize for History and was shortlisted for the 2000 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction, while his biography of Ben Chifley was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Award for History in 2002.

Grab a copy of Paul Keating: The Biography here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Michael Palin chats to John Purcell about life, Python, and diary-keeping

Michael Palin is one of the world’s most recognisable comedians and television presenters.

After establishing himself with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, he went on to appear in the acclaimed Monty Python films, as well as A Fish Called Wanda and American Friends, as well as writing books to accompany his hugely successful travel series including Himalaya and Pole to Pole.

He chats to Booktopia’s John Purcell.

travelling-to-workTravelling to Work

Diaries 1988-1998

Travelling To Work is the third volume of Michael Palin’s widely acclaimed diaries. After the Python years and a decade of filming, writing and acting, Palin’s career takes an unexpected direction into travel, which will shape his working life for the next 25 years. Yet, as the diaries reveal, he remained ferociously busy on a host of other projects throughout this whirlwind period. Travelling To Work opens in September 1988 with Michael travelling down the Adriatic on the first leg of a modern-day Around the World in Eighty Days. He was not the BBC’s first choice for the series, but after its success and that of the accompanying book the public naturally wanted more. Palin, though, has other plans. Following the tumultuous success of A Fish Called Wanda, he is in demand as an actor.

His next film, American Friends, is based on his great-grandfather’s diaries. Next he takes on his most demanding role as the head teacher in Alan Bleasdale’s award-winning drama series GBH. There is also his West End play, The Weekend, and a first novel, Hemingway’s Chair, and a lead role in Fierce Creatures, the much-delayed follow-up to Wanda. Michael describes himself as ‘drawn to risk like a moth to a flame. Someone grounded and safe who can be tempted into almost anything.’ He duly finds time for two more travel series, Pole to Pole in 1991, Full Circle in 1996, and two more bestselling books to accompany them. These latest Diaries show a man grasping every opportunity that came his way, and they deal candidly with the doubts and setbacks that accompany this prodigious word-rate. As ever, his family life, with three children growing up fast, is there to anchor him. Travelling To Work is a roller-coaster ride driven by the Palin hallmarks of curiosity and sense of adventure. These ten years in different directions offer riches on every page to his ever-growing army of readers.

Grab a copy of Michael Palin’s Travelling to Work here

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser dies aged 84

9780522858099Former Prime Minister and champion of human rights Malcolm Fraser has passed away.

“It is with deep sadness that we inform you that after a brief illness John Malcolm Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of 20 March 2015,” a statement read.

“We appreciate that this will be a shock to all who knew and loved him, but ask that the family be left in peace at this difficult time.”

Mr Fraser was sworn in as caretaker prime minister in 1975 after the Whitlam government was dismissed. He led the Liberals to victory in the 1975 election before losing the 1983 election to Labor’s Bob Hawke.

Despite Fraser’s role in the 1975 “coup” against Gough Whitlam, the pair developed a close friendship post politics.

9780522867688In recent years, Mr Fraser had become an outspoken critic of the Liberal Party and quit the party in 2010 over the party’s view on issues such as immigration.

Recently Mr Fraser turned his attention to government criticisms of Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, writing that attacks on her had ‘diminished important work highlighting the worrying expansion of ministerial powers over asylum seekers’.

Labor senator Doug Cameron was shocked to hear of Mr Fraser’s death on Friday, having only recently met with the former prime minister and his wife Tamie.

“I am just devastated that Australia has lost a great voice for human rights,” Senator Cameron told reporters in Canberra.

Order Gina Liano’s Fearless memoir and you could win a prize pack worth $500!

9781743790465 Gina Liano rotating-homepage

Gina Liano’s biography, Fearless – My Life, My Way, is up-front, inspiring and passionate, and to celebrate, we are giving you the chance to win a  prize pack, worth approximately $500. The prize pack contains:

  • 1 x Autographed book
  • 1 x Team Gina T-shirt
  • 1 x Autographed poster
  • 1 x Gina Liano shoes

The winner will not only get to chose the size of the shoes but the colour as well. All you need to do to go in the draw is pre-order Fearless before April 1st.


My Life, My Way

by Gina Liano

‘Sassy and sophisticated. Tough and tender. Glamorous and gregarious. Everyone has an opinion of Gina Liano, but those who know even a little about her know she’s a survivor, then a thriver and always a winner … against all odds.’ – EDDIE McGUIRE

Most people will know Gina Liano as the larger than-life personality on The Real Housewives of Melbourne. But few know the real-life story behind her rise to fame on reality TV and in Australia’s legal circles as a respected Melbourne barrister. Just like the woman herself, Fearless is up-front, inspiring and passionate.

Born in Melbourne to Italian parents, Gina’s happy childhood turned sour when her parents’ business and marriage failed. Gina battled to finish her schooling, and while her ambition was to study law, she was a married mother of one by the time she was 23. Along with her talented sisters she would establish three highly successful fashion stores in stylish inner-Melbourne.

But Gina never lost sight of her goal to study law and become a barrister, and at 33, after years of schooling, she was finally admitted to the bar. With a dream career, a new husband and a second child, she was ready to take on the world. But it was not to be; only four years later, she received a shock diagnosis of life-threatening cancer.

With more twists and turns than any reality TV show, every step of Gina’s unique journey is intimately recounted with the frankness and honesty that audiences have come to expect from the straight-talking star of the Real Housewives series.

Grab a copy of Fearless – My Life, My Way here

9781743790465 Gina Liano rotating-homepage

Author ‘Belle de Jour’ sues ex-boyfriend for saying she wasn’t a prostitute

01053934In one of the strangest libel cases in legal history, bestselling author Dr Brooke Magnanti, aka ‘Belle de Jour’, is suing her ex-boyfriend for damages on the grounds that he had suggested she might never have been a prostitute.

While completing her doctoral studies, between 2003 and 2004, Magnanti supplemented her income by working as a London call girl known by the working name Taro.

Remaining anonymous, Magnanti went on to have her experiences published as The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl in 2005 and The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl in 2006, the books instantly becoming UK top 10 best-sellers.

intimate-adventures-of-a-london-call-girl-tv-tie-in-Dr Magnanti’s legal team is expected to argue that the allegations are damaging to the reputation of the author, making it the first libel claim in the UK from an individual claiming to be defamed by suggestions they were not a prostitute.

In 2007 her books were adapted into a television programme, Secret Diary of a Call Girl starring Billie Piper as Belle, with the real name Hannah Baxter.

In November 2009, fearing her real identity was about to come out, Magnanti revealed her real name and occupation as a child health scientist.

University of Queensland Press refuses to publish Campbell Newman memoir

The University of Queensland Press has refused to publish the memoir of former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, due to Mr Newman’s decision as Premier to axe the Premier’s Literary Awards.

Campbell NewmanEarlier this week Newman said his memoir, co-written by former Cairns MP Gavin King and with a working title of Can Do, would be a “warts and all” story of the man who left his job as Brisbane’s lord mayor to became Queensland’s premier.

It appears the warts may never see the light of day, with UQP publisher Madonna Duffy saying she believed the publisher had no choice but to reject it.

“It would be both a ­betrayal to the Queensland literary community and to our own values to publish his memoir,” she wrote.

The Newman government also controversially moved to cut funding to the publisher in 2013, but that decision was reversed.

UQP chief executive Greg Bain supported the decision, in a released statement.

“Whilst we did not see sustained interest in such a book with a likely publication date one year out; far more importantly we stand by our colleagues in the writing and reading community who have supported us and were enraged and insulted by the axing of the Literary Awards,” he said.

“The community response in keeping these awards alive demonstrated the depth of feeling out there in supporting such a vibrant writing sector in Queensland — the envy of other states.

“UQP has a long history of nurturing new voices and we are not in the business of damaging that hard-earned reputation.”


Five Things We Learnt From… White Heat 25 by Marco Pierre White

white-heat1. Gourmet recipes from world famous chefs don’t need to hurt your head

The recipes in White Heat were simple, and that’s one of the most revolutionary things about the book. Before White Heat, chefs seemed to compete with each other about who had the most inaccessible recipes.

Marco Pierre White, perhaps due to his cockiness, didn’t care about that, he just wanted to share his dishes. No wonder it was such a game changer.

2. Marco Pierre White was a good looking cat

White Heat 25 is riddled with shots of a scraggly looking, cigarette smoking, wild-eyed young Marco Pierre White. And yet, despite the camera picking up all his intense eccentricities, one thing is very clear, the man was a looker. Another reason why he beats the hell out of former protégé now sworn enemy Gordon Ramsay (google ‘Gordon Ramsay+puffy’ to get a scare).

3. Black and white photography is still underrated

Why don’t we see more of it? Simple, clean, and striking, the photography in White Heat 25 is superb.

marco-pierre-white4. Passion is the key to achieving anything

It’s an oldie but a goodie. The more you love doing something, the more you do it, and the better you become at it.

Some of the Marco’s quotes in White Heat 25 are just extraordinary, and exhibit perfectly just how much passion he has for everything to do with cooking. It is his life’s work, and it shows.

5. Marco understands the difference between great food and food people like

It sounds like an odd statement, but it makes sense. I love canned Baked Beans on toast. I doubt many restaurants will be serving it on their dinner menu.

Marco knows that. In the competitive restaurant industry, sometimes you just have to give the people what they want. Only then can you tell them what they need. This philosophy emerges in one of my favourite quotes of White Heat 25, when describing the recipe for his Assiette of Chocolate.

“This is disgusting; it’s a horrible dish. It’s vulgarity pure and simple. It’s a dish invented for suburbia; it should be called ‘Chocolate Suburbia’. Why do we serve it? Because we’re commercial. Because, at the end of the day, you have to please the customer. And this does”.


Grab a copy of Marco Pierre White’s White Heat 25 here

white-heatWhite Heat

by Marco Pierre White

A 25th anniversary edition of the classic cookbook from the ‘enfant terrible’ of the UK restaurant scene, with a new 64-page section including previously unpublished photographs and commentary from Jason Atherton, Gordon Ramsay and Tom Kerridge.

Once in a blue moon a book is published that changes irrevocably the face of things. White Heat is one such book. Since it was originally produced in 1990, it has gone on to become one of the most enduring classic cookbooks of our time. With its unique blend of outspoken opinion, recipes and dramatic photographs by the late legendary photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, White Heat captures the magic and spirit of Marco Pierre White in the heat of his kitchen.

This 25th anniversary edition features brand new material, including photographs from the late Bob Carlos Clarke and contributions from James Steen, Lindsey Carlos Clarke and a host of high-profile chefs: Jason Atherton, Sat Bains, Mario Batali, Raymond Blanc, Anthony Bourdain, Adam Byatt, David Chang, Phil Howard, Tom Kerridge, Paul Kitching, Pierre Koffmann, Gordon Ramsay and Jock Zonfrillo.

About the Author

Marco Pierre White, the original ‘enfant terrible’ of the food scene, has earned his place in British culinary history as much for his strong temperament as for his unique talent as a chef. The youngest chef ever to earn three Michelin stars, he has become a food icon of our time. His proteges include the internationally renowned Michelin-starred chefs Gordon Ramsay, Mario Batali and Jason Atherton.

Grab a copy of Marco Pierre White’s White Heat 25 here



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