7PM INTERVIEW: Caroline Overington on her incredible new book, Last Woman Hanged

When Caroline Overington heard about the plight of Louisa Collins she was desperate to discover whether a great injustice had been committed. Using all of her skills as an investigative journalist Caroline dug deep into the archives. What she discovered was far more complex and murky than she had imagined. She talks to John Purcell about her final verdict. Did Louisa murder her husband?

last-woman-hanged-order-your-signed-copy-Last Woman Hanged

by Caroline Overington

ONE WOMAN. TWO HUSBANDS. FOUR TRIALS. ONE BLOODY EXECUTION.

In January 1889, Louisa Collins, a 41-year-old mother of ten children, became the first woman hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Both of Louisa’s husbands died suddenly. The Crown was convinced that Louisa poisoned them with arsenic and, to the horror of many in the legal community, put her on trial an extraordinary FOUR TIMES in order to get a conviction. Louisa protested her innocence until the end. Now, in Last Woman Hanged, writer and journalist Caroline Overington delves into the archives to re-examine the original, forensic reports, court documents, judges notebooks, witness statements and police and gaol records, in an effort to discover the truth.

Much of the evidence against Louisa was circumstantial. Some of the most important testimony was given by her only daughter, May, who was just 10-years-old when asked to take the stand.

The historical context is also important: Louisa Collins was hanged at a time when women were in no sense equal under the law – except when it came to the gallows.

Women could not vote or stand for parliament – or sit on juries. There were no female politicians and no women judges.

Against this background, a small group of women rose up to try to save Louisa’s life, arguing that a legal system comprised only of men – male judges, all-male jury, male prosecutor, governor and Premier – could not with any integrity hang a woman.

The tenacity of these women would not save Louisa but it would ultimately carry women from their homes all the way to Parliament House.

Less than 15 years after Louisa was hanged, Australian women would become some of the first in the world to get the vote. They would take seats in State parliament, and in Canberra. They would become doctors, lawyers, judges, premiers – even the Prime Minister.

Caroline says: ‘My hope is that Last Woman Hanged will be read not only as a true crime story but as a letter of profound thanks to that generation of women who fought so hard for the rights we still enjoy today.’

Click here to grab a copy of Last Woman Hanged

And the winners of the Eyrie Signed Copies, Olivetti Valentine Typewriter and the Vintage Bike are……

The winners of the signed hardcover editions of Eyrie are:

C. Lawlewss, Eltham, VIC
B. Thomas, Muswellbrook, NSW
C. Ainsworth, Millswood, S.A.
L. Checker, Alice Springs, NT
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eyrieEYRIE
by Tim Winton

Tom Keely’s reputation is in ruins. And that’s the upside.

Divorced and unemployed, he’s lost faith in everything precious to him. From his seedy highrise flat Keely looks down at a society from which he’s retired hurt and angry, well past caring. But he cannot avoid entanglement with the neighbours: a woman from his past, a boy the likes of which he’s never met before. Two strangers leading a life beyond his experience and into whose orbit he falls despite himself.

What follows is a heart-stopping, funny, exhilarating and haunting. Eyrie asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.

Grab a copy of Eyrie here


The winner of the Olivetti Valentine Typewriter is:

C. Robertson, Clifton Hill, VIC

SalingerNewsletterbanner520170v216062014

MY SALINGER YEARmy-salinger-year
by Joanna Rakoff

Poignant, keenly observed, and irresistibly funny: a memoir about literary New York in the late nineties, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself entangled with one of the last great figures of the century.

At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in a plush, wood-paneled office, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches. At night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Williamsburg apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities, and struggling to trust her own artistic instinct, Rakoff is tasked with answering Salinger’s voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers around the world, she finds herself unable to more…

Grab a copy of My Salinger Year here


The winner of the vintage bike is:

J. Whellum, Yass, NSW

7206LuigiBooktopiaSpinningBannerC1D12062014

luigi-s-freedom-rideLUIGI’S FREEDOM RIDE
by Alan Murray

It is the small lives, tucked away, that reveal humanity in all its bigness. A charming treat of a novel – as sunny, light and enjoyable as a strawberry gelato eaten in an Italian piazza on a summer’s day. Luigi is a young Italian boy growing up in Tuscany in the 1920s, dreaming of cowboys and adventure, when a young Englishman, passing through on his way to Rome, gives him his first bicycle, thus sparking a lifelong passion. When World War II begins, Luigi enlists with the Bersaglieri, the Italian Army Cycling Corps (naturally), before unexpectedly finding himself fighting alongside the Partisans. Despite encountering great sorrow and tragedy, Luigi’s zest for life remains undiminished, and his next adventure sees him cycling through the Holy Land, Turkey and Sri Lanka before finding an unexpected home – and an extraordinary surprise – in Australia.

An irrepressibly optimistic, sweetly funny story, Luigi’s Freedom Ride is about life, bicycles and the joy of the journey – showing how even a small life, lived in the shadow of great events, can be rich in contentment and spirit.

Grab a copy of Luigi’s Freedom Ride here


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

The Monday Morning Cooking Club, authors of The Feast Goes On, answer Ten Terrifying Questions

Click here to grab a copyThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

The Monday Morning Cooking Club

authors of The Feast Goes On

Ten Terrifying Questions
___________

1.To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

We all live in Sydney, Australia but we have come from all over: Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, South Africa. And our family backgrounds are even more diverse, reflecting the Jewish community’s melting pot: Hungary, Poland, Russia via China, South Africa, England.

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

When we were twelve we were all consumed with what was in our lunch boxes and pantries. Some of us were getting schnitzel on rye and really wanted Vegemite on white bread.  Some of our pantries were stocked with kosher salami, dill pickles and poppyseed cake and all we really wanted were biscuits from a packet and bought jam swiss rolls. What did we want to be? Like everybody else!

When we were eighteen we were discovering our passion for food. Learning and loving to cook, throwing our first dinner parties and searching for good food. What did we want to be? Grown up and accomplished. mmcc_slider_girlswhite

When we were thirty we were all consumed with motherhood, trying to find the time for a cup of tea and a delicious piece of cake and striving to find the right life/work balance. What did we want to be? Less sleep deprived than we were!

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

At eighteen, we were all so sure we knew more than our mothers. As we grow older and wiser, and have 18 year old daughters ourselves, we have learned the adage is true: ‘mother is always right.’

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?

Growing up, more so than any one event, the continual celebrations that went on in all our homes each and every year for Jewish festivals (passover, Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur) and weekly Friday night feasts for Sabbath eve together with mothers who were committed and passionate about cooking and feeding their families.  2: On a larger scale, the immigration to Australia from countries as far and wide as Vietnam, Greece, Hungary, Russia and South Africa has given our lives in Australia a cultural and culinary diversity which has enriched our national makeup and palate. 3: The creation of our first book Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food the stories the sisterhood’. The years we spent collecting, testing and preserving family heirloom recipes filled us with a great joy, and taught us so much along the way.

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?

Printed cookbooks will never be obsolete. Some of us think that there is nothing more enjoyable than taking your latest cookbook to bed and reading it cover to cover, ogling the beautiful photos and feeling the pages between your fingers.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…Click here to grab a copy

The Feast Goes On features the best loved and most delicious stories from the heart and soul of our community right across Australia. It is not a book of Jewish food per se, it’s a book of recipes from Jewish kitchens, collected from countries far and wide. The book speaks of a community drawn together by food, with intimate and moving stories of sharing and survival, love and hope, friendship and family. It is full of precious family recipes passed down from past generations through to recipes that will become instant family favourites.The book has recipes for every occasion – from every day eating to feasting, light lunches to fressing, comfort food to traditional dishes – which will nurture, nourish and inspire.

Grab a copy of The Feast Goes On here

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

To find, collect, recreate and publish all those wonderful heirloom recipes from the older generation before they are lost forever. We believe the old recipes still fit so well into our contemporary world.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?
Click here to grab a copy
As a group, without a doubt, we place our grandmothers on the highest pedestal. We look back with wonder on how they managed to nurture and feed their families the most exquisite dishes without any of today’s mod-cons; plucking chickens to produce golden roasts, pickling and preserving anything and everything to get though the winter, home baked bread made from scratch, the lightest of chiffon cakes, flaky pastries crammed with dried fruit and nuts.

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

Our goal is to create a contemporary face for Australian Jewish cuisine. One important part of this is to preserve those treasured recipes from the older generation for our generation, and from our generation for the future. The other important aspect is that we are a not-for-profit company and will continue to raise substantial funds for charity.

10.      What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Always follow your dream, don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be dissuaded by the ’NO’s’. Doors open at the most unexpected times!

Monday Morning Cooking Club, thank you for playing!

Grab a copy of The Feast Goes On here

Emma Sutherland & Michelle Thrift, authors of 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

50-foods-that-will-change-your-lifeThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Emma Sutherland & Michelle Thrift

Co-authors of 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————————

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

EMMA: I was born and raised in Melbourne. After finishing high school in Melbourne I completed my naturopathy and science degrees in Sydney.

MICHELLE:
-I was born in Sydney Australia.

-Raised in South West Suburbs of Sydney.

-Schooled in Catholic schools in South West suburbs of Sydney.

-Trained in commercial cookery and home economics in some of Sydney’s Top Culinary Colleges.

2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?

Continue reading

Welcome to the world baby Kimye! A gift from your fans at Booktopia

KIM-KARDASHIAN-BARE-BABY-BUMP-570Like the little drummer boy, one can often feel at a loss as to what to buy the offspring of the world’s hottest couple. Fear not – Haylee Nash shares her recommendations on the best buys for baby (and entourage).

Oh joyous day! After six months of anxious waiting, the happy day is here at last!

That’s right, glamazon, enterpreneur and true north on our moral compass Kim Kardashian and rapper/lover of women/ultimate man-bag Kanye West have finally welcomed their little bundle of joy into the world and I could not be happier.

But what to give the couple and their precious package to celebrate this most blessed occasion? Books of course! We here at Booktopia have compiled a list especially for the new family, one that is sure to see them through any crisis, whether fashion-related or otherwise.

Continue reading

Lorraine Elliott, author of Not Quite Nigella, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

not-quite-nigellaThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lorraine Elliott

author of Not Quite Nigella

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 Darlinghurst, Sydney, and raised in Maroubra and then Kensington. I went to school at Sydney Girls’ High School where I was an average student at best!

2.What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?

At 12, I wanted to be a beautician because I loved the idea of beautifying people or making them feel better. At 18, I knew that I didn’t want to become a psychologist despite the fact that I was studying it at university (alarm, yes!) and at 30, I thought I wanted to be an Advertising Media Director until I was told that I just really wasn’t ready to be that for another ten years or so.

Continue reading

Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

 burial-ritesThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Hannah Kent

author of Burial Rites

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 the first baby born in Adelaide on the Easter Sunday of 1985. My parents raised me and my little sister amid the gums and oak trees of the Adelaide Hills, where I spent a lot of my time running around in paddocks, building cubbies, and attending the local schools. I had an idyllic childhood.

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

Continue reading

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