Don’t Miss Little Fictions at The Sydney Writers’ Festival

One of the highlights of this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival is Little Fictions, an evening of lively performances of long and short stories from Spineless Wonders authors.

Featuring work by Ryan O’Neill, Claire Aman and Julie Koh, Little Fictions is a platform for Australian writers to have their work read by professional actors, and for the public to indulge in the simple pleasure of being read to.

In the style of New York’s Selected Shorts, this event was born out of an ardent desire to bring together people who love literature.

Festival_960x295

Julie Koh (Sydney): ‘The Trading Floor in Heaven’ is a story from my capsule collection, Capital Misfits. It’s a wild piece of fiction about dead people trading their karma. I’m excited that it’s going to be performed at Little Fictions – a rare opportunity to see it connect with an audience in real time.’

Ryan O’Neill (Newcastle): I love the thought of one of my short stories being performed in front of a live audience, especially “My English Homework” which experiments with language and form. Seeing how such a story is translated to the spoken word is fascinating.

Ben Brooker (Adelaide): I’m delighted that the very talented Alex Williams will be giving voice to my story ‘Awake’ at Little Fictions. I don’t often write in the present tense but ‘Awake’ is an exception, an attempt to lend a frightening scenario added layers of immediacy and uncertainty. For this reason, I think the story will benefit hugely from being read aloud. As someone who has also written for the stage, I know well the power of the performed word in engaging, moving, and confronting audiences. My only regret is that I cannot be there!

Claire Aman (Grafton) : Writers can be introverts – I am anyway – and if I have to read my own work aloud I feel embarrassed. So I hang my head and mumble and rush.  Having an actor read my work with a flourish is so good! Stories should be told aloud. That’s how it starts for readers, when we’re small.  I want people to hear ‘Those Gauls Must be Crazy’. I want you to imagine your blue-spangled tights, and the stolen dog you are tugging along on a dressing-gown cord, a surprise gift at a wedding to which you hadn’t been invited.

Monday, May 18 2015 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Tickets at the door: $10
Knox St Bar, 21 Shepherd Street, Chippendale

Jamie Oliver is back with Everyday Super Food!

Jamie Oliver returns in 2015 with a new book, sure to take the world by storm.

And the name?

JO EVERYDAYSUPERFOOD PACKSHOT FINALEveryday Super Food

Recipes for a Healthier Happier You

Jamie’s Everyday Super Food makes eating well exciting, delicious, easy and fun.

No matter how busy you are, you’ll find that healthy eating the Jamie way is both straightforward and achievable, making it super easy to choose exactly the kind of meals that suit you.

The book is divided into breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and every tasty meal is nutritionally balanced so that any combination over the day will bring you in under your recommended daily allowance of calories, allowing you to enjoy snacks and drinks on the side. You can eat Smoothie Pancakes with Berries, Banana, Yoghurt and Nuts for breakfast, Tasty Fish Tacos with Game-Changing Kiwi, Lime and Chilli Salsa for lunch and Griddled Steak and Peppers with Herby-Jewelled Tabbouleh Rice for dinner, and still be healthy! Whether you dip in and out of it, eat from the book Monday to Friday or use it faithfully every day for a month, it’s totally up to you.

In Everyday Super Food, Jamie’s done all the hard work for you – all you need to do is choose a delicious recipe, cook it up and, most importantly, enjoy it.

Every meal in this book is a good choice and will bring you a step closer to a healthier, happier you.

Pre-order your copy of Jamie’s Everyday Super Food here

Georgia Madden, author of Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Georgia Madden

author of Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

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

Here, there and everywhere! I was born on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, but moved to Hong Kong with my family when I was five and lived there until 18. I came back to Australia for university, and moved to London a few weeks after graduating. I lived there for 12 crazy, glamorous, fun-filled years, working in PR and magazines, before returning to Sydney with my family 10 years ago.

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

At 12, I had dreams of a being an actress, but one disastrous and very embarrassing audition in front of my entire year at school put an end to that. At 18, I had visions of becoming a very serious political journalist, reporting for a Hong Kong newspaper on what was happening across the border in China. I still have no idea why. At 30 I was quite partial to the idea of becoming an editor of a magazine. But always, always, in the back of my mind was the dream of writing fiction. I just never really believed it was possible.

Georgie-Madden

Author: Georgia Madden

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

That in order to pursue the things you really want, everything in your life has to be just so. But life doesn’t work like that; if you’re waiting for all your stars to line up perfectly, you’ll be waiting forever. I’ve found that it’s better – and braver – to just jump right in and get the ball rolling, whether you’re ready or not. Fake it till you make it!

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

As a child, anything by Enid Blyton. Her stories swept me away, and they still do today when I read them to my kids. The song Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds. I’m a true child of the 80s, and whenever I hear that song on the radio my mind starts bristling with ideas – always romantic in a tragically teenage kind of way. The beautiful aria in that scene in A Room With A View where George kisses Lucy. I’m not sure whether it was the music or the poppies, but it stayed with me for years.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 

I’m not really sure I ever really had a choice! Despite all the twists and turns I took in my career (a used car parts auctioneer in a grotty part of east London at one point) the idea of writing was always there in the background, a steady hum I couldn’t switch off.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum follows new mum Ally Bloom, a dedicated fashionista with a very clear vision of the yummy mummy she’s meant to be – a glamorous Angelina Jolie-type, wafting along red carpets, with her latest accessory, baby Coco, tucked up under her wing. Then reality hits – her marriage is in crisis, her mother-in-law-turns up unannounced for an open-ended stay, the dishwasher won’t stop making that weird banging sound, and she’s pushed aside at work by a 22-year old airhead. Ally suddenly finds herself thrust into her own version of hell – life on the suburban SAHM circuit. Here, she begins to ask life’s bigger questions on motherhood, identity, friendship and whether it’s socially acceptable to leave the house in Havaianas after 7pm.

Grab a copy of Georgia’s new book Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I would love to think that after getting through one of those nightmarish days with the kids, where every single thing has gone wrong, they can curl up with Confessions and it puts a smile on their face, maybe even makes them laugh. See? There’s a little bit of paying it forward, right there.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I tend to develop crushes on whoever I’m reading at the time. Most recently it’s been Hannah Kent, Elizabeth Gilbert and Rainbow Rowell. I’ve just finished ‘Dietland’ by Sarai Walker – a sort of gutsy feminist manifesto that sends an arrow straight at the heart of the diet industry. I think I’m in love.

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

To be able to support myself and my family doing what I love. 

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

We’ve all done it – picked up a book and been blown away by the scale of the story, the beauty of the prose. It’s enough to make you want to give up on the idea of writing before you’ve even begun. But I can’t imagine that anyone’s work resembles the finished product in its early stages. To me, writing a book is a bit like making one of those multi-layered French desserts; it’s a long and time-consuming process of building from the ground up, layer by layer. So my advice is, don’t waste precious time trying to perfect that opening paragraph. Get the bones of your story down – as fast as your fingers can type them – before you even think about trying to turn it into a masterpiece.

Georgia, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum here


Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum

by Georgia Madden

Successful hubbie? Tick. Facebook-worthy baby? Tick. Bikini-body six weeks after giving birth? Um . . . not so much.

Fashion PR exec Ally Bloom got her happy ending. Okay, her marriage might be showing the odd crack, her battleaxe mother-in-law might have come to stay, and she might not be the yummy mummy she’d imagined, but it’s nothing a decent night’s sleep and a firm commitment to a no-carb diet won’t fix.

But when Ally returns to work and finds she’ll be reporting to a 22-year-old airhead, she decides to turn her back on life as a professional fashionista and embrace her inner earth mama instead. So it’s out with the Louboutins and champagne and in with the sensible flats and coffee mornings with the Mummy Mafia.

From attending her first grown-up dinner party only to discover that placenta is top of the menu to controlling her monster crush on local playgroup hottie Cameron, Ally must find her feet in the brave new world of the stay-at-home mum.

About the Author

Georgia Madden began her career in journalism at Homes & Gardens magazine in London, before returning to Sydney with her young family to work as a freelance writer. She writes for House & Garden, Inside Out and Home Beautiful, as well as a number of interiors websites. She lives in Sydney with her family. Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum is her first novel.

Grab a copy of Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum here

Drum roll…. We’re announcing the winners of our April Competitions!

In April we had a myriad of prizes and promotions for you to sink your teeth into.

Let’s wrap a few up and announce the winners of these great prizes, shall we?


Dennis-Jones-Competition-616x150NewsletterBanner-v3

All you had to do to enter was order The Anzacs 100 Years On : In Story and Song by April 30th!

the-anzacs-100-years-on-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-The Anzacs 100 Years On : In Story and Song

by Ted Egan

The Anzacs 100 Years On: In Story and Song is a unique contribution to the commemoration of the centenary of the Anzacs. Ted Egan weaves personal stories and songs into a highly readable history of the Anzacs and the two nations, with amusing anecdotes and tales of great courage and ingenuity serving to leaven somewhat the brutal truth exposed, of a tragic and senseless war.

The soldiers, nurses, politicians, wives, and the mothers who lost their sons, or welcomed them home severely damaged, all feature in this book and its songs.

Egan’s stories and poignant songs infuse the facts with the more…

…and the winner is:

P.Hawkins, Exeter, TAS

Grab a copy of The Anzacs 100 Years On : In Story and Song here


Bolinda-Anzac-Day-Collection-Rotating-Homepage-Banner

All you had to do to enter was buy anything in our Bolinda Anzac Day collection by April 30th!

1914 : The Year the World Ended – Re Issue

1914-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-Author: Paul Ham
Read by: Robert Meldrum

Few years can justly be said to have transformed the earth: 1914 did.

In July that year, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Britain and France were poised to plunge the world into a war that would kill or wound 37 million people, tear down the fabric of society, uproot ancient political systems and set the course for the bloodiest century in human history.

In the longer run, the events of 1914 set the world on the path toward the Russian Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of more…

…and the winner is:

A.Poad, Northampton, WA

Check out our Bolinda Anzac Day collection here


9781921383595- Sujet-Saenkham- Rotating-Homepage-Banner

To celebrate the release of Spice I Am, a book of recipes from Sydney-based Thai chef Sujet Saenkham, we gave customers the chance to win a prize, worth $255!

The pack includes to dinner for two at any of Sydney’s Spice I Am restaurants, valued at $150 and the opportunity to attend a Spice I Am cooking class, valued at $105.

spice-i-am

Spice I Am

by Sujet Saenkham

In this much anticipated cookbook Sydney-based Thai chef Sujet Saenkham shares his family recipes for the fresh flavours of regional Thai cooking so you can enjoy authentic Thai food at home.

Leave the Thai takeaway menus in your kitchen drawer, as you learn how to make restaurant favourites such as Sujet’s signature stir-fried crispy pork belly with basil, roasted red duck curry with eggplant, tomato and pineapple and crispy prawn and lemongrass salad, as well as traditional classics like pad Thai, fishcakes and a massaman beef curry from scratch. Throughout, Sujet offers practical advice on finding the ingredients and mastering the cooking techniques you need to create your own Thai feasts at home.

…and the winner is:

P.Chen Matraville, NSW

Check out Spice I Am here


Congratulations to the winners!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page, where you could be a winner every day!

promotions

 

Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies picked up by HBO; Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon to star

Liane MoriartyHuge news for the all-conquering Liane Moriarty as news breaks that the adaptation of her acclaimed novel Big Little Lies is coming to HBO, the home of Game of Thrones, Girls and True Detective. The project landed at HBO after the premium cable channel won a bidding war with Netflix.

Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will star in the mini-series while Emmy winner David E. Kelley, who wrote The Practice and Ally McBeal, will adapt the novel for the screen. Moriarty will have a producing role.

This is big news for fans of Big Little Lies, as the mini-series format is afforded the opportunity to more comprehensively develop characters and explore sub-plots, elements that a 120 minute film struggles with. With Big Little Lies exploring infidelity, divorce, domestic violence and school bullying while focusing on three mothers of kindergarteners in the same class who become embroiled in a homicide investigation, the mini-series format is absolutely the place for it.

An air date hasn’t yet been set yet, which means the show is still a while away. So why not give it a re-read, or if you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy and give it a try.

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here

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

GUEST BLOG: What Katie Read – January – April Round Up (by award-winning author Kate Forsyth)

One of Australia’s favourite novelists Kate Forsyth, author of The Impossible QuestBitter Greens and The Wild Girl, continues her monthly blog with us, giving her verdict on the books she’s been reading.


The Light Between the Oceans

by M.L. Stedman

This novel has at its heart a disturbing moral dilemma. A young woman married to a lighthouse keeper longs for a child of her own, but has lost all of her own babies. One day a boat washes up on their remote island. Inside the boat are a dead man and a baby, who is very much alive. The lighthouse keeper and his wife take in the founding child and, before long, Izzy begins to pretend the little girl is hers. The consequences of that decision will change their lives forever.

The 1920s setting of a small Western Australian town, and the remote island with its lighthouse, is brilliantly evoked. The loneliness of Tom and Izzy’s life on the island, the vast stretch of sea and sky, the comfort of its routines, all are brought vividly to life.

The story is simply but powerfully told, and the slow-building suspense soon has the pages turning fast. Each step the characters take, each choice they make, is utterly in character, giving the story the feel of an inescapable fate, like a Greek tragedy. The Light Between the Oceans really is a superb book, so tightly constructed that not a word feels out of place. I am very curious to see what M.L. Stedman writes next, as this is an astonishingly assured debut.

Grab a copy of The Light Between the Oceans here


Resistance: Memoirs of Occupied France

by Agnes Humbert

I’ve had this book on my shelves for a long time and finally picked it up to read over the summer holidays. Agnes Humbert was an ordinary woman in her late 40s when German troops invaded Paris in June 1940. She was an art historian, married with two sons, who loved to paint. After the Fall of Paris, Agnes began to scribble down her thoughts and feelings in a notebook. She would go mad, she wrote, if she did not do something to resist the Germans. She and a few friends began to meet, to make plans to defy the Germans, and to print a newsletter called Resistance. It was the first resistance group in France. Eventually they were betrayed, and Agnes was arrested and imprisoned in April 1941.

After a mock trial, the men in the group were all shot and the women were sentenced to five years hard labour. The diary ends at this point, and moves to being a memoir of the following horrific years. Agnes and her fellow prisoners were used as slave labour in such appalling conditions she almost died several times. Starved, beaten, and injured by the work, she somehow managed to survive.

After the work camp was liberated by the Americans in June 1945, Agnes set up soup kitchens for refugees and helped the Americans hunt down and prosecute war criminals. Her extraordinary strength, courage and humour shine though on every page, making it a very moving and heartwrenching tale to read.

Grab a copy of Resistance here


Half a King

by Joe Abercrombie

I was on a few panels with Joe Abercrombie at the Perth Writers Festival, and so I was sent his latest book to read. I had heard a great deal about him, as his books had been making big waves in the international fantasy scene. His first book The Blade Itself had sold for a five-figure deal in 2005 (or, as Joe likes to say, ‘a seven-figure deal if you count the pence columns’) and has sold, I am told, more than 3 million copies.

I just loved Half A King. It was tightly constructed, quick-paced, and surprising – qualities that can sometimes be rare in a fantasy novel. It was also beautifully written. I’m really looking forward to reading the next in the series, Half the World, and discovering his earlier book as well. A must-read for fantasy lovers.

 Grab a copy of Half a King here


A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War and a Ruined House in France

by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

Miranda Richmond Mouillot is an American-born writer of European Jewish descent. Her grandparents Armand and Anna lived through the Nazi occupation of France and managed to escape into Switzerland. Miranda’s grandfather worked as a translator at the Nuremberg trials after the war, translating the words of such Nazi criminals as Rudolf Hess. The young couple then bought a tumbledown old stone cottage in a small village in the South of France … only for Anna to flee a few years later, taking their children. She and Armand never spoke another word.

Brought up in the shadow of the Holocaust and troubled by all that was never spoken, Miranda set out to find out what happened. Her journey led her back to the old ruined house in the South of France, to a new understanding of the damage war can do, and – happily – to love and a new life. It’s a beautifully written and unusual memoir which examines the impossibility of ever truly knowing what happened in the past.

Grab a copy of A Fifty-Year Silence here


The Devil in the Marshalsea

by Antonia Hodgson

I met Antonia Hodgson at the Historical Novel Society conference in London last year and – after hearing her speak about her novel The Devil in the Marshalsea – had to buy it straightaway. I’ve finally had a chance to read it, and can strongly recommend it to anyone who loves a really top-notch, fast-paced, and atmospheric historical thriller.

The novel is set in London in 1727, soon after the death of King George I and before his son was crowned George II. Most of the action takes place in the sordid Marchelsea debtors’ prison. The story’s hero, the young, handsome and raffish Tom Hawkins, has been clapped in irons due to his predilection for wine, women and gambling. The Marshalsea is a dangerous place at the best of times, but a violent murder has just taken place within its walls … and Tom is sharing a cell with the prime suspect.

All the action takes place over just a few days, and the plot twists and turns with ferocious speed. I could not put it down once I started. It is without doubt one of the best historical thrillers I’ve ever read and a highly deserving Winner of the CWA Historical Dagger award for 2014.

Grab a copy of The Devil in the Marshalsea here


Chasing the Rose: An Adventure in the Venetian Countryside

by Andrea di Robilant

I first encountered Andrea di Robilant’s work some years ago, when I read The Venetian Affair, his account of the passionate and doomed love affair between one of his ancestors, the dashing Venetian aristocrat Andrea Memmo and Giustiniana Wynne, the half-Italian bastard daughter of an English baronet. Andrea di Robilant’s father had found a mouldering packet of their love letters in the attic of their family’s palazzo, many of them written in secret code. He spent years unravelling the mystery of the letters, but died before he could publish the story. His son Andrea was then a journalist and academic. He took on the task, and the result is an absolutely engrossing look into the closed and rarefied world of the Venetian Republic in the mid 1700s.

Andrea di Robilant has since published several more non-fiction books inspired by his extraordinary family’s history, and Chasing the Rose is the latest. It is, quite simply, an account of his search to find the history of a nameless silvery-pink rose that only grows in the abandoned gardens of the his family’s former country estate. His hunt takes him back in time, to the days of Napoleon’s occupation of Venice and his wife’s obsession with roses, and across the world, from Venice to Paris to China. It is a charming and utterly fascinating little book, and makes me wish my family had once owned a palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice with mysterious letters in the attic and a mysterious, sweet-scented rose in the garden.

Grab a copy of Chasing the Rose here


 Daughters of the Storm

by Kim Wilkins

Kim Wilkins is one of Australia’s most accomplished writers, and Daughters of the Storm is the first in a new fantasy series set in a world very much like Anglo-Saxon Britain. The heroine of the tale is a ferocious female warrior named Bluebell. She has spent her life trying to overcome the liabilities of her flowery name, but she lives in a world where women cannot rule and her sonless father lies in an enchanted sleep. Bluebell must try and find the way to wake her father, while fending off all those enemies who circle the land, eager to take it for themselves. She can trust no-one but her own sisters … but they all have secrets of their own, secrets which could destroy all that Bluebells holds dear.

It’s a compelling story, beautifully told, and Bluebell is a most unusual heroine. It’s lovely to see Australian writers producing such world-class fantasy.

Grab a copy of Daughters of the Storm here


Hansel and Gretel by retold by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Nail Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Both of these exquisitely illustrated hardback editions are published by Bloomsbury, and written by Neil Gaiman with all his characteristic flair. The illustrations for Hansel and Gretel are dark and filled with foreboding and a sense of evil lurking in the shadows. The illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti created the artwork for an exhibit celebrating the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of the Hansel and Gretel opera, which in turn inspired Neil Gaiman to retell the story. It’s a haunting and powerful version, very close to that published in the original 1812 edition of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I also loved the potted history of the tale at the back of the book.

The Sleeper and the Spindle is even more beautiful and strange. In this retelling of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Neil Gaiman has allowed his dark and macabre imagination to run free. Accompanied by the extraordinary illustrations of Chris Riddell – at times beautiful, at times funny, at times disturbing – the story twists the old tale in unexpected ways, to wonderful effect. This was my favourite of the two books, both because of its beautiful production and also because of the way the story is turned inside out. Magical.

Grab a copy of Hansel and Gretel here
Grab a copy of The Sleeper and the Spindle here


The Bletchley Girls: War, Secrecy, Love and Loss: The women of Bletchley Park tell their story

by Tess Dunlop

The story of the codebreakers of Bletchley Park is a fascinating one, and there has been a flood of books and movies about them in recent years, including ‘The Imitation Game’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the mathematician Alan Turing.

Tess Dunlop’s book is a timely addition to the field of knowledge, as she has taken the unusual approach of tracking down and interviewing a number of women who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. Their backgrounds and experiences were all very different, and give a well-rounded view of life at the park during that time. Some of the women came from aristocratic and academic backgrounds; most did not. Some worked in the code-breaking department; most did not. Many have never before spoken about what they did, bound by confidentiality agreements that only recently have been lifted.

Many of the women interviewed are now elderly, and so these first-hand accounts are important primary historical documents. Tess Dunlop is an award-winning historian, and this is a careful and observant account of Bletchley Park, beyond the better-known story of the breakers of the Enigma code.

Grab a copy of The Bletchley Girls here


The Silkworm

by Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith is, of course, the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling. Like much of the world, I was interested to read her take on contemporary crime and so grabbed a copy in the airport one day.

I enjoyed it immensely. The characters are all interesting and well-drawn, and the actual murder mystery ingeniously plotted. I enjoyed the wintry London setting, and the interplay of human relationships between the one-legged private detective Cormoran Strike and his pretty red-headed assistant Robin. I really enjoyed the subtle poking of fun at the world of publishing, and loved the mix of humour and pathos. In fact, it’s one of the best contemporary crime novels I’ve read in a while. I’m now tracking down the first in the series The Cuckoo’s Calling.

Grab a copy of The Silkworm here


Kate FKate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than twenty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both children and adults.

She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite Novelists, coming in at No 16. She has been called one of ‘the finest writers of this generation”, and “quite possibly … one of the best story tellers of our modern age.’

Click here to see Kate’s author page

The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth

the-beast-s-gardenA retelling of The Beauty and The Beast set in Nazi Germany

The Grimm Brothers published a beautiful version of the Beauty & the Beast tale called ‘The Singing, Springing Lark’ in 1819. It combines the well-known story of a daughter who marries a beast in order to save her father with another key fairy tale motif, the search for the lost bridegroom. In ‘The Singing, Springing Lark,’ the daughter grows to love her beast but unwittingly betrays him and he is turned into a dove. She follows the trail of blood and white feathers he leaves behind him for seven years, and, when she loses the trail, seeks help from the sun, the moon, and the four winds. Eventually she battles an evil enchantress and saves her husband, breaking the enchantment and turning him back into a man.

Kate Forsyth retells this German fairy tale as an historical novel set in Germany during the Nazi regime. A young woman marries a Nazi officer in order to save her father, but hates and fears her new husband. Gradually she comes to realise that he is a good man at heart, and part of an underground resistance movement in Berlin called the Red Orchestra. However, her realisation comes too late. She has unwittingly betrayed him, and must find some way to rescue him and smuggle him out of the country before he is killed.

The Red Orchestra was a real-life organisation in Berlin, made up of artists, writers, diplomats and journalists, who passed on intelligence to the American embassy, distributed leaflets encouraging opposition to Hitler, and helped people in danger from the Nazis to escape the country. They were betrayed in 1942, and many of their number were executed.

The Beast’s Garden is a compelling and beautiful love story, filled with drama and intrigue and heartbreak, taking place between 1938 and 1943, in Berlin, Germany.

Click here to grab a copy of The Beast’s Garden

The 2015 Sydney Writer’s Festival In Focus – Andrew’s Highlights

Can you hear that?

Pages being briskly bookmarked, notepads scribbled on frantically, publicists sweating over author schedules…

The Sydney Writer’s Festival is nearly here!

And because I’m getting all excited, I’ve picked out some of my highlights for the 2015 edition, take a gander. For more details head to www.swf.org.au

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,371 other followers

%d bloggers like this: