Did Sylvia Plath’s suicide note reveal a new lover?

Ted hughes biographyThe widespread belief that American poet Sylvia Plath killed herself after Ted Hughes left her for another woman could be…well, false. Jonathan Bate, author of Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life, reveals in The Guardian that Plath’s suicide letter may have mentioned another man, one she was intimate with in the last months of her life.

In countless biographies and Hollywood film adaptations, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughe’s life has been depicted as follows: after six years of marriage and two children, Hughes left Plath for Assia Wevill, a woman who he described in his poem ‘Dreamers’ (Birthday Letters) as “Slightly filthy with erotic mystery – A German Russian Israeli with the gaze of a demon.”

On the fateful day Plath took her own life, she called Hughes incessantly, however was unable to reach him. The birthday-lettersquestion then arises: did she call anyone else? Another man she was intimate with? New discoveries suggest that perhaps she did. In his article, Bate outlines compelling insights as to why this could be the case, the below being one:

“The story I have heard is this … Sinclair is convinced of the story’s truth because the source, who is no longer alive, was a woman of unimpeachable integrity, a much-loved editor named Frances Lindley at the publisher Harper & Row in New York. At a book party in the city, she spoke to someone who said that they had seen Plath’s last letter. It allegedly revealed that she did telephone another man that last weekend, in a desperate bid to renew their brief liaison. He told her that he was now in a relationship with another woman. Yet one more male rejection: this could have been the thing that tipped her over the edge.” (The Guardian)

Sylvia and Ted 2So perhaps it wasn’t Hughes who drove her to her untimely demise, but a new lover. However as evidence is inconclusive at present, we’ll have to wait a little longer for the truth.

Read the full article here.

Swedish author, Henning Mankell, dies aged 67

MankellHenning Mankell, Swedish crime writer and leading figure in Nordic Noir has died aged 67 from cancer. Leopard, his Swedish publisher revealed he died in his sleep.

In early 2014 Mankell visited an orthopaedic surgeon in Stockholm, believing he had a slipped disc. However tests revealed a tumour in his lung and neck, with evidence it had spread to other areas of his body. He went on to write a book about his experience –  Quicksand: What It Means to be a Human Being.

Mankell was best known for his Wallander series, with 11 of his approximately 40 novels starring Kurt Wallander, Swedish police detective. The series inspired a series of Swedish films featuring Rolf Lassgård and Swedish and UK TV adaptations featuring Krister Henriksson and Kenneth Branagh respectively.

Grab your copy of the internationally besteselling The Kurt Wallander series here

Among his accolades, Mankell received the Gold Dagger Award, the Astrid Lindgren Prize and the Erich-Maria-Remarque Peace Award. He worked extensively with AIDS charities in Africa, saying that “I don’t know why, but when I stepped out of the plane in Africa I had the odd feeling of coming home” (from his website).

Henning Mankell in Africa

He leaves behind Eva Bergman, his wife of 17 years and his son, Jon Mankell, a film producer who helped bring Stieg Larsson’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series to the big screen.

He has sold more than 40 million copies of his books. They have been translated in over 40 languages.

Henning Mankell’s Top 10 Quotes

Welcome to Booktoberfest! Make yourself at home…

October at Booktopia means Booktoberfest.

So….what is Booktoberfest? Andrew Cattanach answers all your questions…


Hello everyone. Thanks for being here.

Firstly, thank you for coming to this Q&A about Booktoberfest. You, in the back, wearing lederhosen and drinking a 5L mug of beer, I think you’re in the wrong room.

Booktoberfest is Booktopia’s month long celebration of books, authors, publishers and of course you, the readers. It happens every October, the perfect time to take stock of the best titles of the year so far and also brace ourselves for the big Christmas titles.

And there are prizes. Soooooooooooooo many prizes.

Okay, there you are. any questions?

Did you say prizes?

Hells yeah. Prizes aplenty. We’re giving away fiction, non fiction and children’s prize packs worth over $2000 RRP, as well as a giveaway every day on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Oh, and there’s also the major prize.

A year’s worth of books.

Did you say a year’s worth of books?



Look, there’s no need to shout, but yes. We’re giving away a year’s worth of books to one lucky Booktopia customer. All you need to do is buy from anything in our Booktoberfest range during October, and you could win the big prize.

What else can we expect from Booktoberfest?

Just a big, bookish festival really. Our experts will be profiling their favourite books from their favourite genres on our website and we’ll be posting reviews of our favourite books every day of Booktoberfest here, on The Booktopia Blog.

Some of our favourite authors will also be dropping by to publish some exclusive content for your reading pleasure.

Will there be Pony Rides?

Unlikely, in a digital space. But never say never.

I like Pony Rides.

I’m going to take that as a comment. Perhaps my good friend John Purcell can explain it a little further, John, are you there?



COMING SOON: Keating by Kerry O’Brien

Paul Keating and Kerry O'Brien

Paul Keating and Kerry O’Brien

The long awaited biography of former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, by influential political interviewer Kerry O’Brien will be available this month.

Keating is a treasure trove of anecdotes, insights, reflections and occasional admissions from one of the most loved and hated political leaders Australia has ever seen – a man who was the driving force through thirteen years of Labor government that changed the face of Australia.

Pre-order your copy of Keating here.


Kerry O’Brien


Paul Keating is widely credited as the chief architect of the most significant period of political and economic reform in Australia’s history. Twenty years on, there is still no story from the horse’s mouth of how it all came about. No autobiography. No memoir. Yet he is the supreme story-teller of politics.

This book of revelations fills the gap. Kerry O’Brien, the consummate interviewer who knew all the players and lived the history, has spent many long hours with Keating, teasing out the stories, testing the memories and the assertions.

Keating, who as prime minister personally negotiated the sale of a quarter of the government-owned Qantas … Read more

Pre-order your copy of Keating here

About the Author

Kerry O’Brien is one of Australia’s most respected journalists, with six Walkley awards including the Gold Walkley and the Walkley for Outstanding Leadership in journalism.

In a 50-year career, Kerry has worked for newspapers, television and wire service, and as a foreign correspondent. Thirty-three of those years have been at the … Read more.

Pre-order your copy of Keating here.

Paul Keating being interviewed by Kerry O'Brien on the documentary Keating: The Interviews.

Paul Keating being interviewed by Kerry O’Brien on the documentary Keating: The Interviews.

Kate Morton talks to Booktopia TV about her upcoming new book, The Lake House

Kate Morton, bestselling author of The Shifting Fog and The Secret Keeper talks to us about her spellbinding new book, The Lake House – a  suspenseful read set in lush, atmospheric Cornwall. Another enthralling story from a master storyteller.

Grab your copy of The Lake House here.

The Lake House

Kate Morton

An abandoned house …The Lake House

After a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police and retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall. There she finds herself at a loose end, until one day she stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace.

A missing child …

June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. For Eleanor, the annual party has always been one of her treasured … Read more.

Grab your copy of The Lake House here.

BOOK REVIEW: The Awakening by Kate Chopin (Review by John Purcell)

A friend put me onto The Awakening. He had read it at university and was surprised that I had never taken the time to read it.the-awakening

To me, The Awakening was a revelation. That American Kate Chopin wrote this kind of novel in the last days of the nineteenth century seemed incredible. Her voice and the subjects of isolation, dissatisfaction, boredom and rebellion seem not of the past but of today.

The great women of nineteenth century fiction had been given complex inner lives, but none, to my knowledge had veered so confidently from the path of accepted behaviour.

None offered an alternative which suggested positive change.

I can only imagine the relief Chopin’s story offered thousands of bright women caught in the claustrophobic world of their day. That the novel can still offer relief now is an indication that we still have far to go on our road to equality.

Grab your copy of The Awakening here

The Awakening

Kate Chopin

the-awakeningFirst published in 1899 and widely regarded as one of the forerunners of feminist literature, alongside Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary.

Over one long, languid summer Edna Pontellier, fettered by marriage and motherhood, becomes acquainted with Robert Lebrun. As the days shorten and the temperature begins to drop Edna succumbs to Robert’s devotion. But in the thrall of this ever-strengthening desire Edna begins to realise the true extent of her psychological, social and sexual confinement and its devastating consequences for her future. This tender, brilliant … Read More

Grab your copy of The Awakening here

Toni Collette joins the cast of Jasper Jones: The Movie!

One of Australia’s most acclaimed actors, Toni Collette, has joined the cast of the upcoming film adaptation of Jasper Jones.

Collette joins Levi Miller, Angourie Rice and Aaron McGrath as headliners for the long awaited production of Craig Silvey’s seminal 2010 novel.

Jasper Jones will be directed by Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue Day, Redfern Now, Mabo) and produced by David Jowsey (Toomelah, Mystery Road) and Vincent Sheehan (Animal Kingdom, The Hunter). The script has been penned by Shaun Grant (Snowtown). Both Screen Australia and ScreenWest are supporting the project.

Despite narrowly missing out on the 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Jasper Jones is one of the most acclaimed Australian novels of the 21st century and a regular at book clubs and in schools since its release.

Grab your copy of Jasper Jones here

jasper-jonesJasper Jones

by Craig Silvey

‘If we see a more entertaining, heartfelt piece of Australian literature in the next 12 months, it will be a rare year indeed – an Australian To Kill a Mockingbird.’ – The Monthly

Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress.

Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it’s here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper’s horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother, falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu.

And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.

Grab your copy of Jasper Jones here


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