EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Zoe Foster, author of The Wrong Girl, chats to Caroline Baum



the-wrong-girlThe Wrong Girl
by Zoe Foster

What happens when you discover the man of your dreams is going out with your best friend?

Sometimes you don’t know what you want until someone else has it.

Lily needs a break. A man break. She hadn’t exactly meant to sleep with her friend, Pete, and she certainly hadn’t expected him to confess his love – for another girl – the next morning. If men were going to behave like such pigs, well, she’d happily take some time out.

Besides, her TV career requires all her attention right now. Jack Winters – the gorgeous new talent – is definitely proving a distraction, but Lily is determined to maintain her professional distance, even when Jack starts seeing someone completely inappropriate. It’s only when Lily accepts that good things don’t always come to those who wait and takes a leap into the great unknown that life starts making sense . . .

From the bestselling author of The Younger Man and Amazing Face comes a funny, heartfelt novel about what happens when life, love, work and friendships collide.

Read Caroline Baum’s Review

After a few wrong turns, Lily and her friend Simone decide to go on a sabboytical or man break. Lily needs to focus on her TV production career on a cooking show but when the new on camera cook turns out to be a dish, her romantic fasting diet intentions are tested by an unexpected rival.

Zoe Foster may have a Miles Franklin winner as a father (who discouraged her from being a writer) but her talent is very much her own. Playful, hip and fun, she has the chick lit thing down pat – plenty of glamour, social media, goss, casual sex and girlfriend issues. Her ear for dialogue never lets her down and the likeable freshness of her own high profile as part of a media golden couple comes through on the page. This is her moment.

About the Author

Zoe Foster has written three novels, Air Kisses, Playing the Field and The Younger Man, as well as the dating and relationship book Textbook Romance, written in conjunction with Hamish Blake, and the bestseller Amazing Face, a collection of her best beauty tips and tricks.

Grab a copy of The Wrong Girl here

2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Announced

FictionThe shortlist for the 2014 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction is here.

I am left gob-smacked by some of the exclusions – The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, for example. Surely a Man Booker Prize winner can win Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, too. And isn’t it time to forgive Elizabeth Gilbert for Eat, Pray, Love?

But I am stupidly happy for Hannah Kent and hope she wins. Not just because the book is excellent, but because the book is excellent. If you look closely you’ll find there is no getting around that argument.

Australia’s Hannah Kent

The judging panel, which includes Mary Beard, Denise Mina, Caitlin Moran and Sophie Raworth, will announce the winner on June 4th.

The 2014 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids… Read More

americanahAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. Ifemelu – beautiful, self-assured-departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home… Read More

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portrayal of lives undone and forged anew, The Lowland is a deeply felt novel of family ties that entangle and fray in ways unforeseen and unrevealed, of ties that ineluctably define who we are. With all the hallmarks of Jhumpa Lahiri’s achingly poignant, exquisitely empathetic story-telling, this is her most devastating work of fiction to date… Read More

The Undertaking by Audrey Magee A stunning, riveting debut novel in the tradition of Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader and Rachel Seiffert’s The Dark Room, The Undertaking shines an intense light on history and illuminates the lives of those caught up in one of its darkest chapters… Read More

A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride To read A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand. This isn’t always comfortable – but it is always a revelation. Touching on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma, McBride writes with singular intensity, acute sensitivity and mordant wit. A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is moving, funny – and alarming. It is a book… Read More

the-goldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate… Read More

Shortlist Judges

The 2014 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Runners Up

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood From one of the world’s most brilliant and exciting writers comes a new novel of astonishing power; the final novel in her dystopian trilogy. Told with wit, dizzying imagination, dark humour and a breathtaking command of language, Booker-prize-winning Margaret Atwood’s unpredictable and chilling Maddaddam takes us into a carefully-crafted dystopian world and holds up a mirror to… Read More

The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne The Dogs of Littlefield is a wry exploration of the discontent concealed behind the manicured lawns and picket fences of darkest suburbia. Littlefield, Massachusetts, named one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America, full of psychologists and college professors, is proud of its fine schools, its girls’ soccer teams, its leafy streets and quaint village centre. Yet no sooner has… Read More

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto Fatima Bhutto’s stunning debut begins and ends one rain swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border. Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. The second, a doctor, goes to check in at his hospital. His troubled wife does not join the family that morning. No one knows where Mina… Read More

The Bear by Claire Cameron Anna is five. Her little brother, Stick, is almost three. They are camping with their parents in Algonquin Park, in three thousand square miles of wilderness. It’s the perfect family trip. But then Anna awakes in the night to the sound of something moving in the shadows. Her father is terrified. Her mother is screaming. Then, silence… Read More

Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter A stunning debut novel – unexpected, tautly written, suspenseful – that touches on some of the most profound questions we have about war as it tells us a haunting story of a single mother, and her son, a member of the US Special Operations Forces. Eleven Days is, at its heart, the story of a mother and a son. It begins in May 2011: Sara’s son Jason has been missing for nine days… Read More

The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter India. 1837. William Avery, a fresh young officer in the East India Company, arrives in Calcutta expecting to be seduced by its ancient traditions. Nine months later he hasn’t learnt a word of Hindoostani, is in terrible debt, and longs to return home before the cholera epidemic finishes him off. A few months earlier, so rumour has it, the infamous and disgraced poet Xavier Mountstuart leaves Calcutta in order to… Read More

the-luminariesThe Luminaries by Eleanor Catton The astonishing and epic second novel from the prize-winning author of The Rehearsal – a sure contender for every major literary prize. It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes… Read More

Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies Pearl can be very, very good. More often she is very, very bad. But she’s just a child, a mystery to all who know her. A little girl who has her own secret reasons for escaping to the nearby woods. What might those reasons be? And how can she feel so at home in the dark, sinister, sensual woods, a wonder of secrets and mystery… Read More

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. It soars across the globe from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam. Peopled with extraordinary characters – missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses and the quite mad – most of all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker, a woman of the Enlightened Age who stands defiantly on the cusp of the modern… Read More

the-flamethrowersThe Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner An extraordinarily ambitious big American novel about a young artist and the worlds she encounters in New York and Rome in the mid-1970s – by turns underground, elite, dangerous. In 1977 the city is alive with art, sensuality and danger. She falls in with a bohemian clique colonising downtown and the lines between reality and performance begin to bleed… Read More

almost-englishAlmost English by Charlotte Mendelson This is the extraordinary new novel from the Orange Prize shortlisted author of When We Were Bad. In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen-year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother, Laura, and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family’s crushing expectations and their fierce unEnglish pride, by their strange traditions and stranger food… Read More

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined… Read More

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a legal aid attorney who idolises Jim, has always… Read More

All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the story of one how one woman’s present comes from a terrible past. It is the second novel from the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice. Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed… Read More


Andrew Mueller, author of It’s Too Late to Die Young Now, I Wouldn’t Start From Here, and more, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

9781742612294The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Andrew Mueller

author of It’s Too Late to Die Young Now, I Wouldn’t Start From Here and more

Ten Terrifying Questions


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

To the enduring disbelief and/or delight of customs officials the world over, I was born in Wagga Wagga. Subsequently raised and schooled in various locations around Australia, according to the whims of the Australian Army, in which my father served. The less romantic distillation of that is: mostly Canberra and Sydney.

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

At twelve, I think I wanted to be fighter pilot, except on weekends, when I would of course be starting at centre half-forward for Geelong. By eighteen, 863having clearly abandoned any notion of civic duty and resigned myself to my total athletic ineptitude, I wanted to be a rock journalist – indeed, by this point, I was actually being a rock journalist, if not a terrifically good one. At thirty, I was perfectly happy doing what I was doing – ie, being a journalist and author – although I wouldn’t have objected to being better paid for doing it. At 44, this remains the case.

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

That’s an excellent question, and one which I asked myself a lot writing my new book. Obviously, tastes change – one would prefer to think mature – as does one’s idea of what constitutes a good time. But I’m not really sure that the contents of my head at the age of eighteen could really be regarded as coherent beliefs – more a melange of barely examined sentimental prejudices in favour of peace, justice, brotherhood and so forth. I’m still in favour of all those things, but suspect that my ideas about how or indeed if they might be accomplished have become rather more hard-headed.

Also at eighteen, I nigh certainly believed that there was no chance of medical science advancing sufficiently to allow me to live long enough to see Geelong win a premiership. I am especially delighted to have been proved wrong on this one.

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?

First and foremost, being taught to read, and to love reading, by my mother. Reading Melody Maker in the late 80s made me want to be a rock journalist – or, more accurately, a much better rock journalist than the one I was already being when I first read Melody Maker. Reading PJ O’Rourke’s Holidays In Hell in the early 90s made me realise, or at least hope, that it was possible to apply the irreverence and iconoclasm that once characterised the rock press at its best to other types of journalism. “Reading” would appear to be the common thread.

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?

They might be. But they’re still – and will be for a while yet – the most bracing and rewarding challenge to a writer, and the best measure of a writer’s value. In relation to everything else, books have the same relationship that Test cricket does to the one-day and 20/20 formats – the shorter variants may be fleetingly more popular, and much more superficially dazzling, but nobody remembers the games afterwards.

97817426122946. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Thought you’d never ask. It’s called “It’s Too Late To Die Young Now”, and it actually addresses – at much greater length – a few of the questions asked above. It’s a memoir of my late teens and early twenties, which I spent being a rock journalist in Sydney and in London, so writing it obliged me to spend a great deal of time with my half-a-lifetime-younger self. This creature mostly struck me, to my considerable relief, as basically quite a nice kid, if possibly somewhat untowardly pleased with himself – but then young people often are, especially when they’re that lucky.

(BBGuru: Publisher’s blurb -There is no field of journalism more mythologised or more derided than rock journalism – with good reason, according to Andrew Mueller.

And he’d know. Starting out writing for the Sydney music street press in his teens, by his early twenties, Mueller was working for the legendary UK music weekly Melody Maker, earning a living by listening to records, going to gigs, hanging out in seedy pubs and travelling the world with his favourite rock groups. In barely two years, he went from a childhood bedroom with a poster of Robert Smith to The Cure’s tour bus in the United States.

Though it didn’t seem like it at the time, the years Mueller was living the dream – the late-eighties to the mid-nineties – were actually the last hurrah for the music scene as we knew it. The era of flourishing live pub venues and record stores, and rock journalists as cultural arbiters and agitators, is now long gone.)

 Click here to order It’s Too Late to Die Young Now from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

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

I’m tempted to answer that if I thought my work was in any danger of changing anything, I’d stop doing it. I have reached that middle-aged understanding, at once terrifying and liberating, of how little I (or anyone else) really know. But I’m always happy when someone writes to me to tell me that as a consequence of reading something I wrote, they’ve thought something about something that they otherwise might not have, whether this has led them to completely rebuild the very foundations of their worldview – this, in truth, occurs rarely – or merely to check out a record they hadn’t heard, but have discovered they quite like.

8.Whom do you most admire and why?

Uncritical admiration of individuals is obvious folly – plenty of musicians, artists, writers, athletes and politicians whose work I’ve appreciated have been personally flawed, and in many cases altogether reprehensible. As a generality, though, I most admire those people whom journalists tend to cover least – which is those who quietly and unfussily get on with stuff, put in a solid day’s work doing whatever it is they do, help others out when they can, observe common courtesies, and generally do their small part to enlarge the space in which civility can flourish. You wouldn’t know it from consuming our news media, but they’re a majority.i-wouldn-t-start-from-here

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

I’m more or less entirely happy doing what I do, so I’d just like to keep doing it. At which point ambition, I guess, does come into it – as I have an ambition that sufficient people will buy this book to make someone think it’s worth paying me to write another one – but I don’t get to have a great deal of control over that. I’d also like to do more of the reporting I enjoy doing most, so I guess that I also have an ambition that more people will realise that long-form travel reportage and/or foreign correspondence is still worth paying for – but I don’t have much say in that either, unless a lottery win and/or the onset of insanity makes launching my own publication seem a plausible notion. In the nearish future, I would also like to make another album with my awesome country band, The Blazing Zoos, and have one of the songs on it recorded by George Strait or someone so I can have that guitar-shaped swimming pool I’ve always wanted.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Depends on my mood. Sometimes, exactly that: aspire, ie write and write and write and write, and read and read and read and read. Other times, a variant on “It’s too late for me, but save yourself.” But it’s mostly the former: keep at it, refuse to take no for answer, and develop an ironclad indifference to the rejection and indifference that most of your efforts will elicit. Because if you can get away with it, it’s the best job in world.

Andrew, thank you for playing.

Click here to order It’s Too Late to Die Young Now from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Need a book for the plane? The beach? The kids? Need travel advice? Visit Our Holiday Haven

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For a reader, the holidays are a thing of beauty. It’s your chance to spend your mornings reading, your lunchtimes reading, your afternoons reading, and your nights reading!

These holidays it’s time to sit back, put the feet up, and lose yourself in a great book. And our Holiday Haven has something for the whole family, from puzzle books for the kids to big fat novels for mum and dad.

Whether you’re catching up or slowing down, make books a part of your summer with Booktopia.

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Just because you’re on holidays doesn’t mean you can’t escape a little more. Drift off to other times, other lands, other lives. Our Beach Reads are the perfect books to leave and then come back to as you soak up the summer.

Click here to visit our Beach Reads collection

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In a time before Grand Theft Auto became a national pastime, we used to spend car trips in the back seat with a pile of puzzle books, sticker books, and activity books. Remember that? Leave the battery chargers behind and give the kids the perfect toy this holiday season.

Click here to visit our Boredom Busters collection

 Click here for more details or to buy  978140883629310122013  978054549856210122013

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The Great Southern Land has many faces. From ski fields to rainforests,  coastlines to deserts, creeks to oceans. Celebrate Australia in all its glory in this beautiful collection of books devoted to Down Under.

Click here to visit our Australia Wide collection

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Holidays mean you have the most important thing a reader needs. Time. And not only time to just read, but time to devote yourself to the best books of 2013. Books that will make you ponder the bigger things and broaden your horizons. Books that will stay with you forever. Gift your grey matter these holidays with this incredible collection.

Click here to visit our Summer Reading collection

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Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jesse Fink

author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

Six Sharp Questions


1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

The Youngs is a tribute to three extraordinary Scottish-Australian brothers – George, Angus and Malcolm Young – who changed the face of rock music around the world. It’s a critical appreciation that is told through the stories of 11 important Young songs, starting with The Easybeats’ ‘Good Times’ through to AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’; not a traditional biography. It’s the 40th anniversary of AC/DC’s formation in November and they’ve come a long way in that time to be the biggest band in the world. The Young brothers hurt a few people getting there. They’re very tough businessmen as well as being superb musicians. Last year they were adjudged to be worth about $300 million and didn’t make any music.

It’s my third book, a real departure from my last one, Laid Bare, and it was a lot of fun to write. It’s not just another AC/DC book. It’s offering something different. It tells a new story.

Grab a copy of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC here

2. Times pass. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

Getting an agent at a top literary agency in New York was probably the highlight, plus getting a film agent for Laid Bare in Hollywood. Having the right people in your corner makes all the difference to an author’s career. The Youngs is being published in the United States and I’m really looking forward to that.

Low point? A close personal friend losing her mother to cancer and then her father having a heart attack the same week. That put a lot of things in perspective for me. Live your life now rather than later.

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us?

It’s a line from Tony Currenti, one of the drummers on AC/DC’s 1975 debut album, High Voltage, who walked away from music in 1977 and opened up a pizzeria. He hasn’t touched a drum kit since, despite his playing appearing on AC/DC releases (High Voltage, ’74 Jailbreak, Backtracks, Bonfire) that have sold millions. I asked him why he didn’t continue with music.

He replied: “It was easy to give it away. With a pizza shop it’s not possible to be a musician. It’s one or the other.” I’m still laughing at that. Quote of a lifetime. He played with AC/DC for god’s sake, was even asked to join the band, and he gave it all up to work with pizza dough. He’s a wonderful character.

4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.

Completely conform to the stereotype. I don’t start the day without a coffee at my favourite café in Potts Point and might as well live there. I’d like to. They took out the power points in spite of me. I do a bit of work on my laptop – the low-level ambient noise helps, I find – then I go for a run to the Opera House and back, stopping by my local gym. Running helps me formulate ideas and I always listen to music when I’m doing it. In the afternoons I go back to the café and do more writing on my laptop.

When I’m in book mode I tend to obsess a bit with rewrites and edits and that will see me work well into the early hours of the morning. It’s very hard to maintain a relationship while writing a book. You are consumed by the work, even when you’re not sitting down, writing. The majority of the work is mental: just thinking about what you’re going to write.

This book also involved a fair bit of travelling, research and countless hours spent trying to lock down interviews with people who had never been interviewed before. Plus many more hours of transcribing: an onerous task. I’m a crappy typist.

5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

The marketplace has never determined what I’ve written or how I’ve written it. I’ve always approached a project being absolutely passionate about the subject rather than motivated by commercial opportunity. You don’t write books for the money. But I certainly appreciate the need to market books in a certain way and I learned a lot from Laid Bare, especially how writers are marketed and the crucial role of marketing in modern publishing. The fact that AC/DC was having their 40th anniversary in 2013 was just a bonus.

I wanted to write the book for other, more personal reasons, which I explain in the book. The Youngs aren’t going out of their way to write it themselves. They’re notoriously private.

6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

You would probably want to select books that will awaken their sense of wonder, that are fun to read, that compel them to think about their place in the world, what they can contribute, and what it means to be human. So war/genocide, sex/relationships, popular culture, travel and soccer (the sport the world plays) are good places to start: Swimming to Cambodia by Spalding Gray, Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, If You’re Talking To Me, Your Career Must Be In Trouble by Joe Queenan, Chasing The Monsoon by Alexander Frater and The Hand of God by Jimmy Burns.

Jesse, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC here

Congratulations to the Winners of Booktopia’s August Competitions! And the winners are (drumroll please)…

MatthewVanFleet competition31072013

Matthew Van Fleet prize pack

One lucky customers has won this Matthew Van Fleet prize pack:

And the winner is…

P. Toner, West Burleigh, QLD

Click here to buy Munch from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

Simon and Schuster collection worth over $300!

One lucky customer has won this Simon and Schuster collection .

And the winner is…

T. Ahern, Bonville, NSW

Click here to view the Simon and Schuster Collection at Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

Middle School prize
Middle School prize packs

Five lucky customers will receive this Middle School pack containing a bag, writing pad and pencil.

And the winners are…

S. Thompson, Jerrabomberra, NSW

C. Venn, Cobden, VIC

A. Madytianos, Wheelers Hill, VIC

S. Karlsson, Little River, VIC

K. Aberdeen, Kenmore, QLD

J. Gould, Black Rock, VIC

Click here to view the Middle School series at Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

One Direction – Where We Are $100 iTunes Voucher

One lucky customer has won will receive this $100 iTunes Voucher.

And the winner is…

H. Dalrymple, Fitzroy, VIC

Click here to buy Where We Are from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

One Direction Category BannerOne Direction – The Official Annual 2014 $100 iTunes Voucher

One lucky customer has won will receive this $100 iTunes Voucher.

And the winner is…

C. Hutchinson, Padbury, WA

Click here to buy the One Direction: The Official Annual 2014 from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

dork diaries pack tshirt frontDork Diaries t-shirt and bag

Five lucky customers will receive this Dork Diaries t-shirt and bag.

And the winners are…

H, Nicholson, Tara, QLD

M, Dal Cin, Sydney, NSW

C. Franzi,  Essendon, VIC

C. Coombes, Tarragindi,  QLD

M. Rosewarne, Buninyong, VIC

Click here to view the Dork Diaries series at Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

Walker Prize PackWalker Books Prize Pack

One lucky customer has won this Walker Books prize pack.

And the winner is…

A. Taylor, Portland,  NSW

Click here to view the My Dad Thinks He’s Funny series from Booktopia,
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If you are one of the lucky winners, you will be notified by email shortly.

Max Barry, author of Lexicon, Machine Man, and more, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

lexiconThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Max Barry

author of Lexicon, Machine Man and many more

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 country Gippsland, Victoria. We moved around a little then returned for my high schooling. There isn’t much in country Gippsland for a teenager. It’s the kind of place where you make your own fun.

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

I always wanted to be an author. I didn’t always think it would be possible, in the sense of writing full-time without also starving to death, but it was the goal. I used to write stories at recess time in primary school.
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Dispatches from Caroline Baum embedded with the literary forces at Adelaide Writers’ Week

Kevin Powers

So there I was feeling grumpy about the intense heat  of thirty five degrees as I made my way to talk to Kevin Powers about his remarkable novel The Yellow Birds which yesterday won the Pen Hemingway award.

But then I thought hey, get a grip, what must it be like to be in a place that is hotter than Hades AND wearing heavy  protective  gear AND in combat?

So that put things in perspective.

Of all the things Kevin shared during the session one sticks in my mind, the fact that his mum sent him Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and that he read that in Iraq. What a surreal place to discover magical realism!

A funny thing happens at these gatherings, threads start to weave between totally separate conversations so that they appear to be part of a carefully woven fabric. This happened when we started talking about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a woman in the audience asked a sad question about damaged young souls.

Oliver Burkeman

Just the day before I had been talking with the marvellous Oliver Burkeman about his book The Antidote. We touched on the work of Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism and many other titles that are not about short term results and have sound  research cred, as opposed to the plethora of self-help books that have the same success rate as most diet books.

Seligman had been Thinker in Residence in Adelaide last year, implementing his positive psychology program in schools, and now he is working with the US Army on a program to develop resilience in soldiers who are suffering from PTSD. If only such a program had existed when Kevin Powers came back from Iraq. Fortunately, he has found catharsis and healing in writing his beautiful troubling book.

Edward St Aubyn

As I was leaving I caught a moment of Charlotte Wood in conversation with Nick Jose , demonstrating the technique for chopping an onion without tears that she shares in Love and Hunger. Quite an achievement when you have neither onion, knife or chopping board.

But  that’s the point of listening to these marvellous encounters: you don’t need the onion, you just need your imagination and a willingness to listen.

Also caught a fragment of Edward St Aubyn talking about his new novel At Last, sounding very laconic and British and like a new Evelyn Waugh. Can’t wait.

from Caroline Baum
at Adelaide Writers’ Week 2013


Adelaide Writers’ Week brings together some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers for a celebration of the written word that will surprise, delight, challenge and entertain readers of all ages. Adelaide’s iconic literary festival continues with a whole new host of writers, stories and literary adventures until 7th March.

Dispatches from Caroline Baum embedded with the literary forces at Adelaide Writers’ Week

Author: Edward St Aubyn Some writers from Europe got stuck in Dubai due to bad weather and delays, and all the hotels were full so they arrived in a pretty dishevelled state but Edward St Aubyn and Fuchsia Dunlop recovered quickly from their ordeal.

It was great to get Steven Poole’s take on the UK horsemeat scandal as part of our session talking around his ranting entertaining polemic, You Aren’t What You Eat! For him , the current scandal exposes the hypocrisy of the British attitude towards food as a class issue. When we broadened the scope of our conversation he was unfamiliar with the excesses of fine dining pet food, and was stunned when I told him of liver flavoured meringues, sold in a luxe pet shop in Sydney. Author: Fuchsia Dunlop

Audience feedback I got later was that he was a bit sneering and cynical and his views were too extreme for the sake of provocation, failing to take into account the middle ground where many of us are trying to eat well and responsibly and not in fancy restaurants but using cooking as a way to express love and creativity to feed our families and friends.

I heard raves from  those lucky enough to hear Peter Robb talk about Lives, his collection of essays about everyone from artists to serial killers and enjoyed a few snatched moments of NZ writer Emily Perkins talking about how in her novel The Forests, she was trying to avoid writing that was exposition all, aiming for a more fragmented style of narrative, which I guess is closer to how we mostly experience life. She is such a great stylist and such a thoughtful reader, and hearing her talk about Katherine Mansfield’s short stories made me want to go back and read them again.

That’s one of the treats of these festivals, getting recommendations from authors of books they admire.

If only there were time to read them.

from Caroline Baum
at Adelaide Writers’ Week 2013


Adelaide Writers’ Week brings together some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers for a celebration of the written word that will surprise, delight, challenge and entertain readers of all ages. Adelaide’s iconic literary festival continues with a whole new host of writers, stories and literary adventures until 7th March.

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Tara Moss, Michael Robotham, Paul Merrill

I interview writers every week here on the Booktopia Blog.

My Ten Terrifying Questions have been answered by over 250 published authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Miles Franklin shortlisted Favel Parret and Rebecca James.

In each of these interviews I ask the following question:

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Now, for the edification of aspiring writers everywhere, I will pull together answers to this question from three very different writers and post them here once week. Some will inspire, some will confound but all will be interesting and helpful in their own way…


“Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it – and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one. Be wary of ‘writing rules’ and advice. Do it your way.

Writing is a gift.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to pre-order your signed copy of Assassin (with a FREE copy of SIREN) from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

*While stocks last


“Write, write and when you’re sick of writing, write some more. It’s the only way to get better.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Say You’re Sorry from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


“Give up now – there are enough books already. But if you absolutely have to write, go for mummy porn.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy A Polar Bear Ate My Head from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

For more advice from published writers go here


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