Best of Booktopia TV: Keneally, Tsiolkas and Nunn in conversation with John Purcell

Tom Keneally – Shame and the Captives

shame-and-the-captivesJohn Purcell’s Review

One of the drawbacks of living in a society obsessed with the new is that we fail to recognise the simple fact that many things get better with time. There is just no story in ‘Author Gains Wisdom by Living a Long Interesting Life: Talking, Travelling, Reading and Writing’.

But there should be. Someone gaining wisdom should be news. It so seldom happens.

Tom Keneally should be news. His last two books are a direct challenge to the more newsworthy overnight success authors. Both are the result of fifty years of writing both fiction and non-fiction. And it shows. Both Daughters of Mars and his latest novel Shame and the Captives give younger writers a lesson in writing.

More details…

Judy Nunn – Elianne

In the tough world of Queensland sugar mills, it’s not only cane that is crushed … elianne

In 1881 ‘Big Jim’ Durham, an English soldier of fortune and profiteer, ruthlessly creates for Elianne Desmarais, his young French wife, the finest of the great sugar mills of the Southern Queensland cane fields, and names it in her honour.

The massive estate becomes a self-sufficient fortress, a cane-consuming monster and home to hundreds of workers, but ‘Elianne’ and its masters, the Durham Family, have dark and distant secrets; secrets that surface in the wildest and most inflammatory of times, the 1960s.

More details…

Christos Tsiolkas – Barracuda

John Purcell’s Reviewbarracuda

This is a difficult book to write about. It has a personality rather than a plot. It is built upon emotion rather than reason. It is all shouts and whispers and nothing in between.

As a boy Danny Kelly wants only one thing – to be the greatest swimmer of all time. And his dream isn’t farfetched. His coach believes he can do it. His mother is behind him, waking early and driving him to the pool. And his peers think he can do it, though they resent him for his talent.

More details…

Countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist: 20-11 as voted by you


Welcome to day four of the countdown of Australia’s Favourite Novelists, as voted by you, to celebrate our month of Australian Stories.

Don’t forget to pencil in January 24th on the calender as we celebrate the Australia Day weekend in style with the announcement of Australia’s top 10 Favourite Novelists!

Today the countdown continues, 20-11 as voted by you.


20. Geraldine Brooks

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issues.

people-of-the-book

Our Pick

In 1982 she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City. Later she worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans.

She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel March. Her first novel, Year of Wonders, is an international bestseller, and People of the Book is a New York Times bestseller translated into 20 languages. She is also the author of the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence.

Click here to go to Geraldine Brooks’ author page


19. Rachael Johns

An English teacher by trade, a supermarket owner by day, a mum 24/7, and a writer by night. That’s some of the ingredients that make up one of the most successful Romance Writers in Australia, Rachael Johns.

In a relatively short space of time, Rachael has shown herself a force to be reckoned with, helping to bolster a new movement in Australian Romance writing. At 17 she began writing, enlightened by the thought that she could create whatever ending she liked, and almost a decade later, after many, many attempts at writing different types of novels, she joined the Romance Writers of Australia association.

outback-dreams

Our Pick

It was there that Rachael learnt there was more to writing a book than just typing out random thoughts. She learnt about the craft, conflict, consistent characters, etc, and also discovered that she loved contemporary romance.

She lives in rural Western Australia with her husband and their three children.

Congratulations Rachael on coming 10th in the vote for Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2013.

Click here to go to Rachael Johns’ author page


18. Ruth Park

Another in a long line of writers born elsewhere yet able to capture Australian life so beautifully, Ruth Park’s writing has had a lasting effect on both adults and children for over 60 years.

Born in Auckland to a Scottish father and a Swedish mother, Park moved to Australia in 1942 where she had lined up a job with another newspaper.

Our Pick

Her first novel was The Harp in the South, a graphic story of Irish slum life in Sydney, which has been translated into 37 languages. Even though it was acclaimed by literary critics, the book proved controversial with sections of the public due to its candour. It remains her most popular novel and has never been out of print.

Between 1946 and 2004, she received numerous awards for her contributions to literature in both Australia and internationally including the Miles Franklin Award for Swords and Crowns and Rings in 1977. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1987.

Click here to go to Ruth Park’s author page


17. Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s writers. He is the author of over 20 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. Over the past 15 years Andy’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, won over 50 children’s choice awards, been adapted as a television cartoon series and sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

the-39-storey-treehouse

Our Pick

Andy has had a long-standing collaboration with illustrator Terry Denton. Their latest collaboration is The 13-Storey Treehouse which was voted ABIA’s 2012 Book of the Year for Older Readers, and September 2012 sees the hugely anticipated The 26-Storey Treehouse. Meanwhile Andy and Terry are also working on a collection of inspirational writing exercises called Once Upon a Slime for English teachers and emerging writers and illustrators to be published in April 2013.

Click here to go to Andy Griffiths’ author page


16. Kate Forsyth

Kate 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.

the-wild-girl

Our Pick

Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with The Gypsy Crown – which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, The Lightning Bolt, was also a CBCA Notable Book.

Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback, a bad-tempered black cat, and many thousands of books.

Click here to go to Kate Forsyth’s author page


15. Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas was born in Melbourne in 1965. Loaded, his first novel, was published in 1995 and later made into the award-winning film Head On. In 1996 he collaborated with Sasha Soldatow on the dialogue Jump Cuts. His novel The Jesus Man was published in 1999.

barracuda

Our Pick

He is the author of several plays including Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?, Dead Caucasians and Non Parlo di Salo, co-written with Spiro Economopoulos.

His critically acclaimed novel Dead Europe was published in 2005 and in 2008 he reached bestselling status with the bold The Slap which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award.

Click here to go to Christos Tsiolkas’ author page


14. Isobelle Carmody

Isobelle Carmody is Australia’s most highly acclaimed author of fantasy titles for older readers.

She began her first book, Obernewtyn, when she was fourteen and since then she has written some of our greatest works of fantasy. She is perhaps best known for her Obernewtyn Chronicles and for her novel The Gathering (joint winner of the 1993 Children’s Literature Peace Prize and the 1994 CBC Book of the Year Award).

the-sending

Our Pick

Another of her novels, Greylands, was joint winner of the 1997 Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction – Young Adult Division, and was named a White Raven at the 1998 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. She has also written many short stories for both children and adults.

Isobelle divides her time between Prague in the Czech Republic and her home on the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Click here to go to Isobelle Carmody’s author page


13. Fiona McIntosh

Fiona McIntosh is a fantasy author originally born in Brighton, England. At the age of nineteen, she travelled first to Paris and later to Australia, where she has lived ever since.

She worked for many years in the travel industry but after her shift to full-time writing she roams the world researching and drawing inspiration for her novels.

the-tailor-s-girl

Our Pick

Adelaide is her home base, which she shares with her husband and twin sons, but Fiona does most of her writing from the peace of southern Tasmania.

To date she has written 24 adult novels across various genres and seven novels for children.

Click here to go to Fiona McIntosh’s author page


12. Rachael Treasure

fifty-bales-of-hay

Our Pick

Rachael Treasure currently lives in southern rural Tasmania with her two young children, Rosie and Charlie. Her three novels, Jillaroo, The Stockmen, and The Rouseabout, have all been bestsellers in Australia, selling more than 100,000 combined copies by the end of 2007. In 2008 Random House signed her to a 4 book contract for British release.

A former jillaroo and reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on rural affairs, she is a passionate working dog trainer and in 2007 received Tasmania’s rural woman of the year award.

Click here to go to Rachael Treasure’s author page


JohnFlanagan

11. John Flanagan

John Flanagan’s bestselling Ranger’s Apprentice adventure series originally comprised twenty short stories, which John wrote to encourage his twelve-year-old son, Michael, to enjoy reading. The series has come a long way since then.

the-royal-ranger

Our Pick

Now sold to more than twenty countries, the series regularly appears on the New York Times Bestseller List and has been shortlisted in children’s book awards in Australia and overseas. John, a former television and advertising writer, lives with his wife, Leonie, in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly. He is currently writing further titles in the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

Click here to go to John Flanagan’s author page


Check out our Australian Stories section, full of the best Aussie Titles as well as prizes and giveaways!


Don’t forget to come back tomorrow at 10am as we continue to countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Christos Tsiolkas chats with John Purcell about anger, happiness and the power of failure

Writing a follow up to The Slap was never going to be easy for Christos Tsiolkas. John Purcell casts an eye over his latest, Barracuda.

ChristosTsiolkasThis is a difficult book to write about. It has a personality rather than a plot. It is built upon emotion rather than reason. It is all shouts and whispers and nothing in between.

As a boy Danny Kelly wants only one thing – to be the greatest swimmer of all time. And his dream isn’t farfetched. His coach believes he can do it. His mother is behind him, waking early and driving him to the pool. And his peers think he can do it, though they resent him for his talent.

Every waking moment of Danny Kelly’s life is lived in pursuit of that single goal – which makes him a bit of a shit.

Christos Tsiolkas doesn’t deliver Danny’s story in sequence. Because Danny’s life isn’t linear. There is one central event, one devastating moment in Danny’s life and all other moments are either before or after it. He has no past, present, or future.  Everything races towards and circles back to that event. If we want to understand Danny we need to understand this.

Barracuda questions our obsession with winning and winners. It examines failure, shame and regret. It asks whether we can ever be truly forgiven for our sins. And it does so in naked fearless prose. This is not an uplifting book, but unlike Eyrie, there is love and there is hope. And it suggests we are only as isolated from others as we allow ourselves to be.

For more details about Barracuda click here

Barracuda

by Christos Tsiolkas

Tender and brutal and blazingly brilliant, the new novel from the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap takes an unflinching look at modern Australia – at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families – and asks what it means to be a good person and what it takes to become one.

He asked the water to lift him, to carry him, to avenge him. He made his muscles shape his fury, made every stroke declare his hate. And the water obeyed; the water would give him his revenge. No one could beat him, no one came close.

His whole life, Danny Kelly’s only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he’s ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.

His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny’s win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys-he’s Barracuda, he’s the psycho, he’s everything they want to be but don’t have the guts to get there. He’s going to show them all.

He would be first, everything would be alright when he came first, all would be put back in place. When he thought of being the best, only then did he feel calm.

Should we teach our children to win, or should we teach them to live? How do we make and remake our lives? Can we atone for our past? Can we overcome shame? And what does it mean to be a good person?

A searing and provocative novel by the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap, Barracuda is an unflinching look at modern Australia, at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families. It is about class and sport and politics and migration and education. It contains everything a person is: family and friendship and love and work, the identities we inhabit and discard, the means by which we fill the holes at our centre. Barracuda is brutal, tender and blazingly brilliant; everything we have come to expect from this fearless vivisector of our lives and world.

For more details about Barracuda click here

We also have signed copies of The Slap

REVIEW: Barracuda By Christos Tsiolkas (Review by John Purcell)

Writing a follow up to The Slap was never going to be easy for Christos Tsiolkas. John Purcell casts an eye over his latest, Barracuda.

ChristosTsiolkasThis is a difficult book to write about. It has a personality rather than a plot. It is built upon emotion rather than reason. It is all shouts and whispers and nothing in between.

As a boy Danny Kelly wants only one thing – to be the greatest swimmer of all time. And his dream isn’t farfetched. His coach believes he can do it. His mother is behind him, waking early and driving him to the pool. And his peers think he can do it, though they resent him for his talent.

Every waking moment of Danny Kelly’s life is lived in pursuit of that single goal – which makes him a bit of a shit.

Christos Tsiolkas doesn’t deliver Danny’s story in sequence. Because Danny’s life isn’t linear. There is one central event, one devastating moment in Danny’s life and all other moments are either before or after it. He has no past, present, or future.  Everything races towards and circles back to that event. If we want to understand Danny we need to understand this.

Barracuda questions our obsession with winning and winners. It examines failure, shame and regret. It asks whether we can ever be truly forgiven for our sins. And it does so in naked fearless prose. This is not an uplifting book, but unlike Eyrie, there is love and there is hope. And it suggests we are only as isolated from others as we allow ourselves to be.

For more details about Barracuda click here

Barracuda

by Christos Tsiolkas

Tender and brutal and blazingly brilliant, the new novel from the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap takes an unflinching look at modern Australia – at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families – and asks what it means to be a good person and what it takes to become one.

He asked the water to lift him, to carry him, to avenge him. He made his muscles shape his fury, made every stroke declare his hate. And the water obeyed; the water would give him his revenge. No one could beat him, no one came close.

His whole life, Danny Kelly’s only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he’s ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.

His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny’s win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys-he’s Barracuda, he’s the psycho, he’s everything they want to be but don’t have the guts to get there. He’s going to show them all.

He would be first, everything would be alright when he came first, all would be put back in place. When he thought of being the best, only then did he feel calm.

Should we teach our children to win, or should we teach them to live? How do we make and remake our lives? Can we atone for our past? Can we overcome shame? And what does it mean to be a good person?

A searing and provocative novel by the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap, Barracuda is an unflinching look at modern Australia, at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families. It is about class and sport and politics and migration and education. It contains everything a person is: family and friendship and love and work, the identities we inhabit and discard, the means by which we fill the holes at our centre. Barracuda is brutal, tender and blazingly brilliant; everything we have come to expect from this fearless vivisector of our lives and world.

For more details about Barracuda click here

Jackie Collins, Christos Tsiolkas, and the best-selling foreign books in China

Last week Booktopia’s John Purcell sat down, on separate days, with Jackie Collins and Christos Tsiolkas (two very different authors) to chat about their life, work, and new books Confessions of a Wild Child and Barracuda. It was a wonderful fly-on-the-wall experience to see these two writers at very different periods of their careers.

One resounding impression was that, while the world is getting smaller and smaller, the effect a book reaching a worldwide audience has on a writer is still excitingly tangible. These days Jackie Collins could sneeze onto a notepad and it would become a worldwide bestseller (thank goodness she hasn’t, her latest book is a thoroughly entertaining read), whereas Tsiolkas wrote acclaimed novels like Loaded and Dead Europe before finding recent global success with The Slap (copies of which he has been kind enough to sign, so don’t miss out if you haven’t read it yet).

John asked both of them about their popularity in unlikely territories, to which they both had the same answer.

Both Jackie Collins and Christos Tsiolkas, authors that at times have fallen foul of certain conservative sections of society, are both published and have found unlikely success in China.

Which got us thinking. What are the most popular foreign books in China? And low and behold, we’ve dug up the 2012 best-selling foreign books in China.

There’s some predictable titles, and some surprises…

Best-Selling Foreign Books in China

Fiction

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez

2. Before I Go to Sleep, by S. J. Watson

3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

4. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

5. Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami

6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

7. Byakuyako (“Into the White Night”), by Keigo Higashino

8. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger

9. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez

10. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown

Non-Fiction

1. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

2. The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

3. The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino

4. Rip It Up: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life, by Richard Wiseman

5. Youth, It’s Painful, by Rando Kim

6. On China, by Henry Kissinger

7. Dale Carnegie’s Lifetime Plan for Success, by Dale Carnegie

8. Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life, by Nick Vujicic

9. A Global History: From Prehistory to the 21st Century, by L. S. Stavrianos

10. A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking

Children

1. Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window, by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi

2. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White

3. Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling

5. The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden

6. Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl

7. Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney

8. The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling

10. Tiger Team: Witch Swamp & Ghost Castle, by Thomas Brezina

Click here to see Booktopia’s 100 Bestselling titles this week
all discounted by at least 30%

Allen and Unwin joins our Booktoberfest celebration – you could win a 20 book prize pack!

How would you like to give everyone you love a book for Christmas… without you having to pay a cent?

To help us celebrate Booktoberfest our friends at Allen & Unwin are giving you the chance to win all of the books in their Booktoberfest Showcase.

Order any of the books in the Allen & Unwin Booktoberfest Showcase to go into the draw to win a collection of 20 gorgeous books, including new fiction, non fiction and children’s books.

Click here to enter the Allen & Unwin showcase

Allen & Unwin Booktoberfest Highlight

Barracuda

by Christos Tsiolkas

Tender and brutal and blazingly brilliant, the new novel from the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap takes an unflinching look at modern Australia – at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families – and asks what it means to be a good person and what it takes to become one.

He asked the water to lift him, to carry him, to avenge him. He made his muscles shape his fury, made every stroke declare his hate. And the water obeyed; the water would give him his revenge. No one could beat him, no one came close.

His whole life, Danny Kelly’s only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he’s ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.

His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny’s win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys-he’s Barracuda, he’s the psycho, he’s everything they want to be but don’t have the guts to get there. He’s going to show them all.

He would be first, everything would be alright when he came first, all would be put back in place. When he thought of being the best, only then did he feel calm.

Should we teach our children to win, or should we teach them to live? How do we make and remake our lives? Can we atone for our past? Can we overcome shame? And what does it mean to be a good person?

A searing and provocative novel by the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap, Barracuda is an unflinching look at modern Australia, at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families. It is about class and sport and politics and migration and education. It contains everything a person is: family and friendship and love and work, the identities we inhabit and discard, the means by which we fill the holes at our centre. Barracuda is brutal, tender and blazingly brilliant; everything we have come to expect from this fearless vivisector of our lives and world.

Click here to buy Barracuda from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist: 50-41 as voted by you

Booktopia would like to give a massive thanks again to everyone who has voted in to decide who is Australia’s Favourite Novelist. Without you we wouldn’t be able to have this celebration of outstanding Aussie Writers.

The votes have been counted and we have our top 50, and it’s a wonderful list full of surprises. It reflects the diversity and vibrancy of Australian Literature both past and present, as well as a reminder of an exciting future ahead of us.

At Midday (EST) every day this week we’ll be announcing the list in groups of ten. The top ten will be announced at Midday on Friday the 25th of January.

So without further ado, here’s the 50-41 placings for Australia’s Favourite Novelist, as voted by you.


50. Peter Temple

Peter Temple is the author of nine novels, including four books in the Jack Irish series. He has won the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction five times, and his widely acclaimed novels have been published in over twenty countries.

Our Pick

The Broken Shore won the UK’s prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger for the best crime novel of 2007 and Truth won the 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the first time a crime writer has won an award of this calibre anywhere in the world.

Temple’s first two novels Bad Debts and Black Tide have been made into films with Guy Pearce starring as Jack Irish.

Click here to go to Peter Temple’s author page


49. Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff was born and brought up in Perth. He grew up reading and collecting books and spent most of his free time playing Dungeons & Dragons.

He graduated with an Arts degree and then spent ten years in the field of creative advertising for which he won several awards.

Our Pick

Our Pick

Jay is the author of The Lotus Trilogy, a Japanese-inspired fantasy series published in 2012.

He currently lives in Melbourne with his wife and dog.

Click here to go to Jay Kristoff’s author page


48. Nikki Gemmell

Nikki Gemmell has written the novels, Shiver, Cleave, Lovesong, The Bride Stripped Bare, Wih My Body and The Book Of Rapture, as well as the non-fiction book, Pleasure: An Almanac for the Heart. Her work has been internationally critically acclaimed and translated into many languages.

In France she’s been described as a female Jack Kerouac, in Australia as one of the most original and engaging authors of her generation and in the US as one of the few truly original voices to emerge in a long time.

Our Pick

Our Pick

The French literary review “Lire” has included her in a list of what it calls the fifty most important writers in the world – the ones it believes will have a significant influence on the literature of the 21st century. The criteria for selection included a very individual voice and unmistakeable style, as well as an original choice of subject. Nikki Gemmell was selected along with such novelists as Rick Moody, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Froer, Rohinton Mistry, Tim Winton, Colum McCann, Michel Faber and Hari Kunzru among others.

Click here to go to Nikki Gemmell’s author page


47. Charlotte Wood

Charlotte Wood is the author of four novels – Pieces of a Girl, The Submerged Cathedral, The Children and Animal People, as well as a collection of short personal reflections on cooking, Love & Hunger.

She was also editor of the anthology of writing about siblings, Brothers & Sisters (2009). Her books have been critically well received and frequently short-listed for prizes.

Our Pick

Our Pick

Animal People was longlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award. She has a background in journalism and has also taught writing at a variety of levels

She currently lives in Sydney. She is working on a fifth novel. Charlotte Wood also writes about food and cooking at her blog, http://www.howtoshuckanoyster.com.

Click here to go to Charlotte Wood’s author page


46. Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s writers. He is the author of over 20 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. Over the past 15 years Andy’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, won over 50 children’s choice awards, been adapted as a television cartoon series and sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

Our Pick

Our Pick

Andy has had a long-standing collaboration with illustrator Terry Denton. Their latest collaboration is The 13-Storey Treehouse which was voted ABIA’s 2012 Book of the Year for Older Readers, and September 2012 sees the hugely anticipated The 26-Storey Treehouse. Meanwhile Andy and Terry are also working on a collection of inspirational writing exercises called Once Upon a Slime for English teachers and emerging writers and illustrators to be published in April 2013.

Click here to go to Andy Griffiths’ author page


45. Di Morrissey

Di Morrissey  is one of Australia’s most popular female novelists. She grew up in Pittwater, north of Sydney.

She became a journalist on London’s Fleet Street, and worked for CBS in Honolulu. After moving back to Australia, she published her first book ‘Heart of the Dreaming’ which instantly became a bestseller. Since then she has published another 20 bestsellers.

Our Pick

Our Pick

Morrissey is an environmentalist and activist. She has been a longtime supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi and has visited Burma several times where she is now helping raise funds to build a monastery school in Sagaing. Morrissey’s latest book, The Golden Land, is set in Burma.

Click here to go to Di Morrissey’s author page


44. Christina Stead

Christina Stead (1902-1983) was an Australian novelist and short-story writer acclaimed for her satirical wit and psychological penetration. She wrote 15 novels and several volumes of short stories in her lifetime.

Her first novel, Seven Poor Men of Sydney, dealt with the lives of radicals and dockworkers. Stead’s best-known novel, with the ironic title The Man Who Loved Children, is largely based on her own childhood, and was first published in 1940. It was not until the poet Randall Jarrell wrote the introduction for a new American edition in 1965 that the novel began to receive a larger audience.

Our Pick

Our Pick

In 2005, the magazine Time included The Man Who Loved Children in their “100 Best Novels from 1923–2005″, and in 2010 American author Jonathan Franzen hailed the novel as a “masterpiece” in The New York Times. Stead’s Letty Fox: Her Luck, often regarded as an equally fine novel, was officially banned in Australia for several years because it was considered amoral and salacious.

Click here to go to Christina Stead’s author page


43. Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas was born in Melbourne in 1965. Loaded, his first novel, was published in 1995 and later made into the award-winning film Head On. In 1996 he collaborated with Sasha Soldatow on the dialogue Jump Cuts. His novel The Jesus Man was published in 1999.

Our Pick

Our Pick

He is the author of several plays including Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?, Dead Caucasians and Non Parlo di Salo, co-written with Spiro Economopoulos.

His critically acclaimed novel Dead Europe was published in 2005 and in 2008 he reached bestselling status with the bold The Slap which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award.

Click here to go to Christos Tsiolkas’ author page


42. Rachael Treasure

Rachael Treasure currently lives in southern rural Tasmania with her two young children, Rosie and Charlie. Her three novels, Jillaroo, The Stockmen, and The Rouseabout, have all been bestsellers in Australia, selling more than 100,000 combined copies by the end of 2007. in 2008 Random House signed her to a 4 book contract for British release.

Our Pick

Our Pick

A former jillaroo and reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on rural affairs, she is a passionate working dog trainer and in 2007 received Tasmania’s rural woman of the year award.

Click here to go to Rachael Treasure’s author page


41. Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman grew up in England and came to Australia when he was sixteen. He was a frozen-chicken thawer, sugar-mill rolling-stock unhooker, fashion-industry trainee, student, department-store Santa, TV producer, newspaper columnist and screenwriter until he wrote his first children’s novel in 1993.

Our Pick

He is now one of the world’s best-known and loved children’s authors. Gleitzman tackles tough subjects in a funny and offbeat way . He has never set out to write “issues books” and says that his writing is as much for himself as for his readers.

Click here to go to Morris Gleitzman’s author page


Don’t forget to come back tomorrow at midday as we continue to countdown to Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

10 Australian books to read before you die – First Tuesday Book Club

banner_10_aussie_booksThe First Tuesday Bookclub on the ABC recently held a popular vote for the 10 Australian books to read before you die. We watched with bated breath as the list was released, and thought we’d share it with you it case you missed it.

While there will be as much talk about the books not on the list as on it, it really is a great place to start with Australia novels. If there’s anything on this list you haven’t read, we strongly recommend checking them out.

Here we go…


cloudstreet

1. Cloudstreet

By Tim Winton

From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch. For twenty years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts. Tim Winton’s funny, sprawling saga is an epic novel of love and acceptance. Winner of the Miles Franklin and NBC awards in Australia, Cloudstreet is a celebration of people, places and rhythms which has fuelled imaginations world-wide.

About The Author
Tim Winton grew up on the coast of Western Australia, where he continues to live. He is the author of eighteen books. His epic novel Cloudstreet was adapted for the theater and has been performed around the world. His two most recent novels, Dirt Music and The Riders, were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has won the prestigious Miles Franklin Award three times, and in 1998 the Australian National Trust declared Winton a national living treasure. The Turning has already won the 2005 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

(Editors note: Cloudstreet also topped the Booktopia 50 Must Read Australian Novels vote some time back. See the full results by clicking here)


2. The Book Thiefthe-book-thief

by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel’s father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word – Kommunist – and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother’s eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

The Book Thief is a story about the power of words to make worlds. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

About the Author
Markus Zusak lives in Sydney with his wife. He has written four novels for young adults: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry and The Messenger. The Boof Thief is his first adult novel.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


3. A Fortunate Lifea-fortunate-life

by A.B. Facey

A Fortunate Life is an autobiographical novel written by Albert Facey and was written in 1981 (nine months before his death) and tells the complete story of his life. It chronicles his early life in Western Australia, his experiences as a private during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I and his return to civilian life after the war. It also documents his extraordinary life of hardship, loss, friendship and love. During the initial days of its publication, Albert Facey became a nationwide celebrity.

The autobiography begins at his birth. He was born in Maidstone, Victoria, Australia. His father died on the Goldfields of Western Australia in 1896 of typhoid fever and Albert’s mother left her children to the care of their grandmother shortly afterwards. In 1899 he moved from Victoria to Western Australia with his grandmother and three of his six older siblings. Most of his childhood was spent in the Wickepin area.

He started working on farms at the age of eight and had little education and therefore could not read or write. As a child he taught himself to read and write. By the age of 14 he was an experienced bushman, and at 18 a professional boxer. He was badly injured at Gallipoli in August 1915 during the First World War, in which two of his brothers were killed. While recuperating he met his future wife Evelyn Gibson and they were married in Bunbury in August 1916. The Faceys lived in East Perth before returning to Wickepin six years later with their children, where they lived until 1934. The couple had seven children – the eldest, Barney, was killed during the Second World War – and twenty-eight grandchildren.

About the Author
Despite his renowned life, Facey considered his life to be simple and “had no idea what all the fuss was about”. He received many letters and appeared on many talk shows. He notably became one of Australia’s most famous heroes. When asked on an interview, where the name of the book originated. He replied, “I called it ‘A Fortunate Life’ because I truly believe that is what I had”.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


4. The Power of Onethe-power-of-one

by Bryce Courtenay

First with your head and then with your heart . . .So says Hoppie Groenwald, boxing champion, to a seven-year-old boy who dreams of being the welterweight champion of the world. For the young Peekay, it is a piece of advice that he will carry with him throughout his life.Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.Bryce Courtenay’s classic bestseller is a story of the triumph of the human spirit – a spellbinding tale for all ages.

About the Author
Formally an advertising executive, Bryce Courtenay was one of Australia’s best loved writers. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra in October 2012. In September 2012, Courtenay announced that he was suffering from terminal gastric cancer. He died on 22 November at his Canberra home.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Harp In The South

5. The Harp in the South

by Ruth Park

Ruth Park’s classic novel The Harp in the South is one of Australia’s greatest novels. Hugh and Margaret Darcy are raising their family in Sydney amid the brothels, grog shops and run-down boarding houses of Surry Hills, where money is scarce and life is not easy.

Filled with beautifully drawn characters that will make you laugh as much as cry, this Australian classic will take you straight back to the colourful slums of Sydney with convincing depth, careful detail and great heart.

About the Author
Born in New Zealand, Ruth Park came to Australia in 1942 to continue her career as a journalist. She married the writer D’Arcy Niland and travelled with him through the north-west of New South Wales before settling in Sydney where she became a full-time writer.

Ruth Park wrote over fifty books, and her many awards include the prestigious Miles Franklin Award for Swords and Crowns and Rings; the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA) for Playing Beatie Bow and The Age Book of the Year Award for A Fence Around the Cuckoo.

She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1987 and in 1994 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letter from the University of New South Wales. She passed away at her home in Sydney in 2010, at the age of 93.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


jasper-jones

6. Jasper Jones

by Craig Silvey

Late on a hot summer night at the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by a knock on his window. His visitor is Jasper Jones.

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 to his secret glade in the bush, and it is here that Charlie bears witness to a horrible discovery.

In this simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth. By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, tender and wise, Jasper Jones is a novel to treasure.

About the Author
Craig Silvey grew up on an orchard in Dwellingup Western Australia. He now lives in Fremantle, where at the age of 19, he wrote his first novel, Rhubarb, which received the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist Award. In 2007, Silvey released a picture book called The World According to Warren. Outside of literature, Silvey is the singer/songwriter for the band The Nancy Sikes.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


the-magic-pudding-the-adventures-of-bunyip-bluegum

7. The Magic Pudding

by Norman Lindsay

Albert, the magic pudding, can be eaten again and again and will always reform into a new pudding, ready to be eaten again. His three companions must protect him from the pudding thieves who want to steal him for themselves.

First published in 1918, The Magic Pudding is said to have been written to settle an argument: a friend of Lindsay’s said that children like to read about fairies, while Lindsay asserted that they would rather read about food and fighting


About the Author

Norman Lindsay was an Australian artist, sculptor, writer, editorial cartoonist, and scale modeler. He was born in Creswick, Victoria in 1879. He is widely regarded as one of Australia′s greatest artists, producing a vast body of work in different media. He remains most famous for The Magic Pudding, but also published numerous other books for adults.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


the-slap

8. The Slap

by Christos Tsiolkas

To smack or not to smack is the question that reverberates through the interconnected lives dissected in Christos Tsiolkas’ award-winning novel, now in paperback.

At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

It is a single act, but the slap reverberates through the lives of everyone who witnesses it. Told through the eyes of eight of those present at the barbecue, this acclaimed bestseller is an unflinching interrogation of the life of the modern family. Poignant and provocative, THE SLAP makes us question the nature of commitment and happiness, compromise and truth. Whose side are you on?

About the Author
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of four novels: Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He won Overall Best Book the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his latest novel, The Slap. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


the-secret-river

9. The Secret River

by Kate Grenville

In 1806 William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand.

But the colony can turn a convict into a free man. Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself.

Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals—Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring—are finding their own ways to respond to them.

Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.

Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is a brilliantly written book, a ground-breaking story about identity, belonging and ownership.

About the Author
Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s best-known authors. She has published nine novels, a collection of short stories, and four books about the writing process. Her books have been awarded many prizes in Australia, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Britain’s Orange Prize. In 2006 The Secret River was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


picnic-at-hanging-rock

10. Picnic At Hanging Rock

by Joan Lindsay

While Joan Lindsay’s haunting Australian classic Picnic at Hanging Rock is a work of fiction, the story is often considered one of Australia’s greatest mysteries.

In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others.

About the Author
Joan Lindsay was born in Melbourne, where she went to school as a day-girl for a few years at Clyde Girls’ Grammar, then situated in East St Kilda. She knew and loved the Macedon district from early childhood. In 1922 she married Sir Daryl Lindsay in London. The Lindsays travelled together in Europe and the USA, Daryl with his paints and Joan with her typewriter. Picnic At Hanging Rock (1967) is her best-remembered book and was filmed by Peter Weir in 1975. Sir Daryl died in 1976. Joan lived at their country home on the Mornington Peninsula, Mullberry Hill, Victoria, Australia, until her death in December 1984.

Click here to buy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Of course, between you and me, we know they got it completely wrong. What would you have chosen?

Have your say on our twitter page @booktopia, our facebook page, or just leave a comment below.

The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas’ award-winning novel, is now a prime time ABC TV series

To smack or not to smack is the question that reverberates through the interconnected lives dissected in Christos Tsiolkas’ award-winning novel, now a prime time ABC TV series, starring Melissa George and Alex Dimitriades.

At a suburban barbecue one afternoon, a man slaps an unruly boy. The boy is not his own. It’s a single act of violence, but the slap reverberates through the lives of everyone who witnesses it.

Told through the eyes of eight of those present at the barbecue, this acclaimed bestseller is an unflinching interrogation of the life of the modern family. Poignant and provocative, The Slap makes us question the nature of commitment and happiness, compromise and truth. Whose side are you on?

Now a major ABC TV series, prepare for The Slap to be the thing everyone’s talking about – again!

‘… wildly energetic and fearless, thrillingly about our lives now’ – Helen Garner

‘Whose side are you on? Honestly, one of the three or four truly great novels of the new
millennium.’ – John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

‘… nothing short of a tour de force … a novel of immense power and scope.’ – Colm Toibin,
author of Brooklyn

‘A cool, calm, irresistible masterpiece.’ – Chris Cleave, author of The Other Hand

‘Almost as good as Last Summer by Kylie Ladd’ – Anonymous. Continue reading

The 50 Must Read Australian Novels (10 to 1) (The Popular Vote 2010)

So, it’s come to this, has it?

The Top Ten Must Read Australian Novels, as voted by you lot.

It’s a list of surprises – there’s the inclusion of Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (it’s a film ain’t it?), the omission of Peter Carey and Patrick White from the top ten and, the biggest surprise of all, the winner. I mean, really!, who would have guessed it?

Let me take a moment to congratulate all those who voted, you have excellent taste –  I salute you. And I salute you again since you also managed to push my great love Christina Stead into the top ten, well done (and you managed to keep Bryce at bay. Clap, Clap, Clap.)

By the way, three of my favourite Australian novels made the top ten. Yay! Can you guess which three?

In a few days time I will post the full fifty. Thanks again. Here are the top ten…. (Full Fifty now available here)

(Please Note: A clever twitter chap suggested I allow one novel per author. I thought this a fair idea and I made it law. The highest ranking title by an author is the one included in the top fifty. Many writers, Tim Winton, Patrick White, Peter Carey, Bryce Courtenay etc had many titles listed in the original longlist but only the most popular is listed here.)


9780522855548

 

10. The Man Who Loved Children

Christina Stead

The Man Who Loved Children is Christina Stead’s masterpiece about family life. Sam and Henny Pollit are a warring husband and wife, he a fully blown narcissist and she spoiled and prone to fits of despair.

Their hatred, aggravated by too little money and too many children, lies at the centre of this chilling and brilliantly observed novel about relations between parents and children, husbands and wives.

The Man Who Loved Children is acknowledged as a contemporary classic of Australian and international literature. Continue reading

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