Booktopia’s John Purcell amongst the big names appearing at the 2015 Bendigo Writers Festival

Booktopia’s resident Book Guru and bestselling author John Purcell heads up an all-star lineup at this year’s Bendigo Writers Festival.

John Marsden, Bob Brown, Alice Pung, Graeme Simsion, John Clarke, Cate KennedyRobert Dessaix, Don Watson, Ellie MarneyLatika Bourke, David Astle, David M Henley, Max Gillies, Paddy O’Reilly, Robyn Davidson, Tariq Ali and The Gourmet Farmer’s Matthew Evans are just a few of the big names featuring in this year’s Bendigo Writers Festival.

Now in its fourth year, the Bendigo Writers Festival has become famous for the close access readers can experience with some of literature’s freshest thinkers, taking place in the heart of Bendigo’s View Street arts precinct.

The festival features more than 70 events in five venues across the August 8 and 9 weekend, from 9.30am on Saturday through to 5.30pm on Sunday.

For more details and to see the full program, go to


David Day, author of Paul Keating: The Biography, chats to John Purcell

David Day is one of Australia’s most respected historians, author of the award-winning biographies of John Curtin and Ben Chifley. He chats to John Purcell about his latest book Paul Keating: The Biography.

Grab a copy of Paul Keating: The Biography here

paul-keating-the-biographyPaul Keating: The Biography

The Story of A Prime Minister

Paul Keating was one of the most significant political figures of the late twentieth century, firstly as Treasurer for eight years and then Prime Minister for five years. Although he has spent all of his adult life in the public eye, Keating has eschewed the idea of publishing his memoirs and has discouraged biographers from writing about his life.

Undaunted, best-selling biographer David Day has taken on the task of giving Keating the biography that he deserves. Based on extensive research in libraries and archives, interviews with Keating’s former colleagues and associates, and walking the tracks of Keating’s life, Day has painted the first complete portrait of Paul Keating, covering both the public and private man.

About the Author

David Day has written widely on Australian history and the history of World War II. His biography of John Curtin won the 2000 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards Prize for History and was shortlisted for the 2000 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction, while his biography of Ben Chifley was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Award for History in 2002.

Grab a copy of Paul Keating: The Biography here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Michael Palin chats to John Purcell about life, Python, and diary-keeping

Michael Palin is one of the world’s most recognisable comedians and television presenters.

After establishing himself with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, he went on to appear in the acclaimed Monty Python films, as well as A Fish Called Wanda and American Friends, as well as writing books to accompany his hugely successful travel series including Himalaya and Pole to Pole.

He chats to Booktopia’s John Purcell.

travelling-to-workTravelling to Work

Diaries 1988-1998

Travelling To Work is the third volume of Michael Palin’s widely acclaimed diaries. After the Python years and a decade of filming, writing and acting, Palin’s career takes an unexpected direction into travel, which will shape his working life for the next 25 years. Yet, as the diaries reveal, he remained ferociously busy on a host of other projects throughout this whirlwind period. Travelling To Work opens in September 1988 with Michael travelling down the Adriatic on the first leg of a modern-day Around the World in Eighty Days. He was not the BBC’s first choice for the series, but after its success and that of the accompanying book the public naturally wanted more. Palin, though, has other plans. Following the tumultuous success of A Fish Called Wanda, he is in demand as an actor.

His next film, American Friends, is based on his great-grandfather’s diaries. Next he takes on his most demanding role as the head teacher in Alan Bleasdale’s award-winning drama series GBH. There is also his West End play, The Weekend, and a first novel, Hemingway’s Chair, and a lead role in Fierce Creatures, the much-delayed follow-up to Wanda. Michael describes himself as ‘drawn to risk like a moth to a flame. Someone grounded and safe who can be tempted into almost anything.’ He duly finds time for two more travel series, Pole to Pole in 1991, Full Circle in 1996, and two more bestselling books to accompany them. These latest Diaries show a man grasping every opportunity that came his way, and they deal candidly with the doubts and setbacks that accompany this prodigious word-rate. As ever, his family life, with three children growing up fast, is there to anchor him. Travelling To Work is a roller-coaster ride driven by the Palin hallmarks of curiosity and sense of adventure. These ten years in different directions offer riches on every page to his ever-growing army of readers.

Grab a copy of Michael Palin’s Travelling to Work here

The Biggest Loser’s Commando Steve puts Booktopia’s John Purcell through his paces

When Commando Steve came to Booktopia to chat about his new book Get Commando Fit, John explained why he can’t stay in shape.

But as John found out, with Commando, there are no excuses…

Grab your copy of Get Commando Fit here

get-commando-fitGet Commando Fit

by Steve Willis

If you want to look good and feel great, there are NO EXCUSES, you must Get Commando Fit – and Commando Steve is here to show you how!

Steve ‘Commando’ Willis put contestants through their paces as a trainer on Channel Ten’s top rating show Australia’s Biggest Loser. Let him do the same for you!

Steve believes that mental strength is the key to staying fit and leading a healthy, happy and low stress lifestyle and Get Commando Fit is where it all starts.

Whether you’re a desk jockey, a busy mum or managing a company, in these pages, Commando Steve provides you with the building blocks you need to kickstart you on your fitness journey – and gives you the motivation you need to keep going.

Combining fully illustrated functional exercises, a fitness program that will get you moving, and delicious, balanced recipes to fuel you to optimum health, this is the book you need to get into top shape.

There are no excuses, Get Commando Fit today!

Grab your copy of Get Commando Fit here

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Ross Coulthart, author of Charles Bean, chats to John Purcell

Ross Coulthart’s Charles Bean is a featured title in HarperCollins’ Booktoberfest Showcase, click here for more details

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charles-bean-order-your-signed-copy-Charles Bean

by Ross Coulthart

CEW Bean’s wartime reports and photographs mythologised the Australian soldier and helped spawn the notion that the Anzacs achieved something nation-defining on the shores of Gallipoli and the battlefields of western Europe. In his quest to get the truth, Bean often faced death beside the Diggers in the trenches of Gallipoli and the Western Front – and saw more combat than many. But did Bean tell Australia the whole story of what he knew? In this fresh new biography Ross Coulthart explores the man behind the legend.

About the Author

From Channel 7’s Sunday Night, Ross Coulthart is one of Australia’s leading investigative journalists. He has won a Logie and five Walkley journalism awards including the Gold Walkley. Ross is the author of the magnificent Lost Diggers. Like CEW Bean, Ross Coulthart studied law, became a journalist and has covered conflicts in hostile war zones such as East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has always admired Bean’s courage and scrupulous honesty, and now he brings his journalist’s eye to the real story of the man who was one of Australia’s earliest embedded war reporters.

 Ross Coulthart’s Charles Bean is a featured title in HarperCollins’ Booktoberfest Showcase, click here for more details

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Exclusive video: Kate Forsyth chats to John Purcell about her new series The Impossible Quest

Kate Forsyth is one of Australia’s favourite authors and one of the most successful working today, thanks to a rather large royalty cheque from Russia. She chats with John Purcell about that cheque and book 1 of her new series for children The Impossible Quest: Escape from Wolfhaven Castle.

Grab a copy of Escape from Wolfhaven Castle here

escape-from-wolfhaven-castleEscape from Wolfhaven Castle

by Kate Fosyth

Tell your lord to beware, the wolves smell danger in the wind.

Wolfhaven Castle has been attacked, and only four escape capture … Tom, trained to scrub pots, not fight; Elanor, the Lords daughter; Sebastian, a knight in training and Quinn, the witchs apprentice.

Somehow, if they are to save their people, these unlikely heroes must find four magical beasts from legend. But first, they have to make it out of the castle alive…

Best-selling, award-winning storyteller, Kate Forsyth, weaves battles, beasts and bravery in this epic new five-book series.

Grab a copy of Escape from Wolfhaven Castle here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Australian music royalty John Williamson chats to John Purcell about his memoir Hey True Blue

John Williamson has been touring Australia for over 50 years, and remains one of Australia’s most loved musicians. He chats to John Purcell about his new memoir Hey True Blue, life in the country AND plays a song from his new album Honest People.

Grab a copy of Hey True Blue here

hey-true-blue-order-your-signed-copy-now-Hey True Blue

by John Williamson

The long-awaited life story of John Williamson: an Australian icon, a much-loved legend of the music industry and man of the land.

Williamson takes us through his life, from growing up on the land in the Mallee and Moree in a family of five boys, to being the voice of Australia.

Beyond the songs, John has revealed barely anything about his private life in his forty-year career. He opens up here, talking about the tough times, the great times and what matters to him. In his distinctive Australian accent, he tells it like it is.

This is a journey across the breadth of Australia, and beyond.

About the Author

John Williamson is without question an Australian Icon. His entertainment career spans more than forty years boasting sales of over 5 million albums. His unofficial anthems, tender ballads and tributes to unsung heroes have captured the spirit of the nation in song more than any other performer. He remains one of the most in-demand live performers in Australia. His fiftieth album, Honest People, will be released at the same time as his autobiography.

Grab a copy of Hey True Blue here


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