BREAKING NEWS: 2015 Miles Franklin Shortlist Announced

Congratulations to the incredible Australian writers on this year’s Miles Franklin shortlist! It feels distinctly like a changing of the guard in Australian literature.

Don’t miss the chance to grab a copy of these fantastic books and judge them for yourself…

9781926428611Golden Boys

by Sonya Hartnett

Sonya Hartnett’s third novel for adults is perfectly formed and utterly compelling, an unflinching and disquieting work from one of Australia’s finest writers.

Colt Jenson and his younger brother Bastian live in a world of shiny, new things – skateboards, slot cars, train sets and even the latest BMX. Their affluent father, Rex, has made sure that they’ll be the envy of the new, working-class suburb they’ve moved to. But underneath the surface of the perfect family, is there something unsettling about the Jensons? To the local kids, Rex becomes a kind of hero, but Colt senses there’s something in his father that could destroy their fragile new lives.

0000002793About the Author

Sonya Hartnett’s work has won numerous Australian and international literary prizes and has been published around the world. Uniquely, she is acclaimed for her stories for adults, young adults and children. Her accolades include the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Of A Boy), The Age Book of the Year (Of A Boy), the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (Thursday’s Child), the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for both Older and Younger Readers (Forest, The Silver Donkey, The Ghost’s Child, The Midnight Zoo and The Children of the King), the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (Surrender), shortlistings for the Miles Franklin Award (for both Of a Boy and Butterfly) and the CILP Carnegie Medal (The Midnight Zoo). Hartnett is also the first Australian recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (2008).

Grab a copy of Golden Boys here

9781743319598The Eye of the Sheep

by Sofie Laguna

Ned was beside me, his messages running easily through him, with space between each one, coming through him like water. He was the go-between, going between the animal kingdom and this one. I watched the waves as they rolled and crashed towards us, one after another, never stopping, always changing. I knew what was making them come, I had been there and I would always know.

Meet Jimmy Flick. He’s not like other kids – he’s both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy’s mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She more…

1_LagunaSophia1About the Author

Sofie Laguna originally studied to be a lawyer, but after deciding law was not for her, she trained as an actor. Sofie is now an author, actor and playwright. Her books for young people have been named Honour Books and Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and have been shortlisted in the Queensland Premier’s Awards. She has been published in the US and the UK and in translation in Europe and Asia. Sofie’s first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong, was also published throughout Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom. Sofie has written the screenplay for the film of One Foot Wrong, scheduled for pre-production in 2014.

Grab a copy of The Eye of the Sheep here

9781741666441The Golden Age

by Joan London

This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life. From one of Australia’s most loved novelists.

He felt like a pirate landing on an island of little maimed animals. A great wave had swept them up and dumped them here. All of them, like him, stranded, wanting to go home.

It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At The Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Hospital in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow-patient, and they form a more…

London, JoanAbout the Author

Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age. Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for Fiction in 2002 and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in April 2008 and won the 2009 Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary awards. Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim. The Golden Age (2014) is her third novel.

Grab a copy of The Golden Age here

9781760113117After Darkness

by Christine Piper

It is early 1942 and Australia is in the midst of war.

While working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote corner of South Australia. There, he learns to live among a group of men who are divided by culture and allegiance. As tensions at the isolated camp escalate, the doctor’s long- held beliefs are thrown into question and he is forced to confront his dark past: the promise he made in Japan and its devastating consequences.

0_piper_christine_smlAbout the Author

Christine Piper’s short fiction has been published in Seizure, SWAMP and Things That Are Found In Trees and Other Stories. She was the 2013 Alice Hayes writing fellow at Ragdale in the United States. Christine has studied creative writing at Macquarie University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Technology, Sydney, where she wrote a version of this novel as part of her doctoral degree. She has also worked as a magazine editor and writer for more than a decade. Both in South Korea in 1979 to an Australian father and a Japanese mother, Christine moved to Australia when she was one. She has previously taught English and studied Japanese in Japan, and currently lives in New York with her husband. Christine is also the 2014 recipient of the ABR Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay. The winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Prize 2014. After Darkness is Christine Piper’s first novel. She was also shortlisted for the Readings New Australian Writing Award 2014.

Grab a copy of After Darkness here

9781922147325Tree Palace

by Craig Sherborne

They tried Mansfield but it was freezing and snowed and people like them don’t fit in because they don’t look prosperous. One time near Yellingbo they found a church no one prayed in and they lived there and for three weeks had stained glass for windows…They got chased out and went to Shepparton but Shane had a run-in and police said move.

Shane, Moira and Midge, along with young Zara and Rory, are ‘trants’—itinerants roaming the plains north-west of Melbourne in search of disused houses to sleep in, or to strip of heritage fittings when funds are low. When they find their Tree Palace outside Barleyville, things are looking up. At last, a place in which to settle down.

But Zara, fifteen, is pregnant and doesn’t want a child. She’d more…

About the AuthorCraigSherborne

Craig Sherborne’s memoir Hoi Polloi (2005) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. The follow-up, Muck (2007), won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. Craig’s first novel, The Amateur Science of Love, won the Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award, and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and a NSW Premier’s Literary Award. Craig has also written two volumes of poetry, Bullion (1995) and Necessary Evil (2005), and a verse drama, Look at Everything Twice for Me (1999). His writing has appeared in most of Australia’s literary journals and anthologies. He lives in Melbourne.

Grab a copy of Tree Palace here

Australia’s Favourite Author 2015 – Places 50-41

Australian Stories - BannerJanuary is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we’re counting down Australia’s 50 Favourite Authors, as voted by you!

Every day we’ll unveil 10 authors until, on Friday, we announce Australia’s Favourite Author for 2015!

Let the countdown begin!

trudi50. Trudi Canavan

Trudi Canavan was born in Kew, Melbourne and grew up in Ferntree Gully, a suburb at the foothills of the Dandenongs. In November 2001, The Magicians’ Guild was first published in Australia. The second book of the trilogy, The Novice, was published in June 2002 and was nominated for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. The third book The High Lord was released in January 2003 and was nominated for the Best Novel Ditmar category.

Trudi’s second trilogy, Age of the Five, has also enjoyed bestselling success. Priestess of the White reached No.3 in the Sunday Times hardback fiction bestseller list, staying in the top ten for six weeks.

Our Pick

Our Pick

In early 2006 Trudi signed a seven-figure contract with Orbit to write the prequel and sequel to the Black Magician Trilogy. The prequel, The Magician’s Apprentice was released in 2009 and won the Best Fantasy Novel category of the Aurealis Awards. The sequel trilogy has enjoyed great success on the bestseller lists and The Rogue reached no. 11 in the Fantasy category of the Goodreads Best Books of 2011 Awards. In 2011 she embarked on a tour that included the UK, Ireland, Poland, France and Germany.

Click here to go to Trudi Canavan’s author page

49. Tara Moss

Tara Moss is a novelist, journalist, blogger and TV presenter. Since 1999 she has written 9 bestselling novels, published in 18 countries and 12 languages. Her first non-fiction book, the critically acclaimed The Fictional Woman, was published in 2014 and became a number one bestseller.


Our Pick

Her writing has appeared in Australian Literary Review, The Sydney Morning Herald News Review, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, The Australian, ABC online and more. She is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney, and has earned her private investigator credentials (Cert III) from the Australian Security Academy.

Her non-fiction writing has appeared in The Australian Literary Review, Vogue, ELLE, The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, among other publications.

Click here to go to Tara Moss’ author page

48. Michael Robotham

Before writing full-time Michael Robotham was an investigative journalist in Britain, Australia and the US. In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were bestsellers with combined sales of more than 2 million copies.


Our Pick

His first novel The Suspect, a psychological thriller, was chosen by the world’s largest consortium of book clubs as only the fifth “International Book of the Month”, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries.

In 2012 he released his eighth novel Say You’re Sorry. It went on to be New York Times bestseller and was named by Stephen King as one of his best books of 2012, who praised its, “Never-lets-up suspense and beautiful writing.”

Click here to go to Michael Robotham’s author page

220px-Miles_franklin47. Miles Franklin

Miles Franklin was born into a pioneering family settled in New South Wales, Australia. She wrote My Brilliant Career when she was only sixteen. Publication in 1901 brought instant fame and a notoriety that was so unwelcome that she forbade its republication until ten years after her death.


Our Pick

Franklin travelled to America, where she worked for the Women’s Trade Union League, and later during WWI to London and Salonika, where she did war work. In 1933 she returned to Australia, where she spent the rest of her life. My Career Goes Bung, the sequel to My Brilliant Career, was published in 1946, and her autobiography, Childhood at Brindabella, posthumously in 1963.

Click here to go to Miles Franklin’s author page

46. Graeme Simsion

In 2007, Graeme completed his PhD in information systems and enrolled in the professional screenwriting course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He has made a number of short films and his screenplay, The Rosie Project, won the Australian Writers Guild/Inception Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script in 2010.

Our Pick

While waiting for The Rosie Project to be produced, he turned it into a novel which in June 2012 won the Victorian Premier’s award for an unpublished fiction manuscript.

Readers of The Rosie Project and its sequel The Rosie Effect will know that Graeme Simsion has a first-class sense of humour. At professional conferences he has given addresses from on top of a ladder, dressed as a duck, and he once engaged a group of spellbound chartered accountants in community singing.

Click here to go to Graeme Simsion’s author page

fiona45. Fiona McCallum

Fiona McCallum spent her childhood years on the family cereal and wool farm outside a small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. An avid reader and writer, she decided at the age of nine that she wanted to be the next Enid Blyton! She completed her final years of schooling at a private boarding school in Adelaide.


Our Pick

Fiona writes “heart-warming journey of self-discovery stories”. Her first novel Paycheque was released on April 1, 2011 and became an ‘instant bestseller’. Her second novel Nowhere Else was an even bigger hit, outselling Paycheque by early January 2012.

Fiona’s third novel, Wattle Creek, was released April 1 2012. Wattle Creek’s success saw it chosen as one of the Get Reading! “50 Books You Can’t Put Down” for 2012.

Click here to go to Fiona McCallum’s author page

large_Alison_Lester_Large_44. Alison Lester

Alison Lester is one of Australia’s most popular and bestselling creators of children’s books. She has won many awards, including the 2005 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award for Are We There Yet? and the 2012 CBCA Eve Pownall Book of the Year Award for One Small Island.


Our Pick

Her picture books include Running With the Horses, a story based on the evacuation of the world-famous Lipizzaner horses from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna during World War Two; One Small Island, about the possibility of hope and environmental preservation for a World Heritage listed island and for the world itself; Sophie Scott Goes South about a little girl’s voyage to Antarctica and the sense of wonder that it brings; and Kissed by the Moon, a lyrical celebration of the natural world and all that it has to offer a child.

Click here to go to Alison Lester’s author page

Author-shot-for-fb-199x30043. Kylie Scott

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author.

She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into six different languages.


Our Pick

She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Click here to go to Kylie Scott’s author page

42. Colleen McCullough

Colleen McCullough was born in western New South Wales in 1937. A neuroscientist by training, she worked in various Sydney and English hospitals before settling into ten years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the USA.

Our Pick

Our Pick

In 1974 her first novel Tim was published in New York, followed by the bestselling The Thorn Birds in 1977 and a string of successful novels, including the acclaimed Masters of Rome series.

In 1980 she settled in Norfolk Island, where she lives with her husband, Ric Robinson, and a cat named Shady.

Click here to go to Colleen McCullough’s author page

41. 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.


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.

Click here to go to Rachael Johns’ author page

Don’t forget to comeback at midday tomorrow as we continue our countdown towards Australia’s Favourite Author for 2015!

Love Australian books?

Don’t forget to check out our Australian Stories collection!

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Congratulations to Evie Wyld : Winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2014 for All the Birds, Singing


Booktopia would like to congratulate Evie Wyld for winning the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award with All the Birds, Singing … Congratulations!

All the Birds, Singing

by Evie Wyld

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 companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep – every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake’s unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colour and sound, a story held in the scars that stripe her back.

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.

About the Author

Evie Wyld runs Review, a small independent bookshop in London. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show’s Best New British Novelists. She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Grab a copy of All the Birds, Singing here


The Narrow Road to the Deep North

by Richard Flanagan

A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

About the Author

Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, and Wanting have received numerous honours and are published in twenty-six countries. He directed a feature film version of The Sound of One Hand Clapping. A collection of his essays is published as And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?.

Grab a copy of The Narrow Road to the Deep North here

The Night Guest

by Fiona McFarlane

One morning Ruth wakes thinking a tiger has been in her seaside house. Later that day a formidable woman called Frida arrives, looking as if she’s blown in from the sea. In fact she’s come to care for Ruth. Frida and the tiger: both are here to stay, and neither is what they seem.

Which of them can Ruth trust? And as memories of her childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency, can she even trust herself?

The Night Guest is a mesmerising novel about love, dependence, and the fear that the things you know best can become the things you’re least certain about. It introduces a writer who comes to us fully formed, working wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to tap the mysterious workings of our minds, and keeping us spellbound.

About the Author

Fiona McFarlane was born in Sydney, and has degrees in English from Sydney University and Cambridge University, and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a Michener Fellow. Her work has been published in Zoetrope: All-Story, Southerly, the Best Australian Stories and the New Yorker, and she has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Phillips Exeter Academy and the Australia Council for the Arts. The Night Guest, her debut novel, has sold into fifteen territories around the world. She lives in Sydney.

Grab a copy of The Night Guest here

My Beautiful Enemy

by Cory Taylor

Arthur Wheeler is haunted by his infatuation with a Japanese youth he encountered in the enemy alien camp where he worked as a guard during WW2. Abandoning his wife and baby son, Arthur sets out on a doomed mission to rescue his lover from forced deportation back to Japan, a country in ruins. Thus begins the secret history of a soldier at war with his own sexuality and dangerously at odds with the racism that underpins the crumbling British Empire.

Four decades later Arthur is still obsessed with the traumatic events of his youth. He proposes a last reunion with his lost lover, in the hope of laying his ghosts to rest, but this mission too seems doomed to failure. Like Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Snow Falling On Cedars, My Beautiful Enemy explores questions of desire and redemption against the background of a savage racial war. In this context, Arthur’s private battles against his own nature, and against the conventions of his time, can only end in heartache.

About the Author

Cory Taylor is an award-winning screenwriter who has also published short fiction and children’s books. Her first novel, Me and Mr Booker, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Pacific Region). She lives in Brisbane.

Grab a copy of My Beautiful Enemy here


by Tim Winton

Divorced and unemployed, he’s lost faith in everything precious to him. Holed up in a grim highrise, cultivating his newfound isolation, Keely looks down at a society from which he’s retired hurt and angry. He’s done fighting the good fight, and well past caring.

But even in his seedy flat, ducking the neighbours, he’s not safe from entanglement. All it takes is an awkward encounter in the lobby. A woman from his past, a boy the likes of which he’s never met before. Two strangers leading a life beyond his experience and into whose orbit he falls despite himself.

What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting. Inhabited by unforgettable characters, Eyrie asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.

About the Author

Tim Winton has published twenty-one books for adults and children, and his work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Since his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the Australian/Vogel Award in 1981, he has won the Miles Franklin Award four times (for Shallows, Cloudstreet, Dirt Music and Breath) and twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (for The Riders and Dirt Music). He lives in Western Australia.

Grab a copy of Eyrie here

The Swan Book

by Alexis Wright

The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city.

The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning bestseller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale.


About the Author

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Her books include Grog War , a study of alcohol abuse in Tennant Creek , and the novels Plains of Promise , and Carpentaria , which won the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Victorian and Queensland Premiers’ Awards and the ALS Gold Medal, and was published in the US, UK, China, Italy, France, Spain and Poland. She is a Distinguished Fellow in the University of Western Sydney’s Writing and Society Research Centre.

Grab a copy of The Swan Book here

Runners-up from the Longlist:

The Railwayman’s Wife

by Ashley Hay

In a small town on the land’s edge, in the strange space at a war’s end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story.

In Thirroul, in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railway’s library. Anikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. Frank McKinnon is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive.

Written in clear, shining prose and with an eloquent understanding of the human heart, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can be sometimes to tell them apart. It’s a story of life, loss and what comes after; of connection and separation, longing and acceptance. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.

A story that will break your heart with hope.

About the Author

Ashley Hay is the author of four books of non-fiction – The Secret: The strange marriage of Annabella Milbanke and Lord Byron, Gum: The story of eucalypts and their champions, and Herbarium and Museum with the visual artist Robyn Stacey. A former literary editor of The Bulletin, her essays and short stories have also appeared in anthologies and journals including Brothers and Sisters, The Monthly, Heat and The Griffith Review. Ashley’s first novel, The Body in the Clouds was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize ‘Best First Book’ (South-East Asia and Pacific region) and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Grab a copy of The Railwayman’s Wife here


by Melissa Lucashenko

When Jo Breen uses her divorce settlement to buy a neglected property in the Byron Bay hinterland, she is hoping for a tree change, and a blossoming connection to the land of her Aboriginal ancestors. What she discovers instead is sharp dissent from her teenage daughter Ellen, trouble brewing from unimpressed white neighbours, and a looming Native Title war among the local Bundjalung families. When Jo stumbles into love on one side of the Native Title divide she quickly learns that living on country is only part of the recipe for the Good Life.

Told with humour and a sharp satirical eye, Mullumbimby is a modern novel set against an ancient land.

0002041About the Author

Melissa Lucashenko is an Australian writer of mixed European and Murri (Aboriginal) heritage. She was born in Brisbane in 1967, and attended public primary and secondary schools there. Melissa received an honours degree in public policy from Griffith University, graduating in 1990. She lives between Brisbane and the Bundjalung nation.

Grab a copy of Mullumbimby here


by Trevor Shearston

It is 1865. For three years Ben Hall and the men riding with him have been lords of every road in mid-western New South Wales from Bathurst to Goulburn, Lambing Flat to Forbes. But with the Harbourers’ Act made law, coach escorts armed now with the new Colt revolving rifle, and mailbags more often containing cheques than banknotes, being game is no longer enough.

The road of negotiated surrender is closed. Jack Gilbert has shot dead a police sergeant at Jugiong. Constable Nelson, father of eight, lies buried at Collector, killed by John Dunn. Neither time did Ben pull the fatal trigger, but he too will hang if ever the three are taken. Harry Hall is seven. Ben has not seen the boy since his wife Biddy left to live with another man, taking Harry with her.

The need to see his son, to be in some way a father again, has grown urgent. But how much time is left before the need to give the game away and disappear becomes the greater urgency?

About the Author

Trevor Shearston is the author of Something in the Blood, Sticks That Kill, White Lies, Concertinas, A Straight Young Back and Dead Birds. He lives in Katoomba, NSW with his family.

Grab a copy of Game here


by Nicolas Rothwell

Elegiac and seductive, Belomor is the frontier where truth and invention meet—where fragments from distant lives intermingle, and cohere. A man seeks out the father figure who shaped his picture of the past. A painter seeks redemption after the disasters of his years in northern Australia. A student of history travels into the depths of religion, the better to escape the demons in his mind. A filmmaker seeks out freedom and open space, and looks into the murk and sediment of herself.

Four chapters: four journeys through life, separate, yet interwoven as the narrative unfolds.

In this entrancing new book from one of our most original writers, we meet European dissidents from the age of postwar communism, artists in remote Australia, snake hunters, opal miners and desert magic healers. Belomor is a meditation on time, and loss: on how the most bitter recollections bring happiness, and the meaning of a secret rests in the thoughts surrounding it.

About the Author

Nicolas Rothwell is the award-winning author of Heaven and Earth, Wings of the Kite-Hawk , Another Country , The Red Highway and Journeys to the Interior . He lives in Darwin, and is the Australian’s roving northern correspondent.

Grab a copy of Belomor here

The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt

by Tracy Farr

The debut novel from a wonderful new talent.

This is the story of Dame Lena Gaunt: musician, octogenarian, junkie.

Lena is Music’s Most Modern Musician; the first theremin player of the twentieth century.

From the obscurity of a Perth boarding school to a glittering career on the world stage, Lena Gaunt’s life will be made and torn apart by those she gives her heart to.

About the Author

Australian-born author Tracy Farr has lived in Wellington, New Zealand since 1996. Her debut novel, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt, is published by Fremantle Press.

Grab a copy of The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt here

Congratulations to Michelle de Kretser: Winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2013 for Questions of Travel

MILES FRANKLING BANNERBooktopia would like to congratulate Michelle de Kretser for winning the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award with Questions of Travel… Congratulations!

questions-of-travelQuestions of Travel

by Michelle de Kretser

A dazzling, compassionate and deeply moving novel from one of world literature’s rising stars.A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories – from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

Award-winning author Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination – a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel. Click here to read more…


About the Author

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. Educated in Melbourne and Paris, Michelle has worked as a university tutor, an editor and a book reviewer.

She is the author of The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case, which won the Commonwealth Prize (SE Asia and Pacific region) and the UK Encore Prize, and The Lost Dog, which was widely praised by writers such as AS Byatt, Hilary Mantel and William Boyd and won a swag of awards, including: the 2008 NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, and the 2008 ALS Gold Medal.

The Lost Dog was also shortlisted for the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction, the Western Australian Premier’s Australia-Asia Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Asia-Pacific Region) and Orange Prize’s Shadow Youth Panel. It was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction.



by Romy Ash

Tom and Jordy have been living with their gran since the day their mother, Loretta, left them on her doorstep and disappeared.

Now Loretta’s returned, and she wants her boys back.

Tom and Jordy hit the road with Loretta in her beat-up car. The family of three journeys across the country, squabbling, bonding, searching and reconnecting.

But Loretta isn’t mother material. She’s broke, unreliable, lost. And there’s something else that’s not quite right with this reunion.

They reach the west coast and take refuge in a beachside caravan park. Their neighbour, a surly old man, warns the kids tostay away. But when Loretta disappears again the boys have no choice but to askthe old man for help, and now they face new threats and new fears.

This beautifully written and gripping debut is as moving as it is frightening, and as heartbreaking as it is tender. Click here to read more…

About the Author

Romy Ash is a Melbourne-based writer. She has written for GriffithREVIEW, the Big Issue and frankie magazine. She has a regular cooking column in Yen magazine and writes for the blog Trotski & Ash. The forthcoming Voracious: New Australian Food Writing features one of her essays.

Floundering is her first novel.

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

Mateship with Birds

by Carrie Tiffany

On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him. Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.

Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life – to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be. Click here to read more…

Carrie answered the Ten Terrifying Questions – read her answers here

About the Author

Carrie Tiffany was born in West Yorkshire and grew up in Western Australia. She spent her early twenties working as a park ranger in the Red Centre and now lives in Melbourne, where she works as an agricultural journalist. Her first novel, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living (2005) was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Orange Prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, and won the Dobbie Award for Best First Book (2006) and the 2006 Western Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. Mateship with Birds is her second novel.

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

The Beloved

by Annah Faulkner

“It came one morning with the milk, and it seemed – at first – almost as innocent…”

When Roberta “Bertie” Lightfoot is crippled by polio, her world collapses. But Mama doesn’t tolerate self-pity, and Bertie is nobody if not her mother’s daughter – until she sets her heart on becoming an artist. Through art, the gifted and perceptive Bertie gives form and voice to the reality of the people and the world around her. While her father is happy enough to indulge Bertie’s driving passion, her mother will not let art get in the way of a professional career.

In 1955 the family moves to post-colonial Port Moresby, a sometimes violent frontier town, where Bertie, determined to be the master of her own life canvas, rebels against her mother’s strict control. She thrives amid a vibrant new tropical palette, secretly learning the techniques of drawing and painting under the tutelage of her mother’s arch rival.

But Roberta is not the only one deceiving her family. As secrets come to light, the domestic varnish starts to crack, and jealousy and passion threaten to forever mar the relationship between mother and daughter.

Tender and witty, The Beloved is a moving debut novel which paints a vivid portrait of both the beauty and the burden of unconditional love. Click here to read more…

Annah answered the Ten Terrifying Questions – read her answers here

About the Author

Sporadic bursts of poetry and occasional short stories defined Annah’s early writing. In 1996 experiences from a career in acupuncture prompted her to write a non-fiction manual. This was followed by a humorous biography, Frankly Speaking, which enjoyed considerable success in Australia and New Zealand. In 2007 her story, The Blood of Others, was published by the American literary journal Antipodes. Annah and her husband split their time between Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and the South Island of New Zealand. She is presently working on her second novel.

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

The Mountain

by Drusilla Modjeska

In 1968 in Papua New Guinea there is excitement and violence on the streets. The country is on the brink of independence, but many Papuans are disillusioned with the pace of change, and the tension in Port Moresby is palpable. Amidst the turmoil, Leonard, an anthropologist, arrives with his alluring Dutch wife, Rika. Leonard wants to film villagers from a remote settlement in the mountains, and take Rika with him – the first white woman to go up there. But his new colleagues have other ideas.

Rika befriends two young women from the new university: Laedi, a Papuan with a local mother and Australian father, and Martha, a sweet-natured Australian student. But it is to Aaron and Jacob – two very different clan-brothers – to whom Rika is most dangerously drawn. Her relationship with these two men will change her and Leonard’s lives for ever.

Thirty years later, Jericho, a young art historian, travels from London to Port Moresby to try to make sense of his muddled past, of his birthplace on the mountain in 1968, and to bring back with him the girl he has loved since he was a boy. Click here to read more…

Frank answered the Ten Terrifying Questions – read her answers here

About the Author

In 1971 Drusilla Modjeska moved to Australia, and within that decade graduated with a BA (Hons) in History from the Australian National University and a PhD in History from the University of New South Wales. Exiles At Home, her first book, was published in 1981. Poppy (1990), a ‘fictional biography’ of her mother, won the National Book Council Banjo Award for Non-Fiction, the NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the Fawcett and PEN International Awards. The Orchard (1994) also won the NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Award for Non-Fiction and the Nita Kibble Literary Award, as did Stravinsky’s Lunch (1999), which explored the lives of the Australian modernist artists Grace Cossington Smith and Stella Bowen.

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

Amazing Face, Bossypants and the great Zoe Foster Tina Fey face-off: review (of sorts) by Toni Whitmont

The new it-book in fashion publishing is Amazing Face by Zoe Foster. Our customers can’t get enough of it and it has only just on the market. In fact, it is scary how many copies we have sold over the last few days. While that is a great shame if you are say, Tina Obrecht, who just won  the Orange Prize with The Tiger’s Wife, or Kim Scott, whose That Deadman Dance has won the Miles Franklin, or AC Grayling whose supremely wonderful The Good Book is sadly languishing in our warehouse,  it probably says a lot about our youth-obsessed, celebrity-based culture.

That is not to say that Amazing Face is a dud. It is not. In fact, you probably can’t get a better make-up book. It is chock full of tips, how-to’s, must-haves. And it is presented with a magazine editor’s eye for layouts and colour. It is really good to look at – it is almost make-up porn. And it is so much more fun than Paula’s beauty bible Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me – itself indispensible, but as reference collection it takes itself oh-so-seriously.

You can get a really good idea about Amazing Face here – the clips, the description and even an excerpt from our Zoe.

Of course, if you are a wee bit snarly, a wee bit cyncial (who me?) or maybe you’ve just can’t come at one more miracle cream (who me? again), you may prefer an altogether different take on the business of being beautiful. Maybe the perspective of the mercurial but always funny Tina Fey, she of Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls, Sarah Palin, 30 Rock and now happily, Bossypants, fame.

While Zoe Foster may be the editor of a  beauty website (, Tina Fey has been Continue reading

William and Kate and the longest bow

My question to you is this. Are there enough awards in the bookselling and publishing industry? Do we have all the bases covered? Most of us are familiar with a fair swag of literary prizes, what with the Nobel, Man Booker, the Miles Franklin, the CBC, Kate Greenaway, Carnegie, and Dublin Prizes, various PM and Premiers’ awards, not to mention a full swag of Costas, Daggers,  Oranges, Varunas, Pulitzers, Koalas, Indies, Hugos, ROMAs. And they are just for writers – by the time we throw in the publishers’ prizes, for design, marketing, flogging (ahem: selling), we’ve got to be in the 100s in the English speaking world alone.

Despite this, there is one area that I think has been sadly overlooked. In fact, I think it is up to Booktopia to establish a new award institution, an institution that I will call the Booktopia Award for the Longest Bow. For those of you unfamiliar with this now rarely used expression, to draw a long bow means to come to a conclusion not generally supported by the evidence. Put simply, it means to exaggerate, or sometimes even, to lie through your teeth. You know what I mean – Margaret Mead is responsible for the sexual revolution, the Iraq war caused the global credit crisis, that sort of thing.

Nominees for The Longest Bow (known hereafter as The Lobbies) will be chosen from amongst the winners of the three sub-categories, namely:

The RRT Lobby – given to the book/genre with the most rapid response time from the original stimulus to the introduction of the book to the marketplace

The Biggest Loser Lobby – given to the book/genre which bombed the most spectacularly

and my own personal favourite, 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.)



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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