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…

BUY

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.


THE RUNNERS UP-:

Floundering

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 (primped.com.au), 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.)


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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

Shaun Micallef, author of Preincarnate, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Shaun Micallef

author of Preincarnate

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————————–

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

Born in Adelaide. Raised by wolves. Schooled by Marist Brothers.

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

At 12 I wanted to be a movie star. At 18, a lawyer. At 30 a comedy writer. Now, I want to be a movie star again. Or a cowboy.

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

I honestly thought that alcohol made me more engaging.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer? Continue reading

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