I’m glad for books like Michael Cathcart’s The Water Dreamers. In recent years, history has been reinvigorated by taking new slants on old narratives. Here, Cathcart traces the familiar narrative of Australian history by concentrating on water, namely a lack of it, in a dry ‘silent’ continent. What this approach allows is a kind of environmental, as well as economic, history to unfold as the new colony rapaciously moves outward, subsuming indigenous communities in search of scarce water resources. This is contrasted with the indigenous husbanding of the land and its water, and the deep knowledge and often ingenious systems devised to use water in concert with the land, rather than against it. Overlaying this is the larger cultural picture of Australia as a hostile place, with an enormous silence at its heart. In the European mind, the land is under-utilised, waiting for the civilising touch of resource exploitation and development. The question that constantly came to mind while reading was ‘How far have we come?’. As recent history has shown and Cathcart suggests, the answer is not far. This is a fascinating history that fits nicely into the larger picture of Australia, while exploring some of the things we take for granted in our national psyche.
Was heightened awareness of water issues in Australia the spark for this book?
I starting thinking about this book in the early 1990s, long before the water crisis. I wanted to write a national history that focussed on a challenge which was common to all Australians. At the same time, I was preoccupied with two brilliant but very different books. The first was The Tyranny of the Distance in which Geoffrey Blainey showed how distance was the great challenge which had shaped both the pattern of Australian settlement and key Australian attitudes. I have tried to treat water in much the same way. The second book was Paul Carter’s elusive The Road to Botany Bay, which redefined the way historians think about exploration. In the 1990s, few people understood what I meant by ‘a history of water’. The subject sounded esoteric–as if I was writing a history of dirt. But today, water is the number-one challenge to our future–and everyone gets why it’s vital that we understand its history.
Is Australia still the ‘silent’ continent?
Colonial Australia was ‘the silent continent’ just as colonial Africa was ‘the dark continent’. The first colonists imagined that Australia was a brooding silent place covered by a vast and gloomy wood. Many of them thought of the Aborigines as a sort of shadow people who were living in a timeless limbo. These colonists believed that they were destined to bring Australia to life with the sounds of industry. They would sweep across the continent, cutting down trees and firing guns–shattering the silence and startling the continent into life. They would fill it with ‘the hum of industry’. But the continent had other plans. At its heart it remained stubbornly silent. The 19th-century explorers referred to this lethargy of the inland as a ‘death-like silence’. It was filled with foreboding. They experienced the inland as silent because it was dry. Today, I suspect that many of us experience the ‘silence’ of the outback as a spiritual experience. We think, not of death, but of eternity.
Do you think Australian history can be characterised as one of anxiety towards and alienation from the landscape?
By 1900, Australians were gripped by a fear that they have failed to occupy inland Australia.The symbol of this failure and disappointment was the vast salt lake, Lake Eyre. It was the withered remnant of the inland sea which ought to occupy the centre of Australia, but didn’t. Just as the whites had robbed the Aborigines, on the grounds that they never properly occupied the country, so the white feared that Asian hordes would descend and claim this still unoccupied land for themselves. Many whites believed that their sole hope of truly possessing this land lay in hydro-engineering. Through their own ingenuity, they would make the deserts bloom.
What can Australia learn from our history of mismanagement of scarce water resources?
For too long, white Australians thought of the bush and the outback as places where nature was absent or weird. They regarded engineering, not as a way of enhancing nature, but of compensating for the great void at the heart of Australia. The challenge today is to understand how nature and engineering can work together to produce a water system that is productive, sustainable and which nourishes the soul. But we should also celebrate the water systems which we have managed well. The most outstanding of these is the water supply for Melbourne. The vast closed catchments in the ranges northeast of the city have been managed by government authorities for over 100 years. The result is an affordable and reliable supply of the best urban water in the world.
What are your broader hopes for The Water Dreamers?
I have writtenThe Water Dreamers as book which speaks to all Australians. I hope that it challenges and changes the way we think about our past, and about who we are.
What are you working on next?
I have recently finished a TV documentary about the runaway convict William Buckley who lived with an Aboriginal tribe called the Wathaurong for over 30 years. I am now writing a book about him.
James Roy has more awards under his belt than you can count. Ben Beaton asks him about Edsel Grizzler: Voyage to Verdada, the first book in a new three-part series.
Where did the concept of Edsel Grizzler: Voyage to Verdada and all that it entails come from?
The first part of the story had been rattling around in my head for over 10 years– the idea of a quirky boy who discovers a mysterious inter-dimensional pod/portal. But that was as far as the story went. Then, in my usual way, I simply forced myself to launch into the story and ‘follow my nose’. What I ended up with was something of a classic three-act structure, but ironically, the first act, despite being set in the real world, felt too surreal, almost cartoonish. Whereas Verdada was a rather more austere, soulless kind of place, despite its pretense of being ‘A Place of Forever Fun’. So I had to make Edsel a rather more sad, lonely kind of individual than he’d originally been. I also think there’s a bit of a fable going on, speaking to this idea of reality and artificiality. There might even be a touch of humanism–I find the idea of people disregarding the wonder and joy of being in the present while they look for something better, quite sad. I don’t think life is a dress rehearsal.
Your hero Edsel Grizzler faces a difficult choice, and suffers the consequences. What messages are there for readers about signing up for a ‘sure thing’ before reading the fine print?
I find the word ‘message’ suggestive of some kind of agenda, which young readers despise. Having said that, if a kid were to read my book and, as a result, begin to think about how they can find joy in the everyday, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Voyage to Verdada sits comfortably alongside Alice in Wonderland, or even The Wizard of Oz, where the simple pleasures of home outweigh the excitement of the discovered world. Were you thinking of the ‘stranger in a strange land’ scenario when you wrote the novel?
I think that all good stories put characters in different ‘worlds’. Harry Potter and the Narnia books are obvious examples. But in some ways, ‘realistic’ books deal with this idea as well. One of my favourite books is Josh, by Ivan Southall, which is about a city kid who ends up in a country town where his pedigree dictates that he should fit in, but he doesn’t. But if I were looking for a real link to the ‘stranger in a strange land’ scenario, I’d probably look at the nine years I spent in PNG and Fiji as a missionary kid. Perhaps at some subconscious level I’m exploring my own questions of belonging. That’s what writers do, isn’t it?
What do you think teens are looking for from a good book in this digital age?
I don’t believe that what young people want from their entertainment has changed all that much. Basically a good story with strong, believable characters will do it every time. What has changed a little is how we access that story. The Sunday night TV movie has declined in popularity, because we now prefer to buy the DVD of a show we really like and watch several episodes in a row, rather than sitting down to watch it at a prescribed weekly time, interrupted by ad breaks. In the digital age the method of getting the story–audio book, digital reader, ebook, graphic novel, or conventional novel–is somewhat secondary to our universal desire for a strong story. We love stories. It’s actually very simple.
What are you working on next?
I’m really excited to be putting together some of the planning for City, a follow-up to Town, which was a collection of linked short stories I find short stories both challenging and liberating. And when City is done, it’ll be time to return to Edsel. I can’t wait..
The ten novels selected for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2009 longlist are:
Text Publishing Melbourne Australia
A Fraction of the Whole
Hamish Hamilton (Penguin Books)
Hamish Hamilton (Penguin Books)
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
one foot wrong
Allen & Unwin
The Devil’s Eye
Fourth Estate (HarperCollinsPublishers Australia)
Text Publishing Melbourne Australia
Allen & Unwin
Knopf (Random House Australia)
55 books were submitted for this year’s Award.
The shortlist will be announced Thursday 16 April at a media conference at the Galleries, State Library of NSW. The winner, who will receive $42,000, will be announced at a gala dinner Thursday 18 June.
Judges for this year’s Award are Professor Robert Dixon, Professor Morag Fraser AM, Lesley McKay, Regina Sutton and Murray Waldren.
The 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award’s shortlisted authors and winner will again embark on a regional touring program made possible through the financial support of Australian copyright management company, Copyright Agency Limited (CAL).
This touring program – launched in 2007 – covers all Australian states and territories. The 2009 shortlist component will be announced in April
A recently released book, In Someone Else’s Shoes by Joseph Assaf was endorsed and discussed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the recent Ethnic Business Awards.
Link to speech:
A STORY OF TWO REMARKABLE WOMEN, THEIR ILLUSTRIOUS CAREERS, THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR FRIENDS, AND THE MEN THEY LOVE Sarah Ryan is self-reliant and ambitious, with a head for business inherited from growing up in her grandmother’s shop in a remote Irish village. Jodi Tyler was raised on Sydney’s Northern beaches and from a young age pushed herself to excel at both sport and her studies. From different ends of the world, Sarah and Jodi have more in common than they’ll ever realise. Fast forward to the present day, and Sarah and Jodi have their sights set on the same job.
Both of them have something to prove; to themselves, their families, their friends and the lovers they left behind. The new job represents status, power and the ultimate achievement in their respective careers. It also represents how far they’ve come to triumph over the tragedies of their pasts – but at what cost to their personal lives? And so now it’s up to fate to decide who is the better woman for the job.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ber Carroll was born in Blarney, County Cork, and moved to Australia in 1995. She worked as a finance director in the information technology industry until the release of her first novel, Executive Affair. Her second book, Just Business, was published in Ireland and Germany and these novels, plus her third, High Potential, were released in Australia in 2008. Ber lives in Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her husband and two children.
Silas and the Winterbottoms is a fabulous gothic tale of three young cousins who are summoned by their evil Uncle Silas to spend the summer with him at Sommerset – his grand gothic estate perched on a mysterious island surrounded by an alligator-infested swamp. Silas Winterbottom, who has had virtually no contact with his extended family for decades (except to insult them or refuse their requests for money), is dying. It is his intention to select an heir from among his nieces and nephew – Isabella Winterbottom (13), Adele Fester-Winterbottom (12) and Milo Winterbottom (12). The Winterbottom children have very different backgrounds but each of them have motive for accepting Silas invitation: Adele’s family have been forced into exile in Tipping Point, Tasmania due to her mother’s unethical experiments with prize-winning poodles; Isabella and her father are accomplished criminals living a fraudulent life among London’s social elite and finally; Milo, orphaned after his parents were lost in a volcanic eruption, lives with his grandfather the Maestro in a tiny basement apartment in a London. One of the Winterbottoms believes Uncle Silas is a murderer; two of themwill do anything to win his favour and his fortune … and only one of them will be chosen. About the author
Stephen M. Giles is 36 and lives in Sydney. He describes himself as a “market researcher of staggering mediocrity”. Silas and the Winterbottoms is his first book.
I’m the kind who puts a book down before finishing the first chapter unless it really draws me in, and that can definitely be said for “Yellow Zone
“. The opening chapter jumps right into the style in which the book is entirely written, with the clever and witty yet easy to read format in which Janelle Dyer has provided.
Scott, the very amiable central character in the story, is at the scene of a shocking terrorist attack in Italy. He survives, but soon learns that the attack on Rome wasn’t an isolated one. Attacks take place all over the world, in the most powerful and populated locations. The battle then begins of trying to get back to Australia to find his family- if they also survived.
The story continues to create a bold, unsuspected and thought-provoking notion which makes for gripping reading. Janelle Dyer has achieved in making the most terrifying and surreal thought become a possibility. The charming characters she included in Yellow Zone add to the enjoyment of the read creating a sense of myself being involved in the plot. This book was a surprisingly exciting read, riddled with intelligent humour which resulted in me laughing out loud a number of times. I’m looking forward to Janelle’s future pulications.
Mascot Madness! (Schooling Around Book 3)
$14.99 B-format paperback
The Mascot Madness! Test:
1. Northwest Southeast Central School have never beaten Northwest West Academy at their annual track and field challenge because A: they’re better at knitting than they are at sport. B: they are losers. C: Northwest West Academy will stop at nothing to win.
2. Mr Brainfright dresses up in a banana suit and dances around because A: he’s bored. B: he goes bananas. C: he thinks it will inspire the students of Northwest Southeast Central School and lead them to victory.
3. When Henry McThrottle attempts the triple jump, instead of a hop, step and a jump he does A: a burp, a dribble and a sneeze. B: a twirl, a spin and the splits. C: a stumble, a trip and a fall.
4. Mascot Madness is A: a new type of dance. B: when a mascot gets angry. C: a very funny book about running, jumping, throwing, winning, losing, cheating, chasing, biting and really hard squeezing.
The answers to these questions – and many more – are contained between the covers of this very funny book about running, jumping, throwing, winning, losing, cheating, chasing, biting and really hard squeezing.
The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures
$14.99 B-format paperback
An imaginative and hilarious fantasy from an exciting new voice in children’s literature.
Twelve-year-old Zackary is the seventh son of the King and Queen of Solaris, and a most reluctant knight. He would rather put anchovies in the knights helmets or use his sword to cut sandwiches than learn courtly ways. In despair, the King and Queen assign him to the castle administrator, Barnabas, who sends him on an errand to the Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures, established by Zackary’s grandfather.
Mistaken for a job applicant, Zackary starts working at the zoo with the resident sorcerer, Acacia. Powerful magic is needed to control some of the extraordinary creatures in the zoo: from the Stymphalian birds of Greek mythology and the nine-headed hydra, to manticores from India and the squonks – Drufflefuster, Gobblesnocks, Snivelsnork and Grimelgrout. These are the ugliest, most endearing, little creatures that will be encountered in a children’s book in 2009.
But just as Zackary is settling in to his double life, a shadow is cast across the entire kingdom with the news that a strange creature is expected at the zoo-a creature which spreads evil and destruction in its path.
Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls 3: Best Friends and Drama Queens
$14.99 B-format paperback
The third fabulous book in bestselling author Meg Cabot’s funny and sassy series for tweens!
Allie is excited when Cheyenne joins her class-now she won’t have to be the “new girl” any more! But Cheyenne wears zip-up boots, likes boys, thinks imaginary games are for “big babies” and tells everyone what to do. Still, Allie won’t be bossed around – it’s time to teach the “new girl” some tough rules! Such as…
1) Friendly people don’t tell other people that their games are babyish;
2) Snowboots may not look as good as high-heeled zip-up boots, but they will never let you down; and
3) Friends are all you need.
Jack: What’s the best thing you’ve ever missed out on because you couldn’t stop writing? Sleep? A sibling’s wedding? Boston Legal?
Will: I’ve missed a few birthday parties, I know that. The angry, drunken “THAT’S IT . . . WE’RE OVER! O-V-A-H!” text messages/phone calls are never fun, but I always make sure their pressie is twice as good to make up for it. Oh, and sleep. Half of Loathing Lola was written in a sleep-deprived haze. Granted, most of the stuff I wrote at 3am was cut at 10am the next morning when I realised that making up words like “gjdhfdscdas” wasn’t so much me being inventive and postmodern so much as it was me falling asleep on top of the keyboard. I’ve yet to find the balance between having a life and writing, but I’m still young. I’ve got heaps of time to find it.
Jack: Indeed. Are any of the characters based on or inspired by people you know? And if so, did you reveal anything embarrassing about them?
Will: I’m sure some characters inherited something from people I know, but on the whole, I tried to keep my real-life friends and family separate from Courtney’s friends and family. Well, except the grandmother character. I don’t think I even attempted to disguise that inspiration. Yiayia Susie is mannerism-for-mannerism, word-for-word, an identical replica of my grandmother, Yiayia Susie (see what I said before about not even attempting to disguise it?). And she loves it. She’s got her copy of the book, and every time someone comes over, she flicks it open to one of the ear-marked pages Yiayia Susie’s featured on and forces people to read to her, one, because she’s insanely proud, and two, because she can’t read. As for revealing anything embarrassing about her, I wouldn’t dare . . . she’s a deceptively strong woman. But yeah, I’m considering just sending her around to do all my publicity. She’s a riot and plus, get her started on the “My grandson . . . ” tangent and she won’t stop.
Jack: Been there. Which do you spend more time daydreaming about – the plot of your next book, or the glory when it’s published?
Will: There’s something so exciting about plotting another book. I guess that’s the most important thing to daydream about, without the good plot, there’s no glory. But, I’m guilty of thinking about the glory WAY more than the next plot. My bad.
Jack: It’s cool, I do that too. If someone totally ripped off your idea and wrote a book just like Loathing Lola, would you be flattered, or would you come down on them with the fury of a thousand suns?
Will: I’d send Yiayia Susie after them.
Jack: (laughs) Now that you’re a huge success, are you going to drop out of uni? Or does education have some value other than procrastinating while you wait for your real life to start?
Will: Huge success? *William feels his head inflate so much that his nose is now in proportion with it.* Honestly, I love uni. Not the workload so much as everything else. All my friends are there, the bar is cheap, latenight assignmenting can actually be fun on account of said cheap bar.
Jack: Ever get good marks on those late-night cheap-bar assignments?
Will: Actually yeah, not bad.
Jack: If you ever had to write an autobiography, what bits would you exaggerate? And what bits would you leave out entirely?
Will: See, I’d never trust myself with my own autobiography. I have this idea where, if a publishing house is really desperate for a biography, I’ll round up ten friends and ten people who can’t stand the sight of me, and have them each write a chapter about me. That stops me from being a revisionist about the whole thing and smoothing over the bumps in the road, and I think it’s the only way it can be a truly honest representation of my life.
Jack: Do you ever live vicariously through your characters? Make them say things you wish you’d said, and so forth?
Will: I have this horrible habit of shooting straight from the lip, so sometimes, characters are just repeating some of the inappropriate things I’ve said. Or at least, that’s what they used to do, but the more I wrote Loathing Lola, the characters developed further . . . into people who weren’t me, and they developed different mannerisms and speech patterns, and they weren’t just mouthpieces for me to say whatever I wanted through them.
I like to think that they say whatever they want through me.
Jack: Okay. Harry Potter – so good, or no good?
Will: Azkaban is brilliant. Also a great movie. The rest are a little hit-and-miss. I mean, they’re all great the first time through, but Azkaban stands the test of re-reading. Pheonix . . . not so much. As a whole though, the series is great. I hated the epilogue though.
Jack: I thought it was okay. But I’m a sentimental old fool. So who’s your favourite writer? Is it you? Better yet, is it me?
Will: Sorry, Jack, but at the moment, it’s Terry Pratchett. The man can do no wrong. He mixes magic with side-splittingly funny innuendo. ‘Nuf said. But you ain’t too bad yourself . . .
WILLIAM INTERVIEWS JACK
Will: If you had to describe yourself, without alluding to the fact that you are both an author and freakishly young to have three books out, what would you say?
Jack: At parties I often lie about my occupation and say that I’m a concrete mixer or an etiquette consultant or a zoo enclosure analyst. But if I was being truthful, without mentioning the books, I’d say I’m just a somewhat shy uni drop-out with a lot of ideas but very little follow-through. Ironically, it’s likely no-one would believe me.
Will:The Lab and Remote Control – both action-packed, adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster rides with strong characters – which do you prefer writing . . . the mindless explosions or the character-building high-browy stuff?
Jack: Ooh, that’s a tough one. It’s hard to separate the two – the explosions are boring if the characters aren’t developed, but even well developed characters are boring if they never explode. Or nothing explodes near them, or whatever. Since you’ve forced my hand, I’d have to say I enjoy writing the action scenes most. Because I can read them again and really feel the excitement. Whereas when I read my own character-development passages, I’m just getting told things I already know.
Will:Is Money Run more of the same, genre-wise and stylistically? If not, what’s in it for fans of Agent Six of Hearts?
Jack: Money Run has the same core goals – exciting action, intricate characters, nail-biting dilemmas. But the sci-fi angle has been replaced by gritty realism, and there’s more focus on the villains. The language is more experimental, as well, and the story is told from several points of view, which is something I’ve never done before. So yeah, it’s different. Agent Six fans will just have to trust me.
Will: We all know that you spent a long time writing and perfecting The Lab . . . what was the process of writing Money Run? Were you working on it while you developed the others, or is it a fairly recent project?
Jack: I actually started Money Run when I was 17, before The Lab was published. When I was offered a contract, I put the project on hold while I edited The Lab and wrote Remote Control. That was good, because Money Run is more complex than the other books, so the break gave me time to plan. It helped the ideas mature, like a fine wine, or like a bottle of milk left out in the Sun.
Will: How do you write? Do you set time for writing, lock yourself in the attic with a bottle of wine, a pen and a stack of lined pages, or do you just wait for the bursts of creativity – usually resulting in frantic note-taking on napkins / limbs?
Jack: I set some time, and then I switch on my laptop and unplug it. It has a 90 minute battery, and I don’t get up until it shuts itself down. If I have no ideas, I do push-ups or go jogging to chase some down, and that usually gets the job done. Every now and again I wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea, and so I get out of bed, find a pen and scribble it on myself before going back to sleep. Unfortunately, in the morning, these midnight gems are usually either incomprehensible or crap.
Will: If you had to rewrite one well-known book or movie . . . which one would you choose, and what would you do?
Jack: I’d love to do a novelisation of a video game, like Portal or Metal Gear Solid. In the former I’d give the mute main character a back story; in the latter, I’d get some of the overly talkative minor characters and take their back stories away. As for movies, I’d like to rewrite something that had a good story but a bad script, like Swordfish, or Silent Hill.
Will: Say you cooked up the ideas for The Lab, Remote Control and Money Run, but were an absolutely horrible writer . . . and you could choose one writer to write them for you, who would you choose? Would they all be written by the same person?
Jack: Matthew Reilly, of course. No one else writes with that much raw energy. But I guess it would depend on which ideas I already had, because different writers are good at different things. If I’d planned out the action scenes but I needed someone to make the characters interesting, I’d choose Chuck Palahniuk. And if I had the characters already but wanted to make the book scarier, I’d pick Dean Koontz. And if I had pretty much everything but wanted to turn the books into comedies, I’d choose Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert. I think together we could make the funniest and most surreal sci-fi series in history.
Will: Something a little less mind-numbingly complicated . . . what were you doing right before this interview? Was it fun, and do you wish you were still doing it?
Jack: I was cooking. I have very little talent for it, but I make up for that with enthusiasm. Or at least, I think that makes up for it – but my friends don’t come over anymore. Not since I cooked them nachos made with cornflakes instead of corn chips.
Will: The Twilight series . . . what do you think?
Jack: I don’t like fantasy, or romance, or vampires (they’re just zombies for pansies. Diet-zombie. Zombie-lite.) As such, I’ve avoided reading Twilight – but enough people are talking about it now that maybe I should give it a chance. I liked Buffy, after all. So yeah, I’ll have to get back to you on this one.
Will: What’s next for you? Do you envision Money Run as a one-off thing? Are you interested in a sequel? Have fans of Agent Six of Hearts read the last of him?
Jack: I try to treat each book as a stand-alone thing. But the characters of Money Run all have good reason to be mad at one another by the end (those who survive, anyhow) and it’d be a shame to let that conflict go unexploited. Maybe they’ll have a chance to get even in a future book. And as for Agent Six, well, you can’t keep a good character down. I know this is a cliche, but he sometimes seems to have a life of his own – and if I stopped writing about him, he might reach out of the page and break my neck. (Never mess with a superhuman.) So I don’t think the City has heard the last of him.
The magical world of Enid Blyton has been reimagined for a new generation with the ‘Enchanted World’ series (from February). Hardie Grant Egmont’s marketing manager, Natasha Besliev, says: ‘This is not just a new fairy series. The classic Blyton magic, solid storylines, well-rounded characters and strong elements of friendship are the perfect recipe for a new collectable series on which both parents and children can agree.’
A comic adventure story of a reluctant knight, a fantastical zoo, and a sorcerer’s assistant is The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures by Sam Bowring (Pan, March). Also in March from The Five Mile Press is a companion to the bestselling Dragonology called Dragon Diary (Dougald A Steer).
A&U is ‘very excited’ to welcome Justine Larbalestier with the ‘hilarious, original, enchanting’ How to Ditch your Fairy—‘urban teenage humour at its best’.
Maryann Ballytyne from Black Dog Books says ‘We have the beginnings of a fantasy trilogy—“The Strangers of Paragor”. The first book is Arrival (March). The trilogy is written by an extremely talented young woman Charlotte McConaghy and is really pushing all the fantasy genre buttons.’
Fifteen-year-old Courtney Marlow didn’t exactly think it through. She thought the offer to have her life broadcast on national television was the perfect solution to her family’s financial troubles. She was wrong. Mackenzie Dahl, the show’s producer, promised to show Australia a real teenager. Courtney was going to be a positive role model, someone on television without a boob job and an eating disorder. But as events in her life are deviously manipulated to create drama, Courtney begins to realise that ‘ordinary’ does not translate to ‘entertaining’. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame via a little bit of Courtney – especially her conniving friend Katie, and her stepmother, Lola. But Courtney is not the pliant teenager everyone seems to think she is…A funny, edgy, completely compelling novel.
Here’s a free extract from the book:
The following message was just received from the Brisbane Writers’ Festival:
As 2009 rolls on and everyone here in the office is happily dreaming and planning for September, we spare a thought for all those who have experienced destruction and loss in North Queensland and Victoria. In a time when so many feel heart ache we here at BWF have joined forces with our 2008 partners Clayton Utz Lawyers on a special project, and would greatly appreciate your help.
Together with Clayton Utz Lawyers we are currently collecting children’s books for an anonymous women’s refuge here in Brisbane. In a secure location this organisation provides safe and nurturing accommodation for women and children who are experiencing domestic violence. Women and children who arrive are traumatised and uncertain about their future.
With this in mind, at the beginning of March we are going to send the refuge as many as books for children aged 15 years and under. We seek your assistance in whatever hope and joy these books may bring into their lives. If you would like to help, please send any of your pre-loved or freshly purchased children/young adult books to the office (details below), by the 27th of February 2009.
Deliver books to:
Brisbane Writers Festival
12 Merivale Street
South Brisbane QLD 4101
Post books to:
Attn: Charis Holt
Brisbane Writers Festival
PO Box 3453
South Brisbane QLD 4101
BWF is happy and proud to be working with you, our supporters, and Clayton Utz Lawyers to bring hope and joy to the lives of others.
From the bottom of our hearts we say thank you!
All the best,
the BWF Team.
We’re looking for people to join our Boomerang Books Shave Team for the World’s Greatest Shave. It’s lots of fun and it goes to towards a fantastic cause.
Sign up here:
Of course, you can simply donate instead of lose your hair!
Do so here:
Fate Knows No Tears
A novel of passion and scandal in the days of the Raj
Mary Talbot Cross
ISBN 9781862547858 RRP $34.95 NZ$45.00
A new and absorbing book to accompany you on a passage through India … by Mary Talbot Cross who travelled to India several times to research and write this towering tale.¬ – Susan Kurosawa, Weekend Australian
Fate Knows No Tears, a romantic novel rich with the colour and pageantry of colonial India, charts the life of a gifted and sensitive woman’s struggle to assert her individuality at a time when women everywhere in the English-speaking world were demanding the right to self-expression, and struggling to redefine their role in society, culture and politics.
Violet Nicolson, courageous, outspoken and dangerously attractive, lived through a period of dramatic change in both India, and England. Her own life was no less challenging or exciting. For five years she shared her soldier husband’s adventures on the wild mountains of what is now Pakistan. Later, her embrace of local customs and the behaviour previously indulged by Nicolson’s regimental colleagues became the stuff of scandal; there was even talk of a native lover. Her passionate accounts of forbidden liaisons and sensuous jasmine-laden nights sent shock waves through polite Edwardian society.
Fate Knows No Tears is based on the life of Adela Nicolson (1865-1904), who found fame in 1901 writing under the pseudonym Laurence Hope. She was well known in her day for the adventurous nature of her life and the scandalous (for the times) manner of her death, who penned the Edwardian hit song that begins: ‘Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar…’ Her fascinating story unfolds mainly in the India of the British Raj.
Mary Talbot Cross was born and educated in England, then attended Aberdeen University in Scotland, completing a degree in French language and literature. She emigrated to Australia in 1991, after which she travelled widely. She has written several books and numerous articles treating various aspects of Australian and British history, under her given name Jennifer M.T. Carter. She lives in Burra, South Australia.
Richard North Patterson
$32.99 Trade paperback
In a novel of international intrigue, an American lawyer, Damon Pierce, attempts to save Bobby Okari, the West African leader of a protest movement, from execution by the country’s corrupt and autocratic leader. Complicating matters further is Okari’s wife, Marissa Brand, with whom Pierce had a relationship years before that he’s never quite forgotten; in fact, she persuaded him to take the case in the first place, and it is who she plays a crucial role in the eventual outcome…
Culminating in a dramatic show trial and a desperate race against time, Eclipse combines a thrilling narrative with a vivid look at the human cost of the global lust for oil.
A Prisoner of Birth
$19.99 A-format paperback
Danny Cartwright and Spencer Craig were born on different sides of the track. Danny, an East End Cockney, leaves Clement Attlee Comprehensive School at the age of 15 to take up a job at a local garage. He falls in love with Beth, the boss daughter, and asks her to marry him. Spencer Craig resides in the West End, a graduate of an English public school and Cambridge University. After leaving university he becomes a criminal barrister and is soon tipped to be the youngest Queen’s Counsel of his generation.
Danny and Beth travel up to the West End to celebrate their engagement. They end the evening in a wine bar where Spencer Craig is also celebrating – his 30th birthday, along with a select group of university chums.
Although the two young men don’t meet, their lives will never be the same again.
For, an hour later, one of them is arrested for murder, while the other ends up as the Prosecution’s chief witness in an Old Bailey trial.
The Family Tree
$32.99 Trade paperback
Everybody has a book in them, or so the saying goes. For Kate Painter – wife, mother, freelance editor and aspiring writer – it’s just a matter of finding a spare five minutes, a little peace and quiet… and something to write about.
When her cousin Angie announces she has a room to let, Kate’s spur of the moment decision to move temporarily out of the family home and in with Angie takes everyone, not least her husband and teenage children, by complete surprise. Yet Kate’s sure that in this room of her own, she’ll finally be able to write the novel she’s always wanted to.
But it doesn’t happen so easily. Writer’s block, dirty laundry and emergency babysitting duties all conspire against her. Amid the endless distractions, Kate is drawn into exploring the story of her family: her less than normal childhood with Angie on the family farm, her father’s recent death, and the mystery behind Angie’s enigmatic, absent mother.
The Killing Hands
$32.99 Trade paperback
FBI profiler Sophie Anderson is an expert at dealing with gruesome murder cases and psychotic serial killers. Her latest case, however, is like nothing she’s ever seen before – the victim has had his throat ripped out.
The body is identified as a member of an Asian criminal organisation, and Sophie and her team suspect they’ve stumbled upon a gangland hit. But the butchered victim had been missing for fifteen years, presumed dead – so who lured him out of hiding to kill him?
When Sophie uncovers a number of similar murders with links to organised crime, she realises she has a seasoned killer on her hands who leaves no forensic evidence. But how does he do it?
Sophie is also grappling with more personal issues. Over-protective parents visiting from Australia, her erratic psychic skills and the growing distraction of her feelings for a fellow cop.
But Sophie will have to focus on the job – they still have no idea who’s behind the murder, or that another is being planned… one that will strike at the heart of the investigating team itself.
The Shocking Trouble on the Planet of Shobble
L M Moriarty
$14.99 B-format paperback
The Space Brigade are relaxing after their spectacular triumph over Princess Petronella and her evil plans to destroy Earth, when they receive an intriguing letter. The planet of Shobble wants to employ their services. Should they accept this new mission? After all, the letter mentions grave danger. On the other hand, the people of Shobble are apparently the nicest in the galaxy. As leader of the Brigade, Nicola Berry puts it to the vote and the decision is made. It’s time to unpack the spaceship for another intergalactic adventure!
When the Space Brigade land on the planet of Shobble they soon discover this beautiful planet has a dark secret. Most of the population are virtually slaves, forced to mine for marshmallow and drill for chocolate (the ingredients of Shobble-Choc, the most divine chocolate in the galaxy). Led by a teenage girl called Topaz, the workers are beginning to rebel. The commander-in-chief wants the Space Brigade to squash the rebellion.
At first Nicola refuses to be involved but then something shocking happens that leaves her with no choice. Now the Space Brigade are on an incredible journey that will take them across infested rivers, snowy swamplands and frozen seas. Along the way they’ll learn new skills, make new friends – and they might just change this planet’s history forever.
Support the Boomerang Books Team in the World’s Greatest Shave from March 12-14.
Do your bit by joining the team (ie. you will need to dye or cut all your hair off!) or by donating funds to our team sponsorship goal of $1000. Proceeds go to the Leukaemia Foundation.
Further details here:
It’s getting really close to Christmas now. And if you’re like me, you’ve left your Christmas shopping to the last minute…
Well, don’t despair. Boomerang Books has an excellent last minute Christmas gift idea that is sure to satisfy the hard-to-buy-for person: Get them a Boomerang Books Book Voucher for Christmas…
Boomerang Book Vouchers come in denominations of $20, $30 or $50. They can be redeemed online from Boomerang Books. The voucher recipient can choose from our great range of over 1.2 million titles. And our discounted prices will ensure that they get great value for money when they select their books.
How does it work?
Once you have purchased the voucher using our secure shopping cart, an email voucher will be sent to you, the purchaser, the following day. You may then add your own greeting and forward the voucher by email to the recipient. You might even like to paste the voucher code into your own e-card…
Upon receiving the email voucher, the recipient will be directed to a redemption page on the Boomerang Books website. Here, the recipient is required to register the book voucher serial number. The value of the voucher will then be honoured against any purchase from Boomerang Books. Any unspent portion of an online book voucher will be credited towards one subsequent purchase
Get them a Boomerang Books Book Voucher for Christmas…
Now for the first time, in his own words, Occy tells the complete, remarkable story of his spectacular rise, terrifying fall and miraculous rebirth.
The Boomerang Books Christmas Catalogue is now online. Take a look at it here:
Christmas Gifts – Books for Her
Christmas Gifts – Books for Him
Christmas Gifts – Travel Books
A Chinese printer has refused to print Putting Queensland on the Map by Felicity Jack for UNSW Press because it mentions the China-Tibet border.
The book contains just a single line which mentions the border, which Elizabeth Menzies, publisher at UNSW Press, said the printer had suggested should be removed. When UNSW Press refused, the printer advised the publisher to print the title elsewhere and the book will be printed in Thailand.
Felicity Jack’s great grandfather’s life is documented in the biography, including his travels throughout Australia and China. Menzies would not name the Chinese printer, and said ‘We print as many of our books as we can in Australia’, but go overseas for ‘those that are colour or require something different’.
‘The author [Jack] felt very strongly that she did not want her text changed by the Chinese authorities and we stand beside that,’ said Menzies.
The winners of this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) awards have been announced.
The winning and honour books are:
Book of the Year: Older Readers
The Ghost’s Child (Sonya Hartnett, Viking)
Marty’s Shadow (John Heffernan, Omnibus)
Black Water (David Metzenthen, Penguin)
Book of the Year: Younger Readers
Dragon Moon (Carole Wilkinson, Black Dog Books)
Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!) (Sherryl Clark, illustrated by Elissa Christian, Puffin)
Amelia Dee and the Peacock Lamp (Odo Hirsch, A&U)
Book of the Year: Early Childhood
Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley (Aaron Blabey, Viking)
Cat (Mike Dumbleton, illustrated by Craig Smith, Working Title Press)
Lucy Goosey (Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ann James, Little Hare Books)
Picture Book of the Year
Requiem for a Beast (Matt Ottley, Lothian)
The Peasant Prince (Li Cunxin, illus by Anne Spudvilas, Viking)
Dust (Colin Thompson, ABC Books)
Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
Parsley Rabbit’s Book about Books (Frances Watts, illus by David Legge, ABC Books)
Girl Stuff: Your Full-on Guide to the Teen Years (Kaz Cooke, Viking)
Kokoda Track: 101 Days (Peter Macinnis, Black Dog Books).
A field trip to the Jawoyn region of the Northern Territory by representatives of the bookselling and publishing industry has highlighted both the positive benefits of the trade’s Indigenous Literacy Day fundraising activities, and the challenges facing those working to improve literacy in the region.
uzy Wilson, owner of Riverbend Books and founder of the Indigenous Literacy Project (ILP), said the trip was a chance to see how some of the funds raised by the industry had been used–and to note the changes since inital ILP visits to the region..
‘Visiting the new school at Wugularr was a particularly profound moment,’ she told WBN. ‘The beautiful new library that was accessible to the community as well as the school was a lovely space filled with books, many of which were supplied by our project. The old school had very few books and no library. It was exciting to see that many classrooms now have beautiful book displays; and the presence and access to books in the school has markedly increased.’
Wilson was joined on the fact-finding trip by industry representatives including Penguin CEO Gabrielle Coyne and general manager, education, sales and marketing Kristen Gill; Allen & Unwin director Peter Eichhorn and children’s book director Liz Bray; Robyn Huppert of the Australian Booksellers Association; Gleebooks co-owner and ILP chair David Gaunt; and ILP ambassadors Andy Griffiths and Tara June Winch (pictured, with students in the Wugularr school library).
As well as the new school at Wugalarr, where Griffiths read to students from The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow, the group visited the also relatively new school at Manyallaluk, where Winch supplied sea shells, paints and paper butterflies for students to use in illustrating the story she read to them.
The group also visited the library at Burunga, which is available both to students and the wider community. ‘Discussions were made later in the trip about how we could build upon and provide even richer input during these field trips,’ said Wilson. ‘Andy Griffiths and others had some terrific suggestions about story-writing workshops which will be followed up on in coming months.’
The challenge of continuity
While the brand new school and library at Wugalarr was an impressive development, the fact that five of the seven teachers on staff had been at the school for only two weeks clearly demonstrated to the group the challenges of providing continuity of education in remote communities.
‘The issues of continuity were seen as being one of the most significant for everyone in the community to face–continuity of staff, continuity of learning, in particular “reading support” between home and school, and sustained and continuous health care support,’ said Wilson. ‘The Project could see that there were a number of small things we could do to support the extraordinary souls who take on the challenge of working in these remote areas.’
As well as highlighting the challenges of improving literacy in these communities, the field trip emphasised the importance of providing support. ‘For instance the Indigenous principal of Barunga School, Anita Camfoo described for us the huge delight felt by the community when five children in the school–with an enrolment of seventy eight–reached the literacy bench mark last year,’ said Wilson. ‘Anita’s statement inspired much discussion amongst the group. While recognising the sense of achievement that the school felt from this result it only highlighted for us the differing expectations regarding literacy success in remote communities. We discussed strategies of support that could be used to help raise the numbers of children reaching the benchmark.’
Plans for 3 September–Indigenous Literacy Day
This year’s Indigenous Literacy Day, when participating booksellers and publishers will donate a percentage of their earnings to the project, will take place on Wednesday 3 September.
Events planned on or near the day include:
In Sydney, Josh Pyke, Tara June Winch, Jacquie Harvey, Gabi Hollows and Libby Gleeson will present a memorable hour of music and storytelling to a school audience hosted by Sydney Grammar on the morning of September 3; Wesley Enoch, Tara June Winch, Julianne Schultz and performing artists will be special guests at an ILP/PEN evening at the State Library of NSW on the evening of September 3.
Sally Morgan and May O’Brien will be special guests at a storytelling event for schools at the State Library of Western Australia; The University of WA will present a special evening panel featuring Indigenous writers and storytellers.
Uni of Adelaide will host a special fundraising event involving book readings and performances.
The Fred Hollows Foundation is organising a special event with Indigenous writers, musicians and performers in Darwin; ILD Ambassador Anita Heiss will be in Alice Springs for a keynote address on literacy and also for media interviews.
Alexis Wright, John Marsden, Arnold Zable will be key guests at the Victorian State Library in a special panel organised through the Victorian Writers’ Centre on the evening of September 3; A special launch event will be held at Readers Feast on morning of September 3; Paul Jennings and Kaz Cooke will be key guests at a Victorian schools event organised at Ivanhoe College.
The State Library of Queensland is holding daytime storytellling and an evening panel to celebrate the day.
Kate Grenville will give a keynote address in Canberra at the National Library of Australia on the evening of September 3.
For more information on events, or how to become involved, visit www.worldwithoutbooks.org
The shortlist for the 2008 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards was announced on Friday, 8 August, by Arts Minister Lynne Kosky at the State Library of Victoria.
The 2008 Awards are in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, young adult fiction, an unpublished manuscript by an emerging Victorian writer, poetry, drama, essay, history, Indigenous writing, journalism, music theatre, and writing about Italians in Australia. The winning writers will share a total prize pool of $210,000.
The full list is here
The 2008 Books Alive campaign has commenced. You may have seen the ’50 books you can’t put down’ promotional material in the weekend press.
Well, Boomerang Books is happy to be a part of the campaign for the first time – buy one of the 50 books from us and you will receive a FREE copy of Michael Robotham’s explosive new thriller Bombproof.
You can see the full list of 50 books here…
Here’s some information about Bombproof and Michael Robotham…
The sisters of an Australian woman who committed suicide using the drug Nembutal, have called on Attorney-General Robert McClelland to ban Philip Nitschke’s book Killing Me Softly: Voluntary Euthanasia and the Road to the Peaceful Pill (written with Fiona Stewart, Penguin). However, Nitschke said his book does not encourage or direct a person to commit suicide. The woman in question had been refused membership to Nitschke’s organisation Exit International on psychiatric grounds, according to ABC Online. ‘If a person has got a clear psychiatric history we let them know that we think that they need to access appropriate services for that,’ said Nitschke. Another book by Nitschke, The Peaceful Pill Handbook, cannot be sold in retail shops in Australia, after being refused classification in 2007. However, it can be mail-ordered by individuals from Exit International in the US, is available on Amazon and, since May, is able to be sold in New Zealand if sealed and with an indication of censorship displayed.
The University of Warwick in the UK has launched a new writing prize for ‘an excellent and substantial piece of writing in the English language, in any genre or form’. Open to authors writing in English in any country, the £50,000 (A$102,000) prize will be awarded biennially, beginning in 2009. The theme for the inaugural prize is ‘complexity’. A panel of five judges including mathematician Ian Steward and literary blogger Stephen Mitchelmore will announce a longlist of 15 to 20 titles in October and a shortlist of six in January 2009 with the winner to be announced in February next year. ‘The winning submission will represent an intellectual, scientific and/or imaginative advance and be written with an energy and clarity that make it accessible and attractive to a wide audience,’ said a statement. In addition to the £50,000 monetary prize, the winning author will be awarded the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University. To find out more visit www.warwick.ac.uk/go/prizeforwriting.
Salman Rushdie was today (10 July) named winner of the Best of the Booker award for Midnight’s Children.
The shortlist of six books was selected by a panel of judges – the biographer, novelist and critic Victoria Glendinning (Chair), writer and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, and John Mullan, Professor of English at University College, London. The decision then went to a public poll. Midnight’s Children won with 36% of the votes.
Victoria Glendinning commented, ‘The readers have spoken – in their thousands. And we do believe that they have made the right choice.’
Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981. It was then chosen as the Booker of Bookers in 1993 – the only other time a celebratory prize has been awarded.
Meet the dedicated band of political and creative strategists who engineered Labor’s reversal of fortune.
See first-hand the birth of a new style of campaigning.
Discover who was responsible for Kevin07.
Due to intense media demand, Melbourne University Press will release August title Inside Kevin 07 a week early. The new in-store date is Monday, 21 July.
Inside Kevin 07 takes readers into the extraordinary campaign that put Kevin Rudd in the Lodge. Labor’s 2007 victory was historic, not only in numerical terms, but also in what it represents about the party itself, and its future.Among other things, the 2007 campaign showed the emergence of a new kind of Labor leader in Kevin Rudd, who had neither a factional powerbase nor close ties with the unions. It also showed the return of the positive campaign, and the ALP’s strategic use of modern media, from YouTube to the catchphrases that we heard during the course of 2007. ‘Working families’, anyone?Christine Jackman has had the full cooperation of all the key Labor players in the campaign, including Kevin Rudd and Tim Gatrell, and the book is written from her exclusive access to research and files from the Labor camp. Inside Kevin 07 is an unprecedented revelation of how a modern political party works – and succeeds.
Random House Australia wishes to express its deep sadness regarding the recent death of Jane McGrath. Our thoughts are with Glenn and his family at this very difficult time. Glenn McGrath: Line and Strength – The Complete Story by Glenn McGrath with Daniel Lane ISBN 9781741667196, went to print two weeks ago in accordance with Glenn McGrath’s management and is still on schedule for an 1 August publication date. Random House will be donating a percentage of each copy sold to the McGrath Foundation, which supports Australian women touched by breast cancer. Further donations to the McGrath Foundation can be made at any branch of the National Australia Bank or at http://www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/.
Boomerang Books has just launched a support program for Australian publishers which is designed to assist them to sell more Australian books.
We are offering Aussie publishers a sub-site on the Boomerang Books website through which to promote their books, among a number of other benefits.
We have just opened a sub-site for Lonely Planet:
For further information, please click here:
The finalists in the Romance Writers of Australia’s 2008 Romantic Book of the Year awards have been announced.
The shortlisted titles in each category are:
Long work: Claiming the Courtesan (Anna Campbell, Harper Collins Australia); Duet (Kimberley Freeman, Hachette Livre Australia); Tomorrow’s Promises (Anna Jacobs, Hodder); Ashblane’s Lady (Sophia James, Harlequin Quill); Serendipity (Melanie La’ Brooy, Penguin); Lands Beyond the Sea (Tamara McKinley, Hodder & Staughton).
Short work: The Prince’s Forbidden Virgin (Robyn Donald, Harlequin Mills & Boon); Their Lost-and-Found Family (Marion Lennox, Harlequin Medical); The Single Dad’s Marriage Wish (Carol Marinelli, Harlequin Medical); Island Heat (Sarah Mayberry, Harlequin Blaze); One Night before Marriage (Anne Oliver, Harlequin Sexy Sensation); Outback Man Seeks Wife (Margaret Way, Harlequin Sweet).
The winners will be announced at the Romance Writers Association national annual conference in Melbourne on 23 August.
Original illustrations by Julie Vivas from the much-loved children’s classic Possum Magic (Mem Fox, Scholastic) will be on display to the public until 28 July at Walker Street Gallery in Dandenong in Melbourne, in an exhibition curated by Books Illustrated.
The Time We Have Taken by Steven Carroll (Fourth Estate) is the winner of this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award.
Carroll receives the award, valued at $42,000, at a gala dinner held in Sydney this evening. ‘It’s an extraordinary thrill and honour,’ the author said of his win, but added that it was ‘also daunting to be joining a long list of authors whom you’ve either studied or admired for years’.
‘The Miles Franklin comes with the gravitas of a whole literary tradition and you feel that weight almost instantly.’
Read about it here:
Penguin is the 2008 publisher of the year, Scribe is small publisher of the year, Gleebooks the independent bookseller of the year and Dymocks Garden City Booragoon chain bookseller of the year, following the announcement of the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) at a gala dinner in Melbourne on Sunday night.
Read more here:
Girl Stuff by Kaz Cooke (Viking) was named the winner of the Nielsen BookData 2008 Booksellers Choice Award at the 84th Annual Booksellers Dinner on Monday night.
Read more here:
The Resurrectionist by Australian author James Bradley (Picador) and Addition by Australian author Toni Jordan are two of the eight titles that have been chosen for the influential Richard & Judy summer reads list in the UK.
Read more here:
Books Alive ambassador Michael Robotham has been shortlisted for the £2000 (A$4100) CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for crime writing.
Robotham was nominated for Shatter (Little Brown), which the judges described as ‘dark, deep and brooding; everything a psychological thriller should be’.
Sometime Australian, the south-east Aisa-based author Colin Cotterill, is in contention for the £20,000 (A$41,000) Duncan Lawrie Dagger for his novel The Coroner’s Lunch (Text).
Both awards will be announced in London on 10 July as part of the 2008 Duncan Lawrie Daggers.
For more information, click here.