The Story of the First Woman to Set Foot on Antarctica

 A stunning Australian novel based on the true story of the first woman to set foot on Antarctica

chasing-the-lightIt’s the early 1930s. Antarctic open-sea whaling is booming and a territorial race for the mysterious continent between Norwegian and British–Australian interests is in full swing. This was the era when Antarctica was closed to women, in spite of hundreds applying to expeditions.

Determined to learn more about the first women to reach Antarctica, Jesse Blackadder travelled to Norway where she made the exciting discovery that the first woman to reach the Antarctica Peninsula was not an explorer but Ingrid Christensen, a 38-year-old mother who left her six children behind and travelled there on a whaling boat four times in the 1930s with her husband, taking a female friend or two on each trip.

With this intriguing fact as inspiration, Jesse tells the story of a sea voyage from Cape Town by the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen and three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way onto the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde Wegger, a grieving widow who’s been forced to join the trip by her calculating parents-in-law; and Lars’s wife, Ingrid Christensen, who has longed to travel to Antarctica since she was a girl and has made a daunting bargain with Lars to convince him to take her.

Loyalties shift and melt and conflicts increase as they pass through the Southern Ocean and reach the whaling grounds. None of the women is prepared for the reality of meeting the whaling fleet and experiencing firsthand the brutality of the icy world.

As they head for the continent itself, the race is on for the first woman to land on Antarctica. None of them could possibly know how their arrival will change them forever.


jesse-blackadderJesse is an award-winning short-story writer and freelance journalist, fascinated by landscapes and belonging. Her earlier novels are After the Party and The Raven’s Heart (2011). She was awarded the Guy Morrison Prize for Literary Journalism in 2012 and the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship in 2011/2012, which enabled her to travel there for the second time on a six-week voyage. Born in Sydney, Jesse now lives near Byron Bay.

Player Profile: Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project


Tell us about your latest creation…

The Rosie Project: A socially-challenged genetics professor sets out to find a wife scientifically. A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that both men and women will enjoy. Winner of the Vic Premier’s Award for an unpublished manuscript and rights sold in 32 countries.

Where are you from / where do you call home?

Born in Auckland, NZ, live in Melbourne, Australia.


When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?

As a young kid, an astronaut. Later (from about 10) a theoretical physicist.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?

The Rosie Project (novel – there’s a screenplay too). It took a lot of small steps to realise a lifetime ambition of writing a novel. Previously I’d written non-fiction and made several short films.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?

It’s a notebook computer. That’s it. And I use it anywhere except in my office – which is for business.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?

I’m a guy. Non-fiction. I have to force myself to read fiction – but I’m fine once I get into it. I like Nick Hornby, John Irving, John Fowles, Joanne Harris and (sorry) Philip Roth.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Solzenitsyn. It taught me something important about the nature of happiness – which may or may not have been the author’s intention. And I read ALL of Asimov, Hemingway and Henry Miller.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?

Daniel Martin – in Fowles’s Daniel Martin. A screenwriter trying to make sense of life  – and eventually finding some. Which is what I turned out to be. (It’s 30 years since I’ve read it – I may be very wrong).

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?

Walk. My partner and I walked 2000km from Cluny in France to Santiago in Spain (pilgrims’ route) in 2010. And make short films.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?

Crab or tuna. Hard to beat fresh pepper crab eaten outside in Singapore. And I’m a wine nut so a great pinot noir from France or Oregon.

Who is your hero? Why?

Bob Dylan. For many reasons, including his determination to maintain his creative energy in later life.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?

Short attention spans.

Follow Graeme:

Buy the physical book here…

Buy the eBook here…

The American Pianist immortalised by Australian Lipstick Salesman

This is a remarkable true story about how America’s best pianist was immortalised by an Australian lipstick salesman.

lasting-recordA Lasting Record is a haunting story about two men who never met but whose paths crossed in a surprising way. With a mix of detective work and imagination, Stephen Downes tells the spellbinding tale of the greatest pianist who almost never was, and his eccentric and passionate fan.

William Kapell was returning from a series of concerts in Australia in 1953 on a BCPA plane that ploughed into a mountain south of San Francisco. He was just 31 years old, a husband and father. The airline was subsequently taken over by Qantas and litigation for damages went on for years.

This is the first biography of the American but it also tells the story of Roy Preston, a humble Melburnian whose home-made recordings of Kapell’s playing, miraculously released by Sony BMG in 2008, confirm the pianist’s genius.

Preston had used a Melbourne-made ‘Royce’ recorder to capture the pianist’s last performance – Chopin’s ‘Funeral March’ sonata – from a live radio broadcast a week before Kapell was killed.

A Lasting Record is filled with bizarre coincidences – the men looked similar; two other great pianists whom Kapell knew also died at 31, and the Kapell family in New York heard about the discovery of Roy’s recordings 50 years to the day after Willy’s death. A black cat walked across the stage at his last recital, and days later he told reporters on the tarmac at Mascot that he would never return to Australia. He had held out his hand to show Melbourne friends his short ‘life’ line and told them he wouldn’t be around for long.

Stephen Downes brings his love of music, keen journalist’s eye and detailed research to this epic tale spanning several decades. It is a diamond of a book, with many glittering facets.

Buy the book here…


stephen-downesStephen Downes is the author of ADAGIO FOR A SIMPLE CLARINET, a narrative that involved musicology, biography, memoir, Nazi history and an interview with Mozart. A writer and journalist who wanted to be a concert pianist, he has ‘collected’ for decades live performances by some of the world’s greatest pianists, including Sviatoslav Richter, Daniel Barenboim and Julius Katchen. He has a significant collection of piano recordings. Stephen is the author of several books, including BLACKIE, the story of a pet cat’s treatment for a brain tumour and his unfortunate demise; the book was met with considerable sales and is now translated into three languages.


What’s Your Dog Teaching You?

What’s Your Dog Teaching You? by Martin McKenna

The follow-up to the bestselling What’s Your Dog Telling You?

dogmanMartin McKenna, aka the Dog Man, has learned plenty from the dogs he grew up with and from the dogs he now owns. He firmly believes that dogs hold the key to human happiness and wellbeing and that they can help us to be better people — if we only learned how to learn from them.

Over the years he has counselled countless people in doggy lore, in how to be more relaxed, more confident, less aggressive, more loyal, how to make the most out of life, how to use routine to clear your head — and numerous other useful modes of behaviour. In this book he runs through the many lessons dogs can teach us, via colourful anecdotes about hounds and their owners.

Be warned! Not everyone is up to the task of learning from their dog.

Martin McKenna is the author of the bestselling book, What’s Your Dog Telling You? As a boy growing up in Limerick, Ireland, he escaped from family violence by running away from home and living in an abandoned barn with a pack of stray dogs. Martin learned the unique psychology and language shared by dogs all over the world and now he is passionate about helping dogs and humans to communicate more successfully with each other. He lives on the far north coast of New South Wales with his wife, children and an assortment of dogs.

Buy the book here…

Praise for What’s Your Dog Telling You?

‘The book exudes his passion for reshaping our perceptions of the dog world. Martin is an entertaining, thoughtful writer, who even the most conservative disciplinarians will come to like.’ –

‘It’s entertaining and thought-provoking and well worth a read.’ – Sunday Telegraph

‘The book is easy to navigate and is a dog owner’s go-to book for all their questions.’ – Toowoomba Chronicle

‘Upon reaching the last page, the readers will be astounded by all the new things you have learned to say fluently in dog language, not just to your own dog, but to every dog you meet.’ – Margaret River Times

New Release: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

rosie-projectThe feel-good novel of 2013, The Rosie Project is a classic screwball romance.

Rights sold into more than thirty countries.

Don Tillman is getting married. He just doesn’t know who to yet.

But he has designed the Wife Project, using a sixteen-page questionnaire to help him find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also fiery and intelligent and beautiful. And on a quest of her own to find her biological father—a search that Don, a professor of genetics, might just be able to help her with.

The Wife Project teaches Don some unexpected things. Why earlobe length is an inadequate predictor of sexual attraction. Why quick-dry clothes aren’t appropriate attire in New York. Why he’s never been on a second date. And why, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love: love finds you.

Follow @ProfDonTillman on Twitter

Like The Rosie Project on Facebook

Buy the book here…

Praise for The Rosie Project:

‘Funny and heartwarming, a gem of a book.’ — Marian Keyes

‘Although there are many laughs to be found in this marvellous novel, The Rosie Project is a serious reflection on our need for companionship and identity. Don Tillman is as awkward and confusing a narrator as he is lovable and charming.’ — John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

‘Graeme Simsion has created an unforgettable and charming character unique in fiction. Don Tillman is on a quirky, often hilarious, always sincere quest to logically discover what is ultimately illogical—love. Written in a superbly pitch-perfect voice, The Rosie Project had me cheering for Don on every page. I’m madly in love with this book! Trust me, you will be, too.’ — Lisa Genova, bestselling author of Still Alice and Left Neglected

About Graeme Simsion

Graeme Simsion worked as a computer operator, programmer and database specialist before founding a consulting business in 1982. By the time he sold Simsion Bowles & Associates in 1999, it had grown to some seventy staff in three cities. Graeme had built an international reputation in data management and written the standard text on data modelling. Until the success of The Rosie Project enabled him to concentrate on his writing, he continued to deliver seminars around the world.

Graeme is a founder of Pinot Now, a wine importer and distributor and Roy’s Antiques in Melbourne. He recently resigned from his position as a Senior Research Fellow at Melbourne University. He is married to Anne, a professor of psychiatry who writes erotic fiction. They have two children.

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. 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 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.

New Video: Graeme Simsion’s ‘The Rosie Project’ book trailer (high def)

Out 30 January 2013.

The book trailer for the feel-good novel of the year, The Rosie Project, in high definition.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. Then a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire—a sixteen-page, scientifically researched document—to find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is strangely beguiling, fiery and intelligent. And she is also on a quest of her own. She’s looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might just be able to help her with—even if he does wear quick-dry clothes and eat lobster every single Tuesday night.

Dandelion Bullying Book to be published by Random House

9780857981028Random House Australia has acquired the rights to an ebook and print book version of Dandelion, a popular anti-bullying app for children that was created by Sydney writer and creative director Galvin Scott Davis.

Random House will publish the Dandelion ebook on 15 March, followed by a hardcover picture book on 1 April.

Davis created the Dandelion app in 2012 in response to his son being bullied at school. He initially raised money for the project through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, and self-published a small run of print books.

The book blurb:

In the spirit of Where the Wild Things Are and Grimm’s Fairytales, Dandelion is a moving book for children about bullying and the power of imagination. Based on a number 1 bestselling children’s- book app on iTunes.

Benjamin Brewster is a very particular little boy. He attends the School for the Misguided, a place for never-do-wells and bullies. A place where happy thoughts are quick to run and hide. A place where dreams and thoughts are squished. Until one day dandelions appear by Benjamin’s side and he finds the courage and imagination to force the bullies to take flight. Bullying, after all, is for people with no imagination.

This magical interactive book for children is based on a bestselling children’s iTunes app and came about when Galvin Scott Davis’s son experienced bullying. The story encourages parents and children to discuss bullying and discover whether some problems can be solved with a little imagination.

The story for Dandelion came about when Galvin Scott Davis’s son experienced bullying.


Is your life lacking some Random Romance?

Random Romance is the new Random House Australia digital-first romance list and is launching next month – just in time for Valentine’s Day – with five indulgent titles, including two romcoms, two erotic novellas and a scintillating outback romance. Another five titles will be published throughout the year.

 onelie One Little White Lie by Loretta HillThis is a hilarious romantic novella from Loretta Hill (author of the bestselling The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots). It’s the story of Kate Dreson and the little untruth she tells to get her match-making friend off her back. Except, to Kate’s surprise, the little white lie suddenly becomes a red-blooded reality! (Loretta lives in Perth.)


 justbreathe Just Breathe by Janette PaulJanette Paul is actually bestselling crime writer Jaye Ford. This is a deliciously funny full-length novel in which opposites most definitely attract – on one side is hippie, yoga teacher Dee, and on the other millionaire businessman Ethan, who turns her calm world upside down… (Jaye lives near Newcastle, NSW.)


 beneathskies Beneath Outback Skies by Alissa CallenA captivating full-length rural romance featuring an indomitable young woman battling to save her drought-stricken family farm. Into the mix comes Tait Cavanaugh, a surprise farm-stay guest who is not all he seems… (Alissa is based on a farm near Dubbo, NSW.)


 breakingrulesbloom Breaking the Rules and Bloom by Kate BelleThese are Kate Belle’s first publications, and books one and two in a series of erotic novellas, each featuring Ramon Mendez, a handsome, charismatic lover who enters women’s lives and changes them for ever… (Kate lives in Melbourne.)

Australia’s Top Gun says The Sky is Not the Limit


The action-packed true story of Australia’s own top gun pilot Matt Hall

sky-limitGrowing up in Newcastle, NSW, Matt Hall didn’t give much thought to his future. All he knew was when his Dad would take him flying, the world suddenly made sense to him. The stories he loved best were those of pilots, the games he played involved planes and airflight. Then one day he realised it could be the key to his future.

In The Sky is Not The Limit Matt tells the story of how he went from dreamer to flying ace – how he cracked a place in the highly disciplined and demanding RAAF training program, a gruelling mental and physical school where being an excellent pilot is just the starting point to success – and how he learned about risk, danger and loyalty. He tells how he graduated to great acclaim – on the eve of September 11. And how his world changed when he found his first assignment out of school was to fight in the Battle of Baghdad. Here, he experienced death and loss for the first time and emerged from the war safe but a wiser, more mature top gun.

Almost on a whim Matt entered the Red Bull Air Race, the most competitive air race in the world.

Despite a spectacular crash on the water, he finished in third place, becoming the first rookie to ever stand on the podium. And it was the start of a new career which has seen him break records and thrill crowds with his antics.

Now flying for himself, Matt Hall has become one of the best known pilots in the world of aviation. He has over 1500 Hornet hours, 500 hours in the F-15E Strike Eagle (including combat), over 700 hours in light aircraft and over 500 hours doing aerobatics. His story is a rare glimpse into a normally closed off world, where skill, quick thinking and a cool head can mean the difference between life and death.

Buy the book here…

Dan Brown Thriller Inferno to be published globally in May


Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown has penned a new thriller, Inferno, which will publish globally on May 14.

In his eagerly awaited follow-up to The Lost Symbol renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon returns. Set in the heart of Europe Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centred on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces.

From the Random House Australia website:

The announcement was made today in London by Bill Scott-Kerr, Dan Brown’s long-term publisher at Transworld who said:

“I’ve been working with Dan Brown for over a decade now and every time he delivers a new novel, he never fails to surprise. As a storyteller, he has the great gift of being able to take you on a breathtaking rollercoaster ride at the same time as offering a fresh perspective on what he’s showing us along the way. This brilliant new Robert Langdon thriller is no exception – in Inferno he returns to the heart of old Europe and to the territory so compellingly occupied by The Da Vinci Code. It’s another star turn from start to finish.”

Dan Brown said, “Although I studied Dante’s Inferno as a student, it wasn’t until recently, while researching in Florence, that I came to appreciate the enduring influence of Dante’s work on the modern world. With this new novel, I am excited to take readers on a journey deep into this mysterious realm…a landscape of codes, symbols, and more than a few secret passageways.”

Brett Osmond, Marketing and Publicity Director at Random House Australia said, “There’s no better guarantee of reading enjoyment than a new Dan Brown novel and the breaking news of Inferno is going to be sweet music to the ears of his legion of Australian fans. On 14 May we all get to re-ignite our passion for his thrillers as we join Robert Langdon, once again, on another unforgettable and relentless journey of intrigue and mystery. “

Inferno will be published on May 14th 2013 in hardcover at $45.00 and is also available as an ebook.

The Da Vinci Code is one of the bestselling novels in paperback in Australia since records began (Nielsen BookScan).  The book spent more than a year on the bestseller lists and sold 1.7 million copies.

The Lost Symbol is one of Australia’s bestselling adult hardcover novels since records began (Nielsen BookScan), with current sales in excess of 650,000 copies (in both hardcover and paperback). There are 190m copies of Dan Brown’s books in print worldwide. Dan Brown’s novels have been translated into 51 languages.

Following the publication of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s earlier novels, Digital FortressDeception Point andAngels and Demons have all gone on to become multi-million copy international bestsellers. All are published in Australia by Random House.

To find out even more you can follow Dan Brown at or @authordanbrown on twitter.

Pink Popular Penguins

97807343069069780734306210Penguin Books has announced that it will publish a limited edition set of 12 of its ‘Popular Penguins’ books with pink covers in March to help raise money for the McGrath Foundation.

$1 from the sale of each of the ‘Pink Popular Penguins’ will be donated to the McGrath Foundation, which aims to increase breast health awareness among young women.

The 12 titles included in the ‘Pink Popular Penguins’ range are:

  • Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • A Spy in the House of Love by Anais Nin.

The books will be in store from 20 March.

More information can be found on the Pink Popular Penguins page on the Penguin website…

Aussie Gourmand award finalists

originThe Gourmand World Cookbook Awards finalists have been announced.

The finalists from Australia and New Zealand are as follows:

Authors category

  • Chef: Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry by Ben Shewry (Murdoch Books).

Cuisines category

  • ForeignCooking from the Heart: A Jewish Journey Through Food by Gaye Weeden & Hayley Smorgon (Hardie Grant)
  • ItalianLimoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros (Murdoch Books)
  • Asian: Bali: The Food of My Island Home by Janet De Neefe (Plum)
  • ChineseKylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking Class by Kylie Kwong (Lantern)
  • Street FoodThe World’s Best Street Food (Lonely Planet).

Lifestyle category

  • HealthGoodness me, It’s Gluten Free by Vanessa & Mary Hudson (Goodness Me NZ)
  • ChildrenThe Junior Gourmet by Elizabeth Long (Five Mile Press).

Charity & Fund Raising category, Australia / Pacific:

  • Lentil as Anything by Shanaka Fernando & Greg Hill (Ilura Press)
  • Cooking from the Heart (Hayleybury School)
  • Devil of a Cookbook by Fiona Hoskin (Thermomix)
  • The Sustainable Table by Cassie Duncan & Hayley Giachan (Sustainable Press)
  • Nic’s Cookbook by Nicholas Brockelbank (Scholastic NZ)
  • Volcanic Kitchens by Gerhard Egger (Lastingimages NZ)
  • NZ Rugby Kitchen ed by NZ Rugby Foundation staff (Random House NZ).

Wine & Drinks category:

  • BeerBeer Nation: The Art and Heart of Kiwi Beer by Michael Donaldson (Penguin NZ)
  • Drink HistoryThe Winemaker: George Fistonich and the Villa Maria Storyby Kerry Tyack (Random House NZ).

The winners of the Gourmand Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on 23 February.

New Video: The Rosie Project Trailer

Out 30 January 2013.

The feel-good novel of the year, The Rosie Project is a classic screwball romance.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. Then a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire—a sixteen-page, scientifically researched document—to find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is strangely beguiling, fiery and intelligent. And she is also on a quest of her own. She’s looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might just be able to help her with—even if he does wear quick-dry clothes and eat lobster every single Tuesday night.

UK Costa Book Award winners announced

9780701186999The winners of the 2012 UK Costa Book Awards have been announced. The Costa Book Awards are presented annually for titles published in the previous year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.

The winners are:

  • Novel – Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
  • First novel – The Innocents by Francesca Segal
  • Biography – Dotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary & Bryan Talbot
  • Poetry – The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie
  • Children’s book – Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Each of the category winners receive a cash prize of £5000 and each is eligible to win the  overall £30,000 Costa Book of the Year Award, which will be announced on 29 January 2013.

12 Great Reasons Why You Should Buy a Boomerang Books Gift Voucher right now…

Gift_Vouchers1. Ok, admit it…you’ve left your shopping until the last minute, haven’t you? And now you need to buy something quick smart!  Boomerang Books Gift Vouchers are the answer.  Guaranteed to arrive before Christmas morning via email.

2.  Ever had to force a smile when presented with a gift that you don’t really want at Christmas?  No fear with our Gift Vouchers!  Everyone loves books and your gift recipient can choose what they want from our extensive range of titles.  Let them have the fun of choosing, rather than making the wrong choice on their behalf.

3.  Could you really be bothered battling the crowds at your local shopping centre on Monday 24th December?  No thank you.

4.  If you buy a Boomerang Books Gift Voucher by midnight on Christmas Eve, we will give you a bonus amount of 10% on top of the voucher denomination — buy a $50 voucher, get $55.

5.  Buy a Boomerang Books Gift Voucher and you could win a copy of The Hobbit film tie-in edition – we have three copies to giveaway to people who purchase gift vouchers!

6.  Our Gift Vouchers are sent via email, so we guarantee that your Gift Voucher will be delivered to you or directly to your gift recipient by Christmas morning (as long as you order by midnight Christmas Eve)

7.  You can take the ‘green’ approach and save on postage and packaging by sending your Gift Voucher directly to the recipient via email.  They’ll receive it via their email address, and you’ll get a ‘drop copy’ as proof of delivery.

8.  Alternatively, you can opt to have the Gift Voucher sent to your own email address, and then you can print off the voucher and present it to your gift recipient in person on Christmas Day.

9.  Boomerang Books Gift Vouchers don’t have to be used in one hit — Gift Vouchers work over multiple transactions from our online bookstore, so your gift recipient can space out their purchases as they see fit.

10.  Boomerang Books Gift Vouchers are valid for 12 months from purchase, so your gift recipient has plenty of time to redeem their voucher.

11.  When you buy Boomerang Books Gift Vouchers, you are supporting a small Australian business, not a big multinational starting with ‘A’.

12.  When you buy Boomerang Books Gift Vouchers, you’re helping the environment as our books are carbon neutral — we pay to offset the carbon cost of the production and fulfilment of all our books.

Buy a Boomerang Books Gift Voucher right now…

Four Feisty Females Bound for Botany Bay

behind-the-sunBlending the epic storytelling tradition of Bryce Courtney with the meticulous accuracy of Philippa Gregory … award-winning historian and bestselling novelist, Deborah Challinor delivers a convict story like no other – four feisty females bound for Botany Bay.

Behind the Sun turns the convict story on its head. Through the eyes of four fiercely feisty young women who guard their secrets and dreams as closely as their money and trinkets from home, Deborah Challinor explores the gritty, raucous, bittersweet life of female criminals bound for Botany Bay.

The four unlikely friends must join forces and overcome the perils on the journey of their lives, safeguarding everything they hold dear to them. Tough and irreverent street prostitute Friday Woolfe and the clever thief Sarah Morgan team with naïve young Rachel Winter and the highly capable seamstress Harriet Clark.

On the voyage to New South Wales their friendship becomes an unbreakable bond — but there are others on board who will change their lives forever. Friday makes an implacable enemy of Bella Jackson, a vicious woman whose power seems undiminished by her arrest and transportation, while Harriet is taken under the wing of an idealistic doctor, James Downey. Rachel catches the eye of a sinister passenger whose brutal assault leaves her life hanging in the balance.

When they finally arrive on the other side of the world, they are confined to the grim and overcrowded Parramatta Female Factory. But worse is to come as the threat of separation looms. In the land behind the sun, the only thing they have is each other.


Deborah Challinor is the author of several bestselling novels including the widely praised Band of Gold. She is also an historian and has written a number of non-fiction titles.

Her compelling research for ‘Behind the Sun’, particularly the infamous Parramatta Female Factory  reveals much about the shocking conditions there and the extraordinary fact that  20% of Australians are descended from the women who went through those Factory gates. Her ancestors including a First Fleet sailor and a long line of convicts were part of the inspiration for this brilliant new series.

‘Thanks for rattling your chains ladies and gentlemen, both supernatural and the ones the law put on you.’ pg 448

Deb and her husband have recently moved to Newcastle.

Meet Jane Austen’s Little Sister

Who better to introduce modern tweens to the minefields that are love and romance than Jane Austen’s little sister, Jenna Austen?

From an award-winning Australian children’s author writing under the pseudonym ‘Jenna Austen’ comes the perfect series for girls aged 9+ who have moved on from Harry Potter but aren’t quite ready for Twilight yet.

romance-diariesParents will love the fact this series introduces their daughters to the works of Jane Austen; tween girls will love the diary format, great characters and sweet romance.

Protagonist Ruby is worried that her friends keep making the same mistakes when it comes to romance. Then she develops a theory: most girls go for either a ‘Jane Austen’ guy (funny, sweet, caring) or a ‘Jane Eyre’ guy (dark, brooding, serious) – when really they should be dating the exact opposite!

But when Ruby puts her theory practice, the results don’t exactly go to plan … And if she’s so smart about love, how come she can’t figure out who’s been sending her all the flirty emails and flowers?

About the author

‘Jenna Austen’ (aka award-winning author Sophie Masson) loves reading and writing. Especially the kinds of stories that end with happily-ever-afters. And she adores a good romance – she’s read EVERY Jane Austen novel ever written. She thinks Ms Austen is One of Greatest Writers To Have Ever Lived and used to wish that she was related to her. (She’s not – she checked!) But she doesn’t mind at all if people want to call her ‘Jane Austen’s Little Sister’…

Freddy Fittler’s Season on the Sidelines

freddy-fittler‘I love the way Freddy loves Rugby League. Look we all know that he sees the world a little differently and when it comes to talking footy that’s a good thing!’ Andrew Johns

 Following on from the success of The Fittler Files comes The Fittler Files 2, a review of the 2012 rugby league season from round one through to the grand final, covering all the big events both on and off the field. Not simply a rehash of the regular, NRL-sanctioned press conferences and news, this is a genuine inside look at rugby league from a trusted and well-connected team. Written with Brad’s brand of honesty and humour, and including over 100 photographsThe Fittler Files 2012 is the perfect gift for the footy fan this Christmas.

Brad ‘Freddy’ Fittler in his own words ‘played a bit of footy’ (40 Tests and World Cup matched, 31 Origin games for NSW and 336 first grade games – Penrith and Sydney Roosters), coached for a while (Sydney Roosters) – and enjoyed it all enormously. Now, as a keen photographer, commentator (Channel 9) and occasional coach (City team) he continues to relish his involvement in the game that gave him his chance in life. This is book is largely the product of weekly conversations and thoughts shared through season 2011 over coffee in a Sydney Harbourside park – just ‘talking football’. It was as good as life gets, Freddy reckons of his season spent chasing the game.

Adam Thomson began work with the Australian Radio Network in both production and on air roles across their 3 Sydney stations, Mix 106.5, WSFM and the Edge 96.1. After four years Adam made the move to television with the Ten Network as a sports reporter and producer focussing mainly on rugby league and combat sports.

Buy the book here…


Get a Mullet Up Ya! Tales from the Tinny

It’s all about fishing in the Top End … sort of.

Come on a fishing trip with ABC Darwin’s Rob Smith, Tim Moore and Mario ‘McFadge’ Faggion as they chart the croc-filled waters of the Top End, doing what they do best — telling tall tales, drinking beer, and crapping on. As one keen fan put it in a warm recommendation, ‘The crap you blokes talk on air is the exact crap spoken on my boat.’

And this book is full of it — stuffed full of anecdotes about the colourful characters and  wild, vibrant landscape of the Top End, but more than that, it’s a book about mateship, fish, and the elaborate and exaggerated fishing claims that two guys who have been drinking beer all morning might make.

Soaked through with irreverent humour, fishy fables, Top End folklore, jokes at other people’s expense, fake adverts and satirical cartoons, this will make a great gift for Dad this Christmas.

And did we mention the fish? There’s a lot of them. And a lot of arguing about them.

Rob Smith and colleague Tim Moore present Tales from the Tinny every Saturday morning out of Darwin, where they both live. Rob is a radio producer with previous journalism experience and has written a number of humorous articles on the subject of fishing for newspapers and magazines.

Buy the book here…

Ode to the mullet

I love thee with raging desire so keen,

Cold buckets of water shall nay dull it.

You are my mate, my bait,

And as I stick a hook up thy date,

I thank the almighty for you –

Faithfull mullet.


–          Rob Smith

The Scrivener’s Tale

Australia’s queen of fantasy returns to the world of her epic bestseller Myrren’s Gift.

Fiona McIntosh is one of Australia’s most exciting and prolific authors of popular fantasy. Locally, reviewers have compared her to masters of the genre, including Raymond Feist, Jean M Auel, David Gemmell and Guy Gavriel Kay; internationally, she is also a sensation. Myrren’s Gift, for instance, was Britain’s highest-selling debut for 2005, and it has now been published in all English-speaking markets around the world and translated into several languages.

In fact, it was while swamped with French fans clutching translation copies of these novels during a recent trip to the Paris Book Fair that Fiona decided it was time to finally give in to their pleas that she set another novel in France; and so the seed for THE SCRIVENER’S TALE was sown.

Set in the landscape of Morgravia (a world already familiar to her readers) and inspired by rainy afternoons spent walking the streets of Paris and hours spent rummaging through Shakespeare & Co (one of the city’s most famous bookshops and a mecca for its English-speaking literati), THE SCRIVENER’S TALE is just the kind of gripping, expertly-crafted narrative that fans and critics alike have come to expect from McIntosh.

Despite her skyrocketing writing career, Fiona leads a relatively normal life, dividing her time between Adelaide and Tasmania’s Huon Valley with the occasional research trip to Europe thrown in. A mother of twin sons, she is also a prolific baker and chocolate addict, baking all manner of cakes, brownies and biscuits into the early hours of the morning as her family sleeps. Says Fiona, “I’m sure in the haze of measuring and stirring I’m percolating my complex fantasy tale with a cast of thousands somewhere in the back of my brain!”

Buy the book here…


“Two words on the cover – ‘Fiona McIntosh’ – always let me know I’m in for a good read” ROBIN HOBB

“Fiona McIntosh is a seductress. I have not moved from the sofa in three days” THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

“Fiona McIntosh keeps getting better and better” ADELAIDE ADVERTISER

“Relentless, twisty plotting… compulsively readable” KIRKUS REVIEWS

Blanche d’Alpuget’s first novel in twenty years

BLANCHE d’ALPUGET’s first novel in twenty years will be published in September 2013.

The Young Lion is the gripping first installment in a trilogy set in the Middle Ages, and marks the return to the world of fiction of one of Australia’s finest writers.

Blanche’s earlier novels were all bestsellers. They include Turtle Beach, which won the Age Book of the Year and was made into a feature film starring Greta Scacchi and Jack Thompson; Monkeys in the DarkWinter in Jerusalem and White Eye. Her non-fiction includes Mediator: A Biography of Sir Richard Kirby;Robert J. Hawke: A BiographyOn Longing and Hawke: The Prime Minister. These works won a number of literary prizes, including the PEN Golden Jubilee Award and the Australasian Prize for Commonwealth Literature.

Blanche d’Alpuget says:

‘In my twenties I became fascinated with the 12th century when I began to realise it was the era that established much of what we celebrate and revile today: romantic love; war between Christianity and Islam; celibacy in the Church; the rule of law; oppression of women and their fight against it; trial by jury; academies in Oxford and Paris that grew into the West’s first universities. It was a time of upheaval. Personalities with great virtues and great flaws led it, among them the warrior, Henry, founder of England’s longest lasting dynasty, the Plantagenets; I’ve chosen to call him “The Young Lion”.’

Her publisher, Jeanne Ryckmans, says:

‘It’s a real honour to publish and work with Blanche. She is a brilliant novelist who writes with verve and energy. She tells the story of “The Young Lion” with wit and razor-sharp intelligence, as well as demonstrating a firm grasp of the geopolitics of Medieval Europe and a keen insight into the workings of the human heart.’

About The Young Lion

Geoffrey the Handsome is the virile and charming Duke of Normandy, who seduces Queen Eleanor of France to spy for him. Said to be the most beautiful woman in Europe, and very rich, Eleanor has not been able to give birth to an heir for France. Her liaison with Geoffrey could remedy that – or lead to her downfall and Geoffrey’s death. But what begins with cool calculation becomes a passionate affair. Despite his love for Eleanor, Geoffrey has larger plans: to help his warrior son, Henry, seize the English throne from the uncle who usurped it from its rightful heir, Henry’s mother. When Henry is forced to intervene to save the lives of his father and Eleanor, he falls foul of the French queen – and madly in love with her Byzantine maid. Should he become King of England, however, this dazzling foreign girl will never be acceptable as his queen.

These two relationships – both forbidden, both perilous – are at the centre of a tale of consuming ambition, family vengeance and political intrigue set in the glorious flowering of troubadour culture, mysticism and learning that is 12th-century France.


Blanche d’Alpuget is an acclaimed novelist, biographer and essayist. She has won numerous literary awards, among them the inaugural Australasian Prize for Commonwealth Literature in 1987. Her books include Mediator: A Biography of Sir Richard Kirby (1977); Monkeys in the Dark (1980); Turtle Beach (1981), which won the Age Book of the Year award in 1981; Robert J Hawke: A Biography (1982); Winter in Jerusalem (1986) and White Eye (1993). Turtle Beach became a feature film in 1992 starring Greta Scacchi and Jack Thompson, and all Blanche’s novels have been translated into other languages. Blanche lives in Sydney.

First Tuesday Book Club reveals top 10 Aussie Books

The First Tuesday Book Club has revealed their 10 Aussie Books to Read Before You Die, as voted by thousands of Australian readers.

The top ten is:

  • Cloudstreet (1991) by Tim Winton
  • The Book Thief (2006) by Markus Zusak
  • A Fortunate Life (1981) by A.B. Facey
  • The Power of One (1989) by Bryce Courtenay
  • Harp in the South (1948) by Ruth Park
  • Jasper Jones (2009) by Craig Silvey
  • The Magic Pudding (1918) by Norman Lindsay
  • The Slap (2008) by Christos Tsiolkas
  • The Secret River (2005) by Kate Grenville
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967) by Joan Lindsay

Boomerang Books ran their own survey back in 2010 to reveal the Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

What do you think?  Leave a comment…

Quirky Book for Chrissie? – 100 Uses for a Dead Kindle

Estimates suggest over 2m Kindles have been sold in the UK over the last three years. The Kindle is now one of the most iconic consumer objects in our culture, changing the way we read books. 101 Uses of a Dead Kindle is a celebration of that status, taking a sideways look and what happens when, eventually, your beloved Kindle dies. With 101 beautiful and hilarious cartoons showing all the different ways you can recycle (or up-cycle) your Kindle, no matter how weird, ludicrous and extraordinary. 101 Uses of a Dead Kindle will become a cult classic for Kindle owners (and e-book haters) everywhere.

Buy the book here…

Punter’s autobiography to be published next Christmas

HarperCollinsPublishers Australia will publish Ricky Ponting’s end-of-career autobiography in November 2013.

Ricky Ponting, 37, who made his final Test appearance this week, is one of the greatest cricketers to have worn the baggy green.  He became Test captain of Australia in 2004 and remained in the post until handing the job to Michael Clarke in 2011. He is the highest Australian run-scorer of all time in Tests and one-day international cricket, behind only India’s Sachin Tendulkar among batsmen from all countries.  Ponting’s career highlights include 168 Test matches, an Australian record he shares with Steve Waugh.  He scored 13,378 runs in Test matches and 41 centuries.

No Australian cricketer can match his Test hundreds record and his Test average (51.85) is third best among all Australian batsmen with 20 or more innings (behind only Don Bradman and Greg Chappell). Bradman is the only Australian to score more Test double centuries. Only India’s Rahul Dravid has taken more Test catches. No man has been a part of more Test victories. No captain has led his country to more Test wins.

Ponting has been a HarperCollins author since 2003 and his autobiography will be his biggest project yet.  It will track, with his customary honesty, the journey from his childhood in Tasmania, playing for the Mowbray Cricket Club’s third-grade side at 11 years old, through the highs and lows of his extraordinary international career to his retirement and future plans.

HarperCollins Publishing Director, Shona Martyn, said:  ‘Ricky Ponting’s autobiography will head straight to the top of the bestseller lists next Christmas. Australian readers love cricket, love heroes and love strong sporting autobiographies — this book will deliver all three.’

Image source: The Australian

Bookstore installs random book dispenser – the Biblio-Mat

The Biblio-Mat is a random book dispenser built by Craig Small for The Monkey’s Paw, an idiosyncratic antiquarian bookshop in Toronto. Biblio-Mat books, which vary widely in size and subject matter, cost two dollars. The machine was conceived as an artful alternative to the ubiquitous and often ignored discount sidewalk bin. When a customer puts coins into it, the Biblio-Mat dramatically whirrs and vibrates as the machine is set in motion. The ring of an old telephone bell enhances the thrill when the customer’s mystery book is delivered with a satisfying clunk into the receptacle below.

Take a look at this clip to see how it works –

The BIBLIO-MAT from Craig Small on Vimeo.


Gold-winning diver Matthew Mitcham opens up about addiction

‘People kept remarking on how they were surprised that a gold medal and fame hadn’t changed me. I always responded, “Why would I change? Being me is the easiest person to be.”

I was lying. It wasn’t.’

At the Beijing Olympic Games, Matthew Mitcham made history with an unforgettable dive, scoring perfect tens, and winning gold for Australia.

There was no hint of the harrowing battle this talented young dynamo had fought with clinical depression, self-harm, and his addiction to alcohol and drugs including crystal meth (also known as Ice).

Joyously out and proud, Matthew was a role model for his courage both in and out of the pool. Yet even after Beijing and ranking No 1 in the world, beneath that cheeky, fun-loving exterior he was painfully aware of how easily it could unravel.

Unbeknownst to everyone, even those closest to him, Matthew turned to crystal meth as a way of dealing with his personal demons some of which stemmed from his childhood.

When injury further threatened his London Olympic hopes, he struggled to overcome his addictions through rehab and counselling, and balance his perfectionism with the old fear of self-doubt. He may not have won gold but he triumphed over his physical and emotional pain – and showed us the true meaning of sportsmanship.

As Andre Agassi’s Open is to tennis, so is Matthew Mitcham’s Twists and Turns to diving. This is an inspiring story of a true champion, in and out of the pool.

“A searingly frank memoir” – Deborah Snow, The Sydney Morning Herald

Buy the book here…

Sex, lies and bonsai

A funny and tender love story from a talented new Australian writer — Sex, lies & bonsai by Lisa Walker

What if you live in the midst of the intense surfing culture of the NSW North coast with a father who is a legendary surfing champion but you are too scared to even go in the water?  And if you start writing erotic fiction but have a massive fear of being found out by the close knit community? These are the sorts of questions Lisa Walker seeks to explore in this funny and charming story about coming out of your shell and letting the world see your rich inner life even when it makes you nearly crazy with embarrassment.

Dumped by text message by her ‘perfect’ boyfriend, heartbroken Edie flees Sydney for the refuge of her childhood home, taking only a wilting bonsai as a reminder of her failure. But in this small coastal town, Edie has always lived in the shadow of her surf champion father. How can she move on from her ex — and from her past?

Her best friend and life-coach, Sally, is full of dubious advice, but Edie finds there are many ways to mess things up on her own. She discovers a new-found talent for erotic writing which is lucrative but cringe-making, finds a job drawing crab larvae but suffers terribly with unrequited lust for her employer, the hunky professor with ‘hidden depths’ and nearly blows it all with the complicated but undeniably sexy musician – Jay.

‘The inspiration for Edie’s story came from a few different places,’ Lisa says. ‘One of these was seeing the way that surfing was so much a part of life on the north coast, I wondered what it would be like to be an outsider – a girl who is scared of the water. While I am a surfer myself, my kids are fairly apathetic about it. In a town like Lennox Head, which has such a strong surfing culture, whether you surf becomes an important part of who you are.’ ‘The other inspiration is that feeling of living in a small town. Darling Head, where the novel is set, is a town of five thousand people. In a town like that, it is impossible to be anonymous. Edie has spent her whole life feeling like the odd one out. I wanted to see what would happen if she just let it all hang out.’  LISA WALKER

This appealing romance with a big dash of humour, a beautiful setting and a cast of memorable characters heralds the arrival of a major new Australian writer of popular women’s fiction.


Lisa lives on the NSW North Coast with her husband and two teenage sons where she surfs, writes and works as a community relations manager for National Parks and Wildlife. She has held a myriad of different jobs including once being employed as an illustrator of crab larvae! She has a degree in zoology, a master’s in natural resource management and a graduate diploma in outdoor education. Lisa is an award winning short story writer; her play Baddest Backpackers aired on ABC RN in 2008 and her first novel Liar Bird was published in 2012. Sex, Lies &Bonsai is her second novel.

Buy the book here…

Bad Sex Award 2012 – Rowling and James on the outer

She smells of almonds, like a plump Bakewell pudding; and he is the spoon, the whipped cream, the helpless dollop of warm custard (The Yips by Nicola Barker)

The two authors heavily tipped to take this year’s most coveted and dreaded literary prize have failed to make the shortlist. Neither J.K. Rowling, for her first adult novel, nor EL James for her Fifty Shades trilogy, will be adding the bad sex trophy to their mantelpieces.

Jonathan Beckman, senior editor at the Literary Review, which organises the annual award, said nominations had poured in for Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. However, after ardent discussions about the book, the judges concluded she failed to meet the criteria. Despite “a couple of queasy moments”, as Beckman termed it, her writing is not nearly bad enough.

The other notable absentee is James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, the books which brought mummy-porn out of the e-readers and on to the best-seller shelves in every high street bookshop.

The full shortlist is: Tom Wolf nominated for the second time for Back to Blood, The Yips by Nicholas Baker, The Adventuress by Nicholas Coleridge, Infrared by Nancy Huston, Rare Earth by Paul Mason, Noughties by Ben Masters, The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills – a particularly worthy nomination, since Self’s own fiction has been shortlisted on three occasions– and The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine. Coleridge and Raine are also repeat offenders.

The winner will be announced at a lavish ceremony in London next month – and it is considered a badge of courage for the authors to attend to receive it in person.

Vale Bryce Courtenay

Photo: Andrew Zuckerman

Bestselling Australian novelist Bryce Courtenay passed away in Canberra last Thursday after a battle with cancer.  Rest in peace Bryce.

Media Statement
Issued by Penguin Group (Australia) on behalf of Christine Courtenay

It is with sadness Penguin Group (Australia) wish to advise that Bryce Courtenay AM passed away peacefully at 11:30pm on Thursday 22 November in Canberra with his wife Christine, son Adam and his beloved pets Tim, the dog, and Cardamon, the Burmese cat by his side. He was 79.

Christine Courtenay said this morning, “We’d like to thank all of Bryce’s family and friends and all of his fans around the world for their love and support for me and his family as he wrote the final chapter of his extraordinary life. And may we make a request for privacy as we cherish his memory.”

Gabrielle Coyne, Chief Executive Officer, Penguin Group (Australia) said, “It has been our great privilege to be Bryce’s publisher for the past 15 years. We, as well as his many fans will forever miss Bryce’s indomitable spirit, his energy and his commitment to storytelling.”

Bob Sessions, Bryce Courtenay’s long standing Publisher at Penguin said, “Bryce took up writing in his fifties, after a successful career in advertising. His output and his professionalism made him a pleasure to work with, and I’m happy to say he became a good friend, referring to me as ‘Uncle Bob’, even when we were robustly negotiating the next book contract. He was a born storyteller, and I would tell him he was a ‘latter-day Charles Dickens’, with his strong and complex plots, larger-than-life characters, and his ability to appeal to a large number of readers.

“Virtually each year for the last 15 years, I have worked with Bryce on a new novel. He would write a 600 page book in around six months, year in, year out. To achieve that feat he used what he called ‘bum glue’, sometimes writing for more than 12 hours a day. He brought to writing his books the same determination and dedication he showed in the more than 40 marathons he ran, most of them when he was well over 50. Not to have a new Bryce Courtenay novel to work on will leave a hole in my publishing life. Not to have Bryce Courtenay in my life, will be to miss the presence of a very special friend.”

The last word belongs to Bryce himself. In a moving epilogue in his final book, Bryce said to readers “It’s been a privilege to write for you and to have you accept me as a storyteller in your lives. Now, as my story draws to an end, may I say only, ‘Thank you. You have been simply wonderful.’

The First Graphic Novel from Bestselling Author Kylie Chan



is the amazing story of Gold — a stone spirit and a chronic troublemaker in the court of the great Gods of Chinese mythology.

A mix of Kylie Chan’s brilliant storytelling and Queenie Chan’s beautiful illustrations, SMALL SHEN is a fantastic treat for fans of WHITE TIGER. Readers will be thrilled to discover the events leading up to John Chen and Emma Donahoe’s story in this wonderful prequel told in a unique mix of manga-style illustration and traditional prose.

The story follows Gold’s escapades throughout history, including seducing a dragon princess, attempting to steal one of the Tiger’s wives, making bets with demons, and working for the Blue Dragon of the East.

SMALL SHEN is a collectible piece of art for fans of Kylie Chan to treasure, but also a fantastic introduction to the gripping WHITE TIGER series. 

Buy the book here…


Kylie was born and raised in a typical Australian family, yet it was her marriage to a Hong Kong national that has had the largest influence on her writing career. Twenty years ago, she was married in a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony in Eastern China, and spent the following years immersing herself in Chinese culture and mythology.

Now living in Brisbane, she is a mother of two and the bestselling author of the Dark Heavens and Journey to Wudang trilogies.


Queenie was born in Hong Kong in 1980, and migrated to Australia when she was six years old. She is a manga illustrator who has collaborated with Dean Koontz on his New York Times bestselling ODD THOMAS series of graphic novels.

Foal’s Bread wins ANOTHER award

Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears has won this year’s Colin Roderick Award – the book has already won major awards in both the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the ALS Gold Medal and The Age Book of the Year.

The Colin Roderick Award is presented each year by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies to ‘the best book published in Australia which deals with any aspect of Australian life’.

More information can be found on the James Cook University website here…

Buy the book here…

Human Rights Literature Award shortlist released

The shortlist for this year’s Human Rights Literature Award has been announced.

The shortlist is:

  • Am I Black Enough For You? (Anita Heiss, Bantam)
  • The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die (David Nyuol Vincent & Carol Nader, A&U)
  • Don’t Go Back to Where You Came From (Tim Soutphommasane, NewSouth)
  • The People Smuggler (Robin de Crespigny, Viking).

The Human Rights Literature Award is presented annually by the Australian Human Rights Commission and this year the award winner will be announced on 10 December.

Aussies line up for world’s most financially-lucrative literary prize

A number of books by Aussie authors have been longlisted for the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the world’s most financially lucrative prize for a novel published in English.

Books by Australian authors on the longlist are:

  • What the Family Needed (Steven Amsterdam, Sleepers)
  • Estuary (Sam Bunny, Bay Owl Press)
  • Spirit of Progress (Steven Carroll, Fourth Estate)
  • All That I Am (Anna Funder, Penguin)
  • Sarah Thornhill (Kate Grenville, Text)
  • Five Bells (Gail Jones, Vintage)
  • Foal’s Bread (Gillian Mears, A&U)
  • Autumn Laing (Alex Miller, A&U)
  • Cold Light (Frank Moorhouse, Vintage)
  • Past the Shallows (Favel Parrett, Hachette)
  • The Street Sweeper (Elliot Perlman, Vintage).

The shortlist is announced in April next year, with the winner revealed in early June.

Truly Tan, an Australian ‘George’ from the Famous Five

Move over Clarice Bean and Ramona Quimby… there’s a new girl on the scene!

Melbournian Jen Storer is one of the loudest and most influential new voices in modern Australian children’s fiction. In 2011, her novel Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children– the story of plucky, flame-haired orphan Tensy – was shortlisted for a string of awards, including the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (Best Children’s Fiction) and the 2011 CBCA Book of the Year.

This November, let Jen introduce you to another original and irrepressible new character from the Storer stable: Tan Callahan. Sometimes mischievous, often insightful and always funny, ten-year-old Tan is no wimpy kid.

‘Tan is exactly who I wanted to be when I was kid’, says Jen. ‘She’s an Australian George from the Famous Five, with a sense of humour’.

The first book in a trilogy of Tan adventures, Truly Tan is a uniquely Australian story that in the future will no doubt keep company with modern children’s classics like Clarice BeanJudy Moody and The Dork Diaries.

About the book

Meet Tan. She’s funny. She’s lively. She has the mind of a Great Detective …

Dear Diary

It’s official. Our whole family has moved to the country. The pets are disturbed and restless. My sisters are disturbed and restless — although that’s normal. What is not normal is a cursed fox and a haunted clubhouse. That is definitely unnormal.

At least the country people now have an expert in their midst. Someone with a cool head and a sharp eye. Someone who can solve intriguing mysteries and knows how to keep detailed Secret Spy Files.

Really, it’s lucky I came along when I did.



Ages: 8-12

Buy the book here…

About the author

Jen Storer is a talented and exciting writer for children. Her fantasy novel Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children was shortlisted for a string of awards, including the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (Best Children’s Fiction) and the 2011 CBCA Book of the Year. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Jen worked in the publishing industry as an editor, a project manager and in creative development. Jen has a studio at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne.

Bryce Courtenay’s new – and final – novel is released

The new – and final – novel, Jack of Diamonds, by Australia’s favourite storyteller, Bryce Courtenay, is now available. You can buy it here…

Celebrating the golden age of jazz, Jack of Diamonds is a true Bryce Courtenay classic spanning three continents and starring the irrepressible, quick-witted and big-hearted Jack Spayd.

Inspired by Bryce’s love of jazz and his own experiences working in the mines in Africa, Jack of Diamonds is a brilliantly entertaining story of chance, music, corruption and love.

Born into the slums of Toronto at the end of the roaring twenties, Jack Spayd grows up with a set of rules for home, school and the street where the strong rule the weak. But guided by a teacher who believes in him, a mother who protects him from his father’s drunken rages, and a friend, Mac, who introduces him to jazz, Jack discovers a life beyond Cabbagetown.

‘I’d discovered what was to become my first true obsession. I was completely obsessed, bowled over, struck by jazz lightning, whatever you want to name it.’

Turning his back on a promising classical career, Jack pursues his dream of becoming a professional jazz pianist, and rides the rails out West until he lands a job scuffing – playing everything from Rachmaninoff to ragtime. But in the dark gambling dens and honky-tonk bars of the devil’s playground that is Moose Jaw, Saskatchen, Jack receives more than a musical baptism of fire and makes a name for himself as a seriously smart poker player.

Soon the bright lights of Las Vegas beckon with the promise of legal gambling and a chance for Jack to see if he is good enough to make it as a jazz piano player in America. Caught up in the world of elite poker Jack falls under the spell of his boss, the enigmatic Bridgett Fuller, who has connections to the brutal Chicago Mob running Las Vegas. When someone gets badly hurt, Jack Spayd, also known as Jack McCrae, or Jack Reed, ex-piano player, now jazz harmonica player and sometime medic, is forced to flee for his life.

Leaving behind the one woman he adores, Jack sets sail for Africa where he begins work at the Luswishi River Copper Mine deep in the Belgian Congo. Soon his life-saving adventures lead to even more intrigue when he is given a rare African Grey parrot with a valuable secret, and before long Jack is drawn into a gambling ring run by ex-SS Germans.

‘It’s been a privilege to write for you and to have you accept me as a storyteller in your lives.

Now, as my story draws to an end, may I say only, ‘Thank you. You have been simply wonderful.’

With love and admiration,


Nikki Gemmell’s honest notes on life

‘I’m writing these pieces for that ultimate accolade: the fridge door.’

Honestly: Notes on Life by Nikki Gemmell

 This book celebrates a year of thought-provoking columns in THE AUSTRALIAN WEEKEND MAGAZINE from the bestselling author of The Bride of Stripped Bare and With My Body.

‘… I feel my work’s marked by bewilderment, vulnerability, as much as anything. I write to understand. It feels like there’s a lot of questioning and frustration in Australia right now; that the voice of regular people is often not being articulated, it is being drowned out by the shouters, the affronted, the haters, the furious. My columns are … presenting another way.’

This collection of writing covers a diverse range of subjects such as motherhood after 40, the end of a close friendship, the joy of a handwritten letter, connecting with nature, the necessity of tweezers, meeting the Queen and oral sex. It also includes exclusive new essays full of frank and uplifting insights, hilarious anecdotes, and some painful yet touching truths.

Nikki Gemmell is famous for her lyrical honesty and for saying those things other women think but dare not say. This collection confirms her reputation for fearlessness.

Buy the book here…


Nikki Gemmell’s critically acclaimed fiction has been translated into many languages. Her novels include the international bestseller The Bride Stripped Bare, Shiver, The Book of Rapture and With My Body. She has written two non-fiction books: Why You Are Australian andPleasure: An Almanac for the Heart. Wollongong-born, she was based in London for many years and has now returned with her family to Australia, where she writes a regular column for the Weekend Australian