Hells’ Bells and Mademoiselles!

‘One misses the faces of the fine fellows you knew in the days of the storm, the faces of those good comrades who stuck through the smoke and racket and dust of war and in those glamorous days of leave, and the faces of those who have gone…’ 

Hell’s Bells and Mademoiselles by Lieutenant Joe Maxwell, VC (1896-1967)

 Until this month, copies of WW1 legend Lt Joe Maxwell’s Hell’s Bells & Mademoiselles were so rare they were being sold as collector items for over $500 a copy, and was on the list of most frequently stolen books from Australian libraries.

Now, this classic account of the Great War’s heartache, humour, mateship and surprising moments of joy as seen through the eyes of a young Australian soldier is once again available to reassert its place as one of the seminal writings of the time, and a historical masterpiece.

Despite being first published in 1932, Hell’s Bells is not overly formal or dense like many books of its time.  Instead it’s a candid, entertaining and compulsively readable record of life as a World War One digger. Joe was in most of the major battles of the Western Front and graphically describes the action he saw, as well as the notorious larrikinism —and romantic adventures—of the off-duty diggers.

Maxwell served at Gallipoli before being transferred to the Western Front. In just twelve months during 1917–1918 he was commissioned and awarded the DCM, Military Cross and Bar, and VC.

Joe Maxwell’s medals can be seen in the Australian War Memorial and, as one of the diggers who has been identified, his story is featured in The Lost Diggers by Ross Coulthart (November 2012).

The book features a new Afterword by Joe Maxwell’s step-grandson, ABC radio journalist Steve Martin, detailing Maxwell’s life after repatriation back to Australia.

Buy the book here…

About the author

Joseph ‘Joe’ Maxwell VC, MC & Bar, DCM (10 February 1896 – 6 July 1967) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry ‘in the face of the enemy’ that can be awarded to members of British and Commonwealth armed forces. Australia’s second most decorated soldier of the First World War, Joe enlisted on 8 February 1915, and served at Gallipoli before being transferred to the Western Front. In just over twelve months he was decorated four times for his bravery.

The most underrated book in Australia has been announced

‘The Cook’ by Wayne Macauley has won the inaugural Most Underrated Book Award for 2012

The award, sponsored by Kobo, was announced at the Wheeler Centre last week as part of the Small Press Network (SPUNC) Independent Publishers Conference.

Macauley has won a Kobo Vox Tablet and a $250 book credit. His publisher will also receive $1000 worth of free ebook conversions.

The book blurb:

Power through service, says Head Chef. It’s one of the first lessons taught at Cook School, where troubled youths learn to be master chefs by bowing to decadence and whim, by offering up a part of themselves on every plate. It’s a motto Zac takes to heart. A teenage boy with a difficult past, he throws himself into the world and work of haute cuisine. He has dreams of a future, of escaping the dead-end, no-hope lot of his fellow cooks. He wants to be the greatest chef the world has seen. He thinks he’s taken his first steps when he becomes House Cook for a wealthy family. Never mind that the family may seem less than appreciative. Or refined. Or deserving. Power through service. But as the facade crumbles and his promised future looks unlikely to eventuate, Zac the Cook is forced to reassess everything. Sweet turns sour and ends in bitter revenge. Blackly funny and deliciously satirical, The Cook feeds our hunger to know what goes on in the kitchen, while skewering our culture of food worship.

Buy the book here…

A nice piece of breast or thigh anybody? Bound to be delicious!

A young, free-range chicken… A dominating, ravenous chef… Fifty recipes to make every dinner a turn-on…

Fifty Shades of Chicken is a cookbook serving up epicurean double entendres and 50 excellent chicken recipes all while telling the story of a young free-range and very fresh chicken who, like Anastasia Steele, finds herself at the mercy of a dominating man, in this case a kinky and very hungry chef.

Pitch-perfect and admiring, this send-up-in-a-cookbook of the ubiquitous trilogy is naughty, hysterical, and totally clever. Our narrator is an “unexplored” young chicken who is, as she writes, at the mercy of a demanding foodie’s trussing, carving, spatchcocking, and unbearably slow drizzling, among other bedroom, er, kitchen techniques. Before long, Miss Chicken discovers the sheer thrill of starring as the dish that is literally whipped up for dinner.

With 50 excellent chicken recipes, such as “Sticky (Chicken) Fingers,” “Dripping Thighs,” and “Bound Wings,” our Fifty Shades serves the inexhuastible market of home cooks who just want great recipes for chicken. Let’s just say our author has a way of teaching kitchen techniques so you never forget them.

F.L. FOWLER is the alter ego of a well-known cookbook author. F.L. enjoys life in the country but occasionally relishes flying the coop.

Buy the book here…

Check out the Fifty Shades of Chicken website…


Ugliest Dog in the World turns 20

For more than 20 years Bruce Whatley has been bringing to life some of the cutest, craziest, sweetest and ugliest characters in children’s books.

His credits include Little White Dogs Can’t Jumpand Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chasewritten with his wife Rosie Smith who continues to be a large part of his work, The Little Refugee, Zoobots, Monster, Diary of a Wombat and he has worked with authors such as Jackie Fench, Anh Do, Andrew Daddo and Libby Hathorn.

The Ugliest Dog in the World is a timeless example of Bruce’s talent as a storyteller and illustrator.

Everyone thinks the Ugliest Dog in the World is ‘ugly’, but in different ways. Mum thinks she’s ugly in a cute sort of way, the lady next door thinks she’s pretty, but you haven’t seen the lady next door. My best friend even screams when she sees her…But I think she’s beautiful, in a sloppy kind of way!

Buy the book here…

BRUCE WHATLEY has been writing and illustrating award winning children’s books for over twenty years. He has previously worked as an art director in advertising and has illustrated over 60 children’s books. 

In 2008 Bruce completed his PhD, Left Hand Right Hand: implications of ambidextrous image making looking at the ability to draw with the ‘other hand’. He has since produced 3 books illustrated with his left hand including Flood and more recently A Boy Like Me.

Ruby Red Shoes from debut Queensland author

The most enchanting picture book you’ll pick up this year, from QLD artist & debut author Kate Knapp

Meet Ruby Red Shoes.

Ruby is a small white hare who lives in a cosy little caravan with her kindly grandmother, Babushka Galina Galushka (which literally translates as ‘Grandmother Calm Dumpling’ in Babushka’s native Russian).

Ruby is an ‘aware hare’ who is curious about the world around her. She loves growing fruit and vegetables  in her garden and caring for her chickens (who have developed a taste for croissants and baguettes now that Ruby is teaching them French!).

Exquisitely illustrated and written by talented new children’s author Kate Knapp, Ruby Red Shoes isn’t just a beautiful picture book. It’s a picture book you will find yourself poring over with as much enchantment as the child on your lap. It is a book that you’ll read and re-read, stroke and inhale. And there is every chance you will buy copies to give to your friends, who will also enjoy being reminded of a simpler time when our lives were more closely connected to the seasons, and will also appreciate Ruby’s offbeat humour and enchanting way of seeing the world.

Buy the book here…

About the author

Illustrator and artist Kate Knapp is a graduate of the Queensland College of Art. Her design business ‘Twigseeds’ produces cards, prints, stationery and books. Ruby Red Shoes is Kate’s first picture book.



What happens on tour sometimes needs to be told…

‘What happens on tour sometimes needs to be told…’

As a cricket writer for over ten years, Andrew Ramsey’s job was to be on tour with the world’s greatest cricket team, in a decade when it had no peer. His book chronicles the privileges and pitfalls of a life spent trotting the globe, hanging out with sports stars, and being paid to watch cricket – an occupation regarded by countless cricket and travel fans as ‘the world’s best job’.

More than a tour diary or sanitised memoir, Andrew’s account delivers a rare insight into the off-field action, character and thoughts of some of the game’s all-time greats, including Stephen Waugh, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist and Brian Lara.

Within the players’ dressing room and on the team bus; at the bar, the breakfast table, and even in a haunted medieval castle; in England, the West Indies and India, as well as Sharjah, Bangladesh, Kenya and Hong Kong: Andrew gives us a ringside seat at some of the most memorable cricket events of the recent past, including the remarkable 1999 World Cup and Australia’s chaotic 2005 Ashes campaign.

THE WRONG LINE details the friendships and antipathies that exist between elite athletes and sports journalists. It examines the unique pressures that arise from delivering to daily major newspaper deadlines while living and working in myriad exotic locations, often travelling for months at a time, and with little more than a three-thumbed taxi driver for support.

Buy the book here…


For twenty years, Andrew Ramsey worked as a daily newspaper journalist in Adelaide and Melbourne, with the final decade spent as a touring cricket writer for THE AUSTRALIAN. He has written about cricket for international publications, ghost-written columns for a number of international cricketers, and has covered some of the most memorable cricket series of the recent past, including Australia’s famous 1999 World Cup win and the historic 2005 Ashes series in England. He has also found himself uncomfortably close to numerous crowd riots, bomb threats and travel disasters. Since leaving journalism, he has worked as a political speech writer and at universities. He lives in Adelaide, South Australia.

O’Farrell’s Finest, Most-Fancied Fiction and Non-Fiction Finalists

The shortlists for this year’s New South Wales Premier’s Literary and History Awards have been announced.

The shortlists are:

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction ($40,000) and nominees for the People’s Choice Award

  • All That I Am (Anna Funder, Penguin)
  • Sarah Thornhill (Kate Grenville, Text)
  • Five Bells (Gail Jones, Vintage)
  • The Life (Malcolm Knox, A&U)
  • That Deadman Dance (Kim Scott, Picador)
  • The Roving Party (Rohan Wilson, A&U)

Douglas Stewart Prize for Nonfiction ($40,000)

  • Sydney (Delia Falconer, NewSouth)
  • How to Make Gravy (Paul Kelly, Hamish Hamilton)
  • The Hall of Uselessness: Collected Essays (Balck Inc.)
  • An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark (Mark McKenna, MUP)
  • Her Father’s Daughter (Alice Pung, Black Inc.)
  • The Many Worlds of RH Matthews: In Search of an Australian Anthropologist (Martin Thomas, A&U)

Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry ($30,000)

  • Sly Mongoose (Ken Bolton, Puncher & Wattmann)
  • Cow (Susan Hawthorne, Spinifex Press)
  • Southern Barbarians (John Mateer, Giramondo)
  • Swallow (Claire Potter, Five Island Press)
  • New and Selected Poems (Gig Ryan, Giramondo)
  • The Argument (Tracy Ryan, Fremantle Press)

Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature ($30,000)

  • A Straight Line to My Heart (Bill Condon, A&U)
  • The Golden Day (Ursula Dubosarsky, A&U)
  • Act of Faith (Kelly Gardiner, HarperCollins)
  • The Dead I Know (Scot Gardner, A&U)
  • Only Ever Always (Penni Russon, A&U)
  • All I Ever Wanted (Vikki Wakefield, Text)

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature ($30,000)

  • Crow Country (Kate Constable, A&U)
  • Taj and the Great Camel Trek (Rosanne Hawke, UQP)
  • For all Creatures (Glenda Millard, illus by Rebecca Cool, Walker Books)
  • Maudie and Bear (Jan Omerod, illus by Freya Balckwood, Little Hare)
  • Angel Creek (Sally Rippin, Text)
  • Bungawitta (Emily Rodda, illus by Craig Smith, Omnibus)

Community Relations Commission Award ($20,000)

  • Good Living Street: The Fortunes of My Viennese Family (Tim Bonyhady, A&U)
  • After Romulus (Raimond Gaita, Text)
  • The Enemy at Home: German Internees in World War I Australia(Nadine Helmi & Gerhard Fischer, UNSW Press)
  • Moving Stories (Alistair Thomson, UNSW Press)
  • Violin Lessons (Arnold Zable, Text)

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing ($5000)

  • House of Sticks (Peggy Frew, Scribe)
  • All That I Am (Anna Funder, Penguin)
  • Past the Shallows (Favel Parrett, Hachette)
  • Thrill Seekers (Edwina Shaw, Ransom Publishing)
  • The Amateur Science of Love (Craig Sherborne, Text)
  • The Roving Party (Rohan Wilson, A&U).

Australian History Prize ($15,000)

  • Indifferent Inclusion: Aboriginal People and the Australian Nation(Russell McGregor, Aboriginal Studies Press)
  • An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark (Mark McKenna, MUP)
  • True North: The Story of Mary and Elizabeth Durack (Brenda Niall, Text)

General History Prize ($15,000)

  • Good Living Street: The Fortunes of My Viennese Family (Tim Bonyhady, A&U)
  • Ben Jonson: A Life (Ian Donaldson, OUP)
  • Hiroshima Nagasaki (Paul Ham, HarperCollins)

New South Wales Community and Regional History Prize ($15,000)

  • Set in Stone: A History of the Cell Block Theatre (Deborah Beck, UNSW Press)
  • Sydney: The Making of a Public University (Julia Horne & Geoffrey Sherington, Miegunyah Press)
  • Mr Big of Bankstown: The Scandalous Fitzpatrick and Brown Affair(Andrew Moore, UWA Publishing)

Young People’s History Prize ($15,000)

  • The Little Refugee (Anh Do & Suzanne Do, illus by Brice Whatley, A&U)
  • Amazing Grace: An Adventure at Sea  (Stephanie Own Reeder, National Library of Australia)
  • Playground (Nadia Wheatley, illus by Kean Searle, A&U).

More information about the awards can be found on the State Library of NSW website.

Image by:
John Grainger in The Australian

Inky Award winners announced

The State Library of Victoria’s Centre for Youth Literature announced the winners of the 2012 Gold and Silver Inky Awards on 23 October.

The Gold Inky winner, awarded to an Australian author,  is Shift by Em Bailey. Bailey receives a $2000 cash prize.

The Silver Inky winner (for an International book) is The Fault in Our Stars by American author John Green. Green has previously won a Silver Inky, in 2007 for Looking for Alaska .

Indigenous Authors nominated for Australian of the Year Awards

Indigenous authors Kim Scott and Anita Heiss are among the finalists for the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards.

Kim Scott is one of four finalists from Western Australia for the overall Australian of the Year Award. Scott has won the Miles Franklin Literary Award twice with Benang in 2000 and That Deadman Dance in 2011.

Anita Heiss is one of the finalists from New South Wales for the Australia’s Local Hero Award. She has won the Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature four times and her most recent book, Am I Black Enough For You?, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing several weeks back.

The state and territory winners will be announced at events held throughout November across the country, with the national awards being presented in Canberra on 25 January 2013.

$20,000 ‘Nib’ Award shortlist for research in writing

The shortlist for the 2012 Waverley Library Award, aka the ‘Nib’ Award, has been announced.  The ‘Nib’ Award is presented annually for excellence in research in the creation of a literary work of merit.

The shortlisted titles are:

  • The People Smuggler (Robin de Crespigny, Viking)
  • Double Entry (Jane Gleeson-White, A&U)
  • Sarah Thornhill (Kate Grenville, Text)
  • Kinglake-350 (Adrian Hyland, Text)
  • A Tragedy in Two Acts (Fiona Harari, Victory)
  • Housewife Superstar (Danielle Wood, Text).

The winner of this year’s award will be announced on 28 November.

More information about the ‘Nib’ Award can be found on the Waverley Library website here…

New Release: Bedtime Stories by Phillip Adams

Tales from his 21 years at Radio National’s Late Night Live where anything could happen and almost everything has … 

For 21 years Phillip Adams has expertly batted questions to world leaders, thinkers, ideologues, crackpots and gurus and collected irreplaceable wisdom and stories along the way.

In singular style he has interviewed thousands of people, many of whom have become regulars – and gathered a broad and intensely loyal audience.

But what goes on behind the scenes and when the mike is off? When a guest freezes and when arguments break out? When tricky questions must be asked or when the interviewee’s name has slipped from memory?

From early days at Radio National where he was looked upon as a commercial upstart, to the days when Henry Kissinger, Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens and so many others would line up to be interviewed by him, Phillip Adams has carved a place in radio history.

Here he shares the highlights, the lows, the whacky moments and the many unexpected ones in his years of telling bedtime stories.


One of Australia’s best-known broadcasters, Phillip Adams is also an author, a filmmaker, a highly popular and controversial newspaper columnist, a farmer and an amateur archaeologist. This is his nineteenth book. 

Late Night Live website: abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive

Buy the book here…

Everything you need to know about the Man Booker Prize

By now you will all have read that Hilary Mantel has won this year’s Man Booker Prize for a second time with Bring up the Bodies but do you know which other authors have won twice? Here’s a everything you need to know about the Man Booker Prize, from The Telegraph:

Prize money

The prize aims to reward the best book of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. The winner receives £50,000 and is guaranteed, along with the shortlisted authors, a dramatically increased readership.

The name

The prize was originally sponsored by a food distribution company called Booker-McConnell, and quickly became known as ‘The Booker’. The name stuck, even after Booker-McConnell’s sponsorship ended. The present sponsor is investment company Man – hence Man Booker Prize.

First winner

The prize celebrates its 44th anniversary this year. The first winner of the award was PH Newby in 1969 for Something to Answer For.

Notable winners

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children was voted ‘Best of the Booker’ in 2008 and had previously been voted the ‘Booker of Bookers’ in 1993, the 25th anniversary of the award. Other high-profile winners include Julian Barnes in 2011 and Iris Murdoch, Kingsley Amis, William Golding, Kazuo Ishiguro (below), Ian McEwan, JM Coetzee, Roddy Doyle and Margaret Atwood.

First female winner

The first female novelist to win the Booker Prize was Bernice Rubens, winning the award just a year after its inception, for The Elected Member in 1970. She served as a Booker Prize judge in 1986.

Shortest shortlist

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Gossip from the Forest by Thomas Keneally were the only two books shortlisted in 1975 (the judges ignored Malcolm Bradbury’s The History Man and David Lodge’s Changing Places. Heat and Dust won.

Double winners

Peter Carey, JM Coetzee and Hilary Mantel are the only novelists to have won the award twice. Carey for Oscar and Lucinda in 1988 and for the True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001. Coetzee for Life & Times of Michael K in 1983 and then again with Disgrace in 1999. And Mantel for Wolf Hall in 2009 and 2012.

From Booker to screen

Booker Prize winning novels that have been adapted into films include Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark, which became the 1993 Steven Spielberg film Schindler’s List,Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. BothSchindler’s List and The English Patient (below) went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Nobel in prospect

Three Booker prize winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize for literature: Nadine Gordimer in 1991, VS Naipaul in 2001 and JM Coetzee in 2003.

–The Telegraph

Aussie Best Non-Fiction Book Award longlist released

The longlist for the 2012 Walkley Book Award was announced last week.

The longlisted titles are:

  • Broadcast Wars: The Money, the Ego, the Power Behind Your Remote Control (Michael Bodey, Hachette)
  • Mine-Field: The Dark Side of Australia’s Resource Rush (Paul Cleary, Black Inc.)
  • The People Smuggler: The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi, the ‘Oskar Schindler of Asia’ (Robin de Crespigny, Viking)
  • Sins of the Father: The Untold Story Behind Schapelle Corby’s Ill-Fated Drug Run (Eamonn Duff, A&U)
  • Hiroshima Nagasaki (Paul Ham, HarperCollins)
  • Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story (Walter Hamilton, NewSouth)
  • A Tragedy in Two Acts: Marcus Einfeld & Teresa Brennan (Fiona Harari, Victory)
  • The Sweet Spot: How Australia Made its Own Luck – And Could Now Throw it all Away (Peter Hartcher, Black Inc.)
  • The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times(George Megalogenis, Viking).

The Walkley Book Award recognises excellence in Australian nonfiction literature and long-form journalism.

New Release: Killer Company by Matt Peacock

The book that inspired the forthcoming ABC1 drama series DEVIL’S DUST  …

Matt Peacock first warned the public about the dangers of James Hardie’s asbestos empire in an award-winning radio series in 1977. He has followed the tragic trail since then and in 2009 published Killer Company, the inside story of how Matt and asbestos campaigner, Bernie Banton brought the company to account. This widely praised book was a complete game changer in the ongoing battle:

Bernie would be up there, looking down and saying ‘Mate, well done!’ — Karen Banton, widow of Bernie Banton

Inspirational! Every corporate management course in this country should have this book as essential reading. — Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

I thought I knew the James Hardie story…but nothing quite prepares you for Peacock’s forensic look… — Kathleen Noonan, Courier Mail


Matt worked as a consultant on Devil’s Dust, the forthcoming two-part series about the James Hardie asbestos saga, written by Kris Mrksa. The character of Matt Peacock is played by Ewen Leslie and Anthony Hayes stars as Bernie Banton; Alexandra Schepisi plays Bernie’s wife Karen and Don Hany plays the fictional character of James Hardie PR Adam Bourke. Devil’s Dust will air on ABC1 on Sunday 11 and Monday 12 November.


One of the ABC’s most experienced reporters, Matt Peacock is currently a journalist for Foreign Correspondent and 7.30. He has been an award-winning foreign correspondent and also chief political correspondent for national radio current affairs programs: AM, PM and THE WORLD TODAY.

Buy the book here…

Aussie women’s writing to be recognised with annual award

The Stella Prize, Australia’s first major literary prize for women’s writing, will be awarded for the first time in April 2013.

The $50,000 Prize will be presented for the best work of literature published in 2012 by an Australian woman and is open to fiction and non-fiction books published between 1 January and 31 December 2012.

The Stella Prize will raise the profile of women’s writing, and the shortlisted and winning books will be widely publicised and marketed in order to bring readers to the work of Australian women writers.

In short, the Stella Prize will celebrate and recognise Australian women’s writing, encourage a future generation of women writers, and significantly increase the readership for books by women.

The entry form and guidelines can be found on the Stella Prize website here. Entries close at 5.00pm AEST on Thursday 15 November 2012.

4000+ budding authors respond to call for manuscripts

4563 manuscripts submitted in 14 days:

Harper Voyager’s open call for manuscript submissions closes after an unprecedented response to global publishing opportunity

Following the announcement on September 13th that the combined Harper Voyager imprint of Harper Collins in Australia, the UK and the USA were launching an exciting opportunity for debut fantasy and science fiction authors to submit their manuscripts directly to be chosen for publication, over 4563 manuscripts have been received.

Prospective authors from around the world reacted enthusiastically and en masse to this unique opportunity, in what was un unprecedented response. The submissions portal was open from the 1st to the 14th of October, and now it has closed, the publishers have begun the challenging task of reading through the huge number of manuscripts.

HarperCollins Australia’s Associate Publisher for Harper Voyager, Deonie Fiford, said today:

“We are really thrilled with the enthusiastic response – people expressed a keen desire to be published internationally by Harper Voyager where they will be able to have the full support of our dedicated editorial and marketing departments.

“We have already begun reading and have received some excellent submissions. We’re looking forward to announcing our new digital authors next year to join bestselling writers like George R R Martin, Robin Hobb, Kylie Chan, Fiona McIntosh and Kim Harrison at Harper Voyager books.”

New Release: The Life and Times of a Surfing Legend by Gary Elkerton with Peter McGuinness

‘‘I was an arrogant, foolish young man with talent, celebrity and opportunity but without a shred of respect for my blessings. The problem of course is that cocaine is the perfect enabling experience for just this kind of dickheadedness.’’

In the world of pro-surfing, personalities don’t come any bigger than Gary ‘Kong’ Elkerton.

Raised on a prawn trawler, Gary honed his wave riding in the isolated mid-ocean wilderness of the Great Barrier Reef, then fell in to surfing and its hedonistic lifestyle with voracious energy.

Cutting a swathe through the industry, living the life, getting the girls, partying with celebs, taking the drugs — it all added up to a very good time until he woke up one day and found his nickname and reputation had become the 100-pound gorilla on his back, one which it was going to be very tough to rid himself of. But what do you do when everything around you, including the industry you’re in, encourages your bad behaviour and then punishes you for it?

Here, in a hilarious, rollicking, no-holds-barred account, Kong uncovers the good, the bad and the often ugly world of pro-surfing, and with it a great Australian story.

Rival surfer Kelly Slater says: ‘Elko is an epic, legendary figure in pro surfing. I’m glad it’s all in the past and I can enjoy memories now! Ha, ha!’

Buy the book here…

New Release: Delicious: Home Cooking by Valli Little

You won’t find fancy restaurant-style dishes in here – it’s all about recipes that reflect the sort of food I look to cook at home, whether it’s a midweek meal for the family or something more impressive for the weekend when entertaining friends.  Valli Little

Welcome to the kitchen of one of Australia’s leading food writers.

Legendary delicious. magazine food editor and bestselling author Valli Little shares her favourite recipes to cook at home, plus tips and tricks to turn a family classic into a cover-worthy meal without the fuss.

This collection of 120 new recipes follows Valli’s signature approachable and achievable style, with each dish accompanied by beautiful, full-colour photography. Inspired by world cuisines but irrefutably Australian, each recipe uses easily found ingredients and no fuss methods to ensure 100% success for home cooks.

Seasonal chapters ensure you use fresh ingredients at their best and Valli’s helpful menu plans and ingenious tricks empower home cooks like never before.

Valli Little is widely regarded as one of Australia’s most exciting food writers. Her passion for food shines through in her recipes, which are imaginative, easy-to-follow and fail-safe. For eleven years Valli has been the food director of delicious.magazine, and every month she creates new recipes inspired by her travels and love of cooking and entertaining.

Buy the book here…

New Release: The Thrifty Gardener by Millie Ross

‘I don’t believe in rules, particularly when it comes to building a garden. There is no better way to work it out than doing it yourself.’ 

ABC Gardening Australia magazine’s Millie Ross is an innovative young gardener, with an unconventional approach and a commitment to making gardening accessible to everyone.

Packed with groovy, chic garden projects, from native bee-houses to outdoor showers, edible cubby houses to bedspring frames for climbers, all made from repurposed materials, her book the thrifty gardener shows you how to build the garden you want with  whatever you’ve got!

Whether you own a tiny courtyard or a massive suburban tract, Millie will show you how to:

  • plan it: assess your site, microclimates and soil conditions
  • design it: develop a style, from industrial oasis to nanna chic, renters’ ‘mobile’ garden to edible ornamentals
  • build it: construct paths, fences, walls, fireplaces, ponds and other structures
  • grow it: grow plants in raised and self-watering beds, hydroponically, and in containers and pots
  • plant it: pick the right plants — indoor and outdoor, shade and sun, native and exotic — and produce plants from seeds and cuttings or by propagation, pollination and grafting
  • love it: maintain, irrigate, feed, prune, mulch, compost and weed your garden and eliminate pests
  • eat it: grow an abundant fruit, vegetable & herb garden for next to nothing.

Millie Ross is the ‘Thrifty Gardens’ columnist with Gardening Australia magazine and senior researcher for ABC TV’s Gardening Australia. She is a horticulturalist, radio broadcaster and garden designer and blogs at http://thriftymillie.blogspot.com.au/

Buy the book here…

New Release: Leopard Dreaming by A.A. Bell

Dual recipient of the prestigious Norma K Hemming Award A. A. Bell returns with the stunning – and very personal – conclusion to the acclaimed Diamond Eyes trilogy

In a former life, native Queenslander A. A. Bell was a canny property investor who made her name as a bestselling author of personal finance books – a career that enabled her to retire debt-free at the enviable age of 26.

These days, however, she has established herself as a multiple award-winning author of speculative fiction thrillers. Her first foray into the genre in 2010 with Diamond Eyes introduced us to protagonist Mira Chambers. Reminiscent of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, Mira is a flawed genius who has been damaged by years of institutionalisation, but whom is also in possession of special gifts that give her an unusual talent for solving mysteries.

Astonishingly, Bell’s depiction of Mira’s blindness isn’t drawn from just her imagination – she is herself visually impaired, and has lived with eyesight difficulties for most of her life. Despite years of tests, specialists have been as yet unable to fully diagnose or rectify her problems, which means that Mira’s experiences are based on many very personal ones for the author.

LEOPARD DREAMING is the third book in this thrilling series. Upon finding herself cut off and alone for the first time in her life, Mira is swept into a world of conspiracies and betrayals, where her dream of achieving a normal life is constantly thwarted by the far darker desires of her enemies.

Layers of secrets unravel as her world falls apart – until the ultimate sacrifice presents a chance to save her friend and revisit her lost love.

About the author

A. A. Bell’s debut thriller DIAMOND EYES was Highly Commended in the 2008 FAW Jim Hamilton Award, and both it and its sequel HINDSIGHT won the prestigious Norma K Hemming in consecutive years (2011 and 2012). She has also published non-fiction bestsellers about finance. A. A. Bell lives near Brisbane with her partner and children.

Buy the book here…

New Release: The Lost Diggers by Ross Coulthard

“It’s a treasure trove. It’s previously unknown, candid images of troops just out of the line. Men with the fear and experiences of battle written on their faces.” – General Peter Cosgrove, AC MC, Former Chief of the Defence Force 

During the First World War, thousands of Aussie diggers and other Allied troops passed through the small French town of Vignacourt, two hours north of Paris. Many of them had their photographs taken by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier as souvenirs while they enjoyed a brief respite from the carnage of the Western Front.

For all too many of those soldiers, this was their last moment away from the lines before being sent to their deaths in battles that are now part of the mythology of Australian nationhood – Pozieres, Bullecourt, the mud and blood of the Somme. The weariness and horror of battle is reflected in their eyes, but the photos also capture a sense of camaraderie, high spirits and even a soupçon of romance.

The Lost Diggers is the riveting detective story of the hunt across northern France for a rumoured treasure trove of antique glass photographic plates that led investigative journalist Ross Coulthart to an ancient metal chest in a dusty attic in a small farmhouse.

The nearly 4000 glass plates he and his team from Channel 7’s Sunday Night discovered are being hailed by experts as one of the most important First World War discoveries ever made.

But that was just the beginning. With meticulous research and the help of descendants, Ross Coulthart has been able to discover the stories behind many of the photos, of which more than 330 appear in the book.

Part thriller, part family history and part national archive, The Lost Diggers brings together these wonderful images and the amazing stories behind them.



“I think these photographs rank up there with one of the most important discoveries from the First World War.” Ashley Ekins, head of Military History, Australian War Memorial, Canberra 

Part of the team on Channel 7’s Sunday Night, Ross Coulhart is one of Australia’s foremost investigative journalists. He’s won a Logie and five Walkley journalism awards including the Gold Walkley. Ross has previously reported for Four Corners, Sixty Minutes and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is the author of two previous bestsellers

Buy the book here…

The Biggest Estate on Earth wins big in Victorian Prize for Literature

The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia by Bill Gammage  has won the 2012 Victorian Prize for Literature, which carries a prize of $100,000.

The winning titles in the other categories of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards are:

Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction ($25,000)

  • Foal’s Bread (Gillian Mears, A&U)

CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry ($25,000)

  • Armour (John Kinsella, Pan Macmillan)

Prize for Writing for Young Adults

  • The Shadow Girl (John Larkin, Woolshed Press)

Louis Esson Prize for Drama ($25,000)

  • A Golem Story (Lally Katz)

People’s Choice Award

  • National Interest (Aiden Fennessy).



Hilary Mantel the third author to win Man Booker twice

Hilary Mantel has become the third author to win the Man Booker Prize twice.

She was yesterday announced as the winner of the 2012 award for her novel Bring Up the Bodiesbeating 145 entrants in this year’s award.

The novel is a sequel to her 2009 Booker Prize prize winning book, Wolf Hall.

Peter Carey and J M Coetzee have also won the prestigious prize twice.

Australia’s Most Underrated Books are named

The Small Press Network announced this morning the shortlist for the first Most Underrated Book Award (MUBA) – a prize that was established earlier in 2012 to help showcase some of the outstanding books being published by small and independent publishers in Australia.

The MUBA, sponsored by Kobo, is the only literary prize in Australia to reward both the author and the publisher, with a Kobo Vox Tablet plus $250 book credit going to the winning author, and $1000 worth of free ebook conversions awarded to the publisher.

Director of Vendor Relations at Kobo, Malcolm Neil says: “So much of what happens in book publishing gets missed or hidden by the weight and noise from major publishing houses. Kobo loves these books and is excited to be part of a prize that clears away the noise and helps the reader find these gems.”

The Shortlist is:

The winner will be announced at the gala night literary debate and official launch of the first Independent Publishing Conference, at the Wheeler Centre November 8th.

Here’s a list of the books on the shortlist at Boomerang Books…

Here’s a list of the eBook versions of the shortlist at Booku…


Ever the misogynist

Macquarie Dictionary broadens definition of misogyny


As Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, I picture myself as the woman with the mop and broom and bucket cleaning the language off the floor after the party is over. And in this case it was quite a party.

But what it left on the floor was misogyny – with a new meaning. The established meaning of misogyny is ‘hatred of women” but this is a rarified term that goes back to the 1600s in English and that acquired the status of a psychological term in the late 1800s when its counterpart misandry was coined. Both terms refer to pathological hatreds.

Since the 1980s misogyny has come to be used as a synonym for sexism – a synonym with bite but neverthess with the meaning of ‘entrenched prejudice against women’ rather than ‘pathological hatred’.

It seems to be used for an underlying frame of mind or attitude of which sexism is the outward form, displayed in language, discriminating policies, workplace injustices, etc.

The recent debate brought this to the attention of the Macquarie Dictionary editors. The extended meaning was not created in that debate, just made highly visible. And so we felt the need to keep the record of the language up to date, and to adjust the entry at misogyny to cover its current use.

Paullina Simons to tour Australia with new book, Children of Liberty

Paullina Simons to tour Australia with the prequel to One of the Top Ten Love Stories of all time, Children of Liberty

Simons shows the frailties of families and human nature and demonstrates that there’s so much more to life, such as honesty and loyalty – Good Reading

International bestselling author Paullina Simons is heading back to Australia to promote her new book Children of Liberty – the prequel to her bestselling novel The Bronze Horseman.   The Bronze Horseman has been voted as “One of the Top Ten Love Stories of all Time”! *

Twelve years later and with some 2 million books sold in Australia, this new work has hit the Top 20 in the first two days of being published and is destined to thrill her fans who grew up with her novels from Tully, The Bronze Horseman (and its trilogy) to her last novel The Song in The Daylight.

Children of Liberty is set at the turn of the century and the dawning of the modern world. Gina Attaviano from Belpasso comes to Boston’s Freedom Docks to find a new and better life, and meets Harry Barrington, who is searching for his. The fates of the Barringtons and Attavianos collide on a course between the old and new, between what is expected and what is desired, what is chosen and what is bestowed, what is given and what is taken away. Set against the dawning of a new civilisation, the Model T, the birth of unions, the Russian Revolution, the upheaval of nations, and as America races headlong into the future, Gina and Harry’s love story will break your heart.

Paullina Simons says ‘Gina and Harry fall in love during one of America’s defining moments.  Just as they seek to discover who they are, America enters a turning point in its own history. On the brink of becoming a world power, it struggles with the modernisation of its industry and workforce, at the same time attempting to expand its global reach with the building of the Panama Canal.  This is an exciting time in American history.   The mix of a compelling personal narrative set against the backdrop of transformative historical events has always been the subject that’s fascinated me, in the books I read and also in my own fiction.’

Buy the book here…

About Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad, Russia, in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and went to college on Long Island. She moved to England to attend Essex University before returning to America and graduating from Kansas University. She has lived in Rome, London and Dallas, and now lives in New York with her husband and children. All of her novels have been top ten bestsellers, from Tully to Road to Paradise, and of course, her well-loved trilogy of The Bronze HorsemanThe Bridge to Holy Cross and The Summer Garden. The Bronze Horseman’s title was taken from the tragic poem by Alexander Pushkin, and the novel, which skilfully highlights the ironies of the socialist utopia, was based on the experiences of Paullina’s grandmother, who survived in Leningrad through the German Blockade.

‘Paullina Simons knows how to keep the reader turning the pages’ – Courier-Mail 


Australian Tour:

Sydney, November 2-5

Gold Coast/Brisbane, November 6–8

Perth, November 9-10

Adelaide, November 12-13

Melbourne, November 14-16

Hobart, November 17-18

Canberra, November 19

New Release: Queen Victoria’s Christmas by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley

A Gloriously funny tribute to a little known corner of royal history – complete with Christmas chaos

The sequel to the hilarious (and historically accurate) QUEEN VICTORIA’S UNDERPANTS, this Christmas tale tells the story of one of our most endearing Christmas traditions – the Christmas Tree

Something strange is happening at the palace and the dogs can’t work it out.

The cooks are busy … are royal visitors arriving?

Mysterious parcels are arriving.

And most curious of all … what is that TREE doing in Prince Albert’s study?

From the creators of the delightful QUEEN VICTORIA’S UNDERPANTS comes the story of the first ‘traditional’ Christmas, complete with a Christmas tree and presents for the family, as seen from the point of view of Queen Victoria’s dogs.

JACKIE FRENCH is one of Australia’s most renowned and best-loved children’s authors. She is a full-time writer who lives in the Araluen Valley, NSW.Jackie’s books have won numerous awards, both in Australia and overseas, and they have been translated into over twenty languages.

BRUCE WHATLEY has been writing and illustrating award winning children’s books for over twenty years. He has previously worked as an art director in advertising and has illustrated over 60 children’s books.

Buy the book here…

Banned author first Chinese national to win Nobel Literature Prize

Mo Yan has become the first Chinese national to win the Nobel Literature prize. Frequently banned in his native China, Mo Yan is an author whose work rings with refreshing authenticity – he is one of the most critically acclaimed writers of his generation, both in China and in the West.

The Chinese author, whose real name is Guan Moye, was presented with the award on 11 October by Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy.

Check out the books by Mo Yan here…

4 Aussie Authors nominated for world’s largest children’s literature prize

Four Australian authors have been nominated for the 2013 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature.

Ursula Dubosarsky, Jackie French (pictured), Morris Gleitzman and Melina Marchetta are the Australian authors selected among a group of 207 candidates for the 2013 award.

The winner of this year’s award will be announced on 26 March 2013 in Stockholm.

Australian writers Shaun Tan and Sonya Hartnett have previously won the award in 2011 and 2008 respectively

A complete list of the nominees for the 2013 award can be found on the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award website.

Books old and new collide in Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore

A charming and hilarious adventure that has it all: secret societies, unbreakable codes, underground lairs, cutting-edge technology, the googleplex…and lots of books!

Clay Jannon, twenty-six and unemployed, reads books about vampire policemen and teenage wizards. Familiar, predictable books. Books that fit neatly into a section at the bookstore.

But he is about to encounter a new species of book entirely: secret, strange, and frantically sought-after.

These books will introduce him to the strangest, smartest girl he’s ever met. They will lead him across the country, through the shadowed spaces where old words hide. They will set him on a quest to unlock a secret held tight since the time of Gutenberg—a secret that touches us all.

But before that, these books will get him a job.

Welcome to Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

Buy the book here…

MD of Boomerang Books Clayton Wehner caught up with the author, Robin Sloan:

Robin, congrats on a ripping yarn, my boy. I’m not normally a reader of fiction – particularly fiction containing vampire policemen, dungeon masters and teenage wizards – but this book tickled my fancy, particularly as I am a keen observer of the clash between old and new in the book world.

You’ve obviously got a thing for both books and technology and it’s plain to see that these two things have had an uneasy marriage to date. In Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Google doesn’t have the answer, but neither is it possible to find ‘immortality’ in old books…so where do you think books and bookstores are headed?

I’m not sure I agree with the part about the “uneasy marriage.” People think of this, right now, as a time of disruption and upheaval for books and bookstores, but in fact, the disruption started in the 15th century with the printing press and… it never stopped. The whole history of books and bookstores is a history of crazy competition and reinvention. There is no golden glowing Platonic bookstore—even though I might suggest the opposite in the form of Mr. Penumbra’s. Books themselves are a kind of technology, just as much as the computers and phones they’re meeting today, and as technology, they’ve always been changing.

So, I don’t know where it’s all headed, but I’m deeply bullish. This is a community and a technology that have met every challenge thrown at them for five hundred years. That’s more than the buggy-whips can say.

I love Google (I am an avid user of Google Apps, a Chromebook and an Android smartphone), but I also hate Google for its God-like power and category-killing potential – and many of my book industry colleagues share the latter sentiment, rather than the former. What are your views on Google’s library digitisation efforts, its frequent algorithm changes, its foray into eBooks, and its redoubling of efforts to extract pay-per-click payments for all retail listings in its search engine results pages?

Nowadays, Facebook has a billion users and Apple is making a billion dollars every week, but I still think of Google as the great web company. That’s because they combine over-the-top hubris (which you need, to work at the scale of the web) with a kind of anarchy (which you need, to work with the chaos of the web).

And even though it’s an enormous company, I’ve never gotten the same sense of uniformity from Google that I get from, say, Apple. Instead, it seems more like a grand federation of nerds, all pushing, pulling, arguing, inventing… and ultimately accomplishing things you’d never imagined were remotely within the realm of possibility.

Case in point: Even more than the original search engine, and even more than the great book-scanning effort, I’m astounded by Google Street View. (That’s why Street View plays a role in Penumbra.) I mean, at some point, somebody at Google said “hey, let’s take a picture of every house on every street in the world,” and… they did it. They built the machines, they wrote the code, and house by house, street by street,they’re doing it. It’s an astonishing achievement, and regardless of how you feel about any of Google’s products or policies in particular, I think it’s got to make you feel at least a little bit proud to be human.

Kat seems to be the perfect girl – attractive, smart, a Googler – but she spurns poor Clay when Google’s algorithms aren’t able to crack the Manutius code. Are all Google people this shallow and obsessed with their work?

Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but I don’t think that’s quite the end of Kat and Clay’s story.

And I don’t think “shallow” is the right word for Kat at all. She’s focused on her work at Google, yes, but only because she thinks it’s important and meaningful. You could definitely argue with her take on life and mortality, sure, but in terms of thinking not just big but long—thinking about how our actions today project out into the far future—I think the world could use a few more Kats.

What was it like working at Twitter? Do you think they’ll be around in ten years’ time?

Twitter was an amazing place to work, mostly because it’s full of people who are deeply interested in not just technology but the humanities, too. I mean, I had a really shocking number of colleagues who would avidly read both Hacker News and the Paris Review. There’s a lot of potential at that intersection; I try to get at it in Penumbra, but I think you see it in Twitter’s products, too.

As for ten years: if I had to bet on any internet service today, I’d bet on Twitter. But if it does stick around until 2022, I think it will be totally transformed—barely recognizable. We’ll have to explain to the kids just learning to read: “Well, you see, tweets weren’t always interactive—they didn’t used to be little worlds you could explore. Used to be, each one was just a line of text, only a sentence or two…”

Clay seems like a great name for an autobiographical character – I may even use that one myself one day. Have you always wanted to be called Clay? And where does the name Penumbra come from?

Ha! Clay’s got a lot of me in him, but so do the rest of the characters. And it’s his last name, Jannon, that’s really meaningful… but readers will have to do a bit of research to figure out why.

Penumbra just came to me, and not as a standalone name, but in the context of the store—the name on the glass. It was instantly and obviously the right choice. The shadow’s edge, the fuzzy boundary… there’s so much there. And besides, it looks great on the page.

Neel Shah’s Anatomix sounds like an awesome place to work with its boob simulation software. Do you have a thing for breasts? 🙂

I like exquisitely modeled 3D boobs as much as the next person. I also like the idea of combining something that seems boring, like niche professional software, with something that is definitely not boring, like boobs.

Corvina says to his disciples: ‘It is the text that matters..Everything we need is already here in the text. As long as we have that, and as long as we have our minds…we don’t need anything else’. Is that true?

Well, there really is something powerful about plain text. Think about the digital world. If you go back twenty-five years and pick a computer program at random, it won’t run the computer you’re using right now. You might be able to get it going with special hardware—can you find an old floppy disc drive?—and special software—can you somehow emulate an old TRS-80?—but it would take a lot of effort. Another twenty-five years, and it might be impossible.

Plain text, though—even plain text from twenty-five years ago—still works just fine. The format is fixed and it’s easy to access, no matter what kind of hardware and software you’re using. That’s pretty amazing.

So, is Corvina right? Is plain text all we need? No way. But is it a powerful tool—an ark for the stories and ideas that we want to preserve? Absolutely.

Thanks for speaking with us Robin and good luck with your sales.

New Release: Collectomania by Claudia Chan Shaw

What is the difference between collecting and hoarding?

What really makes a piece of clothing vintage?


From Objects of Desire to Magnificent Obsession

According to Claudia Chan Shaw, TV presenter, artist and self-confessed collectomaniac, the world is made up of collectors and non-collectors. Some collect for investment, others for fun. Some love the social interaction and others love to preserve the past. Thrilled by the pursuit, the hunt and the final possession and sense of accomplishment, Chan Shaw likens collecting to an addiction.

In her book Collectomania: From Objects of Desire to Magnificent Obsession Claudia takes readers on a journey through various collections — Bakelite radios, bubble gum swap cards, vinyl records, vintage jewellery, Wedgwood, first edition books, classic cars and more. With humour and affection she explains the motives behind the collections, shares tips on how to collect and imparts valuable advice such as ‘ if you’re thinking of surprising someone by repairing a treasure, only attempt restoration of beloved objects in consultation with the owner and an expert.’

Says Claudia, ‘Many people swear that they do not collect anything and that they don’t see the point in accumulating objects, but most people do have photo albums or at least a collection of digital images. Their collection might even be on Facebook. We all have collections of memories.’

Claudia Chan Shaw developed a penchant for collecting at a young age – from tin robots to Humphrey Bogart posters and fashion.  As she grew older she realised it had become an obsession and that there were others who felt the same. As host of the ABC TV series, COLLECTORS, Claudia would encounter many people of the same ilk, people for whom one snow dome was too little and even 100 of them was not enough. A fashion designer and company director for internationally acclaimed Australian fashion label, Vivan Chan Shaw, Claudia has worked in the fashion industry for most of her life and collected for even longer.

Buy the book here…

New Release: Give me Excess of It by Richard Gill

If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it.

Richard Gill is one of Australia’s best-known – and best-loved – musical figures. His career has taken him from a music teacher in Sydney’s western suburbs to the Music Director of the Victorian Opera, and along the way an involvement with almost every major opera company and orchestra in Australia. 

What truly marks Richard out is his passion and enthusiasm for spreading not just the joy of music, but its myriad benefits. He is our greatest musical educator, and his life’s work – alongside his other roles – has been advocating the role of music in our education system, as well as the education of those who’ve gone on to choose music as vocation. He brings music to life, and his knowledge and deep enjoyment of his subject is as inspiring and enlightening to a class of primary school students as it is to the cast of a major opera.

Give Me Excess of It is Richard’s memoir, tracing his life from school days to the heights (and lows) of conducting and directing an opera company. It’s warm, extremely funny, highly opinionated, occasionally rude (where warranted) and always sublimely full of the love of music. 

‘This book is about the musician’s journey as I have experienced it: the sublime and the ridiculous; the happy chances and the rude awakenings; the life-changing encounters with true genius; the strong friendships with other singers and players who, like myself, were merely mortal; the providential announcements; the miscommunications; the artistic differences; and – rarely – the invidious enmities, that all somehow combine to form a life in music.’

Buy the book here…

New Release: Diary of a Wombat, 10th Anniversary Edition

By Jackie French & Bruce Whatley

Celebrating ten years of one very determined wombat and one extraordinary collaboration

Jackie French’s love of wombats comes alive in this cheeky observation of Mothball’s life, while Bruce Whatley’s captivating illustrations of Mothball’s antics show just how entertaining and endearing wombats are to humans.

Published around the world including in France, United Kingdom and the USA Diary of a Wombat is a beautiful tale of one wombat’s daily life.

From the creators –

‘Mothball Wombat bounced into our lives 17 years ago, bashing up the garbage bin, shredding the doormat, and demanding carrots. Diary of a Wombat changed my life. No matter where I talk – from keynotes at history conferences to talks on literacy or weed ecology – someone always wants to know ‘is the wombat in Diary of a Wombat real?’ She’s real, she’s big, stroppy, smelly, and she and the book she inspired have brought us enormous joy.’ – JACKIE FRENCH

‘The inspiration for Mothball, the wombat was a very ugly, white English Bulldog i had at the time. In many ways they were the same shape. They definitely had the same personality. The success of Diary of a Wombat’ has been overwhelming at times – it’s not something you can plan or predict. There’s just no stopping that wombat.’ – BRUCE WHATLEY

About the Authors

JACKIE FRENCH is one of Australia’s most renowned and best-loved children’s authors.Jackie’s books have won numerous awards, both in Australia and overseas, and they have been translated into over twenty languages. She lives in the Araluen Valley, NSW.

BRUCE WHATLEY has been writing and illustrating award winning children’s books for over twenty years. He has previously worked as an art director in advertising and has illustrated over 60 children’s books.

Buy the book here…

You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em

For the first time, country music legend Kenny Rogers tells the story behind his extraordinary life and career, detailing his rise through the ranks of pop and country music to become one of the top-selling artists of all time.

For over fifty years, Kenny Rogers has been a fixture on the American music scene with his chart topping hits such as: ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,’ ‘Lucille,’ ‘Love or Something Like It,’ ‘Lady,’ ‘Islands in the Stream,’ and ‘The Gambler,’ among a multitude of others.  Now for the first time, this living legend reveals his incredible rise to fame, detailing his personal highs and lows with his memoir LUCK OR SOMETHING LIKE IT.

Speaking candidly, Kenny reflects upon his rough childhood in the US—living in the projects of Houston and growing up in poverty—and how his father’s alcoholism greatly impacted his career by helping him avoid the common pitfalls of substance abuse that often plague fame. Forever indebted to his mother for her thought-provoking wisdom and pitch perfect advice, Kenny entered the music business with a reputation for hard work and a positive attitude.  These homegrown traits coupled with his strong faith enabled Kenny to persevere through the difficult periods of his career—the breakup of his first professional musical group, The First Edition, and the struggles he faced when trying to go solo.

Throughout Kenny’s career he has reinvented himself time and time again, managing to stay successful and current while also being true to his values as a performer.  Along the way he has experimented across many musical genres with some of music’s greatest talents, and here he discusses his journey in depth and reveals the secret to his success:  his ability to remain open-minded and his willingness not to let his past dictate his future.

Featuring a cast of characters ranging from Elvis to Dolly Parton to Ray Charles to Dottie West to Lionel Richie, Rogers’ story offers a candid and eye-opening look at the world of country music, showing how mainstream success led to crossover artistic partnerships that pushed his musical boundaries, but forced him to go against the trends of the Nashville establishment as he combined country music with other sounds from pop music.

In LUCK OR SOMETHING LIKE IT, Kenny shares highlights from his ever-evolving musical career including:

  • Kenny and Dolly:  As one-half of one of popular music’s greatest duos, Kenny writes warmly about his longtime working relationship with Dolly Parton, telling never-before-heard stories about their first meeting and what they’ve meant to each other all these years.
  • Kenny and Lionel:  Discussing how his open-mindedness always led him to experiment musically and avoid developing a stale, complacent style, he explains the steps that led him to approach Lionel Richie in the early 80s about recording a song together.  The result of that song—and his willingness to experiment beyond the strict boundaries of country music—was the massively successful “Lady” and a partnership that would last for decades.
  • Inside The Gambler:  Kenny goes backstage on the making of a cultural phenomenon—the song and TV movie franchise that would become one of his greatest legacies:  “The Gambler.”
  • Kenny and His Personal Life: Writing honestly about his marriages and his struggle to stay married through the years, Kenny explores how his drive for success and his constant life on the road ultimately made marriage difficult for him despite his family values and instinct to settle down.  Finally, he feels that he has achieved the elusive work-family balance with his current (fifth) marriage—a heartwarming story of finding love later on in life.

Black Caviar: The Horse of a Lifetime – and NEVER been beaten

She has captured the heart of a nation like no sporting figure since the days of Phar Lap and Don Bradman. This is greatness the likes of which is rarely seen. This is a tale that will not weary. This is the authorised story of the horse that has never been beaten.

Black Caviar is the most recognisable sports star in the country. When she races, it is front-page news.  Having achieved the perfect record of 22 wins, her place in the history books is already internationally assured. Leading trainer Peter Moody’s mare, with her devoted army of salmon pink-and-black-spotted fans, is a product of her times: she has her own blog, Facebook page and Twitter account. And now, with this book about her deeds and effect on racing and society more broadly, she has her first biography.

Appointed official biographer of Black Caviar, Gerard Whateley has unprecedented access and the unique vantage point of having called 15 of Black Caviar’s 22 record-breaking wins, which — combined with meticulous research — ensures his Black Caviar is the definitive story of the horse of a lifetime.

Whateley says: ‘Like so much of the nation, Black Caviar has captured my sports-loving heart. this is greatness the likes of which is so rarely seen. the emotion and devotion she inspires give the generations a chance to experience what our grandparents knew when Phar Lap ruled the turf. This is a story that will not weary: the horse that couldn’t be beaten. It has been both a privilege and a responsibility to share the career of Black Caviar with listeners and viewers of the ABC; now it is the thrill of a career to tell her story in print.’

Moody says: ‘I’ve been round horses all my life and never known one better than Black Caviar. I find judging her place in the history of racing hard. I’m so close to her … this much I know: I won’t live to see another horse like Black Caviar.’

Colin and Jannene Madden, on behalf of the co-owners, say: ‘Gerard Whateley has succeeded in capturing her story in a way few others could do … We read her story with pride, awe and emotion.’

Black Caviar begins with the entrancing story of champion trainer Peter Moody, a self-made man bred in the remote outback of Queensland, who came to select and guide one of the fastest, and the most successful, horses the world has ever seen. Under Moody’s patient and masterful guidance, the hulking, injury-prone filly matured into a champion, idolised by a devoted following more akin to fans of a rock band than a racehorse.

Black Caviar has returned racing to the glory days of more than half a century past and secured a reputation that will echo for as long as horses are sent out to race.

Buy the book here…

About the Author

Synonymous with the ABC for more than a decade, Gerard Whateley began his career with the Herald Sun and was a reporter with Channels Seven and Ten before joining the ABC to fulfil a childhood dream to call the country’s finest sports. He currently spearheads the Melbourne end of ABC’s Grandstand at events ranging from the Melbourne Cup to the AFL Grand Final and the Olympic Games. An institution on radio, Gerard has a commanding presence on ABC1’s flagship sport program Offsiders in addition to hosting the nightly program AFl360 on Fox Footy. In 2008 he became only the seventh man to call the Melbourne Cup for the ABC, a heritage that dates back to 1925.

20-year old Aussie wunderkind Alexandra Adornetto has another bestseller in the wings

At twenty – an age when many young people are just starting out in their careers – Alexandra Adornetto is already a hugely successful international author.  Since publishing her first book at fourteen, Alexandra has written five more bestsellers, moved to the United States, started university, and is  now also pursuing an acting and modelling career in LA.

Heaven is the third and final book in the acclaimed Halo trilogy – one of the original angel romance novels published both in Australia and internationally.  In this page-turning and eagerly anticipated conclusion to the series, angel Bethany and her mortal love Xavier are faced with their most daunting challenge yet – The Sevens, a military order of angels designed to maintain balance in the universe. These soldiers won’t stop until their job is done – capture the wayward angel and send her home.

Age: 12+

Buy the book here…

Praise for Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo

‘Adornetto’s dialogue feels fresh and real, without any need to prove relevance … If it were not for young adult readers like her, the YA boom never would have happened and publishing would be much gloomier’ The New York Times Book Review

‘It’s remarkable how well-turned the language is, and how assured the plot, in this zippy and evocative young adult fantasy ’ The Age

‘Teenage wunderkind Alexandra Adornetto’s first foray into mass-market young adult fiction is a major achievement – commercial, sophisticated and hugely enjoyable’ Sun-Herald

About the Author

Alexandra Adornetto was born in Australia and now studies at the University of Mississippi. Her first novel was published by HarperCollins when she was fourteen and she has worked as an author ever since. Alexandra’s first series THE STRANGEST ADVENTURES was inspired by Peter Pan and written because she refused to grow up! The HALO series marks her international debut. Halo debuted at #4 on the New York Times Bestseller List and is now published in over 22 countries. Alexandra is passionate about country music, theology, acting and her dogs, Tinks and Ollie.

For anyone who has ever blamed the dog…

The perfect (and perfectly naughty) picture book for kids… and for anyone else who’s ever blamed it on the dog.

Let’s face it, farts are funny. Whether they are loud, smelly or just plain embarrassing, kids love a good fart. THERE IS A MONSTER UNDER MY BED WHO FARTS delivers both laughing farts and farting laughs. Hilarious, cheeky and, above all, fun, this is the picture book that kids want this Christmas and that parents secretly want for themselves. Especially Dads, who will probably laugh the loudest.

Authors Tim Miller and Matt Stanton were boys not so long ago themselves and are self-confessed experts on all things flatulent. The HarperCollins colleagues (Tim works in Marketing and Matt in Design) came up with the idea for the Fart Monster at the pub after work one evening in late 2011. Fine-tuned over text messages and emails, Matt begun sketching the illustrations and the rest, as they say, is history.

THERE IS A MONSTER UNDER MY BED WHO FARTS will be on everyone’s list this Christmas, because you’re never too old (or too young) to laugh about farts.



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Matt Stanton is a 28-year-old creative farter with a wealth of knowledge and experience about farting and drawing (he has been doing both since he was in nappies). When he’s not coming up with new entries for his personal fart chart, Matt works as an art director for one of Australia’s leading publishers.

Tim Miller is also 28 and a fartaholic. He has dedicated his wonderful way with words to finding as many farting adjectives as humanly possible. By day Tim is the children’s marketing executive at one of Australia’s leading publishers. There Is A Monster Under My Bed Who Farts is his autobiography.

Ruby Moonlight wins Deadly Award

Ali Cobby Eckermann has won the 2012 Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature for her verse novel Ruby Moonlight.

This year’s Deadly Awards were announced at a special event at the Sydney Opera House on 25 September. The awards are presented to Indigenous Australians for excellence in the areas of music, sport, entertainment and community.

Cobby Eckermann was one of five authors shortlisted for this year’s literature category. The other shortlisted authors were:

  • Dub Leffler (Once There Was a Boy, Magabala)
  • Chaise Eade (Second Life, Xlibris)
  • Sue McPherson (Grace Beside Me, Magabala)
  • John Maynard (The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe: A History of Aboriginal Involvement with the World Game, Magabala)

More information about the Deadlys can be found here…

New Release: Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients by Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks use to distort science, becoming a 400,000 copy bestseller. Now he puts the $600bn global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. What he reveals is a fascinating, terrifying mess.

Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed decisions. But instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. In fact, even government regulators withhold vitally important data from the people who need it most. Doctors and patient groups have stood by too, and failed to protect us. Instead, they take money and favours, in a world so fractured that medics and nurses are now educated by the drugs industry. Patients are harmed in huge numbers.

Bad Pharma is a clear and witty attack, showing exactly how the science has been distorted, how our systems have been broken, and how easy it would be to fix them.

About the Author:

Ben Goldacre is a doctor and science writer who has written the Bad Science column in the UK Guardian since 2003. His work focuses on unpicking the evidence behind misleading claims from journalists, the pharmaceutical industry, alternative therapists, and government reports. He has made a number of documentaries for BBC Radio 4, and his book Bad Science has sold over 350,000 copies in the UK alone, and has been translated into 17 languages.

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