Books

Boundary Rider no more

Paula Xiberras
25.10.12 7:09 am

image


Christi Malthouse did stints at a football reporter for both channel 7 and channel 10, the latter for whom she was a a boundary rider.

Christi is now part of channel 9’s Sunday Football Show but she is showing her true allegience in her new biography of her father Mick titled Malthouse: A Football Life. 

This is the first AFL biography by a daughter of her father, a father with an illustrious career as footballer, coach and commentator but most of all Christi gives us insights into the man who is just as passionate about his wife Nannette and children as he is about the game he has forged such an imprint on.

Mick and Christi will be in Tasmania to talk about the book this week.

You can catch them Thursday 25 October when they will be signing at Birchell’s Bookshop, 118 Brisbane Street, Launceston at 3.00 pm
and on Friday the 26 October Signing at Dymocks Hobart, 70 Murray Street at 12 noon.

image

Read more

0 comments

Books | Sport | What's On

The Stella Prize, worth $50,000, to be awarded in April 2013

The Stella Prize
22.10.12 9:36 am

image

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.

Entries are open from now until Thursday 15 November.

‘The Stella Prize will raise the profile and the sales of books by women,’ says Aviva Tuffield, chair of The Stella Prize. ‘We want to encourage future generations of women writers, by increasing the recognition for Australian women’s writing and supporting strong female role models. We also want to celebrate women’s contribution to Australian literature.’

The Stella Prize will be open to fiction and non-fiction books published between 1 January and 31 December 2012.

‘We hope to erode the self-perpetuating cycle of underrepresentation that confronts all women writers. We believe that the best way to achieve this is to seek out and popularise excellence in women’s writing. Women’s ideas must be heard, just as their stories must be told,’ says Aviva Tuffield.

Bestselling author Helen Garner, an official ambassador of The Stella Prize, is just one writer whose work hovers on the increasingly permeable boundary between fiction and non-fiction. She says, ‘I hope The Stella Prize, with its graceful flexibility about genre, will encourage women writers to work in the forms they feel truly at home in, instead of having to squeeze themselves into the old traditional corsets.’

Inspired by the hugely successful UK Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly The Orange Prize), The Stella Prize is named for Stella Maria Miles Franklin, the iconic Australian feminist and author of My Brilliant Career. She established the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award from a bequest in her will to reward and encourage Australian writing. ‘We’re very pleased to be announcing The Stella Prize in the week of Miles Franklin’s birthday,’ says Aviva Tuffield.

The inaugural founding patron of The Stella Prize is Ellen Koshland and the Koshland Innovation Fund.

The winner will be decided by a panel of judges, chaired by respected critic and writer Kerryn Goldsworthy and comprising Kate Grenville (author), Claudia Karvan (actor), Fiona Stager (co-owner of Avid Reader bookstore and immediate past president of the Australian Booksellers’ Association) and Rafael Epstein (ABC broadcaster).

The Stella Prize
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.thestellaprize.com.au

Read more

0 comments

Books

The Blue Cathedral

Michael Fletcher
22.10.12 7:27 am

Review of The Blue Cathedral (Cameron Hindrum).

The Blue Cathedral is a down-to-earth story about significant events that happened in Tasmania’s south-west several decades ago.

It follows a number of characters embroiled in these events,including the main protagonist, Billy. His journey is a hard and unenviable one and I found myself gradually appreciating then empathising with him.

At the conclusion of the story I really wanted to know what happens to the young man in the future.

Hindrum writes well with both realistic detail and colloquial dialogue.

The story brings to life the times and the conflict in that area of the world.

He is a craftsman and although the reader will have to concentrate on the timeline it is worth the effort.

I would recommend The Blue Cathedral as a good read.

Read more

0 comments

Books | Review

Watt, Again!

Paula Xiberras
18.10.12 5:39 am

image


As the title suggests it’s another novel from Peter Watt, the former Tasmanian resident and master storyteller. A man of many trades Peter has been a soldier, a clerk and a police sergeant among a varied career history. He also speaks Vietnamese and Pidgin; add to that his present career of professional writer and his work as a volunteer fire-fighter in rural Queensland and you have a picture of a multi-skilled man. Peter is back with another enthralling instalment in his Duffy/Macintosh series. ‘Beyond the Horizon’ is very much a page turner but it is the product of a writer with a thorough knowledge of history that is novelising both the famous and the more obscure moments of history.


Peter Watt can’t speak more highly or say enough good things about his one-time home of Tasmania. The internationally famous author chats to me about his time as a resident in Tasmania ;( he lived in Tassie for 3 years while he studied at the University of Tasmania). It was his history course taught by the inspirational teacher Michael Roe that set him on the course of his history obsession and his career as an author in the tradition of Wilbur Smith that both educates and entertains, that catalogues and brings history to life in an exceptionally readable and enjoyable way.


It is letters, like that from a plumber, who told Peter that his were the only books he could read, that delight him and make him see his role a rewarding one and make him a great ambassador for the ‘Get Reading’ campaign during which he visited Tasmania for a number of events, speaking at libraries up north and down south. This visit to Tassie is one he makes too seldom and also allowed him time to catch up with friends and maybe thank Michael Roe once again for being the inspiration he has been to Peter’s bringing history to life.


Like a lot of best-selling and popular authors, unfortunately Peter has had some negative comments from people who consider his popular brand of writing as not literary enough and he has even had someone at a literary conference say to him that ‘you don’t deserve to be here’. Further, he has had difficulty getting the mainstream media to talk about his books as they do not believe his image is ’young enough’.


Peter researches his history meticulously and has even discovered some little known facts such as the reason why some war memorials display the dates 1915 to 1919. It is a little known fact that Australian soldiers fought in the Bolshevik war and that two crosses were awarded to them, but because they were representing the British army at the time the Brits are desirous of these crosses.


He also documents the case we might not be familiar with of the influenza epidemic which hit Australia post Great War. It is believed the returning soldiers with weakened immune systems brought the disease back home with them and so the influenza is seen, Peter says, as ‘nature’s extension of the great war’ and ironically in a cruel twist killed some of those at home, the very people who soldiers had sought to fight for.


Unlike many authors Peter doesn’t necessarily need to travel to all the sites he sets his novels in but finds study and research more than compensates, and is in fact often preferable as he is writing about historical time periods and experiencing an area as it was then and not how it looks now.


Peter’s novels want to ensure we do not forget the sacrifice our armed services made and continue to make for us.


‘Beyond The Horizon’ is out now.

Read more

0 comments

Books

‘Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl’

Paula Xiberras
18.10.12 5:37 am

image

Well, maybe not a showgirl, but a girl that was pretty cluey with her celebrity contacts in the showbiz world.


I had the pleasure recently of meeting the lovely Lily Brett.  The Australian born author who has made her home in New York for the last 20 years or so was back in Australia to promote her latest book ‘Lola Bensky’. The novel is part autobiographical in that it tells the story of Lola, like Lily a young woman who became a journalist by a case of serendipity. Like Lola, lily’s father did not trust young men’s’ driving prowess so bought his daughter the now famous pink valiant immortalised in this book.


Lola just as Lily did, went along to a job interview at a newspaper and instead of being quizzed on her writing abilities was asked if she had a car, when she answered in the affirmative she drove into a journalistic job!


This case of serendipity set Lily on the career path to be a writer and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She tells me that her persona is evidenced in Lola, but also in many other characters in the novel.


When Lola mirrors Lilly with her celebrity interviews we discover the very human side of the famous. Lola, herself beset by issues of appearance, is able to communicate with the famous in a very personal way as they confide in her.


Lily shows us that in spite of the rich and famous having an ivory tower lifestyle we are able to see their very ordinariness through Lola’s eyes.  Lola even finds herself in the role of rescuer when one of the famous requires rescuing.


Lily is a very soft spoken and thoughtful lady who has created a heroine of warmth and humour. Juxtaposing with the humour is sadness in the figure of Lily’s mother who has lost faith in God because of the atrocities that have occurred against the Jewish people including her own family.


Lily enjoys living in New York where she revels in ‘the diversity of life force’ and the ‘tolerance’. Lilly feels there is ‘a sense of involvement in life’, as living in the big city means you can’t keep yourself cosseted in cotton wool but just like everyone else to get from one place to another have to travel the subway as everyone does. She feels this is different than ‘living in a society where one can be more shielded ‘or’ homogeneous’. The ‘lack of stratification’ in New York also appeals to Lily.


Perhaps this reality is reflected in Lola’s free spirit and lack of fear to experience life and all it offers, including the normalcy in how she treats the celebrities she interviews which might be considered daunting for one so young as Lola.


This openness is also reflected in Lily’s words that ’ what you encounter is not necessarily good or bad, but that it changes you’.


‘Lola Bensky’ is out now.

Read more

0 comments

Books

Aboriginal fire sparks winning book

Jason Steger, The Age
17.10.12 9:23 am

image
Bill Gammage

image

IT WAS as a teenager carting hay in the bush outside Wagga Wagga that Bill Gammage’s lifelong curiosity about the Australian landscape emerged. What initially puzzled him was that certain trees were not growing in the soils that he knew best suited them. ‘‘It led me to all sorts of possibilities.’‘

One of those possibilities turned out to be the crucial role Aboriginal people and their deft use of fire played in shaping the Australian environment, and for the past 12 years Gammage has devoted most of his working life to his much lauded account, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia, published a year ago.

Last night Gammage, an adjunct professor at the Australian National University, won Australia’s richest literary prize, the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature, part of the Victorian Premier’s literary awards, for the book The Age described as ‘‘history of the most readable type … a beautiful and profound piece of writing’‘. Gammage also won the premier’s non-fiction prize, worth $25,000, the same as the other prizes. This year, he also won the PM’s $80,000 prize for Australian history.


Gammage told The Age his book’s significance lay in the link between the Aboriginal approach to the environment and the Dreaming, and because he had established that approach was applied across the whole country. ‘‘I gave it a spiritual aspect, which scientists aren’t into at all. Religious sanction is the most powerful sanction in any society,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s what kept people at it. They risked their souls if they didn’t do it. You can’t think of any other imperative. It’s hard work, a constant job burning, not burning, deciding what sort of fire. It’s a lifetime of learning, which is why we can’t do it.

‘‘It was in Tasmania and all over the mainland. While the means of achieving the end might have varied according to the vegetation, the ends were exactly the same.’‘

Gammage said European settlers could see the benefits of fire to the environment. ‘‘The problem was that they didn’t know how to burn.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/books/aboriginal-fire-sparks-winning-book-20121016-27p05.html#ixzz29VYZ7nM1

Read more

0 comments

Books

Hilary Mantel wins Man Booker prize for second time

Mark Brown, arts correspondent The Guardian, Tuesday 16 October 2012 21.50 BST
17.10.12 7:15 am

image

Bring up the Bodies is first sequel to triumph in prize’s 43-year history, and author is first woman and first Briton to win twice

Hilary Mantel has made Man Booker prize history by becoming the first woman and the first British writer to win the literary award twice.

Bring Up the Bodies, the blistering and bloody second instalment of her trilogy charting the life of Thomas Cromwell, was also the first sequel to triumph in the prize’s 43-year history. The first instalment, Wolf Hall, won three years ago.

The chairman of the Booker judges, Sir Peter Stothard, called Mantel “the greatest modern English prose writer” working today, and said she had “rewritten the book on writing historical fiction”.

“We are very proud to be reading English at the time she is writing. I don’t think I’ve read any English novelist in recent years who has such complete control over the way she uses prose to do what she wants to do, like a singer or a pianist,” Stothard said.

Mantel, 60, joins the Australian Peter Carey and the South African JM Coetzee as a double Booker winner. She triumphed from a shortlist that was striking in its contrast to last year when judges emphasised readability. This year it was about the power of prose, and re-readability.

“There is no point in having a text for this prize that is dead as soon as it is read,” Stothard said. “There are many perfectly good books for which that is true – they are a good read but you wouldn’t want to read them again. This prize is for books that will be read in decades to come and each time you read them they reveal something different.”

The 2012 shortlist included challenging books, not least the hotly tipped Umbrella, by Will Self, written in a high modernist stream of consciousness with barely a paragraph break let alone chapters. The others were The Garden of Evening Mists, the second novel from the Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng; Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home; and two first novels in the shape of Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse and Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis.

Read the rest, The Guardian here

Read more

0 comments

Books

Sign up for new Writing Australia Touring Program Workshops

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
16.10.12 6:50 am

image

One of the pillars on which Writing Australia was built was a determination to harness the combined skills and experience of the various state writers’ centres to create programs that crossed state borders and were truly national. The first of these programs is Writing Australia Tours, in which the most successful writing practitioners from each state are toured interstate to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to aspiring writers across the country.

Last year saw the program begin with tours by Arnold Zable, Fiona McIntosh, Danielle Wood and Toni Jordan, all of whom presented workshops in Tasmania. The feedback from this first program was extremely positive and so far in 2012 we’ve had visits from Andrea Goldsmith, Cate Kennedy and US writer Lee Gutkind. About our most recent workshop with Melbourne based author Andrea Goldsmith one participant wrote:

‘This is perhaps the best professional development opportunity I have accessed.  A wonderful presenter and a skilled teacher – and a wonderful writer.’

We are pleased to be able to offer our members another four workshops from three leading Australian authors over the next couple of months. Covering popular to literary fiction writing, there are workshops to suit a wide range of writers. This is a wonderful opportunity to boost your writing, discover new approaches and be inspired.

Here’s a special bonus! We have movie passes to give way to the next five members who sign up for the Steven Carroll workshop. Winners will receive a double pass to The Words, a powerful new film starring Bradley Cooper as an author who finds fame and fortune through devious means.

Read more on the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre website here

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

Marriage book launch in Launceston Thursday 25 October 2012

Guy Barnett
14.10.12 8:33 am

image

The book “Maybe ‘I do’, modern marriage and the pursuit of happiness” by Kevin Andrews will be launched in Launceston by Guy Barnett Spokesperson for the Save Marriage Coalition.

We are delighted Kevin Andrews has agreed to come to Tasmania to promote his book, said Mr Barnett.

The launch will be held at Fullers book store, St John Street, Launceston on Thursday 5.15pm, 25 October 2012.

GUY BARNETT & THE SAVE MARRIAGE COALITION

invites you to the book launch of
maybe ‘I do’
modern marriage & the pursuit of happiness
by Kevin Andrews

Published by Connorcourt Publishing
together with an update
on the work of the Save Marriage Coalition

Date: Venue:
Thursday 25 October 2012 Fullers Book Store
5:15pm for 5:30pm St John Street
Launceston Tasmania 7250

RSVP: Further information:
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
or 6334 8499

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

How to enjoy a mountain

Gabrielle Rish, BookMark
12.10.12 5:28 am

image

The Romance of Mount Wellington, by John and Maria Grist, Franklin Press, $29.95, from bookshops, Hobart City Council or http://www.mtwellingtonhistory.com

As brains are racked over how best to manage Wellington Park over the foreseeable future, a recent book of beautiful historic postcards and photos shows the way southern Tasmanians enjoyed their mountain recreation a century ago.

In simpler times, groups of nature enthusiasts banded together and built huts on the lower slopes of Mt Wellington to use as bases for walks and conviviality at weekends. The huts, with their characteristic lacy decoration of woven dogwood branches, were secluded but, according to Maria and John Grist’s book, The Romance of Mount Wellington, “most hut syndicates prided themselves on their fine cuisine and their love of culture and gentle company”.

The Grists quote extracts from the Fern Lea Hut visitor book, including this comment from November 1907: “Rather a hot walk up here but rewarded with strawberries and cream when we arrived. Had a bonser (sic) tea and reached home safely.”

Reading the new draft Management Plan for Wellington Park (the final stage of public comment on the plan closes on October 26), it’s clear how much times have changed:  no one could level a grove and build a chalet on it these days, though community Bushcare groups have a residual special relationship in the stewardship role they undertake.

The striking thing when reading the public submissions on the issues paper that informed the draft plan is the crossfire of different user groups. There’s the walkers, the dog walkers, the bikers, the horse-riders, the skiers and the people who don’t want to do any exercise at all, other than walking from their car to a café with a panorama that really enhances that necessary hit of caffeine.

There’s those who feel the Mountain is all about natural ecosystems and those who believe that great big looming lump of dolerite isn’t earning its right to exist if people aren’t making money out of it – especially right on the top of it.

Amazingly, reading the background material to the draft Management Plan, there are now 76 commercial operators in the Wellington Park, up from 25 in 2005. So already, in a low-key way, there’s abundant commercial activity. 

Mythical cable cars aside, the commercial operation on the Mountain that comes most to mind is the old Springs Hotel.  The hotel site is still there clearly marked out, just above the Springs picnic area. The hotel itself burnt down in the 1967 bushfires, along with the Ridgeway tea room and the Fern Tree Hotel (which also burnt down in 1900). The Grists say the social club huts were mostly razed by fires in 1912.

The Romance of Mount Wellington is divided into chapters from lower slopes to summit. A photo from 1912 shows a cart drawn by five horses heading up Huon Road, crammed with 15-20 people. The Springs was the most likely destination. Before the Pinnacle Road was extended past the Springs in the 1930s, the only way people could get to the top was on foot, via the Ice House Track.

Now there’s traffic all over the Mountain, and not just on the Huon and Pinnacle Roads. Walking tracks have become shared-use tracks in recent years. The Management Plan review notes tensions such as this: “Dangerous downhill riding on Radfords Track. It is recognised that the speed at which downhill cycling can occur on sections of the Radford Track can create some risks to other track users, however its width and location make it popular and convenient for downhill biking.” One respondent to the issues paper suggested making this comfortably graded and popular walking track bike-only.

A majority of the 163 respondents to the directions paper on the new draft Management Plan favour any commercial activity on the mountain being restricted to its traditional area – the Springs.

That sentiment, if adopted by the Park Trust, would quash the notion of a helipad on the summit for scenic flights and the cable car.  (Why does the latter proposal always remind me of the Sydney monorail, or the Springfield monorail from The Simpsons? Construction engineer’s dream morphs into civic white elephant.)

There is scope to enhance people’s interactions with the Mountain in a way that doesn’t involved 100s of millions of dollars of unnecessary infrastructure. Suggestions to the Management Plan review include designing and publicising long walk experiences within Wellington Park and building a collection of simple cottages for tourist accommodation on the lower slopes. If that suggestion gets adopted, I sincerely hope that the art of dogwood branchwork weaving is revived.

The Wellington Park Trust has set up a web forum (Here) to facilitate community discussion on the draft Plan.  To read and make a representation on the draft plan go to http://www.wellingtonpark.org.au/management-plan-review/ Public comment closes on October 26.

image

image

Read more

2 comments

Writers | Gabrielle Rish | Books | BookMark | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

Chinese novelist Mo Yan wins Literature Nobel

The Guardian
12.10.12 2:27 am

image

Chinese author Mo Yan, who left school for a life working the fields at the age of 12, has become the first Chinese citizen ever to win the Nobel prize in literature, praised by the Swedish Academy for merging “folk tales, history and the contemporary” with “hallucinatory realism”.

The win makes Mo Yan the first Chinese citizen to win the Nobel in its 111-year history: although Gao Xingjian won in 2000, and was born in China, he is now a French citizen; and although Pearl Buck took the prize in 1938, for “her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces”, she is an American author.

The Nobel, worth eight million kronor, goes to the writer “who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”, with previous winners including Samuel Beckett, Doris Lessing and, last year, the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. Over the past month the Chinese press has become increasingly vocal about the possibility of a Chinese writer taking the award, with commentors equating “bagging the prize to Chinese literature gaining the world’s recognition”.

With the Nobel going to a European seven times in the last decade ...

Read the rest, The Guardian here

Read more

0 comments

Books

No stereotypical city

Paula Xiberras
11.10.12 6:57 am

image


‘Randa Abdel-Fattah’s recent visit to Tasmania was her first trip here and she remarks how the scenery reminded her of the exotic environs of ‘Lord of the Rings’.


Aestheticism of buildings seems a good place to start when discussing Randa’s writing because she is a bit of an architect in constructing a novel that looks, on face value, and cover design of flowing white dressed heroine navigating her way through city vehicles a passing similarity to the cult chick lit TV show ‘Sex in the City’, but Randa’s novel is negative to those values proposed in the title of the TV show and if you look again you will see it affirms ‘No Sex in the City’.


While her main protagonist is a young Muslim woman staying true to her faith and it’s precepts in a modern world it is also a novel about breaking down stereotypes.


Randa’s heroine is a career girl while at the same time contemplating and adhering, to an extent, to the marriage machinations her parents wish for her. Randa shows us that this bright young woman has a vital part in picking her possible potential life partner and it also manages to include humour in these somewhat serious proceedings. Witness one of her suitors’ pronunciation of ‘beach’.


Randa is well known as the author of young adult fiction but as Randa says even though she writes stories about young adults her books are for fully grown adults too as they are about all the things young adults worry about in the process of growing up explored with intelligence and humour. In fact pitching this new adult novel in her appearance at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart recently, Randa notes the mixed audience, a cross section of adults and her younger fans which made her pitching of this particular novel because of the more grown up issues it explores, a little difficult!


One might be tempted by the cover art and its similarities to the TV program ‘Sex and The City’ to think this book is sophisticated chick lit but Randa tells me that she defines chick lit as ‘searching for the one’. Refreshingly, although there is some searching for the right one, it takes on a subsidiary importance to many other things, perhaps the most prevalent friendship and the wonderful variety it comes in.


There is a line near the end of the novel where Randa’s character tells her friends that they must not break up because if they did it would ruin their joke punch line, something akin to the familiar ‘There was a Christian, Muslim and a Jewish….’  because the breaking down of stereotypes is so well orchestrated we don’t realise our ‘musketeers’ are indeed from different ethnic and religious groups. Their friendship is strong and transcends any cultural barriers. The novel shows women that there is strength in women’s friendships and how they support each other through difficult times and celebrate each other during successes.


Randa’s women are ‘fulfilled and career oriented, politically engaged, social activist and feminist’ living confident lives and if ‘the one’ should come along that would be a bonus to compliment what they already have.


Randas book ‘No Sex in The City’ is out now.

image

Read more

0 comments

Books

We of The Tamar

Yvonne Gluyas
10.10.12 7:07 am

WE OF THE TAMAR

By Yvonne Gluyas
(Poem entered into Launceston Poetry Cup at the Tasmanian Poetry Festival 2012)


Poor Gunns, you’re better off dead.
At least we’ll get some peace of mind!

Stripped bare of your assets,
your wealth frittered away
on dreams of a pulp mill
by Greg and John Gay.

Your shares are now worthless,
your company gone broke.
Yes, we of the Tamar
for years loudly spoke.

Never defeated
we kept up the fight.
The noisy majority,
we knew we were right.

Once a fine Tassie company,
your workers you misled…

So I’ll dance on your grave
Til I’m sure that you’re dead!

Read more

0 comments

Arts | Poetry

Monica’s Memories

Paula Xiberras
08.10.12 6:57 am

image

When we spoke on the phone last week, Monica McInerney told me she always has her book launches at the Hobart bookshop. This tradition goes back to Monica’s own time as a book publicist when she first encountered the bookshop and the ensuing three years when she lived in Tassie. The proprietors Janet and Christopher became firm friends with Monica and she continued to honour the tradition of launching her new books there some 10 books later! Nowadays, Monica lives in Dublin but is excited to return to Tassie this week for her latest book launch, it’s a very quick visit but after her three week book tour is over Monica plans a drive around Tassie holiday with her husband and other family and friends. Among her visit highlights will be seeing Swansea and living out a dream of spending some time in luxury as an actual guest at the Wrest Point Casino.


Monica loves both Tassie and Ireland and says ’if Australia and Ireland had a baby it would be Tasmania’ as the state has elements of both parent nations!


This time however Monica’s novel is mainly set in the UK. Her main protagonist Ella is like the famous fairy-tale Ella, a child brought up in a blended family, and it is the relationships in this structure that Monica explores in her new novel.


Ella’s slightly eccentric uncle, the bookish Lucas Fox is one of the family members she feels a strong kinship with and it is to him that she turns in troubled times. His magnificent but disorganised house, populated by a pool of pupils is a perfect analogy for life itself, magical, a place to learn and interact with others but very often messy and confused.


Monica’s mum was a librarian so it seems the love for books is genetic. The photo of the house on the cover of this book is of a real house in Gloucester, Paddington and is exactly what she envisioned it to be.


A couple of incidents from real life are dramatized in the novel. You will find too that this novel will take you on an outward journey between Australia and England and an internal journey of emotions that range from sadness to happiness, rejection to acceptance.


Monica McInerney is in Tasmania for the launch of ‘House of Memories’ 5.30pm Tuesday 9 October at the Hobart Bookshop.


image

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

Fullers: Lily Brett

Paula Xiberras
06.10.12 6:28 am

Author Lily Brett will be appearing at Fullers bookshop on Friday 12 October at 5.30 pm talking about her new novel Lola Bensky’.

Details as follows

Fullers Hobart, 131 Collins Street, Hobart
Tickets $7.50 or $32 including book
Bookings 03 6234 3800

Read more

0 comments

Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize winners 2012

Rachel Edwards, Island Magazine
05.10.12 1:29 pm

Island would like to congratulate the winners of the 2012 annual Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize which was announced at the launch of Island 130: Tasmania Now at Ethos last week.

Sharing the $2000 first prize are David Bunn and Fiona Hile for their poems ‘In dreams let us not use first names’ and ‘Bush Poem with Subtitles’ respectively.

Judge Gig Ryan, poetry editor for The Age announced the winners in Hobart last weekend with Chris Pearce of the Hobart Bookshop who generously sponsor the award.

John Kinsella, Island‘s poetry editor and editor of The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry was also a judge.

Two minor prizes of $500 each were also awarded to A. Frances Johnson for ‘Wig Library, Mornington’ and K. A. Nelson for ‘Two Worlds’.

From the judges’ report:
“Our four final winners, as well as the five Highly Commended poems, all stood out for their often offbeat intelligence, verve, and their linguistic and structural consistency.
Our two First Prize winners reflect the genres that were submitted, both admirably accomplished poems yet utterly different from each other.”

The full report is available at islandmag.com.

The five highly commended poems are ‘Five Sonnets that Look Like the Sea’ by Connor Weightman, ‘Berlin, Jesus-Christus-Kirche’ by Peter King, ‘Public Health’ by Kiran Bacic, ‘Cupid O’ by John Carey and ‘Paterson’s Curse’ by Fiona Hile.

The Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize, now in its 17th year, remembers Tasmania’s most acclaimed poet and is proudly sponsored by the Hobart Bookshop.

Read more

0 comments

Books

Hobart Bookshop: Launch of The Path of Beasts

The Hobart Bookshop
04.10.12 6:56 am

image

Goldie Roth is about to discover there are things far worse than punishment chains…

We are very pleased to invite you to help us celebrate the launch of the third book in Lian Tanner’s ‘The Keepers’ series: The Path of Beasts.

Join us at the Baha’i Centre (near the ABC building) at 11am on Sunday October 14, as Ryk Goddard launches the book.

Children are encouraged to come dressed as a beast, or as a character from one of the books. And since we suspect there may be a surprise guest appearance too, we’d like children to help us be prepared: please bring a favourite stuffed beast to form a guard of honour for our guest.

Free event, all welcome.

For more information about the trilogy, Lian, and her work, visit her website
http://liantanner.com.au/
or her Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/LianTannerAuthor

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
P 03 6223 1803 . F 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.hobartbookshop.com.au

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

Sponsor a Burmese poet

Rachel Edwards, Island Magazine
03.10.12 6:46 am

Island are seeking assistance from the public to assist them to sponsor a Burmese poet to attend the Reaching the World conference in Thailand later this year.

Island needs to raise $600 to bring Burma’s most influential living poet to Thailand from Burma for the conference where Zeyar will discuss translation of poetry.

His poem ‘Sling Bag’ was published in Island 128:Digitalism, in English.

Zeyar has written a series of poetry collections and he has translated, among others, Sylvia Plath, Wisława Szymborska, Donald Justice, John Ashbery and Charles Bernstein. He has also written a number of volumes on poetics.

Island’s Fiction editor Rachel Edwards will also participate in the conference, in discussions about the merits of literary prizes. She is a judge for the 2013 Tasmanian Literary Prizes.

Donations have begun to come in though Island is still seeking $500AUD which will cover Zeyar’s airfare, accommodation and a small daily stipend while he attends the conference between November 5-11 in Bangkok. http://apwriters.org/asia-pacific-writers-supports-s-e-a-write-festival/

To make a donation for Zeyar’s flight and accomodation call Rachel on 0409 344 679, or the Island office (we’re here on Fridays) on 6226 2325 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Alternatively donations can be made directly to the Island bank account - Commonwealth bsb 067 102
Account number 00904029

Please email Island at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  if you would like a receipt.

Read more

0 comments

Books

Anything but bland

Paula Xibberas
02.10.12 7:00 am

image


Nick Bland is a popular children’s author.  His parents were an artist and teacher, and he spent his childhood climbing haystacks in Victoria. Later he worked in a bookshop which provided just the right inspiration and easy to access research materials for his future career of writer and illustrator. Now living in Darwin, Nick is also involved with the guardianship of 120 indigenous boys.


Nick was recently in Tasmania for special appearances as part of the ‘Get Reading’ promotion. He took some time out in his busy tour schedule to answer the following questions.




How often do you get to Tasmania?

Once when I was 12, once last year for the architecture awards at Mona, and today.


Anything in particular you want to see or do on this trip?

I’d love to get back to Mona if I have time because ironically, the architecture awards, whilst being held at one of this country’s most significant recent buildings, was held in a circus tent out the back.


Funny man that David.



Do you think having teacher and artist parents contributed to your creativity?

Certainly, but I was no more creative than most kids are at a young age. If anything, it should have shown me that creating art is time consuming, expensive and isolating. I chose to see a career in the arts as a challenge. And when mum went to teachers college when I was about 7, I got access to a whole new library of books at the age when most
kids stop being creative.

Did you ever consider another illustrator working on your book?

Well, there are 16 books and two of them are done by other illustrators. The Runaway Hug was illustrated by Freya Blackwood and the Magnificent Tree was illustrated by Stephen Michael King. I believe in the right person for the right job. If you mean Cranky Bear specifically, then no, this one was always going to be me.


What book most inspired you?

Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl.


A little wordless book from 1963 called A Boy, A Dog and a Frog by Mercer Mayer, one of the amazing New York book creators of that time and of course WTWTA by Maurice Sendak.


Australian books I liked were the Bunyip of Berkleys Creek (I’ll. Ron Brookes) Mulga Bills Bicycle (Debra and Kilmeny Niland) and One Dragon’s Dream (Peter Pavey).


But the best kids’ book I’ve ever seen is The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.
Anything by Dr Zeuss.

What is your favourite book you have written?

I think The Wrong Book (autobiographical) and The Aunties Three (Roald Dahl type story…wicked Roald Dahl style.)


 
Tell us a bit about your work with the indigenous boys

The most rewarding 6 years of my life. Try raising several hundred teenagers…awesome time, very energizing.



Do you still climb haystacks?

Not for a long time. I climb cliffs and waterfalls these days.



What next for you?

I am planning to write a novel but I just started two new picture books which will take me through to the middle of next year. One is a fourth Bear Book and the other is a monster story. King Pig, the book I recently finished will come out around May next year.

Read more

0 comments

Books

Island 130 launch. Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize

Island
28.09.12 2:54 pm

image

Island launch Issue 130:TASMANIA NOW & announcement of the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize

Ethos Eat Drink, Sunday, September 30, 4.30, free event

Tasmania is the most vibrant, interesting and observed state in the country right now and in upcoming issue of Island you’ll find a considered, controversial and entertaining overview about the metaphorically hottest state in Australia right now.

Join the Island crew for an afternoon of fine tucker, tipple and revelry Tasmania-style at 4.30 at Ethos on Sunday, September 30 to celebrate the launch of issue 130: TASMANIA NOW.

Judy Tierney, ABC radio and TV journalist will be in conversation with author of Pedder Dreaming and director of the Inglis Clark Centre for Civil Society, Natasha Cica. and Gig Ryan, poetry editor for The Age and one of the judges for the 2012 Gwen Harwood poetry prize will be present for the announcement by of the 2012 winner by sponsor, Hobart Bookshop.

In this issue you’ll find the MONA backlash and Tasmania’s cultural cringe torn apart by subversive culture columnist Rebecca Fitzgibbon; inaugural recipient of the Sydney Myer Creative Fellowship and director of the Inglis Clark Centre for Civil Society at UTAS Nastasha Cica examines Tasmania’s place in the world; and Tasmanian Times editor James Dryburgh asks why the Pontville Immigration Detention Centre was closed, despite widespread support.

New fiction from one of Australia’s best novelists Danielle Wood touches the gentle and irreverent response that Tasmanians sometimes experience as our lands are recolonised.

Emerging writer Ben Walter’s work The Angels is a strange and dark tale of the island being eroded from inside out, and new poetry from Jennifer Maiden, Nate Mackey and Richard Tipping is sure to rock the international poetry boat.

The magazine will be available at the launch and in stores from October 10.

The launch is free but reserve your place .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Read more

0 comments

Arts | Books | What's On

Hobart Bookshop: Launch of Undertow, Deep South

The Hobart Bookshop
26.09.12 6:34 am

Plenty of events happening as we make our way towards summer—why not start by joining us at the two events below?

And keep an eye on our website ...

http://www.hobartbookshop.com.au/upcoming/

and in your inbox for details of more launches coming up soon.

image

Join us for drinks and nibbles as Gina Mercer launches Susan’s first collection of poetry. Please see invitation attached, and for more information on her work, visit Susan’s website:

http://www.susanaustinpoetry.blogspot.com.au/

Free event, all welcome.

image

<b>Book launch reminder: Deep South edited by Ralph Crane and Danielle Wood (Text)
When: This Thursday (Thursday September 27th) 5.30pm
Where: ‘Founders Room’, Salamanca Arts Centre

This new collection of Tasmanian short stories about the island’s past and present will be launched by Michael Field. For more information about the book, visit the events page on our website:

http://www.hobartbookshop.com.au/upcoming/

A reminder that if you’re planning on coming to this event, RSVPs should go to Stephanie Stepan at Text Publishing: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Free event. All welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
P 03 6223 1803 . F 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.hobartbookshop.com.au

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

A Burden No Longer For Hilary

Paula Xiberras
18.09.12 8:00 am

image


Hilary Burden has the perfect last name and in a way it suits the situation she found herself in. Hilary found that her glamorous globe-trotting lifestyle of reporter was not the authentic life she wanted. Although she was in the happening places of London, Tokyo and Sydney and was reporting on Kylie when she made her first single, sat in Paris with Elle and in cafes in Venice, canoed down the Zambezi and was oft invited to launches including those of a new nail polish. The life Hilary was living was as artificial as the nail polish, a lacquer that gave a bright facade to the world but in time it’s cracks were inevitable. Hilary was engrossed in the telling of other people’s stories but she wasn’t being true to herself in living her own story.


It was when she returned to her native Tasmania (she had been born in London but grown up in Tasmania) to visit her family which still resided here that she began to consider a future in Tassie and the quest for a house to renovate.


When she picks up the phone for our conversation she asks about the weather in Hobart and I reciprocate with a question about the weather up north. she tells me it is raining but goes on to say how grounded our conversation is, talking about the weather where it is 100% meaningful to us’ and not just a polite exchange of chit chat or small talk. Similarly, she reminds me of the taxing trip it was to attend a dinner party in London where most of the time was spent commuting to and back from the event. Exhausting! In Tassie the situation was completely different with less long distances between destinations. No longer does meeting targets consume her time but the little accomplishments take on a greater importance.


When Hilary was in London going through her career crisis she would often visit a church nearby, perhaps for comfort perhaps for answers but found she learnt more about architecture than faith. Although Hilary is not necessarily religious in the formal church going sense she finds in her home in Tassie which was named ‘the nun’s house’ (by her dad and brother when they were informed it had formerly been a convent before becoming a private house), has given Hilary a sense of the spiritual.  However, the greatest spirituality she finds in the natural world of the Tamer Valley.


The house is seemingly imprinted with the essence of the nuns which was made manifest when one of the sisters returned to the house. The nun in question carefully avoided walking on the door’s brass step, a step she had vigorously polished in her incumbency at the house.


The nun’s independence in running a school here is reborn in Hilary’s own occupancy as an independent career woman.


Her animals are two alpacas called Jack and Kerouac, they like Hilary are no longer on the road.


Although Hilary continues journalism and writing her life finds fruitfulness in her garden where she works with her partner Barney. Each day is an adventure, living out a conversation she had with a man from Boston, who spoke about his wife’s first comments every morning and her enthusiasm for the day ahead and it’s achievements.


Hilary may not be interviewing the latest celebrity or counting the cats in Zanzibar. instead her activities are down to earth, literally, as she and Barney work hard to combat the difficulty of growing asparagus and getting it to the stores while it is still fresh.


Days are full and busy but in a very real and fruitful sense and there is always time for rest as Hilary is reminded by the powerful and peaceful symbol by the bench at Bellingham as it stares out to the sea.


Hilary’s quote of “who I am is where I am” defines her contentment best as she has truly found herself and has the time to ponder,at least she will, once the September asparagus crop is in the shops!.


You can meet Hilary and hear her talk about her book on Thursday September 20 at 5.30 pm at Fullers Bookshop Hobart.

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

Award winning young adult author visits Tasmania

Rachel Edwards Events Manager Fullers Bookshop, Hobart
17.09.12 7:30 pm

image

image

Randa Abdel-Fattah, adored author of young adult fiction has just published her first novel for adults, No Sex in the City and will be speaking about it at Fullers Bookshop on Friday, September 21 at 5.30pm.

No Sex in the City is the story of 28-year-old Esma, a cultured young Australian woman, armed with a personalised check-list for Mr Right - who must be Muslim.

Her earlier YA novel Where the Streets had a Name is set in Palestine and Does my Head Look Big In this? follows the story of Amal, a seventeen year-old Australian-Palestinian_Muslim still trying to come to grips with her “various identity hyphens.”

Randa lives in Sydney with her husband and two children and works as a litigation lawyer.

She is frequently sought for comment by the media on issues pertaining to Palestine, Islam or Australian Muslims.

She has appeared on SBS’s Insight, ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club, ABC’s Q & A, Channel 7’s Sunrise and Channel 10’s 9am.

She is visiting Tasmania as part of the federal government’s Get Reading scheme.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event though reservations are essential .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Rachel Edwards
Events Manager
Fullers Bookshop, Hobart
Tasmanian Independent Bookseller of the Year 2002-2012
Australian Bookseller of the Year 2002
131 Collins St, Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia
(ph) 03 6234 3800 (fx) 03 6234 3866

Fullers is now on Facebook

http://www.fullersbookshop.com.au

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

Hobart Bookshop: The House of Memories

The Hobart Bookshop
17.09.12 7:02 pm

image

The Hobart Bookshop is pleased to invite you to help us celebrate the launch of Monica McInerney’s tenth and newest novel, The House of Memories.

When: 5:30pm, Tuesday October 9th

Where: The Hobart Bookshop.

For more information on Monica’s work, please visit her website:

http://www.monicamcinerney.com/

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

Hobart Bookshop: Launch of Undertow

Susan Austin
13.09.12 7:08 am

image

You are warmly invited to the Hobart launch of my first poetry collection, Undertow, published by Walleah Press.

If you can’t make the launch but would like to purchase the book, you can do so via my website at
http://susanaustinpoetry.blogspot.com.au/

<b>Download details:
Undertow_launch_invite_final.pdf

Read more

0 comments

Arts | Books | What's On

Forgotten, rejected, overlooked

Garry Stannus
12.09.12 6:25 am

On having three gorgeous, days-in-the-making, erudite articles forgotten, rejected and lastly ‘overlooked’.

The first sank without a trace
but I was stoic
some you win some you lose
goodtime Charlie’s got the blues.

My maelstrom message
bobbing, clinking, submerging, sinking
While the rest clanked and wheeled
around that hole that we call
yesterday.

I had another go
tossed in a second bottle
got an answer back
Eternity – there is no time.

Threw it back in again
but it came back fast
returned to sender.
No such number, no such name.

Tried a third message,
in a different bottle.
Guess what?
It sank without trace.

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
All hands on deck!
Prepare to abandon ship!
• • • — — — • • •• • • — — — • • •• • • — — — • • •• • • — — — • • •• • • — — — • • •• • • — — — • • •• • • — — — • • •• • • — — — • • •• • • — — — • • • ..............................................................................................................................                !

Read more

0 comments

Arts | Poetry

Truth is stranger than non-fiction!

Paula Xibberas
11.09.12 6:40 am

image


Chloe Hooper’s first name translates into meaning something like ‘young green shoot’ and identifies with fertility and Chloe’s book ‘The Engagement’ is definitely fertile with possibilities and encourages a fertile imagination by the reader!  The book is like a maze where each new lead or possibility leads us further into the mire,of the confusion it generates. ‘Games’ are played between our protagonists. The games are frustrating and sometimes shocking but the book’s intrigue draws us in.


Chloe tells me one of her editors says the book is a ‘psychological box of mirrors’ where truth is reflected on one side and turning it around to another side we see truth reflected again! A different truth but one that seems equally valid.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Chloe Hooper recently about ‘The Engagement’. The book follows the story of two protagonists, a young woman architect from England who has taken on work with her uncle in Melbourne real estate. She begins a playful relationship with a man of property and after viewing some architecture she has on offer, the man, Alexander, propositions Liese to spend some time with him at his lonely mansion and this is where the serious games begin.


We ping pong between the trust we feel for the characters, perhaps leaning more to trust Liese as we are seeing things from her viewpoint. Yet even in her story her vision of Alex is constantly refocusing and we come to the realisation that trusting anyone completely is a leap of faith. We are left to make our own conclusions and because of the ambiguous nature of the relationship between the two leading characters it means the book keeps us guessing long after we have finished reading it and this Chloe agrees is a sign of a healthy book.


I ask Chloe one of my favourite questions of what she thinks of readers that misinterpret or over analyse something in her writing quoting something that came up in a conversation I had with Morris Gleitzman who calls this collaboration between the author and reader ‘the magic spaces’. Chloe loves this phrase and is in agreement that perhaps the reader’s interpretation is bringing something out that the author had felt all the time in their subconscious.


Chloe says if her book were to be made into a film Hitchcock would have been the one she would have wanted as director and readers can only imagine he would have had great fun with the book’s twists and turns. The photo image on the book’s cover has a startling similarity to the image of Vertigo’s Madeleine/Judy staring at the painting of her doppelganger Carlotta. We view her from behind with the famous bun at the back of her hair itself a symbol of twisting to and fro in our perceptions of the characters.


The book is deeply layered with the masterly weaving of the symbolism of the swan, the swan is a mythological symbol of a creature that mates for life but this nobility is dis-proven statistically with the revelation that one in six cygnet offspring are illegitimate and this comment sets the tone for this book about trust and possible deceit.


Chloe says the black swan is seen as the negative of the white swan as is the male to the female, the yin and yang and the black and white also reminds us of two chess pieces and about our two protagonists caught in a possibly deadly game.


We are often presented with Alex’s skills in midwifery on his property in bringing forth life and we are torn between the image of him as a life giver and his penchant for the culinary which seems him consume this very life and makes us wonder metaphorically, as well as literally, what he is cooking up.

 
I ask Chloe about the difference between writing fiction and non-fiction skills and she quotes that’ ‘fiction’ gets you out’. One can only say this book is one that keeps you in and by extension makes you search within your soul for what really is true!


Chloe will be out and about and appearing at Fullers bookshop at 5.30pm on 13 September.

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

Big Sky Publishing:  New Releases for October

Sharon Evans
07.09.12 7:44 am

image

Three wonderful new titles covering topics from The Battle of Mont St Quentin-Peronne in 1918 to the finest battalion history ...

Download:

Big_Sky_Publishing_New_Releases_July_to_October_2012.pdf

Sharon Evans
Big Sky Publishing - Marketing and Communications
Tel: 02 9918 2168| http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au |Join us on Facebook!

Read more

0 comments

Books

Walkley Award winner turns her hand to sexy gothic fiction – And is coming to Fullers

Rachel Edwards, Fullers Bookshop
06.09.12 1:06 pm

image

Walkley Award winner turns her hand to sexy gothic fiction – And is coming to Fullers to talk about it!

Fullers is pleased to announce that multiple award winning author Chloe Hooper will be at Fullers on September 13 at 5.30 to talk about her new novel The Engagement.

This book, which is described as containing “through the keyhole naughtiness” is from the same author who wrote The Tall Man; death and life on Palm Island and it will be very interesting to hear how she has made the transition from writing serious and contentious non fiction to a novel that is being touted for its risqué nature.

The Engagement is a story of a Victorian farmer’s affair with an estate agent who poses as a prostitute and as Geordie Williamson, chief critic from The Australian said “it is no Fifty Shades of Bluey.”

Chloe will be in conversation with Rachel Edwards, fiction editor of Island and events manager at Fullers.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event though reservations are essential .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Rachel Edwards
Events Manager
Fullers Bookshop, Hobart
Tasmanian Independent Bookseller of the Year 2002-2012
Australian Bookseller of the Year 2002
131 Collins St, Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia
(ph) 03 6234 3800 (fx) 03 6234 3866

Fullers is now on Facebook

http://www.fullersbookshop.com.au

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On

September 27: Launch of Deep South by Michael Field

Hobart Bookshop
04.09.12 6:34 pm

image

The Hobart Bookshop and Text Publishing are pleased to invite you to the launch of Deep South, edited by Danielle Wood and Ralph Crane.

This handsome hardback collection, the first to bring together the finest stories about Tasmania, includes works by notable early Australian writers, such as Marcus Clarke and Tasma; internationally renowned practitioners, like Hal Porter, Carmel Bird and Nicholas Shakespeare; and a range of newer voices, from Danielle Wood and Rohan Wilson to Rachael Treasure.

These twenty-four superb stories showcase the island’s colonial past, its darkness and humour, the unique beauty and savagery of its landscape.

Both a must-read for enthusiasts of Australian literature and a perfect gift for lovers of Tasmania, Deep South comes with a critical introduction from the editors and biographical sketches of the contributors.

Why not start your Christmas shopping on September 27th at the launch: this book will make a beautiful gift for both your friends and family on the island, and those far away!

Join us at the Founders Room in the Salamanca Arts Centre.

Free event, all welcome.

Read more

0 comments

Books | What's On