Chandler Continues Craft of Crime

Paula Xiberras
30.11.16 5:33 am


Tania Chandler loves Tasmania and tells me when we chat, that last year, she spent a week in Hobart, which is one of her favourite places as well as Launceston and time at Cradle Mountain. Tania also mentions how she enjoys the journey on the Spirit of Tasmania.

Talking of spirits, many critics agree that Tania perhaps, is channelling the crime writing prowess of her namesake Raymond Chandler, in her gritty crime novels

Tania says her novels have been classified as ‘domestic noir’ but she prefers the title a friend suggested ‘dirty realism’.

I recently spoke to Tania Chandler about her new book ‘Dead in the Water’. The book is a sequel to ‘Please don’t leave me here’ and continues the story of Brigitte, her detective husband and their twins, as well as her teenage daughter from a previous marriage.

Brigitte is trying to keep order both in her home town and her home, she is feeling pressure on her marriage with the return to town of an old beau who chillingly has written an art imitates life novel. Full of twists until the near end when a red herring seamlessly swims into the murky water.

Tania tells me she was always writing from her teen years but was side tracked by work! Tania completed a writing course and gave herself permission to write. An interesting piece of trivia is that Tania has also been an actor and this has informed her writing that is demonstrated in her novels with there authentic dialogue and potential for filming.

Tania Chandler’s ‘Dead in the Water’ is out now published by Scribe Publications.

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Ode to a coffee cup ... I broke ...

Cameron Hindrum*
26.11.16 7:53 am

This morning in the staff room at work I accidentally broke someone’s coffee mug. To fess up, and make an offer of amends, I wrote what appears below. I’m reproducing it here because, actually, I quite like it. Enjoy ...

Today, accidentally, at the end of recess
The number of staff mugs became one less
As the force of gravity by weight increases
Someone’s mug is now in pieces;
The slightest contact with my forearm
Has done someone’s coffee receptacle harm.
If yours featured a heart filled with red, and
‘I love my Mum’ in black emblazoned
Please let me know, and I’ll happily face it:
I’d be only too happy to replace it.
It may not be exactly the same
And I know that this is a terrible shame
But contact me, if this person is you
And soon you’ll be drinking coffee anew
And I promise to take so much more care
Having determined that coffee mugs don’t float in the air.

*Cameron Hindrum</b> is a teacher ... and poet

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Fullers, Tuesday 6th December, 5:30pm: Dr Michael Powell book launch, Musquito

Lindsay Tuffin*
26.11.16 6:19 am


Dr Michael Powell is no stranger to controversy. The Tasmanian Times was the first to take up what became a national controversy when then Bass parliamentarian Andrew Nikolic tried to have Michael disciplined by the University because he criticised Nikolic in a letter to the Examiner. The University obliged by refusing to renew Michael’s teaching contract.

It is appropriate then that now Michael has published a book on the Aboriginal resistance figure Musquito who fought on the NSW frontier and then in Tasmania. He was captured and hanged in Hobart in 1825.

Again Michael has entered controversy with a fresh view of Aboriginal resistance both in NSW and Tasmania. In Sydney he provides new revelations on the importance of American Indian foods in sustaining resistance but also the importance of disease in muting resistance.

He reveals new research that indicates genetic vulnerability to disease in Aboriginal people, a highly contentious argument, but one that means the decimation of Sydney Aborigines was far greater than the record indicates and makes more remarkable the level of resistance on the Sydney frontier. He poses a serious re-examination of this aspect of contact history.

He also strongly suggests that Aboriginal resistance both in NSW and Tasmania was as much religious and apocalyptic as it was simple warfare and draws on the North American experience to illustrate the comparison.

In Tasmania Michael details the demographics to show that Musquito was able to muster formidable Aboriginal mobs to concentrate attacks on white settlement and waged a brutal terror campaign that made him notorious. While Musquito was able to forge a pan-Aboriginal alliance against white intrusion and was of catalytic importance in precipitating the Black War, he was really an historical accident of time and place.

Michael demonstrates that it was the demographic explosive of white settlement, not just disease or violence that really caused the collapse of Tasmanian Aboriginal society and allowed the charismatic Musquito to assume such a formidable organisational role. The capture of Musquito led to an Aboriginal delegation to parley a peace but as always the British misunderstood and missed an historical opportunity.

While a powerful figure Musquito does not take away from the astonishing war of Tasmanian resistance that lasted from his death to the final capitulation of the Tasmanians to exile and white control. Michael Powell has written a fascinating new insight into this period of Tasmanian history that breaks new ground in understanding. 

This book will be launched by Prof Henry Reynolds at Fullers Bookshop Hobart on Tuesday 6th December at 5:30.

*Lindsay Tuffin <i>has been a journo for nearly five decades, mainly in Aus (and mainly in Tassie), and Pomland ...

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Ruth Myor’s new memoir, When the Lights Go Out, resonates ...

Paul Arnott Chair Acorn Press Ltd
24.11.16 3:12 pm

... with passion for people and for God.

Ruth left Australia in 1960 to serve the Somali people as a midwife for almost three decades. She also worked in a village in Ethiopia and in radio ministry in Kenya. During this time government decisions, coups, communist takeovers, natural disasters, sudden deaths and other misfortunes disrupted plans and brought about unexpected changes in Ruth’s life.

In this moving memoir Ruth Myors describes, in an intensely personal way, how these experiences have shaped her and shown her that God is faithful and that even during the darkest periods, God’s light shows the way ahead.

Following her return to Australian in 1977 Ruth Myors pioneered the use of psychological assessment for missionaries in Australia, overcoming initial suspicion from the mission leaders with her professionalism, integrity, warmth, spiritual depth and wit.

Former Director of the School of Cross Cultural Mission at the Sydney Missionary and Bible College, Bruce Dipple, describes When the Lights Go Out as “a book about culture, about gospel communication, about dealing with change and, above all, about the adequacy of God in all of life. It is a book that will cause you to smile, to reflect, to be amazed, to be encouraged.”

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Wilbur’s Winning Wisdom

Paula Xiberras
22.11.16 5:46 am


The meaning of the name ‘Wilbur’ is ‘resolute’ or ‘brilliant’ and curious Wilbur of Matthew William’s book is indeed both resolute to learn about the Abrahamic religious traditions of his own faith and those of his friends and ‘brilliant’ in how he goes about it. I recently chatted to Matthew Williams who is Head of Faith and Mission at St Mary’s College about his book, perfect for the approaching Christmas season, in fact for all seasons with the message it conveys of acceptance and understanding of differences and at the same time acknowledgment of similarities between the different faiths.

The story is aimed at upper primary students by appealing to their love of Australian Rules football.

In Matthew’s book, aimed at upper primary students by appealing to their love of Australian Rules football are encouraged to learn about the Abrahamic religious traditions (those religions that trace their origins to the patriarch Abraham). The comparisons are clear, many people follow football religiously and understand it rites and rules. Matthew wants students through drawing on the similarities between football and religion, to arrive at a greater understanding of those with different faiths.

Matthew’s utilises attendance at a football match by his protagonist, Richmond fan Wilbur and his friend Imran to prompt discussion on Imran’s Islamic faith, the same faith of Richmond player Bachar Houli.
Wilbur also learns about Judaism and Christianity with his other friends. The section devoted to Christianity, again, successfully employs the football metaphor to explain the differences between Wilbur and his friends’ three different ‘codes’ of Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, Protestantism and Catholicism. The history of each faith is explained and the friends conclude that just like football the codes might be different but the essential rules and rites, as well as the devotion to certain religious figures and holy places are held in common by all three.

You can read more at the following link

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The Rancor of Robert Hughes

Patrick McCaughey, Meajin Quarterly
21.11.16 2:52 pm


Robert Hughes was charming to meet. A robust conversationalist, he was witty, wide ranging and courteous. In my experience he never tried to dominate even when he was the dominant personality at the table. We met over the years accidentally and casually—good acquaintances rather than friends. The more successful he became professionally, the more likeable he was as a man. You could not ask for a better companion at lunch or dinner. His eye-popping, outsize TV personality was held in abeyance in personal encounters …

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A Hymn for a Hymn, 1816

Chad Norman, Casa Harris, Truro, NS
20.11.16 1:00 pm

Mary seated on a boulder;
a small sealed box in her arms

Break out the laughter for thoughts on Permanence.

The body’s wish to conquer,
overturn, easily erase
that final & trusted appearance,
                            the One
our shrunken circle saw as us:
as uncommonly solid:
as loyalty’s proof—
                        the mind opposes its own beauty!

Seal up the rupture & cracks lengthening in Love.

The eyes’ curse to recede,
surrender, kindly kindle
that unseen & awful shadow,
                           the Mystery
our current gloom dissolves in us:
in July’s desertions:
in ecstasy’s clasp—
                         the heart firms its own form!

Loveliness, full of awe, bring no words;
we end, one known by the needs of air,
and him, the sea’s bright child, free of vows.

Humankind, what a strange spell!

The poem, A Hymn For A Hymn, 1816, is part of my manuscript, Squall: Poems In the Voice Of Mary Shelley. The manuscript begins in 1822 when Percy Shelley drowned, and Mary goes to the beach where his body was cremated, and there begins to look back through their 8 years together. So each poem is a memory, that is why it is dated, in fact all them are dated. The poem is a hymn for his poem, Hymn To Intellectual Beauty.

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A Beautiful Game

Paula Xiberras
19.11.16 3:50 am


Mark Nicholas, the elegant Englishman has seamlessly (pardon the pun) been part of Channel Nine’s cricket coverage for quite a few summers now and this week past, was with the crew in Tasmania covering this season’s second test match.

Mark always enjoys visiting Tasmania as he elaborated when we spoke recently. He recounts how his wife and daughter love visiting the area around the fishing harbour/wharf and staying at the old fashioned majesty of the Henry Jones Hotel.

Salamanca and MONA are a must see on their visits here and Mark tells me he has ambitions to see much more of the state after talking to his stepson who made an extensive trip calling what he saw and experienced ‘breathtaking’.

As well as his cricketing and commentating ability Mark is bringing an extra talent to the commentary box this summer with the release of his first book ‘A Beautiful Game’.

To Mark cricket is indeed a beautiful game, acknowledging that there are and have been some uglier moments such as the bodyline series. Mark is a fine writer and has already had comments encouraging him to not stop writing.

Mark himself says writing the book was a dream of his and one of his most fulfilling professional projects and although this book concentrates predominately on England and Australian cricket clashes, Mark says he has many more stories to tell from cricket experiences in India and Sri Lanka, so we can expect more books by Mark in the future. Another ambition of Mark’s is to work behind the scenes of broadcast, in television production.

In the book Mark describes to the reader the sense of nirvana, or in master batsman Tendulkar’s word ‘floating’, that occurs for some the greats when they are so into their batting that they no longer fear anything and are unaware of the bowler or anything else around them, confident in the knowledge they can hit the ball.

A lovely story Mark recounts in the book is one about Bradman. When Jeff Thomson was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame in 2016. The next day he was a guest on Kerry O’Keefe’s radio program and told a brilliant memoir from1977 during a rest day in a test match against India.

Jeff was invited to a doctor’s and ‘cricket tragic’ house for lunch. Among the other guests was the Don himself. The doctor’s teenage sons harboured a desire to play cricket with Jeff and Don and so it was that they made their way to the backyard.

The Don was impeccably dressed and Jeff thought what a fantastic opportunity it was to bowl to him but thinking again he considered if he did bowl the speed of his bowling could do some serious harm so he decided to opt for some safer ‘leggies’.

No such allowances made by the teenage sons who indulged in a bit of fast bowling.

Thommo was fearful but unnecessarily so because the great Don Bradman hit them all over the ground. A shocked Thommo remembers at the conclusion of play, the Don putting the bat under his arm and giving him, a knowing wink!

Mark’s book ‘A Beautiful Game’ is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

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Chocolate Assortment for Everyone’s Taste

Paula Xiberras
18.11.16 5:34 am


Earlier this week I had a phone call from the lovely Fiona McIntosh, our topic of conversation was Fiona’s new book ‘The Chocolate Tin’. The story centres (pardon the pun) on the chocolate making families of York and the practice of sending chocolate tins to soldiers during the first world war.

Fiona explains that York was the centre of the chocolate making business with Rowntree and Terry being just two of the chocolate manufacturers based there. The chocolatiers were also Quakers which might seem ironic, however Fiona says although these conscientious objectors did not engage in battle they greatly contributed to the war effort by working in hospitals, and driving ambulances. The book also offers some wonderful bite size trivia for instance, Terry of the same named chocolates, we learn, was a chemist turned chocolatier and evolved from producing lozenges, to sugared fruit lollies, through to the famous chocolate orange that appears on shelves annually around Christmas time.

The story o80f one particular chocolate tin has repercussions for the protagonist of the book, Alex a strong minded, intelligent woman that is grappling with a desire for a fulfilling career in the chocolate industry versus her parent’s urgings for her to make a good marriage. Alex manages to combine a marriage of ‘friendship’ rather than true love which garners her the opportunity to work in the chocolate factory. It is through her work, helping prepare the chocolate tins that a simple gesture to make another’s life better leads to Alex finding fufillment in love.

Fiona McIntosh is a prolific author having published 32 books. Of the writing process Fiona tells me that even after 32 novels, writing still throws up some surprises. In ‘The Chocolate Tin’ the character of James joins the action and Fiona says she didn’t at first know James’s role but he gradually unravelled this to her, a story which is pivotal to the book and lends a slight twist and topicality to the novel.

Fiona who puts immaculate research into her novels, is not one for trifles or truffles for that matter but instead enjoys a good hard centre, including the brittle.

It would seem Fiona’s taste is a metaphor for the age old question of duty versus desire, which teaches us that even though those hard and brittle centres might be encased in smooth chocolate they, like life itself, once we have bitten into it, offer us the experience of the hard, bitter and brittle but always the possibility of tasting the sweetness too.

‘The Chocolate Tin’ by Fiona McIntosh is out now published by Penguin Random House. 

You can see Fiona on the Tasmanian leg of her book tour in Hobart for an ‘An Afternoon of Chocolate’ on Sunday 20th at 2pm.  Bookings via Dymocks Hobart 03 6231 6656.

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Black Inc and Nero: February 2017 new releases

Black Inc. and Nero
15.11.16 1:51 pm


We’re excited to announce the February 2017 new releases from Black Inc. and Nero ...

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Fullers Bookshop, Friday, 11 November at 5.30pm: Shadows in Suriname

Fullers Bookshop
11.11.16 2:27 pm




Join us in celebrating with


the release of her new book by


To be launched by Amanda Lohrey, noted Australian author

Friday, 11 November at 5.30pm Fullers Bookshop, 131 Collins St, Hobart

RSVP: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: Build your online presence ...

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
10.11.16 4:24 pm


... and have your professional headshot taken!

This month we are giving you all the tools you need to start building your digital presence through social media and website building.

We have two events coming up, and all writers in Tasmania are invited to take part. Our Professional Author Headshot Sessions will take place on November 24, followed by an intensive workshop to Create Your Digital Author Profile with Sue Bell on November 27.

The headshot session will see you have your photo taken by professional Tasmanian photographer Graziano di Martino for just $45 (price normally $120). But we need a minimum of 15 people in our session - so be sure to bring your friends for a photo and a chat! Book online today for a session between 4-7pm on November 24.

The digital profiling workshop with Sue Bell will teach you how to create your author brand, which reflects your personality and style. You’ll learn how to craft a professional author blog, including how to upload your author photos, create content and pages, link to other websites such as Amazon, and more. You’ll also learn how to maximise your social media presence, running pages such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with audiences on a deeper level.

Sue Bell, a freelance journalist, and teacher of Media and Digital Media Studies who specialises in eLearning. She has a Masters in Creative Writing, and an Advanced Diploma of Digital Media. Sue creates online resources for, a blog and publishing site, and runs courses on Indesign for Kindle and print-on-demand for writers.

The workshop will take place at the Moonah Arts Centre, 10am-2pm November 27. Bookings $77/99 online.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre HERE

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The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men

Spinifex Press
10.11.16 4:03 pm


In light of the Donald Trump victory this book originated by Spinifex Press is more important than ever

Available NOW!   
The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men
by Robert Jensen

The pathology of patriarchy, the idea that one group of people should control another—even own them, own even life itself—is at the core of today’s crises. The End of Patriarchy asks one key question: What do we need to create and maintain stable, decent human communities that can remain in a sustainable relationship with the larger living world? Robert Jensen’s answer is feminism and a critique of patriarchy. He calls for a radical feminist challenge to institutionalized male dominance; an uncompromising rejection of men’s assertion of a right to control women’s sexuality and reproduction; and a demand for an end to the violence and coercion that are at the heart of all systems of domination and subordination. The End of Patriarchy makes a powerful argument that a socially just society requires no less than a radical feminist overhaul of the dominant patriarchal structures.

About the author:

Robert Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches courses in media law, ethics, and politics and is a Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award winner. Jensen is a board member of Culture Reframed and the Third Coast Activist Resource Center.

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Fullers, 5.30pm, December 2: The Shape of Water

Lucinda Sharp Director, FORTY SOUTH PUBLISHING Pty Ltd
09.11.16 3:58 pm


Forty South Publishing have the pleasure of inviting you to the launch of The Shape of Water, Imagined fragments from an elusive life: Sophia Degraves of Van Diemen’s Land by Anne Blythe-Cooper. 

To be launched by LUCY FROST writer & academic

Friday, 2 December at 5.30pm   Fullers Bookshop, 131 Collins St, Hobart RSVP: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Runner up in the Erica Bell Foundation Literature Award 2015, this book focuses on the life of Sophia Degraves, wife of Peter Degraves, one of Tasmania’s most prominent early entrepreneurs.

Download invitation ...


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PM’s Literary Awards ...

Guardian, Aus Gov
09.11.16 6:33 am

Prime Minister’s Literary awards 2016: Lisa Gorton and Charlotte Wood share fiction prize

The Life of Houses and The Natural Way of Things authors divide $80,000 prize – one of three categories split among winners

Read more here

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards celebrate outstanding literary talent in Australia and the valuable contribution Australian literature and history makes to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life.

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Sneezing Souls and Wedding Wielding Swords

Paula Xiberras
05.11.16 6:29 am


I recently spoke to prolific New Zealand author Max Cryer about his book ‘Superstitions and why we have them’.

The book contains explanations for many familiar superstitions but also some unfamiliar ones, for instance, Max documents how the humble window blind has its origins in Norse mythology and an acorn.

In Norse mythology it is said, Thor once sheltered under an oak tree during a storm. From this event grew the mythology that the oak tree had special protective powers and by connection so did it’s fruit the acorn, the national progression of this was that acorns because of their protective associations were placed on window sills to protect the house from sustaining damage from lightening during a storm. The acorn on the window sill superstition continued through, albeit symbolically, in the sometimes acorn shaped object found at the end of some window blinds.

A more gory superstition involves the seemingly tame, (as long as the broken glass does no damage), custom of christening a ship with a bottle of champagne or wine. The custom can be traced back to ancient times when part of protecting a ship on its voyage was to smear it with sacrificial animal blood to appease the gods of the sea like Neptune/Poseidon. Now, of course the custom is a more genteel process of smashing a bottle of red wine symbolising the blood.

Max says he is often amused when he asks someone if they are superstitious and they say no, then he informs them if they are wearing a wedding ring which is 100 per cent a superstition, they are superstitious! Wearing a ring on the left hand is also superstitious. This fact allowed the right hand to be free to wield a sword in more ancient times someone might be lurking to steal the bride away. Another superstition is of course saying ‘bless you’ after someone sneezes. The belief here was that when you sneezed you sneezed some of the soul out of your body!

Max’s book demonstrates that superstitions are integral to our lives even though we may not be aware of them!

‘Superstitions and why we have them’ by Max Cryer is published by Exisle publishing.

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Hobart Bookshop: Launch of The Volunteer

Hobart Bookshop
03.11.16 5:33 pm


We welcome you to the launch, by Dianne Coon, ASM (Secretary of the Volunteer Ambulance Officers Association Tasmania—VAOAT), of Ro Evelyn’s first novel, The Volunteer.

The Volunteer explores the struggle of communities to survive in rural Tasmania, featuring an often overlooked part of our emergency response crews; our volunteer ambulance officers.

An isolated seaport in Tasmania, the local ambulance crew and one plan to destroy them both… Down-on-his-luck volunteer ambulance officer Andrew Sutton is in for the fight of his life when he agrees to sell his failing laundry business to radio personality and real estate developer Stan Rule only to uncover a sinister plot that could destroy his community.

The Volunteer has been developed under a mentorship with Rohan Wilson through the Tasmanian Writers Centre. Rohan has described the novel as ‘A ripping good read’.

For more information on the book, visit the Heirloom website:

Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square
When: Thursday November 24, from 5.30pm

Free event, all welcome. 

Reminders of our other launches coming up:

Thursday November 3, 5.30: Launch of A Beauty that Catches by Tony Brennan
Wednesday November 9, 5.30: Launch of Meanderings by Betty McKenzie-Tubb

Check out our website for further information on these events:

Hobart Bookshop HERE

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New book tells the story of a prominent 1800’s woman history chose to forget

Forty South Publishing
03.11.16 10:06 am


The Shape of Water RRP$29.95

Written by Anne Blythe-Cooper, The Shape of Water is a story which uses real facts and events to paint the story of what it was like to be a prominent woman in the 1800’s.

Married to Peter Degraves, the famous businessman, entrepreneur and founder of Cascade Brewery, Sophia Degraves lived, like most women from her time, in the shadow of her husband. Nothing is known of her beyond the children she bore and the death she died. This catalogue says nothing of the hardships and aspirations of an invisible colonial woman who built in flesh and blood what the men around her built with water and stone.

The Shape of Water (RRP: $29.95, Forty South Publishing) sets about righting this injustice. Using history and brute fact, Blythe-Cooper has created a work that is no longer purely historical, but also not purely fictional. It is a gripping and informative narrative from an era when men were respected and women forgotten.

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Lucy’s language ladder’s cultural climb

Paula Xiberras
03.11.16 5:56 am


Black British by Hebe de Souza is a novel about trying to discover where we belong and how, even a place which seems quite alien to us and that does not share our cultural capital, can in fact be our home.

Talking of home Hebe is a big fan of Tasmania pointing out Cradle Mountain and bushwalking. Hebe also enjoys the drive to Launceston and admires the Tasmanian architecture. It is in Launceston, where friends live that Hebe hopes to visit next year.

It’s a suitable irony that the name Hebe means youth and this book is the coming of age of Hebe’s chief protagonist Lucy.

Lucy’s family migrated from Goa to Kanpur, a place where the language and religion were different to her own family’s language (originally Kondeni rather than Hindi) and faith (Catholic rather than Hindu).

However, the tangled connection to her birth home is symbolised by the serpentine story of the snake, or more precisely python that expires in the family’s backyard and is retrieved by her cousin.

Fast forward a number of years and while visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland Lucy meets the same cousin who invites her to his home there where the pythons skin remains preserved and on display. The serpent symbolic of how we never dispense with our first home memories but they remain part of our ‘skin’ with us wherever we locate and connect us forever to our past.

The novel opens when Hebe’s protagonist returns to Kanpur beinng greeted by a stranger and ironically in her home country where she absent for many years is now the stranger

The displacement of Lucy and her sisters is explored throughout the novel in some very original incidents not necessarily the always the usual anecdotes of the coming of age novel, although some of those are there too, such as the kindly aunt who makes outfits for the girls that they of course do not like but are required to accept with delight. An example of the novel and Lucy’s originality is the main character’s altercations with the nuns at her convent school. In the clash of cultures Hebe’s character erupts when asked to address the nuns as ‘sisters’ and the head nun as ‘mother’ that they are not her sisters and mother. Eventually her beloved and wise uncle Hugh attends school with her to distract her from her discomfort.

Black India encourages us to consider the importance of language as a part of culture, how it is the glue that binds us together and how the loss of a language has profound implications for the loss of one’s cultural identity, as a language often has words unique to that culture. A quote in the book tells us that ‘to remove a language is a way of fracturing the social cohesion of a group’.

The book is also about burgeoning feminism and with the family of three girls it’s appropriate that the girls are encouraged to pursue the many options that are open to them and in their Uncles Hugh’s words ‘not to hold the ladder for someone else to climb’.

Hebe’s novel ‘Black British’ is out now published by Ventura Press.

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#LoveWins Jim Obergefell Australian tour direct from the US and Ireland

Emma Rusher
01.11.16 12:26 pm


What next for marriage equality in Australia?

Moments after the US Supreme Court approved the decision to grant every citizen the right to same-sex marriage, President Barack Obama made a personal phone call to one man.

That man was Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff who became an ‘accidental activist’ after making a promise to the love of his life to change the world.

Across November 11 - 18th, Jim’s #LoveWins world tour takes Australia culminating in an event with Ian Thorpe, OAM at Twitter HQ, Sydney to discuss their personal journeys and the best way forward to achieve marriage equality in Australia.

Event highlights include:

Pride WA - Curtin University talk, Perth (12 Nov):

Wheeler Centre panel, Melbourne (14 Nov):

A Night hosted by Ian Thorpe, OAM at Twitter Australia, Sydney (15 Nov)

Love Wins ($29.99, Affirm Press) written by Jim and Pulitzer Prize- winning investigative journalist, Debbie Cenziper, reveals the inside story of the lovers and lawyers behind this David and Goliath battle that delivered the US civil rights victory of our time — and inspired the rest of the world.

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Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: This month writing ...

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
01.11.16 11:40 am

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre HERE

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Pixies and Pogues Produce Pragmatic Politician

Paula Xiberras
01.11.16 6:12 am


I recently caught up for a chat with journalist Karen Middleton about her biography of Anthony Albanese.

Albanese, the economics graduate, music lover (including the Pixies and the Pogues) and former researcher to Tom Uren has always been one for taking up challenges, whether it be campaigning for marriage equality, giving voice to the concerns of the working classes and other social justice issues …

He was faced with his own very personal and perhaps greatest challenge, which Karen, a friend of Albo’s for many years, writes about in her book. Karen had long proposed a biography to Anthony which he for a long time declined. On more recent promptings Anthony agreed to the project.

Perhaps part of the reason for Anthony’s former reluctance was there was a missing piece of his story, which was to find the father he believed had passed away many years before. It had always been just Anthony and his beloved Mum Maryanne, until Maryanne told him of his dad, whom she had met on a cruise, who, with the end of the romance, had returned to Italy. After the loss of his mum, Anthony went on to meet and establish a relationship with his dad and Italian siblings.

Anthony ‘Albo’ Albanese was born into a staunch Labor family with his grandparents showing the way. He grew up with three strong faiths, that of ‘the Catholic church, the South Sydney football club and the Labor party’.  Although the church faith has diminished somewhat over the years, he still is loyal to the South Sydney football club (and Hawthorn in the AFL) and his commitment to the Labor party and social justice is as strong as it ever was.

Perhaps some of that mysticism from the church remained with him in his faith in the sequence of events or coincidences that led to him finding his father.

An early example of Anthony’s social justice is witnessed all the way back to his school days when he believed a particular teacher wasn’t awarding him the results he deserved and just giving him a mandatory mark for his assignments. When he asked the teacher and was told that wasn’t so, he decided to put his beliefs to the test by including some gobbledygook in the next assignment and as predicted, even with its inclusion he received the same mark!

‘Albanese: Telling it Straight’ by Karen Middleton is out now published by Penguin Random House.

You can see Anthony Albanese in Conversation with Professor Richard Eccleston, November 2 at Fullers Bookshop.  Bookings required:

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The beautiful Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve

31.10.16 7:26 am

Read more HERE

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Fox enlists ducks to address literacy issues

Paula Xiberras
30.10.16 4:01 am


When I call Mem Fox she is re-adjusting her washing machine and tells me today, she is being ‘pure housewife’.  As soon as ‘Betty’, the affectionate name of Mem’s washing machine is at an equilibrium we talk about Mem’s visits to Tassie this year and how it has become, in her own words, a hot destination for her in her crusade to improve literacy.

Mem has the pedigree for literacy teaching having worked for 24 years as a lecturer at Flinders University. Mem has also always had a passion for reading out loud. This may in part be informed by her background in drama and public speaking, yet as Mem tells me we can all make a great go of reading out loud, it’s fun and the implications for improving childhood literacy are ‘enormous’, as well as giving the opportunity for parents to bond with their children.

Mem also believes our migrant populations are ‘brilliant’ with their demonstration of a keenness to learn and become literate in English and she has a book coming out called ‘I’m Australian Too’ which will explore this topic.

Mem is known for her lively books that utilise rhyme and repetition essential for children learning to read and retain knowledge

The topic of the most recent book is ‘Duck’s Away’. In spite of what you might assume it’s not based on the much loved nursery rhyme, but instead on an incident Mem witnessed on holiday at Lord Howe Island when out for a walk with her husband. Walking by a creek with a bridge they saw a hapless mother duck crossing the bridge with her ducklings, grow increasingly ‘hairless’ as her baby ducks fell one by one into the water until the mother duck joined them.So was born Mem’s story.

Mem’s new book ‘Ducks away’ illustrated by her wonderful collaborator Judy Horacek is out now and Mem and Judy will be visiting Tasmania on the following dates …


<b>Story time event Devonport Library
Tuesday November 1, 2016 10:30–11:30am

Story time with Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.  Contact Jilly Cole .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Devonport Library, 21 Oldaker Street, Devonport TAS,  Ph (03) 6478 4234

Ducks Away! conversation with Mem Fox and Judy Horacek
Tuesday November 1, 2016 7pm

In a special event tailored for parents, teachers and librarians, they’ll share the secrets that make their collaboration work and introduce you to their latest book,  Ducks Away!  Tickets are $15 booked here.
Entertainment and Convention Centre, 145-151 Rooke Street, Devonport TAS

Story time event Launceston Library
Wednesday November 2, 2016 10:30–11:30am

Story time with Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.  Contact Alice Imlach .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Launceston Library, 71 Civic Square, Launceston TAS,  Ph (03) 6777 2455

Story time event Chigwell
Wednesday November 2, 2016 3:30–4:30pm

Story time with Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.  Contact Chris Mason .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Child and Family Centre, 4 Bethune Street, Chigwell TAS,  Ph (03) 6275 5333

Story time event Kingston Library
Thursday November 3, 2016 11:00am–12:00pm

Story time with Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.  Contact Lousie Holmes .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Kingston Library, 11 Hutchins Street, Kingston TAS,  Ph (03) 6165 6211

Story time event Rosny Library
Thursday November 3, 2016 1:30–2:30pm

Story time with Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.  Contact Lidia Foley .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Rosny Library, Bligh Street, Rosny Park TAS,  Ph (03) 6165 6446

Mini story time event Hobart
Thursday November 3, 2016 4:00-4:30pm

Story time with Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.  Contact Clive Tilsley .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Fullers Bookshop, 131 Collins Street, Hobart TAS,  Ph (03) 6234 3800

Story time event Glenorchy Library
Friday November 4, 2016 10:30–11:30am &  1:30-2:30pm

Story time with Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.  Contact Anna Zylstra .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Glenorchy Library, 4 Terry Street, Glenorchy TAS,  Ph (03) 6165 5491

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Big Sky Publishing – New Release Titles | Military History & True Crime

Sharon Evans, Big Sky Publishing,
28.10.16 5:33 pm


Please find information on Big Sky’s latest titles and upcoming releases for October and November 2016 …

From the front line to behind the lines these wonderful books will continue to ignite interest in our Australian military history.

Book Information sheets can be downloaded here ( ) on the following new releases.

October 2016 Release - More information here:

• Allenby’s Gunners by Sydney author, Alan Smith (HB, RRP $34.99) 
A detailed and colourful description of the artillery war, and the trials and triumphs of the gunners, in the highly successful World War I Sinai and Palestine campaigns. This is a highly descriptive volume that tells an oft-neglected story and fills a gap in the record of a campaign in which Australians played a significant role. It is a welcome addition to the story of the Australians in the Middle Eastern campaigns of World War I.  A perfect inclusion for Remembrance Day.

• Murder at the Fort, By Melbourne author Bob Marmion (PB, RRP $29.99)
Author, historian and ex-detective Bob Marmion takes his investigative skills to unravel the intriguing true crime investigation into two of Victoria’s longest unsolved murders of two soldiers in 1942.  A Double Homicide, Cold Case and Cover Up with more twists and turns then the ocean road.

November 2016 Release
• The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief by Melbourne author Carol Rosenhain (PB, RRP $29.99)
Carol Rosenhain has undertaken to rectify the surprising omission of the work of James Lean in our military history.  Lean in his position at the office known as ‘Base Records’ was responsible for the grim task of corresponding with the families of fallen and lost soldiers during World War 1.  This is the first detailed account of the extraordinary work of JM Lean MBE in corresponding with distressed families during WWI.  Includes excerpts from original letters that show the devastating reality of war. 

• The Battles Before by Canberra author David Connery (PB, RRP $19.99)
Another superb title from the Australian Army History Unit Campaigns Series. Examines the role of senior leaders in preparing an army for war — fighting bureaucratic battles, mobilising forces for operations, or preparing for a future that is impossible to anticipate. Uses recently declassified documents and interviews with key participants in a meticulous examination of a 30-year period characterised by profound and far-reaching change that would ultimately reshape the Australian Army.

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Man Booker prize 2016 won by American author Paul Beatty

27.10.16 1:34 pm

Author wins for The Sellout, a satire of US racial politics, making him the first American writer to win award

Read more HERE

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Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2017

Lucinda Sharp Director, FORTY SOUTH PUBLISHING Pty Ltd
26.10.16 5:23 pm


The Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2017 - ENTRIES NOW OPEN

Open to residents of Australia and New Zealand, the prize is for short stories up to 3000 words having an island, or island-resonant, theme.

The competition is run by Forty South Publishing, the largest book publisher in Tasmania and publisher of Tasmania 40° South magazine.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $500 and publication in Tasmania 40°South. A selection of the best entries will be published in Forty South Short Story Anthology 2017.

Entry forms and terms can be downloaded from 


Forty Degrees South is a quarterly magazine presenting a range of articles about this Australian state. Find subscribe information, back issues and advertising details.

Entries close February 13, 2017.

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Fullers, Tuesday, Oct 25: Anne Kellas in conversation with Ben Walter

Anne Kellas
22.10.16 1:01 pm


This coming Tuesday evening, Ben Walter and I will be “in conversation” about my book, The White Room Poems.

RSVP via Fullers Bookshop

or Facebook

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Roisin’s Meaney-ingful Family Christmas Tree

Paula Xiberras
20.10.16 6:38 am


‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ Roisin Meaney’s latest novel is the perfect Christmas gift for both Australian and Irish readers, with its chief protagonist Tilly, a Brisbane teen seeking her family connections in Ireland, the story centres around family because, as Roisin tells me, when we chatted, there is probably nothing more important to the Irish, particularly so at this time of year.

Aside from the traditional Christmas unwrapping there are all sorts of secrets being revealed and sensible solutions baked up with a sprinkle of the supernatural thrown in for flavour.

Rosin sets her novel on the fictional island of Roone, loosely based on the island of Valentia on the Kerry coast. The name Roone appropriately means secrets.

The island of Roone symbolises the starkness of reality and the isolation the characters feel as they have fought and survived illness and loss. The brutal reality of life is juxtaposed with the promise of hope from the other worldliness of the island, with its mysteries that defer rationality, a tree that bears fruit all year round and then falls on the stable housing the farm animals, the remarkable survival of those same animals (due to a thoughtful ghost) including a donkey which reminds us of the Nativity story and the snow fall unknown to the island.

Hope in the future is personified in the novels cast of babies, born or yet to be born, including two sets of twins and if that is not coincidence enough more can be seen in the the arrival of a doll, long afloat on the oceans between Australia and Ireland which seems to mirrors Tilly’s own journey to find her other family and home.

The blurb on the cover of the book asks us ‘will there be room at the table for an unexpected guest this Christmas’ again drawing comparisons to the Christmas story and where in that story the room was a stable, in Roisin’s story, as we have already seen there is definitely room for all including many babies and assorted kin at the table.

Roisin’s novel reminds us that even in the sometimes raw and wrenching realities of life there is hope especially so at Christmas. Perhaps the image of the tree that flowers all year can be compared to the family at the heart of this novel and families everywhere that continually flourish and bear all things in their branches.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is out now published by Hachette.

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Island 146 ...

Kate Harrison, Island Magazine
19.10.16 7:23 pm


2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize Winners Announced

Island magazine and key sponsor, Hobart Bookshop, have announced the winners of the 2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize today.

Celebrating Tasmania’s most acclaimed poet, the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize was established in 1996 and has received generous support from Chris Pearce and Janet Grecian of the Hobart Bookshop since 1999.

2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize - First Prize
In Memory by Stuart Cooke

Thanks to the support of Hobart Bookshop and literary journals around the country, Stuart has won $2000, publication in Island and annual subscriptions to Island, The Lifted Brow, Griffith Review, Overland, Southerly, Westerly, Review of Australian Fiction and Meanjin.

Stuart was born in 1980 and grew up in Sydney and Hobart. He travels often, particularly in Latin America, where he lived for a number of years. Widely published as a poet, critic and translator, he now lives on the Gold Coast and lectures at Griffith University. His next collection of poems, Opera, has just been published by Five Islands Press.

2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize - Second Prize
Correspondence by Kate Wellington

Kate’s winning poem will be published in Island and she has also won annual subscriptions to Island, The Lifted Brow, Griffith Review, Overland, Southerly, Westerly, Review of Australian Fiction and Meanjin.

Kate is a teacher and poet. In 2014, she and her husband came to settle in Australia from the UK where she had been working in education and welfare. She lives on the Central Coast of NSW.

2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize - Highly Commended
Along The Wire, In the Dark by Jill Jones

Jill has published nine full-length books, including Breaking the Days and The Beautiful Anxiety, which won the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry. In 2014, she was poet-in-residence at Stockholm University and she is a member of the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide.

2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize Judges

The judges for this year’s prize were Island Poetry Editor and award-winning poet, Sarah Holland-Batt; writer and editor, Kent MacCarter and contemporary poet, Michael Farrell.

Further Information ...
The first and second prize poems will be published in Island 147, which will be published on 28 November 2016.

To ensure you receive a copy, you can subscribe at the Island website here:

Read more HERE

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