Hobart Bookshop: Elizabeth Goodsir’s new poetry collection

Hobart Bookshop
07.03.17 1:07 pm


We are pleased to host the launch, by Terry Whitebeach, of Elizabeth Goodsir’s new poetry collection, Blue Pollen Beautiful, with etchings by her daughter Madeleine Goodwolf.

What better way to celebrate World Poetry Day!

‘Whimsy and from the heart, Libby Goodsir’s words reflect what is to be human and to be a mother. Madeleine’s images perfectly counterpoint Libby’s words, adding a thousand new dimensions to the meditation. What a gift!’ ~ Chris Gallagher

‘A collection of “images and words playing with what it is to be human / they asked to be put together”, Blue Pollen Beautiful is the result of a serendipitous collaboration between mother and daughter.

Overruling a daughter’s “decisive and unsentimental” intention to discard earlier artwork, her mother rescues the images and strategically places them among her own gentle, meditative poems. The result is a lovely distillation of women’s lived experience, of “the shuffle of women / making more space”. The poems celebrate the various selves the poet encounters within and without as she explores the “beauties of change” and traces the flow of life from generation to generation, like “seagrasses / borne up by each wave”. Blue Pollen Beautiful honours both the flow and the “anchored / lucid”—mothers and daughters as givers and keepers of story.’ ~ Terry Whitebeach

Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square
When: Tuesday March 21, from 5.30pm

Free event, all welcome.

Hobart Bookshop here

And don’t miss: James Boyce’s launch at the Republic ...

Read more


‘My Idol Years’, the candid memoir from former Australian Idol judge & popstar Mark Hold

Scott Eathorne, Quikmark Media
07.03.17 12:18 pm

From Carnation Kid and early pop stardom, to LA songsmith and actor, to producer and manager, to Idol judge, to barrister, Mark Holden’s memoir My Idol Years (Transit Lounge $29.99, May 2017) is a startlingly honest, unique portrait of the music and TV industries, of family and ageing in the public eye.

In 2006 Mark had a premonition that 2007 was going to be his last year on Australian Idol and kept a revealing record of what happened behind the scenes. That diary provides a central thread in this hugely entertaining portrait of his rollercoaster life. Yet My Idol Years covers it all, including growing up in Adelaide, the Countdown years, and the wild side of making music and living in Los Angeles in the 1980s. It is a funny, warm and generous book full of stories about personalities including Elton John, David Haselhoff, Molly Meldrum, John Paul Young, and of course his fellow Idol presenters. Mark also tells the story behind the Bobo the Clown incident on Dancing with the Stars, something that caused a media sensation at the time.

But in what is arguably one the most candid memoirs in recent times, Mark isn’t afraid to reveal his own vulnerabilities, failings and challenges, as well as the triumphs. Ultimately My Idol Years is a touchdown, both a celebration of the music and the entertainment worlds and a moving testament to the value of family, friends and the many lessons learned along the way.

Read more


James Boyce’s Losing Streak: How Tasmania was gamed by the gambling industry

Black Inc.
06.03.17 12:06 pm


A jaw-dropping account of how one company came to own every poker machine in the state of Tasmania – and the cost to democracy, the public purse and problem gamblers and their families.

The story begins with the toppling of a premier, and ends with David Walsh, the man behind MONA, taking an eccentric stand against pokie machines and the political status quo.

It is a story of broken politics and back-room deals. It shows how giving one company the licence to all the poker machines in Tasmania has led to several hundred million dollars of profits (mainly from problem gamblers) being diverted from public use, through a series of questionable and poorly understood deals.

Losing Streak is a meticulous, compelling case study in governance failure, which has implications for pokies reform throughout Australia.

James Boyce

Launch details ...

James Boyce Author Talk
Wednesday 15 March, 5:30pm
Not Just Books, 52 Wilson Street, Burnie, TAS, 7320
Losing Streak launch

Tuesday 14 March, 5:30pm
The Republic Bar & Cafe, 299 Elizabeth Street (Corner of Burnett) North Hobart

All about the book, Black Inc. here

Read more


Today, 3pm, Colville Gallery: Luke Wagner + Lyn Reeves

Anne Kellas
05.03.17 12:54 pm

Small Worlds is a collaboration between Hobart painter, Luke Wagner and poet, Lyn Reeves. This limited edition book of images and haiku accompanies Luke Wagner’s exhibition at Colville Gallery, opening Sunday 5th March at 3.00pm.

Read more


Not so Distant Di

Paula Xiberras
04.03.17 6:13 am


When I last caught up for a chat with Di Morrissey, one of, if not Australia’s favourite novelist about her latest novel ‘A distant journey’ she is warm and welcoming and anything but distant. Di revealed to me she is thinking about writing a novel set in Tasmania and hopes to accomplish it this coming year, perhaps by November or December. Di sees Tasmania as a magical place, ‘a hidden gem’, where, of course, one of her greatest literary friends Robert Dessaix lives.

For Di writing a book is a big commitment as every book is extensively researched, a time during which she totally immerses herself by living in the place the book is set for a month to help her form the plot and actions. Di likes to be familiar with the history of the landscape to get a visual background for her main characters.

Strangely enough Di is often surprised at the wide appeal of her books and cites one book in particular ‘Monsoon’ a novel about the Vietnam war that a lot of soldiers wives read to get an understanding of what their husbands had been through and to understand the ghosts still haunting them.

Staying with the husband theme Di says her books appeal to men as much as woman. You won’t see, says Di, a picture of a pretty girl on the cover of her books, not that there is anything wrong with that but just that Di prefer choosing instead a strong image that represents the story being told in the novel.  For example, in this latest book that cover image is a tree that both symbolises the strength of her female characters and also the poignancy of a moment of loss that the tree represents to the main protagonist.

This book follows two generations of woman in the move from America to Australia and shows how their ability to be creative, in this case, the ability to create in fabric and symbolically, how these talented women sew together the broken fabric of one of their number’s life.

The old homestead in the novel where much of the action takes place, holds the answer to the mystery of a missing wife, who is the protagonist’s mother-in –law. This mystery and the old house are in the tradition of the gothic novel with the mystery not solved until the final pages, in a cataclysmic way the reader can’t see coming.

‘A Distant Journey” is out now published by Pan Macmillan.

Read more


Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: Autumn already ...

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
01.03.17 8:35 am

Read more here

Read more


War Games

Paula Xiberras
01.03.17 6:51 am


Nick Richardson gets to Tasmania a couple of times a year specifically to see his mum who lives in Launceston and his sister-in-law in Hobart. I chatted to Nick about his book ‘The Game of Their Lives’ which focuses on a little known episode of First World War history. In 1916 Australian soldiers participated in a football match in the UK debuting Aussie Rules to an international audience. The match was significant not just as a football match but because it was a rare moment of play before being sent to the western front where many would lose their lives.

Nick had seen some film footage of that historic match and with the additional factor of his grandad, a survivor of Gallipoli he was inspired to write ‘The Game of their lives’.

In the telling of the story we get to meet some of the men and see the diversity of their backgrounds in addition to their sporting prowess, such as Trotter, a stevedore who had the unusual ability in that he could kick with both feet, Sloss, an engineer that was also a talented tenor, Beaurepaire, an Olympic swimmer and Hewitt a runner and actor.

The book also tells the story of not just the men but the women that supported them. One example being the amazing story of Bruce floss’s sister ‘Tullie’. The Sloss family was a large one that endured their fair share of tragedy. Their home was destroyed twice. Tullie herself showed amazing strength to overcome some very close calls including an explosion which saw her elevated from her bed. Tully trained to be a governess and would work in the USA.  Women also played an important roles as football fans and potentially as agents of propaganda to encourage players to enlist. In some cases being made to feel guilty for their payment of 25 shillings a match compared to the 6 shillings a day of the soldier.

‘The Game of Their Lives’ by Nick Richardson is available now published by Pan Macmillan.

Read more


From Store to Stadium

Paula Xiberras
28.02.17 5:18 am


It seems fitting that Brunette Lenkic should write a book about female football. Brunette’s name’s origin, like the hair colour ‘brunette’ means ‘dark’ but also means ‘little’. It’s ironic then that for a great part of its history women’s football has remained ‘little’ and in ‘the darkness’ until last year on September 3 when a Woman’s football exhibition match managed to garner 3 million viewers.

It may surprise some readers that in spite of the fanfare of this event as a first, women have been playing competitive football since 1915. A photo in Brunette’s book dated 1917 shows a female football team from Foy and Gibson department store pictured with their coach. Of course their football attire is quite a bit different to what we know today.


An interesting fact to note is that women footballers were the first to play a game under lights. This took place in Kalgoorlie in 1917. It could be said that these women symbolically turned on the lights in 1917 and between then and now in 2017 they may have been dimmed in but are now brighter than ever.

Playing football for women has been fraught with obstacles including social commentator and performer, Will Roger’s considering women’s sport in general as ‘powder puff’ or cosmetic. More practical hurdles women had to deal with included having to accept they could only play on days men didn’t need the ground which usually meant outside of the more suitable winter football season, instead having to play, as is presently the case in some of the hotter months of the year in February/March.  Society and the church also had their input and judgement on women playing sport, usually discouraging women’s participation in sport on the grounds it was unfeminine and even dangerous and that a woman’s roles should be the gentler one of wife and mother.

When I spoke to Brunette she noted that women’s interest in competitive sport in general is surging with cricket, basketball and rugby also attracting many players. Perhaps one of the turning points getting the ball rolling (pardon the pun) was Australia’s women’s rugby sevens gold medal win in the Rio Olympics. These women came together from a number of different sporting disciplines proving that women can do anything they put their minds to.

Jess Weutschner (first Tasmanian player taken in the draft for the national women’s league)

Play on by Brunette Lenkic is out now published by Echo Publishing.

Read more


Falling for Fleur’s Fiction

Paula Xiberras
26.02.17 6:35 am


I chatted recently to author Fleur McDonald about her new book ‘Sapphire Falls’. Like her previous book ‘Indigo Storm’ this one too, features Fleurs signature strong female character.

Nowadays Fleur, formerly a farmer, is a full time writer on a two book a year contract who does one day a week as a secretary at the local show. Fleur tells me she does miss farming. In her writing however, she gets a chance to create the rural life.

As well as showcasing strong female characters Fleur’s books are not conventional romances because Fleur “gets sick of the necessity of a romantic ending” instead her main protagonist in ‘Sapphire Falls’ is a woman who has recently lost her husband, pregnant and not seeking a new relationship.

An added dimension to this book, again, just like ‘Indigo Storm’ is a mystery to solve, in this case one ranging from bumps in the night to more dangerous situations.

Fleur tells me she never has trouble in finding ideas for her books but she is not particularly keen on extending a book to a sequel. In fact the one exception to that was her book ‘Silver Clouds’.

One feature that always has a sequel in Fleur’s writing, appearing in all of her books, is her championing of the strength of female friendships helped along, of course by a wine!

‘Sapphire Falls’ is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

Read more


Novel Noel for December

Paula Xiberras
25.02.17 6:21 am



Karly Lane’s early background was in the health industry, working in pathology and as a stay at home mum. Karly may have continued on to become a paramedic but instead of healing physical bodies she saw her future in healing emotionally, the hearts of her characters in her popular rural romances.

When I last caught up with Karly we chatted about her most recent novel “Third Time Lucky”. Karly told me this most recent romantic suspense started life as a novella with a much more Christmassy theme than the more toned down Christmas element in the finished novel.

The story centres on the appropriately December, a name that relates both to the end of the year and to a celebration of new beginnings. So, it is in ‘Third Time Lucky’ that December’s lost love Seth returns for a new beginning in the small town he grew up but had to end his association with when he was accused of a crime. Seth has made a success of his life and returns as a millionaire to set up his business in his hometown and keen to rekindle his relationship with December. Much to the chagrin of her family, Seth recruits December to work for him. Karly says it was a bit of a challenge writing the character of a millionaire when she was more familiar writing the more down to earth lifestyle of a rural romantic hero.

Refreshingly December is a very real protagonist who struggles with re-establishing her feelings for Seth and learning how to adapt to working in an office environment including how to operate the office photocopier!

Karly says she is often surprised which of her novels resonate with readers telling me that her last novel ‘Second Chance Town’ has struck a chord with readers. Like most of Karly’s novels it features the signature optimism of her characters, ready to take a second or even a third chance at love

Karly loves visiting libraries to discuss her books and also attending writing festivals and would love to do so in Tasmania

“Third Time Lucky’ is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

Read more


TWC’s 2017 ‘A Writers Journey’ Program launches with Melbourne’s Maria Tumarkin

Ruth Dawkins Community Engagement Tasmanian Writers' Centre
23.02.17 10:42 am


Celebrated writer, historian and teacher Maria Tumarkin (above) will be in Hobart next month to run a workshop on non-fiction writing for the Tasmanian Writers Centre.

The author of Otherland, Courage and Traumascapes will be at Moonah Arts Centre on March 12th, with a session on how to generate ideas for long-form non-fiction.

Currently working as a creative writing teacher at the University of Melbourne, Maria holds a PhD in cultural history. Her work was included in the Best Australian Essays collection in 2011, 2012 and 2015, and her essay ‘no Skin’ was shortlisted for the Melbourne Prize for Literature 2015.

Tasmanian Writers Centre Director Chris Gallagher said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Tasmanian writers to learn from an experienced teacher and an exceptional fellow writer. Maria’s book Otherland is a beautiful and very powerful piece of writing which tells the story of her return to Russia and Ukraine with her Australian-born teenage daughter, I’m looking forward to seeing how Maria supports our workshop attendees in taking their own personal experiences and connecting them to larger questions of culture and shared humanity.” 

Maria Tumarkin’s workshop, Generating ideas for long-form creative non-fiction, is on March 12th from 10am-4pm at the Moonah Arts Centre. Tickets are available at

For further details of the Writer’s Journey workshops that will be taking place throughout 2017, please visit 

Future presenters include Peter Timms, Heather Rose, and Benjamin Law.

Read more


Charlie gets frocked

Lily Gunter* First published June 16 2014
19.02.17 9:28 am


What would happen if the Prime Minister of Australia banned girls from wearing trousers to school?

Would girls care?

What would they do?

What would YOU do?

Would a bunch of male students actually wear dresses for two months (or for any time at all) to support their female friends in their quest to have equality around school uniforms?

These are the questions raised in Diane Caney’s new novel, Charlie Gets Frocked.

I recently interviewed Caney about her book. She says that she felt compelled to write the story when the high school attended by her daughter would not listen seriously to the pleas of parents and their daughters for a decent pair of school trousers.

Caney says, ‘When the Primary School attended by my daughter did not have a summer time trouser option for girls, I simply bought two frocks and converted one into a top and the other into ‘skorts’. Soon other parents followed, and the school uniform was officially changed. People understand that girls at primary school like to be active. The school had relatively stylish winter trousers for the formal uniform, and trousers for winter and summer sports.’

Caney went on to say, ‘So, in the year before my daughter commenced high school I started lobbying for a stylish trouser option at that school - trousers that would suit summer and winter. But, the school’s “Parents and Friends Committee” wasn’t terribly interested. They held a group analysis with parents and students.’

People were heard actually asking girls if they were pleased that wearing their dresses to school had taught them to be ladies.

‘The tartan trousers my daughter was sold to wear were woollen and itchy. They were hideous and any girl who dared to wear them soon learned through peer pressure that … it wasn’t the done thing.’

Caney rang the Education Department’s ‘diversity officer’ or similar.

Apparently the Tasmanian Education Act devolves power over uniform decision making to principals.

Caney was told that the Principal at the high school was perfectly satisfied with the uniform. And, so, she was told, were the girls and the parents.

Caney went on to do some lobbying at the political level, but that didn’t get her very far. So, she decided to write a fun teen novel to hopefully inspire Australian teenagers to stick up for themselves and get school uniforms that are stylish, that include CHOICE, and that suit every body shape and size.

That was back in 2004.

It’s taken her a long while to build the story, which includes a male Prime Minister who bans girls from wearing trousers to school. Caney says that many people assume that girls have a ‘trouser option’ and they simply choose not to wear it. But, she assures me that this is not the case.

Caney says that she’s had a lot of encouragement from teen readers along the way.

She’s even met some students who have had their own struggles with their school’s uniform policy. For instance, when Tessa Knowles went to Deloraine High a few years ago, she chose not to wear a school uniform at all. Tessa’s primary school was very free and taught her to think for herself. Even though her primary school was in the public system, it was run on alternative principles, loosely based on the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner.

At Meander Primary School, students were taught to approach life as intelligent, individual beings.

But, when Tessa attended Deloraine High School, she was expected to leave that thinking behind, especially in regard to her decision not to wear the high school’s uniform. The school’s principal at the time was so in favour of the school uniform that he often wore the boys’ school uniform to schoolhimself!

Tessa was eventually given permission not to wear her uniform to school, but she was discriminated against when students went on school excursions, or when there were other ‘special events’. At such times, Tessa had a choice – to either ‘dress up’ or ‘not attend’.

Tessa took her fight against school uniforms to the Premier. Her battle was reported in the Mercury on 25 Jun 2008.

In addition, the Greens took her fight to Parliament. See the Hansard transcript here in which Nick McKim stands up for Tessa:

Oddly enough, however, when Nick McKim became Minister for Education, he forgot about Tessa’s woes and did nothing to solve the long-term dilemma of Tasmanian students who want to wear clothing that suits them to school.

Further afield, inWesternAustralia,in 2006 students were banned from wearing denim to school because of a decree by their Premier. At the time the Education Minister in WA said that because denim is associated with ‘having a good time’, it has no place in primary or secondary schools.

It seems odd that an informed person in such a position of power would not see the irony of trying to eliminate ‘having a good time’ from LEARNING.See more about the ban here:

Sadly, the Western Australian decree is still in place. See the fifth dot point on this link on the WA Education Department website which states, ‘Denim items must be excluded from all school dress codes and uniforms except where a school has been granted a general exemption for its senior students’:

In November 2013,Bathurst Public School angered parents when it banned primary schoolgirls from wearing shorts. The school’s uniform policy was amended, deleting the summer shorts option for girls and leaving only the tunic. This policy was implemented against the wishes of a number of students and their parents.

Charlie Gets Frocked skirts around the issues of sexism and isn’t heavy handed in its approach, but Caney says she does want to see students debate gender equality and how gender stereotypes are moulded both directly and indirectly. She feels that this debate is lacking in Australia.

In France, however the debate is alive and well.

As recently as May 2014, French schoolboys were invited to lose their trousers for the day in a stand against sexism. In Nantes, 27 public schools took part in the initiative which was dreamed up by the students themselves. The campaign was called, ‘Lift the Skirt’ and aimed to raise awareness about sexism against girls and women. Students who did not want to bare their legs were able to wear a sticker which said, ‘I am fighting against sexism, are you?’

Not everyone wants to ditch their school uniform. But, most of this generation of young women and young men want to wear clothes that suit them at high school. Clothing is an important part of their lives, and most of what is happening around clothing at school links back to the last century, if not the one before that!

Ideally, school students today would like to choose from a range of school colours in the style of uniform they’d like – whether it be shorts, trousers, dresses or skirts, blazers, polar fleeces or ... beanies.

And, why not add in hoodies? Are they necessarily ‘bad’? Or, are they simply warm, and practical?

Charlie Gets Frocked is a cry from one parent and her daughter for school uniforms to come into the Twenty First Century.

It’s a great read.

I recommend it to you.

Caney says the follow up book is about a student being bullied. It’s called, Alice Gets Mocked.

*Lily Gunter is a 22 year old student studying Journalism and Criminology at the University of Tasmania. She went to a school with strict rules around its uniform. Her main qualm was not being allowed to wear her sports uniform for a whole day, rather having to change out of her formal uniform for a one-hour sports class, and then get back into the formal uniform afterwards. Lily loves being at University where people wear whatever they like and no one bats an eyelid. She asks, ‘Who cares what you look like? Everyone is at University to learn, and that’s what it should be like at school as well.’

Charlie Gets Frocked is available on iBooks here:

Or, in hard copy at:

Charlie is also on Facebook:

Read more



Edgy, Irish, worldly page-turner

Paula Xiberras
19.02.17 7:15 am


As the main protagonist Hannah muses, as she drives her mobile library around Finfarran Peninsula, the books in her van, bridge the whole of human history from the beginnings of the written word to the latest best seller, a testimony to the human need to connect to others, evidenced too, by the discovery of a rasher of bacon, in a returned copy of a Maeve Binchy novel, left by a butcher, who perhaps perused the book his wife borrowed from the library. 

Of course libraries and their books are adapting to a changing world as we discuss when I catch up with Irish author Felicity Hayes-McCoy, author of ‘The Library at the Edge of the World’. Changing times are highlighted early on in the book as the protagonist Hannah reminisces about her childhood, when her parents operated the central, combined post office/family store, now replaced by the big supermarkets that offer petrol discounts on their receipts.

Even in a world of changing technology books continue to flourish and bring people together. The novel is the story of Hannah Casey who, after her marriage break up over her husband’s affair, returns home to her mother’s house in Ireland’s fictional Finfarran Peninsula, the very place she happily left for a life in London. Meanwhile Hannah’s grown daughter Jazz or Jasmine has established her own life, ironically enjoying the big city life her mother now has left behind as she flies around the world as a flight attendant.

Things look up for Hannah when the aptly named house repairman, Fury helps her renovate the old house her father’s aunt left to her and so provide her with a home of her own.

Hannah’s mobile library provides an integral part of the community keeping isolated readers with few opportunities for social interaction in contact with the world.

Trouble ensues when the library becomes under threat of closure. Hannah formerly a stickler for the old fashioned version of the library rules of silence, suddenly realises the importance of the modern libraries role as places for social meetings, for young mums and the elderly to make social connections as well as learn.

It is a higher power in the form of a nun and ultimately the power of a book, albeit of a more ancient variety that bring the community together to save the library from closure.

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes–McCoy is out now published by Hachette.

Read more


Fullers: Free theatre performance ...

Lucinda Sharp Director, FORTY SOUTH PUBLISHING Pty Ltd
16.02.17 1:50 pm


Free theatre performance at Fullers Bookshop | Friday March 3, 5.30pm

In the Shadow by Anne Blythe-Cooper

Written by the author of the novel, In the Shadow is a 40-minute play that brings to life the dazzling story of Sophia Degraves.

Visit Fullers website to RSVP:



Read more


Entries open in Premier’s Literary Prizes

Will Hodgman, Premier, Vanessa Goodwin, Minister for the Arts
16.02.17 12:40 pm

Tasmania has an abundance of literary talent that complements our growing arts sector.

Submissions are now being called for the 2017 Premier’s Literary Prizes which are about celebrating the richness of the Tasmanian literary community.
The Premier’s Literary Prizes include:

• Tasmania Book Prize ($25 000) – best book with Tasmanian content in any genre. This award recognises the influence Tasmania has had on content or perspective.

• Margaret Scott Prize ($5 000) – best book by a Tasmanian writer.

• University of Tasmania Prize ($5 000) –best unpublished literary work by an emerging Tasmanian writer.

• Tasmanian Young Writer’s Fellowship ($5 000) – recognising a young Tasmanian writer aged 30 or under.

Books entered for the Tasmania Book Prize and the Margaret Scott Prize must have been published between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2017.

Judges for the 2017 Premier’s Literary Prizes include: Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Professor Lucy Frost, Ms Victoria Ryle, Ms Anica Boulanger-Mashberg and Ms Melanie Tait.

The prizes are delivered by Arts Tasmania with support from the University of Tasmania and private philanthropists.

Entries for the 2017 Premier’s Literary Prizes close on 3 April 2017.

For more information, eligibility criteria and entry forms visit:

Read more


Black Inc & Nero: March new books ...

Black Inc. and Nero
15.02.17 1:06 pm


More here

Read more


Vietnam Veteran Ian Mackay to honour his soldiers at The 50th Anniversary of Operation Bribie ...

Big Sky Publishing
15.02.17 6:10 am


The 50th Anniversary of Operation Bribie, one of Australia’s worst days in Vietnam, will be commemorated this Friday 17 February, at the Vietnam Veterans Park, Bribie Island, Queensland.

Ian Mackay lives in Sydney. He will be attending the commemoration events from 16 to 18 February at Bribie, Qld.

“It’s a day when we share with all present the deep sorrow for all those who did not survive the horror of that desperate, long battle on 17th February 1967, which will forever remain in our memories.  We remember with shared emotions, intensity and camaraderie the fine brave men of B Company and our supporting troops.” – Ian Mackay

Fifty years ago on the afternoon of 17 February 1967, an Australian force found itself facing defeat in a thick patch of jungle near the coast of Phuoc Tuy province. In just over five hours of fighting eight Australian soldiers were killed and another 27 wounded. This battle become known as Operation Bribie, one of Australia’s worst days in the Vietnam War.

Major Ian Mackay (Rtd), was the Officer Commanding on that fateful, hot, February afternoon, when his outnumbered ‘B’ company’ were primed for a quick short attack on a company-sized Viet Cong force - they would instead face the nightmare of a viscous battle fought at close quarters with a battalion-sized force battened down in in well prepared positions.

Operation Bribie tested the professionalism and discipline of soldiers and commanders alike and ended with a neutral result with substantial casualties.  Mackay remembers the chaos of a battle fought at close-quarters ,  “The conditions were appalling, in stinking heat with many almost blinded by the smoke from fires, in a fight to the death against a determined, efficient enemy near the village of Hoi My in Phuoc Tuy Province. The action was so close at times that any attempt at movement meant that you were shot or shot at. Although neither side could claim victory we could both be proud of our strong and very brave soldiers.”

It took Mackay 40 years ‘to consider even talking about the subject in public, let alone contemplate writing about Operation Bribie’, a battle that he feels has largely been forgotten. Operation Bribie was fought six months after the well-known battle of Long Tan commemorated on Vietnam Veterans Day; the bravery of the soldiers at both battles is one that he feels should be given equal recognition. 

Mackay remarked, “I started giving talks on the battle ten years ago, mainly to give credit to the marvelous tenacity, courage and camaraderie of the brilliant young soldiers who fought so bravely on that hot Friday afternoon in Vietnam.”

Fifty years on from Operation Bribie the surviving veterans will stand together and reflect on those lives lost, those who still suffer and those since departed this life. 

Mackay, has a number of strings to his bow, battlefield commander, international sportsman, a successful businessman and author however as noted in the foreword of his book Phantoms of Bribie his service in Vietnam as a company commander of B Company 6 RAR was a highlight of his adventurous life.

Commemoration Event Details - 50th Year Anniversary Operation Bribie
Bravo Company, 6 RAR
Operation Bribie – South Vietnam - 17th February 2017
Vietnam Veterans Park, Bribie Island, Queensland
Catafalque Parties will be in attendance from the Battalion

Foreword by Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery AC AO(Mil) CVO MC (Retd)
Phantoms of Bribie, Ian Mackay, Big Sky Publishing, PB, RRP $29.99

Read more


New book ‘Looking for Rose Paterson’ shows how Family Bush Life Nurtured Banjo the Poet

Scott Eathorne, Quikmark Media
10.02.17 4:45 pm

Banjo Paterson is one of the most prolific poets in Australia’s history, yet very little has been written about his family, in particular his mother, Rose Paterson. In the forthcoming book Looking for Rose Paterson (NLA Publishing, $39.99, March 2017) author Jennifer Gall provides an intriguing insight into the relationship between Rose and Andrew Paterson, and the family environment that came to shape their son, Banjo.

As a pastoral station manager, Andrew was frequently away, leaving Rose to manage their seven children alone and isolated on a rural station, with no domestic help and a tight budget—something a woman of Rose’s class wouldn’t have expected. The book features a selection of original letters from Rose to her sister Nora between 1873 and 1888, vividly bringing nineteenth-century rural Australia to life.

Looking for Rose Paterson provides a fascinating historical insight into the Paterson family, allowing the reader to better understand the environment that shaped Banjo and nurtured his development as a balladeer. Author Dr Jennifer Gall is Assistant Curator, Documents and Artefacts, at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University School of Music. Her publications include In Bligh’s Hand: Surviving the Mutiny on the Bounty, published by the National Library of Australia, for which she won the 2011 Barbara Ramsden Award.


Read more


Short fictions based on Black Tuesday bushfires ...

Anna Rosner Blay Managing Editor HYBRID PUBLISHERS PO Box 52 Ormond VIC 3204
10.02.17 10:17 am


We’ve just published a collection of short fictions all loosely based on the Black Tuesday bushfires in Tasmania 50 years ago. It’s called Flame Tip by Karenlee Thompson and has a foreword written by David Walsh.

Hybrid Publishers here

Read more


Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: Young Writers in the City of Glenorchy ...

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
08.02.17 3:18 pm


from the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre   ...

The Business of Self-Publishing Workshops and Young Writers in the City of Glenorchy Residency Opportunity

This month we are giving you all the tools you need to understand the business of self-publishing.

We have three events taking place with successful self-published writer Kylie Dunn across February and April, and all writers in Tasmania are invited to take part. The first workshop covers how to Turn Your Manuscript into a Book and will take place on February 19. This will be followed by an intensive. hands-on workshop How to Make an E-Book on February 26. In the final workshop on April 2 Kylie will show you how to launch and market your self-published book.

Each participant will receive a copy of Kylie’s book Write to Launch.

The first 10 people to enrol in the full course will receive a free 1-hour session post-course to discuss any elements of their self-publishing journey with Kylie. It is valid from 3 April 2017-2 April 2018 and details will be provided with your training materials.

Hurry to book now!

We are very excited to launch the Young Writers in the City of Glenorchy residency program: a collaboration between the Writers Centre and Glenorchy City Council which provides a unique opportunity for young writers to pursue inspiration in familiar and unfamiliar Glenorchy spaces.

We would like to invite applications to the scheme from young writers aged 16-30. Full details of the venues, which include Moonah Arts Centre, MONA, GASP! and the Migrant Resource Centre are available on our website.

Successful applicants will receive $500 and must be available to take up the residency between Wednesday 15 March and Sunday 30 April.  

Read more


The Hobart Bookshop, 5.30pm, February 23: The Swagman and the Parson

Hobart Bookshop
08.02.17 2:37 pm


The Hobart Bookshop

Join us at our next launch ... 

In our first book launch for 2017, Stephen Matthews (of Ginninderra Press) and poet Robyn Mathison will launch the latest book by Jen Gibson and her father Russell Gibson, The Swagman and the Parson.

“This book contains two complementary stories written by two generations of the one family. It spans three centuries - from the 1860s to the present day, 2016. The swagman, Sully, and Russ Gibson, parson, were both born in the nineteenth century, though several decades apart. New South Wales was then a colonial state of Great Britain. The tale of the swagman was penned in the 1970s by my father.

A child of my parents’ older age, I was not born when the events of the swagman’s tale unfolded. Nor was I familiar with south and western New South Wales, where many of the incidents took place. The second half of this book is partly a narrative of my journey to those places. It also incorporates my parents’ oral memories recorded on tape in the early 1980s.” ~ Jen Gibson

Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square

When: Thursday February 23, from 5.30pm

Free event, all welcome. 

... and this is also coming up soon ... 
In March we’ll be launching a new book by James Boyce (University Associate in Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Tasmania).

Andrew Wilkie MP will launch Boyce’s new work, Losing Streak: How Tasmania was Gamed by the Gambling Industry (Black Inc. publications), at the Republic Bar and Cafe in North Hobart.

Keep your eyes out for details in our next launch email.

More information about Losing Streak can be found at the Black Inc website. 

Read more


New book explores the evolution of Australian sport, defence & corporate uniforms ...

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
08.02.17 12:44 pm

...the fashion & their role in shaping Australian society

Over the centuries, uniforms have played an important part in Australian history, from the landing on Gallipoli to the High Court decision on the Mabo case. They’ve made soldiers and firefighters braver; humiliated convicts; empowered sporting heroes; both liberated and shackled women; and made corporates fashionable.

In the new book Badge, Boot, Button: The Story of Australian Uniforms (NLA Publishing, $44.99), historian Craig Wilcox provides a fascinating look at the various civilian, corporate, sporting and defence uniforms worn in Australia from 1788 through to today, and how their evolution mirrored a changing nation.

Wilcox examines all aspects of the various uniforms—what they look like, the materials they’re made from, how they’ve changed and what they reveal about Australians and our history. Covering more than 200 years, Badge, Boot, Button examines the uniforms worn by people from all walks of life, including:

• convicts, servants and military men and women
• sporting teams, school students, scouts, police and nurses
• transport workers, emergency service workers and corporate employees
• flight attendants, the legal community, and vice-regal and ecclesiastical men and women

Richly illustrated with photographs, drawings, postcards and pages from magazines, Badge, Boot, Button provides a fascinating insight into the role uniforms play in defining and strengthening ties in Australian society.

Additional Information
• A unique insight into Australia’s social history told through centuries of uniform changes
• Includes uniforms unique to Australia: the slouch hat that became the emblem of Australian fighting men and women; the red-and-yellow caps and shirts of volunteer surf life savers; and the Qantas staff ‘wardrobe’ that made corporate livery fashionable

Craig Wilcox is a historian who lives and writes in Sydney. He has worked at the Australian War Memorial and had fellowships at the National Museum of Australia and the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies in London. His previous books include A Kind of Victory: Captain Charles Cox and His Australian Cavalrymen, published in 2014, and Red Coat Dreaming: How Colonial Australia Embraced the British Army, published in 2009.


Read more


Black Inc & Nero: May new books ...

Black Inc. and Nero
07.02.17 3:23 pm


Read more here

Read more


Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: Young Writers in the City of Glenorchy ...

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
06.02.17 10:23 am


The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and the Glenorchy City Council invite applications from young Tasmanian writers, primarily from the Glenorchy municipality.

Read more here

Read more


A Writer’s Journey: Creative non-fiction and the art of the essay with James Dryburgh

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
31.01.17 12:28 pm

James in South America ...

Date and time: 23rd July 2017 All Day

If you enjoyed A Novel Journey in 2015 or 2016, or if you’re looking to expand your knowledge with a focus on the area of non-fiction writing, our 2017 program is for you. A Writer’s Journey will bring leading writers and editors together to teach you everything from writing memoirs to research methods.

A Writer’s Journey: Creative non-fiction and the art of the essay with James Dryburgh

Got something to say, a story that should be told or a conversation to start?

An essay can be poetic, beautiful and can leave the mind of the reader ablaze. It is one of the simplest forms of written communication and one of the best ways to air important ideas and share experiences and people with the wider world. A good essay yearns to expose truths and to heighten them such that they affect people. In this, the essay can be important and powerful.

During our day we will:

consider interview-based, issue-based and experience/event-based essays;
examine structure, style and spark;
explore the uncovering of different angles on a story to get the most out of it and to satisfy different publications;
look at pitching to editors and how and where to get published;
leave the class room from some observation to find the little details, images, metaphors, juxtapositions, that can make an essay resonate; and
contemplate why it is important that you write and why you absolutely can.

“If I read but do not write, I am in debt to the world.” Mauricio Chavez, El Salvador

James Dryburgh <i> has been published in a number of publications including Smith Journal, New Internationalist, Wild Magazine, Island Magazine, Tasmania 40 South, amongst others. James writes provocative essays about important things. His first book is Essays from Near and Far (Walleah Press, 2014).

“Informative, dramatic, thought-provoking, immersed in questions of history, perspective and values, and thoroughly human” - Kevin Brophy

Book a ticket online:

Read more


Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity

Perri Palmieri Publicist Melbourne University Publishing
31.01.17 3:58 am


A Search for Human Antiquity
By Rebe Taylor

In 1908 Ernest Westlake packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and sailed to Tasmania. On mountains, beaches and in sheep paddocks he collected over 13,000 Aboriginal stone tools.

Westlake believed he had found the remnants of an extinct race whose culture was akin to the most ancient Stone Age Europeans. But Westlake encountered living Indigenous communities and unwittingly documented what he could not perceive: an Aboriginal people with a complex culture and a deep past.

Dr Rebe Taylor is a historian specialising in Tasmanian anthropology and archaeology. She first encountered Tasmanian Aboriginal history on a beach on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, hearing stories about the women who had been taken there by sealers. She has been trying to understand the history of Tasmanian Aboriginal diaspora, loss, rediscovery and endurance ever since.

‘Into the Heart of Tasmania is a powerful and gripping detective story about Tasmania’s deep and recent past and why it matters today.’ —TOM GRIFFITHS

Read more


What on Earth is a Gummshoe?

Erica Gore
29.01.17 6:15 am


GUMMSHOES – Mission #1: The Nobbled Numbskull by E. J. Gore

Author and primary school teacher EJ Gore’s own mission to equip young people with strategies for social inclusion, dealing with bullies and standing up for the ‘right’ thing, is a generous one that works. The characters recognise and build on their own strengths in a way that opens up possibilities for young readers’ own lives. These skills touch on the ideas of being a good friend, harnessing resilience and solving problems. Gore’s gentle, humour-laden writing style reveals a thorough knowledge of her readership and what will have them entertained.
BuzzWords Books

Midway Point, Australia 2017:  Author Erica (E. J.) Gore has published the latest book in her collection of mysteries for young readers, “Gummshoes – Mission#1: The Nobbled Numbskull”.

In thirty-plus years as a primary school teacher, Ms Gore became passionate about the importance of reading. She used narrative as the base of her lesson planning and wove the teaching of thinking skills through each unit of work.

‘Teaching children how to think is just as important as teaching them facts.’

Ms Gore has been writing junior fiction for the past five years with her Taya Bayliss mystery series now available in libraries and independent bookstores.  ‘My stories are about real kids who have problems to solve. They have no magic powers. Their own quick wits and observation skills are their weapons.’

Frankie Gumm (aka ‘Bubble’) and Oliver Mollison are sixth graders who have known the pain of bullying throughout their school lives. Over the years, they have developed strategies to deal with the likes of Jon (Nits) Nittleson, the school’s star athlete and chief bully.

In “Gummshoes – Mission#1: The Nobbled Numbskull”, the boys set out to investigate why the school s top athlete has been prevented from playing in the soccer league matches for three weeks in a row and, at the same time, help a younger student build confidence and resilience.

Get those kids reading. Get them thinking. Get them into Gummshoes.

Gummshoes – Mission#1: The Nobbled Numbskull is available online at  and from

Read more


2017 Tasmanian Australian of the Year, Rosalie Martin and Island magazine celebrate ...

Kate Harrison, Island Operations / Marketing Manager
25.01.17 6:50 am


... two years of partnership bringing together literacy and literature ...

Rosalie Martin, speech pathologist and literacy advocate, and Island magazine, one of Australia’s leading literature journals are celebrating their two-year partnership by bringing out a special - and free - collection of seven essays, written by individuals who have successfully come through an adult literacy program implemented or championed by Martin’s charity organisation, Chatter Matters Tasmania.

The founding speech pathologist of Chatter Matters Tasmania – a charity building awareness and skill in human communication – Rosalie Martin has been honoured by being named the 2017 Tasmanian Australian of the Year, and is now a National Finalist for the title of 2017 Australian of the Year (to be announced tonight - 25 January 2017).
Helping adults crack the code of reading, Rosalie has developed a unique approach to literacy. For three years, she has visited Tasmania’s Risdon Prison as a volunteer to deliver ‘Just Sentences’, a pilot project that is achieving astounding results. With specialist knowledge in the acquisition of language, and in the processing and production of speech sounds, Rosalie is able to uncover hidden literacy problems and tackle them head on. It is a program she has extended beyond prison to a wider community of learners.
As a result, many of the people in her program have learned to read and write in a matter of months, and Rosalie is showing how many lives can be transformed.
In 2015, Rosalie Martin partnered with Island magazine, to provide a space where the newly literate could speak, in their own words, to the broader community who so often take their own literacy for granted. This ongoing partnership was founded on the understanding that literacy and literature are both essential for the activation of citizenship in a democracy.
As Martin says in her introduction to this collection of essays: ‘Across the series of seven Chatter Matters essays published in Island, the hoped-for outcomes for learners and readers have emerged. And now I find further benefit. I have been asking the new learners I work with to read the Island essays to me, or I read them aloud to them. I sit across the table from men and women, the authenticating feel and fragrance of the fine literary magazine between us, and see eyes well and throats choke as they read or listen. For in honest language, their own hidden pain is gently spoken. And the same soft syllables carry inspiration for who they are and what can be.’
Chatter Matters and Island magazine now invite you to share in this inspiring partnership by downloading the collection of essays ...

For more information:

Rosalie Martin, Chatter Matters
0418 390 449
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Twitter: @chattertas / Facebook: @chattermatterstasmania

Our mailing address is:


PO Box 4703

Bathurst Street PO
Hobart, TAS 7000

Read more


‘Old Growth’, the powerful new collection of stories from author John Kinsella

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media,
24.01.17 12:05 pm

In the luminous book of new stories, Old Growth (Transit Lounge $29.95), John Kinsella drops us seamlessly into the worlds of men, women and children at pivotal moments in their lives. In the title story, a husband who has lost his wife plans to destroy the old-growth bush she loved and escape to the city, with alarming consequences. Elsewhere, racism at a small town supermarket is resisted through friendship; in an act of kindness a frightening stranger turns up in a family’s woodshed; a home-made telephone transmits a dark truth; a theatre director is seduced into the world of an obsessive rabbit trapper; and two sisters find their lives thrown out of kilter by a charismatic junkie. This is a book of city and country, of challenge and threat, of sobriety and loss of control, but also of hope and beauty.

John Kinsella’s most recent volumes of poetry are The Vision of Error: A Sextet of Activist Poems (Five Islands Press, 2013) and Sack (Freemantle Press and Picador, UK 2014). His collection, Jam Tree Gully (WW Norton, 2012), won the 2013 Prime Minister’s Prize for Poetry. Tide, a collection of stories, was published by Transit Lounge in 2013. He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, and Professor of Sustainability and Literature at Curtin University.

Read more


Rockliff to launch pro-marriage equality book by former Abbott advisor

Rodney Croome, just.equal
19.01.17 6:50 pm

Tasmanian Deputy Premier, Jeremy Rockliff, will launch a new book arguing for same-sex marriage from a conservative perspective this evening in Hobart.

The book, titled “Faith, Love and Australia: the conservative case for same-sex marriage”, is by Paul Ritchie, who was a speech writer and advisor to Tony Abbott when Mr Abbott was Prime Minister.

The launch will be at 5.30pm at Fullers Bookshop in Collins Street, Hobart.

For more details go to:

Read more