Miles Franklin Award Shortlist, 2016

The Miles Franklin Shortlist 2016 has been announced! The winner will be announced June 2016.

Hope Farm/Peggy Frew
'Hope Farm' is the masterful second novel from award winning author Peggy Frew, and is a devastatingly beautiful story about the broken bonds of childhood and the enduring cost of holding back the truth.
"It is the winter of 1985. Hope Farm sticks out of the raffed landscape like a decaying tooth, its weatherboard walls sagging into the undergrowth. Silver's mother, Ishtar, has fallen for the charismatic Miller, and the three of them have moved to the rural hippie commune to make a new start. At Hope, Silver finds unexpected friendship and at last, a place to call home. But it is also here that, at just thirteen, she is thrust into an unrelenting adult world - and the walls begin to come tumbling down, with deadly consequences".

Leap/ Myfanwy Jones
A few weeks after finishing their final exams high school sweethearts have an argument at a party. Joe wants to go - Jen begs him to stay. They fight in the corridor, following their usual script, and then he walks out and leaves her. A few hours later she dies...Three years on, after burning up his own dreams for the future, Joe is working in dead-end jobs and mentoring a wayward teenager not dissimilar from his younger self. Driven by the need to make good, he spends all his spare time doing parkour under an inner-city bridge, training his mind and body to conquer the hostile urban environment that took his love and blighted his future...Somewhere else, a middle-aged woman, Elise, is treading water in her life as her marriage breaks up. We watch as she retreats to the only place that holds any meaning for her - the tiger enclosure at Melbourne Zoo, where, for reasons she barely understands, she starts painting the tigers and forms a close connection to them...Joe is broken by grief, but the outside world won't let him hide forever. A cool and bewitching girl turns up on the doorstep of his share house, somehow painfully familiar to him. Then there is the skateboarding chef at the bar where he works, the girl with the Cossack-blue eyes, who wants to be his friend. And someone going by the Facebook tag Emily Dickinson wants to reminisce about his dead girlfriend and won't leave him alone...

Black Rock White City/ A.S. Patrić
Black Rock White City is a novel about the damages of war, the limits of choice, and the hope of love. During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan's cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.



Salt Creek/ Lucy Treloar
Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch. Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route - among them a young artist, Charles - and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, an Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family. Stanton's attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people's homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri's subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?

The Natural Way of Things/Charlotte Wood
Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a 'nurse'. The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world? Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl's past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue - but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves.

Local history, Local stories

Cocky Bennett was no ‘pretty Polly,’ yet when he died on 26 May 1916 in his 120th year, newspaper obituaries across NSW lamented the passing of this ‘venerable’ old sulphur-crested cockatoo. The Sun newspaper wrote:

Goodbye Cocky. Some people may be sceptics, but (I prefer) to believe that Cocky Bennett watched the sailors row ashore when Captain Cook landed. It is good to think that in a time of flux and change there is one old identity whose head is soundly screwed on, and does not grow excited over the trifles which agitate us from day to day. Cocky would not feel regretful at having died before the world had settled with the Kaiser… I like the superstition that sitting somewhere on a high tree Cocky watched Napoleon’s rise and fall; saw the dynasty make a feeble splutter in 1870, and then disappear for ever from the politics of the world. Snug on his perch he saw us progress through droughts and booms and strikes and plagues and land scandals; and after each roaring excitement he saw how the community settled down to its same old business of eating and sleeping and lovemaking.

As ship companion to Captain George Ellis, Cocky Bennett spent almost 80 years sailing the high seas and it is said that he voyaged around the world seven times. When in Sydney, Captain Ellis and Cocky would visit Bowden’s Hotel in the city and it was there that the two became acquainted with Sarah Bennett (then Bowden), proprietress of the hotel. Captain Ellis told Sarah that he had sailed with Cocky since he first went to sea as a boy of 9 and the bird had travelled with him ever since. Whilst at sea Cocky learnt tricks - like pretending to haul in on an imaginary rope as he edged backwards along his perch - and being an innate chatterbox, Cocky developed a vocabulary worthy of an old sailor.

When Captain Ellis (aged 87) died in the Solomon Islands in 1887, Cocky was left to Sarah Bennett. Sarah became publican of the Sea Breeze Hotel at Tom Ugly’s Point and it was here that Cocky set up residence with his new adoptive family in the 1890s.

At Tom Ugly’s Point Cocky Bennett became famous for entertaining pub-goers with his continual dancing and colourful ‘patter.’ He would flap his featherless black wings and squawk “I’ll fly, I’ll fly, my God, I’ll fly.’ Sarah Bennett, attached a collection box to Cocky’s cage and his chatter was an invitation for visitors to donate to St. George Hospital. Enough funds were eventually raised to supply the hospital with three beds, each bearing a plaque inscribed with the words ‘Cocky Bennett Cot.’

26 May 2016 marks the hundred year anniversary of the death of Cocky Bennett.


Whimsical reads...

The movie adaptation of Alice Through the Looking glass by Lewis Carroll, is in cinemas this Friday! This has a inspired a list of other whimsical books you may like to read...

Yuki Chan in Bronte Country/ Mick Jackson
Yukiko tragically lost her mother ten years ago. After visiting her sister in London, she goes on the run, and heads for Haworth, West Yorkshire, the last place her mother visited before her death. Against a cold, winter, Yorkshire landscape, Yuki has to tackle the mystery of her mother's death, her burgeoning friendship with a local girl, the allure of the Brontes and her own sister's wrath. Both a pilgrimage and an investigation into family secrets, Yuki's journey is the one she always knew she would have to make, and one of the most charming and haunting in recent fiction.

Practical Magic/ Alice Hoffman
Sorcery is the legacy of Gillian and Sally Owens, a legacy they both try to escape until they realize their magic is a gift, not an affliction.
For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back--almost as if by magic...

The windup bird chronicle/ Haruki Murakami
In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

The Stockholm Octavo/ Karen Engelmann
Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the Town--a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor--until one evening when Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, a fortune-teller and proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares with him a vision she has had: a golden path that will lead him to love and connection. She lays an Octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals who can help him realize this vision--if he can find them.

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
Autumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beaten-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever. But the Waverleys have enough trouble on their hands. Quiet Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley's Candies, but it's nothing like she thought it would be, and it's slowly taking over her life. Claire's wild sister Sydney, still trying to leave her past behind, is about to combust with her desire for another new beginning. And Sydney's fifteen-year-old daughter Bay has given her heart away to the wrong boy and can't get it back. From the author of the New York Times bestselling sensation GARDEN SPELLS, FIRST FROST is magical and atmospheric, taking readers back into the lives of the gifted Waverley women - back to their strange garden and temperamental apple tree, back to their house with a personality of its own, back to the men who love them fiercely - proving that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It's where the real story begins.

The Night Circus/ Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

The ocean at the end of the lane/ Neil Gaiman
A fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark, from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman. It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defence is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

The portable Veblen/ Elizabeth McKenzie
Set in and around Palo Alto, amid the culture clash of new money and old (anti-establishment) values,this book is an unforgettable look at the way we live now. A young couple on the brink of marriage—the charming Veblen and her fiancé Paul, a brilliant neurologist—find their engagement in danger of collapse. Along the way they weather everything from each other’s dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, to an intimate tete-a-tete with a very charismatic squirrel.

The girl with glass feet/ Ali Shaw
Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda's Land. Magical winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts who has only visited the islands once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.


The dress shop of dreams/ Menna Van Praag
Etta Sparks's cozy dress shop, tucked away at the end of a winding Cambridge road, is a magical place - anyone who steps inside the little blue door to glimpse the glorious silks and jewel-hued velvets can see they are someplace special. But only Etta knows the dresses she sells are actually magic - a few stitches from her needle and each gown imbues the wearer with the confidence to achieve whatever they set their mind too. The only two people the dresses don't seem to work on are Etta, still nursing a heart broken 40 years ago, and her granddaughter Cora, who dedicated her life to science after her brilliant inventor parents died in a mysterious fire and doesn't have time for things like magic or love. Determined to help Cora find happiness, Etta sews her magic stitch onto the shirt of Walter, the shy young man who works at the bookstore next door and has been in love with Cora for years. When she does, Etta sets in motion a surprising series of events, uncovering a lifetime of secrets that will change her granddaughter's mind about love -- and maybe even bring back something Etta thought she had lost forever

Australian Book Industry Awards ABIA 2016

The Winners of  the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA's) were announced on Thursday, 19 May.

The Biography Book of the Year and overall winner of Book of the Year is....
Reckoning: A Memoir by Magda Szubanski
In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father's espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.

Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.

Shortlisted Biographies :
A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty
Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover
The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland

A selection of other winners and shortlists:

General Fiction Book of the Year
The Patterson Girls (Rachael Johns, MIRA, Harlequin Enterprises)
How can four sisters build the futures they so desperately want, when the past is reaching out to claim them?

When the Patterson daughters return home to Meadow Brook to be with their father after their mother’s death, they bring with them a world of complication and trouble.

The eldest sister, obstetrician Madeleine, would rather be anywhere but her hometown, violinist Abigail has fled from her stellar career, while teacher Lucinda is struggling to have the children she and her husband so desperately want. The black sheep of the family, Charlie, feels her life as a barista and exercise instructor doesn’t measure up to that of her gifted and successful sisters.

Shortlisted: 
Close Your Eyes/ Michael Robotham
The Lake House/ Kate Morton
The Perfumer’s Secret /Fiona McIntosh & Michael Joseph

Literary Fiction Book of the Year
The Other Side of the World (Stephanie Bishop, Hachette, Hachette Australia)
Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can't face the thought of another English winter.
A brochure slipped through the letterbox gives him the answer: 'Australia brings out the best in you.' Before she has a chance to realise what it will mean, Charlotte is travelling to the other side of the world.
Arriving in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light and slowly reveals that this new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs and how far she'll go to find her way home . . .

Shortlisted: 
The Natural Way of Things /Charlotte Wood
The Secret Chord /Geraldine Brooks
The World Without Us /Mireille Juchau

Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year
Salt Creek /Lucy Treloar
Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch.

Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route - among them a young artist, Charles - and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, and Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family.

Stanton's attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people's homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri's subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?

Shortlisted: 
Reckoning: A Memoir (Magda Szubanski, Text Publishing)
Rush Oh! (Shirley Barrett, Picador Australia, Pan Macmillan)
The Anti-Cool Girl (Rosie Waterland, 4th Estate, HarperCollins)

General Non-fiction Book of the Year
Island Home (Tim Winton, Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
Island Home is the story of how that relationship with the Australian landscape came to be, and how it has determined his ideas, his writing and his life.  It is also a passionate exhortation for all of us to feel the ground beneath our feet. Much more powerfully than a political idea, or an economy, Australia is a physical entity. Where we are defines who we are, in ways we too often forget to our detriment, and the country's.


Shortlisted: 
Australia’s Second Chance /George Megalogenis & Hamish Hamilton,
One Life: My Mother’s Story /Kate Grenville
The Dismissal in the Queen's name /Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston

International Book of the Year
Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ /Giulia Enders
The key to living a happier, healthier life is inside us.

Our gut is almost as important to us as our brain or our heart, yet we know very little about how it works. In Gut, Giulia Enders shows that rather than the utilitarian and -- let's be honest -- somewhat embarrassing body part we imagine it to be, it is one of the most complex, important, and even miraculous parts of our anatomy. And scientists are only just discovering quite how much it has to offer; new research shows that gut bacteria can play a role in everything from obesity and allergies to Alzheimer's.

Beginning with the personal experience of illness that inspired her research, and going on to explain everything from the basics of nutrient absorption to the latest science linking bowel bacteria with depression, Enders has written an entertaining, informative health handbook.

Shortlisted: 
Grandpa’s Great Escape /David Walliams
The Girl on the Train /Paula Hawkins
The Story of the Lost Child /Elena Ferrante

Small Publishers Book of the Year
All Fall Down by Matthew Condon
The gripping finale to Three Crooked Kings and Jacks and Jokers brings to a close Matthew Condon's best-selling true-crime trilogy.

In 1983, the soon-to-be-knighted Police Commissioner Terry Lewis continues to turn a blind eye to the operation of The Joke, a highly organised system of graft payments from illegal gambling, prostitution and illicit drugs. As the tentacles of this fraudulent vice network spread, the fabric holding together the police, judiciary and political system starts to unravel. All Fall Down offers an unprecedented insight into the Fitzgerald Inquiry and Lewis's subsequent years in prison, and explores the real story behind the dramatic exit of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Drawing from interviews with key players who have, until now, been afraid to speak publicly, All Fall Down celebrates the bravery of those unsung heroes who risked everything to expose the truth.

Shortlisted
The Art of Free Travel by Patrick Jones & Meg Ullman
Give the Devil His Due by Sulari Gentill
Body Lengths/ Leisl Jones

New voices.... from Sydney Writers Festival 2016

Looking for something to read? Check out these new Australian voices featured at the Sydney Writers Festival - you can request them from the Library!

Fever of animals /Miles Allinson
With the small inheritance he received upon his father's death, Miles has come to Europe on the trail of the Romanian surrealist, who disappeared into a forest in 1967. But in trying to unravel the mystery of Bafdescu's secret life, Miles must also reckon with his own.

Faced with a language and a landscape that remain stubbornly out of reach, and condemned to wait for someone who may never arrive, Miles is haunted by thoughts of his ex-girlfriend, Alice, and the trip they took to Venice that ended their relationship.


A loving faithful animal /Josephine Rowe
Your father. His head is a ghost trap. It's all he can do to open his mouth without letting them all howl out. Even so, you can still see them, sliding around the dark behind his eyes . . .

It is New Year's Eve, 1990, and Ru's father, Jack, has disappeared in the wake of a savage incident. A Vietnam War veteran, he has long been an erratic presence at home, where Ru's allegiances are divided amongst those she loves. Her sister, Lani, seeks to escape the claustrophobia of small-town life, while their mother, Evelyn, takes refuge in a more vibrant past. And then there's Les, Jack's inscrutable brother, whose loyalties are also torn.

A Loving, Faithful Animal is an incandescent portrait of one family searching for what may yet be redeemable from the ruins of war.  Tender, brutal, and heart-stopping in its beauty, this is a hypnotic novel by one of Australia's brightest talents.

Relativity/ Antonia Hayes
Ethan is a bright young boy obsessed with physics and astronomy who lives with his mother, Claire. Claire has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he's becoming increasingly curious about his father's absence in his life, wanting to fill in the gaps.

Claire's life is centred on Ethan; she is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son, and of her own feelings. When Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event from when he was a baby, Claire's tightly held world is split open.

On the other side of the country, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart. Then a sudden and unexpected call home forces him to confront his past, and the hole in his life that was once filled with his wife Claire and his son Ethan.

When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that – like gravity – pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Hope Farm/ Peggy Frew
It is the winter of 1985. Hope Farm sticks out of the ragged landscape like a decaying tooth, its weatherboard walls sagging into the undergrowth. Silver's mother, Ishtar, has fallen for the charismatic Miller, and the three of them have moved to the rural hippie commune to make a new start.

At Hope, Silver finds unexpected friendship and, at last, a place to call home. But it is also here that, at just thirteen, she is thrust into an unrelenting adult world -- and the walls begin to come tumbling down, with deadly consequences.


Hot little hands/ Abigail Ulman
Hot Little Hands contains nine funny, confronting and pitch-perfect stories about stumbling on the fringes of innocence, and the marks desire can leave.  Anya, in her fake-leather sneakers and second-hand clothes, just wants to fit in at her Melbourne school.  Ramona, with her suburban family and clique of friends, is just starting to stand out.  Sascha is on the brink of discovery; Elise and Jenni are well beyond it.  Amelia will do absolutely anything to avoid writing her book.  And Kira wants to capture the world, exactly as she sees it, with her brand-new camera.

There are tales about now – about first encounters with lasting impressions, and break-ups that last longer than the relationships; about a time when late-night text messages are considered a courtship, and the most personal secrets get casually revealed online.  It is the debut of a striking, wry, utterly fresh new voice in Australian literature.

Wasted: ; A Story of Alcohol, Grief and a Death in Brisbane/ Elspeth Muir
In 2009 Elspeth Muir's youngest brother finished his last university exam and went out with some mates to get drunk. Later that night he wandered to the Story Bridge. He put his phone, wallet, T-shirt and thongs on the walkway, climbed over the railing, and jumped thirty metres into the Brisbane River below.

Three days passed before police divers pulled his body out of the water. When Alexander had drowned, his blood-alcohol reading was almost 0.3.

Why do some of us drink so much, and what happens when we do? Fewer young Australians are drinking heavily, but the rates of alcohol abuse and associated problems—from blackouts to sexual assaults and one-punch killings—are undiminished.

Wild man : [the true story of a police killing, mental illness and the law] / Alecia Simmonds
In April 2012 a man was shot dead by police on a remote farm in New South Wales called the School of Happiness. The victim, who was high on a cocktail of drugs and who suffered from mental illness, had been threatening attendees of a hippie festival with a crossbow and hunting knife. When the police finally arrived, they tried to subdue him but, ultimately, fatal shots were fired.

In Wild Man Alecia Simmonds follows the coronial inquest into the police killing. She reveals what really happened that night and unravels the web of issues entangled in this fascinating, bizarre and, undoubtedly, tragic case: a cultural clash between hippies and hunters; drug use, violence, masculinity and psychosis. She asks how family members, as well as police, came to work on the frontline of mental health. This spectacular book is a clear-eyed look at some of the most pressing problems facing contemporary Australia.

When there's nowhere else to run / Murray Middleton
In one way or another, isn't everyone on the run?

When There's Nowhere Else to Run is a collection of stories about people who find their lives unravelling. They are teachers, lawyers, nurses, firemen, chefs, gamblers, war veterans, hard drinkers, adulterers, widows and romantics. Seeking refuge all across the country, from the wheat belt of Western Australia, the limestone desert of South Australia, the sugarcane towns of Queensland, the hinterland of New South Wales to the coastline of Victoria, they discover that no matter how many thousands of kilometres they put between themselves and their transgressions, sometimes there's nowhere else to run.

 Salt Creek  /Lucy Treloar
Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch. Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route - among them a young artist, Charles - and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, an Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family. Stanton's attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people's homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri's subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?

Small acts of disappearance : essays in hunger / Fiona Wright
Small Acts of Disappearance describes the author’s affliction with an eating disorder which begins in university, and escalates into life-threatening anorexia over the next ten years. Fiona Wright is a highly regarded poet and critic, and her account of her illness is informed by a keen sense of its contradictions and deceptions, and by an awareness of the empowering effects of hunger, which is unsparing in its consideration of the author’s motives and actions. The essays offer perspectives on the eating disorder at different stages in Wright’s life: at university, where she finds herself in a radically different social world to the one she grew up in, in Sri Lanka as a fledgling journalist, in Germany as a young writer, in her hospital treatments back in Sydney. They combine travel writing, memoir and literary discussions of how writers like Christina Stead, Carmel Bird, Tim Winton, John Berryman and Louise Glück deal with anorexia and addiction; together with accounts of family life, the observation of detail and the humour which is so compelling in Wright’s poetry.

The other side of the world / Stephanie Bishop

Cambridge 1963
Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can't face the thought of another English winter.
A brochure slipped through the letterbox gives him the answer: 'Australia brings out the best in you.' Before she has a chance to realise what it will mean, Charlotte is travelling to the other side of the world.
Arriving in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light and slowly reveals that this new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs and how far she'll go to find her way home . . .