2015 Waverley Prize for Literature winners

 Erik Jensen has won the 2015 Waverley Prize for Literature, known as the 'Nib'  for his book,

Acute Misfortune - The Life and Death of artist Adam Cullen .
This book was chosen from a shortlist of six books.

An unflinching portrait of talent and addiction.
In 2008 the artist Adam Cullen invited journalist Erik Jensen to stay in his spare room and write his biography.
What followed were four years of intense honesty and a relationship that became increasingly claustrophobic. At one point Cullen shot Jensen, in part to see how committed he was to the book. At another, he threw Jensen from a speeding motorbike. The book contract Cullen used to convince Jensen to stay with him never existed.
Acute Misfortune is a riveting account of the life and death of one of Australia's most celebrated artists, the man behind the Archibald Prize-winning portrait of David Wenham. Jensen follows Cullen through drug deals and periods of deep self-reflection, onwards into his court appearance for weapons possession and finally his death in 2012 at the age of forty-six. The story is by turns tender and horrifying: a spare tale of art, sex, drugs and childhood, told at close quarters and without judgement.

People's Choice Award
The Nashos' War - Australia’s National Servicemen and Vietnam by Mark Dapin
On 10 March 1965, the first nasho's birthdate was drawn from a lottery barrel at the Department of Labour and National Service in Melbourne.  Over the next seven years, a total of 63740 young Australian men would be drafted into the army and face the prospect of being sent to war.
The nashos came from all walks of life: plumbers and dentists, footballers and musicians, Christians and Jews, willing and unwilling.  Some spent their two years square-bashing in Singleton.  Others went to Vietnam to fight – and die – in Australia's bloodiest battles, including the slaughter at Long Tan.
But our ideas of national service contain strange contradictions and inaccuracies: that the draft was unpopular but militarily necessary; that the nashos in Vietnam all volunteered to go to war; and that they were met by protesters and demonstrations on their return to Australia, rather than the huge welcome-home parades reported at the time.

Anzac Centenary Literary Award
Bearing Witness by Peter Rees

Charles Bean was Australia's greatest and most famous war correspondent. He is the journalist who told Australia about the horrors of Gallipoli and the Western Front. He is the historian who did so much to create the Anzac legend and shape the emerging Australian identity in the years after Federation. He is the patriot who was central to the establishment of one of this country's most important cultural institutions, the Australian War Memorial. Yet we know so little about him as a man. Bearing Witness rectifies that omission in our national biography.

This is the first complete portrait of Charles Bean. It is the story of a boy from Bathurst and his search for truth: in the bush, on the battlefield and in the writing of the official history of Australia's involvement in World War I. But beyond this, it is a powerful and detailed exploration of his life, his accomplishments and a marriage that sustained and enriched him.

Readalikes....November suggestions

Handpicked suggestions to other books that have a similar writing style or theme, that match popular books you may have enjoyed.

If you like this: Girl on a train by Paula Hawkins … 

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the
same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough.

Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar.
You’ll like this: Disclaimer by Renee Knight

A brilliantly conceived, deeply unsettling psychological thriller— already an international sensation—about a woman haunted by secrets, the consuming desire for revenge, and the terrible price we pay when we try to hide the truth.
Finding a mysterious novel at her bedside plunges documentary filmmaker Catherine Ravenscroft into a living nightmare. Though ostensibly fiction, The Perfect Stranger recreates in vivid, unmistakable detail the terrible day she became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew—and that person is dead.
Now that the past is catching up with her, Catherine’s world is falling apart. Her only hope is to confront what really happened on that awful day . . . even if the shocking truth might destroy her.

If you like this: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan…
August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

  You’ll like this: Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.
Birdsong is a novel about the tenderness and the limits of human flesh, it is about men and women living at the edge. Set mostly in France spanning the years before and during the First World War it captures the drama and destruction of that era as it tells the story of Stephen, a young Englishman who is impelled through a series of extreme experiences, from a traumatic clandestine love affair which rips apart the bourgeois French family he lives with, through grim insanity of the Great War. In the vast scenes of suffering and the tender depiction of human love, Birdsong is at times almost unbearably moving to read.

If you like this: The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina  George...
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

 You’ll like this: The Storied Life of A.J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. 

If you like this:  The Lake House by Kate Morton....  
Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

You’ll like this: The girl in the photograph by Kate Riordan

When Alice Eveleigh arrives at Fiercombe Manor during the long, languid summer of 1933, she finds a house steeped in mystery and brimming with secrets.  Sadness permeates its empty rooms and the isolated valley seems crowded with ghosts – none more alluring than Elizabeth Stanton, whose only trace remains in a few tantalizingly blurred photographs.  Why will no one speak of her?  What happened a generation ago to make her vanish?

As the sun beats down relentlessly, Alice becomes ever more determined to unearth the truth about the girl in the photograph – and stop her own life from becoming an eerie echo of Elizabeth's . . .

If you like this: Life after Life by Kate Atkinson…
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life's bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

You’ll like this: The first fifteen lives of Harry August by Claire North

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message. It has come down from child to adult, child to adult, passed back through generations from a thousand years forward in time. The message is that the world is ending, and we cannot prevent it. So now it’s up to you.’

This is the extraordinary journey of one unforgettable character – a story of friendship and betrayal, loyalty and redemption, love and loneliness and the inevitable march of time.

Books in the news... November 21-22

This week's Spectrum has some great new books to read...you can request them from the Library!

Big Blue Sky: A Memoir by Peter Garrett
The provocative, entertaining, impassioned and inspiring memoir of Midnight Oil frontman, environmental activist and politician - a truly remarkable Australian.

Peter Garrett's life has been fully and passionately lived. A man of boundless energy, compassion, intelligence and creativity, he has already achieved enough to fill several lives.

From his idyllic childhood growing up in the northern suburbs of Sydney, to an early interest in equality and justice; from the height of 1960s culture shock at ANU to fronting iconic Australian band Midnight Oil; from his time as a galvanising activist for the environment to being the only unaligned Cabinet minister in two Labor governments, Garrett has an extraordinary story to tell.

He writes movingly about his lifelong mission to protect the environment and his connection with Aboriginal people, about his love for his family and his passion for our country: what it means to him and what it can become.

Provocative, entertaining, impassioned and inspiring, this memoir goes to the heart and soul of a remarkable Australian and raises questions crucial to us all.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.

The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic.

As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff's account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.

Test of Will: What I've learned from cricket and life by Glenn McGrath
Glenn McGrath is an Australian cricket great - a fast bowler both feared and admired by top-level cricketers around the world. Off the field, his life was touched by tragedy with the death of his first wife, Jane, from breast cancer, yet has also been marked by a determination to celebrate her life and make sure her legacy helps thousands of others through the McGrath Foundation - now one of Australia's biggest and most effective breast cancer charities.

In Test of Will Glenn gives us an insight into the things that have shaped him both in and out of cricket. He writes about his classic cricketing duels, bowling against master batsmen like Tendulkar and Lara. He shares his great moments, and describes the influence of such legends of the game as Steve Waugh and Shane Warne, and what he learned from them. And away from cricket he writes candidly about finding love with Sara after the tragedy of losing Jane. He relates his experiences starting the McGrath Foundation and the enormous impact it's had on many peoples' lives. He writes about the annual Pink Test in Sydney, how it came about and what it means to him. And he expresses his thoughts on fatherhood, and the joy and responsibilities of raising his three children.

This is Glenn reflecting on the lessons learned from his career and his life in a way that's open, honest and utterly fascinating.

The Women's pages by Debra Adelaide
Dove is writing a novel for herself, for her mother and for their literary heroines. It describes the life of Ellis, an ordinary young woman of the 1960s troubled by secrets and gaps in her past.

Having read Wuthering Heights to her dying mother, Dove finds she cannot shake off the influence of that singular novel: it has infected her like a disease. In grief's aftermath, she follows the story Wuthering Heightshas inspired to discover more about Ellis, who has emerged from the pages of fiction herself - or has she? - to become a modern successful career woman.

The Women's Pages is about the choices and compromises women make, about their griefs and losses, and about the cold aching spaces that are left when they disappear from the story. It explores the mysterious process of creativity, and the way stories are shaped and fiction is formed. Right up to its astonishing conclusion, The Women's Pages asserts the power of the reader's imagination, which can make the deepest desires and strangest dreams come true.

Did you ever have a family by Bill Cleggs
This book of dark secrets opens with a blaze. On the morning of her daughter's wedding, June Reid's house goes up in flames, destroying her entire family – her present, her past and her future. Fleeing from the carnage, stricken and alone, June finds herself in a motel room by the ocean, hundreds of miles from her Connecticut home, held captive by memories and the mistakes she has made with her only child, Lolly, and her partner, Luke.

In the turbulence of grief and gossip left in June's wake we slowly make sense of the unimaginable. The novel is a gathering of voices, and each testimony has a new revelation about what led to the catastrophe – Luke's alienated mother Lydia, the watchful motel owners, their cleaner Cissy, the teenage pothead who lives nearby – everyone touched by the tragedy finds themselves caught in the undertow, as their secret histories finally come to light.

The burning elephant by Christopher Raja
The Burning Elephant is set in Kolkata before and after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, which led to widespread violence against India’s Sikh population. The novel is told from the point of view of a young boy Govinda, whose father is the headmaster of a local school. It begins with the intrusion into the schoolyard of an elephant that has escaped from its owner, and is seen as such a danger that he is immediately shot, then burnt by the police. This outbreak of violence in the idyllic world of childhood sets the tone for the novel as a whole, which gives the innocent yet knowing perspectives of Govinda in his engagement with the crowded and complex life of Serpent Lane outside the school, his awareness of the breakdown of the relationship between his parents, his sense that his own privileged life is under threat. The way the tensions in his family are rendered against the backdrop of the larger social tensions in India, while at the same time maintaining Govinda’s child-like point of view, is particularly compelling. It is the outbreak of violence after Indira Gandhi’s death which finally causes Govinda’s father to migrate to Australia – and it is the implicit lesson of this novel, never spelt out, but felt throughout, that such horror is often a central fact of migration to this country.

Popular titles of 2015...have you read these yet?

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks.
One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon's grandmother.
Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand. The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler's gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, who is a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

At the Water's edge by Sarah Gruen
After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year's Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son's inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend Hank decide that the only way to regain the Colonel's favour is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed - by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster - Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.
The trio find themselves amid the devastation of World War II, in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. As the men go out looking for the monster, Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Gradually the friendships she forms open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but to the beauty and surprising possibilities of life.

A little life by Hanya Yanagihara
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

The year of the runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
Three young men, and one unforgettable woman, come together in a journey from India to England, where they hope to begin something new—to support their families; to build their futures; to show their worth; to escape the past. They have almost no idea what awaits them.
In a dilapidated shared house in Sheffield, Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his life in Bihar. Avtar and Randeep are middle-class boys whose families are slowly sinking into financial ruin, bound together by Avtar’s secret. Randeep, in turn, has a visa wife across town, whose cupboards are full of her husband’s clothes in case the immigration agents surprise her with a visit.
She is Narinder, and her story is the most surprising of them all.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
What would happen if the world were ending?
A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.
But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .
Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

Fates and furies by Lauren Groff
Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.
Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.
At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it.

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.
Girl at war by Sara Nović
Zagreb, 1991. Ana Jurić is a carefree ten-year-old, living with her family in a small apartment in Croatia’s capital. But that year, civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, splintering Ana’s idyllic childhood. Daily life is altered by food rations and air raid drills, and soccer matches are replaced by sniper fire. Neighbors grow suspicious of one another, and Ana’s sense of safety starts to fray. When the war arrives at her doorstep, Ana must find her way in a dangerous world.
 New York, 2001. Ana is now a college student in Manhattan. Though she’s tried to move on from her past, she can’t escape her memories of war—secrets she keeps even from those closest to her. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, Ana returns to Croatia after a decade away, hoping to make peace with the place she once called home. As she faces her ghosts, she must come to terms with her country’s difficult history and the events that interrupted her childhood years before.

Luckiest girl alive by Jessica Knoll
Ani FaNelli is the woman you love to hate. The woman who has it all. But behind the meticulously crafted facade lies the darkest and most violent of pasts ...When a documentary producer invites Ani to tell her side of the chilling and violent incident that took place when she was a teenager, she hopes it will be an opportunity to prove how far she's come since then. She'll even let the production company film her wedding to the wealthy Luke Harrison, the final step in her transformation. But as the wedding and filming converge, Ani's immaculate facade begins to crack, and she soon realises that there's always a price to pay for perfection.

10 Aussie authors on IMPAC Dublin Longlist, 2016.

Ten books by Australian authors have been nominated for the 2016 International IMPAC Dublin Literary award.
Libraries from 118 cities around the world nominated 160 books for the longlist. The shortlist will be announced on 12 April and the winner on 9 June 2016.

Books by Australian authors:

The Strays by Emily Bitto
In The Strays, Evan Trentham is the wild child of the Melbourne art world of the 1930s. He and his captivating wife, Helena, attempt to carve out their own small niche, to escape the stifling conservatism they see around them, by gathering together other like-minded artists. They create a utopian circle within their family home, offering these young artists a place to live and work, and the mixed benefits of being associated with the infamous Evan. At the periphery of this circle is Lily Struthers, the best friend of Evan and Helena's daughter Eva. Lily is infatuated by the world she bears witness to, and longs to be part of this enthralling makeshift family. As Lily observes years later, looking back on events that she still carries painfully within her, the story of this groundbreaking circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham's art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis
At seven years old, Millie Bird realises that everything is dying around her. She wasn't to know that after she had recorded twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book Of Dead Things her dad would be a Dead Thing, too. Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and has not left her house since her husband died. She sits behind her front window, hidden by curtains and ivy, and shouts at passers-by, roaring her anger at complete strangers. Until the day Agatha spies a young girl across the street. Karl the touch typist is eighty-seven when his son kisses him on the cheek before leaving him in the nursing home. As he watches his son leave, Karl has a moment of clarity. He escapes the home and takes off in search of something different.

What Came Before by Anna George
My name is David James Forrester. I'm a solicitor. Tonight, at 6.10, I killed my wife. This is my statement.' David sits in his car, sick to his stomach and barely able to order his thoughts, but determined to record his statement of events. His wife, Elle, hovers over her lifeless body as it lies on the laundry floor of the house they shared. David thinks back on their relationship - intimate, passionate, intense - and what led to this violent endpoint. Elle traces their shared past as well and her version of events gradually reveals how wrong she was about the man she'd loved. Dark, atmospheric and gripping, What Came Before is a stunning literary thriller about the risks you take when you fall in love.

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett
With their father, there is always a catch. Colt Jenson and his younger brother Bastian have moved to a new, working-class suburb. The Jensons are different. Their father, Rex, showers them with gifts, toys, bikes, all that glitters most and makes them the envy of the neighbourhood. To Freya Kiley and the other local kids, the Jensons are a family from a magazine, and Rex a hero, successful, attentive, attractive, always there to lend a hand. But to Colt he is an impossible figure in a different way: unbearable, suffocating. Has Colt got Rex wrong, or has he seen something in his father that will destroy their fragile new lives? This is an unflinching and utterly compelling work.

The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna
Ned was beside me, his messages running easily through him, with space between each one, coming through him like water. He was the go-between, going between the animal kingdom and this one. I watched the waves as they rolled and crashed towards us, one after another, never stopping, always changing. I knew what was making them come, I had been there and I would always know.' Meet Jimmy Flick. He's not like other kids - he's both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy's mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She holds him tight enough to stop his cells spinning. It is only Paula who can keep Jimmy out of his father's way. But when Jimmy's world falls apart, he has to navigate the unfathomable world on his own, and make things right.

The Golden Age by Joan London
It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At The Golden Age Children's Polio Convalescent Home in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond. The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love and desire, music, death, and poetry. It is a place where children must learn they're alone, even within their families.

Cicada by Moira McKinnon
A stunning novel of terror, love and survival in the greatest wilderness on earth. A lyrical, heartbreaking epic debut.
An isolated property in the middle of Western Australia, just after the Great War. An English heiress has just given birth and unleashed hell. Weakened and grieving, she realises her life is in danger, and flees into the desert with her Aboriginal maid. One of them is running from a murderer; the other is accused of murder.
Soon the women are being hunted across the Kimberley by troopers, trackers and the man who wants to silence them both. How they survive in the searing desert and what happens when they are finally found will take your breath away.

Here Come the Dogs by Omar Musa
In small town suburbia, three young men are ready to make their mark.
Solomon is all charisma, authority and charm, down for the moment but surely not out.  His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself.  Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family and his homeland, and would do anything for them.  The question is, does he know where to draw the line?
Solomon, Jimmy and Aleks: way out on the fringe of Australia, looking for a way in.  Hip hop and graffiti give them a voice.  Booze, women and violence pass the time while they wait for their chance.  Under the oppressive summer sun, their town has turned tinder-dry.  All it'll take is a spark.
As the surrounding hills roar with flames, the change storms in.  But it's not what they were waiting for.  It never is.

The Claimant by Janette Turner Hospital
 So then, here it is. the unadorned un-self-flattering gospel, the never-before-told story our intricately intertwined lives ... Listen: I know things that no one else knows. trust me. ' Manhattan, 1996: the trial of the Vanderbilt claimant is finally coming to an end. the case - long, complex, riven with unknowns, attracting huge media and social interest - has been seeking to establish whether or not a certain man is the son of the fabulously wealthy and well-connected Vanderbilt family. the son went missing, presumed dead, while serving in the Vietnam war. there is huge fortune, prestige and status at stake. But is the man - a handsome cattle farmer from Queensland - really the Vanderbilt heir? And if so, why does he seem so reluctant to be found? From one of our foremost novelists, the Claimant is a compelling and ravishingly readable novel about the fluid, shifting and ultimately elusive nature of identity and the reasons why people seek to change their names, their identities or their personalities.
Cairo by Louis Armand