Tuesday, May 17, 2022




The Writer Laid Bare: Mastering emotional honesty in a writer’s art, craft and life

The Writer Laid Bare: Mastering emotional honesty in a writer’s art, craft and life mingles memoir with writerly guidance – the latter fired in the crucible of Lee Kofman's experience and shaped through a lifetime of reading.

This Is My Dad

Recently, a friend of mine had to do a week-long stint of single parenting, and she confessed it was intimidating.

The Candy House

Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House is a book she describes as a “companion” (the term “sequel” is avoided by both Egan and publicists) to her 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad. Several of Goon Squad’s characters reappear, among them Lou Kline, Bennie Salazar, Sasha, Lincoln and Lulu.

Ten Steps to Nanette

Ten Steps to Nanette is a stimulating memoir from a visionary voice.

The Shape of Sound

Fiona Murphy’s beautiful memoir, The Shape of Sound, records the human body as a “disjointed poem of mixed metaphors and similes”.

The Urge

If there is one overarching message from The Urge, it is just that: Addiction is complex; quick fixes and slogans are irrelevant; its causes are both societal and individual, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment model.

To Paradise

To Paradise, like Washington Square, artfully considers the role of identity and integrity of personhood in the formation of a country.


Layers, liminal spaces and secretions are Permafrost’s groundwater. The mood of these short stories is closer to the broody greyness of a Scottish loch than the glittering seas of SJ Norman’s home country, Australia.


In Matrix, Lauren Groff is exploring and exploiting all the complicated implications of its title, including one of the word’s archaic meanings as womb and, by extension, mother.

Five paths to keep you connected

Step away from your devices and pull your boots on! These books will inspire you to connect with the earth and explore its bounty.

The Mother Wound

Losing a beloved family member is never easy, but what’s it like when your mother is brutally murdered – by your father? Amani Haydar writes about this in The Mother Wound which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction 2022.

Picture books are superheroes for your child’s development

Reading picture books to your child gives them windows to different worlds outside of home. It also creates special memories and allows their concentration span, listening and language skills to develop.

These Precious Days

Whether you are a long-term Patchett fan, or are just meeting her for the first time, These Precious Days is a gem of a book, moving without being saccharine.

Action yields results for Better Read than Dead staff

Staff from Better Read than Dead bookshop in Newtown have negotiated to secure better working conditions with help from the RAFFWU (Retail and Fast Food Workers Union) and strong support from locals and Australia’s literary community.


The breadth and depth of the questions Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads explores, set it apart from his previous works.

Once There Were Wolves

In Once There Were Wolves, as in her previous novel Migrations, Sydney-based author Charlotte McConaghy weaves skilful storytelling with a fiery passion to convey the urgent environmental issues of the moment.

Better Read than Dead staff continue to negotiate rights

After more than a year, staff of Better Read than Dead bookshop in Newtown continue to negotiate to secure better working conditions through a new enterprise agreement.

Albert Namatjira

Vincent Namatjira was 18 when he returned from being fostered in Perth to live with extended family in the desert in Ntaria (Hermannsburg) in the Northern Territory. It was here that he learned he was the great-grandson of the famous Albert Namatjira. ...

Priest and poet, baker, neighbour

Born in Gippsland, Anglican friar Noel Jeffs studied theology...

The Kindness Revolution

Hugh Mackay AO, author of The Kindness Revolution, believes that people are capable of great kindness, and that the Covid pandemic demonstrated this.

Beautiful World, Where Are You

Climate change, the fate of a now extinct Bronze Age culture, the rise of right-wing politics and global injustice also make their appearance in the detailed electronic epistles of the two women in Sally Rooney’s third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You.


“In a snowy mountain village, my family had lived peacefully for hundreds of years ...” – so begins Karen Hendriks’ new picture book for children aged 7 and upwards and inspired inspired by the author’s mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

A History of My Brief Body

Situated in the context of other seminal queer texts, these pieces are a “kind of memoir”, Belcourt writes, that “stretch well beyond the boundaries my personal life”.

The Labyrinth

What sets The Labyrinth apart, though, is both the beauty and simplicity of Lohrey’s writing and the magnitude of the tragedy that has caused her narrator, Erica, to flee Sydney for a tiny coastal town.

Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now

Award-winning author Ellen van Neerven has gathered a bumper crop of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories in Flock.

On the street and online this library helps the homeless

While Martin Place fell into an uncharacteristic quiet during...

 ‘I hope the book will reach kids like me’

The Boy from the Mish is both a classic coming of age novel and an unusual book.

Five things wild and wonderful

Lockdown getting you down? Cabin fever hemming you in? These wild and wonderful books can transport you to parts of the world their authors have explored and explain beautifully.

Sea Country

“My people are proud, strong people. We are the descendants of Mannelargenna of the Pairrrebeenne / Trawlwoolway clan,” Aunty Patsy Cameron writes to introduce her generous tale of the environment and traditions that have shaped her life and kin.

The Tale of the Whale

If you want to motivate your kids (aged 4 and up) to be eco activists – try The Tale of the Whale. It’s a clarion call to us all to think about our oceans and their creatures and to stop our seas being the garbage tips for our over-indulgent lifestyles.

The Boy from the Mish

The Boy from the Mish is both a classic coming of age novel and an unusual book.

Smuggled – an illegal history of journeys to Australia

Authors Ruth Balint and Julie Kalman are associate professors, at the University of New South Wales and Monash University respectively. They are also both the children of European refugees and have taught and researched extensively on migration issues.

Where the Heart Is

Author Irma Gold was inspired by a newspaper piece about an oil-drenched Magellanic penguin chick that washed up on an island outside Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and was rescued by an islander named Joao who named him Dindim.

Navigating consent? Grab this new guide

Welcome to Consent is a new book by adolescent health experts Yumi Stynes and Dr Melissa Kang, and it is timely, given disclosures by Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame, the removal of the federal government’s “milkshake” ad, and the Women’s March 4 Justice on March 15.

Growing Pains

The lush collage art this in picture book is a delight – adding whimsy and gentleness to a tender tale of empathy, kindness and care for the environment, and how to draw on the strengths of others to overcome your fears.

Growing Up Disabled in Australia

On Sunday, May 2, Carly Findlay, editor of Growing Up Disabled in Australia, spoke to an attentive audience at the 2021 Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF). Our reviewer, Melinda Kearns, offers insights here about the session and the book.

My Year of Living Vulnerably

Two years after his widely acclaimed One Hundred Years of Dirt, journalist Rick Morton has produced another gritty but inspiring work, My Year of Living Vulnerably.

Writers within reach

DARLINGTON: More than 400 Australian-based speakers and 15 international...

The Boy in the Field

This ninth novel by the Scottish-born Margot Livesey was nominated by the New York Times as one of 2020’s 100 Notable Books.

Klara and the Sun

In many of Ishiguro’s novels, his protagonists are not quite telling us the truth, or are perhaps, telling us only their perspective on what occurs around them.

Lofty lifts off – an interview with Helen Milroy

Western Australian of the Year, Dr Helen Milroy, has written and illustrated The Emu Who Ran Through the Sky, released in April, an exciting story for 5-10 year-olds about working together and finding the courage to be different.

‘Wake up – for the fire is among us’

In the crucible of Australia’s Black Summer Danielle Celermajer pondered the personal and broader implications of the climate catastrophe. Her book Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future offers new language and concepts to help us tackle it.

Gold’s work of love exposes ‘elephant hell’

The Breaking by award-winning author and editor, Irma Gold, was released on March 1. In this Q&A she offers insights into her debut novel’s central love story and how we can stop the harm done to elephants through tourism.

Bindi encourages care for Country – an interview with Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders wrote Bindi as a call to action for young people to understand their role in conservation and caring for Country.

All Our Shimmering Skies

All Our Shimmering Skies, like Trent Dalton's first novel and runaway best seller Boy Swallows Universe, is often gritty, violent and harrowing – but his luminous prose makes it a compelling read.

A Pilgrimage to Eternity – from Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith

Timothy Egan’s book is part travelogue, part memoir, part meditation on the past and future of Christianity and part history of the Church in Europe.

The Time of Our Lives

I’ve always loved Robert Dessaix’s ability to flip the script – and in The Time of Our Lives he doesn’t disappoint.


Malcolm Knox is best known as a journalist, columnist and former literary editor for the Sydney Morning Herald, but he is also the author of several books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Five things elemental

Dive deep and fly high with these atmospheric books as you head into the silly season.

Matta’s ‘Life Bound’ stories are moving

Life Bound is Marian Matta’s debut collection of short stories – and it’s a beauty. Earthy characters, evocative settings, and intriguing plotlines make these 16 stories sing from the page.

The Beauty in Breaking

The Beauty in Breaking is a beautifully written and thoughtful memoir. The author moves between her childhood and the daily dramas of her hospital work, interspersed with deep insights into pain, trauma, healing, forgiveness and love.

Tree Beings are smart beings

“Plant a tree, save the planet.” This is the short, take-home message of Tree Beings.