Transportation Press ... the latest news

Transportation Press
02.09.15 12:29 pm


Transportation Press is a new publisher based in Tasmania, publishing work from around the world. The latest publication currently open for submissions, is The Third Script, a collection of contemporary stories from the UK, Iran, and Tasmania.

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Novel Names

Paula Xiberras
30.08.15 7:17 am


Earlier this year I spoke to the wonderful Tommy Wieringa author of prize winning novel ‘These are the Names’. The title is somewhat ironic as some of the refugee characters that populate the book are not given names other than ‘woman’ ‘boy’ or the place that they originate from, as in the case of the character called ‘Africa’ demonstrating that these people are in search of their identity and place in the world.

It was a newspaper story of refugees that sparked Tommy’s interest in writing this book.

Tommy himself, is delighted to be in Australia but bemoans its only for 5 days which he calls ‘too short’. He says as a guest of the Brisbane Writer’s Festival he has come into contact with some fantastic writers. Tommy surprises me by also being very knowledgeable about Tasmania and Abel Tasman, well perhaps not so surprising as Tommy is Dutch!

In ‘These are the Names’ Tommy has paralled the biblical story of Exodus, the chosen people and Moses journey in the desert for the promised land to the present day exodus of refugees searching for their own promised land.

The parallel is extended in the story of the main protagonist Commissioner Beg, who like the chosen people of Exodus and the present day refugees is involved in his for discovery of self and own Promised Land. He has however one perpetually, literally and metaphorically ‘cold’ foot that he takes into his quest. It is memory of a Jewish hymn his mother sang to him as a child and a photo of his mother with a Menorah that is the catalyst of this search for his identity and place in the world.

Even within the story of the refugees there is, says Tommy a’ tension’ and an ‘hierarchy’ as can be observed in the way the refugees perceive the one among them called ‘Africa’. This Ethiopian man shares his food with another of the refugees but this act of kindness is soon overtaken by fears and superstition, especially in relation to the various maladies the refugees suffer which they blame on ‘Africa’ and he eventually becomes a scapegoat for their fears.

The fears and superstitions of the group are then reversed with Africa now revered and just as Joseph wanted his remains to be taken to the Promised Land so too, the refugees take a relic of the Africa, a source of protection, as they continue their journey.

The novel demonstrates to us, that even those of us who have are home are still ‘displaced’ until we know our history to allow us to find our place in the present.

‘These are the Names’ is out now published by Scribe publishing.

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The ASA Bulletin

Australian Society of Authors
28.08.15 5:33 pm


Dreyfus, Brandis and Bandt to attend National Writers’ Congress

ASA is pleased to announce that Senator George Brandis, Minister for the Arts and Commonwealth Attorney-General, will now be joining Mark Dreyfus MP, Shadow Minister for the Arts and Shadow Attorney-General, and Adam Bandt MP of the Greens with responsibility for the arts, at our National Writers’ Congress on Friday 11 & Saturday 12 September 2015.

Hear the latest from the frontlines of government and opposition as three sides of politics join us to give their views on books and writing and discuss what they are proposing in support of authors over the next period.

Minister Brandis will give a short address to 200 attending authors and industry professionals at the Congress on Friday 11 September at 12.15pm. Mark Dreyfus MP and Adam Bandt MP will feature on panels during that same day, alongside ASA Chair David Day and others, to discuss how they are proposing to support authors and the book industry.

Two-day tickets as well as day passes to the ASA National Writers’ Congress are now on sale. Full program available for download at

ASA 2015 National Writers’ Congress
When: Friday 11 & Saturday 12 September, from 9am
Where: Luna Park Conference Centre, 1 Olympic Dr, Milsons Point NSW
Cost per day: ASA members $155; Member of a partner organisation $180; Non-member $200
Bookings: visit or call (02) 9211 1004

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The Hobart Bookshop: Launch by The Governor, 5.30pm Aug 27, The White Mouse

The Hobart Bookshop. First published August 4
27.08.15 7:18 am


The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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Black Inc and Nero: September Titles

Black Ink and Nero Books
25.08.15 6:00 pm


Tassietimes was going to say, Read more here but can’t because the link has the PR person’s private details ... so here’s the website ...


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I leaned in for the kiss ...

Amber Wilson
20.08.15 7:01 pm

I leaned in for the kiss.
He leaned in for the kill.

AND ...

The context ...


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Hobart Bookshop: Tim Flannery, Atmosphere of Hope, Sept 24

The Hobart Bookshop
19.08.15 3:42 pm


To celebrate the release of Tim Flannery’s new book Atmosphere of Hope, we are pleased to present him in conversation with Bob Brown, moderated by Peter Boyer

In the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Summit to be held in Paris in December, Atmosphere of Hope provides both a snapshot of the trouble we are in and an up-to-the-minute analysis of some of the new possibilities for mitigating climate change that are emerging now. From atmospheric carbon capture through extensive seaweed farming; CO2 snow production in Antarctica and the manufacture of carbon-rich biochar; to reflecting the sun’s rays by releasing sulphur into the atmosphere and painting landscapes and cities white, Flannery outlines an array of innovative technologies that give cause for hope.

6pm Thursday 24th September, Dechaineux Theatre
(Tasmanian School of Art, Hunter Street)

Bookings essential, tickets $5.00
Contact The Hobart Bookshop on 03 6223 1803, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
or in person at 22 Salamanca Square

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Canadian “contemporary Crusoe” to teach masterclass at Tasmanian Writers and Readers Fes

Amber Wilson Communications Officer,
17.08.15 2:22 pm


An eminent poet and teacher of literature, Professor Brent MacLaine, will bring his expertise all the way from Canada’s Prince Edward Island to local writers next month at the biennial Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival.

Prof MacLaine, the head of the English department at the University of Prince Edward Island, has been selected as the 2015 Canadian writer to come to Tasmania for the Tasmania and Prince Edward Island Writer’s Exchange. The exchange is held in partnership between the University of Prince Edward Island, the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and aims to exchange talent and ideas with islands around the world.

Prof MacLaine will arrive in September in time for this year’s Tasmanian Readers and Writers Festival. His project while in Tasmania is entitled Margins All Around, based around the experience of “islandness”.

He will teach a masterclass at the upcoming Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival – See What I Mean: The Power of Description – a three-hour session on Friday September 11.

Prof MacLaine said Tasmania was the ideal location to explore the “poetic space” of another island, giving him the opportunity to discover what it means to be an islander.

“The contemporary Crusoe and ‘castaway narrative’ is one of many possible starting points,” he said.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Director Chris Gallagher said Prof MacLaine’s upcoming arrival in Hobart would be an exciting international addition to the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival.

“We hope Tasmanian writers will benefit from Prof MacLaine’s perspectives and ideas about islandness to help inform their own work,” she said.

Prof MacLaine will stay in Hobart for three weeks. Other than his masterclass at the festival, he will give readings, workshops and manuscript assessments across the state.

In 2016, a Tasmanian writer will be selected to visit Prince Edward Island as part of a reciprocal residency. Callouts for applications will be in November this year.

The Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival will be held at Hadley’s Orient Hotel, September 11-13.

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Writing Masterclasses at the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival 11 - 13 September 2015

Kate Harrison, Festival Marketing
14.08.15 4:41 pm

Cate Kennedy

Stephanie Bishop

Brent MacLaine

Tickets for the full festival program went on sale last week and have been tracking well. Women of Letters sold out in just a few days and audiences are encouraged to get in early so they don’t miss out on any other sessions.

The festival is kicking off on Friday 11 September with a program of masterclasses offered by Australian writers, Cate Kennedy and Stephanie Bishop and Canadian writer, Brent MacLaine.

There is a strict limit of 25 participants per masterclass so people are encouraged to book now.

Cate Kennedy, short story expert, poet and all around prolific writer believes in the importance of life experience to fuel a great story. Her full-day masterclass on The Essence of Great Stories promises to inspire participants to pick up a pen and get on with that blockbusting story.

Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost: Full $130, Concession $110 (includes lunch)

Stephanie Bishop, writer, critic and lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of New South Wales, has just released her already highly acclaimed second novel, The Other Side of the World. Stephanie’s class, Turning the Real into Fiction: Ways of Starting Out will explore the relationship between truth and fiction through a series of exercises to assist writers to generate their own material.

Time: 10am - 1pm
Cost: Full $77, Concession $55

Brent MacLaine, celebrated Canadian poet, academic and professor of modern literature, will host a half-day masterclass, See What I Mean: The Power of Description. Earlier this year, Brent was selected as the 2015 Canadian writer to come to Tasmania as part of the ‘Tasmania and Prince Edward Island Writer’s Exchange’.

Time: 10am - 1pm
Cost: Full $77, Concession $55

Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival
11 - 13 September 2015
Hadley’s Orient Hotel, 34 Murray St, Hobart

TWRF Social Media:
Twitter: @TasWritersFest
Facebook: /taswritersfest
Instagram: @TasWriters
Hashtag: #TWRF2015

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Domain House ...

14.08.15 9:01 am




‘A very impressive work, and a substantial contribution to our knowledge’
Professor Michael Roe University of Tasmania

‘I absolutely love the book and all it represents, and the beautiful poem by Vivian Smith In
the Grounds of the Old University left me speechless and in tears’

Ms. Rhonda Ewart University of Tasmania

The High School of Hobart Town was completed in 1850 to the designs of architect Alexander
Dawson. It became the home of the University of Tasmania in 1892, and was subsequently home to
a variety of Tasmanian educational institutions. It became known as Domain House in the 1970s.

This illustrated history of the life and times of Domain House, and of its conservation by the University
of Tasmania, has been prepared as a commemoration of the one hundred and twenty fifth
anniversary of the founding of the University in 1890. The publication also celebrates the completion
of the Domain House restoration and reconstruction project, which first commenced late in 2012.

Three architects with differing backgrounds, but a shared appreciation of Tasmanian architectural
history and practice, have come together to provide a unique combination of skills and resources
to address the many complex issues in the conservation of Domain House, and to prepare this
illustrated history. Peter Freeman managed the publication about the history of this iconic
Tasmanian building and the conservation project initiated by the University of Tasmania.

The book will reach the bookshops in mid-September


M +61 407 265 920


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Fiona’s Flying Females are HomeStead-fast!

Paula Xiberras
13.08.15 6:36 am


Fiona McArthur author of ‘The Homestead Girls’ loves Hobart and remembers visiting here when she was 17 on a ‘young people’ tour. Nowadays. Fiona finds herself in Hobart once a year for camping and catching up with friends. Fiona herself has a background as a midwife for the RFDS and so is well experienced to write about the situations her characters are confronted with in the novel.

I ask Fiona what she suggests are the reasons behind the growing popularity of the rural romance genre particularly that of medical rural romance. Fiona denies it’s to do with the global financial crisis and so a turning away from a life of excess to a more simple life, although that may be part of it but instead Fiona believes the attraction is fuelled by the TV shows that feature ‘gorgeous doctors’ and Fiona lists ‘Offspring’, ‘A Country Practice’ and ‘The Flying Doctors’ and the movie ‘Australia’ that have inspired the interest in rural fiction.

Fiona’s rural romance is unique in that it emphases the strong bond between very different female protagonists as they move in together to a homestead at Mica Ridge in Broken Hill. There is Billie (Green- a surname that is indicative of her ‘tree -  change’) a doctor whose dream has always been to work in the outback, Mia her sometimes rebellious teenage daughter, Soretta the young woman that is, with her grandfather, running the farm adjoining the homestead, Daphne the nurse who has romantic feelings for the RFDS pilot she works with and matriarch and former nurse Lorna. We also learn more about the RFDS such as when up in the air the nurse is in control of the set up and controls the situation, even though the doctor supplies the medical direction.

In the course of the novel Fiona showcases some medical emergencies that you might find in any hospital, ie foreign bodies - read jelly beans, stuck in infant noses and ears, snake bites and baby births, all becoming potential medical emergencies with the added dimension of distance and time to gain necessary medical attention.

The novel also includes some bites of medical knowledge such as that it’s important to fly at lower altitudes for head injuries. Fiona says the mother’s like the one in the novel who must deal with the emergency of her daughter’s snake bite do manage to hold themselves together in such emergencies and she has much praise for them.

Fiona calls the people who work for the RFDS ‘great, amazing people’ and her aim is not just to entertain but to inform readers of the tasks the RFDS do every day and never is she happier than when someone comes along to a book event saying they enjoyed her books and that it inspired them to make a donation to the RFDS.

Homestead Girls is out now published by Penguin Books.

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Forthcoming book explores the history of boxing in Australia

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
10.08.15 1:13 pm

Australia’s love of boxing is celebrated in a forthcoming book on the history of the sport, reflecting on the greatest fights, triumphs and controversies that have shaped it. Written by renowned boxing journalist Grantlee Kieza, Boxing in Australia (NLA Publishing, October 2015, $39.99) provides a comprehensive insight into the fight game, from its colonial past to the present.

Kieza shares the true stories of Australian boxers who rose above humble beginnings to become international champions, such as Aboriginal boxers Lionel Rose and Anthony Mundine, pigtailed pugilist Kostya Tszyu, stocky Les Darcy, street smart Jeff Fenech, heavy-punching Danny Green, and many more. Readers find out how the battle between a black and a white boxer attracted one of the biggest ever crowds in Australian history, how travelling tent-boxing shows launched careers, and how a bare-knuckle brawl impressed even Ned Kelly.  It also details the rise of women boxers and includes over 130 colour and black-and-white photographs.

Packed with fascinating stories, profiles and vital match statistics, Boxing in Australia provides a unique insight into this controversial sport and reveals the savage beauty of boxing in all its glory. Author Grantlee Kieza has been Australia’s leading boxing writer for 35 years.

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Seal Studies Shipwrecks on a Savage Shore

Paula Xiberras
10.08.15 7:20 am


Graham Seal will be in Tasmania in January for the Cygnet folk festival. This Renaissance man tells me that writing books is ‘another language’ than that employed in writing songs and Graham should know as he does both! Graham is an accomplished expert and lecturer in folklore and the trip to Tassie will see Graham and his musical colleagues combine this interest of music and the social participation aspects of folk lore as well as the adaptation of community to bush ballads.

I’m catching up with Graham again to chat about his most recent book ‘The Savage Shore’.

When Australia was the uncharted south land early conceptions of it were of ‘a hot place where people walked upside down’ with ‘winged horses and hermaphrodites’.

Graham’s book explores (pardon the pun) the early attempts from ancient times of explorers to discover the southern land of Australia. This includes the Dutch East India Company, the Spanish, Portuguese and French explorers up until Captain Cook’s explorations and Matthew Flinders becoming the first person to circumnavigate the continent, proving it to be an island and giving it the name Terra Australis.

The book emphasises the dangers of these early expeditions most notably resulting in shipwrecks and the detective work of their aftermath. There is much myth and legend involved with these early explorations and the jury may still be out on the conclusions made from them.

Some of the stories canvassed in the book are the mystery of the mahogany ship to shipping stories at their most shocking with an account of the Batavia.

The debate of what happened to those who survived those early shipwrecks involve some genetic detective work such as that accounting for the prevalence of ‘porphyria variegata’ among the indigenous population of the Kalbarri, possibly brought by survivors of shipwreck while at the same time acknowledging the condition may occur spontaneously in the indigenous people of that area.

A similar discussion of the genetic ‘Ellis van Creveld syndrome’ which may present in those with the condition as ‘extra fingers and toes or over large feet’. This condition is normally only found in the Amish or plains people of America and we know a member of this community was on the shipwrecked Dutch East India Company’s ‘Zuytdorp’, which may indicate that there were survivors of this wreck that intermingled with the indigenous community.

Graham also discusses in the book, lack of understanding between the explorers and the indigenous population. The explorers didn’t realise that fire was employed by the indigenous population, among other things, as a sign of welcome.

The Savage Shore is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

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Dr. Baljit Singh
10.08.15 6:29 am

Dr. Baljit Singh

I did not hope you to be standing
But you were standing
So beautiful you are
I’m describing

My tears fell apart
Your beauty is relishing
No other appropriate way
I could foresee
Other than your standing
It was your waiting
Prior to my understanding
You captured my heart
You did not let me thinking

My eyes are tearing
Love been flourishing
As if want to say, I love you
I’m relishing your waiting

Dr. Baljit Singh
Wednesday 8th July 2015

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Fox’s Footy

Paula Xiberras
09.08.15 6:48 am


I’m once again chatting to the lovely David Lawrence on the publication of his third book ‘Fox Swift and the Golden Boot’ in the Fox Swift/Cyril Rioli series.

David says that in 2002 he worked in Launceston at, what he jokingly refers to at ‘a real job’ as a Mobil Oil wholesale manager. He tells me he thinks Tasmania ‘is beautiful’ and particularly loves Hobart.

When he did finish his career as a financial analyst he moved on to what he always wanted to do, comedy writing and performing. He confides to me that even at his real job he would indulge in passion for comedic writing by writing funny emails and ‘funnies’ in the work newsletter. David wrote for performance comedy and worked for a show called ‘The Big Bite’ as well as ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ironically, ‘Fox Footy’.

With the proper placement of an apostrophe Fox Footy became ‘Fox’s Footy and so the footy tales of our protagonist, Fox Swift.

In this third in the series ‘Fox Swift and the Golden Boot’, Fox visits the Tiwi Islands, birthplace of the Digger team’s inspiration, Hawthorn player Cyril Rioli. There Fox gains an education in the island’s amazing natural world, inhabited by water buffalo and yellow snakes! David tells me, part of his research for the novel saw him visit the Tiwi Islands and his own incident with the scales is written into the book as a scenario for Fox’s dad.

To go to the island a small plane is required and visitors have to be weighed for the plane flight. In the novel, Fox’s dad has some difficulties with the weighting!

David went to Cyril’s old school in the Tiwi Islands to do some brainstorming for the novel with the students, about what they envisioned for Fox Swift if he were to make a visit.

The book also addresses the issue of cultural differences and how to reconcile religious observations with playing footy. Again, a real life situation of Richmond’s Bacher Houli and his need to observe fasting for Ramadan while still having enough energy to play footy inspired the book’s Aslam Khan observing Ramadan by eating early in the morning before the fasting period begins.

Also keeping to the books previous theme of equality we see football players of different nationalities as well as a percentage of female football players populating the book because as David says female players are a growing part of the game.  Half of David’s readers are female and of those, there may be some that don’t like football but like the story. David hopes the book shows diversity and respect for that diversity.

With Fox growing up and achieving a scholarship to boarding school, Exford College at the end of the novel, we may see the next novel focus more on Fox’s younger brother Chase who true to his name will be ‘Chasing’ to catch up with his older brothers exploits on the footy field.

Once again the superb illustrations that accompany the book are done by Jo Gill and as David says these are instrumental in engaging the more reluctant readers and encouraging them to be ‘drawn’ in (pardon the pun) by the illustrations and want to read more to understand how the drawings were arrived at.

The book also includes some comedic situations that involve laxatives, Miss Carey’s termite tirade and the destruction of the administration building!

An additional feature of the book is a footy dictionary which explains some footy terminology.

‘Fox Swift and the Golden Boot’ is out now published by The Slattery Media Group.

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Ten books that changed the world

Tom Holland, Guardian
08.08.15 5:07 am

The Shakespeare edition that Nelson Mandela read on Robben Island

From Euclid’s Elements to Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, and from Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex to Shakespeare First Folio … 10 authors choose books ‘not of an age, but for all time’

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Readers’ favourite books by women

Marta Bausells, Guardian
08.08.15 4:14 am


From Joan Didion to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Guardianreaders have been sharing their favourite books by female authors. Ahead of International Women’s Day, here’s our celebration of life-changing, beautiful and inspiring stories by women ...

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Tasmanian Arts Guide: for the love of books and writing

Arts Tasmania
07.08.15 4:22 pm


We are sending this special edition newsletter to celebrate the wonderful books, talented authors and enthusiastic booksellers that emanate from or call Tasmania home.

This week the longlists for the 2015 Premier’s Literary Prizes ( HERE ) were announced. The prizes provide an opportunity to highlight the wealth of literary talent in Tasmania and celebrate our state as a source of inspiration for writers from around Australia.

The Premier’s Literary Prizes are unique in Australia in that a diverse range of books can be in contention for the prizes which are not genre specific. The longlisted titles in 2015 include a picture book, historical fiction and non-fiction, memoir, poetry, young-adult fiction and literary fiction.

The longlists are:

Tasmania Book Prize - $25 000 prize for the best book with Tasmanian content in any genre, supported by the Tasmanian Government.

The Ambitions of Jane Franklin: Victorian Lady Adventurer by Alison Alexander (Allen & Unwin)
A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land by Simon Barnard (Text Publishing)
Infamy by Lenny Bartulin (Allen & Unwin)
The Rise and Fall of Gunns Limited by Quentin Beresford (New South Publishing)
The Black War: Fear, Sex and Resistance in Tasmania by Nicholas Clements (University of Queensland Press)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Random House, Australia)
Into That Forest by Louis Nowra (Allen & Unwin)
Forgotten War by Henry Reynolds (New South Publishing)
A Bone of Fact by David Walsh (Picador Australia)
To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)

Margaret Scott Prize – $5 000 prize for the best book by a Tasmanian writer, supported by the University of Tasmania.

Infamy by Lenny Bartulin (Allen & Unwin)
Born Bad: Original Sin and the Making of the Western World, by James Boyce (Black Inc.)
Tempo by Sarah Day (Puncher & Wattman)
What Days Are For by Robert Dessaix (Random House Australia)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Random House Australia)
Song for a Scarlet Runner by Julie Hunt (Allen & Unwin)
A Short History of Richard Kline by Amanda Lohrey (Black Inc.)
A Bone of Fact by David Walsh (Picador Australia)
To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)
Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood (Allen & Unwin)

Click here for links to each book and read the judges’ comments about the 2015 Premier’s Literary Prizes longlists:


These books make a fabulous reading list if you are looking to explore some new worlds. The shortlists in all the Premier’s Literary Prizes categories, including the University of Tasmania Prize for an unpublished literary work and the Tasmanian Young Writer’s Fellowship, will be announced at the opening of the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival in Hobart on Friday, 11 September 2015.

Extracts of the shortlisted works will be published on the Tasmanian Arts Guide and voting in the People’s Choice Awards will open. You will have the opportunity to dip into the shortlisted books, see what piques your interest and vote for your favourites.

One lucky reader who votes in the People’s Choice Awards will win a copy of all of the longlisted works and an invitation to attend the announcement event at Government House.

The 2015 Premiers Literary Prizes are supported by the Tasmanian Government, the University of Tasmania and private philanthropists.

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Premier’s Literary Prizes longlist revealed

Will Hodgman, Premier Vanessa Goodwin, Minister for the Arts
05.08.15 3:29 pm

James Boyce at the launch ...

The longlists for the 2015 Premier’s Literary Prizes for published works have been announced.

“The list of high calibre authors shows that literary talent is flourishing in Tasmania, and that Tasmania is a source of inspiration for writers around Australia,” Premier Will Hodgman said.

“The quality of the nominated works reinforces Tasmania’s reputation as a cultural and artistic hub.”

Minister for the Arts Vanessa Goodwin said the Premier’s Literary Prizes are unique in Australia in that such a diverse range of books can be in contention.

“The longlisted titles include a picture book, historical fiction and non-fiction, memoir, poetry, young-adult fiction and literary fiction,” Dr Goodwin said.

The longlists were determined by Judges Hamish Maxwell-Stewart (chair), Matthew Lamb and Lian Tanner, who were struck with the diversity and strength of the submissions for both the Tasmania Book Prize and the Margaret Scott Prize.

Premier’s Literary Prizes longlists:

Tasmania Book Prize – best book with Tasmanian content in any genre. This $25,000 award recognises the influence Tasmania has had on content or perspective and is sponsored by the Tasmanian Government.

• The Ambitions of Jane Franklin: Victorian Lady Adventurer by Alison Alexander (Allen & Unwin)

• A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land by Simon Barnard (Text Publishing)

• Infamy by Lenny Bartulin (Allen & Unwin)

• The Rise and Fall of Gunns Limited by Quentin Beresford (New South Publishing)

• The Black War: Fear, Sex and Resistance in Tasmania by Nicholas Clements (University of Queensland Press)

• The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Random House, Australia)

• Into That Forest by Louis Nowra (Allen & Unwin)

• Forgotten War by Henry Reynolds (New South Publishing)

• A Bone of Fact by David Walsh (Picador Australia)

• To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)

Margaret Scott Prize – best book by a Tasmanian writer. This $5,000 award is sponsored by the University of Tasmania.

• Infamy by Lenny Bartulin (Allen & Unwin)

• Born Bad: Original Sin and the Making of the Western World, By James Boyce (Black Inc.)

• Tempo by Sarah Day (Puncher & Wattman)

• What Days Are For by Robert Dessaix (Random House Australia)

• The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Random House Australia)

• Song for a Scarlet Runner by Julie Hunt (Allen & Unwin)

• A Short History of Richard Kline by Amanda Lohrey (Black Inc.)

• A Bone of Fact by David Walsh (Picador Australia)

• To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)

• Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood (Allen & Unwin)

The shortlists in all the Premier’s Literary Prizes categories, including the University of Tasmania Prize for an unpublished literary work and the Tasmanian Young Writer’s Fellowship, will be announced at the opening of the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival in Hobart on Friday, 11 September 2015.

For more information on the Premier’s Literary Prizes visit

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Chris Taylor’s Australian Fabric of Invention

Paula Xiberras
05.08.15 6:36 am


Chris ‘Roy’ Taylor, graphic designer and author, has an appreciation for Tasmania having visited Launceston a number of times. Chris loves Tassie’s ‘foodie’ culture and compares Tasmania to another place he has spent a bit of time in, New Zealand. Chris says he wouldn’t mind settling in Tasmania someday but for now he’s pretty happy living as he does in close vicinity to Hanging Rock in Victoria, a place that one could say has provided much for the inventive imagination and that very inventive imagination is the subject of Chris’s latest book.

Chris’s interest in invention may have started when his aunty gave him a book of William Heath Robinson, an English cartoonist and illustrator who drew ‘complex machines’. This sparked Chris’s interest, which only grew with his fascination with the ‘mysterious’ inventiveness that went into the creation of Australia’s yacht for the America’s Cup.

Chris says most books on inventions have been heavily technical volumes and so he takes a more light hearted look at inventions, utilising his skill as a graphic designer in a cartoon style, illustrated book which even includes cameos of his own family! Says Chris the book contains ‘bite sized pieces of information’ to both capture the attention of the reticent reader and also to spark a desire for further reading for the avid reader.

Chris says that many Australian inventors have not achieved the same level of fame as inventors in other nations and in spite of the fact the work of Australian inventors in some cases were early renderings of inventions that were later perfected and credited to other inventors ie Australian Henry Sutton who had an early idea for the television which was picked up on and developed by John Logie Baird and then there was the case of Lawrence Hargrave, the inventor of the box kite, among other inventions, whose work informed that of the Wright brothers.

Chris has a theory that the inventive spirit of Australians might in part be due to the fact that with the tyranny of distance and isolation we needed to be resourceful, working with whatever materials were available.

Perhaps one of the most ancient Australian invention was the woomera (spear) of the indigenous population. It was the fastest weapon prior to the invention of gunpowder!

Tasmanian readers might be surprised to know that some well-known inventions actually originated here in Tasmania. The Akubra hat’s inventor Benjamin Dunkerley came to Tasmania from the UK to set up a hat making business in Tasmania. He later relocated his business to NSW and the Akubra was born.

The humidicrib was invented in Tasmania in the 1930’s by brothers Don and Edward Both and the notepad was invented by Tasmanian JA Birchill when he glued pieces of paper together to create the widely known item we use today.

Chris hopes the book will be picked up by schools and educational institutes and it is already proving a popular present or souvenir for travellers to Australia to take back home with them.

This book certainly deserves to be widely read by all ages, introducing the young to Australia’s great inventive heritage and as a point of exploration for readers who may not have been made familiar with this important part of our history at school.

The Great Big Book of Aussie Inventions is out now and can be purchased from

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New Sydney: Hobart Pseudo-Intellectuals Book Club

Hobart Pseudo-Intellectuals Book Club
04.08.15 5:19 pm


Spending too much time hunching over Facebook rather than a tattered copy of Albert Camus’ The Stranger? Pining over the days when your biggest worry was writing a 1000-word essay on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby? Yearning for some vigorous debate about the scruples of Henry Miller? If you love books but feel your library card has been growing cobwebs of late, you’re certainly not alone.

This is a book club for people not only wanting to read more, but get more out of the books they do read by engaging in some deep (and not-so-deep) discussion with other book-heads. We’ll read a range of books, but focus on alternating 20th and 21st century greats, and talk it out over in cosy surroundings over beer/chais/Absinthe/ whatever you fancy. We meet monthly, usually on the last Wednesday of the month. Room 10, upstairs in the New Sydney Hotel, is the go-to location.

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At Human Nature’s Edge

Paula Xiberras
04.08.15 7:40 am


I recently spoke to the lovely Sara Gruen, author of ‘Water for Elephants’ and the new novel ‘At the Water’s Edge’, from her home in North Carolina but disappointingly the phone kept cutting out and we were forced to complete the interview by courtesy of email.

However, before the phone connection, or lack of, disrupted our chat I was able to discover that as yet Sara hasn’t been to Australia but would love to visit,
Which seems to be the cue to start talking about the animals in each of our immediate vicinity. I tell Sara about wallabies and kookaburras, which delights her and she tells me that how in her daily life she has been up close and personal with the mountain bears (that have damaged her bird seeders) and how she shares her mountain home with her other neighbours, a bob cat, wolf, coyote and cougar all which require her to take care walking her dogs!

Ironically the ‘middle German’ word ‘gruene’ is the origin of Sara’s surname and means ‘green, fresh and raw’ which fits in very well with Sara, her interest in and proximity to the rawness of nature’s wild life.
From all these very real wild presences near her home, our discussion turns to Sara’s new book ‘At the Water’s Edge’ that revolves around, this time, a mythical creature, the monster of Loch Ness.

Read on in our email question and answer to learn of Sara’s tea party and conversation with a great ape and how Sara and her family all had cameos in the movie ‘Water For Elephants’.

You have a great love for animals and in this novel you write about a mythical animal in the Loch Ness monster. Are you interested in perhaps writing the story of extinct animals as well to get attention for the plight of other animals facing such a possibility?

I wrote about endangered animals in APE HOUSE, but not for moralistic reasons. Although I am happy to have raised awareness of their plight, it was their language capabilities and proven ability to differentiate between past, present, and future that so intrigued me. I had a tea party on the lawn with a great ape, Panbanisha, who set up the blanket and made the tea. We conversed using a lexigram board, and after we ate cookies, she foraged for tasty leaves. It was incredible.

Do you have a moment of epiphany when you write, that the novel is complete?

I wish! I have an epiphany when I conceive of the novel, a wonderful moment when a vague notion and various small ideas converge into something resembling a story, but after that I stagger forward on a wing and a prayer. As for knowing when my novel is complete, my agent compares me to Picasso, who said he knew a painting was complete when his agent walked into his studio and left with it under his arm. I work on a book until it’s ripped from my fingers.

Is it difficult to say goodbye to your characters and do you ever feel like one author I interviewed like turning around to your character in your kitchen for example and asking them if they would like a cup of tea?

It’s very difficult, and I mourn the loss of them with every book. I’ve compared it to a post-partum period, but it’s not quite, because I’ve lived with these characters, and rooted for them, and sometimes put them in absolutely ghastly situations, and suddenly they’re gone. I like to believe that they’re still going, still living their lives, but that we’ve lost touch, like old friends. I wouldn’t mind getting a Christmas letter from them!

How is it to have your book made into a film and do you like to have input in the process?

I didn’t have much input at all, other than correcting a couple of technical circus issues in the script and raising a stink about using a trained ape (I won, and the ape was written out), but I think it’s better that I didn’t. I know nothing about movie making, and I probably would have been in the way. As it was, it was a wonderful and positive experience for my whole family (all five of us have cameos in the movie). Movie contracts are written so there’s practically barbed wire built in between the author and the set, I think in case the author turns out to be a control freak and makes it difficult for the producers to adapt the work into a different art form, but once they realized I wasn’t going to do that, they flew me out to the sets and let me be involved in a wonderful, rewarding way. The most amazing moment for me was when I arrived at the set in Filmore, California, and the director picked me up in a golf cart and drove me over a berm, and suddenly there was the Benzini Brothers. All the tents, the midway—everything. All of that existed only in my head a few years before, and there I was standing in the middle of it. It felt Chinese-boxy, like I was standing in my own head.

Australian author Morris Gleitzman talked about the ‘magic spaces’ where author and reader meet. The author brings there life experience and interpretation to a work. Do you believe in this and have you any interesting stories of readers interpreting something in a novel that you didn’t initially intend but then consider it may have been the work of your subconscious?

I absolutely believe that readers bring as much to a novel as the writer, and there are times I’ve learned surprising things about my work from other people. I go quite deep into my characters’ psychological landscapes, and when I’m doing it, I’m writing from their points of view, explaining and justifying their actions according to their thought processes. But their views of their own motives and actions are skewed they their own collective experiences, and other people interpret them through their own prism, which is, of course, equally skewed. No person can interpret any other person’s (or their own) actions and experiences completely objectively. My truth of the book may be different than someone else’s truth of the book, but both are equally valid.

‘At the Water’s Edge’ is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

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The Tamar Valley Writers Festival

Anne Committee Member for the TVWF
02.08.15 6:23 am


Hi Everyone.

It was called Festival of Golden Words last year, and held in Beaconsfield during March.

Next year it will still be held in March, at Beaconsfield, but has been renamed The Tamar Valley Writers Festival.!about/c1et

The official launch will be happening in a few weeks, but the website and Facebook ...

... pages are now up and running, so please make a note of the dates, bookmark the website address, and feel free to share the FB page so as much advertising and support as possible is given to this event.

Content will be added regularly as planning progresses and more writers commit.

And for those who work in schools – the schools programme is hoped to be available in early September also. We already have some excellent writers confirmed as coming . . .

Committee Member for the TVWF

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Alfies Anxiety Abated by Acquarium

Paula Xiberras
01.08.15 6:38 am


Davina Bell has been to Tasmania once and ‘absolutely loved it’, at that time she drove on the east coast marvelling at the seaside coves which to her resembled exactly what a place at the furthest ends of the world would resemble.

I am chatting to Davina about her new book ‘The Underwater Fancy-dress Parade’, an illustrative and collaborative effort (with Allison Colpoys), which refreshingly pitches to children that it’s okay to be scared.

Davina’s protagonist Alfie whose name means ‘elf’ or ‘magic counsel’ is in fact of afraid of the very magical process of dressing up and performing in the school play. The play is based on the theme of the sea, the vastness of which, perfectly acts as a metaphor for the vastness of Alfie’s burden of being afraid.

Alfie is taken by his Mum to a more contained version of the sea in the form of an aquarium where he observes the clown fish pop out and look around and then go hide again. This experience allows him to realise it’s okay to be fearful. To her credit Davina doesn’t end the novel on Alfie being completely cured of his anxiety. Instead there is the possibility rather than the promise of Alfie taking part in next year’s school play.

The book also celebrates holding on to the openness of childhood and Davina quotes an artist who was asked when he would stop drawing and he answered , when will you start drawing?

The book has hit a nerve with anxious children, of whom Davina was once one herself. Davina tells me of how she was often anxious as a child when travelling on the bus to pull the cord or press the button for the next stop because she didn’t like the idea of people looking at her. This anxious action often saw her miss her bus stop!

Davina did some research on what triggers cause the most anxiety in children. From which she found that spiders are children’s worst fears!.

‘The Underwater Fancydress Parade’ is out now published by Scribe.

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From the Man Booker to the Oscars, Australian artists are turning culture upside down

Gillian Orr, The Independent. First pub: July 30
31.07.15 6:48 am

Richard Flanagan by Matt Newton,

If there was still a myth that antipodean artists lacked culture, then the latest Man Booker win for Richard Flanagan has put paid to that. And about time, too, says Gillian Orr

“What’s the difference between Australia and yoghurt?” goes a much-loved joke among Brits. “After 200 years, Australia still doesn’t have any culture.”

Zing! Of course, anyone who has actually been to the land of Oz would know that that’s not true. The daughter of an Australian, I lived there for a little while, and all anybody seemed to do was put on a comedy event/art show/dreaded poetry night. Yet while Australians are celebrated for their sporting achievements, they fail to be taken seriously culturally on the world stage. But is that finally changing?

Lovers of xenophobic gags were certainly dealt a blow this week when Richard Flanagan won the Man Booker prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, the third Aussie to do so. He insisted that it was a “golden time for Australian writing”. But even he is the first to admit that it has not always been this way. Appearing on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme the morning after his win, the 53-year-old agreed that Australian culture has been lacking in the past. “Peter Carey is the greatest Australian writer,” said Flanagan. “He, like me, grew up in a country that was a colony of the mind, where we didn’t have our own culture. Australian publishing really is only about 40 years old. Australian film, Australian television, Australian music, all these things are younger than I am.”

Sure enough, a documentary shown on BBC4 this summer looked at influential Australians in the 1960s who felt that they had to head for London to progress in their chosen fields. Brilliant Creatures: Rebels of Oz profiled four key arrivals – Clive James, Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries and Robert Hughes – and their search for British “sophistication”. They came to “beat us at our own game”, as the show’s presenter Howard Jacobson (who missed out to Flanagan in this year’s Booker race) put it.

But, today, while it might be true that plenty of Australians still come over in a bid for success and fame, the view of Australia being a cultural backwater is simply out of date.

“The Australian literary scene has always had an incredible richness – though I do think that there has been increasing international attention in recent years,” says Jemma Birrell, the artistic director of Sydney Writers’ Festival. “Prizes shed light on particular writers and consequently Australian writing more generally. Then there are writers such as David Malouf, Tim Winton, Alexis Wright, Helen Garner, Michelle de Kretser and Steve Toltz who have gained a wide readership throughout the world. But, generally, I do think that there is a long way to go in terms of recognition.”

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Fearless Fantasy Fiction

Paula Xiberras
31.07.15 6:44 am


The name ‘Curley’ means ‘strong man’ but in this case the name refers to a strong woman and to borrow the title of her most recent novel a ‘fearless’ one at that.

Marianne Curley has never been to Tasmania but her family has and Marianne would love to.

We are having a chat about Marianne’s new novel ‘Fearless’. The third in the Avena series detailing the romance between angels Nathaneal and Ebony.

Marianne says the inspiration behind the books was to bring to the supernatural genre a different kind of angelic experience. Marianne was alarmed at all the dark supernatural stories with attacking angels and wanted something more positive that portrayed ‘angels as beautiful beings’.

How does Marianne explain the popularity of the supernatural genre? Marianne believes that young people sometimes feel they are on the outer and just want to be accepted. Nowadays there are further problems for young people, like bullying to deal with. Paranormal fiction richly populated with an array of fantastic creatures that show individuality, uniqueness and difference are acceptable and can be celebrated, as often these characters have amazing super powers. It is these fantastical, superhero features that allows Marianne to give readers some escapism without limits, even worldly ones! And a romance involving a strong heroine.

Marianne is well known for her very visual writing and who can argue when reading her imaginative description of a gate in the sky composed of a human body, or so accurately describes the doubling over pain that an angel goes through as her wings come in. Marianne is an avid science reader and subscriber to scientific journals and says that the descriptions in her books are always scientifically based. Marianne’s writing about angels, too, is informed by their biblical realisation.

Marianne says she can be inspired in her writing at any time, even while brushing her teeth! She keeps pen and notepads near her bed as she is known to wake her husband from slumber, sometimes by both literally and metaphorically, having a light bulb moment at 2 am!

As to her heroines pain on getting those angel wings, she says from her own experience of experiencing treatment for a medical condition that sometimes we need to know pain to be able to appreciate the good things.

When she was in her previous life as an adult TAFE teacher Marianne started thinking if she could be a success at writing and realised after doing some creative writing courses that she could actually write!
Next for Marianne are two contemporary stand-alone young adult novels and then she says she will be back to the paranormal genre that she loves

The ability of Marianne’s fantasy novels to reach reader’s reality is indicated by an Instagram name and a pet dog that assume the name Arkarian, one of her most popular characters (from the Guardian’s of Time series).

Fearless is out now published by Bloomsbury.

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Sun Shines Through

Paula Xiberras
30.07.15 6:15 am


Mary Oxley Griffiths says she loves Tasmania, calling it ‘a nice little place’ and specifically singling out cottages. Mary is the wife of Jeremey Oxley the SunnyBoys’ musician.

I’m talking to this dynamic partnership about their aptly titled dual biography ‘Here Comes the Sun’, aptly named not just because it is a reference to the SunnyBoys band but because its title heralds a metaphorical ‘sun’ that has arrived since the Mary and Jeremy met up and influenced each other’s lives.

But back to the beginning, when Jeremy was growing up as a sensational surfer who loved music and went on to form bands, culminating in the SunnyBoys before he encountered the condition of schizophrenia which saw him disappear from public life until he was thrown a rainbow in the form of nurse and extraordinary individual Mary.

Their coming together is made of fairytale stuff as Mary’s boys located Jeremy on the internet one evening remembering their mum had been a fan of the Sunnyboys, when she had watched them on Countdown when she was a teenager.

Between her teenage years and the present day Mary had become a nurse, married and had twin boys and lost a beloved husband to illness. Her twin boys were the catalyst of Mary meeting Jeremy. After locating Jeremy on the Internet Mary and the boys decided to go see Jeremy and from that point on a new world opened up for them all.  Immediately clicking and connecting, Jeremy, Mary and the boys began building a life together as a family and saw the re-formation of the SunnyBoys in the late 80s and early 90s, this wonderful life story was picked up and made into a documentary by Kaye Harrison called ‘SunnyBoy’.

Something that Jeremy and Mary had in common was a love of art and both initially were art students which possibly attests to their sensitive and creative natures and as Mary says they give themselves permission to display these sensitive emotions even if they are unashamedly’ lovely dovey.’

Mary represents a pharmaceutical company and travels around the country speaking on mental health reform. Mary has done many of these talks in Victoria but would love to do some talks in Tasmania.

The name Oxley means ‘a clearing in a wood’ or ‘an enclosure’ and aptly, after years of being enclosed and away from his music, Jeremy and Mary have supported each other to find a path or a clearing through that wood!

‘Here Comes the Sun’ is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

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Gracie-ful Anne’s Novel Nuptials

Paula Xiberras
29.07.15 6:31 am


I recently spoke to Anne Gracie, writer of Regency romances about the latest novel in her ‘bride’ series ‘The Spring Bride’. Tasmania has a special place in Annie’s heart as it was in Tasmania, she had her first experience of independent travel. Nowadays Anne gets down to Tassie at least one a year.

Anne growing up as she did in a house of books found it difficult to believe there could be an existence without books!

It was while Anne was again travelling, in her 30s, that she started writing free hand stories in notebooks, these spanned a number of genres including children’s stories, short stories and novels.

Anne says that her dialogue comes to mind while she is doing housework or shopping and in one particular case while she was on the highway and she had to pull up to record her thoughts. Anne says in cases like this dialogue has to be written down in automatic pilot!

Anne keeps a notebook by her bed as scenes sometimes come to her in dreams! Anne’s notebook is filled with scribbles which later will be typed and edited.

Each of Anne’s novels in the bride series concentrates on one bride. Anne’s latest book ‘The Spring Bride’ has the character of Abby as the main protagonist and also includes guest appearances of ‘brides’ from the previous novels in the series.

Anne says that the romance writers in Australia are very supportive and consult each other on plot advice but as Anne says all the authors have a particular style of their own and so there is no concern that another author might borrow another’s ideas. So distinct are the authors’ individual styles that they are referred to in the individual author’s name such in Anne’s case ‘Anne Gracie novels’. Anne’s novels are set in the English Regency period from 1811 to 1820 and inevitably having happy endings.

Spring Bride is out now published by Penguin Australia.

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Hobart Bookshop: Talk Under Water

Hobart Bookshop
28.07.15 2:48 pm


We are excited to host the launch, by Anne Morgan, of Kathryn Lomer’s latest novel, Talk Under Water.

Please join us and help us celebrate!

Will and Summer meet online and strike up a friendship based on coincidence. Summer lives in Will’s old hometown, Kettering, a small Tasmanian coastal community. Both Will and Summer are missing a parent and needing a friend.

Summer isn’t telling the whole truth about herself, but figures it doesn’t matter if they never see each other in person, right? When Will returns to Kettering, the two finally meet and Summer can no longer hide her secret. Can Summer and Will still find a way to be friends?

Set against a picturesque Tasmanian backdrop, Talk Under Water is about following your dreams, finding true friends and stepping up to meet life’s challenges.

Where: The Hobart Bookshop
When: 5.30pm, Thursday 13th August

Free event, all welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Sons and Moon Shine on Mountain

Paula Xiberras
28.07.15 6:12 am


Brian Panowich is the author of ‘Bull Mountain’, and with the name Brian of Celtic origin meaning ‘high’ or ‘noble’ it seems fitting that his first novel is about the politics of power with a pinch of family feuding befitting even the Celtic High Kings. As I talk to Brian from his home town of Georgia I am greeted by a generous individual, full of humour and humility and one that can’t quite believe his success as an author.

So down to earth is Brian, he still works his job as a fireman and makes use of his time in between shifts for writing.

Brian tells me he knows nothing about Australia but would love to visit and he is well used to travelling, when he left school he formed a band and music played a significant part in his life until he married and realised he didn’t want to be on the road anymore. Brian followed this career with a stint in journalism. He had always wanted to be a storyteller and so after what he calls a 20 year detour he arrived at Bull Mountain where he wrote the family drama, an epic story of what he describes as ‘Kane and Abel proportions’. The area detailed in the novel is not where he grew up but is in fact an area where his wife has roots and the people of the foothills of these mountains are her ‘own people’.

In an early part of the book we hear the protagonists talking about a bear they captured and how they let no part of it go to waste. This resourcefulness is echoed throughout the novel.

Like all authors Brian believes in Morris Gleitzman’s ‘magic spaces’ where author and reader meet. The reader bringing their own rich life experiences to their understanding of the story. Brian says sometimes his readers surprise him with their insights, for example one reader asked if his calling a character ‘Ryley’ was a nod to the ‘rye’ whiskey that features in the book. Brian thinks it’s fantastic that readers can connect in this way, calling it ‘awesome’.

I offer one of my own insights, enquiring whether the novel is called Bull Mountain in reference to the unshakeable nature of the main protagonists. Brian tells me the novels name came about when he travelled through some mountainous terrain and saw a sign with the name ‘Bull Mountain’ on the trail.

One of the features of the novel is the strong female characters including the capable Kate who Brian tells me will headline her own spin off novel.

The mountain machinations come full circle by the conclusion of the novel but on the way there are many twists and turns, more than on a twisty, turning mountain road. While the novel begins with a life lost, the ending sees a life regained and a determination to maintain the family presence on the mountain.

Bull Mountain is out now published by Harper Collins

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