New adventure fiction book follows daughters outback search for ...

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
25.02.15 12:32 pm

New adventure fiction book follows daughters outback search for grandfather’s plane lost during WW2.

The adventure novel Fire Eye (Short Stop Press $29.99) follows the journey of a young woman as she seeks to find the wreckage of her grandfather’s plane that was lost during World War II. She engages a part-time adventurer to launch a search to find the aircraft that has a connection to the Torres Strait legend of the ruby, ‘Fire Eye’.

As they both journey deeper into the unforgiving Australian outback, they discover that they are not alone and it’s not just snakes that they should fear. Will she be able to honour her grandfather’s memory and solve her families secrets? An action-packed read with a hint of romance, Fire Eye is for adventure-seekers everywhere.

Tasmania-based author Peter d’Plesse is a private pilot who has explored the mountains, jungle and desert of the Australian landscape over many years.

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Transportation Press:  Transportation islands and cities launched. Welcome Iran!

Transportation Press
24.02.15 5:34 pm


Transportation islands and cities is a collection of contemporary stories from Tasmania and London. Issue two will include writers from Tasmania, UK and Iran.

Issue one, Transportation Islands and Cities launched in Hobart, Nottingham and London to full houses, and has bumped Richard Flanagan off the number 1 best seller spot for the first time since his Booker Prize win.

As Peter Conrad, London based, Tasmanian born writer and Oxford don, said in his introduction to the collection “There are many kinds of transportation, not all of which involve prison ships. I first read a print-out of the work in this book last November on a flight from London to New York and, although I was aware of the plane battling through grim winter weather as we travelled ahead, they tugged me in a different direction – sometimes with a physical shock, as if I had plunged into the psychological equivalent of an air pocket. The stories, as my mother would have said, ‘took me back’.

Editor of Tasmanian Times, the inimitable Lindsay Tuffin launched the book in Hobart, you can watch his launch speech here:

Read more here

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Books | History | Society

Get that novel written in new year-long course

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
23.02.15 2:14 pm


The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre is delighted to announce A Novel Journey - nine sessions over the course of 2015 designed to guide both budding and experienced writers alike through the journey of penning their very own masterpieces.

A Novel Journey will be held concurrently in Launceston and Hobart, starting March 28 and 29 respectively. The sessions will be held on weekend dates, meaning that emerging authors won’t need to take time off their day jobs to hone their craft.

The Centre has recruited some heavyweight talent in delivering the course. All tutors are experienced and renowned published authors. Robyn Mundy, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Lian Tanner and Julie Hunt are some of the authors who will be delivering their wisdom in Hobart at the Salamanca Arts Centre Meeting Room. Cameron Hindrum, Robyn Friend and Dirk Flinthart are just a sprinkling of the experts to share their writerly nous at East Launceston’s High Street Adult Education Building.

Sessions include structure, narrative, character development, plot, settings and place, style, rhythm and pace, dialogue, polishing, reflection and review, and how to get published. Sessions run for three hours each, and the course will wrap up in both Hobart and Launceston in mid-November.

Cost for all nine sessions is $550 for TWC members and $700 for non-members. Casual spots are also available.

To book a place in A Novel Journey ...

Read more here

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Launceston set to celebrate globetrotting literary project

Rachel Edwards, Amber Wilson
23.02.15 11:42 am


A cutting-edge publication that links Tasmanian writers with Londoners is soon to hold its launch in Launceston.

Transportation is an ambitious literary project that links writers from seemingly disparate locations. Its premiere publication, Transportation, Islands and Cities, is a collection of contemporary short stories by a range of authors from both locations living at opposite sides of the globe.

Transportation Islands and Cities will be officially launched in Launceston at Volume 2 Bookshop by Cameron Hindrum, Tasmanian Poetry Festival artistic director. The event will also feature readings from local writers Lucinda Shannon, Luke Wren Reid and Poet Musing.

The almanac was launched in Hobart in January at Fullers Bookshop with several hundred attendees. The celebrations were closely followed by launches in London and Nottingham.

The Transportation project is already working on future publications and strengthening literary connections between Tasmania, the UK and now with Iran.

The Transportation Press project has brought together two editors from opposite sides of the world. Sean Preston is founder and editor of Open Pen literary magazine and the London-based editor.

Rachel Edwards, former editor of Island magazine, was this project’s Tasmanian-based editor. Shirindokht Nourmanesh will be editing the Iranian content in issue two.

WHEN: Friday February 27, 2015
WHERE: Volume 2 Bookshop,
TIME: 5:30-6:30pm
RSVP: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: @transportlontas

Transportation: islands and cities is a collection of short stories from Tasmanians and Londoners to be published in book form in late 2014.

Subscribe to our newsletter here:

T: @transportlontas

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Don Knowler’s new book, Riding the Devil’s Highway: a field guide to the flattened fauna of Tasma

Hobart Bookshop
23.02.15 11:08 am



The Hobart Bookshop is pleased to invite you to the launch, by Nick Mooney, of Don Knowler’s new book, Riding the Devil’s Highway—a field guide to the flattened fauna of Tasmania, the roadkill capital of the world.

When: 5.30pm, Thursday 26th February
Where: The Hobart Bookshop

Free event, all welcome.

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Help promote ... Turning Points to Compassion

Christine Materia
23.02.15 1:15 am


Turning Points in Compassion by Gypsy Wulff and Fran Chambers

I am assisting Gypsy and Fran the editors of the beautiful new book Turning Points in Compassion with their goal of selling 1 million copies of their book.

All profits from the sale of the book are donated to animal sanctuaries and rescue groups.

“Covering a range of topics from politics and law, to spiritual and social change, Turning Points in Compassion makes a compelling case for the recognition of the beauty, sentience and intelligence of all things…This volume is essential reading for anyone interested in, or committed to, the ethics, politics and life of veganism.” Dr Shannon Brincat, Research Fellow at Griffith University, Queensland.

This inspirational collection of personal stories challenges our widespread perceptions about our relationship with animals. With a powerful blend of compassion and honesty, the writers in Turning Points in Compassion share pivotal moments that awakened them to a life-changing awareness. Each one’s life has been enriched beyond measure as a result of their journey.

With open eyes, hearts and minds, they describe their entry to a new world of compassionate living where they no longer see animals as their food or their property.

Their description of a life lived with awareness of animals as equally feeling beings who have conscious awareness and lives that matter to them will touch the hearts of people everywhere. No readers will be left unchallenged by this book. All profits from sales are donated to animal sanctuaries and rescue groups.

If you’re in Tassie and would like a copy, let Chrissie Rowland at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) know as she is distributing it on behalf of Gypsy and Fran in Southern Tasmania

As long as there are slaughterhouses
There will be battlefields
~ Leo Tolstoy


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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

Hobart Bookshop: Never to Return

Hobart Bookshop
19.02.15 4:37 am


The Hobart Bookshop is pleased to invite you to the launch, by Gordon Brown, of Marjorie McArdell Davey’s new book, Never To Return.

This is a fascinating story of seven thousand boys - mostly teenagers - who passed through the children’s prison Point Puer, across the bay from Port Arthur. Only three ever escaped. This story is an account of what might have happened to them.

Where: The Hobart Bookshop
When: 6pm Thursday 19th March

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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Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and the NBN ...

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
12.02.15 12:43 pm

Dear Members and Friends,

Many apologies to those of you who have been trying to phone over the last couple of days. We’re experiencing issues switching over to the NBN and our phone number will be out of action until Monday 16th Feb. In the meantime please call us on our second line 03 6223 3354 - especially if you’d like to enrol in A Novel Journey or renew your membership!

Thanks for your patience. 

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Get cosy with a Tasmanian author this Valentine’s Day

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
11.02.15 11:46 am


It doesn’t matter whether you’re loved-up with your soulmate firmly in tow, or a lonely heart looking for “the one”, you’re sure to enjoy getting friendly with one of Tasmania’s premier romance authors come this February 14.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre director Chris Gallagher said romance writing seemed to blossom naturally in Tasmania, with home-grown lovey-dovey writing selling big both in Australia and overseas.

“Tasmania is a heart-shaped island, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that our romance authors sell thousands, or even millions, of books,” she said.

“Or perhaps there is just something in the air.”

Kathryn Lomer is one of Tasmania’s favourite dyed-in-the-wool romantics. Her short story Crush, which appears in 2014’s Australian Love Stories, is one that’s sure to pull on the heartstrings. Crush is a sad tale about a woman so lonely that she sends herself a Valentine’s Day card. It’s also got more than its fair share of racy scenes too: I rush inside the house to touch and touch that one part, until it explodes into red, pales, explodes again, pales again, explodes red, and I am stranded on my bed glowing like an ember in shuttered half-dark. Kathryn grew up on a farm in North-West Tasmania. These days, she lives in Hobart and has won a swag of awards over the years including the Anne Elder Award, the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize, the Margaret Scott Prize and the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize.

Need something more salacious than that? You’re in luck. Hobart author Ris Wilkinson has written 50 Harlequin Mills and Boon romance novels, written under the pseudonym Melanie Milburne. Mrs Wilkinson has an academic background is a former champion swimmer, but these days prefers to make readers swoon by the power of her lascivious imagination. Her novels have been sold in more than 100 overseas markets, translated into 25 languages, and have sold more than eight million copies. She also won the 2011 Australian Romance Writers’ Romantic Book of the Year.

Harking back to days gone by, Marie Bjekle Petersen (1874-1969) was a Danish-born writer and Lindisfarne resident who wrote nine romance novels set in Australia, mostly in rural Australia. Think you’ve heard that name before? You’re right – Marie’s nephew was one-time Queensland premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen. A devout Christian, Marie’s novels still celebrated Australian egalitarianism and promoted women’s rights. Try snuggling up to one of her titles such as The Captive Singer (1917), The Immortal Flame (1919) or Jewelled Nights (1923). She sold more than 250,000 copies of her books – a phenomenal achievement for an Australian writer at that time.

Richmond writer Rachael Treasure also fancies rural life – she lives on an 8ha property where she combines her love of the environment with her passion for agriculture by exploring regenerative farming techniques. Rachael is a romance aficionado, but she also smartly tackles bigger issues like feminism, renewable energy and rural depression. She’s also been known to sell her books at Agfest and at various ute musters interstate. One of her novels, Cleanskin Cowgirls, proves why rural romance is becoming such a popular genre: ‘You ungrateful girl! Why did you take your hair down? You look like a tramp now.’ Irritated, her mother fished under the bed for Elsie’s recently kicked-off new shoes. ‘It’s so silly of the school to schedule events at this time of year, with harvest and shearing on for many people. And now your father, organising an important dinner to talk about council matters, like the upgrade of the sewage works. He expects so much of me! How can I be expected to drop you at the hall and serve the entrée?’

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Hey There Mister Prime Minister

jj earthschild
11.02.15 5:55 am

Hey There Mister Prime Minister

(When you offered knighthood to the consort of the crown
were you dreaming up employment as the commonwealth clown?)

Hey there mister prime minister
your behaviour at first was rather sinister
If I wanted to be governed by secrets and lies
I’d go back to where they celebrate the 4th of July
and if I felt like living with hypocrisy
I’d support the way you treat those
who try to flee from governments far worse than yours
but you’re embarrassing us so-o-o-o-ohhhh
We’ve got to keep you on your toes

Hey there mister prime minister
your behaviour is absurd if slightly sinister
We all know this country is surrounded by a moat -
you and I or our ancestors all arrived here in a boat
and not one of the first people
ever tried to turn those boats around
I bet they regret it by now

Hey there mister prime minister
I know a true blue Aussie is not meant to whinge
but you’re behaviour has brought about whole new cultural cringe
We all know denial ain’t no river in Egypt
yet climate change – you refuse to believe it
Between fracking, and exporting all our coal
you sold the Reef down the river
and that’s like selling off our soul.

It’s true those people smugglers didn’t stand a chance
against a tough little man with an exhibitionistic stance
and Tony there are some who still might like ya
if you’d just quit smuggling budgies in your lycra
(we learned a thing or two from you before Julia got the axe
about smearing prime ministers by referring to their sex)
And if you’d been a bit more kind to the desperate in the sea
it’d be easier to forgive you when you repeatedly
land yourself and us in global disgrace
As it is you’re a laughing stock and a serious loss of face
is diplomatic suicide in Asia
Your nose is brown our face is red and though we tried to replace ya
I guess we’ll have to muddle along with you still on top
but next time your ego takes control
can someone make you STOP!

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Books | Poetry

Dear Hodgy

jj earthschild
11.02.15 5:53 am

Dear Hodgy
It seems a little dodgy
When aided and Abetzded
by the cronies you love best
that you’re taking on the entire convention
of World Heritage and state that your intention
is to make our wilderness a place
where you can wreck Creation

Dear Hodgy
You are not God –
gee! if you were
I might concur
that to say a word against you
would be to blaspheme
you know what I mean?
but if you were God –gee!
you’d scarcely need to sue me
You could simply shoot a thunderbolt
right through me

Dear Hodgy
With all due respect
I expect
that all this power has gone right to your head
Are you aware that pretty soon we’ll all be dead?
And you and your ol’ boys club will be remembered
for the way you took Tasmania and dismembered
democracy, agreements and international law
claiming that your state is so pathetically poor
that you had to leave integrity behind
subsidising loggers to cut down what is not mined
Then adding to the shame of genocide and extinction
will be your own face enshrined amongst
the irretrievably lost
with a small sign beneath that says
“He forgot to count the true cost”

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Arts | Poetry

Forthcoming travel memoir, The Boatman (Transit Lounge Publishing)

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
09.02.15 1:57 pm

The six years John Burbidge spent in India as a community development worker changed him in many ways, but one stands out from all the rest. It led him to confront a deeply personal secret - his attraction to his own sex. A complicating factor in his journey of self-discovery was the tightly knit community in which he lived and worked, with its highly regimented schedule and minimal privacy that forced him to live a double life.

Written with passion, integrity and humour, The Boatman (Transit Lounge $29.95) is packed with incident, anecdote, adventure and above all, real and memorable people. Burbidge takes hold of India as few have done before, deftly interweaving the search for selfhood with an intimate exploration of Indian life and society. His story shows us how, when we dare to immerse ourselves in a culture radically different from our own, we may discover parts of ourselves we never knew existed.

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Flanagan’s island

09.02.15 6:00 am

Pic by Matthew Newton,

About an hour from its capital, Hobart, to Kettering, and then ferry across a narrow bay, you will arrive at the small, green, and very lush island of Bruny. It’s home to just a few hundred people. Richard Flanagan, the novelist, spends much of his time there, writing in his “shack.” The Internet connection is appalling, but Flanagan likes it that way. He takes breaks on the water, often in a kayak. When he spends long stretches of time there, Flanagan’s wife and daughters, with whom he lives in Hobart, sometimes visit.

“There are no distractions; in the end all that stands between me and writing the book I wish to write is my own mediocrity and complete lack of talent,” he says. This is, of course, very much not true: his most recent novel, “The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” brought him the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Joel Tozer, an Australian video producer, and Daniel Hartley-Allen, an Australian cinematographer, toured the Bruny shack and spoke to Flanagan about drifting in and out of the world of the novel.

Watch here

Also in The New Yorker: Richard Flanagan’s Way with Intimacy

• Jason Steger, Bookmarks, The Age:

Man Booker judging panel chairman A.C. Grayling has defended Richard Flanagan’s winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. after poet and critic Michael Hofmann gave it a savaging in The London Review of Books.

Hofmann, who is also translator of Australian novelist Joseph Roth, one of Flanagan’s favourites, said the Booker winner was “all bite and no chew”.

Now Grayling has hit back, suggesting the review was written “on a bad haemorrhoid day ... either Hofmann cannot read, or he has such a narrow and fantastical notion of what a novel should be that he is unable to see quality when it hits him in the face.

“I plump for the former, as witness the very passages he cites in attempted condemnation: one would fail a first-year for missing the point so comprehensively,”

The chances are Michael Williams will be asking Flanagan about all this when he interviews him at the Wheeler Centre on February 19.

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Beyond the Myth of Self Esteem

Karina Woolrich, Acorn Press
05.02.15 4:15 am

John Smith’s new book, Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem, is a powerful critique of our society’s addiction to the belief that self-esteem is the key to a happy, successful life.

Author and broadcaster Sheridan Voysey writes that ‘John Smith exposes this pervasive Western myth for what it is - captivating, but vacuous.’

John Smith is an international speaker, the author of a number of books and the founder of both God’s Squad and the welfare and advocacy organisation Concern Australia.

Beyond the Myth of Self Esteem is the fruit of many year’s work, which not only systematically demolishes the myth of self-esteem, but provides solutions.

One of the most powerful chapters in the book is called Finding Identity and Meaning, and highlights the impact of positive role models on our lives.

Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem retails for $24.95 and is available from




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New book explores the history of the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League

Scott Eathorne, Quikmark Media
04.02.15 12:33 pm

Fighting Hard (Aboriginal Studies Press, $39.95), provides fascinating insights into one of Australia’s most remarkable organisations – the oldest Aboriginal organisation in Australia, as told by former and current members.

Begun originally as a coalition of all Australians, a black power takeover in 1969 changed the management of the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League to one of Aboriginal community control. From the 1970s community heroes like Bob Maza, Doug Nicholls, Bill Onus and Bruce McGuinness became national heroes and role models for Aboriginal youth.

The League influenced the fight for civil rights and took a stand against the government’s assimilation policy. Its activism predates the better-known Tent Embassy and provided a Victorian, national and international perspective on Aboriginal affairs.

Since 1957 the League has provided a voice for Indigenous people, both as a welfare and activist body, spawning a diverse range of other organisations. Its activities have ensured the preservation of Aboriginal culture and heritage.

The League’s good governance dispels the pervasive myth that Aboriginal people cannot manage their own organisations. Fighting Hard is an essential read for those with an interest in Australian history and the place of Aboriginal culture on the national stage.

Author & historian Richard Broome is widely recognised as an authority on Aboriginal history in Australia and previous books include Aboriginal Victorians (2005), A Man of All Tribes: The Life of Alick Jackomos (2006) and Aboriginal Australians, which has remained in print since 1981 and sold more than 55,000 copies.

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Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem
03.02.15 6:34 am

John Smith’s new book, Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem, is a powerful critique of our society’s addiction to the belief that self-esteem is the key to a happy, successful life.

Author and broadcaster Sheridan Voysey writes that ‘John Smith exposes this pervasive Western myth for what it is - captivating, but vacuous.’

John Smith is an international speaker, the author of a number of books and the founder of both God’s Squad and the welfare and advocacy organisation Concern Australia.

Beyond the Myth of Self Esteem is the fruit of many year’s work, which not only systematically demolishes the myth of self-esteem, but provides solutions.

One of the most powerful chapters in the book is called Finding Identity and Meaning, and highlights the impact of positive role models on our lives.

Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem retails for $24.95 and is available from

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Tributes to Colleen McCullough

Books and Arts Daily ABC RN
30.01.15 9:26 am


ABC Books and Arts Daily: Vale Colleen McCullough

Sarah L’Estrange Inverview ... Listen or Read Transcript

Read Matthew Condon’s Tribute

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Griffith Review 47: Looking West

Susan Hornbeck, Associate Publisher, Griffith REVIEW
28.01.15 7:00 am


Edited by Julianne Schultz and Anna Haebich

Contributors include Carmen Lawrence, Shaun Tan, Brooke Davis, Nick Allbrook, David Whish-Wilson, Kim Scott, Ashley Hay, John Kinsella, Steve Kinnane, Terri-ann White and Helen Trinca. With an exclusive interview with Tim Winton.

In 2013 Griffith REVIEW published Tasmania – The Tipping Point? which went on to be our bestselling edition to date. In 2015 we move our gaze to Western Australia in Looking West.

Western Australia is central to national prosperity. Perth has grown into a boomtown the likes of which Australia hasn’t seen since the 1850s, and some of the world’s richest people now hark from WA. But what will be left when the mining boom deflates?

‘When we became the richest state, the boom state, the engine of the nation’s great good fortune, the onset of smugness was almost instant…There were two gospels holding sway on the western frontier: the first was Unbridled Development and like unto it the second – Western Australian exceptionalism. And many were faithful.’ – Tim Winton (in interview)

The contributors to Griffith Review 47: Looking West provide rich insights into the history, environment, politics and creative impulses that inform the state. They explore development and the dispossessed; immigrants and indigenous; plunder and possession; corruption and conservation; creativity and isolation; football and sharks.

WA is on the cusp of reconciling the past and creating a new future. Looking West will challenge what you think you know about the state.


To be launched by the Governor of Western Australia, Her Excellency the Hon Kerry Sanderson AO, at Perth Town Hall on Wednesday 11 February.

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Tasmanian Writers’ Centre offers Grand Prize in inaugural Subscribathon ...

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
27.01.15 2:29 pm

...  a year’s worth of workshop ...


With Tasmania quickly becoming known as the literary isle after an unprecedented level of success in 2014, the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre is experiencing rapid growth in its member base.

The Centre is uniquely positioned to provide support, encouragement, training, community and cohesion for Tasmanian writers – both new and established.

To encourage more people to join and take advantage of the vast array of benefits membership includes, the Centre is running its first-ever Subscribathon and offering a pearler of a prize – a year’s worth of workshops, including a ticket to September’s Tasmanian Writing Festival.

A prize like this is invaluable – it will give the lucky winner a year’s worth of professional development certain to catapult their writing aspirations.

To be in the running to win this incredible prize, entrants simply need to register for membership or renew between now and February 28 by visiting The winner will be announced March 6. Annual membership is $60 full, $45 concession, $25 under 21 and $90 for organisations.

But remember – everyone who subscribes is a winner. The perks of being a Tasmanian Writers’ Centre member are huge. Just some of the benefits include:

• Hefty discounts on TWC writing workshops

• Manuscript assessment service: special rates with leading authors to get feedback on your work and ideas for further development.

• Writas, the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: a monthly emailed newsletter with the latest news on competitions and opportunities to win prizes, professional development, literary events, readings and points of contact. Click here to see a past copy.

• Free events: poetry and prose readings open to the public, special readings by visiting authors, and other literary events.

• Concession rate entry to movies at the luxurious State Cinema: $16.50 per ticket as opposed to the usual rate of $18.50.

• 10% off all purchases at the Hobart Book Shop

• 10% off all purchases at the Devonport Bookshop

• Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Readings at the Lark

• Free lending access to the TWC Professional Library

• Links to your local writing community: and writers’ centres across Australia and the world.

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Hobart Bookshop: Days of Fear

Hobart Bookshop
22.01.15 10:54 am


The Hobart Bookshop is pleased to invite you to the launch, by Sue Hickey, of Mike Tatlow’s new book, Days of Fear.

Days of Fear is the horrific true story of Maurice Tansey, Britain’s only spy in the IRA. Narrowly escaping death many times while saving lives with his alerts to MI6, his motivation was to minimise the number of both Catholic and Protestant innocents being killed, injured or anguished by the Troubles. He considers that if London had been less negligent and responded to more of his warnings of imminent atrocities, his life-saving total might have been greatly increased. The Secret Service had simply to telephone the British Army in Belfast and pass on Tansey’s information. Sadly, it seemed to Tansey that MI6 was more preoccupied with its then current game of outwitting the Soviet’s KGB.

You can meet Maurice at the launch.

When: 5.45pm, Tuesday February 3rd
Where: The Hobart Bookshop

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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Acclaimed Perth author Geraldine Wooller releases fourth novel

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
21.01.15 1:24 pm

Acclaimed Perth author Geraldine Wooller releases fourth novel, Trio ... set for Perth Writers Festival ...

Geraldine Wooller’s new novel, Trio (Transit Lounge, $27.95), follows the story of four people who meet and become friends in London. Searching for work and success in the theatre, they end up sharing a flat and a deep bond of friendship. Set in Italy, London and Australia from the sixties to current times, Trio is the story of their complex personalities and relationships, of the betrayals and desires that threaten to undermine what is in hindsight most important to them.  London is vibrantly alive in these pages, filled with music and drama, as is eighties and contemporary Perth, Australia, and Calabria, Italy. But at its heart this is a novel about love and friendship, loss and memory; about three unforgettable characters, and the special moments in all our lives that, through perceived hurt or fear, sometimes threaten to fall away and be lost forever.

In Geraldine Wooller’s fourth novel she captures with masterful wit and intelligence, and without a hint of sentimentality the essence of the human predicament. Geraldine will be appearing at the 2015 Perth Writer’s Festival.

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Hazel’s History

Paula Xiberras
08.01.15 5:20 am


With a name like Flynn you would think Hazel Flynn would feel right at home in Tasmania. Even though her husband is an actor as far as I know Hazel has no relation to Tassie’s famous Flynn!  The name Hazel means commander which is appropriate to Hazel’s latest book of military engagements which we chatted about recently, ‘History’s most daring moments’.
Hazel does enjoy her visits to Tasmania calling it an ‘amazing experience’, enjoying ‘Cradle Mountain and the North West’’ and particularly the vibrancy of Salamanca and the classic sunny Christmas snow!’ but it’s been ‘too many years’ since her 1985 visit.  Hazel’s husband grew up in Tasmania and the couple maintain many friends in Tassie’s arts and acting community

Hazel is an accomplished writer splitting her writing talents as a ghost writer, historical books and biography which have included biographies on another Hazel, Hazel Hawke in ‘My Mother’s Story’ and ‘Hazel’s journey : A personal experience of Alzheimers’ she collaborated with Hazel’s daughter Sue Pieters-Hawke. Hazel also worked with Lani Brennan on Lani’s Story.  Hazel says she enjoys equally her eclectic writing and feels privileged to be a ghost writer in helping others who have a story to tell but might not know how to go about it.

Hazel wanted to write a book of popular history, that as well as being factual was easy to read and accessible for the general public, ‘History’s most daring moments’ is the result.

Some of Hazel’s favourite stories are Shackleton’s endurance of the Antarctic
and the story of the Trojan horse and how it is a mixture of mythology and historical fact, a story of god’s, ‘superior beings but earth driven’. Recent discoveries of cities on top of one another have identified a real historical city of Troy. It is believed the Trojan war lasted 10 years, yet in Homer it is condensed to only 41 days.

Its historical and mythological longevity lives on in the phrases associated with it, that have entered our language. Hazel outlines these, for example

‘Trojan Horse’, which designates something destructive, that doesn’t necessarily appear to be so.

‘Achilles Heel’ that denotes a fatal weakness

The famous ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’ referring to the Trojan horse given as a gift to Troy when in fact there were motives other than gift giving!

And ‘The Face that launched a thousand ships’ describing Helen, the great beauty who instigated the Trojan war.

Another story that Hazel particularly likes is that of the battle of Thermopylae -
the story shows what a determined army can do in defending their nation with good preparation, even though their adversaries may have more efficient equipment and may be many times multiplied in number. The battle of Thermopylae was made up of an amalgamation of Greek states including 300 Spartans (so goes the legend) as well as a number of slaves and other Greeks. The invading Persians, after previously being defeated by the Greeks, were now in great numbers. The Greeks blocked the Persian army but were undone when a resident let the Persians know about a secret path.
Voltaire said of another bloody engagement featured in the book, that nothing is better known than ‘The siege of Malta’.
The engagement was the climax of control of the Mediterranean with Malta a strategic gateway to the east which gave fame to’ the Knights Hospitaller’,‘Knights of Malta ‘ or the Knights of St John’ whose influence has spread the world and whose name lives on today in the ‘St John’s ambulance’.

‘History’s most daring moments’ is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

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Change of venue for the Rise and Fall of Gunns

07.01.15 11:59 am

Please note the updated details for the Launceston launch of Quentin Beresford’s book “The Rise and Fall of Gunns” which was previously advertised as being at the Tramsheds.

The venue has now been changed, possibly due to the expected high level of interest in people wanting to attend. The launch will now be at the Tailrace Function Centre, Waterfront Dr, Riverside on Sunday, 8th Feb at 2pm. Sydney businessman and pulp mill opponent Geoffrey Cousins will be MCing the launch.

The event is likely to be advertised soon by the bookshop organisers, Petrarchs.

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TJ Ryan Marketing and Publicity UQP
07.01.15 1:28 am

David Brooks

David Brooks
Poetry |  ISBN: 978 0 7022 5352 2 |  February 2015 |  B-format paperback |  168 pp |  $24.95

From the author of The Conversation comes Open House, a striking new collection of poetry that celebrates David Brooks’ highly acclaimed talent for continuously delivering sharp and significant works.

Continuing a logical sequence of concerns and preoccuptions from his previous volume of poetry, The Balcony,  Brooks’ draws upon his Slovenian life, his concern for animal rights, and his time in the Blue Mountains to provide subtle, yet potent commentary on our priveleged position within nature’s hierarchy.

Spare and honed, the poems in Open House take a number of forms, drifting between nature and philosophy, evoking a meditative quality that is both contemplative and full of grace. From observations of the smallest creatures and textures underfoot, to the telescopic, the poems reveal the smallness of human endeavour from a thoughtful distance.

In the kingdom of shadows, world without end,
slugs traverse the prairies of the soul,
mice enter the pure land,
cockroaches conquer the valleys of death.

In the kingdom of shadows, dominion
of cats and sugar gliders,
moths are mastering the constellations, spiders
whispering their histories to the stars.
(extract from ‘In the Kingdom of Shadows’)

In writing Open House, Brooks drew inspiration from both the courageous animal activists he has worked with here and in Europe, as well as from the remarkable animals he has encountered that have quite literally changed his life. For him, it was important to use a form of ‘high-culture’ expression to expose the inherent cruelties and prejudeces against animals.

Brooks has also reflected deeply on his own life, one that involves him living an increasingly solitary existence in the country with the space to fuel his thought and advocacy. Recent medical challenges – surviving a heart attack and living with Multiple Sclerosis – have also forced him to come to terms with the animal that he is.

Powerful, resonant and unreserved, Open House offers a fresh perspective on nature, philosophy and the world we share.


David Brooks is the author of four previous collections of poetry, three of short fiction, four highly acclaimed novels, and a major work of Australian literary history (The Sons of Clovis, UQP 2011). His The Book of Sei (1985) was heralded as the most impressive debut in Australian short fiction since Peter Carey’s, and his second novel, The Fern Tattoo (UQP 2007), was short-listed for the Miles Franklin award. Until 2013 he taught Australian Literature at the University of Sydney, where he was also the foundation director of the graduate writing program. He is currently co-editor of literary journal Southerly, lives in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, and spends several months each year in a village on the coast of Slovenia.

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Linz. R .Nold
05.01.15 3:59 am

I open the door
and she’s standing there
twenty years
The Ava
to my Frank
I’m staggered
She’s still beautiful
A few lines
that’s all
just like
in the vision
I saw
when I asked the Universe
after she disappeared
would I ever see her
and when
I was shown
the image
of her face
much older
like that
I said
I can’t wait that long!
Now that time has passed
without a sign of her
and she’s just
at my door.
What kept you?
I say
She smiles at my
warped humour
puts out a hand
and comes in
she says
stroking my arm
to make up
for Everything
It turns out
she’d married again
A rich guy
who’d died
She was loaded
I have
these type of
all the time

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Cathy’s Clever Craft

Paula Xiberras
24.12.14 6:50 am


Cathy Kelly is one of the most amiable people you could ever meet and has an ease of connection with everyone she encounters, as evidenced in seeing how she was able to make everyone feel as if they had known her forever at her book signing in Hobart recently,

It was hard to guess who Cathy was greeting as a previous acquaintance and who she was meeting for the first time. I hope she forgives my eavesdropping but its testament to Cathy’s approachability and the way she puts everyone at ease that I observed some of the guests were comfortable talking to her even about the sensitive subject of‘hormones’ and for those who were meeting her for the umpteenth time she was happily taking photos with 3 generations of the one family and remembering how the first time she had met them the youngest was only a baby!

One of the meanings of ‘Kelly’ is ‘lively’ and ‘Cathy’ means ‘pure’.You could say that is a perfect description of Cathy who is’pure lively!’

Indeed when we chat she tells me the story of one of her visits to Tasmania when she went to Salamanca Market, one of her favourite artisan and food venues, and how she immediately connected and chatted for ‘ages’ to a lady involved in animal rescue. Cathy’s fans know that she is committed to both human rights through her work with UNICEF and with animal rights demonstrated in the love she lavishes on the beloved ‘pupplets’.

As an author Cathy says she has just the right amount of fame to get a table in a restaurant but not to be bothered while she’s eating her dinner.
As Cathy explains her new book ‘It Started in Paris’ is a novel about love in all it’s fascinating permutations, the new or young love which is at its peak before marriage, the older, long married and sometimes jaded love of couples that may not even be couples anymore, saying goodbye to the wrong love and the possibility of the hope of new or rekindled love.

A nice inclusion is a quote relating to love at the start of every chapter that encourages the reader to reflect on both Cathy’s characters and love in general.

Cathy says that her writing career can be owed in part to some special teachers, including a former nun turned very glamorous educator who would talk about classical music to her students and create extraordinary embroidery. Some of this influence has stayed with Cathy as she is often doing crafts and even though she says these may mostly remain incomplete Cathy’s clever craft is the true artistry of embroidering with words.

Unlike one of her more cynical characters that talks of rainbows (in a lovely piece of alliteration) being no more than ‘precipitation and physics’ Cathy’s constantly radiating rainbows.

‘It Started in Paris’ is out now published by Hachette.

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Maps and Monsters!

Paula Xiberras
21.12.14 6:33 am


For Allison Tait’s latest novel ‘The Mapmaker Chronicles’- ‘Race to the End of the World’ she uses the abbreviated ‘AL Tait’, not because, she tells me, of any desire to hide the fact she is female and her novel is a swashbuckling adventure but simply because she wanted to differentiate this novel from her adult ones.

Alison has fond memories of Tasmania where she spent 12 days on her honeymoon and said it was ‘a beautiful place’ to which she hopes to return, as when she was here last, there were so many ‘wow’ moments to stop and appreciate, there was no time to see everything.

Quinn, the hero of Alison’s novel is a young boy with very special powers, the ability to memorise everything he has ever seen, including any book of language instruction which proves very useful for someone sailing the seas and making connections with foreign speakers. Quinn is also unlike his six older brothers having spent a lot of time with his mum and becoming skilled in more feminine pursuits like needlework.

Quinn’s natural talents in these pursuits and unique skills allow him to be chosen for a very special mission to make a map of the world which in the time set of the novel isas it was in our own early history thought to be flat and largely unknown.

One of the things demonstrated to us is that not knowing things in a micro as well as a macro level about the world makes us scared but knowledge helps us cope with our fears. Of course, occasionally there is a time and place for an expletive and in this case the chosen one is ‘Leif’s boots’!Yes, there is a lot unknown about the world but much of what we fear including sea monsters, as are featured in this novel may not be as scary as they seem once we learn! The novel gives an important message that learning and knowledge are cool!

Another theme of this novel is the strength of women, even though women may have had a connotation as bad luck historically on ships. In this novel we have Ash, a girl who has inherited her mum’s ability with natural healing. We get a little bit of reversal in gender inclination with Ash the girl, the one desirous of adventure while Quinn is happier at home. Alison says the boys in the novel couldn’t do without her! and Ash has become so popular with readers she has her own fan club!

Like many authors Alison can’t say how her story turned out as it did. it seemed to take her subconscious on a journey as much as Quinn himself goes on a journey. I asked Allison what she thought of Morris Gleitzman’s phrase of ‘the magic spaces’ where reader and author meet, the reader taking to the meeting the interpretation relevant to them. How does Allison feel about others interpreting her books in their own way?

Alison mentions something she read on the internet, where an artist’s image of blue curtains was dissected by viewers to mean many different things such as ‘melancholy’. The artist replied to the question of what the blue curtains symbolised saying the curtains’ were just blue!’

As Allison says ‘Whatever is intended the aim of literature is to let our imaginations come to our own conclusion.’

‘The Mapmaker Chronicles’-‘Race to the End of the World’ is out now published by Hachette Australia and look forward to Quinn and co’sfurther adventures in the future.

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Unbeatable fun with Fox

Paula Xiberras
21.12.14 6:25 am


A great idea for the Christmas season (and pre-season), if you have a young aspiring footballer in the family, is the second adventure of young footballer Fox Swift and his friends’ Fox Swift takes on the Unbeatables’ by David Lawrence, with some cameos and footy tips from star Hawthorn footballer Cyril Rioli.

Author David Lawrence returns with all of Fox’s friends including Hugo, who is allergic to grass and Simon, battling but winning weighty issues. When Fox’s arch enemy Mace captain of ‘The Dragons’ decides to tempt Simon with daily chocolate parcels, Simon surprises us with his solution to the sweet and sticky problem!

Some new friends with fabulous footy skills join Fox in his team ‘The Diggers’ as they attempt to beat Mace’s team ‘The Dragons’, including the rubbery moves of Chung Lee and the flexibility of Paige Turner.

Other quirky characters include the principal’s secretary who smooths out walls with a toothbrush and cleans ceiling lights with cotton buds. The mad footy tipping, apple growing principal as well as non-human characters like ‘The Diggers’ team mascot the kangaroo ‘Joey’ and a little touch of Alice in Wonderland with the contested (pardon the pun) white rabbit named ‘Gary (Ablett)’.

The new book is not just for the younger audience, but older readers who will enjoy seeing the symbolism in the characters’ names, such as judge Trudi Binder, our old friend/enemy the lawyer Miles Winter (and his equally dangerously devious son, Mace). Miles has an advertisement for his practise on the other side of his son’s team ‘The Diggers’ banner. Instead of saying ‘Miles is a cool dude, drops the ‘e’ to read he is ‘a cool dud!’

As well as being a good read, the book has an important message of friendship and acceptance to newcomers in the community and demonstrates what skills they may bring to their new home, such as the footy talent Fox’s two, tall Sudanese, friends.

‘Fox Swift takes on the Unbeatables’ by David Lawrence with Cyril Rioli and illustrated by Jo Gill is out now published by Slattery Press.

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ASA Bulletin: The Government and the ABC – A Christmas Special

Australian Society of Authors
21.12.14 6:21 am


Read more here

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Colloca’s Cooking!

Paula Xiberras
19.12.14 5:10 am


Silvia Colloca is a true Italian Renaissance woman, actor, opera singer or more precisely mezza soprano and culinary queen.

I had a chance to speak to this down-to-earth high achiever recently about her book ‘Made in Italy’ and SBS TVshow of the same name.

Silvia has not been to Tasmania as yet but on her list is a family caravan trip in the countryside and to experience all the wonderful food including the delicious cheeses.

As noted before, Silvia is a trained opera singer and actor with a passion for cooking.

Silvia didn’t think that she would be creating a career in cooking because it is her brother who is the chef and Silvia is untrained, but food and cooking is a passion for the family and so it was to her mother’s village and family home and farmstead in Italy that Silvia went to write her book and present her TV program.

Silvia wanted to create in an authentic Italian kitchen.

When I ask Silvia is there anything she can’t do she explains that if she could dance she would do that too, in fact anything in which she can express herself creatively.

Silvia says she doesn’t believe people should be pigeon-holed into one talent and that they can excel in many different things and she wants to teach her own children this. Silvia, although she is concentrating on cooking, is still acting and doing gigs as a singer.

Refreshingly when I compliment Silvia on all her talents including her singing, Silvia shrugs it off saying ‘anyone can sing’ and ‘voice is a matter of‘muscle training’.

For a simple meal idea Silvia says you can’t go past ‘Italian fast food’ otherwise known as mussel soup made in about 10 minutes and if you want something a bit more snazzy, an elaborate pasta is her food of choice. Lunch ideas might include broccoli, garlic, chilli, sourdough and anchovies.

‘Cucinapovera’ or ‘peasant cuisine’ is the food Silvia explores in her book, the food of the Italian people of the land and in spite of most of our opinion, it’s not an enormous Italian meal but instead a hearty agrarian feast that is ‘simple, fresh’ and consisting of ‘vegetables, healthy grains and spent, but its frugal and not an enormous meal.

Silvia’s book is more than just a cookbook, full of gorgeous photos of Italy and also hinting how acting runs in her blood, she features a photo of a castle and it’s story of a colourful king that she is surprised that Johnny Depp hasn’t thought about making a movie of as yet!.

Silvia’s book ‘Made in Italy’ is out now published by Penguin Books, Australia and Silvia’s TV program of the same name can be seen on SBS on 8pm Thursdays.

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