STOP PRESS: 4 September 2017: The State Library of NSW (SLNSW) has announced the winners of the 2017 NSW Premier’s History Awards. The winning work is:
Australian History Prize ($15,000): From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories (Mark McKenna, MUP)
General History Prize ($15,000)
March 1797. Ninety Mile Beach, Victoria. Five British sailors and twelve Bengali seamen swim ashore after their longboat is ripped apart in a storm. The British penal colony at Port Jackson is 700 kilometres to the north, their fellow-survivors from the wreck of the Sydney Cove stranded far to the south on a tiny island in Bass Strait. To rescue them and save their own lives, they have no alternative. They set out to walk to Sydney. What follows is one of Australia’s greatest survival stories and cross-cultural encounters.
This is a book that will haunt your memory and ignite your dreams of what Australia once was and might yet become.
A rediscovery of history which offers possibilities of national understanding and rebirth.
Currently a Research Fellow at the Australian National University, Mark McKenna is an outstanding historian, and author of The Captive Republic (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and Looking For Blackfellas’ Point: An Australian History of Place (University of NSW Press, 2002) which won the Australian Cultural Studies Prize 2002; the NSW Premier’s Award for Non-Fiction 2003; and the NSW Premier’s Award (Book of the Year), 2003.
The 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games have become known as the ‘Friendly Games’, but East-West rivalry ensured that they were anything but friendly. From the bloody semi-final water polo match between the USSR and Hungary, during which blood was seen in the water, to the athletes who defected to the West, sport and politics collided during the Cold War. Harry Blutstein’s Cold War Games shows vividly how the USSR and US exploited the Melbourne Olympic Games for propaganda, turning athletic fields, swimming pools and other sporting venues into battlefields in which each fought for supremacy. [Click on the cover image to read more.]
Here you can read the full-colour ALM 2017 Sydney Writers Week brochure: at 2017-swf-Brochure
Katrina Beikoff: May Tang: A New Australian
May Tang: A New Australian
Born in the Year of the Snake, May Tang is like flowing water when she should have more fire. A dreamer, she will never be sensible and obedient like her elder sister Jie Jie or clever like her brother Peter, studying in Australia. But her parents are worried by rumoured events in China, and May finds herself on her way to a new life in Sydney. It is so different that May wonders if she will ever be able to love this new country.
Genre: Young Adults
Rights: Australia and New Zealand: Scholastic.
‘There had been a few minutes when I was alone with her in the autopsy room. I ’d felt wild. Absent. Before I could stop myself I was leaning close to her, telling her everything. The words draining out of me as she lay there. Her long damp hair hanging off the back of the steel table. Glassy eyes fixed blindly on the ceiling. She was still so beautiful, even in death.’
In Sarah Bailey’s The Dark Lake, a beautiful young teacher has been murdered, her body found in the lake, strewn with red roses. Local policewoman Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock pushes to be assigned to the case, concealing the fact that she knew the murdered woman in high school years before. The lake holds the key to solving the murder, but it also has the power to drag Gemma down into its dark depths…
When it comes to asylum seekers on Nauru, we learn only what the Australian Government wants us to know. In the wake of The Nauru Files, see first-hand what is happening inside the Nauru detention centre through Mark Isaacs’ eyewitness account.
Mark Isaacs went to work inside the Nauru detention centre in 2012. As a Salvation Army employee, he provided humanitarian aid to the men interned in the camp. What he saw there moved him to write this book.
The Undesirables chronicles his time on Nauru, detailing daily life and the stories of the men held there; the self-harm, suicide attempts, and riots; the rare moments of joy; the moments of deep despair. He takes us behind the gates of Nauru and humanises a political debate usually ruled by misleading rhetoric.
80 men murdered, 30 unsolved cases
From 1977 to the end of 1986, Duncan McNab was a member of the NSW Police Force. Most of his service was in criminal investigation. The many unsolved deaths and disappearances of young gay men are the crimes that continue to haunt him.
Julia Baird: Victoria, the Queen
Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth in 1819, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. Born into a world where women were often powerless, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers.
Four Weeks One Summer: When It All Went Wrong by Nicholas Whitlam
In the summer of 1936, over just four weeks, it all went wrong — for democracy and for Spain, even for the British royals. Politicians failed, and Hitler was emboldened to plan a new European war, and more.
Nicholas Whitlam majored in history at Harvard. Four Weeks One Summer, his third book, is the product of a long-held interest in the Spanish Civil War, the Olympic movement and the politics of the 1930s. On Nicholas Whitlam’s ALM page here, you can read Mark Colvin’s brilliant launch speech for this book.
Four Weeks One Summer: When It All Went Wrong is published by Australian Scholarly Publishing, at http://www.scholarly.info
‘It’ s a treasure trove. It’ s previously unknown, candid images of our troops just out of the line. Men with the fear and experiences of battle written on their faces.’
— General Sir Peter Cosgrove
Investigative journalist Ross Coulthart, joint winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History 2015, brings together stunning images of Western Front diggers and the amazing stories behind them.
The collection of detailed glass plates has been hailed as one of the most important First World War discoveries ever made. Haunting images show diggers enjoying a brief respite from the horror of the trenches: having their portraits taken for a lark, for a keepsake or to send to loved ones. For all too many, this would be their only memorial, and to gaze into the eyes of these men is to meet a lost generation.
This fully revised and expanded paperback edition (though warning: it’s large and heavy!) offers a wealth of fresh information including more soldiers newly identified with the aid of their families.
Amanda Webster: a Tear in the Soul. Born into privilege and wealth, Amanda Webster is a sixth generation Australian descended from white settlers and the third generation to grow up in Kalgoorlie. When she turned five Amanda started school and became friends with Aboriginal children fromthe nearby Kurrawang Mission. At that time the lives of the Aboriginal people were controlled by the Chief Protector and his local representatives, one of whom was Webster’s very own grandfather.
Forty years later, Webster returns to her hometown. She confronts her racist blunders, her cultural ignorance and her family’s secret past. And so begins her journey of reconcilication and friendship, taking her into a world she hardly knew existed.
A Tear in the Soul is a frank, beautifully written account of Webster’s personal journey towards the relisation that she, like generations of Australians, grew up with a distorted and idealised version of the past.
THE REMARKABLE STORY OF A CHAMPION AUSSIE HORSEMAN
Helen Thomas: Moods
In March 2016 Peter Moody, the man who took his ‘good mare’ Black Caviar to an unprecedented 25 straight victories, walked away from racing. Suspended for six months after he was found to have presented a horse on race day with an illegal level of cobalt in its system, the trainer made the drastic decision to close down his Caulfield stables altogether. How had it come to this? Articulate yet reticent, tough yet sensitive, Moody is an intriguing character. For the first time, discover what drives the man who will always be remembered as Black Caviar’s trainer, and a true Aussie legend.
HELEN THOMAS has worked as a journalist for more than thirty years in both radio and print. She is the manager of ABC NewsRadio as well as being a thoroughbred breeder and racehorse owner. For her books, see below.
‘This is a wicked individual.’ — former detective Michael Drury, The Australian
A new book by Duncan McNab!
THE VERDICT IS: GUILTY!
On 20 May 2014, former New South Wales police officers Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara murdered student Jamie Gao in cold blood. Both have been found guilty of murder and possession of 2.78 kg of ice, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
But this wasn’t Rogerson’s first trial or conviction. Once one of the most highly decorated police officers in New South Wales, he was dismissed from the police force in 1986, and jailed twice.
That was just the tip of the iceberg.
This is the eye-opening account of Rogerson’s life of crime — policing it and committing it — and reveals the full story of one of the most corrupt and evil men in Australia, and the events that led inexorably to the chilling murder of Jamie Gao in storage unit 803.
‘a poisoned, evil little man’ — a former detective inspector
IT’S BEEN OVER TWO CENTURIES SINCE THE FIRST CROOKS ARRIVED ON AUSTRALIA’S WATERFRONT. BUSINESS IS STILL BOOMING … Ever since the First Fleet dropped anchor, Australia’s ports have been a breeding ground for many of Australia’s most notorious criminals, and a magnet for local and overseas crime syndicates.
From the rum trade of colonial times to modern-day drug smuggling and alongside the rise and dominance of waterfront unions, a criminal element has always found ways to survive and thrive. After a century of Royal Commissions, reports, denials and crackdowns, crime and wrongdoing in Australia’s ports remains organised, entrenched and incredibly profitable.
In Waterfront, investigative journalist and former police detective Duncan McNab chronicles the larger-than-life characters who have populated Australia’s docks, wharves and ports — and lifts the lid on the crime, politics, violence and corruption that has always been present on Australia’s waterfront.
Stephen Daisley wins NZ$50,000 fiction prize at Ockham NZ Book Awards… Reviewer Sue Green writes: ‘It is four years since Stephen Daisley’s heartbreakingly beautiful debut novel Traitor. Many of us enjoyed the irony of this Western Australia-based Kiwi winning the $80,000 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction with what was, at its heart, a very New Zealand story. So it was disconcerting to discover that this much-anticipated second book is wrought by his experience in the harsh environs of rural Western Australia. Shearer, truck driver, sheep and cattle station worker, Daisley, who moved to Australia more than twenty-five years ago, knows and loves this unforgiving country and its people. And it shows. Even such unlovely characters as the violent bigot Painter Hayes are drawn with compassion for a man of his place and time… ’
‘This is a brutal, unflinching work with moments of shocking violence. Yet it is rendered with the same compassion, the exquisite tenderness and eye for beauty in the harshest places which made Traitor so affecting and memorable.’
Have a Happy 2017! And here are some of our new books: Click on these underlined links to see more about each writer:
Kirsten Tranter, Hold
‘A compelling story… so perfectly calibrated that it’s like being at the centre of an unfolding flower.’ — Amanda Lohrey
‘Sensual, spooky, and utterly beguiling: Hold is an enormously powerful work of art, an intimate portrait of grief and betrayal.’ — Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only the Animals
You can read Linda Morris‘s long 2016 interview with the author in The Melbourne Age here.
Luke Devenish, The Secret Heiress: A fabulous fortune. Beautiful, identical twins… Dark shadows fall across the golden summer of 1886. Naïve country girl Ida Garfield longs to escape the farm. When Miss Matilda Gregory, the elegant mistress of Summersby House, offers Ida employment as a housemaid, Ida leaps at the chance. Yet it’s not for her servant’s skills that she’s wanted. It’s her inquisitiveness.
But before Ida starts her first day, Miss Gregory is found dead. Fearing her one chance of bettering herself lost, Ida goes to the funeral, hoping that someone else from Summersby will still want her.
Someone does. Handsome blond Englishman Mr Samuel Hackett is the late Miss Gregory’s fiancé. He expresses a keen need for a housemaid — and a friend. But Miss Gregory’s will brings to light an extraordinary deception and a terrible wrong from the past. Summersby has a secret heiress, whose name is also Matilda Gregory, a strange, ethereal girl with an irrevocably broken memory. Who is this mysterious heiress, and why is Ida bound forever to the truth?
Catriona Menzies-Pike: The Long Run How did women’s running go from being suspect to wildly popular? How does a high school klutz become a marathon runner? This fascinating book combines memoir and cultural history to explore the rich and contradictory topic of women and running.
Amanda Lohrey: A Short History of Richard Kline ‘Lohrey convinces us because we know she has one foot firmly on solid ground. Her first fiction, “The Morality of Gentlemen” (1984), remains the finest political novel in the slender Australian sub-genre. Just as Aldous Huxley brought a scientific rigour to his experiments with psychedelics in “The Doors of Perception” — and just as English novelist, translator and critic Tim Parks, famed for his pugnacious opinions, recently applied his fine-grained scepticism to an account of learning to meditate in “Teach Us to Sit Still” — Lohrey brings all the sober acerbity with which she has judged worldly things to a book about moving beyond them.’ — Geordie Williamson, The Australian.
“Sixty Minutes” journalist Ross Coulthart has shared top prize in the history category at the Prime Minister’s literary awards for his detailed, thoughtful and investigative biography of one of Australia’s greatest war correspondents, Charles Bean. Ross shared the prize with David Horner, who wrote an unofficial history of ASIO called The Spy Catchers.
And now, in 2016, a glorious companion to The Lost Diggers: the book that made Ross Coulthart’s name. The Lost Tommies, mainly contemporary photos of British Tommies just before the horrific Battle of the Somme, is now at the top of Amazon’s Historial #1 on Amazon.co.uk historical biographies! Here’s part of the Sunday Times (London) notice: ‘But most of what is said about those we euphemistically call “the fallen” seems hollow when placed in proximity to this book. “We will remember them”, for example, is clearly false. They have vanished like melted snow, and but for this astonishing cache of pictures, we should not even know how they once looked. Whatever ideas you have about the Great War, The Lost Tommies will change them.’
Running Against the Tide The past will always find you.
Erin Travers is running away from her life and taking her two sons with her to a small town on the ruggedly beautiful Eyre Peninsula. The close-knit township is full of happy childhood memories for Erin, but she’s bringing a whole lot of baggage with her. When the peaceful community is disrupted by theft and arson, rumours fly about who is responsible. In a small town where lives are tangled too closely together, old grudges flare, fingers are pointed and secrets are unmasked.
From the bestselling author of Claiming Noah, Running Against the Tide is brimming with malice and threat, and cements Amanda Ortlepp’s position as one of Australia’s most compelling storytellers.
David Marr: Faction Man ‘Australians distrust Shorten almost as much as they distrust Abbott. That’s why this election will be fought on trust. It’s going to be dirty. At the heart of the contest will be Shorten’s character. All the way to polling day, Australians will be invited to rake over every detail of his short life and hidden career.’
David Marr is the author of Patrick White: A Life, Panic, The High Price of Heaven and Dark Victory (with Marian Wilkinson). He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Saturday Paper, the Guardian and the Monthly, and been editor of the National Times, a reporter for Four Corners and presenter of ABC TV’s Media Watch. He is the author of four previous bestselling Quarterly Essays.
Malcolm Knox: The Wonder Lover: What’s the worst thing that can happen to a man with three secret families? He falls in love.
‘It is a compulsive and thrilling read, a dazzling achievement. There is a word that should be used very rarely but I believe is absolutely right for this book: The Wonder Lover is superb.’ — Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap.
Anne Gorman: The Country Wife
‘In the tradition of Sara Henderson’s From Strength to Strength, comes a powerful true story of heartbreak and triumph.‘
Stephen Daisley: Coming Rain:
Stephen Daisley writes in lucid, rippling prose of how things work, and why; of the profound satisfaction in hard work done with care; of love and friendship, and the damage that both contain.
Robert Dessaix: What Days are For: A Memoir “The pleasure and elegance of all Dessaix’s writing is in the language, the erudition, the delicate, often unexpected and lovely connections, and the intimate, conversational voice…” – Agnes Nieuwenhuizen, in The Australian
Peter Twohig: The Torch: A madcap, brilliantly shambolic and irresistibly fun novel about loss, discovery and living life to the full, The Torch is a ripper of a ride.
Barry Maitland: Crucifixion Creek Crucifixion: Just another day at the office for homicide detective Harry Belltree. Until he identifies the stabbing victim as his own brother-in-law, and journalist Kelly Pool suggests there’s a link between the three incidents. Harry can’t get involved, not officially. That’s why he goes off-grid to investigate. And that’s when things start to get complicated, and very dangerous. For both Harry and Kelly.
Fiona Palmer: The Saddler Boys
‘Fiona Palmer just keeps getting better’ — Rachael Johns
Schoolteacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead. When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.
As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her society life in Perth and the rural community that needs her, Nat must risk losing it all to find out what she’s really made of – and where she truly belongs.
‘Palmer’s passion for the land bleeds into the story, and her scenes are vivid and genuine, just as her characters are.’ — Book’d Out
‘Fiona Palmer has well and truly earned her place as a leading writer of one of Australia’s much-loved genres.’ — Countryman
We have moved our email addresses to the supposedly safe gmail.com. Now if only Apple Mail could learn to play well with Gmail! Please go to the Contact Us link above, and send us a brief request asking us to send you our correct email address.
Also, we have moved our website to a ‘responsive’ WordPress blog site to allow us to sort our authors by WordPress Category, that is, by Genre. On a small screen, they may be at the very foot of the page.
A ‘responsive’ WordPress blog site resizes and redesigns itself automatically for smaller screens like pads or phone screens. Amazing! That‘s a bonus!
Genre pages sort automatically into standard alphabetical listing. Authors have their own pages, with the links A to Z, listed in the sidebar on a wide screen. We represent the work of many authors, so the list is quite long.
See the All About ALM page for more about us.