The story of Mary Poppins, the quintessentially English and utterly magical children’s nanny, is remarkable enough. She flew into the lives of the Banks family in a children’s book that is now hailed as a classic, then became a household name when Julie Andrews stepped into the starring role in Disney’s hugely successful film. Now she is a musical sensation all over again in ‘Mary Poppins’, the musical. But the story of Mary Poppins’s creator is just as unexpected and outstanding.
The fabulous nanny was conceived by an Australian, Pamela Lyndon Travers, who in 1924 left Sydney for London, where her career as a writer blossomed.
She travelled in the elite literary circles of the time and, most famously, clashed with Walt Disney over the adaptation of her books into film. Disney accused her of vanity for ‘thinking you know more about Mary Poppins than I do’. This struggle formed the center of the recent movie “Saving Mister Banks”, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
Like her mysterious character, Travers remained inscrutable and enigmatic to the end of her ninety-six remarkable years. Valerie Lawson’s illuminating biography provides the only glimpse into the mind of a writer who fervently believed that ‘Everyday life is the miracle’.
Within 30 years, dementia is set to overtake heart disease as the number one cause of death in Australia. Yet the main forms of dementia affecting people today are not genetic — and there are practical steps you can take right now to help prevent it. Based on years of first-hand research and experience, leading Australian expert Dr Michael Valenzuela covers everything you need to know to look after your brain, including the latest thinking on: Blood pressure, Diet, Cholesterol, Mental activity, Physical exercise… Featuring simple tips, summaries and even recipes, Maintain Your Brain is essential reading for anyone who wants to enjoy a healthy, active and happy life well into old age.
This updated edition of It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Mind includes important new discoveries on the physical impact of exercise on the brain.
Andrew has been a financial reporter since 1979, albeit with a brief but exciting interlude as an institutional stockbroker in Sydney, Paris and London between 1987 and 1992.
He spent about 14 years with the Australian Financial Review as a senior reporter between 1993 and 2007, having previously done his cadetship at The West Australian and moved to the Sydney Morning Herald in 1984.
He’s written a book on the collapse of HIH Insurance and a biography of stockbroker Rene Rivkin, and was also part of the AFR team that won the 2004 Gold Walkley Award.
In his own words, he ‘tries to make business comprehensible and interesting’ and does that as Business Editor for The Australian as well as in his regular spot on 702 Mornings on ABC Radio with Deborah Cameron, Tuesdays after the 9am radio news on the ABC.
It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters watched her twin brother die. In the sunshine of a new town her body has healed, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she fights and kills hell-beasts.
Haze is the second in the trilogy The Rephaim.
The third volume, Shimmer, will be released in July 2014.
The series has also bee sold to Tundra Books in Canada.
Paula Weston lives in Brisbane with her husband, a retired greyhound and a moody cockateil. She reads widely, and is addicted to paranormal stories. Shadows, book one of the Raphaim series, is her first novel.
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.
Do boys get anorexia? People were often surprised when Amanda Webster told them her son Riche was not just a bit too skinny, but dangerously ill.
Then they would ask, ‘How did he get it?’
That was the question Amanda asked herself. She had trained as a doctor. She knew that every disease has a cause. And if her eleven-year-old son had an eating disorder, surely the cause must be something she and her husband Kevin had done — or failed to do?
Amanda Webster grew up in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. She graduated from the University of Western Australia as a doctor, but left medicine to raise a family with her husband. Amanda turned to writing after her son’s illness; subsequently her work has appeared in several US literary journals. Amanda lives in Sydney with her husband and two of her three children.
Christopher O’Doherty, aka Reg Mombassa, has infiltrated our culture for more than thirty years with a unique, laconic view of our world. His wit, sense of mischief and larrikin energy resonated in the songs and performances of one of Australia’s most beloved bands, Mental As Anything.
Yet long before he became a Mental or transformed Mambo shirts into collector’s items, Mombassa was first and foremost an artist. From his idiosyncratic pop art to the delicately realised fine art landscapes and images that celebrate and elevate the suburban, his artworks are sought by collectors around the world. Who else could stage the biggest one-man art show in history at the Sydney Olympics? Who else could have Elvis Costello producing his records, or Johnny Rotten and Crowded House seeking his record cover designs?
But there is much more to Reg Mombassa, as fellow New Zealand-born writer and painter Murray Waldren shows in this illuminated journey, illustrated with over 300 artworks, photographs, posters and band memorabilia.
Mark’s new book is remarkable: at times heart-breaking, at times humorous, it is dazzling for its profound honesty. Like most of us, Mark Wakely had always put death in the too-hard basket. He was curiously distanced from his own parents’ deaths. Thirty years later, he went on a journey to confront one of the most intensely personal yet universal experiences: our own mortality. With Mark as our guide, we are introduced to morticians and embalmers, rabbis and doctors, coffin makers and gravediggers. He reveals the fashions and the fads, the rituals and the deep emotion in a heartfelt and whimsical investigation into this timeless subject.
Dream Home: Houses and the Imagination
Mark Wakely takes the reader on a wonderful ride between womb and tomb as he looks at what our homes mean to us at different stages of our lives. Dream Home is a book for anyone who’s ever made a house a home, and for all readers who question the notion of home. It is a book of universal appeal with numerous international references.
Mark Wakely is a Sydney-based writer, and a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National.
‘They were fifty miles to victory and defeat, fifty miles to collapse and renewal, and fifty miles to a new place for Australia among the nations of the world. They were among the most significant fifty miles in our history.’
March, 1918. The young Australian nation is struggling to cope with the Great War, now in its fifth year — the strain of maintaining huge armies halfway across the globe, the bitter divisions over conscription, anxiety from the rise of Communism in Russia, and the creeping influence of the War Precautions Act. And, above all, the country-wide grief over the death of its men on a scale never before seen or even imagined. The five Australian divisions have recently been combined into an all-Australian Corps, fighting as one unit in France. They need a commander and Major-General John Monash is a leading candidate, but he rose through the ranks as a part-time militia officer rather than as a professional soldier, and is of German-Jewish background at a time when xenophobia is at its height. Before the issue can be settled, German supreme commander Erich Ludendorff resolves to launch a massive offensive, seize Paris and win the War…
The Last Fifty Miles is the riveting account of how, when it mattered most, Australia stood up to play a critical role in one of the most decisive victories of World War One. Told with immediacy, lyricism and a clear-eyed focus by a brilliant new talent in history writing, it relives an extraordinary, neglected chapter of Australia’s past. Published by penguin.com.au
Julienne van Loon was the Winner of the 2004 Vogel Award. Her novel Road Story was released in 2005.
In 2006 she completed a new novel Backtracking, set in and around Port Hedland in the inhospitable far North of Australia. This book was published by Allen & Unwin in 2008.
Her latest novel is Harmless:
“With the right kind of mindfulness, William Blake tells us, one can behold infinity in a grain of sand. In the grainy bush tracks of the outer eastern suburbs of Perth, the whole canvas of contemporary Australian life — its ethnic diversity, its violence, its growing divisions of class and economic status, its convoluted history of linkage with South East Asia — is made vivid and visible in this remarkable novella. In sensual prose, van Loon presents a gallery of characters whose lives are as grim as they are compelling, whose small acts of resistance and resilience loom large and beautiful and heroic.” — Janette Turner Hospital