A Wife’s Heart: The Untold Story of Bertha and Henry Lawson
Henry Lawson is a revered cultural icon, but despite his literary success he descended into poverty and an early death. While many blamed his wife for his decline, Bertha Lawson alleged in April 1903 that Henry was habitually drunk and … Read More
Afternoons with Harvey Beam
Confirming his suspicions that you can successfully run away from your problems and a dysfunctional family, talk-show host Harvey Beam got out of his regional hometown as soon as he could. Beam creates a stellar radio career in the city, and builds a life that bears no resemblance to the one he left behind.
But as things start to unravel at work and at home, Beam is called back to Shorton by the imminent death of his father. There he finds everything is still waiting for him just as he left it. Maybe, though, Harvey Beam is not the same angry young man who ran away. And maybe the arrival of a single, wonderful stranger will mean that instead of going back, Harvey can finally move on.
Alfred’s War is a powerful story that unmasks the lack of recognition given to Australian Indigenous servicemen who returned from the WWI battlelines.
Alfred was just a young man when he was injured and shipped home from France. Neither honoured as a returned soldier or offered government support afforded to non-Indigenous servicemen, Alfred took up a solitary life walking the back roads billy tied to his swag, finding work where he could.
Alfred was a forgotten soldier. Although he had fought bravely in the Great War, as an Aboriginal man he wasn’t classed as a citizen of his own country.
Yet Alfred always remembered his friends in the trenches and the mateship they had shared. Sometimes he could still hear the never-ending gunfire in his head and the whispers of diggers praying. Every year on ANZAC Day, Alfred walked to the nearest town, where he would quietly stand behind the people gathered and pay homage to his fallen mates. Rachel Bin Salleh’s poignant narrative opens our hearts to the sacrifice and contribution that Indigenous people have made to Australias war efforts, the true extent of which is only now being revealed.
April in Paris, 1921
Meet the glamorous, witty and charming Kiki Button: socialite, private detective and spy. We all have secrets – it’s just that Kiki has more than most … Sparkling, witty and engaging crime fiction – one for fans of Phryne Fisher and Julian Fellowes It’s 1921, and after two years at home in Australia, Katherine King Button has had enough.
Her rich parents have ordered her to get married, but after serving as a nurse during the horrors of the Great War, she has vowed never to take orders again. She flees her parents and the prison of their expectations for the place of friendship and freedom: Paris.
Paris in 1921 is the city of freedom, the place where she can remake herself as Kiki Button, gossip columnist extraordinaire, partying with the rich and famous, the bohemian and bold, the suspicious and strange. But on the modelling dais, Picasso gives her a job: to find his wife’s portrait, which has gone mysteriously missing. That same night, her old spymaster from the war contacts her – she has to find a double agent or face jail. Through parties, whisky and informants, Kiki has to use every ounce of her determination, her wit and her wiles to save herself, the man she adores, and the life she has come to love – in just one week.
At the Beach I See
This delightful book for Early Childhood will mesmerise young children and older readers. The black linework and colourful wash backgrounds work beautifully with the lyrical text. Together they introduce extraordinary creatures and birds that we can discover and observe around our Australian coastline. ‘Dancing jellyfish’, ‘scuttling crabs’, ‘beautiful shells’, ‘tangled seaweed’ and a ‘soaring kite’ evoke the wonder of our beaches and the treasures to be found.
If you took a bird’s-eye view of Mount Barker, you’d see ordinary Australians living on their ordinary suburban blocks in an ordinary regional town. Get closer. Peer through a window.
You might see Nathan Long, obsessively recording the incessant bark of a neighbourhood dog, or the Wheeler family sitting down for a meal and trying to come to terms with a shocking discovery. If you listen, you may hear tales of fathers and their wayward sons, of widows who can’t forgive themselves, of children longed for and lost, of thwarted lust and of pure, incorruptible love.
Within the shadows is an unspeakable crime. Rebekah Clarkson has created a compelling, slow-burning portrait of a town in the midst of major change as it makes the painful transformation from rural idyll to aspirational suburbia. What looked like redemption is now profound loss. What seemed spiteful can now be forgiven. A novel in stories, Barking Dogs is an assured debut from one of Australia’s most respected storytellers.
Black Cockatoo is a vignette that follows Mia, a young Aboriginal girl as she explores the fragile connections of family and culture. She feels powerless to change the things she sees around her… until one day she rescues her totem animal, the dirran black cockatoo, and soon discovers her own inner strength. Black Cockatoo is a wonderful small tale on the power of standing up for yourself, culture and ever-present family ties. Teachers’ notes available here
Cinnamon Stevens – Crime Buster
Becki vanished from our Year 7 camp last night. Went missing. Completely disappeared. It’s up to me, Cinnamon Stevens, to solve the mystery. Only one small prob. Becki and I shared a tent and I have absolutely no idea what’s happened to her. (Note to self: May need to improve powers of observation if serious about becoming a super sleuth crime buster!)
A well-established legal doctrine that a defendant must ‘take their victim as they find them’.
If a single punch kills someone because of their thin skull, that victim’s weakness cannot mitigate the seriousness of the crime. But what if it also works the other way? What if a defendant on trial for sexual crimes has to accept his ‘victim’ as she comes: a strong, determined accuser who knows the legal system, who will not back down until justice is done?
Bri Lee began her first day of work at the Queensland District Court as a bright-eyed judge’s associate. Two years later she was back as the complainant in her own case. This is the story of Bri’s journey through the Australian legal system; first as the daughter of a policeman, then as a law student, and finally as a judge’s associate in both metropolitan and regional Queensland-where justice can look very different, especially for women.
The injustice Bri witnessed, mourned and raged over every day finally forced her to confront her own personal history, one she’d vowed never to tell. And this is how, after years of struggle, she found herself on the other side of the courtroom, telling her story. Bri Lee has written a fierce and eloquent memoir that addresses both her own reckoning with the past as well as with the stories around her, to speak the truth with wit, empathy and unflinching courage. Eggshell Skull is a haunting appraisal of modern Australia from a new and essential voice.
How To Be Held
To be held is to be embraced. Not only by the bodies or cities around you, but also by yourself. Maddie Godfrey’s debut poetry collection is an ode to resilience, vulnerability and tenderness. Using personal experiences the author explores gender politics, body positivity, trauma and self-preservation. How To Be Held aches with an intimate familiarity, like a diary entry which you cannot remember writing but still recognise yourself within. These poems are strong in the softest way.
Read Underground Writers’ review here
If I Tell You
What if the secret is more damaging than the lie? I never planned on falling in love in Two Creeks, but since when has life ever followed a plan? The day I fell for Phoenix Stone, there was no warning. She shattered the world I knew. This is a story about being seventeen and growing up in rural Australia.
Falling in love for the first time, following your dreams and disappointing your parents. Being brave enough to live your life, even when life is terrifying. In fear there is bravery you can either cling to the edge or have the courage to jump. But what do you do when you’re left spiralling through the freefall? Be proud. Be seen. Live life fearlessly.