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Between 1788 and 1850, more than 1500 Jewish men and women were either transported to Australia as convicts or arrived as free settlers. This important biographical dictionary presents the detailsoccasionally sketchy but sometimes extensiveof more than 1500 of these pioneers. Rabbi John Levi's painstaking research through the fragmentary and often contradictory colonial records has culminated in an invaluable reference work and resource. A wealth of information, including birth names, extra names, nicknames, aliases and maiden names, together with details of marriages, children and occupations, makes These are the Names a major contribution to an important but little-recognised aspect of Australia's settlement history.For the first time, the earliest generation of Jews to settle in Australia is named and remembered.
John Levi was the first Australian to be ordained as a rabbi and to return to work in the land of his birth. He was named Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne in 1997, served as Senior Rabbi of the Victorian Union for Progressive Union from 1974, and was elected Vice President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry in 2005. He is a Patron of the Council of Christian and Jews, an organisation he helped to found in 1963, and a member of the governing body of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, 1974 to 1998. Rabbi Levi was one of the founders of Melbourne's King David School. His publications include Australian Genesis (1974), The Forefathers (1976), Rabbi Jacob Danglow: Uncrowned Monarch of Australian Jewry (1995), The Musical Tradition of the Berlin Reform Synagogue (1998) and A Passover Haggadah (2002). He is a Member of the Order of Australia. Monash University awarded Rabbi Levi the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) for his contribution to the community and to Australian Jewish history in 2006.
Rabbi Levi is an amazing guy to talk to, and this is a fantastic book for anyone with even a remote interest in early Australian settlement history!
This interview touches on why the first Jews came to Australia, the problems they faced, how they overcame them, and all points in between - I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Rabbi Levi, and I hope you enjoy listening to this interview!
Today's guest piece for Chicago based author, Susan Blumberg-Kason, on the small joys of getting students to learn outside institutional walls - check it out at:
And don't forget to tell her I sent you!
A smart, sassy self-appointed private investigator, Cass Tuplin is unforgettable and the town of Rusty Bore will never be the same…
Cass Tuplin’s takeaway isn’t the last shop left in Rusty Bore. There’s also Vern’s General Store. But it’s true the town’s not exactly overflowing with residents, and a stranger in Cass’s shop is quite an event. Especially one like Clarence: suspicious, bleeding, looking for a burger with the lot and somewhere quiet to stay. Cass knows just the place. Then she finds out more about Clarence and wants him out of town, but it turns out that’s not as easy as it sounds.
And then she finds the body.
It sounds like a job for the local police. Except that the local police is Cass’s son Dean, who has his doubts about Cass. And there’s no way he’s expending police resources on his mother’s fantasy crimes, not anymore.So it looks like Cass is going to have to find the killer on her own.
Sue Williams is a refreshing and irreverent new voice in crime fiction—Australia’s answer to Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton.
Sue Williams is a science and travel writer and a chartered accountant who also holds a PhD in marine biology. Her articles have been published in a range of magazines and on ‘The Science Show’ on ABC Radio National. Sue lives in Melbourne with her husband. Murder with the Lot is her first book.
It was an absolute delight to talk to Sue about not only her book, but her background in science - and her brilliant article on the effect of wind farms on vampires...
She is one seriously cool scientist, who writes a mean crime novel, and I am very much looking forward to her next Cass Tuplin book!
"At the age of fifteen Madeleine saw herself as a painter and pianist, but Ms Medway peered down at Madeleine during her entrance interview in 1957 and announced: ‘You know dear, I think you might write.’"
Madeleine would write. But not for some time. The Women in Black, a sparkling gem that belied the difficulties that had dogged her own life, was published when Madeleine St John was in her fifties. Her third novel, The Essence of the Thing, was shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize, and she continued to write until her death in 2006.
Helen Trinca has captured the troubled life of Madeleine St John in this moving account of a remarkable writer. After the death of her mother when Madeleine was just twelve, she struggled to find her place in the world. Estranging herself from her family, and from Australia, she lived for a time in the US before moving to London where Robert Hughes, Germaine Greer, Bruce Beresford, Barry Humphries and Clive James were making their mark. In 1993, when The Women in Black was published, it became clear what a marvellous writer Madeleine St John was.
Helen Trinca has co-written two previous books: Waterfront: The Battle that Changed Australia and Better than Sex: How a Whole Generation Got Hooked on Work. She has held senior reporting and editing roles in Australian journalism, including a stint as the Australian’s London correspondent, and is currently Managing Editor of the Australian.
This was a great interview about a wonderful book - I really enjoyed talking to Helen not only about Madeleine's story, but her own writing experiences, and the people she interviewed to put the book together. You can see Helen talking to Australian film director Bruce Beresford about Madeleine St John at: http://video.theaustralian.com.au/2344563297
A minor technical glitch occurred with this recording, making Helen sound like she's a long way from the microphone.
Don Tillman is getting married. He just doesn’t know who to yet.
But he has designed the Wife Project, using a sixteen-page questionnaire to help him find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also fiery and intelligent and beautiful. And on a quest of her own to find her biological father—a search that Don, a professor of genetics, might just be able to help her with.
The Wife Project teaches Don some unexpected things. Why earlobe length is an inadequate predictor of sexual attraction. Why quick-dry clothes aren’t appropriate attire in New York. Why he’s never been on a second date. And why, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love: love finds you.
Graeme Simsion worked as a computer operator, programmer and database specialist before founding a consulting business in 1982. By the time he sold Simsion Bowles & Associates in 1999, it had grown to some seventy staff in three cities. Graeme had built an international reputation in data management and written the standard text on data modelling. Until the success of The Rosie Project enabled him to concentrate on his writing, he continued to deliver seminars around the world.
Graeme is a founder of Pinot Now, a wine importer and distributor and Roy’s Antiques in Melbourne. He recently resigned from his position as a Senior Research Fellow at Melbourne University. He is married to Anne, a professor of psychiatry who writes erotic fiction. They have two children.
In 2007, Graeme completed his PhD in information systems and enrolled in the professional screenwriting course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He has made a number of short films and his screenplay, The Rosie Project, won the Australian Writers Guild / Inception Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script in 2010. While waiting for The Rosie Project to be produced, he turned it into a novel which in June 2012 won the Victorian Premier’s award for an unpublished fiction manuscript.
Readers of The Rosie Project will know that Graeme Simsion has a first-class sense of humour. At professional conferences he has given addresses from on top of a ladder, dressed as a duck, and he once engaged a group of spellbound chartered accountants in community singing.
Graeme is an author I think we'll be hearing a lot more about very soon - he's as interesting and funny as his books, and he'll be touring The Rosie Project around the world.
To find out where he'll be visiting, go to:
And for more about this wonderful book, visit:
A piece for Chicago based author Susan Blumberg-Kason's blog about enjoying fresh, local food at Robe on South Australia's Limestone Coast.
Check it out at:
and don't forget to tell her I sent you!
Sometimes, in my travels, I am fortunate enough to meet people who are incredibly passionate about food - and Maria Gentile is just such a lady.
Maria's been in the restaurant business for a long time along South Australia's Limestone Coast, and over the past few years she's transformed Caffe Belgiono at Robe into a fantastic Italian style al fresco dining experience.
The menu showcases The Limestone Coast's array of fresh varietal ingredients, from lamb and beef, through a selection of seafood and lobster, to locally grown vegetables.
Their wood oven pizzas are made with a secret family dough recipe brought from Italy, their pastas are made fresh from scratch, and their desserts are simply brilliant, including a divine affogato.
Caffe Belgiorno is located on the main street of Robe, and for more information, or to make a booking, you can contact Maria on +61 407 795 731, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Much loved gardening writer and photographer Holly Kerr Forsyth travelled the country, revealing the landscapes that she loves -- the soaring mountains, the stunning coastline, the wide plains -- and visiting gardens of note: in subtropical and temperate, alpine and arid regions, from newly established gardens to those that have evolved over generations. At each stop, over a meal hosted by the owner, the stories behind the gardens are told, their distinctive histories and features revealed. Meals were shared, created from recipes handed down from mothers or grandmothers, or made with local produce: this is country cooking at its best. Beautifully designed and featuring 27 inspirational properties, over 60 delicious recipes, and stunning photography, Country Gardens, Country Hospitality takes readers on a journey full of the warmth and conviviality that characterises our homeland.
Holly Kerr Forsyth is a writer, photographer and passionate gardener. She has written about gardens for more almost two decades, and has been The Weekend Australian's garden columnist for over fifteen years. Holly is the author of eleven books on gardening, including the bestselling Remembered Gardens: Eight Women and Their Visions of an Australian Landscape, The Constant Gardener: A Botanical Bible, Gardens of Eden, The Gardeners Book of Days and Seasons in My House and Garden.
It was wonderful to talk to Holly about just how beautiful this book is - and the way in which she put it together. Lovely photographs and recipes make this an absolute joy to look at!
A perfect introduction to Australian literature, The Burning Library explores the lives and work of some of our greatest novelists.
Alarmed by the increasingly marginal status of Australian literature in the academy, Williamson has set out to reintroduce us to those key writers whose works we may have forgotten or missed altogether. His focus is on fiction that gives pleasure, and he is ardent in defence of books that for whatever reason sit uneasily in the present moment.
The Burning Library is a dynamic act of reclamation inspired by Miles Franklin’s claim that a nation that fails to acknowledge its literary treasures is ‘neither preserved nor developed, but only defaced’.
Geordie Williamson is chief literary critic of the Australian newspaper, a position he has held since 2008, though his essays and reviews have been appearing in newspapers and magazines here and in the UK for over a decade. In 2011, he won the Pascall Prize for criticism, Australia’s only major national prize awarded for critical writing. He lives in the Blue Mountains with his family.
This is a passionate interview about not only Geordie's book, but Australian Literature as a whole - and how we're in danger of losing our heritage if we don't set out now to preserve it by reading these authors.
The interview also touches on how Geordie came to put the book together, his background in Australian Literature, and why ebooks are changing our reading habits - but possibly not in a positive way!
By the Book is Ramona Koval’s love letter to books and writing.
What is it about reading that we love so much? Why do books make our lives so much richer?
Ramona Koval’s By the Book is about reading and living, and about the authors that have written themselves into her life: from Oliver Sacks to Oscar Wilde, Christina Stead to Grace Paley. It is about learning to read (and asking her mother to buy her a copy of the Kama Sutra), about love and science (and her childhood ambition to be Marie Curie), about arctic exploration (and her ruminations on what part of a husky she would eat if she had to), about poetry and travel and falling in love.
In our book-devouring nation, this is a book for every avid reader and every avid listener who has been spellbound by Ramona’s interviews over the years.
By the Book is quintessentially Ramona: warm, bright, erudite—unmissable.
Ramona Koval is a writer, journalist and broadcaster. She is the editor of Best Australian Essays and was the presenter of ABC Radio National’s The Book Show. Her most recent book was Speaking Volumes: Conversations with Remarkable Writers, a collection of her international literary interviews.
Nothing makes me more nervous than interviewing someone who has interviewed people for a living, so I am glad that this interview ended up being incredibly enjoyable!
Ramona was amazing to talk to, and we ranged over a huge literary area, looking at everything from ebooks, to favourite authors (and how they change through time), via which bits of a husky to eat, and on into how printing changed the world.
This is a great interview about a brilliant book - don't just sit there, go out and buy a copy now!
You can find out even more about Ramona at:
Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of an Authentic Old Age is a humourous, uplifting meditation on finding the pleasures of old age, by the New York Times bestselling co-author of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar.
When philosopher, jokester and septuagenarian Daniel Klein goes to the dentist for a regular check-up, he is informed that he needs a section of his lower teeth removed and replaced with either a denture plate or implants. The implants would require frequent trips to the dentist over the course of a year, a lot of money and a lot of pain. The denture plate on the other hand would leave Klein with the unmistakable clunky smile of an old man.
Though Klein initially opts for the implants he soon questions his decision. Is it better to a spend a precious year trying to extend the prime of his life, or to live an authentic old age, toothless grin and all?
Klein decided the answer lay in a place where people seemed to know the secret to a long, happy and healthy life—Greece. He travels there with a library of his favourite philosophers and observes other septuagenarians and octogenarians, and contemplates his own life, particularly seeking out wisdom from renowned hedonist Epicurus.
From that journey comes a sincere and humorous book on aging and an Epicurean way of living.
Daniel Klein is the author, with Thomas Cathcart, of the international bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. A graduate of Harvard, in philosophy, he is the co-author of twenty-five other books. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife, Freke Vuijst.
It was brilliant to talk with Daniel, not only about this book, but about life in general - he really made me think about so many things in my life, and just what is and isn't important.
He's a wickedly funny guy, with a beautiful writing style, and I strongly urge you to go out NOW and read this book!
A wonderful collection of twenty-four short stories that celebrate the history, culture and creativity of Tasmania.
Tasmania is another country—a lush, sometimes foreboding island with a people fiercely protective of its history, culture and creativity.
This handsome collection, the first to bring together the finest stories about Tasmania, includes works by notable early Australian writers, such as Marcus Clarke and Tasma; internationally renowned practitioners, like Hal Porter, Carmel Bird and Nicholas Shakespeare; and a range of newer voices, from Danielle Wood and Rohan Wilson to Rachael Treasure. These twenty-four superb stories showcase the island’s colonial past, its darkness and humour, the unique beauty and savagery of its landscape.
Best known as the inspiration for Dame Edna Everage, Marjorie Bligh is an eccentric and unstoppable tour de force in Australian homemaking.
Want to prevent blistered heels when going without stockings? Rub your damp heels with a cake of laundry soap.
In Housewife Superstar, Danielle Wood introduced us to the life (three husbands, Campbell Town and Devonport dream homes, inspiration for Dame Edna Everage) and work (countless writings, prizes, cakes, and things knitted, crocheted, sewed) of Mrs Marjorie Bligh: domestic goddess, original recessionista and all-round force of nature.
The follow-up, Home, collects the finest Marjorie moments in hints, advice, recipes, poems, gardening and travel, all reproduced as facsimile pages from her many famed self-published books—and with new photographs, celebrity appearances and a special foreword by the great lady, now ninety-five, herself.
Danielle Wood is the author of a novel, The Alphabet of Light and Dark (2003; winner of the Australian/Vogel and Dobbie awards); a collection of short stories, Rosie Little’s Cautionary Tales for Girls (2006); and a non-fiction work, Housewife Superstar: The Very Best of Marjorie Bligh (2011). She lives in Hobart and teaches at the University of Tasmania.
It was fantastic to talk to someone who enjoys not only the act of writing itself, but talking about why writing is important. Danielle's work in putting these two books together shows the passion she has for writing, and I hope that that comes through in this interview!
Susan Blumberg-Kason a writer based in Chicago. She first visited China just after high school graduation in 1988 and was hooked. After an exchange year in Hong Kong during university, Susan knew she wanted to make Asia her home. She returned to Hong Kong in the mid-1990s to pursue an MPhil in Government and Public Administration. In her first semester of graduate school, she met and became engaged to a musician from Hubei province in central China. Susan got her start in publishing after graduating in 1996 and securing a job at a university press in Hong Kong. Two years later Susan and her husband moved to San Francisco when his Hong Kong visa expired. In San Francisco, Susan continued to work as an editor in a university setting. Her son Jake was born in 1998 and her marriage dissolved in 2000. She is currently working on a memoir titled Good Chinese Wife, which chronicles her multi-cultural first marriage. She is also the books editor for Asian Jewish Life (www.asianjewishlife.org), a magazine that celebrates the Jewish experience across Asia. It was after Susan left Hong Kong and China that she became fascinated by the Jewish communities in China during World War II. This year Susan started to speak to audiences about Jews in China during war. In her spare time, she hangs out with her Chicago-born husband and three kids. She enjoys exposing all of her kids to Chinese culture and recently visited Hong Kong for the first time in 14 years.
It was great chatting to Susan, someone I've been writing pieces for for nigh on a year now - all previous contacts been solely limited to email, so it was nice to put a voice to the words for once!
This interview ranges over why Jewish people came to China before the Second World War, and why they disappeared not long after, through Susan's own experiences in Hong Kong and Hubei, and what she's up to now in Chicago.
You can find out more about Susan at:
Today's guest blog piece for Chicago based author, Susan Blumberg-Kason, about the hypocrisy that's ramapant in China over the dispute with Japan over a small bunch of rocks and a sewage outfall...
Check it out at:
And don't forget to let her know I sent you!
Today's guest post for Chicago based author Susan Blumberg-Kason's blog, on the ways in which English get botched here in Tianjin on a daily basis.
Check it out at:
And don't forget to let her know I sent you!
From the authors of the bestselling books Gangland Australia, Gangland Melbourne and Gangland Sydney, comes the next thrilling installment in the series.
Gangland Queensland heads north of the border to tell exploits of a colourful pantheon of mobsters, shysters, club owners, drug dealers, Black Hand gangs, crooked police and bikers over the last century. Beginning with the drug and sex trades of the early 1900s, and including the infamous fire at the Whiskey Au Go Go club, the explosive revelations of The Fitzgerald Inquiry and organised crime syndicates like Japan's Yakuza, authors James Morton and Susanna Lobez examine the scale of Queenslands crime scene in forensic and fascinating detail.
Susanna Lobez is an actor-turned-barrister-turned-broadcaster. She has been an ABC specialist legal broadcaster on The Law Report (radio) and Law Matters (TV). She has written feature articles for the Age and columns for the Sunday Herald Sun.She is the co-author of the bestselling Gangland Australia, Dangerous to Know and Kings of Stings with James Morton.
A fascinating author to talk to, Susanna and I ranged over why there might be so much crime in Queensland (maybe it's the weather!), the origins of gang culture in Australia, the stupidity of crims, and the role of law as a backbone for society.
I had a lot of fun doing this interview, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
One family. Nine momentous days. An unforgettable novel of love and folly and heartbreak.
It is 1939 and although Australia is about to go to war, it doesn’t quite realise yet that the situation is serious. Deep in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Richmond it is business — your own and everyone else’s— as usual. And young Kip Westaway, failed scholar and stablehand, is living the most important day of his life.
Kip’s momentous day is one of nine that will set the course for each member of the Westaway clan in the years that follow. Kip’s mother, his brother Francis and, eventually, Kip’s wife Annabel and their daughters and grandson: all find their own turning points, their triumphs and catastrophes, in days to come.
But at the heart of all their stories is Kip, and at the centre of Kip’s fifteen-year-old heart is his adored sister Connie. They hold the threads that will weave a family.
In Nine Days Toni Jordan has harnessed all the spiky wit, compassion and lust for life that drew readers in droves to Addition and Fall Girl. Ambitious in scope and structure, triumphantly realised, this is a novel about one family and every family. It is about dreams and fights and sacrifices. And finally, of course, it is — as it must be — about love.
Toni Jordan has a BSc. in physiology and qualifications in marketing and professional writing. Her debut novel, Addition, was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award and longlisted for the Miles Franklin in 2009, and has been published in sixteen countries. Toni lives in Melbourne.
It was great to talk to Toni, not least because she had just completed a three month stint at Beijing University as writer in residence!
Nine days is a brilliant read, and this is a wonderful interview, in which we discussed the ways in which language shapes thought, the importance of research on a novel, and why writing is like baking a cake!
This was fantastic fun, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
Today's guest piece for Chicago based author Susan Blumberg-Kason's blog, about how a couple of rocks and a sewage outfall are stirring up a lot of trouble here in China...
Check it out at:
And don't forget to tell her I sent you!
Today's guest piece for Chicago based author Susan Blumberg-Kason's blog, looking at the strange things you see when you haven't got a club. Check it out at:
and don't forget to tell her I sent you!
Today's guest piece for Chicago based author Susan Blumberg-Kason's blog, on the things one sees whilst out for a stroll...
Check it out at:
and don't forget to let her know I sent you!
Today's guest blog piece for Chicago based author Susan Blumberg-Kason, on students returning to Chinese universities, and mandatory military training.
Check it out at:
and don't forget to tell her I sent you!
Once upon a time in China, the most beautiful and gifted women were known as "skeleton women" - the ultimate femme fatales who could bring a man to his knees, or to his doom...When Camilla, a young orphan girl in Shanghai, is adopted and brought to live in luxury, it seems like a stroke of luck. But as Camilla grows to womanhood, she realizes that her "rescue" was part of gang leader Big Brother Wang's scheme. Camilla is trained in singing, dancing, knife-throwing and contortion - all to attract the attention of Wang's enemy, the ruthless Master Lung. Forced to become Master Lung's mistress, Camilla meets two other intriguing women. Shadow is a magician and rival for Master Lung's affections, while Rainbow Chang dresses like a man and wields power through her incendiary gossip column. Both pose risks to Camilla's safety and status. But an even greater danger comes in the form of Master Lung's eldest son, Jinying, who despises his father's violent lifestyle - but loves Camilla. Only by plotting to eliminate Lung can she make her escape, but at what cost?
Mingmei is a prolific writer, musician, painter and caligrapher - who doesn't watch TV (but does love to spend time on Facebook!). I really enjoyed talking to her about how language shapes the way a book is created, the power that Chinese women wield, and how she illustrates her books for children.
You can find out more about Mingmei at her webstie:
Black Sesame Kitchen was recently featured in the first episode of the BBC series, "Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure", with Ken Hom and Ching-He Huang.
Black Sesame Kitchen developed out of founder Jen Lin-Liu’s passion for Chinese food, starting with her own adventures in a local cooking school in 2005. After becoming a nationally certified Chinese chef, interning in several restaurants in Beijing and Shanghai, and writing a book entitled Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China, she began holding cooking classes in friends’ homes along with the seasoned chefs she met during her cooking experiences. To expand her reach, she found a cozy space in a courtyard residence in central Beijing in the spring of 2008 and renovated it into an open kitchen and dining room, where she invites you to cook, socialize, dine, and wine.
Michelle Tang is the general manager of Black Sesame Kitchen. She is a native of New Zealand, with ancestry from southern China. She’s lived in Beijing for more than a decade and has extensive business experience extending over a variety of industries and has in the past year worked with Black Sesame Kitchen. In addition to managing Black Sesame Kitchen, you may find her teaching cooking classes, working in the kitchen experimenting with recipes or various Black Sesame Kitchen projects. Otherwise, being a foodie you can find her wandering around Beijing or the rest of the world searching for the perfect meal.
As she's a "bit of a foodie", it was great to talk to Michelle about the ideas behind Black Sesame Kitchen, and the whole Chinese cooking experience, as well as the types and styles of food that people can learn to cook there.
I certainly want to go there and try my hand at some of these things, and if you'd like to find out more, head to:
It’s cold outside, but no one is going to stop Stella from wearing her new tutu – not even her brother Barry.
'Wake up, Stella, let's go out and play!' said Barry.
He put on his new Nanna-knitted cardigan, and Stella put on her new made-by-Nanna tutu.
'It's way too cold for a tutu!' said Barry.
'It's never too cold for a tutu!' said Stella.
Follow Mini’s gorgeous hand-knitted characters, Barry and Stella … and find out how Barry's new cardigan and Stella's tutu can become costumes with endless possibilities.
For more information on Barry and Stella’s adventures visit the Barry and Stella webpage at www.barryandstella.com.
Mini Goss was born in Melbourne and lived in London and New York for most of her childhood. Despite going to groovy parties and meeting the odd pop-star, Mini, an only child, longed for a ‘normal’ life back in Melbourne with grandparents, cousins to play with and a dog. When Mini was a teenager she returned to Melbourne, got a dog, a cat, a rabbit and some birds. She was only allowed to watch one hour of TV a day so the rest of the time she spent drawing. As a grown up Mini still likes to draw her dog, her cat, rabbits, birds, fish and her three children. Since starting to write and illustrate children's books about twenty years ago, her pets and children have been the models for many characters in her books. Mini was awarded the Crichton Award for Illustration in 2002.
Mini has knitted a life-sized elephant to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Melbourne Zoo in August 2012. For more information on Mini and the elephant visit her facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Mini.Goss
It was wonderful to talk to Mini about the joys of knitting, writing and illustrating children's books, and if an elephant would shrink in the rain - this is a great, fun interview!
Peggy's family is hosting a barbecue for their neighbours, the Dawsons. Peggy isn't too sure about those Dawson boys. But she's delighted when an unexpected crocodile invites himself to tea...with unexpected consequences!
Kim Kane was born in London in a bed bequeathed by Wordsworth for '...a writer, a dancer or a poet'. Despite this auspicious beginning, she went on to practise law. Family Forest was shortlisted for the 2011 CBCA Awards. The Vegetable Ark was a 2011 CBCA Notable Book in two categories. Pip: The Story of Olive won the 2008 Barbara Ramsden Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 ABIA Awards and Speech Pathology awards. Kim lives with her family in Melbourne. She writes whenever and wherever she can.
It was absolutely brilliant to talk to Kim, and this interview explores the way in which words shape stories, how law prepares people to write, that creativity is important, and that sometimes ideas can come to you at the most unexpected times.
Kim's books are amazing, and so is she - I strongly urge you to have a listen to this interview!
Nadine Davidoff is a freelance book editor with over ten years’ trade publishing experience. Her clients include major publishing companies and literary agents for whom she undertakes manuscript assessment and development. Nadine also offers manuscript assessment services to established and first-time authors seeking structural advice and editorial feedback before submitting their work to an agent or publisher.
Nadine has worked as a senior editor at Random House Australia and as a commissioning editor at Black Inc. She was also fiction editor for The Monthly magazine before starting her own freelance editing business in 2006. Her areas of interest include literary and popular fiction, general non-fiction, biography/memoir, travel narrative and health.
Nadine is an honorary fellow at the Writing Centre for Scholars and Researchers at Melbourne University’s School of Graduate Research, a member of the NSW Writers’ Centre, the Victorian Writers’ Centre, and a member of the Society of Editors. She lives in Melbourne.
It was wonderful to talk to Nadine about the complexities and joys of editing, and the ways in which editing a book can bring out the best aspects of it!
You can find out more about Nadine's work at:
Lee Kofman, the author of three fiction books (in Hebrew), emigrated to Australia in 2000. Her short fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English appeared in Australia, Scotland, UK, Canada and USA in Griffith Review, Australian Best Stories, Modern Australian Short Stories, Heat, Westerly, Antipodes, Cordite, Brand, Chapman and more. She is the recipient of the Australian Council grant, the Varuna Eric Dark Flagship Fellowship, a residency in Katharine Susanna Pritchard Writers’ Centre and other writing residencies, Varuna Pathways Masterclass Award, ASA mentorship and Rosebank Fellowship. She holds MA of Creative Writing (University of Melbourne), and mentors writers and teaches writing classes. Lee’s memoir-in-progress was shortlisted for the Harpers Collins Varuna Award 2012.
Some of her English works are at:
It was an absolute pleasure talking to Lee, finding out more about her experiences in the Israeli Defence Force, leaving Russia in the mid 80s, the way in which language shapes a story teller's tales, and her new memoir in progress.
Left Turn shows why the left should be taken seriously. The essays are passionate, relevant and radical, by voices that are dying to be heard in an increasingly barren media landscape.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed.
Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine?
Left Turn is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based independent journalist, author and blogger. He has written for the Guardian, The Nation, The Sydney Morning Herald, Haaretz and many others. His first book, My Israel Question (2006), was a bestseller and shortlisted for the 2007 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award. His second book, The Blogging Revolution, on the internet in repressive regimes, was released in 2008. Both titles have been re-released in new, updated editions and translated across the world. He is currently working on another book for MUP, on disaster capitalism, due in 2013 and a book in 2012 called After Zionism. Antony appears regularly in the media in Australia and overseas in print, radio and TV. His website is antonyloewenstein.com.
It was great talking to Antony, he's a very passionate writer, which definitely shows through in this interview.
Even if you only have the vaguest interest in politics, I'd highly recommend this collection of articles - and that you listen to this!
Today's guest blog for Chicago base author Susan Blumberg-Kason, on the recent events in my life here in Tianjin.
Check it out at:
and don't forget to let her know I sent you!
When Sydney Smith was nine, she thought about killing herself because of her mother’s cruelty.
When she reached puberty, her mother sexually assaulted her—a pattern repeated over the years.
By the time Sydney was twenty, she believed there were cameras behind every mirror in the house, that her mother could read her mind, that anybody who looked at her could see the bloody fantasies of murder and mutilation which tormented her.
How to escape? How to survive?
Enthralling and disturbing, brave and elegantly written, The Lost Woman is that rare memoir: a story which, once read, will never be forgotten.
This is a brilliant book, and Sydney Smith is a fantastic author to talk to. The interview covers everything from how her memoir came into being, through taking the mickey out of Action Flicks, and on into the art and development of writing skills.
I really, really enjoyed this interview, and I hope you do too!
When Sunday and John Reed purchased Heide, now the site of Heide Museum of Modern Art, it was a neglected former dairy farm. At the end of their lives, it was unique among Melbourne’s parklands, densely forested with exotic and native flora, with a stunningly beautiful cottage-style kitchen garden the jewel in its crown—in all, an extraordinary aesthetic accomplishment, the result of fifty years of vision, dedication and sheer hard work. The Reeds moulded Heide into a personal Eden, connecting art with nature and creating a nourishing environment for the artists they championed—Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Charles Blackman and Mirka Mora among them.
Sunday’s Garden explores the growing of Heide, and in doing so fully restores the Heide garden into the literature surrounding this inspiring site, its creators and the makers of its myths.
Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan are curators at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne. In 2010 they co-authored Sunday’s Garden: Food and Living at Heide, also published by the Miegunyah Press.
It was fantastic to talk to Lesley and Kendrah about this book, and their work at the Museuem - this book really brings the whole Angry Penguin group to life through the garden, and I really, really recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in art.
You can find out more about the book, and the Heide Museum Of Modern Art at:
A bottle of blood is found buried in a wombat hole, but where is the body?
Is a suburban couple paying the babysitter with freshly stolen money?
Can a lucky leech outsmart a brazen burglar?
Match wits with real life investigators to answer these questions, and also discover how nine of Western Australia’s most wanted criminals escaped from Perth’s Supreme Court in broad daylight; why an Adelaide wife sent her husband’s privates to a fiery end; and how a Melbourne woman convinced high-level professionals to raise her stolen family at a cult in Eildon — undetected — for over twenty years.
Cunning crims, cruel cults and common crackpots abound in these 12 fascinating true tales from the badlands of contemporary Australia. Journalist Liam Houlihan goes behind the headlines to prove truth is not only stranger than fiction but also more colourful, more baffling and more twisted.
Liam Houlihan is an award-winning journalist and former lawyer. He has reported from New York (for the NY Post), Washington, DC (including a stint in the White House press pool), from Sri Lanka after the Boxing Day tsunami, and has trailed Mick Gatto’s pursuit of missing Opes Prime money in Singapore. As a Crime Reporter with the Sunday Herald Sun, his police and underworld exclusives were regularly syndicated by other media around the country. He is currently Chief of Staff at the Sunday Herald Sun.
Liam was great fun to talk to, and we covered everything from witnessing George W. Bush invent the term "chicken growers", through Adelaide being "the city of shallow graves", to the way in which he picked the stories for this book.
These are great stories, and this is a fun interview!
It was a David and Goliath style battle: Australian investigators up against a global organised crime empire. What seemed like an impossible task resulted in one of the most ambitious investigations in the world, infiltrating international money laundering streams and exposing the global crime bosses in control of the world’s drug trade.
The Sting is the never-before-told story of the ongoing efforts of Australia’s most secretive and powerful law enforcement agency to topple the new face of organised crime. This is a tech-savvy, billion-dollar empire with tentacles reaching across the world, from outlaw motorcycle gangs to powerful Asian crime syndicates to law and government agencies.
This is not a conventional story of good versus evil. It chronicles criminal, law enforcement and political tactics through the eyes of its major players—the criminal investigators, the international crime bosses, the senator, the drug cook and the investigative journalist—and exposes what many in power don’t want the public to know.
Nick McKenzie is one of Australia’s leading investigative journalists.
He works for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald and occasionally reports for ABC TV’s Four Corners program. He has won Australia’s highest journalism award, the Walkley, three times for his work exposing corruption and organised crime. His work has triggered several major inquiries, including Australia’s biggest bribery investigation. In his free time he surfs and reads.
The Sting's a great read, and it was wonderful to talk to Nick about how the book came together, the characters in it, and his time as an investigative journalist!
Internationally renowned chef Walter Trupp and his nutritionist wife Dorota bring together their wealth of experience and knowledge in Trupps’ Wholefood Kitchen. Based on the latest nutritional research, the book is packed with recipes that use clean, whole and organic foods to promote good health and well-being.
Gorgeously illustrated, and with step-by-step instructions, Trupps’ Wholefood Kitchen contains over 70 delicious and easy-to-make recipes, from waffles to beef bourguignon, from cider-braised mussels to chocolate tofu cheesecake. Alongside these, the Trupps write about the benefits of natural foods and explain how the food we eat affects our minds and bodies. Replete with handy cooking and ingredient shopping tips and providing many gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan alternatives, Trupps’ Wholefood Kitchen will teach you how to incorporate good food simply and easily into your everyday life and get you on the way to looking great and feeling healthy.
Walter Trupp has managed some of the most prestigious restaurants in Austria, England and Australia. Accolades for Walter’s restaurant in Austria include 18 out of 19 points and three chef’s hats from the prestigious French restaurant guide Gault Millau when Walter was just twenty-five years old. In England Walter worked in several two- and three-Michelin star restaurants, eventually becoming an executive head chef for the world renowned Marco Pierre White. Walter grew up in an Austrian mountain village, where whole foods were a natural part of his childhood.
Nutritionist Dorota Trupp focuses on the relationship between food and well-being, based on the science of nutrients in food. Having grown up on a Polish farm, her interest in how the environment affects quality and safety of foods, and how these factors influence health and disease, led to work in environmental protection. After meeting Walter in England, she combined her environmental passion with her new interest in food and moved into nutritional medicine.
You can find out more about the Trupps at:
Walter was great to talk to, his passion for food really shines through.
This is a great interview for anyone who is serious about what they eat!
Claire Bidwell Smith, a fourteen-year-old only child, learns that both her parents have cancer. The fear of becoming a family of one compels her to make a series of fraught choices, set against the glittering backdrop of New York and Los Angeles—and the pall of regret.
When the inevitable happens and Claire is alone in the world, she is inconsolable at the revelation that suddenly she is no one’s special person. It is only later, when Claire falls in love, marries and becomes a mother, that she emerges from the fog of grief.
Using the five stages of grief as a window onto her personal experience, Claire Bidwell Smith has written a powerful memoir that is at once exquisite and profound. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Greg Boose and their daughter. Claire is an experienced therapist specializing in grief.
Claire has a bachelor’s degree from The New School University in Manhattan and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She has written for many publications including Time Out New York, Yoga Journal, BlackBook Magazine, The Huffington Post and Chicago Public Radio. She has also worked for nonprofits like Dave Eggers’ literacy center 826LA and most recently worked as a bereavement counselor for a hospice in Chicago.She is currently working on her second book.
Claire was amazing to talk to, and her book is stunning. I strongly recommend it to everyone, not just as a piece about grief, but as a story about living!
You can find out more about her at:
What do we think we desire? What do we truly desire? These are the two competing forces underlying Xu Xi's latest fiction collection Access. These thirteen tales are at once acerbic and heartbreaking, directing our gaze at the incongruities of human relations and the persistence of wounds our hearts cannot heal. Those in the multi culti world of these fictions seek answers to questions they have yet to learn to ask. But every so often they glimpse an entry point, and these sightings offer reason to hope, even if access will again be denied, as it inevitably is, for those whose desires strain towards perfection in our highly imperfect world.
"This is a collection of tales with hints of Chaucer, ranging from the world of privilege to office workers and massage girls; from heavily ironic vignettes on the corporate world to edgy stories of broken lives and selfish times. What is remarkable is that there is no irritable reaching after pathos, just sharp interior monologues combined with translucent prose like thin ice, cutting in and out of frame through private feelings and public narratives. Xu Xi is a rare writer whose perspectives can shift effortlessly between personal pronouns, gender and impersonal sex. The access code to this grammar is to glean the shadow of loss lying between language and the loneliness of existence."
- Brian Castro, author of The Bath Fugues, The Garden Book, and Shanghai Dancing
"Xu Xi has a sharp ear. The dominant voices in her latest collection of short stories belong to the bold and elegant Chinese women, the high achievers, losers, dreamers, and dancers with families and lovers, who are separated by continents and cultures. Their stories, unsentimentally told, are a stimulating read."
- Suchen Christine Lim, author of A Bit of Earth, Fistful of Colours, and Rice Bowl
This interview ranges far and wide across how Access came together, short stories Vs novels, how writers are taught to read like a writer, the joys of teaching and even the comparitive values of paper publications and electronic formats.
It's been a delight catching up with Xu Xi again, she's fantastic to talk to.
I truly hope you enjoy listening to this!
You can find out more about Xu Xi at her website:
Wil is a stand up first and foremost, touring Australia and the world at every opportunity, performing more than a hundred shows a year. His stand up is a densely written, high-speed ride though one of the most wonderful comedic imaginations in the country. Politics, pop and the banal come together in a Wil Anderson routine, always delivered with more conviction and enthusiasm than any man’s vocal chords can take.
Previously host of ABC-TVs AFI Award winning program, The Glass House, Wil returns to TV once again in 2011, with the third season of the ABC runaway hit, The Gruen Transfer. The show proved to be such a success in its initial year that the series was released straight onto DVD.
In amongst the TV hosting, and constant touring, Wil writes a highly popular regular column for Australia’s most highly read magazine, The Sunday Magazine, His first book, ‘Survival Of The Dumbest’ was released by Random House.
Wil has also appeared regularly on Chelsea Lately, and recently toured America.
In this interview, we look at how much hard work goes into making comedy appear effortless, how The Gruen Transfer came to be, and why stand up comedy is the best job in the world.
It also touches on some of the problems in taking an Australian act overseas, and how jokes can be refined.
Will is an amazingly funny bloke, and it's an absolute pleasure to talk with him - I hope you enjoy this interview.
For more information about Wil, his tour and his podcast, "Thirty Odd Foot Of Pod", head to:
Why did I do this interview?
That's a good question...
I did it because I wanted to.
Because I like Doug Stanhope, and I want to introduce him to other people.
Doug Stanhope is a stand-up comic. Has been since 1990.
His material ranges from true-life graphic perversion to volatile social criticism. Doug is vulgar, opinionated, brutally honest and shockingly uninhibited and is certainly not for everybody.
He started his career in Las Vegas doing jack-off jokes for free drinks. Not much has changed, save for the mullet.
Doug has built a wide-ranging television resume of dubious achievement. He hosted The Man Show on Comedy Central as well as the ubiquitous pseudo-porn for the sexually crippled, "Girls Gone Wild", both solely and shamelessly for financial gain. He has appeared on "The Howard Stern Show", "Comedy Central Presents", "Premium Blend", NBC's "Late Friday", "Spy TV" BBC's "Floor Show Live" while on ecstasy and wrote, produced and starred in Fox's "Invasion of the Hidden Cameras" and has even popped up on "Fox News with Greta Van Sustern" and "The Jerry Springer Show". But none of it compares to seeing him live.
He’s appeared at major comedy festivals including the Montreal Just For Laughs, Aspen US Comedy Arts, Chicago Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, where he won the Strathmore Press Award in 2002.
Also in 2002, he was named as one of the Top Ten Comics To Watch by both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. He has released three CDs and three DVDs including the latest through Showtime, "No Refunds" in 2008.
"Ask anyone whose opinion matters, and they'll tell you Doug Stanhope is one of the top ten stand-ups in the world today.
Stanhope's confrontational stance comes from the rough, blistered underbelly of America's trailer parks; he's a feral, aggressive man full fuelled by primal urges to drink, fight and screw and the corrosive material has all the venomous aggression you might expect from that background.
But what underlines it, and makes it so untouchably good, is the passion and conviction with which he holds his intelligent beliefs, informed by sensibilities that might seem alien to such a no-nonsense, pig-headed persona. -Chortle UK
"Stanhope shocks you with the virulence of his lucidity; he shocks you into realising how transparent the confidence trick of western propaganda can be made to seem. What he has in abundance is the charm, don't-give-a-damn swagger and aggressive intelligence that make for important, exciting comedy." -Guardian, UK
"Some of the sharpest and most biting cultural commentary you'll see in a comedy club." - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Austin Chronicle says, "Let me tell you something, friends. Doug Stanhope is one funny sumbitch. He's also one of the most twisted individuals I've ever met, but that's part of his charm. He's one of those comics that doesn't make shit up. He lives a mad, mad life and what he remembers he reports back to us. He's been known to bare his soul, and other things, right there on the stage. If you're easily offended, stay home this week. Watch Matlock or something. But if you like your comedy rough, raw, and rowdy, there's no one better than Doug Stanhope. Have I made myself clear?"
"Sharp, off color, and howlingly funny" - The San Francisco Chronicle
"Stanhope breaks down the walls of decency. He uses profanity, but nothing he says is meant to shock. Everything he says is designed to make the audience laugh. Stanhope has worked his way to become one of the best comics around" - The Reno Gazette Journal
Doug Stanhope makes me laugh.
I hope he makes you laugh, too... he's a very funny guy, despite his protesting otherwise.
I enjoyed doing this.
I took a punt, and it paid off.
And if you don't like it, email me.
And if you want to know more, check out: