Melbourne Writers Festival 2019

The MWF 2019 program was announced at 7pm. I’ve been busy since then making long lists of authors, events, dates and times.

The theme this year is ‘When We Talk About Love’. I LOVE the graphics and that sparkly heart (and a friend quite rightly pointed out that they need to have this vase everywhere, at all the venues). Continue reading

Small Wrongs by Kate Rossmanith

When an author gets the balance between memoir and journalism* just right, it makes for brilliant reading. Kate Rossmanith has done it with Small Wrongs, a book that explores how we say ‘sorry’.

Rossmanith looks at what constitutes remorse from many angles – the ‘theatre’ of courtroom appearances; how judges make their decisions; prison, parole and rehabilitation and how these systems create opportunities for offenders to show remorse; and retribution for victims of crime.

In the justice system…the act of forgiveness was unrelated to the duty of punishment; it was not the role of the courts to forgive a person…only the victims can forgive. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Arsonist to Tin Man

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

This month we begin with The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper. It’s a fascinating account of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. One of the themes Hooper explores is remorse. Continue reading

The 2019 Stella Prize Longlist

I was at a school information night tonight, surreptitiously looking at Twitter for the announcement of the 2019 Stella Prize longlist.

And as the books were announced I had to focus on VCE assessment and ‘good study habits’ rather than sending congratulations messages to lovely authors (go Jenny, you little ripper!); hitting my library’s online reservation system; and marking books on Goodreads… I’m home now and I’m ready to start reading. Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2019 – longlist predictions

The Stella Prize 2019 longlist will be announced tonight.

The longlist is made up of twelve books, usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction, memoirs and short stories (all must have been published in 2018). Continue reading

The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

On February 7, 2009 – a day that would become known as Black Saturday – bushfires burned vast areas of Victoria (my home state).  Extreme heat, high winds, low humidity, and severe drought combined to create the worst bushfire conditions in Australia’s recorded history (the heat from the fires was equivalent to 500 atomic bombs exploding).

Black Saturday resulted in Australia’s highest ever loss of life from a bush-fire event. Across Victoria, 173 people died; more than one million animals (pets, wildlife and stock) perished; over 2,000 houses and 3,500 structures were completely destroyed; and whole towns were razed (Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong, Strathewen, and Flowerdale). The total area burnt was approximately half a million square kilomentres – to put that in perspective, the size of Spain.

The trauma can’t be measured.

Some of the fires were deliberately lit and the man responsible for starting the Central Gippsland fires is the topic of Chloe Hooper’s enthralling book, The Arsonist. Hooper gives a detailed account of the fires, the arson investigation, the arrest of a socially vulnerable man who had not previously been known to police, and his trial. Continue reading

The Bookshop at Queenscliff

Last year, Jo at the Book Skeptic visited a new-to-her bookshop each month. I very much enjoyed these posts (and the vicarious book-buying!). While I doubt that I will have twelve new-to-me bookshops to profile this year, I’m following Jo’s lead and will share the treasures I come across.

The first is The Bookshop at Queenscliff. Continue reading