Erskineville-based designer and scenic artist Emelia Simcox reads fiction and non-fiction for pleasure. She also devours art and reference books to inspire colour, form and texture in her work. In 2016, she painted three shows for the Sydney Theatre Company—Hamlet Prince of Skidmark (‘really funny and theatrical’), A Flea in Her Ear (‘over the top
Louis Nowra’s new book Woolloomooloo: A Biography explores the history, people and streets of one of Sydney’s most notorious and eclectic suburbs. Nowra, who lives on the boundary between Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross, wanted to capture the spirit and ‘Chaucerian richness’ of his suburb before it evanesced. Woolloomooloo has always been a dumping ground for
Literary discursiveness in novels can be tedious. So can surprising plot turns in narratives that have been ticking along quite nicely without them. Such antics and glissandos in Sean Rabin’s debut novel, however, are welcome and enjoyable: A smart and compelling game that leads to a surreal ending that (by the skin of its teeth)
Ice floes and frostbite in The North Water made it the perfect novel to read during Sydney’s February heat wave, which saw the mercury hitting the high 30s for days at a stretch. Set partly on a Yorkshire whaling vessel in the late 1850s, the novel also transported me from the irritating Trump mania and
Australian Indigenous poet Ali Cobby Eckerman has won a Windham-Campbell prize—a US literary prize worth US$165,000 (A$215,000). This is wonderful news. Eckerman is a marvelous poet and her most recent poetry collection Inside my Mother is a tender and moving work: largely a love song to the mother that she was separated from for 30 years
On the opening page of The Boy Behind the Curtain Tim Winton makes a confession. At 13 he would stand behind a Terylene curtain in a fibro house in Campbell Road, Albany, and aim his father’s .22 Lithgow at passers-by. A lad in his book The Turning does the same thing. Neither of them shoots.
I read a cartload of fabulous books this year and it was difficult to choose the highlights. But here they are! Read this list in conjunction with my blog post ‘EOFY (Part 2) – the rest of this year’s fiction that got away’ [hotlink] for an even more comprehensive list of great books I appreciated
Finally, I give you EOFY (Part 2). This is fiction I’ve read in 2016 but not blogged about (until now). There’s an array of titles here for you to seek out in the New Year. Enjoy! You can also read EOFY (Part 1) here. The Salamanders by William Lane Peregrine is a self-absorbed artist who
At first glance this moving children’s picture book seems to retell the journey of the flight into Egypt by Joseph and Mary after Jesus is born. Soon we see it’s a more contemporary tale of a family forced from their home to trudge across a desert in search of a new place to settle safely.
Throughout 2016 I’ve selected and posted lines from the 16 best poems I’ve read during the month. In this post I’m giving you the best of the best of these poems and lines—plus quite a few that didn’t feature in my original series for one reason or another. 1. ‘After a Death’ by Tomas Tranströmer