Scribe Catalogue, July–December 2020

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The Case of George Pell

Melissa Davey

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The Doctor Who Fooled the World

Brian Deer

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The Palace Letters

Jenny Hocking

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What Is to Be Done

Barry Jones

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The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Clarissa Goenawan

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What Is Life?

Paul Nurse

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a new look at how birds talk, work, play, parent, and think Jennifer Ackerman

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Birds, here is a radical examination of the bird way of being and of recent scientific research that is dramatically shifting our understanding of birds — how they live and how they think.

‘There is the mammal way and there is the bird way.’ This is one scientist’s pithy distinction between mammal brains and bird brains: two ways to make a highly intelligent mind. But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and, lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviours. What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, and survive. They’re also revealing not only the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, and disturbing abilities we once considered uniquely our own — deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, and infanticide — but also ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play.

Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay, Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect — in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behaviour — birds vary. It’s what we love about them. As E.O. Wilson once said, when you have seen one bird, you have not seen them all.

‘A wonderful read. Every page will increase your awe of birds.’

Tim Low

Jennifer Ackerman

Jennifer Ackerman has been writing about science, nature, and human biology for almost three decades. Her most recent books include Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: a day in the life of your body; Ah-Choo: the uncommon life of the common cold; Chance in the House of Fate: a natural history of heredity; The Genius of Birds; and Birds by the Shore. A contributor to Scientific American, National Geographic, The New York Times, and many other publications, Ackerman is the recipient of an National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Nonfiction, a Bunting Fellowship, and a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


what really matters for parents and children Susan Golombok

Our understanding of what makes a family has undergone a revolution in the last few decades, from same-sex parenthood to surrogacy, donor conception, and IVF. But what has the impact been on children?

In We Are Family, Professor Susan Golombok visits lesbian mothers, gay fathers, single parents, donor conception parents, co-parents, trans parents, surrogates, and donors, and, more importantly, their children, to find out if they are as well-adjusted, happy, and emotionally stable as children from traditional nuclear families. And she discovers that the answer is yes — and sometimes even more so.

Susan’s work at the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge proves that any family set-up can provide a loving, secure home for a child — although, the children from these families will often face prejudiced attitudes from others. Since the 1970s, when she was first drawn to this area of research after reading about lesbian mothers whose children were being removed from their care, Susan has worked tirelessly to challenge outdated attitudes and prevent families being split up for no good reason. This book tells the stories of those families — their struggles and their triumphs — while celebrating love and family in all its wonderful variations.

‘In this important and compelling book, Professor Susan Golombok gives evidence that the expansion of domestic structures represents not the downfall of family, but the expansion of it to include previously unfathomed, rich possibilities. She explains the new ways people find to reproduce and to be parents, examines how the changes evolved over the last forty years or so, and illuminates the workings of previously undocumented kinds of households. In doing so, she supplies fresh and exquisite narratives of intimacy; this is, at heart, a book about love.’

Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree

Susan Golombok

Susan Golombok is professor of family research and director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, and a professorial fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge. Her pioneering research on lesbian mother families, gay father families, single mothers by choice, and families created by assisted reproductive technologies has been instrumental to our understanding of both child development and social and ethical issues related to family life.


Luke Horton

A compelling tale of the slow disintegration of a relationship and the unravelling of a man.

Tom and Clara are two struggling academics in their mid-thirties, who decide to take their first holiday in ten years. On the flight over to Indonesia, Tom experiences a debilitating panic attack, something he hasn’t had in a long time, which he keeps hidden from Clara.  At the resort, they meet Madeleine, a charismatic French woman, her Australian partner, Jeremy, and five-year-old son, Ollie, and the two couples strike up an easy friendship. The holiday starts to look up, even to Tom, who is struggling to get out of his own head. But when Clara and Madeleine become trapped in the maze-like grounds of the hotel during ‘the fogging’ — a routine spraying of pesticide — the dynamics suddenly shift between Tom and Clara, and the atmosphere of the holiday darkens.

Told with equal parts compassion and irony, and brimming with observations that charm, illuminate, and devastate, The Fogging dives deep into what it means to be strong when your foundation is built on sand.

‘Claustrophobic and vertiginous … an unshrinking and skilfully drawn portrait of a decaying relationship. In restrained prose, Horton illuminates the darker edges of masculinity. His is a frequency finely tuned to silences, gaps of language and meaning, things left unsaid — and their cumulative weight. Like a brewing storm on an oppressive summer day, The Fogging is quiet but assured, building towards the thunderclap of its final pages.’

Jennifer Down, author of Our Magic Hour

Luke Horton

Luke Horton’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, and The Australian, and was shortlisted for the Viva La Novella prize. The former editor of The Lifted Brow Review of Books, he currently teaches creative writing at RMIT, and is a member of acclaimed indie-rock band Love of Diagrams. The Fogging is his debut novel, and was highly commended for the Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2019.


the war on populism and the fight for democracy Thomas Frank

An eye-opening account of populism, the most important — and misunderstood — movement of our time.

Everything we think we know about populism is wrong. Today, populism is seen as a frightening thing, a term pundits use to describe the racist philosophy of Donald Trump and European extremists. But this is a mistake.

The real story of populism is an account of enlightenment and liberation; it is the story of democracy itself, of its ever-widening promise of a decent life for all. Here, acclaimed political commentator Thomas Frank takes us from the US’s tumultuous 1890s, when the radical left-wing Populist Party fought plutocrats, to the triumphs of reformers under Roosevelt and Truman.

Frank also shows that elitist groups have reliably detested populism, lashing out at working-class concerns; today’s moral panic in liberal circles is only the latest expression. Frank pummels the elites, revisits the movement’s provocative politics, and declares true populism to be the language of promise and optimism. People Without Power is a ringing affirmation of a movement that, Frank shows us, is not the problem of our times, but the solution.

‘With his usual verve, Frank skewers the elite voices of condescension that vilify the egalitarian and democratic strivings of working people. In so doing, he offers a passionate defense of populism, which he reveals as a deep and wide political tradition that remains as essential as ever for the hopes of a more just and equitable society.’

Charles Postel, author of Equality: an American dilemma, 1866–1896

Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, and Listen, Liberal (Scribe, 2016). A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper’s, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler. He lives outside Washington, DC.


Kat Patrick (illus. Evie Barrow)

Howl is a masterfully told and exquisitely drawn story of a young girl’s way of expressing and resolving big feelings.

Maggie has had a very bad day.

First of all, the sun was the wrong shape, in a sky that was too blue. The spaghetti was too long, and her pyjamas were the wrong kind of pyjama.

Then Maggie begins to have wolfish thoughts ...

‘In Howl Patrick’s warm storytelling style is beautifully enriched by Barrow’s bright, textured pencil drawings. Scribble has consistently put out fantastic children’s books since its launch in late 2016 and Howl is no exception. This is exactly the kind of gorgeous, imaginative, giftable picture book that booksellers will find themselves recommending far and wide come the lead-up to Christmas.’

Bronte Coates, Books+Publishing

Kat Patrick

Kat Patrick recently realised they never actually grew up, and so they've been trying to make a living as a writer ever since. Originally from the UK, they have written their way around the world, and after stints in New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Paris and Patagonia, are now based in Glasgow.


reckoning with child sexual abuse by clergy Melissa Davey

Some people will have wanted me to give my opinion in this book about Pell’s guilt or innocence, and on whether the courts got it right or wrong. But that’s not what this book is about … I want to share what I have learned, including the facts as they unfolded. I want readers to have as much evidence as is possible before them as they consider the Pell trials. And I want any response to his conviction and appeals to be, at the very least, informed by the evidence.

Guardian Australia’s Melbourne bureau chief, Melissa Davey covered Cardinal George Pell’s evidence at the royal commission into child sexual abuses, and attended each of his trials for his alleged historic sexual offences against children — his committal hearing, mistrial, retrial, and appeals.

What she saw, heard, and read made her determined to produce a dispassionate and thorough rendition of what occurred. The Case of George Pell is the result — an authoritative account of those trials, of the basis for the verdicts, and of the backlash to the verdicts. It is inevitably not only about Cardinal Pell, but about justice in the age of conservative media, about culture wars, and about the broader context of clergy abuse.

Despite a five-year-long sexual-abuse inquiry, the trials of one of the most senior Catholics in the world, and saturation coverage of the issue, it became evident to Ms Davey that many myths about the nature of child sexual abuse persist — and that, for some people, the evidence of victims can never be allowed to tarnish the reputation of the church and its practitioners.

The Case of George Pell is not just about one alleged offender, and one complainant. It is also about how the sexual abuse of children occurs — and has been allowed to continue.

‘At last, the secret trials of George Pell are revealed in compelling detail by one of the very few who was there throughout. With unmatched authority, Melissa Davey answers the questions that haven’t gone away: why was the cardinal found guilty, and why was he then set free?’

David Marr

Melissa Davey

Melissa Davey is a Walkley award-winning journalist and has been The Guardian’s Melbourne bureau chief for several years. She has been nominated for three Walkley awards and two Quill awards, and has won two New York Festival awards for The Reckoning, a podcast series she collaborated on with David Marr and Miles Martignoni. She has also won awards from medical bodies for her work reporting on rheumatic heart disease in Aboriginal children, and for her investigation into the brutality of gynaecologist Emil Shawky Gayed. Her investigation into Gayed triggered a government inquiry.Melissa frequently appears on BBC World News, and commercial radio in Australia and overseas. Previously she worked for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun Herald, and News Ltd.


the Hiroshima cover-up and the reporter who revealed it to the world Lesley Blume

New York Times bestselling author Lesley Blume reveals how a courageous reporter uncovered one of the greatest and deadliest cover-ups of the 20th century — the true effects of the atom bomb — potentially saving millions of lives.

In the days following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered unconditionally. But even before the surrender, the US had begun a secret propaganda campaign to celebrate these weapons as the ultimate peacekeepers — hiding the true extent and nature of their devastation. The cover-up intensified as Americans closed the atomic cities to Allied reporters, preventing information from leaking about the horrific and lasting effects of radiation that would kill thousands of people during the months after the blast. For nearly a year, the cover-up worked — until New Yorker journalist John Hersey got into Hiroshima and reported the truth to the world.

As Hersey and his editors prepared his article for publication, they kept the whistleblowing story secret — even from most of their New Yorker colleagues. When the magazine published ‘Hiroshima’ in August 1946, it became an instant global sensation, and inspired pervasive horror about the weapons that had been covertly waged in America’s name. Since 1945, no nuclear weapons have ever been deployed in war, partly because Hersey alerted the world to their true, devastating impact. This knowledge has remained among the greatest deterrents to using them since the end of World War II.

Released on the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, Fallout is an engrossing detective story, as well as an important piece of hidden history, which shows how one heroic scoop saved — and can still save — the world.

‘Lesley Blume brings a reportorial mastery worthy of her subject, compellingly told on every page. Here, finally discovered, is the dramatic story of how John Hersey produced what is widely regarded as the greatest piece of American journalism of the 20th century.’

Carl Bernstein, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, co-author of All the President’s Men, and author of A Woman in Charge

Lesley Blume

Lesley Blume is a Los Angeles–based journalist, author, and biographer. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Paris Review, among many other publications. Her last nonfiction book, Everybody Behaves Badly, was a New York Times bestseller.


Mumbai stories Jayant Kaikini (trans. Tejaswini Niranjana)

Winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the Atta Galatta–Bangalore Literature Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, Jayant Kaikini is one of India's most celebrated short-story writers.

For readers of Jhumpa Lahiri and Rohinton Mistry, as well as Lorrie Moore and George Saunders, here are stories on the pathos and comedy of small-town migrants struggling to build a life in the big city, with the dream world of Bollywood never far away.

Jayant Kaikini’s gaze takes in the people in the corners of Mumbai — a bus driver who, denied vacation time, steals the bus to travel home; a slum dweller who catches cats and sells them for pharmaceutical testing; a father at his wits’ end who takes his mischievous son to a reform institution.

In this metropolis, those who seek find epiphanies in dark movie theaters, the jostle of local trains, and even in roadside keychains and lost thermos flasks. Here, in the shade of an unfinished overpass, a factory-worker and her boyfriend browse wedding invitations bearing wealthy couples’ affectations — ‘no presents please’ — and look once more at what they own.

Translated from the Kannada by Tejaswini Niranjana, these resonant stories, recently awarded the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, take us to photo framers, flower markets, and Irani cafes, revealing a city trading in fantasies while its strivers, eating once a day and sleeping ten to a room, hold secret ambitions close.

‘In No Presents Please, Jayant Kaikini cracks open with tender care an extraordinary city, bursting with the ambitions of people who are anything but ordinary. In Kaikini’s deft hands, Mumbai comes to life, exquisitely rendered, as much of a character as anyone else.’

Neel Patel, author of If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi

Jayant Kaikini

Jayant Kaikini is a Kannada poet, short-story writer, columnist, and playwright, as well as an award-winning lyricist and script and dialogue writer for Kannada films. He won his first Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award at the age of nineteen in 1974, and has since won the award three times, in addition to winning various other awards in India, including the first Kusumagraj Rashtriya Bhasha Sahitya Puraskar. No Presents Please, his volume of selected stories, is the first book in translation to have won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.


the extraordinary life of Dr Claire Weekes Judith Hoare

The true story of the little-known mental-health pioneer who revolutionised how we see the defining problem of our era: anxiety.

Panic, depression, sorrow, guilt, disgrace, obsession, sleeplessness, low confidence, loneliness, agoraphobia … Dr Claire Weekes knew how to treat them, but was dismissed as underqualified and overly populist by the psychiatric establishment. In a radical move, she had gone directly to the people. Her international bestseller Self Help for Your Nerves, first published in 1962 and still in print, helped tens of millions of people to overcome all of these, and continues to do so.

Weekes pioneered an anxiety treatment that is now at the cutting edge of modern psychotherapies. Her early explanation of fear, and its effect on the nervous system, is state of the art. Psychologists use her method, neuroscientists study the interaction between different fear circuits in the brain, and many psychiatrists are revisiting the mind–body connection that was the hallmark of her unique work. Face, accept, float, let time pass: hers was the invisible hand that rewrote the therapeutic manual.

This understanding of the biology of fear could not be more contemporary — ‘acceptance’ is the treatment du jour, and all mental-health professionals explain the phenomenon of fear in the same way she did so many years ago. However, most of them are unaware of the debt they have to a woman whose work has found such a huge public audience. This book is the first to tell that story, and to tell Weekes’ own remarkable tale, of how a mistaken diagnosis of tuberculosis led to heart palpitations, beginning her fascinating journey to a practical treatment for anxiety that put power back in the hands of the individual.

‘By thinking outside the box, and exercising extraordinary clinical sensitivity, the brilliant physician Claire Weekes created a treatment protocol to the unending benefit of tens of millions of patients over the years.’

Dr David Barlow, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at Boston University

Judith Hoare

Judith Hoare is a journalist who worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Australian Financial Review. She started her career on Chequerboard, a trailblazing social-issues program in the 1970s, and then moved to the AFR, reporting on federal politics in Canberra. She shifted to features writing, to eventually specialise in editing long-form journalism for the newspaper, and was appointed deputy editor, features, in 1995, a position she held for 20 years.


the dark side of clean energy and digital technologies Guillaume Pitron (trans. Bianca Jacobsohn)

The resources race is on. Powering our digital lives and green technologies are some of the Earth’s most precious metals — but they are running out. And what will happen when they do?

The green-tech revolution has been lauded as the silver bullet to a new world. One that is at last free of oil, pollution, shortages, and cross-border tensions. Drawing on six years of research across a dozen countries, this book cuts across conventional green thinking to probe the hidden, dark side of green technology.

By breaking free of fossil fuels, we are in fact setting ourselves up for a new dependence — on rare metals such as cobalt, gold, and palladium. They are essential to electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, our smartphones, computers, tablets, and other everyday connected objects. China has captured the lion’s share of the rare metals industry, but consumers know very little about how they are mined and traded, or their environmental, economic, and geopolitical costs.

The Rare Metals War is a vital exposé of the ticking time-bomb that lies beneath our new technological order. It uncovers the reality of our lavish and ambitious environmental quest that involves risks as formidable as those it seeks to resolve.

‘[T]he journalist and filmmaker warns against the optimistic belief that technology is the solution … At a time when many claim to be “citizens of the world” or retreat into naive or hypocritical protectionism, Pitron’s book is an attempt to open people’s eyes to the consequences of their societal choices and lifestyles.’

Green European Journal

Guillaume Pitron

Guillaume Pitron, who was born in 1980, is a French award-winning journalist and documentary-maker for France’s leading television channels. His work focuses on commodities and on the economic, political, and environmental issues associated with their use. The Rare Metals War is his first book, and has been translated into eight languages. Guillaume Pitron holds a master’s degree in international law from the University of Georgetown (Washington, DC), and is a TEDx speaker. More information at


how to stop viruses and save humanity now Jonathan D. Quick

It’s the dystopian nightmare pandemic experts have warned about. But it’s happening right now.

COVID-19 has catapulted us into a science-fiction scenario — now our lived reality across the globe. Seemingly overnight, literally billions of people around the globe have had their lives upended by fear, uncertainty, bankruptcy, illness, or death.

At home, we ask: will the job I’ve been preparing for even exist when COVID-19 has passed? Will the business I built with sweat ever reopen? When can we safely travel abroad — or even to some parts of our own country? Will everyday life ever go back to normal? When will we have a vaccine?

Boiled up from the blood of a bat in rural China, the novel coronavirus has scourged every continent except Antarctica, and every major city — from Sydney to Stockholm, New York to Nairobi, Moscow to Miami, and Brasília to Bangkok. By the time the pandemic has passed, COVID-19 will have killed hundreds of thousands of people, sickened millions of people, upended the lives of tens of millions, and cost the global economy trillions of dollars.

An outbreak of a new, deadly, highly contagious virus was inevitable. But an explosive global pandemic was not inevitable. There is hope.

In The End of Epidemics, leading public health authority Dr Jonathan D. Quick tells the stories of the heroes, past and present, who have succeeded in their fights to stop the spread of illness and death. He explains the science and the politics of combatting epidemics. And he provides a detailed seven-part plan showing exactly how world leaders, health professionals, the business community, media, and ordinary citizens can work together to prevent epidemics, saving millions of lives.

‘[Quick] rifles through the morass of preparedness and response initiatives and policy ideas that have arisen since 2014, synthesising a seven-point programme for epidemic prevention … Quick offers a humane, readable, coherent analysis for would-be health leaders and disease responders, organised simultaneously as a handy reference tool for crisis response, and an outbreak explainer that in parts, thanks to assisting science writer Bronwyn Fryer, sizzles … adept at identifying solutions: he finds hope in social mobilisation.’

Laurie Garrett, The Lancet

Jonathan D. Quick

Jonathan D. Quick is a family physician, health-management specialist, managing director for pandemic response, preparedness, and prevention at The Rockefeller Foundation, and an adjunct professor of global health at the Duke Global Health Institute. He is also senior fellow emeritus at the global non-profit organisation Management Sciences for Health, where he served as president and chief executive officer for 2004 to 2017. Dr Quick has carried out assignments to improve the health and lives of people in over 70 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.


Andrew Wakefield’s war on vaccines Brian Deer

A reporter uncovers the secrets behind the scientific scam of the century.

The news breaks first as a tale of fear and pity. Doctors at a London hospital claim a link between autism and a vaccine given to millions of children: MMR. Young parents are terrified. Immunisation rates slump. And as a worldwide ‘anti-vax’ movement kicks off, old diseases return to sicken and kill.

But a veteran reporter isn’t so sure, and sets out on an epic investigation. Battling establishment cover-ups, smear campaigns, and gagging lawsuits, he exposes rigged research and secret schemes, the heartbreaking plight of families struggling with disability, and the scientific deception of our time.

‘Andrew Wakefield is one of the darkest figures of our time, personally responsible for launching a mass panic about vaccines that has resulted in a resurgence of deadly childhood epidemics worldwide. He has also caused untold grief to misguided parents who view this con-man as a saviour, and to autistic people who face further stigma by being falsely portrayed as ‘vaccine-damaged’. Written with the meticulousness of a journalist determined to find out the truth and the pulse-pounding pacing of a thriller, The Doctor Who Fooled the World is a profoundly important book.’

Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes: the legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity

Brian Deer

Brian Deer is a veteran British investigative journalist, best known for his inquiries into the drug industry, medicine, and social issues for the Sunday Times of London. Among his awards, Deer was twice named the UK’s specialist reporter of the year, and in 2016 he was made Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by York St. John University.


how the middle class got screwed by globalisation Jeff Rubin

A provocative, far-reaching account of how the middle class got stuck with the bill for globalisation, and how, even before the coronavirus, the blowback — from Brexit to Trump to populist Europe — was going to change the developed world.

Real wages have not risen much for decades. Union membership has collapsed. Full-time employment is beginning to look like a quaint idea from the distant past. Falling tariffs, low interest rates, global deregulation, and tax policies that benefit the rich have all had the same effect: the erosion of the middle class.

Bestselling author Jeff Rubin argues that all this was foreseeable back when major Western countries started to believe their own propaganda about free trade, and especially when they allowed China to exploit weaknesses in the trading system they devised.

The result, growing global inequality, is a problem of our own making. And solving it won’t be easy if we draw on the same ideas about capital and labour, right and left, that led us to this cliff. Articulating a vision that, remarkably, dovetails with the ideas of both Naomi Klein and Donald Trump, The Expendables is an exhilaratingly fresh perspective that is at once humane and irascible, fearless and rigorous, and, most importantly, timely.

‘[A] snappily written work.’

Fiona Capp, The Age

Jeff Rubin

Jeff Rubin is a world-leading Canadian economist. An expert on trade and energy, and former chief economist and chief strategist at CIBC World Markets, he recently served as a senior fellow at Canada’s Centre for International Governance. His first book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, was an international bestseller, and since then he has written two other bestsellers, The End of Growth and The Carbon Bubble.


Andrew Hankinson

What counts as funny, what as toxic, and who gets to decide? Explore the serious business of stand-up with Andrew Hankinson, author of cult classic You Could Do Something Amazing with Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat].

AMY SCHUMER. LOUIS CK. JERRY SEINFELD. CHRIS ROCK. They all worked the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village, honing their acts, experimenting, taking risks. It was a safe space, thanks to the principles of its first owner, Manny Dworman, then his son Noam. The only threat to freedom of expression was a lack of laughs.

But how did a New York taxi driver, born in Tel Aviv, create comedy’s most important stage? How did he influence some of the biggest names in stand-up? What are the limits of a joke? Who decides? And why does the comedians’ table matter so much?

Andrew Hankinson speaks to the Cellar’s owner, comedians, and audience members, using interviews, emails, podcasts, letters, text messages, and previously private documents to create a conversation about the perils, pride, and prejudice of modern comedy. Moving backwards in time from Louis CK’s downfall to when Manny used to host folk singers including Bob Dylan, this is about a comedy club, but it’s also about the widening chasm in contemporary culture.

‘The smartest (and funniest) book yet on the culture/free speech wars. Andrew Hankinson does it again with another incredible work of nonfiction.’

Will Storr, author of Selfie: how the West became self-obsessed

Andrew Hankinson

Andrew Hankinson is a journalist who was born, raised, and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He started his career as a staff writer at Arena magazine and in 2012 won a Northern Writers Award. He is now a freelance feature writer who has contributed to many publications, including Observer Magazine, The Guardian, The New Yorker and Wired. He also teaches at Newcastle University. His first book You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat] won the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction in 2016.


a Harvard professor, a con man, and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife Ariel Sabar

From National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author Ariel Sabar, the gripping true story of a sensational religious forgery and the scandal that engulfed Harvard.

In 2012, Dr Karen King, a star professor at Harvard Divinity School, announced a blockbuster discovery at a scholarly conference just steps from the Vatican: she had found an ancient fragment of papyrus in which Jesus calls Mary Magdalene 'my wife'. The tattered manuscript made international headlines. If early Christians believed Jesus was married, it would upend the 2,000-year history of the world's predominant faith, threatening not just the celibate, all-male priesthood but sacred teachings on marriage, sex, and women's leadership. Biblical scholars were in an uproar, but King had impeccable credentials as a world-renowned authority on female figures in the lost Christian texts from Egypt known as the Gnostic gospels. 'The Gospel of Jesus's Wife’ — as she provocatively titled her discovery — was both a crowning career achievement and powerful proof for her arguments that Christianity from its start embraced alternative, and far more inclusive, voices.

As debates over the manuscript's authenticity raged, award-winning journalist Ariel Sabar set out to investigate a baffling mystery: where did this tiny scrap of papyrus come from? His search for answers is an international detective story — leading from the factory districts of Berlin to the former headquarters of the East German Stasi, before winding up in rural Florida, where he discovered an internet pornographer with a prophetess wife, a fascination with the Pharaohs, and a tortured relationship with the Catholic Church.

Veritas is a tale of fierce intellectual rivalries at the highest levels of academia, a piercing psychological portrait of a disillusioned college dropout whose life had reached a breaking point, and a tragedy about a brilliant scholar handed an ancient papyrus that appealed to her greatest hopes for Christianity — but forced a reckoning with fundamental questions about the nature of truth and the line between faith and reason.

‘This astonishing book — part detective story, part exercise in reporting conducted at its highest level — reaches hold of you by the shirt collar and doesn’t let go. … Exciting on every level, it poses the deepest question of faith: does it depend on the scholarly verification of ancient fragments or on what Heaney called a journey ‘into the marvellous’? I was bowled over by it.’

Caitlin Flanagan, author of Girl Land

Ariel Sabar

Ariel Sabar is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, The Washington Post, and many other publications. He is the author of My Father’s Paradise: a son’s search for his Jewish past in Kurdish Iraq, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award.


why the ups and downs of relationships are the secret to building intimacy, resilience, and trust Ed Tronick, Claudia M. Gold

How can we create more meaningful and intimate connections with our loved ones? By using moments of discord to strengthen our relationships, explains this original, deeply researched book.

You might think that perfect harmony is the defining characteristic of healthy relationships, but the truth is that human interactions are messy, complicated, and confusing. And according to renowned psychologist Ed Tronick and paediatrician Claudia Gold, that is not only okay, but crucial to our social and emotional development. In The Power of Discord they show how working through the inevitable dissonance of human connection is the path to better relationships with romantic partners, family, friends, and colleagues.

Dr. Tronick was one of the first researchers to show, via ‘The Still-Face Experiment’, that babies are profoundly affected by their parents’ emotions and behaviour. His work, which brought about a foundational shift in our understanding of human development, shows that our highly evolved sense of self makes us separate, yet our survival depends on connection.

Working through the volley of mismatch and repair in everyday life helps us form deep, lasting, trusting relationships, resilience in times of stress and trauma, and a solid sense of self in the world. Drawing on Dr Tronick’s research and Dr Gold’s clinical experience, The Power of Discord is a refreshing and original look at our ability to relate to others and to ourselves.

‘This profoundly wise book sets out how the dance of connection and disconnection with attachment figures molds our nervous system, our emotional lives, our sense of self, and our ability to dance in tune with others. When we miss each other is when we truly learn to turn, reach, and connect. There are no slick tips for perfect relationships with your kids or lovers here. Just a deep understanding of how the imperfections of life and love can make us strong.’

Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight

Ed Tronick

Dr Ed Tronick is a developmental and clinical psychologist, and the co-founder of the Child Development Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Touchpoints program. He is a distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Infant-Parent Mental Health program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a research associate in newborn medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Claudia M. Gold

Dr Claudia M. Gold is a paediatrician and writer. She has practised general and behavioural paediatrics for 25 years, and specialises in early childhood mental health. She is the author of several books, including Keeping Your Child in Mind and The Silenced Child.


a people’s history Malgorzata Szejnert (trans. Sean Gasper Bye)

A landmark work of history that brings the voices of the past vividly to life, transforming our understanding of the immigrant’s experience in America.

Ellis Island. How many stories does this tiny patch of land hold? How many people had joyfully embarked on a new life here — or known the despair of being turned away? How many were held there against their will?

To tell its manifold stories, Ellis Island draws on unpublished testimonies, memoirs and correspondence from many internees and immigrants, including Russians, Italians, Jews, Japanese, Germans, and Poles, along with the commissioners, interpreters, doctors, and nurses who shepherded them — all of whom knew they were taking part in a significant historical phenomenon.

We see that deportations from Ellis Island were often based on pseudo-scientific ideas about race, gender, and disability. Sometimes, families were broken up, and new arrivals were held in detention at the Island for days, weeks, or months under quarantine. Indeed the island compound has spent longer as an internment camp than as a migration station.

Today, the island is no less political. In popular culture, it is a romantic symbol of the generations of immigrants who reshaped the United States. But its true history reveals that today’s fierce immigration debate has deep roots. Now a master storyteller brings its past to life, illustrated with unique archival photographs.

‘To me Malgorzata Szejnert embodies the image of Poland … She has grace, a gentle tone, and a serene gaze.’

Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of Secondhand Time

Malgorzata Szejnert

For forty years, Malgorzata Szejnert (b. 1936) has been one of Poland’s most important nonfiction writers and editors, shaping a generation of Polish literary reportage. She began writing about challenging social issues in the 1970s, and was an active member of the opposition during the Solidarity period. After the fall of Communism, she co-founded Poland’s leading daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza and led its reportage division for 15 years. Since retiring, she has devoted herself entirely to book writing. Her topics range from Poland to America to Zanzibar, always with a warm, personal focus, allowing marginalised people to speak for themselves through her work.


human stories from a revolution in medicine Edwin Kirk

Genes — we all have them and we’re all affected by them, often in unknown ways.

Whether directly inherited or modified by our environment, genes control or significantly influence almost every aspect of our lives. From the success of our conception and the development of our sexual characteristics, to the colour of our skin, hair, and eyes. From our height and weight, to our daily health. And, unfortunately, our genes are involved in an untold number of diseases. For many, the first time that genetics truly matters is in a doctor’s office as they learn about a condition that may affect them, their unborn children, or even their wider family. Yet from the first laborious survey of the human genome twenty years ago to the commercial machines that now sequence 6,000 genomes per year, a revolution is taking place in medicine. Genetic screening is already available for major diseases and will become an increasingly prevalent medical tool. Around the world, teams of researchers are working on cures for diseases such as cancer, certain degenerative disorders, and a host of syndromes, while others are inventing new ways to conceive — and even modifying our genome in ways that could change what it means to be human.

Navigating this world of heartbreaking uncertainties, tantalising possibilities, and thorny questions of morality is Professor Edwin Kirk, who in addition to having over two decades of experience is that rare doctor who works both in the lab and with patients. In The Genes That Make Us, he explains everything you need to know with humour, insight, and great humanity.

‘This new book sets out to share the experiences and anecdotes of a career in genetic medicine more than two-decades long, while narrating segments of the history of genetic pathology and exploring the world of genes today and to come … Kirk makes effective use of footnotes to deflate the academic style and maintain a sense of personality and fun.’

David Ferrell, Canberra Times

Edwin Kirk

Professor Edwin Kirk is both a clinical geneticist and a genetic pathologist, a rare combination. As a clinician, he sees patients at Sydney Children’s Hospital, where he has worked for more than 20 years; his laboratory practice is in the New South Wales Health Pathology Genomics Laboratory at Randwick.Kirk is a conjoint appointee in the School of Women’s and Children’s Health at the University of New South Wales, an experienced medical educator, and currently Chief Examiner in Genetics for the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. He is also a respected researcher, working in the fields of cardiac genetics, metabolic diseases, and intellectual disability, as well as studying reproductive carrier screening, and is a co-author of more than 100 publications in scientific journals, which have been cited by other researchers more than 4,000 times. He is one of the co-leads and public faces of the $20 million Mackenzie’s Mission carrier screening project.Kirk lives in Sydney with his wife and three children. In his spare time, he competes in ocean swimming races, slowly, and plays the saxophone, loudly.


the definitive guide to understanding your skin Johanna Gillbro (trans. Fiona Graham)

The Swedish bestseller that will revolutionise the way you treat your skin.

Beautiful, healthy skin is a holy grail for teens with acne and adults with wrinkles alike, and multi-step beauty routines are all the rage. But we know surprisingly little about our largest organ.

Think drinking water will replenish your skin? Think again. More products, better skin? Nope. And an expensive product doesn’t guarantee reliable results. You don’t need to cleanse your skin in the morning; in fact, too much cleansing can be damaging. Toner is redundant, natural products are not always best, and bacteria are not the enemy — and that’s just the beginning!

Learn how to read the labels on products, know exactly what it is you’re putting on your skin, and make better decisions about how you care for it.

Using cutting-edge research about the microbiome, as well as the relationship between gut health and skin, The Scandinavian Skincare Bible challenges how we look at beauty today. By revealing the science and exposing commercial tricks, Dr Gillbro empowers us to lay the foundation for healthy, beautiful skin.

Johanna Gillbro

Johanna Gillbro, PhD, is an award-winning skin scientist with more than 15 years of experience in experimental dermatology, clinical research, and skincare product development, as well as substantial experience within the pharmaceutical industry. Gillbro is frequently engaged as a speaker at international dermatological and cosmetic science conferences to present her cutting-edge research, and for the past decade has been the most cited author in The International Journal of Cosmetic Science.


unearthing the astonishing, new story of how we became human Madelaine Böhme, Rüdiger Braun, Florian Breier (trans. Jane Billinghurst)

A leading palaeontologist discovers the missing link in human evolution.

Somewhere west of Munich, Madelaine Böhme and her colleagues dig for clues to the origins of humankind. What they discover is beyond anything they imagined: the fossilised bones of Danuvius guggenmosi ignite a global media frenzy. This ancient ancestor defies our knowledge of human history. His nearly twelve-million-year-old bones were not located in Africa — the so-called birthplace of humanity — but in Europe, and his features suggest we evolved much differently than scientists once believed.

In prose that reads like a gripping detective novel, Ancient Bones interweaves the story of the dig that changed everything with the fascinating answer to a previously undecided and now pressing question: how, exactly, did we become human? Placing Böhme's discovery alongside former theories of human evolution, the authors show how this remarkable find (and others in Eurasia) are forcing us to rethink the story we've been told about how we came to be, a story that has been our guiding narrative — until now.

‘A very important and readable book.’

Tim Flannery

Madelaine Böhme

Madelaine Böhme, geo-scientist and palaeontologist, is professor of terrestrial palaeoclimatology at the University of Tübingen and founding director of the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeo-environment. She is one of the most esteemed palaeoclimatologists and palaeoenvironmental scientists examining human evolution with regard to changes in climate and environment. Böhme lives in Tübingen, Germany.

Rüdiger Braun

Rüdiger Braun is a science journalist interested in translating cutting-edge science into gripping stories for the general public to effect societal change. He studied biology and philosophy at the Julius Maximilian University in Würzburg. He contributes to Stern and Geo. Braun lives in Ahrensburg, Germany.

Florian Breier

Florian Breier is a science journalist and works as a filmmaker and author for ZDF television, arte, SWR broadcasting, and others. Breier lives in Cologne, Germany.


why evolution made us laugh Jonathan Silvertown

What is humour? Why do we laugh? And why is the root of a good joke almost always error?

Good jokes, bad jokes, clever jokes, dad jokes — the desire to laugh is universal. But why do we find some gags hilarious, whilst others fall flat? Why does explaining a joke make it less amusing rather than more so? Why is laughter contagious, and why did it evolve in the first place?

Using the oldest jokes and the latest science, in The Comedy of Error, Professor Jonathan Silvertown investigates why we laugh: from laughter’s evolutionary origins, to similarities and differences in humour across cultures, and even why being funny makes us sexier.

As this unique book demonstrates, understanding how humour really works can provide endless entertainment.

‘Jonathan Silvertown has written a thoroughly entertaining and erudite extended skit on the evolution of humour.’

Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald

Jonathan Silvertown

Jonathan Silvertown is professor of evolutionary ecology in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of seven previous books.


my journey Marie Younan

Marie Younan was born in 1952 into a family of Assyrian refugees living in north-eastern Syria. Accidentally blinded by her grandmother as a baby, Marie was the quiet, ever-present listener within her large extended family. Locked out of school, play, and social gatherings, she lived a brave inner life of reflection and acceptance.

The family migrated to Beirut, and then, in the mid-seventies, to Melbourne, Australia to escape the Lebanese civil war. Being blind, Marie was denied a visa, and was forced to wait in Syria and Athens for three years before the family could sponsor her to Australia. Unable to speak English, dependent for everything on her family, Marie, in her words, was ‘only half alive’. Then, in 1985, aged 33, she attended the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. There she became fluent in English, literate in braille, and physically mobile with the help of a cane. Educated, independent, and professionally qualified at last, her life began to take off.

‘A story, raw with reality, full of love and hope, where the stream of resilience runs clear. We share the life of someone for whom blindness is not the insurmountable barrier many believe it to be. What most holds Marie back is the soft bigotry of low expectations. It is hard to put this book down.’

Graeme Innes AM

Marie Younan

Marie Younan is a professional interpreter with counsellors and refugees at the Foundation Centre for Survivors of Torture.


a time and place Warren Kirk

From the photographer behind Westography and Suburbia, with an introduction by Christos Tsiolkas.

From West Brunswick to Reservoir, Fitzroy to Hadfield, Warren Kirk turns his keen eye upon the streets, buildings, and inhabitants of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, which are as iconic as they are rapidly changing. Both a tribute to the things we remember and a reminder to look anew at the world around us, the photos in Northside are a triumph of craft from an artist who invites us to really see.

Praise for Suburbia: ‘When Warren Kirk’s bright-blue hardcover, Suburbia— complete with covershot of a homeowner reclining on their simple porch — arrived on my desk, I was instantly in awe of his ability to distil oft overlooked scenes of our vast city. These vignettes of life in the ‘burbs illicit a distinct sense of nostalgia.’

The Design Files

Warren Kirk

Warren Kirk has been a documentary photographer for over 30 years. His previous books are the acclaimed Westography (2016) and Suburbia (2018). He lives and works in Melbourne’s west.


Clarissa Goenawan

A bewitching novel set in contemporary Japan about the mysterious suicide of a young woman.

Miwako Sumida is dead.

Now those closest to her try to piece together the fragments of her life. Ryusei, who has always loved her, follows Miwako’s trail to a remote Japanese village. Chie, Miwako’s best friend, was the only person to know her true identity — but is now the time to reveal it? Meanwhile, Fumi, Ryusei’s sister, is harbouring her own haunting secret.

Together, they realise that the young woman they thought they knew had more going on behind her seemingly perfect façade than they could ever have dreamed.

‘Vivid and intriguing — an elegantly cryptic, poetically plotted Murakami-esque whydunit.’

Sharlene Teo, award–winning author of Ponti

Clarissa Goenawan

Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her debut novel Rainbirds won the 2015 Bath Novel Award and was shortlisted for three further prizes. Her short stories have won several awards and been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida is her second novel.


(for Brilka) The International Bestseller Nino Haratischvili (trans. Charlotte Collins, Ruth Martin)

‘That night Stasia took an oath, swearing to learn the recipe by heart and destroy the paper. And when she was lying in her bed again, recalling the taste with all her senses, she was sure that this secret recipe could heal wounds, avert catastrophes, and bring people happiness. But she was wrong.’

At the start of the twentieth century, on the edge of the Russian Empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. A caution which is justified: this is a recipe for ecstasy that carries a very bitter aftertaste …

Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the centre of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg.  Stasia’s is only the first in a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.

Tumbling down the years, and across vast expanses of longing and loss, generation after generation of this compelling family hears echoes and sees reflections. Great characters and greater relationships come and go and come again; the world shakes, and shakes some more, and the reader rejoices to have found at last one of those glorious old books in which you can live and learn, be lost and found, and make indelible new friends.

‘Something rather extraordinary happened. The world fell away and I fell, wholly, happily, into the book ... My breath caught in my throat, tears nestled in my lashes ... devastatingly brilliant.’

Wendell Steavenson, The New York Times Book Review

Nino Haratischvili

Nino Haratischvili was born in Georgia in 1983, and is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and theatre director. At home in two different worlds, each with their own language, she has been writing in both German and Georgian since the age of twelve. In 2010, her debut novel Juja was nominated for the German Book Prize, as was her most recent Die Katze und der General in 2018. In its German edition, The Eighth Life was a bestseller, and won the Anna Seghers Prize, the Lessing Prize Stipend, and the Bertolt Brecht Prize 2018. It is being translated into many languages, and has already been a major bestseller on publication in Holland, Poland, and Georgia.


the life and stories of William McMahon Patrick Mullins

Winner of the 2020 National Biography Award and the 2020 NSW Premier’s Non-Fiction Award.

The oddly compelling story of a man regarded as Australia’s worst prime minister.

William McMahon was a significant, if widely derided and disliked, figure in Australian politics in the second half of the twentieth century. This biography tells the story of his life, his career, and his doomed attempts to recast views of his much-maligned time as Australia’s prime minister.

After a long ministerial career under Menzies, McMahon became treasurer under Harold Holt, and fought a fierce, bitter war over protectionism with John McEwen. Following Holt’s death in 1967, McEwen had his revenge by vetoing McMahon’s candidature for the Liberal Party’s leadership, and thus paved the way for John Gorton to become prime minister. But almost three years later, amid acrimony and division, McMahon would topple Gorton and fulfill his life’s ambition to become Australia’s prime minister.

In office, McMahon worked furiously to enact an agenda that grappled with the profound changes reshaping Australia. He withdrew combat forces from Vietnam, legislated for Commonwealth government involvement in childcare, established the National Urban and Regional Development Authority and the first Department of the Environment, began phasing out the means test on pensions, sought to control foreign investments, and accelerated the timetable for the independence of Papua New Guinea. But his failures would overshadow his successes, and by the time of the 1972 election McMahon would lead a divided, tired, and rancorous party to defeat. 

A man whose life was coloured by tragedy, comedy, persistence, courage, farce, and failure, McMahon’s story has never been told at length. Tiberius with a Telephone fills that gap, using deep archival research and extensive interviews with McMahon’s contemporaries and colleagues. It is a tour de force — an authoritative and colourful account of a unique politician and a vital period in Australia’s history.

‘Sir William McMahon, Liberal party leader and Australia’s 20th prime minister, was a master of political intrigue. He accumulated epithets — ‘Billy big-ears’, ‘Billy the leak’, ‘a quean’, and in Gough Whitlam’s memorable quip, ‘Tiberius with a telephone’. In this commanding and exceptionally researched biography, Patrick Mullins has retrieved McMahon from historical neglect, revealing the man behind the personal and political caricature. It is a compelling portrait of an insecure, vain, deeply ambitious man, and a skilful political operator whose one great strength, his remarkable persistence, was eventually rewarded with the liberal prime ministership.At once fascinating, revelatory, unflattering, and at times uncomfortable, Mullins never shies away from McMahon’s clear and unavoidable personal failings. His own colleagues described him as an inveterate liar, a compulsive leaker, and ‘completely untrustworthy’. Some refused outright ever to work with him.As Mullins unravels this devastating personal and political critique, McMahon’s ascendency is all the more remarkable. But this is a story also of the Liberal Party in decline, divided and uncertain of its place in the weary interregnum between the twin titans of Australian politics — the founding Liberal leader, Sir Robert Menzies, and Labor’s Gough Whitlam.Mullins’ exemplary research, skilful use of an innovative structure, and engaging biographical narrative shows a complete picture of McMahon for the first time. This is everything a political biography should be.’

Emeritus Professor Jenny Hocking, Monash University, author of Gough Whitlam: the definitive biography and The Palace Letters

Patrick Mullins

Patrick Mullins is a Canberra-based writer and academic who has a PhD from the University of Canberra. Tiberius with a Telephone, his first book, won the 2020 NSW Premier’s Non-Fiction Award and the 2020 National Biography Award. He is also the author of The Trials of Portnoy: how Penguin brought down Australia’s censorship system.


The Queen, the governor-general, and the plot to dismiss Gough Whitlam Jenny Hocking

A political betrayal.
A constitutional crisis.
A hidden correspondence.

Gough Whitlam was a progressive prime minister whose reign from 1972 proved tumultuous after 23 years of conservative government in Australia. After a second election victory in May 1974, when a hostile Senate refused to vote on his 1975 budget, the political deadlock that ensued culminated in Whitlam’s unexpected and deeply controversial dismissal by the governor-general, Sir John Kerr.

Kerr was in close touch with the Palace during this period, but, under the cover of being designated as personal, that correspondence was locked away in the National Archives, and embargoed by the Queen — potentially forever. This ruse denied the Australian people access to critical information about one of the most divisive episodes in the nation’s history.

In the face of this, Professor Jenny Hocking embarked on what would become a ten-year campaign and a four-year legal battle to force the Archives to release the letters. In May 2020, despite being opposed by the Archives, Buckingham Palace, and the full resources of the federal government, she won her historic case in the High Court.

The Palace Letters is the ground-breaking account of her indomitable fight. Drawing on material from the Palace letters, Kerr’s archives, and her submissions to the courts, Hocking traces the collusion and deception behind the dismissal, and charts the secret role of High Court judges, the leader of the opposition, Malcolm Fraser, and the Queen’s private secretary in fostering and supporting Kerr’s actions.

Hocking also reveals the obstruction, intrigue, and duplicity she faced during her campaign, raising disturbing questions about the role of the National Archives in fighting access to these historic letters and in enforcing, against Australia’s national interests, royal secrecy over its own documents.

Jenny Hocking

Jenny Hocking is emeritus professor at Monash University, Distinguished Whitlam Fellow at the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University, and Gough Whitlam’s award-winning biographer. Her appeal against the decision of the Federal Court in the Palace letters case was upheld by the High Court on 29 May 2020.


understand biology in five steps Paul Nurse

Life is all around us, abundant and diverse. It is truly a marvel. But what does it actually mean to be alive, and how do we decide what is living and what is not?

After a lifetime of studying life, Nobel Prize–winner Sir Paul Nurse, one of the world’s leading scientists, has taken on the challenge of defining it. Written with great personality and charm, his accessible guide takes readers on a journey to discover biology’s five great building blocks, demonstrates how biology has changed and is changing the world, and reveals where research is headed next.

To survive all the challenges that face the human race today — population growth, pandemics, food shortages, climate change — it is vital that we first understand what life is. Never before has the question ‘What is life?’ been answered with such insight, clarity, and humanity, and never at a time more urgent than now.

‘Paul Nurse is about as distinguished a scientist as there could be. He is also a great communicator. This book explains, in a way that is both clear and elegant, how the processes of life unfold, and does as much as science can to answer the question posed by the title. It’s also profoundly important, at a time when the world is connected so closely that any new illness can sweep from nation to nation with immense speed, that all of us — including politicians — should be as well-informed as possible. This book provides the sort of clarity and understanding that could save many thousands of lives. I learned a great deal, and I enjoyed the process enormously.’

Sir Philip Pullman

Paul Nurse

Sir Paul Nurse is a geneticist and cell biologist whose discoveries have helped to explain how the cell controls its cycle of growth and division. His contributions to cell biology and cancer research were recognised with a knighthood in 1999, and his endeavours relating to the discovery of cell cycle regulatory molecules saw him jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2001. Since 2011, he has been the director and chief executive of the Francis Crick Institute.


ed. Russ Radcliffe

2020, huh! The year in politics as observed by Australia's funniest and most perceptive political cartoonists.

Fires, pestilence, lockdowns, unemployment, international tensions — now is not the time for jokes! Nah. Laughing in the face of anxiety and horror is our best defence against despair. And this is no time to give our leaders a leave pass for their crimes, misdemeanours, and incompetence. We need the penetrating satirical intelligence and the dark, challenging humour of our political cartoonists more than ever.

Featuring Dean Alston, Peter Broelman, Pat Campbell, Andrew Dyson, John Farmer, First Dog on the Moon, Matt Golding, Fiona Katauskas, Mark Knight, Jon Kudelka, Sean Leahy, Johannes Leak, Alan Moir, David Pope, David Rowe, John Spooner, Andrew Weldon, Cathy Wilcox, and more …

‘This is an entertaining and opinionated overview of a pretty terrible year.’

Robert Phiddian, Inside Story

Russ Radcliffe

Russ Radcliffe created the annual Best Australian Political Cartoons series in 2003. His other books include: Man of Steel: a cartoon history of the Howard years in 2007; Dirt Files: a decade of Australian political cartoons in 2013; and My Brilliant Career: Malcolm Turnbull, a political life in cartoons in 2016.Russ has edited collections from some of Australia’s finest political cartoonists, including Matt Golding, Judy Horacek, Bill Leak, Alan Moir, Bruce Petty, John Spooner and David Rowe, and curated several exhibitions including Moments of Truth, Dirt Files and Suppositories of Wisdom.In 2013 Russ was awarded the Australian Cartoonists Association’s Jim Russell Award for his contribution to Australian cartooning.


political engagement and saving the planet Barry Jones

A follow-up to the author’s prescient bestseller, first published in 1982, that alerted the public to the likely impacts of information technologies and the emergence of a post-industrial society.

When Sleepers, Wake! was  released in Australia, it immediately became influential around the world: it was read by Deng Xiaoping and Bill Gates; was published in China, Japan, South Korea, and Sweden; and led to the author being the first Australian minister invited to address a G-7 summit meeting, held in Canada in 1985.

Now its author, the polymath and former politician Barry Jones, turns his attention to what has happened since — especially to politics, health, and our climate in the digital age — and to the challenges faced by increasingly fragile democracies and public institutions.

Jones sees climate change as the greatest problem of our time, but political leaders have proved incapable of dealing with complex, long-term issues of such magnitude. The Trump phenomenon overturns the whole concept of critical thinking and analysis. Meanwhile, technologies such as the smartphone and the ubiquity of social media have reinforced the realm of the personal. This has weakened our sense of, or empathy with, ‘the other’, the remote, and the unfamiliar, and all but destroyed our sense of community, of being members of broad, inclusive groups. The COVID-19 threat, which was immediate, and personal, showed that some leaders could respond courageously, while others denied the evidence.

In the post-truth era, politicians invent ‘facts’ and ignore or deny the obvious, while business and the media are obsessed with marketing and consumption for the short term. What Is to Be Done is a long-awaited work from Jones on the challenges of modernity and what must be done to meet them.

‘Almost four decades ago, Barry Jones foretold the future with his seminal book, Sleepers, Wake! Now, he is back, with new energy and insights. For those wanting to understand the confounding age in which we live, What Is To Be Done is essential reading. I hope it will galvanise the many debates we need to have if we are to shape a better future.’

Julia Gillard AC

Barry Jones

Barry Jones was a Labor member of the Victorian and Commonwealth parliaments, led the campaign to abolish the death penalty, and became Australia’s longest-serving minister for science from 1983 to 1990. His books include Sleepers, Wake!, A Thinking Reed, Dictionary of World Biography, and The Shock of Recognition. He received a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest award, in 2014, and, at the age of 87, is a ‘living national treasure’.


Anna McGregor

A bright tale of self-acceptance, making friends, and waiting until your tides comes in.

All Anemone wants is a friend, but friends are hard to make when you accidentally sting everyone who comes near you.

Perhaps Clownfish has a solution to the problem ...

‘This is, at first glance, a very simple, quite quirky and humorous picture book, with minimal text and appealing, colourful, digitally produced illustrations. But it is also a fascinating introduction to life in a rock pool: who lives there, who visits when the tide comes in, who is stung by the anemone and who it can form a symbiotic relationship with.’

Margaret Hamilton, Books+Publishing

Anna McGregor

Melbourne based author/illustrator/designer Anna McGregor is devoted to giving her young readers modern, quirky, and conceptual stories from the heart. Her day job is graphic design, and when she’s not sitting at a desk, Anna enjoys travel, art, and picnics with friends.


sex and philosophy Damon Young

The curious reader’s companion to sex.

‘Wit, you know, is the unexpected copulation of ideas.’ Samuel Johnson

Why is screwing so funny?
How should we think about our most shocking fantasies?
What is so captivating about nudity?

Inspired by philosophy, literature, and private life, Damon Young explores the paradoxes of the bedroom. On Getting Off will f**k with your mind.

Praise for The Art of Reading:'For Damon Young, writers are like secret agents gone rogue, grabbing us by the lapels and inviting us into a realm of delicious ambiguity. The Art of Reading is an intimately conspiratorial book — erudite, surprising, and persuasive.’

Henry Hitchings, author of Browse: the world in bookshops

Damon Young

Damon Young is a prize-winning philosopher and writer. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including The Art of Reading, How to Think About Exercise, Philosophy in the Garden, and Distraction. His works have been translated into eleven languages, and he has also written poetry, short fiction, and children’s fiction. Young is an Associate in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.


a life Jane Sherron De Hart

The definitive account of an icon who shaped gender equality for all women.

In this comprehensive, revelatory biography — fifteen years of interviews and research in the making — historian Jane Sherron De Hart explores the central experiences that crucially shaped Ginsburg’s passion for justice, her advocacy for gender equality, and her meticulous jurisprudence. At the heart of her story and abiding beliefs was her Jewish background, specifically the concept of tikkun olam, the Hebrew injunction to ‘repair the world’, with its profound meaning for a young girl who grew up during the Holocaust and World War II.

Ruth’s journey began with her mother, who died tragically young but  whose intellect inspired her daughter’s feminism. It stretches from Ruth’s days as a baton twirler at Brooklyn’s James Madison High School to Cornell University to Harvard and Columbia Law Schools; to becoming one of the first female law professors in the country and having to fight for equal pay and hide her second pregnancy to avoid losing her job; to becoming the director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project and arguing momentous anti-sex-discrimination cases before the US Supreme Court.

All this, even before being nominated in 1993 to become the second woman on the Court, where her crucial decisions and dissents are still making history. Intimately, personably told, this biography offers unprecedented insight into a pioneering life and legal career whose profound impact will reverberate deep into the twenty-first century and beyond.

‘[A]n excellent biography based on archives and interviews with colleagues and friends: In its comprehensiveness, range and attention to detail, this is a vivid account of a remarkable life ... De Hart’s chapters on the landmark cases Ginsburg argued, which were the original core of her book project, are detailed and accessible.’

Jeffrey Rosen, The Washington Post

Jane Sherron De Hart

Jane Sherron De Hart has written on twentieth-century US history and US women’s history. She was professor of history and director of women’s studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara. De Hart lives with her husband in Santa Barbara, California.


how Israel became its own worst enemy Ami Ayalon

A highly decorated Israeli military officer, leader, and former director of the internal security service, Shin Bet, sees the light on what his country must do to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

In this deeply personal journey of discovery, Ami Ayalon seeks input and perspective from Palestinians and Israelis whose experiences differ from his own. As head of the Shin Bet security agency, he gained empathy for ‘the enemy’ and learned that when Israel carries out anti-terrorist operations in a political context of hopelessness, the Palestinian public will support violence, because they have nothing to lose.

Researching and writing Friendly Fire, he came to understand that his patriotic life had blinded him to the self-defeating nature of policies that have undermined Israel’s civil society while heaping humiliation upon its Palestinian neighbours. ‘If Israel becomes an Orwellian dystopia,’ Ayalon writes, ‘it won’t be thanks to a handful of theologians dragging us into the dark past. The secular majority will lead us there motivated by fear and propelled by silence.’

Ayalon is a realist, not an idealist, and many who consider themselves Zionists will regard as radical his conclusions about what Israel must do to achieve relative peace and security and to sustain itself as a Jewish homeland and a liberal democracy.

‘How can a staunch Zionist who was raised on one of Israel’s earliest settlements and trained as a kill-or-be-killed elite commando spearhead a campaign for peace with his enemies? The answer, in Ami Ayalon’s captivating narrative, is an eye-opener for Palestinians and Israelis alike.’

Sari Nusseibeh, author of Once Upon a Country: a Palestinian life, former president of the Al-Quds University and former Palestinian National Authority representative in Jerusalem

Ami Ayalon

Admiral (Ret.) Ami Ayalon is the former commander of the Israeli navy, director of the Shin Bet security agency, cabinet minister, Knesset member, and recipient of the Medal of Valour, Israel’s highest military decoration. He organised and was featured in the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers.


a requiem for the office Gideon Haigh

Has COVID-19 ushered in the end of the office? Or is it the office’s final triumph?

For decades, futurologists have prophesied a boundaryless working world, freed from the cramped confines of the office. During the COVID-19 crisis, employees around the globe got a taste of it. Confined by lockdown to their homes, they met, mingled, collaborated, and created electronically. At length, they returned to something approaching normality. Or had they glimpsed the normal to come?

In The Momentous, Uneventful Day, Gideon Haigh reflects on our ambivalent relationship to office work and office life, how we ended up with the offices we have, how they have reflected our best and worst instincts, and how these might be affected by a world in a time of contagion. Like the factory in the nineteenth century, the office was the characteristic building form of the twentieth, reshaping our cities, redirecting our lives. We all have a stake in how it will change in the twenty-first.

Enlivened by copious citations from literature, film, memoir, and corporate history, and interspersed with relevant images, The Momentous, Uneventful Day is the ideal companion for a lively current debate about the role offices will play in the future.

Praise for The Office: a hardworking history:‘Tracing its history as far back as ancient Egypt (but concentrating on the 20th century), author Gideon Haigh presents a thorough and interesting account of the office over time. His approach is not merely a collection of facts but rather an attempt to understand the office's impact on our culture and society, and vice versa … Haigh is an adept writer — clear, informative … His information is drawn from an astonishingly wide range of sources, including pop culture.’

Ian Halett, Books+Publishing

Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh has been a journalist since 1984, and The Momentous, Uneventful Day is his fortieth book. His The Office: a hardworking history won the 2013 Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction.


a 9-step guide for finding a job you like (and actually getting hired to do it) Alexa Shoen

Banging your head against the wall with the job search? #ENTRYLEVELBOSS will help you stop freaking out. Miserable in your current role but no idea what to do next? With this book you’ll be able to make a decision, no personality tests required. Convinced that you are the most unhireable person on this planet? That’s statistically improbable — and you’ll be amazed at how employable you’ll be by the time you have finished reading.

This is personal training for your career, based on a step-by-step plan that includes:

  • All the intel you need about getting hired in today’s world, in today’s industries, and with today’s tools.
  • Hyper-specific advice including templates for networking emails, CVs, and cover letters.
  • Straight-to-the-point guidance about what not to do.
  • A solid dose of humour and emotional support from someone who really has been there.

The world of work has changed, and getting hired today for a job you actually want is going to take a lot more than a neatly typed cover letter and a well-pressed suit. But along with all the challenges of the new economy come unprecedented opportunities, and careers expert Alexa Shoen is here to unlock them for you.

‘A game-changer for anyone who feels like they're waiting for their ‘real’ career to start. You can either read Alexa’s book, or keep having the ‘Sunday Scaries’ for the rest of your f*cking life. You pick.’

Sarah Knight, New York Times bestselling author of Get Your Sh*t Together

Alexa Shoen

Alexa Shoen, born in 1989, is the internet’s leading confidant for panicking job seekers and the CEO of #ENTRYLEVELBOSS: an online education company that transforms those job seekers into hired, happy professionals. She previously worked in design for Facebook, leading cross-platform initiatives to optimise the company’s multi-billion-dollar advertising business. Before that, she was one of the most sought-after communication consultants in the European tech industry and advised high-growth companies in Berlin, London, and New York. Alexa is a beneficiary of the UK’s Exceptional Talent (Technology) visa scheme, a prestigious immigration route awarded to just 200 world-leading technologists annually. She’s also an acclaimed independent jazz vocalist. Alexa is originally from San Diego, California.


Sònia Hernández (trans. Samuel Rutter)

A sly and playful novel about the many faces we all have.

Fifteen-year-old Berta says that beautiful things aren’t made for her, or that she isn’t destined to have them, or that the only things she deserves are ugly. It’s why her main activity, when she’s not at school, is playing the ‘prosopagnosia game’ — standing in front of the mirror and holding her breath until she can no longer recognise her own face. An ibis is the only animal she wants for a pet.

Berta’s mother is in her forties. By her own estimation, she is at least twenty kilos overweight, and her husband has just left her. Her whole life, she has felt a keen sense of being very near to the end of things. She used to be a cultural critic for a regional newspaper. Now she feels it is her responsibility to make her and her daughter’s lives as happy as possible.

A man who claims to be the famous Mexican artist Vicente Rojo becomes entangled in their lives when he sees Berta faint at school and offers her the gift of a painting. This sets in motion an uncanny game of assumed and ignored identities, where the limits of what one wants and what one can achieve become blurred. Art, culture, motherhood, and the search for meaning all have a part to play in whether Sònia Hernàndez’ characters recognise what they see within.

‘With [Prosopagnosia], Sònia Hernández cements her place as one of the most individual voices of her generation.’

La Vanguardia

Sònia Hernández

Sònia Hernández was born in 1976, in Terrassa. Granta named her one of their ‘Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists’ in 2010. A writer and critic, she has contributed to many publications.


the 12-step guide to science-based nutrition for a healthier and longer life Bas Kast (trans. David Shaw)

What do people with a particularly long life-span eat?
How can you lose weight efficiently?
Are illnesses in old age avoidable?
Can you ‘eat yourself young’

Discover the answers to these questions and more in this practical, science-based guide to eating well and living longer, which has sold over a million copies worldwide.

When science journalist Bas Kast collapsed with chest pains, he feared he had ruined his health forever with a diet of junk food. So he set off on a journey to uncover the essentials of diet and longevity.

Here, filtered from thousands of sometimes conflicting research findings, Kast presents the key scientific insights that reveal the most beneficial diet possible. From analysing how much sugar you should consume to looking at the impact of supplements, fasting, and even whether you should drink tea or coffee, Kast breaks down diet myths to present the key facts you need to know in clear, accessible language.

‘The most important non-fiction book of the year.’

Der Spiegel

Bas Kast

Bas Kast was born in 1973, and studied psychology and biology in Constance, Bochum, and Boston. He works as a science journalist and author. His publications include I Do Not Know What I Want (2012), and And Suddenly CLICK! (2015).


a new translation (trans. Maria Dahvana Headley)

A new, feminist translation of Beowulf by the author of The Mere Wife

Nearly twenty years after Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf — and fifty years after the translation that continues to torment high-school students around the world — there is a radical new verse interpretation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley, which brings to light elements never before translated into English.

A man seeks to prove himself as a hero. A monster seeks silence in his territory. A warrior seeks to avenge her murdered son. A dragon ends it all. These familiar components of the epic poem are seen with a novelist’s eye towards gender, genre, and history. Beowulf has always been a tale of entitlement and encroachment — of powerful men seeking to become more powerful and one woman seeking justice for her child — but this version brings new context to an old story. While crafting her contemporary adaptation, Headley unearthed significant shifts lost over centuries of translation; her Beowulf is one for the twenty-first century.

‘An iconic work of early English literature comes in for up-to-the-minute treatment … Headley’s language and pacing keep perfect track with the events she describes … [giving] the 3,182-line text immediacy without surrendering a bit of its grand poetry. Some purists may object to the small liberties Headley has taken with the text, but her version is altogether brilliant.’ STARRED REVIEW

Kirkus Reviews


Alison Gibbs

‘But then we all love this place, don’t we, in our different ways?’

It’s the summer of 1976, and the winds of change are blowing through the small town of Repentance on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. The old families farmed cattle and cut timber, but the new settlers, the hippies, have a different perspective on the natural order and humankind’s place in the scheme of things. Soon everything will be disturbed. Either the old growth is coming down or the loggers have to be stopped. And although not everyone agrees on tactics, noone will escape being drawn into the coming confrontation.

A tale of a country town and its rhythms, Repentance is also the story of modern Australia at one of its flashpoints, told tenderly and beautifully through the eyes of characters you won’t forget.

‘A fierce, fair, and moving novel, so true you can smell the rainforest.’

Robert Drewe

Alison Gibbs

Alison Gibbs was born in Kyogle in 1963 and spent her childhood in the towns and villages of northern New South Wales. She now lives in Sydney, where she runs her own writing consultancy producing copy for United Nations agencies and the not-for-profit sector. Her short stories and essays have been published and broadcast in Australia and the United Kingdom and have received numerous short-listings and awards. Repentance is her first novel.


how we mate, why we stray, and what it means for modern sexuality Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha

The 10th-anniversary edition of the book that radically re-evaluates the origins and nature of human sexuality.

Since Darwin’s day, we’ve been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science — as well as religious and cultural institutions — has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man’s possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman’s fertility and fidelity.

In this groundbreaking book, however, Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá argue that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is.

With intelligence and humour, Ryan and Jethá explain how our promiscuous past haunts our contemporary struggles.  They explore why many people find long-term fidelity so difficult; why sexual passion tends to fade even as love deepens; why homosexuality persists in the face of standard evolutionary logic; and what the human body reveals about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality.

Shocking, enlightening, and ultimately inspiring, Sex at Dawn offers a revolutionary understanding of why we live and love as we do.

‘Stunningly original. Sex at Dawn reframes our understanding of the origins and nature of human sexuality. Persuasive and supported by wide-ranging interdisciplinary research … Full of humour, passion, and insight.’

Stanley Krippner, PhD, author of The Mythic Path

Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan received his PhD in research psychology at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco, focusing on prehistoric sexual behaviour. He has taught at the University of Barcelona Medical School and published both scientific and popular articles and book chapters on human sexuality.

Cacilda Jetha

Dr Cacilda Jethá is a practising psychiatrist, specialising in psychosexual disorders and couples therapy. She has done field research on sexuality for the World Health Organization.Ryan and Jethá are married and live in Barcelona, where they co-author a blog for Psychology Today:


Trevor Shearston

‘Please. I’m in hell!’ The truth of that was in his face. The rims of his eyes were red-raw, his hair was matted, he hadn’t shaved since knocking at her door, when he’d been clean-shaven — one of the few details she remembered of that blurred encounter. ‘I know why you’re avoiding me. Whoever told the cops told you, too.’

It’s 1970, and young Annette Cooley is part of a small team working on an archaeological dig on the New South Wales south coast — a site that appears to prove that Aboriginal societies in the late Holocene were becoming less nomadic, even sedentary. The discovery is thrilling in its significance, and the atmosphere in the group is one of charged excitement. The team is led by a husband-and-wife pair, stars in their field, Aled Wray and Marilyn Herr, and working on their sites promises to be the making of Annette as an archaeologist.

On a new site, linked to the first, Annette starts to fall for a fellow student, Brian Harpur. But there are strange tensions and a hidden darkness within the group. Then one of their party mysteriously disappears. When police arrive, Annette makes a decision that will irrevocably mark her life, and Brian Harpur’s.

Written in clear, beautiful prose, and with great depth and moral complexity, The Beach Caves is a powerful story about jealousy, guilt, the choices we make, and the different paths our lives could have taken — shadow paths, which nevertheless leave a trace.

‘An archaeological thriller that has a real sense of lived experience. Written with beautiful exactitude by a natural writer.’

Joan London

Trevor Shearston

Trevor Shearston is the author of Something in the Blood, Sticks That Kill, White Lies, Concertinas, A Straight Young Back, Tinder, and Dead Birds. His novel Game, about the bushranger Ben Hall, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Christina Stead Prize for Fiction 2014, longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2014, and shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award 2013. He lives in Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains.


Jessica Gaitán Johannesson

People say ‘I’m sorry’ all the time when it can mean both ‘I’m sorry I hurt you’ and ‘I’m sorry someone else did something I have nothing to do with’. It’s like the English language gave up on trying to find a word for sympathy which wasn’t also the word for guilt.

Swedish immigrant Kristin won’t talk about the Project growing inside her. Her Brazilian-born Scottish boyfriend Ciaran won’t speak English at all; he is trying to immerse himself in a Swedish
språkbad language bath,
to prepare for their future, whatever the fick that means. Their Edinburgh flat is starting to feel very small.

As this young couple is forced to confront the thing that they are both avoiding, they must reckon with the bigger questions of the world outside, and their places in it.

How We Are Translated is the most contemporary of novels; set somehow both in the now and in the distant past; in one city that could be many cities, and in two different languages, though also in defiance of language, with as much focus on the silences between words as the words themselves. It’s a novel that maintains just the right balance of oddity, intimacy and illumination. It’s a novel that anyone interested in the future of the English novel needs to read!’

Sara Baume, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Jessica Gaitán Johannesson

Jessica Gaitán Johannesson grew up speaking Spanish and Swedish and currently lives primarily in English. She’s an activist working for climate justice and lives in Bath, England. How We Are Translated is her first novel.


book editors who made publishing history Craig Munro

‘Writers, their friends, enemies, editors, and publishers began to materialise out of the library’s archive boxes, and I found myself setting off in search of these elusive, eccentric, and often quarrelsome characters.’

In this unique and entertaining blend of memoir, biography, and literary detective work, highly respected former fiction editor Craig Munro recreates the lives and careers of Australia’s most renowned literary editors and authors, spanning a century from the 1890s to the 1990s.

Famous figures featured in this book include A.G. Stephens, who helped turn foundry worker Joseph Furphy’s thousand-page handwritten manuscript into the enduring classic Such Is Life; P.R. Stephensen, who tangled with the irascible Xavier Herbert, working closely with the novelist to revise his unwieldy masterpiece Capricornia; Beatrice Davis, who cut Herbert’s later novel Soldiers’ Women in half, and whose lively literary soirees were the talk of Sydney; and award-winning fiction editor Rosanne Fitzgibbon, who was known as a friend and champion to her authors, including the prodigiously talented young novelist Gillian Mears.

Throughout it all, in beguiling and elegant style, Craig Munro weaves his own reminiscences of a life in publishing while tracking down some of Australian literature’s most fascinating and little-known stories. Literary Lion Tamers is a delight for anyone interested in the wild outer edges of the book world.

Praise for Under Cover:‘A clear-eyed, engaging memoir offering a unique perspective on the passionate and occasionally unhinged world of Australian literature.’

Jacqueline Kent, editor, and author of A Certain Style: Beatrice Davis — a literary life

Craig Munro

Craig Munro is an award-winning biographer and the founding chair of the Queensland Writers Centre. As the inaugural fiction editor at the University of Queensland Press, and later as publishing manager, he worked with many emerging writers who have since become celebrated authors. Craig won the Barbara Ramsden Award for editing in 1985, and studied book publishing in Canada and the United States on a Churchill Fellowship in 1991. His previous books include Paper Empires: a history of the book in Australia, 1946–2005 (co-edited with Robyn Sheahan-Bright) and Under Cover: adventures in the art of editing.


Martin McKenzie-Murray

In his fiction debut, erstwhile speechwriter Martin McKenzie-Murray takes us on a frantic, funny, and surreal journey through the corridors of power.

Toby, former speechwriter to the PM, has reached a new low: locked behind bars in a high-security prison, with sentient PlayStations storming the city outside, and the worst of Australia’s criminals forcing him to ghost-write letters to their loved ones or have his spine repurposed as a coat-rack. How did he get here? From the vantage point of his prison cell, Toby pens his memoir, trying to piece together how he fell so far, all the while fielding the uninvited literary opinions of his murderous cellmate, Gary.

What Toby unspools is a tale of twisted bureaucracy, public servants gone rogue, and the ever-present pervasive stench of rotting prawns (don’t ask). Realising that his political career is far from the noble endeavour he’d once imagined it would be, Toby makes a bid for freedom … before the terrible realisation dawns: it's impossible to get fired from the public service. Refusing to give up (or have to pay for his relocation fee), Toby’s attempts to get fired grow more and more extreme, and he finds himself being propelled higher and higher through the ranks of bureaucracy.

‘A savage, laugh-out-loud satire that hits the ground running and never lets up.’

Tony Martin

Martin McKenzie-Murray

Martin McKenzie-Murray was The Saturday Paper’s chief correspondent, work for which made him both a Walkley and Quills finalist. Before that, he worked as a teacher, speechwriter, Age columnist, and advisor to the chief commissioner of Victoria Police. Elsewhere, his writing has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Monthly, Guardian Australia, Meanjin, and Best Australian Essays. His first book, A Murder Without Motive: the killing of Rebecca Ryle, was shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Awards for crime writing.


the fight to take back our planet Michael E. Mann

A renowned climate scientist shows how fossil-fuel companies have waged a thirty-year campaign to deflect blame and responsibility and to delay action on climate change, and offers a battle plan for how we can save the planet.

Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the ways that we’ve been told can slow climate change. But the inordinate emphasis on behaviour is the result of a marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals.

Fossil-fuel companies have followed the example of other industries deflecting blame (think ‘Guns don't kill people, people kill people’) or greenwashing. Meanwhile, they’ve blocked efforts to regulate or price carbon emissions, have run PR campaigns aimed at discrediting viable alternatives, and have abdicated their responsibility to fix the problem they’ve created. The result has been disastrous for our planet.

In The New Climate War, Mann argues that all is not lost. He draws the battle lines between the people and the polluters — fossil-fuel companies, right-wing plutocrats, and petro-states. And he outlines a plan for forcing our governments and corporations to wake up and make real change, including:

  • a common-sense, attainable approach to carbon pricing — and a revision of the well-intentioned but flawed currently proposed version of the Green New Deal;
  • allowing renewable energy to compete fairly against fossil fuels;
  • debunking the false narratives and arguments that have worked their way into the climate debate and driven a wedge between even those who support climate-change solutions; and
  • combatting climate doomism and despair-mongering.

With immensely powerful vested interests aligned in defence of the fossil-fuel status quo, the societal tipping point won’t happen without the active participation of citizens everywhere aiding in the collective push forward. This book will reach, inform, and enable citizens everywhere to join this battle for our planet.

‘Mann shows that corporations and lobbyists have been successful in convincing us that climate change will be fine, if we just recycle our bottles and turn out the lights. Instead, he says, global warming is a problem way too hot for any one person to handle. He’s optimistic though, because he sees what we really can and will do. Read his book, and let's get to work.’

Bill Nye, science educator, CEO of The Planetary Society

Michael E. Mann

Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State. He has received many honours and awards, including his selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. Additionally, he contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2018 he received the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union. In 2020 he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, including Dire Predictions: understanding climate change and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: dispatches from the front lines. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.


Madeleine Ryan

A brilliant debut from a neurodiverse author that explores a young woman's magical, sensitive, and passionate inner world.

A young woman gets ready to go to a party. She arrives, feels overwhelmed, leaves, and then returns. Minutely attuned to the people who come into her view, and alternating between alienation and profound connection, she is hilarious, self-aware, sometimes acerbic, and always honest.

And by the end of the night, she’s shown us something radical about love, loss, and the need to belong.

‘A daring, prismatic novel about seeing and being seen, and the hunger for universal connection. Madeleine Ryan’s clarity of vision imbues the ordinary — a party, strangers, inner-city streets — with cosmic significance. I came out of A Room Called Earth with fresh eyes and a full heart.’

Laura Elizabeth Woollett, author of Beautiful Revolutionary

Madeleine Ryan

Madeleine Ryan is an Australian writer, director, and actor. She’s been widely published in Australia and overseas, including in The New York Times, Lenny Letter, Bustle, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, Vice, SBS, and The Sydney Morning Herald. She currently lives in rural Victoria. You can find her online at A Room Called Earth is her first novel.


how six unlikely heroes saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust Jan Brokken (trans. David McKay)

The remarkable story of how a consul and his allies helped save thousands of Jews from the Holocaust in one of the greatest rescue operations of the twentieth century.

In May 1940, Jan Zwartendijk, the director of the Lithuanian branch of the Philips electrical-goods company, stepped into history when he accepted the honorary role of Dutch consul.

In Kaunas, the capital of Lithuania, desperate Jewish refugees faced annihilation in the Holocaust. That was when Zwartendijk, with the help of Chiune Sugihara, the consul for Japan, and the Dutch ambassador in Riga, Latvia — chose to break his country’s diplomatic rules. He opened up a possible route to freedom through the ruse of issuing visas to the Dutch colony of Curaçao on the other side of the world.  Thanks to these visas, and Sugihara’s approval of onward passage, many Jews — up to 10,000 — were able to travel on the Trans-Siberian Express all through Soviet Russia to Vladivostok, further to Japan, and onwards to China.

Most of the Jews whom Zwartendijk helped escape survived the war, and they and their descendants settled in America, Canada, Australia, and other countries. Zwartendijk and Sugihara were true heroes, and yet they were both shunned by their own countries after the war, and their courageous, unstinting actions have remained relatively unknown.

In The Just, renowned Dutch author Jan Brokken wrests this heroic story from oblivion and traces the journeys of a number of the rescued Jews. This epic narrative shows how, even in life-threatening circumstances, some people make the right choice at the right time. It is a lesson in character and courage.

‘If I had known Jan Zwartendijk’s story before, I would have had filmed that.’

Steven Spielberg

Jan Brokken

Jan Brokken is a writer of fiction, travel, and literary nonfiction. He gained international fame with The Rainbird, The Blind Passengers, My Little Madness, Baltic Souls, In the House of the Poet, The Reprisal, and The Cossack Garden, and his books have been translated into ten languages. The Just is his latest book.


the British army since 9/11 Simon Akam

A revelatory, explosive new analysis of the British military today.

Over the first two decades of the twenty-first century, Britain has changed enormously. During this time, the British Army fought two campaigns, in Iraq and Afghanistan, at considerable financial and human cost. Yet neither war achieved its objectives. This book questions why, and provides challenging but necessary answers.

Composed from assiduous documentary research, field reportage, and hundreds of interviews with many soldiers and officers who served, as well as the politicians who directed them, the allies who accompanied them, and the family members who loved and — on occasion — lost them, it is a strikingly rich, nuanced portrait of one of Britain’s pivotal national institutions in a time of great stress.

Award-winning journalist Simon Akam, who spent a year in the army when he was 18, returned a decade later to see how the institution had changed. His book examines the relevance of the armed forces today — their social, economic, political, and cultural role. This is as much a book about Britain, and about the politics of failure, as it is about the military.

‘Akam’s beautifully written, from the inside out, account of the British Army’s reluctance to engage with the realities of recent small wars, in Afghanistan in particular, is a must-read for every serious student of modern military history. At one level, it explains how and why we managed to turn victory over Al Qaeda in Afghanistan into defeat at the hands of the Taliban. But this book is about much more than the army in Afghanistan — it is a parable about failure, the failure of a revered institution, with a proud history and an uncritical public, to come to terms with a changed and changing world.’

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British ambassador to Afghanistan

Simon Akam

Simon Akam (@simonakam, held a Gap Year Commission in the British Army before attending Oxford University. He won a Fulbright scholarship to study at Columbia Journalism School and in 2010 won the professional strand of The Guardian’s International Development Journalism Competition. He has worked for The New York Times, Reuters, and Newsweek, and his writing has appeared in publications including The Economist, GQ, Bloomberg Businessweek, Outside, The Washington Post, the Financial Times, New Statesman, the Paris Review, and The New Republic. He co-hosts the writing podcast Always Take Notes (@takenotesalways,


liberty and justice in the age of perpetual surveillance Jon Fasman

An investigation into the legal, political, and moral issues surrounding how the police and justice system use surveillance technology, asking the question: what are citizens of a free country willing to tolerate in the name of public safety?

The police now have unparalleled power at their fingertips: surveillance technology. Seamless, persistent, even permanent surveillance is available — sometimes already deployed, sometimes waiting for the right excuse. Automatic licence-plate readers allow police to amass a granular record of where people go, when, and for how long. Drones give police eyes — and possibly weapons — in the skies. Facial recognition poses perhaps the most dire and lasting threat than any other technology. Algorithms purport to predict where and when crime will occur, and how big a risk a suspect has of re-offending. Tools can crack a device's encryption keys, rending all privacy protections useless.

Embedding himself with both police and community activists in locales around the United States — ranging from Newark and Baltimore to Los Angeles and Oakland — Jon Fasman looks at how these technologies help police do their jobs, and what their use means for our privacy rights and civil liberties. Fasman provides a framework for thinking through through these issues, exploring vital questions. Should we expect to be tracked and filmed whenever we leave our homes? Should the state have access to all of the data we generate? Should private companies? What might happen if all of these technologies are combined and put in the hands of a government with scant regard for its citizens’ civil liberties?

Through on-the ground reporting and vivid story-telling, Fasman explores the moral, legal, and political questions these surveillance tools and techniques pose.

‘[A] deeply reported and sometimes chilling look at mass surveillance technologies in the American justice system … Fasman avoids alarmism while making a strong case for greater public awareness and tighter regulations around these technologies. This illuminating account issues an essential warning about a rising threat to America’s civil liberties.’

Publishers Weekly

Jon Fasman

Jon Fasman is the Washington correspondent of TheEconomist, having previously been South-East Asia bureau chief and Atlanta correspondent. In addition to his work for The Economist, he is also the author of two novels: The Geographer’s Library and The Unpossessed City. Fasman resides in Westchester County, New York.


a reckoning Alison Croggon

‘This figure I see in the foreground, this me. How monstrous am I? What does it mean to be a monster? From Latin monstrum, meaning an abomination … grotesque, hideous, ugly, ghastly, gruesome, horrible …

‘I was born as part of a monstrous structure — the grotesque, hideous, ugly, ghastly, gruesome, horrible relations of power that constituted colonial Britain. A structure that shaped me, that shapes the very language that I speak and use and love. I am the daughter of an empire that declared itself the natural order of the world.’

From award-winning writer and critic Alison Croggon, Monsters is a hybrid of memoir and essay that takes as its point of departure the painful breakdown of a relationship between two sisters. It explores how our attitudes are shaped by the persisting myths that underpin colonialism and patriarchy, how the structures we are raised within splinter and distort the possibilities of our lives and the lives of others. Monsters asks how we maintain the fictions that we create about ourselves, what we will sacrifice to maintain these fictions — and what we have to gain by confronting them.

Alison Croggon

Alison Croggon is an award-winning novelist, poet, theatre writer, critic, and editor who lives in Melbourne, Australia.


how we can use the power of our hormones to master any stage of life Susanne Esche-Belke, Suzann Kirschner-Brouns (trans. Alex Roesch)

A handbook for women who want to understand their hormones and transform their lives for the better.

Hormones affect our health throughout our lives. So why do we so often assume they are mainly 'a menopause thing', and leave it until hot flushes arrive to start taking them seriously? The truth is that before the age of 50, many women find that their hormone-related symptoms just aren’t acknowledged, despite the impact they can have on almost every aspect of their lives, years before menopause hits.

Hormone imbalances can cause joint pain, weight gain, migraines, acne, sleepless nights, loss of libido, and much more. Medical science has come a long way in recent years, though, and there are wonderful treatment options available, including HRT, diet, and exercise. So why don’t more women know about them? Why are they still being told that they simply have to put up with these conditions?

Written by two doctors from their experience as practitioners and as women, and full of pioneering knowledge from epigenetics, stress medicine, nutritional medicine, and modern hormone replacement therapy, Our Hormones, Our Health aims to show women how to live with good health, good humour, and much happiness — no matter what their stage of life.

Susanne Esche-Belke

Dr Susanne Esche-Belke is a specialist in general medicine, and has been combining conventional medical knowledge with the latest findings in stress and integrative medicine in clinics and in her own practice for 20 years. Her focus is on the holistic therapy of female hormone and immune disorders. She is the co-founder of the women’s health platform Less — Doctors for Balance

Suzann Kirschner-Brouns

Dr Suzann Kirschner-Brouns is a doctor and mediator. As a medical journalist and author, she writes on health issues for well-known publishers and magazines. Formerly editor-in-chief of a gynaecological journal, and the health magazine of Der Spiegel, she is the co-founder of the women’s health platform Less — Doctors for Balance.


Henriette Roosenburg

How do you start a journey when the roads are blocked? Who can you trust in a country where the Nazi regime has only just fallen?

'This is the story of the liberation of four Dutch political prisoners at the end of World War II, and about their trek home to Holland …' So, modestly, begins this firsthand account of the adventures of three women and one man in the hellish aftermath of the war in Europe. Awakened from the nightmare of prison camp, freed from the fear of the firing squad that had haunted each of them since capture, the four compatriots find that they must still navigate horror itself without food, without papers, without funds. Virtues are all that remain in their possession, and it is these — nobility, friendship, honour, strength, pride in their bloody but unbowed humanity — that guide them home. This is a tale of bravery that will make you care deeply about its protagonists, and weep tears of wonder at their heroism.

‘You feel the life seeping back into these wasted, emaciated, exhausted friends like spring itself … You marvel at the capillary action that one caring human being can create in another with simple kindness, but in the end, pure luck, like a blessing, rains down from the heavens.’

Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

Henriette Roosenburg

Henriette Roosenburg (1916–1972), known as ‘Zip’, was part of the Dutch resistance during World War II, collecting news for the underground press and helping maintain an escape route for crashed Allied pilots. After being arrested in 1944 and condemned to death, she survived internment in a Gestapo prison in Germany before being liberated by the Russian army in May 1945. After the war, she emigrated to the United States, and started to work for Life Magazine. She wrote the first draft of what would later become The Walls Came Tumbling Down for The New Yorker.


Veronica Gorrie

The story of an Aboriginal woman who worked as a police officer and fought for justice both within and beyond the Australian police force.

A proud Kurnai woman, Veronica Gorrie grew up dauntless, full of cheek and a fierce sense of justice. After watching her friends and family suffer under a deeply compromised law-enforcement system, Gorrie signed up for training to become one of a rare few Aboriginal police officers in Australia. In her ten years in the force, she witnessed appalling institutional racism and sexism, and fought past those things to provide courageous and compassionate service to civilians in need, many Aboriginal themselves.

With a great gift for storytelling and a wicked sense of humour, Gorrie frankly and movingly explores the impact of racism on her family and her life, the impact of intergenerational trauma resulting from cultural dispossession, and the inevitable difficulties of making her way as an Aboriginal woman in the white-and-male-dominated workplace of the police force.

Black and Blue is a memoir of remarkable fortitude and resilience, told with wit, wisdom, and great heart.

Veronica Gorrie


Anke Stelling (trans. Lucy Jones)

A prize-winning novel about class, money, creativity, and motherhood, that ultimately reveals what happens when the hypocrisies we live by are exposed ...

Resi is a writer in her mid-forties, married to Sven, a painter. They live, with their four children, in an apartment building in Berlin, where their lease is controlled by some of their closest friends. Those same friends live communally nearby, in a house they co-own and have built together. Only Resi and Sven, the token artists of their social circle, are renting. As the years have passed, Resi has watched her once-dear friends become more and more ensconced in the comforts and compromises of money, success, and the nuclear family.

After Resi’s latest book openly criticises stereotypical family life and values, she receives a letter of eviction. Incensed by the true natures and hard realities she now sees so clearly, Resi sets out to describe the world as it really is for her fourteen-year-old daughter, Bea. As Berlin, that creative mecca, crumbles under the inexorable march of privatisation and commodification, taking relationships with it, Resi is determined to warn Bea about the lures, traps, and ugly truths that await her.

Written with dark humour and clarifying rage, Anke Stelling’s novel is a ferocious and funny account of motherhood, parenthood, family, and friendship thrust into battle. Lively, rude, and wise, it throws down the gauntlet to those who fail to interrogate who they have become.

Anke Stelling

Anke Stelling was born in 1971, in Ulm, Germany. She studied at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig. Stelling is a multi-award-winning novelist whose previous works have been much acclaimed. Higher Ground is the first of her novels to be translated into English. Stelling lives and works in Berlin.


an odyssey to Europe Ibrahima Balde, Amets Arzallus Antia (trans. Timberlake Wertenbaker)

A heartbreaking and magnificent account of a poor and illiterate young West African’s odysssey.

Ibrahima, whose family live in a village in the West African country of Guinea, helps his father sell shoes at a street stall in the capital, Conakry. At the sudden death of his father, he becomes the head of the family and picks up various skills, always alone and away from home, although his dream is to be a truck driver in his country.

But when his little brother, Alhassane, suddenly disappears, heading for Europe in a bid to earn money for the family, Ibrahima leaves everything behind to try to find him and convince him to go back to their village and continue his education. In an epic journey, Ibrahima risks his life many times searching for his little brother.

Each waystation that Ibrahima passes through takes him to another world, with different customs, other languages, other landscapes, other currencies, and new challenges to overcome. His willpower is astonishing, and the friendship and generosity of strangers he encounters on the way help him to keep going.

After enduring many trials and tribulations, he learns of Alhassane’s fate. Unable to return home, he embarks on the journey to Europe himself.

Little Brother is a testimonial account that gives a voice, heart, and soul, and flesh and bones to the seemingly nameless masses of people struggling and dying, trying only to achieve a better life for themselves and their families.

Ibrahima Balde

Ibrahima Balde is a migrant from the Republic of Guinea who crossed the desert to look for his younger brother. After entering the European Union without papers, he made his way to the Basque country, where, while living in a homeless shelter in Irun, he met Amets Arzullus. Ibrahima has applied for asylum, and now lives in a Red Cross hostel in Madrid.

Amets Arzallus Antia

Amets Arzallus Antia, a child of refugees, is a renowned Basque improvisational poet who works with an association that supports migrants.


language, power, and Alexander Graham Bell’s quest to end Deafness Katie Booth

A revelatory revisionist biography of Alexander Graham Bell — renowned inventor of the telephone and hated enemy of the Deaf community.

When Alexander Graham Bell first unveiled his telephone to the world, it was considered miraculous. But few people know that it was inspired by another supposed miracle: his work teaching the deaf to speak. The son of one deaf woman and husband to another, he was motivated by a desire to empower deaf people by integrating them into the hearing world, but he ended up becoming their most powerful enemy, waging a war against Sign Language and Deaf culture that still rages today.

The Invention of Miracles tells the dual stories of Bell’s remarkable, world-changing invention and his dangerous ethnocide of Deaf culture and language. It also charts the rise of Deaf activism and tells the triumphant tale of a community reclaiming a once-forbidden language.

Inspired by her mixed hearing/Deaf family, Katie Booth has researched this story for over a decade, poring over Bell’s papers, Library of Congress archives, and the records of deaf schools around America. Witnessing the damaging impact of Bell’s legacy on her family set her on a path that upturned everything she thought she knew about language, power, deafness, and technology.

‘Fascinating. The Invention of Miracles tells the story of how Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone was intertwined with his sincere but misguided passion for teaching the deaf how to speak. It’s a tale of great love, brilliant innovation, personal drama, and the unintended consequences of good intentions.’

Walter Isaacson #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs

Katie Booth

Katie Booth teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in The Believer, Aeon, Catapult, and Harper’s Magazine, and has been highlighted on Longreads and Longform; ‘The Sign for This’ was a notable essay in the 2016 edition of Best American Essays. Booth received a number of prestigious fellowships to support the writing of The Invention of Miracles, including from the Library of Congress and the Massachusetts Historical Society. She was raised bilingually and biculturally in a mixed hearing/Deaf family.


a memoir of family property and Nazi treasure Menachem Kaiser

Menachem Kaiser’s brilliantly told story, woven from improbable events and profound revelations, is set in motion when the author takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland.

Soon, he is on a circuitous path to encounters with the long-time residents of the building, and with a Polish lawyer known as ‘The Killer’. A surprise discovery — that his grandfather’s cousin not only survived the war, but wrote a secret memoir while a slave labourer in a vast, secret Nazi tunnel complex — leads to Kaiser being adopted as a virtual celebrity by a band of Silesian treasure seekers who revere the memoir as the indispensable guidebook to Nazi plunder.

Propelled by rich, original research, Kaiser immerses readers in profound questions that reach far beyond his personal quest. What does it mean to seize your own legacy? Can reclaimed property repair rifts among the living? Plunder is both a deeply immersive adventure story and an irreverent, daring interrogation of inheritance — material, spiritual, familial, and emotional.

‘Menachem Kaiser is a young writer and storyteller of stunning talent, originality, and wisdom, and his debut book is gloriously impossible to categorise — by turns hilarious and profound, digressive and suspenseful, intimate and sweeping, it stands as an enviable accomplishment.’

Gideon Lewis-Kraus, author of A Sense of Direction: pilgrimage for the restless and hopeful

Menachem Kaiser

Menachem Kaiser holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and was a Fulbright Fellow to Lithuania. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, New York, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Jane Godwin (illus. Felicita Sala)

Arno had a horse,
it was brown and it was black.
He took it with him everywhere,
but did he bring it back?

When Arno loses his precious toy horse, all the kids ?in town help him to look for it. They look everywhere, but will Arno ever see his horse again?

A touching story about memory, dreams, and the mysterious ways we feel connected to those we love.

Jane Godwin

Jane Godwin is an Australian children’s book publisher, and also the highly acclaimed author of over twenty books for children, across all styles and ages. Her work is published internationally and she has received many commendations, including the Queensland Premier’s Award (Children’s Books), the Aurealis Award and the Animal Welfare Award, and shortlistings in the CBC Book of the Year Awards, the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the New South Wales State Literary Award (Patricia Wrightson Prize), the YABBA Awards, the Speech Pathology Awards, The Family Award for Children’s Books, and the Australian Book Industry Awards.


rewriting the myth of a classless nation ed. Tobias McCorkell

Stories of not belonging in a classless society.

Class intersects with almost every aspect of our lives, from where we go to school, to what we wear and eat, to how we speak, and how we make a living. Yet we almost never talk about it, and when we do, it’s often to make claims about how much Australia loves its ‘battlers’ and blue-collar underdogs. But what’s it really like to be economically disadvantaged in this country? To be denied a place in a rapidly expanding ‘middle class’ as the gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ widens? And is it possible to cross class lines in a country that barely acknowledges those lines exist?

In Cop This Lot, diverse voices of all ages — from the well-known to the recently discovered — deliver their stories and experiences with verve, courage, and humour. Collectively, these essays challenge Australia’s myths and truths about its national character and delve deeply into the nation’s complex relationship with social class.

With contributions from: Roger Averill, Timmah Ball, Shannon Burns, Luke Carman, Felicity Castagna, Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn, Chris Fleming, Nayuka Gorrie, Rick Morton, Tegan Moss, Amra Pajalic, Sheila Ngoc Pham, Peter Polites, Alice Pung, Matthew Sini, and David Sornig.

Praise for Everything In Its Right Place:‘[A] captivating and exhilarating reading experience … [A] gritty and humorous coming of age novel set in Coburg … The novel takes on the themes of family, sexuality, class and adolescence with empathy yet uncompromising intensity, deliberating on these motifs with protean humour, acute insight and evocative language.’

RJ Frometa, Vents Magazine

Tobias McCorkell

Tobias McCorkell is the author of the novel Everything in its Right Place (Transit Lounge). He lives in Coburg.


Irvin D. Yalom, Marilyn Yalom

A year-long journey by the renowned psychiatrist and his writer wife after her fatal diagnosis, as they reflect on how to love and live without regret.

Internationally acclaimed psychiatrist and author Irvin Yalom devoted his career to counselling those suffering from anxiety and grief. But never had he faced the need to counsel himself until his wife, esteemed feminist author Marilyn Yalom, was diagnosed with cancer. In A Matter of Death and Life, Marilyn and Irv share how they took on profound new struggles: Marilyn to die a good death, Irv to live on without her.

In alternating accounts of their last months together and Irv's first months alone, they offer us a rare window into facing mortality and coping with the loss of one's beloved. The Yaloms had numerous blessings — a loving family, a Palo Alto home under a magnificent valley oak, a large circle of friends, avid readers around the world, and a long, fulfilling marriage — but they faced death as we all do. With the wisdom of those who have thought deeply and the familiar warmth of teenage sweethearts who've grown up together, they investigate universal questions of intimacy, love, and grief.

Informed by two lifetimes of experience, A Matter of Death and Life is an openhearted offering to anyone seeking support, solace, and a meaningful life.

‘This beautiful, poignant, and uplifting memoir is a love story, a tale of two incredibly accomplished lives that were lived almost as one, the sum turning out to be so much greater than its parts. It will inspire you and perhaps move you to look differently at your life — it did that for me.’

Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

Irvin D. Yalom

Irvin D. Yalom is emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. The author of two definitive psychotherapy textbooks, Dr Yalom has written several books for the general reader, including Love’s Executioner, Staring at the Sun, Creatures of a Day, and Becoming Myself; and the novels When Nietzsche Wept; The Schopenhauer Cure, and The Spinoza Problem. Dr Yalom lives in Palo Alto and San Francisco, California.

Marilyn Yalom


an IVF story Luke Jackson, Kelly Jackson (illus. Mara Wild)

An original graphic novel based on the IVF stories of its husband-and-wife authors and the 1-in-50 couples around the world like them.

Conrad and Joanne met in their final year of university and have been virtually inseparable since then. For a while, it felt like they had all the time in the world. Yet now, when they are finally ready to have kids, they find that getting pregnant isn’t always so easy.

Ahead of them lies a difficult, expensive, and emotional journey into the world of assisted fertility, where each ‘successful’ implantation is followed by a two-week wait to see if the pregnancy takes. Join Joanne and Conrad, their friends, their family, their coworkers, and a stream of expert medical practitioners as they experience the highs and the lows, the tears and the laughter in this sensitive but unflinching portrayal of the hope and heartbreak offered to so many by modern medicine.

Luke Jackson

Luke C. Jackson is a teacher, and the author of novels, games, and films. He and his wife, Kelly, began their own IVF journey in 2011, and are now parents of two daughters. Two-Week Wait: an IVF story is their first novel.

Kelly Jackson

Kelly Jackson is a teacher and educational writer. She and her husband, Luke, began their own IVF journey in 2011, and are now parents of two daughters. Two-Week Wait: an IVF story is their first novel.


in search of Darwin’s lost garden Jude Piesse

Blending biography, nature writing, and memoir, The Ghost in the Garden offers a fresh perspective on Darwin’s legacy by exploring the history of his childhood garden in Shropshire and the men and women who tended it.

Darwin never stopped thinking about the garden at his childhood home, The Mount. It was here, under the tutelage of his green-fingered mother and sisters, that he first examined the reproductive cycle of flowers, collected birds’ eggs, and later, with assistance from the house’s gardeners, began the experiments that would lead to his theory of evolution.

Only two acres of the original site remain, now dominated by overgrown ashes, sycamores, and hollies; the carefully tended flowerbeds and circular flower garden are buried under suburban housing, the hothouses where the Darwins grew experimental pineapples long gone.

A century and a half later, with one small child in tow and another on the way, Jude Piesse finds herself living next door to the old kitchen garden where, as a boy, Darwin used to steal fruit. Walking the perimeter of the former garden with her newborn daughter almost daily, she wonders what impact the garden and the people who tended it had on Darwin’s work.

The Ghost in the Garden re-examines Darwin’s legacy, tracing the origins of his theory and uncovering the lost histories of those who inspired it. It is a ramble through the terrains of memory, legacy, family, and the interconnectedness of all things.

Praise for British Settler Emigration in Print, 1832-1877:‘This sensitivity to migration and transnational encounter is one of the most rewarding legacies of postcolonial criticism. I particularly recommend … Jude Piesse's British Settler Emigration in Print, 1832-1877.’

Talia Schaffer, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

Jude Piesse

Jude Piesse is an academic and writer. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Exeter. She has published widely on nineteenth-century literature and culture, including her book about emigration literature, British Settler Emigration in Print, 1832–1877 (OUP, 2016). Though she grew up in Shropshire, she did not discover Darwin’s childhood garden until she moved to Shrewsbury with her young family to take up her first lectureship. She now works as a lecturer in English Literature at Liverpool John Moores University.


escape from China’s modern-day concentration camps Sayragul Sauytbay (trans. Caroline Waight)

A shocking depiction of one of the world’s most ruthless regimes — and the story of one woman’s fight to survive.

I will never forget the camp. I cannot forget the eyes of the prisoners, expecting me to do something for them. They are innocent. I have to tell their story, to tell about the darkness they are in. It is so easy to suffocate us with the demons of powerlessness, shame, and guilt. But we aren’t the ones who should feel ashamed.

Born in China’s north-western province, Sayragul Sauytbay trained as a doctor before being appointed a senior civil servant. But her life was upended when the Chinese authorities incarcerated her. Her crime: being Kazakh, one of China’s ethnic minorities.

The north-western province borders the largest number of foreign nations and is the point in China that is the closest to Europe. In recent years it has become home to over 1,200 penal camps — modern-day gulags that are estimated to house three million members of the Kazakh and Uyghur minorities. Imprisoned solely due to their ethnicity, inmates are subjected to relentless punishment and torture, including being beaten, raped, and used as subjects for medical experiments. The camps represent the greatest systematic incarceration of an entire people since the Third Reich.

In prison, Sauytbay was put to work teaching Chinese language, culture, and politics, in the course of which she gained access to secret information that revealed Beijing’s long-term plans to undermine not only its minorities, but democracies around the world. Upon her escape to Europe she was reunited with her family, but still lives under constant threat of reprisal. This rare testimony from the biggest surveillance state in the world reveals not only the full, frightening scope of China’s tyrannical ambitions, but also the resilience and courage of its author.

Sayragul Sauytbay

In 2020, Sayragul Sauytbay was awarded the International Women of Courage Award by the US State Department for her extraordinary courage and her reports on the oppression of minorities in the Chinese province of Xinjiang by the Chinese Communist Party.She is the only former camp supervisor to have had the means and the courage to come forward and give a full account of the inner workings of these institutions. As a key witness, Sauytbay has already created a stir on the world stage, with her accounts to the media and the European Parliament reported by many, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.


Hyo-eun Kim (trans. Deborah Smith)

A cinematic journey through the Seoul subway that masterfully portrays the many unique lives we travel alongside whenever we take the train. A poetic translation of the bestselling Korean picture book.

I rattle and clatter over the tracks.
Same time, same route, every day.
Carrying people from one place to another,
I travel over the ground and rumble under,
twice across the wide Han River.

Around I go, around and around.
Crowds of people wait to climb aboard.

Accompanied by the constant, rumbling ba-dum ba-dum of its passage through the city, the subway has stories to tell. Between sunrise and sunset, it welcomes and farewells people, and holds them — along with their joys, hopes, fears, and memories — in its embrace.

Hyo-eun Kim

Kim Hyo-eun studied textile design at college and illustration at the Ibpil Future Illustration Research Institute. Books written and illustrated by Kim Hyo-eun include I am the Subway. Picture books with illustrations created by Kim include A Baby on a Train, A Starry Flower Wall, The Place We Walk Becomes the Road, and Minji and a Squirrel.


Cristina Sandu (trans. Cristina Sandu)

It’s summer behind the Iron Curtain, and six girls begin a journey to the Olympics. But will they come back?

In a stateless place, on the wrong side of a river separating East from West, six girls meet each day to swim. At first, they play, splashing each other and floating languidly on the water’s surface. But as summer draws to an end, the game becomes something more.

They hone their bodies relentlessly. Their skin shades into bruises. They barter cigarettes stolen from the factory where they work for swimsuits to stretch over their sunburnt skin. They tear their legs into splits, flick them back and forth, like herons. They force themselves to stop breathing.

Then, one day, it finally happens: their visas arrive. But can what’s waiting on the other side of the river satisfy their longing for a different kind of life?

‘Cristina Sandu’s spare and sparkling prose is intimate and visceral. A deeply moving story about six women who dare to dream bigger than their muddy river, whose lives splinter from their tight synchronized formations into an unflinching, often unforgiving world. An exquisite and powerful read.’

Lindsay Zier-Vogel, author of Letters to Amelia

Cristina Sandu

Cristina Sandu was born in 1989 in Helsinki to a Finnish-Romanian family who loved books. She studied literature at the University of Helsinki and the University of Edinburgh, and speaks six languages. She currently lives in the UK and works as a full-time writer. Her debut novel, The Whale Called Goliath (2017), was nominated for the Finlandia Prize. The Union of Synchronised Swimmers will be her first book to be published in English.


Tania Chandler

Tania Chandler

Tania Chandler is a Melbourne-based writer and editor. All That I Remember About Dean Cola is her third novel.


Nicola Harvey

Nicola Harvey


searching for the wild in the city Claire Dunn

We’re a famously nature-loving nation, yet 86 per cent of Australians call the city home. Amid the concrete and the busyness, how can we also answer the call of the wild?

Once upon a time, a burnt-out Claire Dunn spent a year living off the grid in a wilderness survival program. Yet love and the possibilities of human connection drew her back to the city, where she soon found herself as overscheduled, addicted to her phone, and lost in IKEA as the rest of us. Given all the city offers — comfort, convenience, community, and opportunity — she wants to stay. But to do so, she’ll have to learn how to rewild her own urban soul.

Join Claire as she sits by and swims in the brown waters of the Yarra River, forages for undomesticated food in the suburbs, and explores many other practices in a quest for connection. To make our human hearts whole, she realises, we’ve all got to pay attention and learn to belong to our cities — our land. This is where change begins. For ourselves and for the world.

Praise for My Year Without Matches:‘This is a brave and adventurous book - a memoir that took me into the heart of the wilderness through the eyes of a courageous young woman. Claire’s writing is full of life and profound surprises. She writes with stunning intricacy of the world around her as she is caught in the spell of the wilderness. Read, and you will be caught in the ripple of the land as Claire leads us into alien yet intimate landscapes.’

Anne Deveson AO, author of Tell me I'm Here and Resilience

Claire Dunn


an American tragedy Michael Dobbs

A riveting account — told from inside the White House — of the crucial days, hours, and moments when the Watergate conspiracy consumed and ultimately toppled a president.

In January 1973, Richard Nixon had just been inaugurated after winning re-election in a historic landslide. But by April 1973, his presidency had fallen apart as the Watergate scandal metastasized into what White House counsel John Dean called ‘a full-blown cancer’. King Richard is the intimate, utterly absorbing narrative of the tension-packed hundred days when the Watergate burglars and their handlers in the administration turned on one another, revealing their direct connection ties to the White House.

Drawing on thousands of hours of newly released taped recordings, Michael Dobbs takes us into the very heart of the conspiracy, recreating these dramatic events in unprecedentedly vivid detail. He captures the growing paranoia of the principal players and their desperate attempts to deflect blame as the noose tightened around them and the daily pressures became increasingly unbearable. At the centre of this spellbinding drama is Nixon himself, a man whose strengths — particularly his determination to win at all costs — were also his fatal flaws. Structured like a classical tragedy with a uniquely American twist, this is an epic and deeply human story of ambition, power, and betrayal.

Michael Dobbs

Michael Dobbs was born and educated in Britain, but is now a US citizen. He was a long-time reporter for The Washington Post, covering the collapse of communism as a foreign correspondent, and he has taught at Princeton, Georgetown, and the University of Michigan. The author of a Cold War trilogy that includes Down with Big Brother, One Minute to Midnight, and Six Months in 1945, he lives outside Washington, DC.


laying bare (and learning to repair) our love lives Ian Kerner

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone meets Come As You Are. Renowned sex therapist and New York Times bestselling author Ian Kerner shares the program he uses to help thousands of couples achieve more intimacy and better sex.

Think about the last time you had sex. Who initiated it? When and where did it happen? What was off-limits and why? In the end, did the sex leave you motivated to have more?

Over the years, internationally recognised sex therapist and author of She Comes First, Ian Kerner, has perfected the art of the ‘sex script analysis’ — a way of looking at your sex life in action, moment by moment. In those details, an entire world is revealed. When the script works, we drop down into arousal and lose ourselves in pleasure. But when the script fails, it’s all we can do not to ruminate over the details.

In this book, Kerner shows you how to conceptualise and create a sex life that works for you. He helps you figure out what’s working, what’s not, where you might be missing some elements, and how to construct a sex script that is mutually satisfying. He also discusses many common sexual problems — such as low desire, mismatched libido, and erectile unpredictability — that may be interfering with your sex life.

Combining clinical insight, the latest sexual science and research, case studies, homework assignments, and more, this is a book that does more than just talk about sex; it’s a book that will get you to do something about sex.

Praise For Ian Kerner:‘Dr Ian Kerner is one of the most recognisable voices in clinical sex therapy.’

Esther Perel

Ian Kerner

Ian Kerner is a licensed US psychotherapist and nationally recognised sexuality counselor who specialises in sex therapy, couples therapy, and working with individuals on a range of relational issues. He is the New York Times bestselling author of She Comes First and many more, focusing on healing sexuality and relationships. He is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and is certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (where he also sits on the board); the Society for Sex Therapy and Research; and the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.


Anna McGregor

An adorable story about making new friends and finding creative solutions to playground problems.

Big Pear and Little Pear love playing together. But when Orange joins in, their games don’t work and Big Pear feels left out. A relatable, hilarious, and kind-hearted tale about navigating friendship when three definitely starts to feel like a crowd! From the author of much-loved Anemone is not the Enemy.

Anna McGregor

Melbourne based author/illustrator/designer Anna McGregor is devoted to giving her young readers modern, quirky, and conceptual stories from the heart. Her day job is graphic design, and when she’s not sitting at a desk, Anna enjoys travel, art, and picnics with friends.