Writers’ Week is a great reason to catch up on the must-reads you might have missed earlier in the year and make sure you’re au fait with the hottest new releases. Writers Week 2018 features something for everyone, and to prove it Guest Curator Will Yeoman has pulled together a diverse range of recommended books to enjoy ahead of the Festival in February.
Kim Scott – Taboo
Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural south-west of Western Australia, and tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar’s descendants, of a white man who had stolen a black woman. This is a novel of survival and renewal, as much as destruction and, ultimately, of hope as much as despair.
Alan Hollinghurst – The Sparsholt Affair
In October 1940, the handsome young David Sparsholt arrives in Oxford. A keen athlete and oarsman, he at first seems unaware of the effect he has on others – particularly on the lonely and romantic Evert Dax, son of a celebrated novelist and destined to become a writer himself. While the Blitz rages in London, Oxford exists at a strange remove: an ephemeral, uncertain place, in which nightly blackouts conceal secret liaisons.
Josephine Wilson – Extinctions
Fred Lothian is a brilliant engineer, now retired and widowed, and a man in denial. He knows that ‘for an engineer there was a bridge for every situation’. But solutions for the complexity of human problems elude him. So he looks away from his son’s tragic injury, his adopted Aboriginal daughter’s cultural loss, and finds his only intimacy with his collection of high design modernist objects. Only the intervention of his spirited next-door neighbour at his retirement village forces him out of his carapace of self-absorption long enough to bring both comedy and recognition into his life, and some degree of redemption.
Rachel Khong – Goodbye Vitamin
Ruth is 30 and her life is falling apart. She and her fiancé are moving house, but he's moving out to live with another woman; her career is going nowhere; and then she learns that her father, a history professor beloved by his students, has Alzheimer’s. At Christmas her mother begs her to stay on and help – for a year.
Samanta Schweblin – Fever Dream
A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins and the power and desperation of family. Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale.
Maggie Beer & Ralph Martins – Maggie’s Recipe for Life
Maggie Beer and Professor Ralph Martins have teamed up to fight one of the most debilitating diseases of our later years. Based on the latest scientific research, Maggie has created more than 200 recipes that help provide the nutrients we need for optimum brain health. More than one million Australians are affected every day by Alzheimer’s or its impact on their family, but the good news is that you can eat well to age well, from this moment on.
Helen Garner – Everywhere I Look
Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of re-reading Pride and Prejudice.
Tex Perkins – Tex
Singer. Songwriter. Swamp child. Soul man. Tex Perkins is a true rock 'n' roll animal. In this loud, uncut, no-holds-barred, laugh-out-loud and take-no-prisoners memoir, the enigmatic king of the Australian music underground lays bare an extraordinary life lived on the road, on the stage and on the edge.
Di Morrissey – The Red Coast
After the upheaval which separated Jacqui Bouchard from her beloved son, she has finally settled in Broome, a magical remote town on the north-west coast of Australia. But when a proposed mining development is unveiled, the town begins to tear itself apart. Rifts run deep, as friends, families and lovers are faced with a battle that could change their lives irrevocably.
Louise Penny – Glass Houses
When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. And finally, watching the unmoving figure, a pall settles over the pretty Québec village. Armand Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, knows something is seriously wrong. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead. An accusation on the village green. Gamache knows there must be a purpose behind this odd act.