Friday, 25 April 2008

First Tuesday Book Club

Just a reminder that the next two books to be featured on ABC TV's First Tuesday Book Club will be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and A Farewell to Arms. By the way, if you fancy reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in Swedish or German we can oblige.

Thursday, 24 April 2008


It's only about a week before the long-awaited publication of Tim Winton's new novel Breath. That means you still have time to pre-order your copy and go into the draw to win a signed limited edition copy of Breath!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

No Shortage of Shortlists

Last week was a big week for announcements of shortlists of major literary prizes! The five titles shortlisted for the 2008 Miles Franklin Award were The Fern Tattoo by David Brooks, The Time We Have Taken by Steven Carroll, Love without Hope by Rodney Hall, Sorry by Gail Jones, and Landscape of Farewell by Alex Miller. The winner will be announced on 19th June.

Alex Miller's Landscape of Farewell was also shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, one of the 2008 NSW Premier's Literary Awards. The other titles were J.M. Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year, Matthew Condon's The Trout Opera, Ron McCoy's Sea of Diamonds by Gregory Day, The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser and The Widow and Her Hero by Tom Keneally.

The six titles shortlisted for the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction were Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica by Tom Griffiths, Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers by Philip Jones, High and Dry: John Howard, Climate Change and the Selling of Australia's Future by Guy Pearse, Sunrise West by Jacob Rosenberg, Another Country by Nicholas Rothwell and Courage by Maria Tumarkin.

David Malouf's Typewriter Music was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, along with an illustrated history of dairies by Joanne Burns, Uncommon Light by Brook Emery, Westering by Peter Kirkpatrick, Two Kinds of Silence by Katherine Lomer and The Edge of Everything by Phyllis Perlstone.

The winners of the 2008 NSW Premier's Literary Awards will be announced on 19th May. A complete list of shortlisted titles and judges comments can be downloaded from here .

Also announced were the six titles shortlisted for the 2008 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. They were Fault Lines by Nancy Huston, The Outcast by Sadie Jones, When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson, Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill, The Road Home by Rose Tremaine and Lottery by Patricia Wood. The winner will be announced on 4th June.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Vale John Archibald Wheeler

One of the giants of 20th century physics passed away last weekend. John Archibald Wheeler is usually known for helping to invent the theory of nuclear fission and giving black holes their name.

At Abbey's he is known for co-authoring Gravitation, a 1,279 page book which has never been out of print since it was published in 1973 - in fact, we have sold 17 copies since 2001, which isn't bad for a book that currently sells for over $200! Dave

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Napoleon wins

Philip Dwyer's Napoleon, 1769-1799: The Path to Power has just been named joint winner of this year's National Biography Award. The other winner was These Few Lines: A Convict Story - The Lost Lives of Myra and William Sykes by Graham Seal.

Previous winners include Don Watson, Mandy Sayer and Peter Robb.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Woolshed Press

There is still a certain optimism in the publishing world - thankfully!

Wednesday night saw me at the launch of a new children's imprint for Random House, held at their sparkling custom designed headquarters in North Sydney. There were booksellers, and people who work in chains (sorry if I sound snobby - there are some fine people in those places, but alas, mostly it doesn't matter to their owners what they actually sell...) There were authors, and illustrators, and librarians, and even illuminati like the amazing Maurice Saxby. There were certainly any number of publicists and sales managers and publishers and lots of those other workers with very esoteric titles, who usually are the glue that holds all the others together. Clutching our flutes of guava juice and champagne and happily relieving the waiters of their burdens on the paperbark lined trays (all those delightful little nibbles you would never make at home!) we were there to celebrate the launch of Woolshed Press.

Leonie Tyle, who worked for University of Queensland Press for many years before being lured to Random House, will be publishing six titles this year, and twelve titles a year thereafter. I'm pretty impressed by the calibre of the authors she has lined up, almost every one of them award-winning or award-listed Australians who are known for their strong story telling skills - James Roy, Catherine Bateson, Brian Caswell, Bill Condon, Anthony Eaton and Celeste Walters (just to begin with!) Leonie wants to celebrate quality, with an eye to commercial values (ie the kids want to read them) and educational potential (ie the teachers want the kids to read them).

And while another imprint will not mean much to the average buyer browsing in a bookshop, it is still a cause for optimism - particularly if it can be associated with children's books, and we can look forward to outstanding stories! Good luck to Leonie and her team (and thanks for the champagne!) Lindy

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

The 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winners at Abbey's

Fiction: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
General Non-Fiction: The Years of Extermination by Saul Friedlander
Biography: Eden's Outcasts by John Matteson
History: What God Hath Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Meet The Bin Ladens

We have just received stock of Steve Coll's new book The Bin Ladens. If you read his excellent (and Pulitzer-Prize winning) Ghost Wars, you will want to read this one as much as I do. Here is a link to a recent review in the New York Times. Dave

Eat the Document

Just finished reading a fabulous new book called Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta, which is due in May. There seems to be a trend at the moment to try and understand the turbulent times of the late sixties and early seventies. However, unlike the awkwardness of Peter Carey's His Illegal Self, Spiotta's Eat the Document has such a fastidious eye for detail and character that one is immediately transported back to its shifting time zones.

With each alternating period Spiotta captures the fashion, the music and most importantly, the voice of each time. Fans of Don Delillo should eat this up and if you're interested, another recent novel that treads similar ground is Hari Kunzru's My Revolutions. Definitely worth checking out. Greg