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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 21st

Book & Publishing News

* John and Rhia reported on exciting renovations to the Waurn Ponds campus DEAKIN LIBRARY; well worth a visit.

* Renowned author/illustrator GRAEME BASE will be at The Bookshop in Queenscliff at 2.30 pm September 30th to talk about and sign his new book ‘The Golden Snail”.

* SEBASTIAN JUNGER whose latest book “War” I reviewed very favourably earlier this year was a guest at the International GOOGLE Conference in Phoenix, Arizona [according to Harold Mitchell of ‘The Age’] where he attempted to explain the United States’ ‘culture of war’ – saying they are so hooked on it even though they can’t afford it!

* WILLIAM DALRYMPLE, author of “Nine Lives” [discussed last year on “The Blurb”], was on TV recently talking about the scheduled Commonwealth Games in his home town of Delhi: “Preparations are chaotic…The Games will be too. I love living in India ‘cause it IS chaotic”.

* A former Dean of Music at Melbourne University’s Conservatorium, pianist MAX COOKE, is now a regular visitor to Clifton Springs. Still performing on occasions, his autobiography “A Pedagogue On The Platform….” has just been released.

* Readers of our ‘big papers’ may have noticed reviews of “Matterhorn”, ”Bereft” and “The Vintage and the Gleaning” recently…AFTER they were discussed on our program. We are nothing if not up-to-date. [Thank you, publishers!]

* I didn’t manage to catch up with poet KATHERINE GALLAGHER during her visit to our region. Her new anthology was favourably reviewed in the latest “Australian Book Review”….which also includes a long poem by its editor Peter Rose [“Roddy Parr”.] Les A. Murray frequently has HIS poems in “Quadrant” - of which he is Poetry Editor. Is this a new sort of nepotism? Narcissism? What do you think?

This Weeks Review: ‘JD SALINGER- A Life Raised High’ by Kenneth Slavenski

Kenneth Slavenski: “J D SALINGER – A Life Raised High”,

We ‘Baby boomers’ grew into adulthood on the writings of JD Salinger, particularly the wondrous “The Catcher In The Rye”. [Some of us went on to teach it as a Year 12 English text; indeed I believe it re-appeared on the VCE Reading list again recently.] Its popularity has never waned. Is it Great Literature? It has certainly always been controversial – for its “obscene” language, “shallow” characters and “chaotic’ prose.
I found this new literary biography engrossing, entertaining and above all enlightening. I hadn’t realised how much there was to the character of “Jerry” Salinger in spite of having read all of his available offerings over the years, and anything else I could find about their author.

Salinger’s day-to-day life doesn’t look all that interesting at first. He was so often accused [inaccurately,I would now say] of re-writing his life into his fiction. From an early age he was determined on the vocation of writer and throughout his life he pursued his craft assiduously – some would say to the point of obsession about perfectionism. The most significant experience in his life was surely the four-year stint he had in the US army at the end of World War Two.
Central to this study, and it seems to his writing life is “Catcher In The Rye”. Obviously its publication and, eventually, massive reception world-wide accounts largely for his fame, and the unease that it caused him. Reading Slavenski’s book inevitably sent me back to the novel, to “Seymour-An Introduction/Raise High The Roofbeam, Carpenter”, ”Franny And Zooey” and the eight stories published as “For Esme - With Love And Squalor”….which is all that is readily available because Salinger virtually locked away all other works years before his death early this year, at age ninety-one. Slavenski’s overall thesis is that all Salinger’s writings represent a lifelong search for spiritual fulfilment [ironic in view of the constant criticism from elements of the religious Right!]. The Christian is tempted to oversimplify the journey as trying to find meaning out of the dialectic between “the World/Flesh” and ‘the Spirit” a la The Aposle, Paul; I found the discussion rather daunting at times. Nevertheless it has only increased my admiration for the depth of Salinger’s thinking – and the continued relevance of his themes. Why should the professional atheists get all the good press?

It is hard to go past his wartime experiences to explain the inwardnesss and reclusiveness of most of Salinger’s life. He was among the first Americans to land on D-Day, he was part of the awfully brutal ‘Battle of the Bulge’ and above all, he was among the first Allied soldiers to walk in to the horror that was Dachau. As an Intelligence Officer, he saw much more than most and it left him scarred – Post-Traumatic Stress – for life. He lived daily with the question of how human existence could still have meaning? You need to read the whole book to follow Salinger’s path into Christian-Zen Buddhist mysticism in order to find how he achieved some sort of peace [though I would say he lived with chronic depression all his life.].….Then go back and read the books. If you have read the books and want to take a short-cut, the index can take you to the sizeable chunks where individual texts are discussed. I refer you especially to the short story/novella “For Esme – With Love and Squalor” for a glimpse of Salinger/’Sergeant X’ before and immediately after the war.

“Catcher In The Rye” was the only novel Salinger ever published. He developed over many years, however, a sequence of sorts of short stories and novellas about the brilliant and fragile Glass family which constitute something like a novel when we take the 100,000 or so words all together [Something like many of Tim Winton’s short stories – and “The Turning” though it was published under one title]. As I have said, with Slavenski’s guidance one can see how Salinger almost urges us towards the live of selfless detachment which he apparently saw as the way to enlightenment/’Christ-consciousness’. It is quite an intense study but a very well-balanced and rewarding one.
Clearly, reading this book has been an enjoyable experience for me. I allowed myself plenty of time, and had the Salinger books at hand – a luxury only the retired as I am [more or less] can muster.

RATING: ****+
UQP, 2010, pp 432, rrp $39-95.
[ Slavenski’s website is a treasure trove for Salingerphiles.]
Review by: Bernard P. Ryan. [Presenter, “The Blurb”.]

This Weeks Poem:

“The Lamb”- William Blake
“The Tyger”- William Blake

This week’s poems were classics from William Blake as Bernard reviewed a biography about JD Salinger. Salinger often made reference to these poems as keynotes for his discussion of innocence and its loss in our modern world.

John’s Review: On ‘The Essay’ as a Writing Genre

Following the release of the 2009/2010 edition of the ‘Best Australian Essays’, printed by Black Inc., John talked about the genre of essays.

The focus of his discussion was the fundamental question of ‘What is an Essay?’ This is what he had to say:

An essay is a careful consideration of a topic and an intimate piece of writing that is subjective rather than journalistic in nature.

The essay is about questioning, not necessarily about coming to a conclusion.

It is such an intimate and personal piece of writing because it is an exploration of a topic and an offering of an opinion, therefore, being honest is an important element.


This week we dug up some interesting covers. Two out of three were of some fairly recent songs, taken from their pop roots and given a makeover into a more jazzy sound.

-‘Wonderwall’, covered by Ryan Adams. Originally recorded by Oasis in 1995
-‘Black & Gold’, covered by Katy Perry. Originally recorded by Sam Sparro in 2008
-‘Don’t Stop the Music’, covered by Jamie Cullum. Originally recorded by Rhianna in 2007

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 14th

Book & Publishing News

*The Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards for 2010 were announced Friday August 20 to coincide with ‘Children’s Book Week’ here is the short list and winners;

Book of the Year: Older Readers
-‘Stolen’, Lucy Christopher
-‘The Winds of Heaven’, Judith Clarke
-‘Liar’, Justine Larbalester
-‘Jarvis 24’, David Metzenthen (Winner)
-‘A Small Free Kiss in the Drak’, Glenda Millard
-‘Loving Richard Feynman’, Penny Tangey

Book of the Year: Younger Readers
-‘Matty Forever’, Elizabeth Fensham
-‘Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool’, Odo Hirsch (Winner)
-‘Running with the Horses’, Alison Lester
-‘The Whisperer’, Fiona McIntosh
- ‘Pearl Versus the World’, Sally Murphy, Illustrated by Heather Potter
-‘Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children’- Jen Storer

Book of the Year: Early Childhood
-‘The Wrong Book’, Nick Bland
-‘Kip’, Christina Booth
-‘The Terrible Plop’, Ursula Dubosarsky, Illustrated by Andrew Joyner
-‘Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House’, Libby Gleeson, Illustrated by Freya Blackwood
-‘Bear & Chook by the Sea’, Lisa Shanahan, Illustrated by Emma Quay (Winner)
-‘Fearless’, Colin Thompson, Illustrated by Sarah Davis

Picture Book of the Year
-‘Isabella’s Garden’, Rebecca Cool & Glenda Millard
-‘Schumann the Shoeman’, Stella Danalis & John Danalis
-‘To the Top End: Our Trip Across Australia’, Roland Harvey
-‘Mr Chicken Goes to Paris’, Leigh Hobbs
-‘Fox and Fine Feathers’, Narelle Oliver
-‘The Hero of Little Street’, Gregory Rogers (Winner)

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
-‘Prehistoric Giants: The Megafauna of Australia’, ‘M is for Mates: Animals in Wartime from Ajax to Zep, Danielle Clode
-‘Australia Backyard Explorer’, Peter MacInnis (Winner)
-‘Polar Eyes: A Journey to Antarctica’, Tanya Patrick, Illustrated by Nicholas Hutcheson
-‘Lost! A True Tale From the Bush’, Stephanie Owen Reeder
-‘Maralinga: The Anangu Story’, Yalata & Oak Communities with Christobel Mattingley

This Weeks Review: ‘Matterhorn’ by Karl Malantes

“Arma virumque cano…”/” I sing of arms and the man…” Thus begins the epic poem by the Roman Virgil, the story of the founding of Rome written in the century before Christ [but borrowing heavily from the much older Greek epics known as The Iliad and The Odyssey.] And Virgil’s Aeneid is about war and more war. The Jewish Torah - the foundation of the Christian Old Testament - has lots of skirmishes and conquests and invasions too, and we know Mohamet drew heavily on the Book of Genesis for the early parts of The Koran. I lack familiarity with the great Indian epics much less the ancient writings from the “Far East”. Our Western cultural canon. I would argue, however, is replete with feats of arms in all sorts of circumstances and with various motivations. Is it any surprise then that if we look at the Art – literature, painting, sculpture – of more recent history that the feats of men [sic] under arms still dominate the subject matter?

If we take the popular entertainment medium of television, nowadays the screens have quite a load of police investigative and procedural shows on offer. I remember the Sixties’ programming was full of Westerns – and the picture theatres of the Fifties and Sixties rang with gunshots from “Cowboy’n’Indian” films, with lots of World War II heroic stories thrown in.

So, there is so much about WARRING in there, isn’t there?
If we look more closely at the literature of the last 100 years, it too has addressed what seem to be eternal questions for humankind:
Why do men go to war?
What happens to them there?
The First World War gave us classics from the German side: “All Quiet On The Western Front” and “ The Good Soldier Schweik”, to name a couple I read years ago. The writings of Sigfried Sassoon “Memoirs Of An Infantry Officer” as well as his numerous poems, and Robert Graves “Goodbye To All That” along with the poetry of Wilfrid Owen and Isaac Rosenberg still haunt my memory from school days. I remember Norman Mailer for “The Naked And The Dead”, his novel about World War Two, more than for his later efforts.

When we come to the American war in Vietnam, films – “Platoon”. “Hamburger Hill”, “The Deerhunter”, “Fourth Of July” – were the first public artistic responses. Gradually, from the late Seventies on, as the nation had time to begin healing itself from the effects domestically of the political, physical and emotional trauma of the twenty years of conflict, we saw some significant writing emerge. Michael Herr’s rather journalistic book “Dispatches” became the framework for Coppola’s screenplay for the unforgettable “Apocalyspe Now”. Some of the more memorable novels still well worth reading included Philip Caputo’s, Tim O’Brien’s and Bobbie Mason’s. We in Australia are only now able to read how the war affected the Vietnamese, thanks to the work of Nam Le and others. [I am disregarding for present purposes the huge volume of non-fiction on this topic.]

This year we have “Matterhorn”, the best novel on Vietnam I have read so far. Author Karl Malantes is not only a highly-decorated veteran of the “Vietnam War” but a very well-educated academic in a number of fields. He has said the present opus is the result of thirty years’ work.
“Matterhorn” tells the story of a handful of men from a Marines’ company posted to the very north of Eastern South Vietnam, close to the “Demilitarized Zone”[MZ] and the border with Laos. Their broad objective is never quite specified, but it appears they are there to stop supplies from North Vietnam reaching the Viet Cong and NVN forces further south. This obscurity colours the mission throughout, leading to so many of the deaths and the [almost] ineffectiveness of the men’s role. No sooner has a zone been taken than the company is ordered to vacate, or re-direct or return to base camp. While the continuing agony of the lives of the soldiers is real enough, it is the boredom and futility of their lives that affect the reader most. Their situation is aggravated by the soldiers’ apparently knowing that “now” – in 1968 – their task is already being undermined by the officers further up the command line. Thrown into the mix are very edgy racial tensions between the African-American Marines and the rest, as well as the usual frictions that occur when humans are thrown together in isolation. Their “work” is to take and re-take a balded bit of mountain called “Matterhorn”. There are patrols and night guarding, retrieval of dead and wounded, off-lifting of the latter to helicopters under fire, drunken reflections, fist fights, threats of mutiny and endless post-action recriminations….If the company, eventually decimated, survives at all it is because of that unique human characteristic called bonding. They finally only have each other.
The action is seen mainly through the eyes of twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Waino Mellas, thrust into leadership straight from university in a mid-Western town. He is a kindly man, willing to be with his charges every step of the way, no braver than the rest but willing to hold onto the awful burdens his rank has given him. Each time a crisis is ridden out, Marlantes also provides reactions from a handful of the men in the ranks whom we get to know as intimately as we do Mellas. It is a story about the HUMANITY of people living in the midst of war: the fear, the thirst and ‘petty’ diseases, the feelings of loneliness and abandonment, the recurring sense of loss and, above all, of futility. [cf Wilfrid Owen’s poem of that name!]
Obviously I was very moved by this novel. As one of the Sixties’ generation whose name did NOT come out in the dastardly National Service ballot for Vietnam, I can only be forever grateful. I can understand why Marlantes took so long to fashion his novel – and why so many veterans I know “ Just don’t want to talk about it”. And yet we still send our young men off to war – with so little debate! [How many times did we hear Iraq or Afghanistan mentioned in the recent election campaign, at a time when our soldiers are being wounded and are dying at a rate not seen since 1972?]
A very good American novelist Tim O’Brien wrote in ‘The Things They Carried’: “A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe”. And in an excellent review of “Matterhorn”, Kevin Rabelais wrote: “It’s the kind of novel that reminds us why we read and why, as readers, we should remain grateful for whatever changes literature can bestow”. I agree heartily.

Rating: ****+
Allen&Unwin, 2010, 598 pp, rrp $32-99.
Review by: Bernard P. Ryan. [Presenter, “The Blurb”.]

Interviews with Sue Henczel & Fiona Baranoski

Sue Henczel- Manager of Community Engagement & Development & Fiona Baranoski- Information Services Officer, came into to talk to The Blurb about the wonderful things that Geelong Libraries are doing, the services they offer and all the events and programs they are running.
Geelong Regional Libraries are currently in partnership with ‘Gateways’ & ‘St. Laurance’ and working with schools, community organisations and disability services to provide them with access to the library.

Upcoming events include;
-The ‘Open Mind’ Lecture Series, which are designed for discussion and debate on the topic presented;
23rd September- Clean Energy, Presented by Magnus Mansie
7th October- Dementia , Presented by David Hooker
4th November-Resilient Children, Presented by Andrew Fuller

-September School Holidays Program, which has over 30 activities that children can participate in.

-Library Books for Timor-Leste, which is a ‘Trivia Night’ hosted by Brian Nankervis, that will feature auctions and great prizes. All money raised through this event will be sent to libraries in Timor-Leste for the purchase of library and literacy materials and to the district of Viqueque to support the development of library and education programs.

-Free Twilight Saga and Trivia Night for teens held on the 18th September at the Deakin University Waterfront Campus.

Visit the Geelong Libraries Website for more details and to register for events:

Sue and Fiona talked to us about the introduction of Safari E-books into the library which offers online books downloadable from home but borrowed for a specified about of time. All users will need is a home computer and an MP3 device to download to.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 7th


* Peter Sutton’s “The Politics of Suffering” has won the John Button Award for excellent writing of political and social interest. We discussed this confronting discussion on Aboriginal politics earlier his year.

* Geordie Williamson, “The Australian’s” literary editor, wrote a useful piece on REVIEWING in this month’s ALR. ‘Seems there is too much bland summarising and/or unfounded accolade being passed off where analysis and evaluation is called for. Hear here!

* The current “Overland” includes a probing essay on “originality and place in Australian writing”. An aspect that comes up frequently in reviews on this program: eg, “The Book Of Emmett” so vividly anchored in Melbourne’s Western suburbs.

* The latest “Australian Book Review’ has a review of Katherine Gallagher’s new poetry anthology “Carnival Edge”. Katherine will be in the region soon, offering a workshop. We hope to have her on the show.

* You will remember we talked a lot about David Marr’s “Quarterly Essay” on Kevin Rudd a few weeks back. The latest “Essay” provides twenty pages of responses from leading journalists as well as Marr’s own.

* The winner of the 2010 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award is “The Hero of Little Street” by Gregory Rogers. It is for ages 4 and up. Stephanie Crawford, our Melbourne correspondent, gives a short review;
This is a charming, comical picture book about a boy who escapes into an old art gallery from a gang of bullies.
Roger’s engages children in the art and craft of storytelling. His books are highly recommended to keep young readers engrossed for hours.The detail of his illustrations is amazing.

* What new for children’s books right now is “Zac Power Extreme Missions Bindup”- Junior Fiction, this is one for the boys. A short summary;
Zac Power's Grand Pa drags him on a new mission in the middle of the night to find the four parts of a powerful gadget called IRIS. Grand Pa won't say what IRIS does, or why it's been broken up. Zac knows the threat is bigger than to just GIB. If they don't find IRIS before their enemies do, the whole world will be in danger.

* Also Mem Fox’s collaboration with Olivia Rawson “A giraffe in the bath”, illustrated by Kerry Argent was released earlier this year. It is a very funny picture book that suggests increasingly silly and hilarious possibilities of things that make us laugh. Lots of fun for every reader, with beautiful illustrations by Kerry Argent.

This Weeks Poem:

“The Blackbird’s Song”- RS Thomas

RS Thomas was a minister in various Welsh parishes from the end of WWII until his retirement in the early ‘90s. All his published poems are now available through Phoenix Books.
Have you heard our blackbirds are lately ‘back in town’?


“The Vintage And The Gleaning,” - Jeremy Chambers. Text, pp 264, rrp $ 32-95, 2010.

This is a novel in two halves by another first-time novelist, surely a member of the NE Victoria’s famous Chambers winemaking family – given the book’s geographical setting in an unnamed district half an hour’s drive from Corowa, NSW, and that the main character now works as a labourer for a local vigneron.

For about 100 pages, “Smithy” our narrator [sixties-something former shearer - for 47 years] tells us about his days working for “Boss”, preparing the vines for the next vintage [later to be threatened apparently by predatory insects which necessitates wholesale insecticide spraying]. He has lately given up “the grog” which conveniently makes him a clear-eyed and very observant recorder of all that is going on in his workplace and in town and district….although his memory can be a bit creative at times as he himself admits. His wife, Florence [whom he confesses to having treated very poorly] has died suddenly years ago from cancer. His son, “Spit”, is a shiftless, lazy husband and father with whom Smithy has only the slenderest interaction. Smithy feels his life may just as well be over; after all he has left is his hard and boring work among the vines – though he has started going to church! So most of the first half of “’Vintage” is dialogue, at work and in the pub, and it is done very well. Chambers is excellent on the vernacular so unique to Australian rural life.

Smithy is a sad character. Raised as an orphan on a “mission” somewhere ‘up North’, he has drifted the country following the sheds, drinking a lot, going nowhere. All he has ever known is work. The marriage and parenthood appear not to have provided him with much. A lifetime of drinking has all but ruined his health. Facing the emptiness of old age [his one encounter with his grandson is a pathetic scene],he meets up again with a 34-year-old local woman whom he had rescued years before from a violent husband who is back in town after a stint in gaol. This Charlotte moves into Smithy’s house and they await the inevitable visit of her husband. From heron in both Charlotte and Smithy tell their “back stories’, for about 50 pages each. Now, they are interesting enough though rather predictable. Charlotte’s is of a well-brought-up girl’s “What If” regrets, Smithy’s is a fairly typical if nonetheless tragic tale of childhood neglect and loneliness.
Where is all this going? Nowhere really, and that is the book’s weakness. Careful editing may have rendered the two ‘biographies’ better integrated into the whole. The liveliness of the work/town scenes early give way to lengthy, repetitive narrative. There is not enough DRIVE here, though Chambers reveals a keen eye and ear for the details of life in country Victoria. As a painter of these vignettes, he can be brilliant. As a writer of a fully-realised novel, however, he falls short. That being said,” The Vintage and the Gleaning” it is still worth reading.


“Bereft”- Chris Womersley. Scribe, pp 264, rrp $32-95,2010.

Womersley is quite well-known as a journalist, reviewer and short story writer. His first book was rewarded as a first-time crime novel. As with Chambers, Womersley takes us to rural Australia, this time to NSW, just west of the Blue Mountains.
In one sense, this is a war story….No: an AFTER-war story. The main character, Quinn, leaves home after a family tragedy which haunts the rest of his life and gives the novel its dynamic. He eventually joins the army to fight at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, experiences which leave him facially scarred and psychologically burned. With nowhere else to go and [probably] vengeance on his mind, he heads home – where he is still the main suspect for the unsolved murder. Australia is in the grip of the Great Influenza Epidemic, so his home town is a skeleton of its former self, stripped of many of its young men by the war and now suffering the ravages of the flu which is slowly killing his mother. Quinn is beset with what we now call PDSD lethargy, hallucinations, fear, and dissociation. He is forced to live in the bush, staying in the hills above the town. Here he meets an apparently-orphaned young girl, Sadie Shaw, who becomes his lifeline and confidante. She is a somewhat faerie-like character who knows much more than can be explained by her practice of listening into the conversations of the local residents.
Throughout this sparsely-worded novel, Womersley gives us some stark and arresting scenes of the Australian bush. The cast of characters is small, reduced to Quinn’s parents, an uncle and one or two others. The plot hinges on what must eventually happen when Quinn confronts the real murderer – and I felt the book faltered somewhat with the dramatics of this thread. While Quinn is a hunted and damaged victim we can empathise with him. The novel seems unsure what to do with his predicament. I know the book has been widely reviewed, usually positively. I welcome a new voice and Womersley can write. I had to draw a comparison with David Malouf’s “Fly Away Peter” and even Roger McDonald’s “1915”[ even though the latter was much more ambitious in its reach.] It is good to see the prevailing myths about World War One being reviewed in all sorts of ways and this novel certainly adds meaningfully to this task.

RATING: ***+

John Marsden- Tomorrow When The War Began Special

This week, to coincide with the September 2nd release of “Tomorrow When The War Began’ film, we dedicated the show to discussing John Marden’s book in comparison with the Stuart Beattie film adaptation.

Guest reviewer Kate Speakman, a Year 7 Geelong Collage student, spoke about the book, giving us her perspective on the storyline, characters and themes.

RATING: ****

Rhia reviewed the film version. Here is some of what she had to say.

Having not read the book, I went in to watch the film with no expectations or preconceived notions about how the story should be presented. There is always the risk of film adaptions of books falling short because readers of the book get to make up their own film version in their minds from the words written on the page (that’s the fun in reading the book). However, Stuart Beattie, did not fall short. He did a fantastic job in translating from the page to the screen. It seems his years of screenwriting such films as ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Australia’, ‘Collateral’ and ‘30 Days of Night’ have paid off and influenced him in the making of this film. It is a quality Australian film and looks very Hollywood on a fraction of the budget, at around $20 million. I would be proud to see this film stand up as a representative of Australian film, production and talent in an international market. Everything from the settings, actors, music and language oozes Australian culture and talent.
The film was well balanced in theme with drama, love, relationships, action, war, family, friendship and comradary all represented, but not overpowering one another. It’s true that Beattie had a great story to work with in the first place, however the challenge was to translate into a visual medium without compromising the story. We can see this in the opening of the film where Ellie is recording the group’s experiences direct to a digital video camera- a logical updating of the books first person narration for the film. There is no doubt that Beattie made the film look good with the action and explosion scenes but I feel the strength is in the exploration and bringing to life of Marden’s characters.
Actress Caitlin Stasey (Neighbours), who played Ellie Linton, gave a powerful performance and brought depth to her character. I saw her as a modern day ‘Xena’, a fierce warrior who remained strong throughout the ordeal but subsequently broke down showing her raw humanity.
The best part of the film for me was seeing the defining moments of each character as they, in turn, stood up as individual warriors, this was a strength of Beattie’s work. Every character was pushed to their physical, mental and emotional limits and their came a point in the film where each one of them was put to the test and had to make the decision to fight for their life. Ellie’s speech in ‘Hell’ said it all by posing the question to the group of ‘how much do you value your life over someone else’s?’. We see the clear choice for everyone as they have their defining moment and make their choice, non was more powerful than Robyn’s, she went against her catholic morals of ‘thou shalt not kill’, picking up a gun and firing at the enemy with tears streaming down her face, to save her friends.
This film really shows the humanity, innocence and strength of these children as they fight for survival and deal with the effects and consequences of war way beyond their comprehension.


Also check out these links to the 'At The Movies' website where you will find selected clips and an interview with Stuart Beattie

Selected Clips-
Stuart Beattie Interview-


Continuing with the ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’ special, this week’s tracks were taken from the film soundtrack. Congratulations to director Stuart Beattie on the Australian filled soundtrack. Not only is he supporting the Australian music industry, but also showcasing Australian talent on an international scale. This week tracks included;

-‘Tomorrow Theme’, a collaboration by Nic Cester (Jet), Davey Lane (You Am I, The Wrights), and Kram (Spiderbait)
- ‘Fader’ by The Temper Trap

Sunday, September 5, 2010

August 31st


The shortlists for the 15th Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing have been announced. The Ned Kelly Awards honour the past year’s best Australian crime writing. The Ned Kelly Awards have been promoting and encouraging crime writing since 1995.

The Ned Kelly Awards will be awarded at a free event on Friday, the 3rd of September, at the Melbourne Writers' Festival, 7pm at the Festival Club at ACMI.

True Crime
• Crooks Like Us by Peter Doyle
• Pitcairn: Paradise Lost by Kathy Marks
• Medical Murder by Robert M. Kaplan

Best First Fiction
• Document Z by Andrew Croome
• King of the Cross by Mark Dapin
• Death and the Running Patterer by Robin Adair

Best Fiction
• The Black Russian by Lenny Bartulin
• Bleed For Me by Michael Robotham
• Wyatt by Gary Disher

SD Harvey Short Story
• 'The Fountain of Justice' by Lucy Sussex
• 'Leaving the Fountainhead' by Zane Lovitt
• 'The Travertine Fountain' by Robert Goodman

Lifetime Achievement Award
• Peter Doyle (to be awarded by Shane Maloney)

For more information

*LIKE BEING A WIFE - Catherine Harris
September 1st is the official publishing date for Catherine Harris’s short story collection, Like Being A Wife.

Like Being A Wife is a collection of stories around the themes of commitment, family, friendships, work, love and loss. Catherine’s writes with humour and insight.

The official launch of Like Being A Wife will take place at Readings Hawthorn, 701 Glenferrie Road Hawthorn on Thursday 9th September at 6.30pm.

Like Being A Wife was shortlisted for the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for an unpublished manuscript.
Available now at all good bookshops

Indigenous Literacy Day to be celebrated Wednesday 1st of September.
The day aims to help raise funds to increase literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions.

*BALLARAT WRITERS FESTIVALBallarat Writers Festival. Coming up this weekend. 3–4 September.

The Macedon Ranges Shire Council is running a competition. To enter, write up to 25 words or less on a postcard or submit an illustration on a postcard.
The theme is “Coming Home”. Entries close 13th September.

For further details and the application form


"My Father's Daughter"- Sheila Fitzpatrick

Sheila Fitzpatrick's memoir "My Father's Daughter" tells of the relationship between Russian History academic Sheila and her Left-wing 'difficult' Dad, Brian, a well-known figure in Victorian post-WWII and after Victorian politics. A good [if at times wordy]read, particularly for those interested in this period.

Rating: ***

"Otherland"-Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin’s memoir; "Otherland - a journey with my daughter", tells of the journey back to the Ukraine from where Maria and her family migrated to Melbourne as a teenager twenty years ago. This is a lively journal-like book with loads of new insights into recent Russian history [especially post-Kruschev] as well as soulful stories of departures and reunions. She is very accurate in depicting the developing
relationship with her daughter, Billie. Very rewarding reading.

Rating: ****

This Weeks Poem:

"The Capitals"- Les Murray


This week we brought you some great tracks from the following Australian Artists:

-'Paper Airoplanes' by Little Scout from their album 'Different In The Distance'
-'Today' by Princess One Point Five fro their album 'What Doesn't Kill You'
-'One Of You For Me' by Holly Throsby which was recorded live at sydney Venue 'The Basement'

Next Week

Next weeks show will be a 'John Marsden Special' to coincide with the release of the movie "Tomorrow When The War Began". We will be joined by all our regulars as well as guest reviewer Kate Speakman.