Latika Bourke was adopted from India, aged eight months. Growing up in Bathurst, New South Wales she felt a deep connection to her Australian home and her Australian family. It wasn't until she heard her name uttered in the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire that Latika recognised she knew nothing of her Indian roots, the world she was born into and what she could have become had she not been brought to Australia as a baby.
As Latika carved out a successful career for herself as an award-winning political journalist, she became more and more curious about her heritage and what it meant to be born in India and raised in Australia. And so began a deeply personal and sometimes confronting journey back to her birthplace to unravel the mysteries of her heritage.
From India with Love is a beautiful story of finding your place in the world and finding peace with the path that led you there.
I dreamed of a rambling old farmhouse where I could grow my own food, learn how to bake cakes and make jam. I wanted to wear gumboots. Every day.
Organising cocktail parties at the Sydney Opera House sounds perfectly glamorous, and for a while it was for Michelle Crawford. But once she became a mother, the yearning to find her own little slice of heaven in the country could no longer be ignored. For years she had daydreamed of a little farmhouse, with smoke curling out of the chimney, where she could slow down and grow her own food. Last but not least, she was hungry for a new adventure. An old farmhouse nestled in Tasmania's lush Huon Valley offered the chance to make that dream come true - and adventure in spades, from her first disastrous attempt at planting a vegie garden to raising a bunch of chickens with attitude, learning to love her wood stove and foraging for treasure to make sloe gin, jam and bake cakes. Lots of cakes.
Warm, down to earth and inspiring, and lushly illustrated with lip-smacking images and recipes, A Table in the Orchard is breathtaking proof of how seductive a taste of slow living in one of the most beautiful valleys in Tasmania might be. Like Michelle, you might be tempted to make your own crumpets - or run away to the Apple Isle.
Robert Hoge was born with a giant tumour on his forehead, severely distorted facial features and legs that were twisted and useless. His mother refused to look at her son, let alone bring him home. But home he went, to a life that, against the odds, was filled with joy, optimism and boyhood naughtiness.
Home for the Hoges was a bayside suburb of Brisbane. Robert's parents, Mary and Vince, knew that his life would be difficult, but they were determined to give him a typical Australian childhood. So along with the regular, gruelling and often dangerous operations that made medical history and gradually improved Robert's life, there were bad haircuts, visits to the local pool, school camps and dreams of summer sports.
This is Robert's account of that life, from the time of his birth to the arrival of his own daughter. It is a story of how the love and support of his family helped him to overcome incredible hardships. It is also the story of an extraordinary person living an ordinary life, which is perhaps his greatest achievement of all.
I looked up the name in the phone book and rang the number. I tried to imagine the conversation that might ensue. 'Hello? I was wondering if you're the man who was recently at an auction and asked a woman named Bernadette if I was married and had children and was happy - and if you are, are you my real father?'
Ramona Koval's parents were Holocaust survivors who fled their homeland and settled in Melbourne. As a child, Koval learned little about their lives - only snippets from traumatic tales of destruction and escape. But she always suspected that the man who raised her was not her biological father.
One day in the 1990s, long after her mother's death, she decides she must know the truth. A phone call leads to a photograph in the mail, then tea with strangers. Before long Koval is interrogating a nursing-home patient, meeting a horse whisperer in tropical Queensland, journeying to rural Poland, learning other languages and dealing with Kafkaesque bureaucracy, all in the hope of finding an answer.
A quest for identity recounted with Koval's customary humour, Bloodhound takes hold of the reader and never lets go. It is a moving story of the terrible cost of war and of family secrets.
From the inaugural co-winner of the Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers comes a funny, energetic and original coming-of-age story that isn't quite like any other book you'll read this year.
Oliver is a writer who's just moved to Melbourne. He doesn't have any friends yet; he can't get his surly flatmate, Mark, to crack a smile; and the only ones who will talk to him are the odd assortment of characters at the Keep Cup warehouse, where he plugs lids into cups in an endless cycle. Oliver's hours consist of a series of daydreams. He has sweet, touching fantasies of owning a dog and driving down the freeway with the girl of his dreams. He has ridiculous, outlandish fantasies of bursting through roof at bedroom department-store chain Snooze. At nights, he begins to write a series of seemingly aimless online memories about growing up in pre-9/11 America.
Oliver is lonely. Oliver is sad. Oliver is self-involved. Oliver is sleepwalking through life. Then he meets Lisa, and things begin to change. In the tradition of US writers Sam Pink and Scott McClanahan comes a startlingly original, ambitious work about a young man trying to navigate contemporary Australia and his own life.
Part romance, part tragi-comedy, and part social critique, this is a hilarious coming-of-age story both poignant and surprisingly moving.
Sheila wedded earls and barons, befriended literary figures and movie stars, bedded a future king, was feted by London and New York society for forty years and when she died was a Russian princess.
Vivacious, confident and striking, Sheila Chisholm met her first husband, Francis Edward Scudamore St Clair-Erskine, a first lieutenant and son of the 5th Earl of Rosslyn, when she went to Egypt during the Great War to nurse her brother. Arriving in London as a young married woman, the world was at her feet - and she enjoyed it immensely. Edward, Prince of Wales, called her 'a divine woman' and his brother, Bertie, the future George VI of England (Queen Elizabeth's father), was especially close to her. She subsequently became Lady Milbanke and ended her days as Princess Dimitri of Russia.
Sheila had torrid love affairs with Rudolph Valentino and Prince Obolensky of Russia and among her friends were Evelyn Waugh, Lord Beaverbrook and Wallis Simpson. An extraordinary woman unknown to most Australians, Sheila is a spellbinding story of a unique time and a place and an utterly fascinating life.
In March 2009, Joseph Fritzl was sentenced to life in jail for the systematic imprisonment, torture and rape of his daughter Elisabeth over 24 years, fathering seven children. The case shocked the world. But just a month before, the story of Australia's own house of horrors was emerging in a Victorian country town. Under a blanket of suppression orders, a man in his late sixties was quietly arrested, charged - and later convicted - for the systematic rape, abuse and imprisonment of his only daughter, 'Katherine', which spanned decades. He fathered four of her children. Until now, this shocking story has been buried under a complex legal web and Katherine's insistence on silence so that she could rebuild her shattered life and protect her children. In Behind Closed Doors, and written with Sue Smethurst, Katherine breaks her silence and tells the story of how she survived - and how such degrading abuse went unnoticed for so long.
Call me Eve. It's the name I call myself when I think back to that time when I was a young wife - so very young, so very hungry. I picked the fruit and ate and drank until I was drunk with freedom and covered in juice and guilt.
In this frank, compelling and beautifully written memoir, Rochelle Siemienowicz provides an intimate portrait of the last days of an open marriage. Raised as devout Seventh-day Adventists, who believe that the end of the world is near and that premarital sex is a terrible sin, Eve and her husband marry young. Rebelling against their upbringing, and in an attempt to overcome problems in their relationship, they enter an agreement that has its own strict rules. But when Eve holidays alone in her hometown of Perth during a hot West Australian summer, she finds her body and heart floating free.
Fallen is a true tale of sex, love, religion and getting married too young - and about what it feels like when you can't keep the promises you once sincerely made.
Samantha X is not your typical hooker. She's the wrong side of 35, has two kids and counts dining at her local pizzeria as a wild night out.
Career-wise, Samantha had it all: writing for Australia's top-selling women's magazines, appearing as a media expert on television and travelling the world for the sake of a good story. But after a marriage breakdown, and with two kids, she turned her back on the media.
Samantha decided to dust off her stilettos and work at Sydney's most infamous brothel, where she soon became one of their most in-demand girls. Not only was she making great cash, but she was also privy to the real-life stories of her clients - irresistible to the journalist in her. How could she not keep a record of their salacious stories? Hooked is a fly-on-the-wall sexy, juicy page-turner that describes what really goes on behind the walls of a brothel: from tearful married men confessing their secrets to lesbian threesomes to servicing the odd married couple trying to reignite their relationship.
But while whoring can be lucrative and fun, it also comes with a hefty price, as Samantha soon finds out... The only problem is, can she kick her addiction to what she believes to be the best job in the world?
Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather is the long-overdue biography of Australian author Thea Astley (1925 - 2004). Over a fifty-year writing career, Astley published more than a dozen novels and short story collections, including The Acolyte, The Slow Natives and, finally, Drylands in 1999. She was the first person to win multiple Miles Franklin awards - she won four. With many of her works published internationally, Astley was a trailblazer for women writers. In her personal life, she was renowned for her dry wit, eccentricity and compassion. Karen Lamb has drawn on an unparalleled range of interviews and correspondence to create a detailed picture of Thea the woman, as well as Astley the writer. She has sought to understand Astley's private world and how that shaped the distinctive body of work that is Thea Astley's literary legacy.
The inspiring true stories of Australian farming families living and working our great brown land. Through fires and floods, draughts and dramas, these multi-generational families thrive and survive in some the harshest conditions in the country. As they say, there's no sick pay out in the bush. On million hectare properties hours from the nearest town, these families face the elements as they plant, harvest, graze and muster battling the bush to eke out a living from the toughest climate of them all. In this moving and enjoyable portrait of bush battlers, Deb Hunt explores the spirit of the outback through its hardworn inhabitants. From ringers, gardeners and cooks to jackeroos, jillaroos and stockmen all are like family and everyone has a story to tell. From the fighting French family, whose connection to the bush goes back seven generations. To Philip the Philosopher, at fifteen he started work as a jackeroo and by 29 was managing a property of more than one million hectares carrying 20,000 head of cattle. And rowdy Roma Britnell who was awarded Australian Rural Woman of the Year in 2009 who was told she would never be able to afford her own farm by the banks and now has three dairies and a herd of over 1,000 cows. Lifelong friendship, close family bonds, mateship and the strong beating heart of the land are what keeps these extraordinary families going. Their endurance, spirit and love of this great brown land are an inspiration to us all.
Call the Midwife meets In the Middle of Nowhere in this heartwarming memoir of an adventurous Aussie midwife's life 'catching babies'. Outback Midwife is the story of Beth McRae's 40 years as a midwife, from her terrifying first day witnessing a birth as a na ve student nurse to her training as a midwife - the days when the words 'birth plan' were unheard of and what women wanted was a long way from being part of any plan - to the outback. Beth's career of catching babies takes her from the city to the bush, bonding with people from all walks of life at one of the most important moments in their lives. But there was one more frontier she was determined to conquer. At a time when most people are thinking about slowing down, Beth decides to move to a remote Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land to embark on a whole other adventure.