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2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing Shortlist Announcement

2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing Shortlist Announcement

The State Library of NSW has recently announced the shortlist for their biannual humour prize which I did enter since I’ve been told by many that Destination Dachshund is humorous at times. True story. But obviously not funny enough – as I am not shortlisted. Ha! My husband tells me I’m not that funny all the time but he is so wrong. The judges picked very well though – the books listed below are all winners – and if you like a bit of humour in your books then check them out.

DD on its way to the State Library to enter the awards!

I am pleased to see Rosie Waterland’s memoir ‘The Anti-Cool Girl’ on the list. She is hilarious but had a tough year so hopefully this shortlisting lifts her spirits.

Congratulations to all shortlisted authors.

Winner to be announced at the State Library on 8 June 2017.

  • Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure by Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen is the fifth volume detailing the farcical adventures of a Queensland academic who finds himself holding the balance of power in the Australian Senate. How this eventuated is as much a mystery to Senator Everest as it is to everyone else. He is still obsessed with his penis, as his life and career continue to drag him through a series of preposterous adventures.True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia — Volume 2 by David Hunt
  • True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia — Volume 2 by David Hunt is the sequel to Girt, David Hunt’s first history, which told the story of the white settlement of Australia up until the rule of Governor Macquarie. True Girt continues the story, unpicking our national myths about peaceful settlement and universal progress as he details the settlement of Van Diemen’s Land, Victoria and the extension of settlement in NSW — with occasional sideswipes at South Australia.
  • A Toaster on Mars by Darrell Pitt contains no appliances that heat bread on the surface of the red planet. What it does contain, however, is Blake Carter, star agent for the Planetary Bureau of Investigation. Blake is having a very bad day, with a missing daughter, a cyborg partner, and the world domination plans of Bartholomew Badde. What ensues is a mad plummet down a hill of ridiculousness defying not just the laws of physics but often those of sanity as well.
  • Error Australia by Ben Pobjie uses his skills at recapping reality television with precise hilarity, by recapping the ultimate Australian reality show: Australia itself. In his hilarious Error Australis, the comedian and TV columnist takes us from the initial cooling of this simple rock to the modern developments that place it so significantly in a far-flung corner of the world. This is history as farce, or rather it’s about finding that reality has been farce all along.
  • Quicksand by Steve Toltz is the much-anticipated second novel, whose debut of A Fraction of the Whole, garnered rave reviews internationally when it was published several years ago. Indeed, Quicksand owes much to its epic predecessor as its genesis springs from material cut from the earlier novel. The story — narrated by Liam, an aspiring writer-turned-policeman — chronicles the life of his friend Aldo Benjamin, an eternally optimistic ‘born loser’.
  • The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland is a memoir about a childhood that by most standards would be considered disturbing. The story starts before Rosie was born and takes us through her first twenty-eight years which are packed with most varieties of trauma: both the author’s parents were addicts, she witnessed her mother trying to commit suicide, there were narrow escapes from drug-dealers and dodgy boyfriends, she was severely bullied at school — and yet, Rosie Waterland makes us laugh.
2016 Koala Awards: (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) #mustread list of great Aussie children’s books! #AusLitLove

2016 Koala Awards: (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) #mustread list of great Aussie children’s books! #AusLitLove

I’ve just come across The Koala Awards (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards). Their main goal: ‘KOALA seeks to provide children a voice within the general Australian children’s book industry.’ How good is that? The winners are announced on Thursday, 3rd November, 2016 at Blackheath Public School, NSW. Good luck to all those nominated!

KOALA is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers (teacher/librarians, public librarians, teachers, publishers and other supporters of children’s literature). Every year, young readers from all over New South Wales judge their very own literary awards. By voting in the KOALA awards they can reward the Australian children’s books that have most inspired, amused, terrified, enlightened and engaged them.

“Of all the awards, the ones that kids choose themselves always mean the most. But they are also a great way to show kids that what THEY love is important.” Jackie French

Koala Awards 2016 shortlist 

For all those people out there looking for a great read for their children.

ScreenshotKoala 2016 Shortlist+2016-06-22+12.41.29




State Library of NSW announces new award: Mona Brand Award for Women Stage & Screen Writers

State Library of NSW announces new award: Mona Brand Award for Women Stage & Screen Writers

The State Library of NSW has announced the launch of the inaugural Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers with prize money totaling $40,000. This is the only award of its kind in Australia. Nominations are now open.

State Library

Details: (Provided by The State Library of NSW)

The Mona Brand Award recognises outstanding women writers for the stage and screen, with a major prize of $30,000 and an additional $10,000 prize for a writer in the early stages of her career, this award will be presented for the first time at the State Library in November 2016.

To be awarded biennially, the Mona Brand Award has been made possible by the generous bequest of the late Mona Alexis Fox nee Brand (1915–2007) and the State Library of NSW Foundation.

Mona Brand
Mona Brand

Brand was a trailblazing Australian poet and author whose prolific output included over 20 plays. Her work, which often addressed socially relevant and controversial topics, has been performed on stage, radio and television in Australia, England, Eastern Europe and India.

As the custodian of Mona Brand’s literary papers, the State Library of NSW will administer and present this award in honour of her rich legacy and the extraordinary work of Australia’s women writers today. The State Library of NSW is delighted to deliver this new award through this important philanthropic gift.

Kim Williams AM, Senior Judge and Chairman of the State Library of NSW Foundation, commented that “scriptwriters make a vital contribution to the cultural fabric of Australia. Through these awards we celebrate Mona Brand’s legacy and those outstanding Australian women who have created stories which have led to brilliant, memorable and engaging performances for Australian and international audiences.”

“The State Library of NSW is the home of literature and the work space for many established and emerging writers, and I’m delighted this new award will recognise and encourage break through female talent,” said Dr Alex Byrne, NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive.

The conditions of entry and nomination form are available on the State Library website. Entries close at 5pm on Friday 12 August 2016. The inaugural winners will be announced at the State Library of NSW in November 2016.


#TheStellaPrize Book Review: The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

#TheStellaPrize Book Review: The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

Following is Angela Long’s review of the 5th book shortlisted in the The Stella Prize 2016.

CHarlotte WoodTitle: The Natural Way of Things
Author: Charlotte Wood
Publisher: Allen and Unwin 2015

Angela’s Review: Initially inspired to write a novel based on the internment of young women at the ‘Hay Institution for Girls’, Charlotte Wood found her writing stalled. It was at this point she realised there was a far greater story that needed to be told. The work born from that realisation is a timely piece that questions the contemporary ideals of misogyny, gender values, human rights and corporate power.

When ten women wake imprisoned in a heavily secured property in the Australian outback, they have no idea why they are there, what binds them together. They’ve committed no crime, no act of violence or theft, they’re not guilty of sedition or terrorism. Dehumanised—chained together, heads shaved, clothes replaced by shapeless uniforms—they are forced into hard labour, paralleling the Hay institution and WWII concentration camps. These women have no rights, their lives have been taken outside the careful control of society privilege; their abandonment made worse by the knowledge that it was their trusted loved ones who have been complicit in their incarceration.

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#TheStellaPrize Book Review: The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau

#TheStellaPrize Book Review: The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau

Here is Angela Long’s review of the 4th book shortlisted in the The Stella Prize 2016. 

The World without usTitle: The World Without Us
Author: Mireille Juchau
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

Angela’s ReviewThe World Without Us by Mireille Juchau is a multi faceted work about loss and grief; intimacy and communication; but above all—survival.

‘They’ve already survived the indescribable: named the stars to distract a sister, stood very still as her coffin hovered. They’d lost Pip and a fellow feeling. They’d lost the mother who’d once been fearless.’

After the death of their youngest daughter Pip, each member of the Müller family is trying to manage their loss. Meg, now the youngest, surrounds herself with music and copious drawings of the feelings she cannot articulate. The eldest daughter Tess refuses to talk, not uttering a sound since Pip died. Their father Stefan finds distraction in the bottom of a bottle and their mother Evangeline has stopped painting and withdrawn from her family. It is the silence, the inability to communicate, that creates the most damage. Tess has chosen to remain mute, a punishment to herself and her family; but others are simply incapable of facing the memories that wound. Entombed in her own silent suffering, Evangeline deflects her pain in the arms of a lover. Scraps of memory collide in her scarred amnesic past and we glimpse her earlier years in the nearby 70’s commune ‘The Hive’ and sense there is a larger story looming.

Juchau’s poetic prose draws a beautiful interaction between place and character, one echoing the other, and forming a symbiotic relationship. Fighting to survive under the pressure of climate change and corporate inducements to allow gas seam fracking, the rural town of Bidgalong Valley is undergoing change. Like the failing hives they tend to, they are ‘creatures where they oughtn’t be, things obeying no natural order’. There is a parallel between the Müller family and the hives that are the backbone of their survival. Evangeline—the queen of Honig Farm—is the centre of the family’s life—‘For indeed the ascetic workers, her daughters, regard the queen above all as the organ of love, indispensable, certainly, and sacred, but in herself somewhat unconscious.’—without her the family will fail. On a larger scale the novel provides a window into a global perspective, where organised communities of bees and towns face collapse. They must persevere and adapt to their new environments or become extinct.

Although the storyline revolves around the Müller family tragedy, there are a tangle of subsequent plotlines. Like a piece of origami, the intricate folds combine to form an elaborate story. The mystery of the destruction of the hippie commune; the discovery of a skeleton in the shell of an old car wreck; and the historical and emotional bonds of various interconnecting figures. These are fragmented within the work, disclosing themselves along with the perspectives, discoveries and memories of each character. I often found myself backtracking to previous sections to ensure I hadn’t missed a key point, or misread a plotline.

The feeling created is one of disconnection, mirroring the novel, and enhanced by Juchau’s style, exposing only part of each character and leaving many details unknown. At the end many of these threads are left only partly resolved, the reader being denied the satisfying ‘tying up’ that we expect, and are given, in today’s modern novel. As such, I was forced to think a little more, form my own opinions and in the end was given the freedom to conjure my own conclusions to a complex piece of writing.

For more information please see the author’s website: Mireille Juchau


2016 Australian Women Writers Challenge: This book has been read and reviewed by Angela Long for Welcome to my Library for the 2016 Australian Women Writers challenge. For more information please see their website ‘Supporting and promoting books by Australian women’

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Stay posted for the last two 2016 Stella Prize reviews from Angela: 

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright

Lisa 🙂

#TheStellaPrize Book Review: A Few Days in the Country by Elizabeth Harrower

#TheStellaPrize Book Review: A Few Days in the Country by Elizabeth Harrower

Here is Angela Long’s review of the 3rd book shortlisted in the The Stella Prize 2016. Read about the full shortlist here. 

Stella HarrowerTitle: A Few Days in the Country
Author: Elizabeth Harrower
Publisher: Text Publishing 2015
Category: Literary Fiction
Description: Internationally acclaimed for her five brilliant novels, Elizabeth Harrower is also the author of a small body of short fiction. A Few Days in the Country brings together for the first time her stories published in Australian journals in the 1960s and 1970s, along with those from her archives—including ‘Alice’, published for the first time earlier this year in the New Yorker. Essential reading for Harrower fans, these finely turned pieces show a broader range than the novels, ranging from caustic satires to gentler explorations of friendship.

Angela’s Review: The second of the short story collections, listed for the Stella Prize, goes beyond the angst of adolescence to delve, with sharp insight, into the emotional states of the human collective. This is the first work I have read by Elizabeth Harrower who was primarily published during the 50’s and 60’s. A contemporary of well loved authors such as Christina Stead and Patrick White, Harrower returned to publishing her work in 2014 with her novel In Certain Circles and in 2015 has brought together her collective ‘A Few Days in the Country’. From the opening sentences I was taken by the adept insight that Harrower communicates through her powerful and rich prose. It is easy to recognise the individuality in each character, they come to life and an intimacy is formed between the reader and the narrative.

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2016 Stella Prize Shortlist – Fine Literary Investigations

2016 Stella Prize Shortlist – Fine Literary Investigations


The Stella Prize is a major literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing. It is named after one of Australia’s iconic female authors, Stella Maria ‘Miles’ Franklin (who, by the way, pretended to be a man to have her book, My Brilliant Career, published in 1901.) I’m so glad it’s not as difficult now for talented women writers to have their work acknowledged.

The shortlist was announced today and although only in its 4th year, the prize garners plenty of interest. Whittled down from twelve books to six by five judges, the books are described by Brenda Walker, Chair of the 2016 prize as:

“… exceptionally strong: finely composed and compassionate literary investigations of the fate of individuals interacting with the natural world and with social authority; with protection and self-protection in complicated environments; with the hard-won joy of living.

Angela Long the literary reviewer here at Welcome to My Library has been busy since the longlist was announced a few weeks ago reading up a frenzy. Every week in the lead up to the prize we will feature her review of each book, so watch this space! Follow Angela on Twitter 

The 2016 Stella Prize Shortlist

Stella shortlist






  • Six Bedrooms by Tegan Bennett Daylight (Random House)
  • Hope Farm by Peggy Frew (Scribe)
  • A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower (Text)
  • The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau (Bloomsbury)
  • The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin)
  • Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright (Giramondo)


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