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For 40,000 years the Central NSW area of Wellington was Aboriginal – Wiradjuri – land. Following the arrival of white men, it became a penal settlement, mission station, gold-mining town and farming centre with a history of white comfort and black marginalisation. In the late 20th century, it was also the subject of the first post-Mabo Native Title claim, bringing new hope – and new controversy – to the area and its people.
At once a nonfiction thriller and a moral maze, The People Smuggler: The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi is one man’s epic story of trying to find a safe place in the world.
Helen Trinca’s book ranges beyond the particular life of Madeleine St John to consider the wider topics of family dysfunction, the writer’s craft, and the cultural and social history of Australia. Traditional and straightforward in its approach to biography as such, its choice of subject makes it original and intriguing.
In The Misogyny Factor, Anne Summers traces the history of ‘the equality project’ over the last four decades and draws some grim conclusions. Full of brief, accessible recaps of the main ideas in feminism since the 1970s, The Misogyny Factor grew out of two speeches that Summers made in 2012.
Kristina Olsson’s story of her half-brother Peter, stolen by his father from his mother’s arms, is a beautifully understated family memoir in which the writer barely features: this is the story of Peter and his mother. The book reflects the social history of Australia in the 1950s: the lack of accountability in cases of domestic violence, the tolerance of gambling, the lack of freedom that was women’s lot in the decade before the Pill and the rise of second-wave feminism, the ravages of the polio epidemic.
Anna Krien explores the facts, the claims and the ramifications surrounding a court case in which a Melbourne footballer was tried for the rape of a young woman. Anna Krien follows the arguments and assumptions that are made as the trial unfolds, her discussion spreading out in circles of argument and questioning to examine the wider contexts of this story.
The late Australian novelist and poet Randolph Stow, generally regarded as one of the country’s most important novelists, left Australia in 1966 and lived out the rest of his life in rural England. In this unusual and reflective book, Gabrielle Carey explores her personal connection with Stow – his long-standing friendship with her mother – and her own growing fascination with the novelist and his work.
“The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka sheds a bright new light on a dark old Australian story. In her account of the Eureka Stockade and the years leading up to it, historian Clare Wright revisits that well-trodden territory from an entirely new perspective, unearthing images, portraits and stories of the women of 1850s Ballarat.”
– 2014 Stella Prize Judges
Brisbane writer Cory Taylor’s Dying: A Memoir, written in her final weeks of life, is a slim but remarkable book. This is a rare book about dying that could be given to someone who is seriously ill, confident in its capacity to provide solace and comfort in shared recognition.
Twenty years after the Port Arthur shootings, Sonya Voumard returns to this catastrophe and the way it was reported. A journalist herself, Voumard takes the reader through what it is like on the ground, and the decisions that are involved, in reporting from a major event as it unfolds. It’s both a compelling story and a humane and scrupulous investigation into the responsibilities of journalists.
Elspeth Muir writes, with measured eloquence, of a devastating event: the death of her cherished younger brother who drowned during an alcohol-fuelled celebration of his final university exams. Questions about celebration, bravado and the mitigation of intoxication from within and outside the family are raised in this engaging, generous and multifaceted book.
In her first work of nonfiction, novelist and filmmaker Julia Leigh tells the story of what would become a gruelling series of IVF attempts in her late thirties. Avalanche is as much about the desire to be a mother and maternal love as it is a clear-eyed account of a love affair gone wrong and an investigation of a medical industry that trades on hope.