Sydney Writers’ Festival

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Don Watson, Mark Henshaw and David Malouf among winners in NSW Premier’s Awards

DonWatsonDon Watson’s The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia has taken out the overall Book of the Year award in the Australian  New South Wales Premier’s Awards announced tonight as part of the Sydney Writers Festival. Watson who was a speechwriter for the former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, also won the prize for non-fiction. Other winners were Mark Henshaw whose The Snow Kimono won the fiction prize and David Malouf who won the prize for poetry with Earth Hour.

Playwright David Williamson received a special award recognising him as Australia’s “greatest playwright with a prodigious output of more than 40 plays that have shaped how we view ourselves”. He announced he would donate his $10,000 prize to the Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre.

Full list of winners:

Counting the days to Sydney Writers Festival

PileofBooksAs with travel, a great deal of the pleasure of book festivals lies in the planning. Hours can be whiled away pouring over brochures or web sites, drawing up timelines and bemoaning a clash of favorites. And as the almost final decisions take place there is that delightful frisson of anticipated pleasure followed by a flurry of preparatory reading.

Sydney Writers Festival, which kicks off next week, has grown from a rather modest, largely parochial affair, to a weeklong extravaganza with such variety of offerings that have earned it an international reputation. Although there are sessions spread around the city the main venue is the Walsh Bay precinct with its awesome outlook over Sydney Harbour. There is a constellation of internationally recognised guests from Australia and

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango, amoral hero but a belting good read

the-truth-and-other-liesHenry Hayden is a hugely successful author. Rich, popular, generous and living an idyllic life in a mansion in the country with his wife while his publisher awaits his latest tome which he knows will be another mega seller. Only Henry isn’t exactly what he seems. To complicate matters, although he loves his wife, he’s been having an affair with his editor and she’s now pregnant.

Henry wants to do the right thing. But can’t exactly decide what that is. Then tragically his wife disappears in a freak swimming accident. The police are suspicious. And a mysterious person from his past suddenly appears on the scene. Is he about to reveal Henry’s dirty little secret? Should Henry come clean first? Can his crazy Serbian fisherman friend can do anything about it. Does he?

The Truth and Other Lives is the debut novel by German writer Sascha Arango who is

Happy new book year, looking forward to 2014

GetAttachment.aspxHappy New Year. I am not a great one for making New Year resolutions, maybe I just don’t have the imagination for setting grand, life-changing targets and I certainly don’t have the fortitude for using an arbitrary deadline to, say, begin the diet I should undertake, or cease imbibing alcohol when I know there’s too many days of holiday living to make do with soda water.

Book-related resolutions are, however, a bit easier. In 2014 I am going to stick with 2013 plan to log every book I read during the year.  Not only was it invaluable in doing the end-of-year round-up of my Top Ten books of the year but it is also a wonderful reminder of some of the gems (and not so gem-like) during the year. It always seems ridiculous how


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