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NSW & ACT

My Brilliant Career / My Career Goes Bung

by Miles Franklin

Passionate, headstrong and imaginative, Sybylla Melvyn is one of the most endearing heroines of Australian literature.

'I am given to something which a man never pardons in a woman. You will draw away as though I were a snake when you hear.'

With this warning, Sybylla confesses to her rich and handsome suitor that she is given to writing stories and bound, therefore on a brilliant career. In this ironically titled and riotous first novel by Miles Franklin, originally published in 1901, Sybylla tells the story of growing up passionate and rebellious in rural NSW, where the most that girls could hope for was to marry or to teach... more

The Thorn Birds

by Colleen McCullough

The bestselling Australian novel of all time.

The Thorn Birds is the sweeping saga of three generations of the Cleary family. Stoic matriarch Fee, her devoted husband, Paddy, and their headstrong daughter, Meggie, experience joy, sadness and magnificent triumph in the cruel Australian outback.

With life's unpredictability, it is love that is their unifying thread, but it is a love shadowed by the anguish of forbidden passions. For Meggie loves Father Ralph de Bricassart, a man who wields enormous power within the Catholic Church... more

Come in Spinner

by Florence James & Dymphna Cusack

The sensational novel that shocked Australia

Come in Spinner won the 1948 Daily Telegraph novel competition. It was first published in an abridged edition in 1951, as the subject matter - including rape, abortion and prostitution - was considered too controversial for the time. Even so, the book was an immediate sensation, with bookshops in both Sydney and Brisbane sold out within days.

Set in a beauty salon at the Hotel South Pacific in wartime Sydney, it revolves around the lives and loves of three women - Deb, Guinea and Claire. their romantic entanglements are further complicated by the tensions of war... more

Playing Beatie Bow

by Ruth Park

Now then,something very weird has happened to me. I'm in the last century. I don't know why, and that doesn't matter. I've got to get back.

The game is called Beatie Bow and the children play it for the thrill of scaring themselves. But when Abigail is drawn in, the game is quickly transformed into an extraordinary, sometimes horrifying, adventure as she finds herself transported to a place that is foreign yet strangely familiar... more

Looking for Alibrandi

by Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta's stunning debut novel Looking for Alibrandi is one girl's story of her final year at school, a year she sets herself free.

Josephine Alibrandi is seventeen and in her final year at a wealthy girls' school. This is the year she meets her father, the year she falls in love, the year she searches for Alibrandi and finds the real truth about her family - and the identity she has been searching for. A moving and revealing book, unusual for its honesty and its insight into the life of a young person on the brink of adulthood... more

Banjo Paterson Complete Poems

by Banjo Paterson

'Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson is the most famous - certainly the most publicly performed - Australian writer who has ever lived.' - The Guardian

When a young man submitted a set of verses to the Bulletin in 1889 under the pseudonym 'the Banjo', it was the beginning of an enduring tradition. today Banjo Paterson is still one of Australia's best-loved poets.This complete collection of his verse shows the bush balladeer at his very best with favourites such as 'A Bush Christening', 'The Man from Ironbark', 'Clancy of the Overflow' and the immortal 'Man from Snowy River'... more

Northern Territory

Maestro

by Peter Goldsworthy

'I enjoyed Maestro enormously. Besides its thoughtfulness and bright sensuality, it has a playful quality, a love of jest, which appealed to me very much.' - Helen Garner

Against the backdrop of Darwin, that small, tropical hothouse of a port, half-outback, half-oriental, lying at the tip of northern Australia, a young and newly arrived southerner encounters the 'maestro', a Viennese refugee with a shadowed past. The occasion is a piano lesson, the first of many.... more

We of the Never-Never and The Little Black Princess

by Mrs. Aeneas Gunn

The original, autobiographical account of life and love in the Australian bush.

In 1902, Jeannie Gunn, a Melbourne schoolteacher, went with her new husband to live on the remote Elsey cattle station near the Roper River in the Northern territory. though she spend little more than a year there, her experiences in the outback and her contact with the local Aborigines impressed her deeply, and on her return to Melbourne she set down her recollections in two books, We of the Never-Never and The Little Black Princess... more

Capricornia

by Xavier Herbert

'Capricornia will always be one of the greatest of Australian novels, a defining work in the search for what it is, or was, to be Australian.' - Australian Book Review

Spanning three generations, Capricornia tells the story of Australia's north. It is a story of whites and Aborigines and Asians, of chance relationships that can form bonds for life, of dispossession, murder and betrayal... more

Queensland

Carpentaria

by Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright is one of Australia's finest Aboriginal writers. Carpentaria is her second novel, an epic set in the Gulf country of north-western Queensland.

The novel's portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, leader of the Westend Pricklebush people, and its battles with old Joseph Midnight's renegade Eastend mob on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other.

Wright's storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, farce and politics... more

Every Move You Make

by David Malouf

A young man going off to war tries to make sense of his place in the world he is leaving; a composer's life plays itself out as a complex domestic cantata; an accident on a hunting trip speaks volumes, which its inarticulate victim never could; and a down-to-earth woman stubbornly tries to keep her feet on the ground at Ayers Rock.

Malouf's men and women are together but curiously alone, looking for something they seem to have missed, or missed out on, in life. Powerfully rooted in the heat and the dust of the vast Australian continent, this is a heartbreakingly beautiful and richly satisfying collection by a master storyteller, one of the great writers of our time... more

Voss

by Patrick White

The novel that put Australian literature on the map.

Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naive young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent. As hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality... more

The Delinquents

by Criena Rohan

'A back-street Tristan and Isolde.' - Daily Mail 1962

Brownie and Lola are young and in love. But the oddsnot to mention their mothers, the cops, welfare officers and the stifling conventions of 1950s Brisbane are against them. When they are forced to face adult responsibilities, will they rise to the challenge, or fall apart?

Criena Rohan's classic novel of rock and roll, youthful rebellion and big dreams, is a love story for the ages. The 1989 film adaptation of this book was a box-office success and Kylie Minogue's first film... more

South Australia

Storm Boy

by Colin Thiele

Storm Boy and his father live alone in a humpy among the sandhills between the Southern Ocean and the Coorong. Among the teeming birdlife of the South-Australian coast, Storm Boy finds an injured young pelican whose life he saves.

From then on, Storm boy and Mr Percival the pelican become inseparable friends and spend their days exploring the wave-beaten shore and the drifting sandhills. Mr Percival learns to help Storm Boy's father with his fishing and warn the other birdlife whenever poachers are coming, but his part in rescuing a shipwrecked crew leads to great changes in Storm Boy's life... more

Wake in Fright

by Kenneth Cook

The controller stood back. 'Right,' he said. 'Spin 'em!' The man flipped the piece of wood and the coins spun up into the air above his head and dropped down on to the carpet. There was silence.

Wake in Fright tells the tale of John Grant's journey into an alcoholic, sexual and spiritual nightmare. It is the original and the greatest outback horror story. Bundanyabba and its citizens will forever haunt its readers... more

Spirits of the Ghan

by Judy Nunn

It is 2001 and as the world charges into the new Millennium, a century-old dream is about to be realised in the Red Centre of Australia: the completion of the mighty Ghan railway, a long-lived vision to create the 'backbone of the continent', a line that will finally link Adelaide with the Top End.

But construction of the final leg between Alice Springs and Darwin will not be without its complications, for much of the desert it will cross is Aboriginal land. Hired as a negotiator, Jessica Manning must walk a delicate line to reassure the Elders their sacred sites will be protected... more

Tasmania

Gould's Book of Fish

by Richard Flanagan

From the Man Booker Winning Author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Once upon a time that was called 1828, before all fishes in the sea and all living things on the land were destroyed, there was a man named William Buelow Gould, a white convict who fell in love with a black woman and discovered too late that to love is not safe.

Silly Billy Gould, invader of Australia, liar, murderer & forger, condemned to the most feared penal colony in the British Empire and there ordered to paint a book of fish... more

Past the Shallows

by Favel Parrett

Harry and Miles live with their father, an abalone fisherman, on the south-east coast of Tasmania. With their mum dead, they are left to look after themselves. When Miles isn't helping out on the boat they explore the coast, and Miles and his older brother, Joe, love to surf. Harry is afraid of the water.

Everyday their dad battles the unpredictable ocean to make a living. He is a hard man, a bitter drinker who harbours a devastating secret that is destroying him... more

The Potato Factory

by Bryce Courtenay

Ikey Solomon's favourite saying is also his way of doing business. And in the business of thieving, he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them.

They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth-century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land. In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds the Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey's wife, Hannah, her old enemy... more

Victoria

The Getting of Wisdom

By Henry Handel Richardson

The timeless coming-of-age story.

When Laura Rambotham arrives at an exclusive Melbourne girls school from her country home, she is ridiculed by the other pupils for her differences - her name, her unusual clothes and, especially, for her 'unpardonable sin': her exceptional musical ability.

Laura endures ostracism and misery as she tries to make herself socially acceptable to her vicious peers, never quite succeeding but learning much about the world and its inhabitants along the way... more

Picnic at Hanging Rock

by Joan Lindsay

Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place.

In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends in tragedy when four girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others... more

Monkey Grip

by Helen Garner

The novel that introduced one of Australia's finest.

In this acclaimed first novel, Helen Garner captures the fluid relationships of a community of friends who are living and loving in new ways.

Nora falls in love with Javo the junkie, and together they try to make sense of their lives and the choices they have made. But caught in an increasingly ambiguous relationship, they are unable to let go - and the harder they pull away from each other, the tighter the monkey grip... more

The Slap

by Christos Tsiolkas

At a suburban barbecue one afternoon, a man slaps an unruly boy. The boy is not his own. It's a single act of violence, but the slap reverberates through the lives of everyone who witnesses it.

Told through the eyes of eight of those present at the barbecue, this acclaimed bestseller is an unflinching interrogation of the life of the modern family. Poignant and provocative, The Slap makes us question the nature of commitment and happiness, compromise and truth. Whose side are you on... more

Western Australia

Cloudstreet

by Tim Winton

From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch. For twenty years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts. Tim Winton's funny, sprawling saga is an epic novel of love and acceptance.

Winner of the Miles Franklin and NBC Awards in Australia, Cloudstreet is a celebration of people, places and rhythms which has fuelled imaginations world-wide... more

Lost & Found

by Brooke Davis

A heart-warming debut about finding out what love and life is all about.

At seven years old, Millie Bird realises that everything is dying around her. She wasn't to know that after she had recorded twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things her dad would be a Dead Thing too.

Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and has not left her house since her husband died. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven when his son kisses him on the cheek before leaving him at the nursing home. As he watches his son leave, Karl has a moment of clarity. Soon their three sperate lives are bound together... more

Merry Go Round in the Sea

by Randolph Stow

In 1941, Rob Coram is six. The war feels far removed from Geraldton in Western Australia. But when his favourite older cousin Rick leaves to join the army, the war takes a step closer. When Rick returns several years later, he has changed and the old merry-go-round that represents Rob's dream of utopia begins to disintegrate before his eyes.

Merry Go Round by the Sea allows us a precious glimpse into a simpler kind of childhood in a country that no longer exists... more

Jasper Jones

by Craig Silvey

Late on a hot summer night in 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of 13, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie.

So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery... more

Dirt Music

by Tim Winton

Full of unforgettable characters, Dirt Music is Tim Winton's classic love song to land and place.

Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Leached of all confidence, she spends her days in isolation tedium and her nights in a blur of vodka self-recrimination.

One morning, in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she sees, a shadow drifting up the beach below - a loner called Luther Fox, with danger in his wake... more

Tears of the Moon

by Di Morrissey

Broome, Australia, 1893: It's the wild and passionate heyday of the pearling industry, and when young English bride Olivia Hennessy meets dashing pearling master Captain Tyndall, their lives are destined to be linked by the mysterious power of the pearl.

Sydney, Australia, 1995: Lily Barton embarks on a search for her family roots which leads her to Broome. But her quest for identity reveals more than she could have ever imagined... more

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