As some of you may know, Behrouz Boochani’s book ‘No Friend but the Mountains’ has just won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, an esteemed literary prize that honours Australian writing and writers from many genres.
This is significant. For those unfamiliar with his story here is a short summary. Behrouz* is an Iranian asylum-seeker currently being housed on Manus Island, a ‘beneficiary’ of the Australian Government’s offshore processing scheme. He has been housed in detention for six years, detained indefinitely, after seeking asylum by boat from Indonesia.
Hold onto your hats folks, Jessie Sima’s new book ‘Harriet gets Carried Away’ has just arrived in store! We are big fans of her debut picture book ‘Not quite Narwhal’ which we blogged about here, and we are so excited to share this gorgeous book with you.
Harriet loves costumes. It doesn’t matter where she goes; the dentist, the shops, school – she can be anything she wants. But this time, she gets carried away…literally. By penguins.
One of our favourites for the year – we hope you love it too.
Recently I’ve been on a feminist biography rampage, devouring every book written by women who have something to say about feminism or their stories about growing up as a woman in this world. It’s the perfect way to absorb feminist theory, through the personal stories of others. Here are a few classics and a few new releases I’ve read recently:
Michelle writes cleverly about her relationships with friends, love interests and family. Lee mostly writes about her life in Melbourne, but as a Canberran, I love the memories she shares about growing up in the nations capital. She doesn’t hold back with the her more personal anecdotes. There are definitely a few ex-boyfriends reading her book, more than likely horrified that she told the world their secrets. Her lack of filter is what makes Banana Girl it such a compelling read.
The year is 2059 in Scion London and Paige Mahoney is Dream-walker. Paige works for an underground syndicate in London, that specializes in mime-crime, a type of spiritual warfare used by ‘Unnaturals’ or ‘Clairvoyants’. Unnaturals are a group of people on the fringe, abhorred and feared for their ‘second sight’ abilities and there are two options for people like them; work for Scion hunting your own kind, or spend your life running.
Just as the books that we read in childhood help frame the way that we see the world, so too do the stories that we consume in our teenage years refine our ways of thinking. Inside these books, whole worlds appear and disappear with the opening and closing of chapters and it is in these worlds that we are able to fight battles and travel across continents and find friends and endure an endless supply of challenges.
China Miéville’s October is a timely reminder of the revolutions in Russia in 1917. Miéville does not hide his sympathy for either Lenin’s Bolsheviks or the broader idea of the revolutionary struggle of workers to overthrow capitalism. Indeed his partisan perspective, encapsulated in the title of his work, is crucial to the book’s focus and direction. Though the revolutionary year began in February, it is October that proved decisive. Nonetheless, his account is no mere hagiography glorifying either the inevitability or perfection of the realised power of the Bolsheviks. October is as much the story of the confusion and dead ends of this revolutionary contestation, as much as its stunning initial successes.
It was a cold winter afternoon when Yaba Badoe’s novel was placed in my eagerly waiting hands. “At last!” I thought, “something entirely different.” A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars tells the story of Sante, a baby orphan castaway, who is washed ashore and brought into the life of Mama Rose. Raised in Mama Rose’s tribe of lost children, Sante and her adopted family are a traveling performance troupe, each with strange talents — though Sante’s is the most mysterious of all. Though Sante is always on the move from one town to the next, her mysterious past begins to catch up with her and it’s not long before a bamboo flute, jeweled dagger and her faithful bird begin to change the course of her life.