Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2017

This year marks 10 years since the first Prime Minister’s Literary Awards took place in 2008.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull and Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield have announced the shortlist for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

The 30 shortlisted books showcase the breadth and depth of Australia’s literary talent across six categories—fiction, non-fiction, Australian history, young adult fiction, children’s fiction and poetry.

If the fiction shortlist looks familiar it is because four out of five of the novels were also nominated for the Miles Franklin Award. Can Josephine Wilson’s Extinctions win again? Wilson also won the inaugural Dorothy Hewett award for unpublished manuscripts for Extinctions in 2015.

The fiction nominees are:

The Easy Way out by Steven Amsterdam

Book cover of The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam


The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn

Book cover of The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O'Flynn


Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill

Book cover of Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O'Neil


Waiting by Philip Salom

Bock cover of book Waiting by Philip Salom


Extinctions by Josephine Wilson

Book cover of Extinctions by Josephine Wilson


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Summer Reading Challenge 2017

Coming soon!

During the Summer School Holidays the Annual Summer Reading Challenge runs from December 1st to January 31st. The program is open to children and teenagers. There are 2 categories: 0-12 yrs and 13 – 16yrs.

We hope that the reading program introduces you to many new books and authors and that you have lots of fun reading! Visit any Blue Mountains branch library to register and pick up your reading log book. Get ready for a great adventure and read as many books as you can.

A Mayoral award is given to the Blue Mountains Best Junior Reader and Best Teen Reader.

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The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg, translated by Steven T Murray

The first book in the Patrik Hedstrom series

Plot Summary : The writer Erica Falck has returned to her home town on the death of her parents, but discovers the community in turmoil. A close childhood friend, Alex, has been found dead. Her wrists have been slashed, and her body is frozen solid in a bath that has turned to ice. Erica decides to write a memoir about the charismatic but withdrawn Alex, more as a means of overcoming her own writer’s block than solving the mystery of Alex’s death. But Erica finds that her interest in Alex is becoming almost obsessive. She begins to work with local detective Patrik Hedstrom, and the duo soon find that some unpleasant secrets are buried beneath the comfortable surface of the town. (Source: Fantastic Fiction)

Review: I was not impressed by this book.  Amateur night all the way.

There is so much is wrong with this book; I will put my most annoyed observations as dot points.

  • Firstly, there is the annoying internal dialogue in italics that is supposed to act like a red herring, we are supposed to think it is the killer talking while he looks at the dead and frozen body in the bathtub, but is actually Anders. Ugh. Spare me. Not only because the dialogue is so creepy and unnatural, but because I knew almost immediately it wasn’t the killer.
  • The device of using a writer to do detective work did not work.  So, we are supposed to believe that a grieving family asks an old friend and writer whom they haven’t seen in 20 years, on her first visit to them after Alex’s death, to write a book about her. Then this “writer” starts doing her own private eye work, like going to the victim’s home at night, looking around, and getting disturbed by another intruder. Wot? This is a possible crime scene! And what the hell? Would you go to someone’s home that had just died, at night, to look around?  Or, how about looking in Nelly’s wastepaper basket to discover a rumpled page of her will saying her money is going to Julia?  Could not suspend credibility that far. No. Just no. Doesn’t work.
  • Then there are the clues that Patrick or Erica find but never tell the reader. Supposed to heighten suspense? Irritating as all get out.
  • Appallingly, this female writer writes her female characters like cardboard stereotypes. Sexy and scheming, bitchy and controlling, domineering, bitter, overprotective, weak, abused, victim or victimizer. Ugh. What is the matter with this picture? There is not a complex woman in the book. Alex is the most interesting character and she’s dead. No, I take it back, she was pretty boring too.
  • Her men don’t come off much better.  The incompetent police chief, the smart, nice cop who actually solves the case, and then, three, count them, three psychopaths. Lucas, bully and wife beater. Then there are Nils and Jan; imagine, two psychopaths in one family!  All so cardboard and predictable. And Nelly, walking around protecting these sickos, her creepy boys, because she is a rich dowager and that’s what rich dowagers do?
  • And do I have to mention the love affair between Patrick and Erica. Stop, just stop.  Please stop. “Bingo phase”? “5 in a row”. Euuuwwwww.
  • The writing is so bad. Achingly bad.

So, two stars from me. Why? Because I love dead bodies found in baths under suspicious circumstances.

But I won’t be recommending it to anyone.

Reviewed by: Wendy

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Good Reading Magazine – November

The November issue of Good Reading magazine is ready for you to enjoy!

Veteran Aussie storyteller Judy Nunn joins us this month to tell us about her latest novel, Sanctuary, which follows a group of refugees who run aground on a barren island off the coast of WA.

We also chat to Christine Milne, leader of the Greens from 2012 to 2015, about her opinions on the current state of Australian politics and the importance of getting involved, as outlined in her memoir, An Activist Life.

Isabel Allende talks about migrants and refugees, writing without a compass and her urgent need to write while she still can.

 Dave Warner tells us about becoming a suspected serial killer in a string of murders in Perth that were unnervingly similar to those described in one of his crime novels.

You can borrow Good Reading from the library or access it right here, right now, with your library card.

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Poetry Under the Stars 2017

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Librarian’s Choice – November 2017

1. Atlantic Black by A. S. Patric

From the winner of the 2016 Miles Franklin Award, a haunting novel set on an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic to Europe. A seventeen-year-old girl called Katerina Klova is travelling with her mother. The story begins with the collapse of Katerina’s mother, a complete psychotic breakdown, leaving Katerina alone for the first time in her life.

and the runners up are:

2. The Tea Gardens by Fiona McIntosh
3. Clear to the Horizon by Dave Warner
4. The Harbour by Scott Bevan
5. Strange Weather by Joe Hill
6. The Boy Made of Snow by Chloe Mayer
7. Artemis by Andy Weir
8. Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher
9. Tracker by Alexis Wright
10. The First to Know by Abigail Johnson

source: Librarian’s Choice


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Judy Nunn in Person at Springwood Library

An extraordinary story – the real life story of best-selling author, Judy Nunn, is as packed full of twists and turns as any one of her novels.

From her idyllic childhood in Perth to an acting career as a favourite in iconic shows like Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, Home and Away and The Box. Judy’s transition as a storyteller, from actress to writer, began with a casual conversation at a party in the early 1980s that led to a job writing for a new TV series called Neighbours.

Today, with over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, Judy Nunn is one of Australia’s most successful authors. In 2015 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her “significant service to the performing arts as a scriptwriter and actor of stage and screen, and to literature as an author.”

Judy will be with us on Tuesday 14th November at Springwood Library to talk about her new novel, Sanctuary, her writing and, daresay, how she got to where she is now. If you are a fan of Judy Nunn, join us at Springwood Library, 2pm. $10 per ticket – book at any Library branch, online via our website or call 4723 5040 for information.

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