Lane Cove Literary Awards 2021 Now Open

The Lane Cove Literary Awards is a prestigious national writing competition organised by Lane Cove Council that recognises writing excellence and fosters Australian writing talent. Australian writers over 16 years of age are invited to submit unpublished works for the following prizes:

  *   Short Story Prize – $2,000

  *   Memoir Prize – $1,500

  *   Poetry Prize – $1,500

The following additional prizes may be awarded:

  *   The Burns Bay Bookery Resident Prize – $500

  *   Wise Sage Prize (Age 65+) – $500

An entry fee of $15 per entry is applicable.

Entries close 5:00pm Thursday 19 August 2021.

For more details how to enter the Awards including the Terms and Conditions, visit:

Lane cove Council – Lane Cove Literary Awards.

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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – May

Carolyn's books of the month May 2021


Best Read: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week, and she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be… dangerous. When Rose discovers that she cannot fall pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of unexpected love.


Crime: Revenge : murder in three parts by S.L. Lim

A family favour their son over their daughter. Shan attends university before making his fortune in Australia while Yannie must find menial employment and care for her ageing parents. After her mother’s death, Yannie travels to Sydney to become enmeshed in her psychopathic brother’s new life, which she seeks to undermine from within. This is a novel that rages against capitalism, hetero-supremacy, mothers, fathers, families, the whole damn thing. It’s about what happens when you want to make art but are born in the wrong time and place.


Australian Author: The Cartographer’s Secret by Tea Cooper 

A young woman’s quest to heal a family rift entangles her in one of Australia’s greatest historical puzzles when an intricately illustrated map offers a clue to the fate of a long-lost girl. 1880. The Hunter Valley. Evie Ludgrove loves to map the landscape around her home – hardly surprising since she grew up in the shadow of her father’s obsession with the great Australian explorer Dr Ludwig Leichhardt. So when an advertisement appears in The Bulletin magazine offering a one thousand pound reward for proof of where Leichhardt met his fate, Evie is determined to figure it out – after all, there are clues in her father’s papers and in the archives of The Royal Geographical Society. But when Evie sets out to prove her theory she vanishes without a trace, leaving behind a mystery that taints everyone’s lives for 30 years.


General: Miracle Typist by Leon Silver

Conscripted into the Polish army as Hitler’s ground and air forces are bearing down on his country, Jewish soldier Tolek Klings vows to return to his wife, Klara, and son, Juliusz. However, when the Luftwaffe’s bombs start falling and the Polish cause looks hopelessly lost, Tolek finds himself under fire from his supposed brothers in arms. The Polish army is rife with anti-Semitism and he is relentlessly tormented. As the Germans cross the border, he is faced with a terrible dilemma: flee to protect his family – and risk being shot as a deserter – or ride out the war, hoping rumours of women and children being spared in the concentration camps are true.


Thriller: House of Correction by Nicci French 

‘So,’ said Mora Piozzi, her lawyer, looking down at her laptop. ‘In brief: you are charged with the murder of Stuart Robert Rees, on December 21st, between the hours of ten-forty in the morning and half-past three o’clock in the afternoon.’ Tabitha is accused of murder. She is in prison awaiting trial. There is a strong case against her, and she can’t remember what happened on December 21st. She is alone, frightened and confused. But somehow, from the confines of her cell, she needs to prove everyone wrong. House of Correction is beautifully written, clever, shocking, twisty, so believable and utterly compelling. This is another stunningly brilliant novel to relish from Nicci French.


Thriller: The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

The team of forensic reconstructionist, Rory Moore, and criminal profiler, Lane Phillips, return. This time they undertake an investigation into the gruesome murders of two students at a prestigious boarding school which leads to the subsequent suicides of four others. Beyond the manicured campus of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory School sits an abandoned boarding house, popular among students as a late-night hangout – and recently the scene of a dangerous game gone wrong. One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why three survivors of that terrible night have returned to the house to kill themselves. 


Saga/Romance: In Love and War by Liz Trenow

July, 1919. The First World War is over. The war-torn area of Flanders near Ypres is no longer home to trenches or troops, but groups of tourists. Controversial battlefield tourism now drives bus-loads of people to witness first-hand where loved ones fell and died. At the Hotel de la Paix in the small village of Poperinghe, three women have come to the battlefields to find a trace of men they have loved and lost. Ruby is just 21, a shy Englishwoman looking for the grave of her husband. Alice is only a little older but brimming with confidence; she has travelled all the way from America, convinced her brother is in fact still alive and still in France. Then there’s Martha and her son Otto, who are not all they seem to be.



The Safe Place by Anna Downes [BorrowBox]

For struggling actress Emily Proudman, life in London is not working out as planned – in fact, it?s falling apart. So when she is offered a job living and working for a wealthy family on their luxurious property in coastal France, she jumps at the opportunity to start over.

The estate is picture-perfect, and its owners exude charisma and sophistication. But as Emily gets to know the family, their masks begin to slip, and what at first appears to be a dream come true turns out to be a prison from which none of them will ever escape – unless Emily can find a way to set them all free.

The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn [BorrowBox]

Two women, a world apart.

A secret waiting to be discovered…VE Day 1945: As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess’ happiness is overshadowed by grief. Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action. Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.

Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do. But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home…

September 11th 2001: Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.

Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever…

Di Morrissey novels (28 titles) [Indy Reads]

Carolyn's books of the month May Di MorrisseyeAudio Books

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter [BorrowBox]

It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer.

The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working gruelling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity and inner strength to persevere.

Bruny by Heather Rose [Libby]

A right-wing US president has withdrawn America from the Middle East and the UN. Daesh has a thoroughfare to the sea and China is Australia’s newest ally. When a bomb goes off in remote Tasmania, Astrid Coleman agrees to return home to help her brother before an upcoming election. But this is no simple task. Her brother and sister are on either side of politics, the community is full of conspiracy theories, and her father is quoting Shakespeare. Only on Bruny does the world seem sane. Until Astrid discovers how far the government is willing to go.

Before she knew him by Peter Swanson [indyreads]

‘They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.’

When Hen and Lloyd move into their new house in West Dartford, Mass., they’re relieved to meet, at their first block party, the only other seemingly-childless couple in their neighborhood, Matthew and Mira Dolamore. Turns out they live in the Dutch Colonial immediately next door.

When they’re invited over for dinner, however, things take a sinister turn when Hen thinks she sees something suspicious in Matthew’s study. Could this charming, mild-mannered College Professor really be hiding a dark secret, one that only Hen, whose been battling her own problems with depression and medication, could know about? Lloyd certainly doesn’t seem to believe her, and so, forced together, Hen and Matthew start to form an unlikely bond. But who, if anyone, is really in danger?

From its deeply unsettling opening, Peter Swanson, the master of contemporary domestic thrillers, fashions a novel as brilliant, dark, coruscating and surprising as Patricia Highsmith and Ira Levin at their very best.



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Stella announce Evie Wyld’s novel, The Bass Rock, as the 2021 Stella Prize winner..

Evie Wyld’s 2021 Stella Prize acceptance speech

Surging out of the sea, the Bass Rock has for centuries watched over the lives that pass under its shadow on the Scottish mainland. And across the centuries the fates of three women are linked: to this place, to each other. In the early 1700’s, Sarah, accused of being a witch, flees for her life. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Ruth navigates a new house, a new husband and the strange waters of the local community. Six decades later, the house stands empty. Viv, mourning the death of her father, catalogues Ruth’s belongings and discovers her place in the past – and perhaps a way forward. Each woman’s choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men in their lives. But in sisterhood there is the hope of survival and new life.

from the Stella Prize website:

The 2021 Stella Judging Panel — Zoya Patel (Chair), Jane HarrisonElizabeth McCarthy, Ian See and Tamara Zimet— selected Evie Wyld’s novel from over 160 entries submitted to this year’s Prize. 

The Bass Rock is a novel that weaves together the lives of three women across four centuries. It explores the legacy of male violence and the ways in which these traumas ripple and reverberate across time and place for three central female characters. Each woman’s choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men in their lives. But in sisterhood there is the hope of survival and new life.

Chair of the 2021 Stella Prize Judging Panel, Zoya Patel, says of The Bass Rock: 

The Bass Rock is a consuming and perplexing book, one that forces the reader to think and engage with the unique narrative structure, but in a way that feels effortless, so engaged are you by the story. This is a novel that demonstrates the author’s versatility of style, with the separate narrative parts each having an individual voice. And yet, at no point does the book feel disjointed. Instead, it is as though Evie Wyld has chosen each and every word with precision, building a novel that is a true work of art.”

For Judges report and more information including a video of the award night and interview with Evie Wyld please go to the Stella Prize website.

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The winners of the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Award were announced today.

What a stack! 

Congratulations to the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Award winners. 

A total of $305,000 was presented across 13 prize categories.

If you missed the announcement, you can catch up online via the statelibrarynsw website. 

Watch here:

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Good Reading Magazine – April 2021

The April issue of Good Reading magazine is ready for you to enjoy through Blue Mountains Library!


This Month

  • Find your next good book with our 45 independent book reviews.
  • Andy Griffiths on The Treehouse Joke Book 2 and the best childhood reads.
  • Kirsty Manning on The French Gift and her seaside home -Fresnes Prison, 1940: Margot Bisset, a former maid, finds herself in a prison cell with French Resistance fighter, Josephine Murant. Present-day Paris: Evie attempts to unravel the official story of a famous novelist. If she succeeds, a murder from a lifetime ago may be solved. 
  • Neuroscientist Lisa Genova delves into how memories are made and how we retrieve them. Learn whether forgotten memories are temporarily inaccessible or erased forever and why some memories are built to exist for only a few seconds while others can last a lifetime.
  • New podcasts, trivia, quizzes, and independent reviews!

Book Club – This Month’s Pick

Our pick this month is Love Objects by Emily Maguire.

Nic is an amateur nail artist and fairy godmother to the neighbourhood’s stray cats. The person she’s closest to in the world is her beloved niece Lena, who she meets for lunch every Sunday. One day Nic fails to show up. When Lena travels to her aunt’s house to see if Nic’s all right, she gets the shock of her life, and sets in train a series of events that will prove cataclysmic for them both.

Get listening with the GR Podcast

  • Debra Oswald on The family doctor
  • Helen Fitzgerald on Ash Mountain
  • Tanya Bretherton on The husband poisoner
  • Susan Johnson on From where I fell

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

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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – April

carolyn's books of the month


Best Read: The End of Her by Shari Lapena

It starts with a shocking accusation… Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted. Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a horrifying allegation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder. He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?


Crime: Little Boy Lost by J.P.Carter

The third gipping crime thriller in the DCI Anna Tate series. Readers love J. P. Carter: `What a page turner!’ Reader review `If you’re looking for a book that will delight you whilst creeping you out, entertain while keeping you awake NEEDING to know what will happen, then you need this book.’ Reader review `A very fast paced book … I raced through it in one sitting… I can’t wait to see what Anna Tate does next!’ Reader review `Full of suspense with a full cast of well developed characters, the story was engaging and original. Really looking forward to the next book in the series’ Reader review `In Safe Hands, is hard hitting, gripping, suspenseful, chilling… A cat and mouse, race against the clock that felt like a whirlwind… it’s such a corker of a read!’

Australian Author: Bush School by Peter O’Brien

In 1960, newly minted teacher Peter O’Brien started work as the only teacher at a bush school in Weabonga, two days’ travel by train and mail car from Armidale. Peter was only 20 years old and had never before lived away from his home in Sydney. He’d had some teaching experience, but nothing to prepare him for the monumental challenge of being solely responsible for the education of 18 students, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old. With few lesson plans, scant teaching materials, a wide range of curious minds and ages to prepare for, Peter was daunted by the enormity of the task ahead. Because of Weabonga’s remoteness, the students were already at a disadvantage, but they were keen and receptive and had been blessed with an enthusiastic and committed teacher. Indeed it was the children and their thirst for learning who kept Peter afloat during the early days of shockingly inadequate living conditions, a deficient diet and the terrible loneliness he felt being isolated so far from family, friends and his burgeoning romance.

General: Across the Water by Ingrid Alexandra


In remote Oyster Creek, a beautiful young mother and her baby daughter Ruby have gone missing. But it was no secret that Delilah Waters never wanted children. She wasn’t coping with motherhood, and everyone believes she leapt to her death in the creek, taking Ruby with her. Everyone, that is, except Liz Dawson. Wrestling with her own demons, Liz risks everything to uncover a truth that becomes more complex with every twist. Of all people, Liz knows that just because someone is a reluctant mother, it doesn’t mean they don’t love their child. And it doesn’t mean they’re capable of murder… does it?

Thriller: Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood 


Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart. The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing. When Maggie begs to see her husband, Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of their daughter’s funeral. What really happened that day at the river? Where is Maggie’s husband? And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

Thriller: A Knock at the Door by T.W. Ellis

They ask for your husband. They just want to talk. They’re lying. Your husband isn’t who he says he is, say the people at your door. Come with us. Don’t trust them, says a voice on the phone. Run. Who would you believe? In this terrifying first psychological thriller by bestselling author T.W. Ellis, one woman goes on the run and is forced to question everything she held dear . . .


Saga/Romance: Love after Love by Ingrid Persaud

After Betty Ramdin’s abusive husband dies, she invites a colleague, Mr Chetan, to move in with her and her son Solo as their lodger. Over time these three form an unconventional family, loving and depending on one another. Then on a fateful night Solo overhears Betty confiding in Mr Chetan and learns a secret that plunges him into torment and alienates him from his mother. He leaves Trinidad to live a lonely life in New York City, devastating Betty in the process. Both are buoyed by the continuing love and friendship of Mr Chetan, until his own burdensome secret is uncovered with heart-breaking consequences.


Publication1Little Friends by Jane Shemilt [BorrowBox]

Their children are friends first. They hit it off immediately, as kids do.
So the parents are forced to get to know each other. But as they get closer, they start to take their eyes off their children.
And while they have been looking the other way, evil has crept in.
Every parent’s biggest nightmare is about to come true…
‘Intelligent, compelling and deeply unsettling.’ Ali Land, bestselling author of Good Me Bad Me

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter [BorrowBox]

He watches.
A woman runs alone in the woods. She convinces herself she has no reason to be afraid, but she’s wrong. A predator is stalking the women of Grant County. He lingers in the shadows, until the time is just right to snatch his victim.
He waits.
A decade later, the case has been closed. The killer is behind bars. But then another young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead, and the MO is identical.
He takes.
Although the original trail has gone cold — memories have faded, witnesses have disappeared — agent Will Trent and forensic pathologist Sara Linton must re-open the cold case. But the clock is ticking, and the killer is determined to find his perfect silent wife.


Publication1Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante [BorrowBox]

Jane Tennison must navigate the salacious world of theatre to solve a brutal murder in the heart of London’s West End, in the brilliant new thriller from the Queen of Crime Drama, Lynda La Plante.

Things can’t get much worse for detective Jane Tennison. Unceremoniously kicked off the adrenaline-fuelled Flying Squad, she now plies her trade in Gerald Road, a small and sleepy police station in the heart of London’s affluent Knightsbridge.

With only petty crime to sink her teeth into, Tennison can feel her career slowly flatlining. That is until the discovery of the most brutal murder Jane has ever seen: Charlie Foxley has been found viciously beaten to death with a cricket bat – his body dismembered and disembowelled.

As a big-time theatrical agent, Foxley had a lot of powerful friends – but just as many enemies. And alongside her old friend DS Spencer Gibbs, Tennison must journey into the salacious world of show business to find out which one is the killer, before they strike again.

Just between Us by Rebecca Drake [Libby]

Four suburban mothers and friends conspire to cover up a deadly crime in this heart-stopping novel of suspense in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and Lisa Unger.

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly [indyreads]

It is 1914, and New York socialite Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be travelling to St Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris, and now Eliza is embarking on the trip of a lifetime to see the splendours of Russia.

But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortune-teller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming, she fears the worst for her best friend.

From the turbulent streets of St Petersburg and aristocratic countryside estates to the avenues of Paris to the mansions of Long Island, the lives of Eliza, Sofya and Varinka will intersect in profound ways.





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