The Australia Institute Essential Reading List

The Australia Institute Essential Reading List 2021

The 2021 lockdowns impacted many across the country and around the world. So not only was it a big year of reading for the Australia Institute team, but in our view, many books released this year did not get the attention they deserved.

So please bear with us, for a longer-than-usual 2021 essential reading list from the team here at the Australia Institute.

We hope you find some new reads and enjoy them as much as we did.

Non-Fiction

Econobabble: How to Decode Political Spin and Economic Nonsense

by Richard Denniss

A fully updated and expanded edition of Richard Denniss’ clear, witty guide to understanding political jargon about the economy.

‘Economics is like a tyre lever: it can be used to solve a problem, or to beat someone over the head.’

What is econobabble? We hear it every day, when politicians and commentators use incomprehensible economic jargon to dress up their self-interest as the national interest, to make the absurd seem inevitable or the inequitable seem fair. This book exposes the stupid arguments, bizarre contradictions and complete lack of evidence upon which much ‘common sense’ about the economy rests in Australia.

Econobabble is for those who, deep down, have never believed that it makes sense, economic or otherwise, to help poor people by slashing public spending on the services they need. It’s for those who have a sneaking suspicion that it would be cheaper to avoid the effects of climate change than to let them happen and then ‘adapt’. And it’s for those who think pitting public health and aged care against the economy is a false dilemma, one that’s short-sighted, callous and potentially dangerous.

In this new edition, Richard Denniss demolishes the tired and misleading arguments of right-wing economic ‘experts’ with humour and precision, empowering you to cut through the babble and reach the truth.


The Public Square Project: Reimagining Our Digital Future

edited by Peter Lewis & Jordan Guiao

A new blueprint for a more democratic digital space.

Western democracy has always been anchored by the idea of a public space where people gather to share ideas, mediate difference and make sense of the world. When Facebook blocked Australian users from viewing or sharing news in 2021, it sounded the alarm worldwide on our growing reliance on global tech companies to fulfil this critical role in a digital world. Facebook’s hostile act, constituting a very real threat to participatory democracy, was a direct response to government attempts to regulate Big Tech’s advertising monopoly and to mediate its impact on public interest journalism. The conflict sparked a new sense of urgency around the growing movement to imagine alternative digital spaces that operate in the public interest rather than simply for a commercial bottom line.

Can we create sustainable media models to help us tackle society’s problems? Can we engender a civic platform built on facts and civility? Can we control the power of our data and use it to promote the common good? The Public Square Project draws together leading tech scholars, industry experts, writers and activists to chart a path towards a public square worthy of the name.


The Nordic Edge: Policy Possibilities for Australia

edited by Andrew Scott & Rod Campbell

How the Nordic approach can shape Australia’s future for better.

Climate and energy. Work/life balance. Mining taxes. Progress on policy issues like these is essential, and yet they have become subject to the most rancorous partisanship, the precipitation of culture wars, and have brought down governments. It is impossible to make any progress without major political upheaval. Or so it seems in Australia. Yet Nordic countries have taken a ‘ja, we can’ approach to these and other issues such as independent foreign policy, prison reform, gender equality, retraining for workforce participation and media diversity. Their experience shows that progress in these areas is not only possible, but can be achieved while increasing prosperity and community wellbeing. The Nordic Edge explores policies adopted by Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland and the exciting possibilities they provide to overcome Australia’s seemingly intractable problems.

Leading Australian and Nordic thinkers and policy practitioners, including Sweden’s recent Foreign Minister, outline proven approaches to help Australia become a fairer, happier, wealthier and more environmentally responsible country. Re-enter Australia’s policy debates with optimism, new ideas and a Nordic edge.

Contributors: Professor Andrew Scott; Rod Campbell; Dr Richard Denniss; Matt Grudnoff; Tom Swann; former Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström; Dr Lenita Freidenvall; Professor Marian Sawer; James Fleming; Richie Merzian; Dan Cass; Audrey Quicke; Ebony Bennett; Dr Maria Rae; and Associate Professor Anna Eriksson, with a foreword by Ben Oquist.


Toxic: The Rotting Underbelly of the Tasmanian Salmon Industry

by Richard Flanagan

Is Tasmanian salmon one big lie?

In a triumph of marketing, the Tasmanian salmon industry has for decades succeeded in presenting itself as world’s best practice and its product as healthy and clean, grown in environmentally pristine conditions. What could be more appealing than the idea of Atlantic salmon sustainably harvested in some of the world’s purest waters?

But what are we eating when we eat Tasmanian salmon?

Richard Flanagan’s exposé of the salmon farming industry in Tasmania is chilling. In the way that Rachel Carson took on the pesticide industry in her ground-breaking book Silent Spring, Flanagan tears open an industry that is as secretive as its practices are destructive and its product disturbing.

From the burning forests of the Amazon to the petrochemicals you aren’t told about to the endangered species being pushed to extinction you don’t know about; from synthetically pink-dyed flesh to seal bombs . . . If you care about what you eat, if you care about the environment, this is a book you need to read.

Toxic is set to become a landmark book of the twenty-first century.


Dead in the Water: A very angry book about our greatest environmental catastrophe. . . the death of the Murray-Darling Basin

by Richard Beasley

Full-throated and provocative, this is a very personal battle cry to save our most precious natural resource.

‘We want to reset these bio-diversities and the ecologies in our country. We want to see our fish spawning as they once were, our animals coming back down to drink. Fresh quality water out of the Coorong, not this super saline stuff that we’re living in today’s environment. It’s slowly dying. You can smell the impact of what’s happening . . .’ Grant Rigney, Ngarrindjeri Nation, from his sworn evidence at the Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin.

Richard Beasley is fed up. He’s fed up with vested interests killing off Australia’s most precious water resource. He’s fed up with the cowardice and negligence that have allowed Big Agriculture and irrigators to destroy a river system that can sustain both the environment and the communities that depend on it. He’s fed up that a noble plan to save Murray-Darling Basin based on the ‘best scientific knowledge’ has instead been corroded by lies, the denial of climate change, pseudoscience and political expediency.

He pulls no punches. He’s provocative, he’s outrageous, he points the finger without shame. And he will leave you very, very angry. Dead in the Water would be political satire of the highest order . . . if it weren’t so tragically true.


Why you should give a f*ck about farming

by Gabrielle Chan

There is no farmers and others. If you eat or wear clothes, the decisions you make influence farming.

‘Eaters will be the ultimate arbiter of where and how food is grown and how the land is cared for … We all have a stake in the future of food and farming. I am going to show you why.’

Farming sits at the intersection of the world’s biggest challenges around climate change, soil, water, energy, natural disasters and zoonotic diseases. Yet Australia has no national food policy. No national agriculture strategy. Our water policy is close to the Hunger Games. People with means can shop at farmers’ markets and order brunch, by the provenance of their eggs, bacon, butter, tomatoes and greens. But do they really understand the trade-offs required to grow it?

In this book Gabrielle Chan examines the past, present and future of farming with her characteristically forensic eye. She lays out how our nation, its leaders, farmers and eaters can usher in new ways for us to work and live on our unique and precious land. We must forge a new social contract if we are to grow healthy food on a thriving landscape, while mitigating climate and biodiversity loss.

This important book will change your thinking about food, farming and how you eat.


Currowan: The story of a fire and a community during Australia’s worst summer

by Bronwyn Adcock

A moving insider’s account of surviving one of Australia’s worst bushfires – and how we live with fire in a climate-changed world.

The gripping, deeply moving account of a terrifying fire – among the most ferocious Australia has ever seen

The Currowan fire – ignited by a lightning strike in a remote forest and growing to engulf the New South Wales South Coast – was one of the most terrifying episodes of Australia’s Black Summer. It burnt for seventy-four days, consuming nearly 5000 square kilometres of land, destroying well over 500 homes and leaving many people shattered.

Bronwyn Adcock fled the inferno with her children. Her husband, fighting at the front, rang with a plea for help before his phone went dead, leaving her to fear: will he make it out alive?
In Currowan, Bronwyn tells her story and those of many others – what they saw, thought and felt as they battled a blaze of never-before-seen intensity. In the aftermath, there were questions: why were resources so few that many faced the flames alone? Why was there back-burning on a day of extreme fire danger? Why weren’t we better prepared?

Currowan is a portrait of tragedy, survival and the power of community. Set against the backdrop of a nation in the grip of an intensifying crisis, this immersive account of a region facing disaster is a powerful glimpse into a new, more dangerous world – and how we build resilience.


The Great Forest: The rare beauty of the Victorian Central Highlands

by David Lindenmayer with photographs by Chris Taylor, Sarah Rees and Steven Kuiter

A tribute to an extraordinary landscape now under severe threat. The exquisite photographs reveal the mountain ash forests of central Victoria to be one of Australia’s great natural treasures.

The city of Melbourne lies on the edge of a vast plain surrounded by a green and blue mountainous rim, whose hills and peaks are home to the magnificent Mountain Ash, the tallest flowering plant on the planet. The Mountain Ash forests were 20 million years in the making, and deep within the valleys are even more ancient, Gondwanic rainforests. The Great Forest showcases these forests as well as the world’s tallest moss, breathtaking snow gum plateaus and the remnants of massive extinct volcanoes.

The Great Forest is a tribute to extraordinary landscapes now under severe threat from logging and wildfires, such as the catastrophic fire that struck on Black Saturday in 2009. It uncovers the intricate webs of life that make Mountain Ash forests so much more than their towering trees. It explores the unique forests that have sustained the Gunaikurnai, Taungurung and Wurundjeri peoples for tens of thousands of years, and that provide a home for creatures found almost nowhere else. The exquisite photographs reveal the Central Highlands of Victoria to be one of Australia’s largely undiscovered natural treasures.


The Winter Road: A Story of Legacy, Land and a Killing at Croppa Creek

by Kate Holden

On a country road in Croppa Creek, farmer Ian Turnbull faced environmental officer Glen Turner. What happened next shocked Australia.

July 2014, a lonely road at twilight outside Croppa Creek, New South Wales: 80-year-old farmer Ian Turnbull takes out a .22 and shoots environmental officer Glen Turner in the back.

On one side, a farmer hoping to secure his family’s wealth on the richest agricultural soil in the country. On the other, his obsession: the government man trying to apply environmental laws.

The brutal killing of Glen Turner splits open the story of our place on this land. Is our time on this soil a tale of tragedy or triumph – are we reaping what we’ve sown? Do we owe protection to the land, or does it owe us a living? And what happens when, in pursuit of a legacy, a man creates terrible consequences?

Kate Holden brings her discerning eye to a gripping tale of law, land and inheritance. It is the story of Australia.


With The Falling of The Dusk

by Stan Grant

A deeply powerful, poetic and compelling book on the challenges facing our world, from one of Australia’s most experienced journalists and international commentators, Stan Grant.

History is turning.

In only a few short decades, we have come a long way from Francis Fukuyama’s declaration of the ‘end of history’ and the triumph of liberal democracy in 1989. Now, with the inexorable rise of China, the ascendancy of authoritarianism and the retreat of democracy, the world stands at a moment of crisis. This is a time of momentous upheaval and enormous geopolitical shifts, compounded by the global pandemic, economic collapse and growing inequality, Islamist and far right terror, and a resurgent white supremacy. The world is in lockdown and the showdown with China is accelerating – and while the West has been at the forefront of history for 200 years, it must now adapt to a world it no longer dominates. At this moment, we stand on a precipice – what will become of us?

Stan Grant is one of our foremost observers and chroniclers of the world in crisis. Weaving his personal experiences of reporting from the front lines of the world’s flashpoints, together with his deep understanding of politics, history and philosophy, he explores what is driving the world to crisis and how it might be averted. He fears the worst, but begins to chart the way forward. There is bitterness, anger and history here, but there is also the capacity for negotiation, forgiveness and hope. A powerful and incisive analysis of the state of our world, and our place within it.


The Kindness Revolution: How We Can Restore Hope, Rebuild Trust and Inspire Optimism

by Hugh Mackay

Generous, erudite, optimistic and candid… Hugh Mackay encourages us to find the best in ourselves and in our society in both good and troubled times.

Revolutions never start at the top. If we dare to dream of a more loving country – kinder, more compassionate, more cooperative, more respectful, more inclusive, more egalitarian, more harmonious, less cynical – there’s only one way to start turning that dream into a reality: each of us must live as if this is already that country.

Following the ravages of 2020’s bushfires and pandemic on our mental and emotional health and on the economy, Hugh Mackay reflects on the challenges we faced during that year of upheaval and the questions many of us have asked. What really matters to me? Am I living the kind of life I want? What sort of society do I want us to become?

Urging us not to let those questions go, and pointing to our inspiring displays of kindness and consideration, our personal sacrifices for the common good and our heightened appreciation of the value of local neighbourhoods and communities, he asks in turn: ‘Could we become renowned as a loving country, rather than simply a “lucky” one?’

Absorbing, wise and inspiring, The Kindness Revolution is a distillation of Hugh Mackay’s life’s work. Written for our times, this truly remarkable book shows how crises and catastrophes often turn out to be the making of us.


My Year of Living Vulnerably

by Rick Morton

From Rick Morton, the author of the bestselling, critically acclaimed memoir One Hundred Years of Dirt comes a dazzlingly brilliant book about love, trauma and recovery, My Year of Living Vulnerably.

‘Wonderfully readable and wide-ranging exploration of the visible and invisible touchstones of our lives … this is nourishing reading for our lonely, frightening and fraught times. Part self-help book, part treatise on the importance of love, kindness and forgiveness … Morton is a national treasure and we need more like him.’ Books+Publishing

In early 2019, Rick Morton, author of acclaimed, bestselling memoir One Hundred Years of Dirt, was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder – which, as he says, is just a fancy way of saying that one of the people who should have loved him the most during childhood didn’t.

So, over the course of twelve months, he went on a journey to rediscover love. To get better. Not cured, not fixed. Just, better. This is a book about his journey to betterness, his year of living vulnerably. It’s a book about love. What love is, how we see it, what forms it takes, how we practice it in our lives, what it means to us, and how we really, really can’t live without it, even if, like Rick for many years, we think we can.

As he says: ‘People think they want cars – and they do, to get to jobs and appointments in cities and regions where public transport has failed them. But what gets them into those cars, out of the house, out of bed for God’s sake, is love.’


Who Gets to be Smart: Privilege, Power and Knowledge

by Bri Lee

In 2018 Bri Lee’s brilliant young friend Damian is named a Rhodes Scholar, an apex of academic achievement. When she goes to visit him and takes a tour of Oxford and Rhodes House, she begins questioning her belief in a system she has previously revered, as she learns the truth behind what Virginia Woolf described almost a century earlier as the ‘stream of gold and silver’ that flows through elite institutions and dictates decisions about who deserves to be educated there. The question that forms in her mind drives the following two years of conversations and investigations: who gets to be smart?

Interrogating the adage, ‘knowledge is power’, and calling institutional prejudice to account, Bri once again dives into her own privilege and presumptions to bring us the stark and confronting results. Far from offering any ‘equality of opportunity’, Australia’s education system exacerbates social stratification. The questions Bri asks of politics and society have their answers laid bare in the responses to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.


Full Circle: A Search for the World that Comes Next

by Scott Ludlam

A visionary book for our wild times

Scott Ludlam draws on his experience as a senator and activist to capture our world on a precipice and explore what comes next.

One way or another, we are headed for radical change. We are now in the Anthropocene – humans are changing the earth’s climate irreversibly, and political, human and natural systems are on the cusp of collapse. Ludlam shines a light on the bankruptcy of the financial and political systems that have led us here: systems based on the exploitation of the earth’s resources, and 99 per cent of the world’s population labouring for the wealth of 1 per cent.

In Full Circle, Ludlam seeks old and new ways to make our systems humane, regenerative and more in tune with nature. He travels the globe to see what happens when ordinary people stand up to corporations and tyrants. He takes the reader on a journey through time to discover the underlying patterns of life. And he finds that we are at a unique moment when billions of tiny actions by individuals and small groups are coalescing into one great movement that could transform history.

Bringing together a wealth of new ideas, Full Circle outlines a new ecological politics.


When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from Ourselves

by Steven Nadler and Lawrence Shapiro

There is an epidemic of bad thinking in the world today. An alarming number of people are embracing crazy, even dangerous ideas. They believe that vaccinations cause autism. They reject the scientific consensus on climate change as a “hoax.” And they blame the spread of COVID-19 on the 5G network or a Chinese cabal. Worse, bad thinking drives bad acting—it even inspired a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol. In this book, Steven Nadler and Lawrence Shapiro argue that the best antidote for bad thinking is the wisdom, insights, and practical skills of philosophy. When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People provides an engaging tour through the basic principles of logic, argument, evidence, and probability that can make all of us more reasonable and responsible citizens.

When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People shows how we can more readily spot and avoid flawed arguments and unreliable information; determine whether evidence supports or contradicts an idea; distinguish between merely believing something and knowing it; and much more. In doing so, the book reveals how epistemology, which addresses the nature of belief and knowledge, and ethics, the study of moral principles that should govern our behavior, can reduce bad thinking. Moreover, the book shows why philosophy’s millennia-old advice about how to lead a good, rational, and examined life is essential for escaping our current predicament.

In a world in which irrationality has exploded to deadly effect, When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People is a timely and essential guide for a return to reason.


Reset: Restoring Australia After the Pandemic Recession

by Ross Garnaut

In Reset, renowned economist Ross Garnaut shows how the COVID-19 crisis offers Australia the opportunity to reset its economy and build a successful future – and why the old approaches will not work.

Garnaut develops the idea of a renewable superpower, he calls for a basic income and he explores what the ‘decoupling’ of China and America will mean for Australia.

In the wake of COVID-19, the world has entered its deepest recession since the 1930s. Shocks of this magnitude throw history from its established course – either for good or evil. In 1942 – in the depths of war – the Australian government established a Department of Post-War Reconstruction to plan a future that not only restored existing strengths but also rebuilt the country for a new and better future. As we strive to overcome the coronavirus challenge, we need new, practical ideas to restore Australia. This book has them.


The New Climate War: the Fight to Take Back Our Planet

by Michael E. Mann

A renowned climate scientist shows how fossil-fuel companies have waged a thirty-year campaign to deflect blame and responsibility and to delay action on climate change, and offers a battle plan for how we can save the planet.

Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the ways that we’ve been told can slow climate change. But the inordinate emphasis on behaviour is the result of a marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals.

Fossil-fuel companies have followed the example of other industries deflecting blame (think ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’) or greenwashing. Meanwhile, they’ve blocked efforts to regulate or price carbon emissions, have run PR campaigns aimed at discrediting viable alternatives, and have abdicated their responsibility to fix the problem they’ve created. The result has been disastrous for our planet.

In The New Climate War, Mann argues that all is not lost. He draws the battle lines between the people and the polluters – fossil-fuel companies, right-wing plutocrats, and petro-states. And he outlines a plan for forcing our governments and corporations to wake up and make real change, including:

  • a common-sense, attainable approach to carbon pricing – and a revision of the well-intentioned but flawed currently proposed version of the Green New Deal;
  • allowing renewable energy to compete fairly against fossil fuels;
  • debunking the false narratives and arguments that have worked their way into the climate debate and driven a wedge between even those who support climate-change solutions;
  • and combatting climate doomism and despair-mongering.

With immensely powerful vested interests aligned in defence of the fossil-fuel status quo, the societal tipping point won’t happen without the active participation of citizens everywhere aiding in the collective push forward. This book will reach, inform, and enable citizens everywhere to join this battle for our planet.


Power Play: Breaking Through Bias, Barriers and Boys’ Clubs

by Julia Banks

Power Play is an honest guide for women who aspire to leadership in the workplace and in the world, from the trailblazing Julia Banks.

Having won the ‘unwinnable’ seat that secured the Coalition Government majority in 2016, Julia Banks shocked Australia when she announced she would stand as an independent MP in 2018, having experienced a toxic workplace culture in the country’s centre of power – designed by men for their dominance. Julia doesn’t just know what power looks like in a political sense; she made it to the top of her game in the legal and corporate sectors before running for parliament. And at every level, she had to navigate through the bias, barriers and boys’ clubs that aim to silence women or deter them from leadership roles.

Power Play reveals the unvarnished realities of any workplace where power disparities and gender politics collide: from the unequal opportunities, casual sexism and systemic misogyny, to pressures around looks, age and family responsibilities, and the consequences of speaking out. Julia shares personal stories, practical advice, and a resounding argument for why women aren’t the problem – but why more women in decision-making positions will help us find the solution.

For anyone who is aspiring to lead, this book will help you to navigate there. And for anyone who believes that women’s voices need to be heard equally, it will inspire you to strive until that is our reality.


Sex, Lies & Question Time: Why the successes and struggles of women in Australia’s parliament matter to us all

by Kate Ellis

In Sex, Lies and Question Time, former MP Kate Ellis explores the good, the bad and the ugly of life as a woman in Australian politics.

Seventy-seven years after the first woman entered Australian parliament, female politicians are still the minority. They cop scrutiny over their appearance, their sex lives, their parenting and their portfolios in a way few of their male colleagues do. It’s time to call bullshit on the toxic Canberra culture.

Alongside her own experiences from fifteen years in parliament, Kate Ellis reveals a frank and fascinating picture of women across Australian politics, including Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop, Linda Burney, Sussan Ley, Penny Wong, Sarah Hanson-Young and Pauline Hanson. Kate explores issues like sexism, motherhood, appearances, social media, the sisterhood and, of course, sex. But she also celebrates everything Australian female politicians have achieved.

Wry, candid and provocative, Sex, Lies and Question Time is a powerful call to demand more of our leaders and our institutions. It reminds us we need greater diversity to shape a fairer Australia, where ‘women’s issues’ are everyone’s issues. A better parliament means a better Australia. The stakes are high, and the standards should be too.


Media Tarts: How the Australian Press Frames Female Politicians

by Julia Baird

A powerful insight into how the media treats female politicians – now revised and updated with a new foreword by Annabel Crabb – from one of our foremost journalists and political commentators, Julia Baird.

‘History is crucial. We need to know that treating women as decorations, subordinates and playthings, even and sometimes especially in our houses of power, is not new. We know that from the moment women walked into parliament and took up space alongside men, they have been treated as objects … When men were featured often in the press, they were rising stars. When women were featured often in the press, they were media tarts’.

Julia Baird’s seminal work, Media Tarts, was originally published in 2004. Based on a series of extensive interviews, the book provides an in-depth analysis of the influence of a generation of prominent female politicians on the Australian political system, exploring the part played by the press in their downfall. Almost two decades later, it is evident how little has changed. Now revisited and updated with a new foreword, Media Tarts is essential reading from one of our foremost journalists and political commentators, providing a powerful, sobering and incisive insight into how deep the currents of misogyny run, and how the media continues to treat female politicians. If we want to understand what is happening today, and avoid the endless repeating of the same story, we need to reckon with our past.


Lets Talk About Hard Things

by Anna Sale

From the host of the popular WNYC podcast Death, Sex, & MoneyLet’s Talk About Hard Things is “like a good conversation with a friend” (The New Yorker) where “no topic is off-limits when it comes to creating meaningful connection” (Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone).

Anna Sale wants you to have that conversation. You know the one. The one that you’ve been avoiding or putting off, maybe for years. The one that you’ve thought “they’ll never understand” or “do I really want to bring that up?” or “it’s not going to go well, so why even try?”

Sale is the founder and host of WNYC’s popular, award-winning podcast Death, Sex, & Money or as the New York Times dubbed her “a therapist at happy hour.” She and her guests have direct and thought-provoking conversations, discussing topics that most of us are too squeamish, polite, or nervous to bring up. But Sale argues that we all experience these hard things, and by not talking to one another, we cut ourselves off, leading us to feel isolated and disconnected from people who can help us most.

In Let’s Talk About Hard Things, Sale uses the best of what she’s learned from her podcast to reveal that when we dare to talk about hard things, we learn about ourselves, others, and the world that we make together. Diving into five of the most fraught conversation topics—death, sex, money, family, and identity—she moves between memoir, fascinating snapshots of a variety of Americans opening up about their lives, and expert opinions to show why having tough conversations is important and how to do them in a thoughtful and generous way. She uncovers that listening may be the most important part of a tough conversation, that the end goal should be understanding without the pressure of reconciliation, and that there are some things that words can’t fix (and why that’s actually okay).


Minor Feelings: A Reckoning on Race and the Asian Condition

by Cathy Park Hong

  • Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography 2021
  • Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction 2021

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative–and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world.

Binding these essays together is Hong’s theory of “minor feelings.” As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these “minor feelings” occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality–when you believe the lies you’re told about your own racial identity. Minor feelings are not small, they’re dissonant–and in their tension Hong finds the key to the questions that haunt her.

With sly humor and a poet’s searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche–and of a writer’s search to both uncover and speak the truth.


Girt Nation: The Unauthorised History of Australia Volume 3

by David Hunt

David Hunt tramples the tall poppies of the past in charting Australia’s transformation from aspiration to nation –an epic tale of charlatans and costermongers, of bush bards and bushier beards, of workers and women who weren’t going to take it anymore.

Girt Nation introduces Alfred Deakin, the Liberal necromancer whose dead advisors made Australia a better place to live, and Banjo Paterson, the jihadist who called on God and the Prophet to drive the Australian infidels from the Sudan ‘like sand before the gale’. And meet Catherine Helen Spence, the feminist polymath who envisaged a utopian future of free contraceptives, easy divorce and immigration restrictions to prevent the ‘Chinese coming to destroy all we have struggled for!’

Thrill as Jandamarra leads the Bunuba against Western Australia, and Valentine Keating leads the Crutchy Push, an all-amputee street gang, against the conventionally limbed. Gasp as Essendon Football Club trainer Carl von Ledebur injects his charges with crushed dog and goat testicles. Weep as Scott Morrison’s communist great-great-aunt Mary Gilmore holds a hose in New Australia. And marvel at how Labor, a political party that spent a quarter of a century infighting over how to spell its own name, ever rose to power.


Betoota-isms: A guide to The Betoota Advocate’s most memorable slang, nicknames and sayings

by the Betoota Advocate

A guide to The Betoota Advocate’s most memorable slang, nicknames and sayings.

The Betoota Advocate prides itself as not only Australia’s oldest newspaper, but also its most ardent documenter of our nation’s ever-changing language.

Betoota-isms is a deep dive into Australian culture, invention and creativity with a complete record of ‘English’ as it is used from the Member’s Box of the MCG to the change rooms of the Betoota Dolphins rugby league club.

Discover the meaning of the Michelle Pfeiffer (the Pfizer).

Identify, with confidence, our nation’s leaders: Scotty from Marketing, Dictator Dan and Hot Mess Gladys.

Ask your mate to pick you up a Bachelor’s Handbag and some bread rolls on his next run to Coles.

As authoritative as the Macquarie Dictionary and as exhaustive as a Fortitude Valley pub crawl, Betoota-isms is your one-stop guide to the grandeur of the great Australian vernacular.


Growing Up Disabled in Australia

edited by Carly Findlay

A rich collection of writing from those negotiating disability in their lives – a group whose voices are not heard often enough
‘My body and its place in the world seemed normal to me. Why wouldn’t it?’
‘I didn’t grow up disabled; I grew up with a problem. A problem that those around me wanted to fix.’
‘We have all felt that uncanny sensation that someone is watching us.’
‘The diagnosis helped but it didn’t fix everything.’
‘Don’t fear the labels.’
‘That identity, which I feared for so long, is now one of my greatest qualities.’
‘I had become disabled – not just by my disease, but by the way the world treated me. When I found that out, everything changed.’

One in five Australians has a disability. And disability presents itself in many ways. Yet disabled people are still underrepresented in the media and in literature. In Growing Up Disabled in Australia – compiled by writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay OAM – more than forty writers with a disability or chronic illness share their stories, in their own words. The result is illuminating.

Contributors include senator Jordon Steele-John, paralympian Isis Holt, Dion Beasley, Sam Drummond, Astrid Edwards, Sarah Firth, El Gibbs, Eliza Hull, Gayle Kennedy, Carly-Jay Metcalfe, Fiona Murphy, Jessica Walton and many more.

Growing Up Disabled in Australia is the fifth book in the highly acclaimed, bestselling Growing Up series.


Into the Rip

by Damien Cave

When Damien Cave brought his young family to Sydney to set up the New York Times’ Australian Bureau, they encountered the local pursuits of Nippers and surfing – and a completely different approach to risk that changed the way they lived their lives.

Damien Cave has always been fascinated by risk. Having covered the war in Iraq and moved to Mexico City with two babies in nappies, he and his wife Diana thought they understood something about the subject.

But when they arrived in Sydney so that Cave could establish The New York Times’s Australia Bureau, life near the ocean confronted them with new ideas and questions, at odds with their American mindset that risk was a matter of individual choices. Surf-lifesaving and Nippers showed that perhaps it could be managed together, by communities. And instead of being either eliminated or romanticised, it might instead be respected and even embraced.

And so Cave set out to understand how our current attitude to risk developed – and why it’s not necessarily good for us.

Into the Rip is partly the story of this New York family learning to live better by living with the sea and it is partly the story of how humans manage the idea of risk. Interviewing experts and everyday heroes, Cave asks critical questions like: Is safety overrated? Why do we miscalculate risk so often and how can we improve? Is it selfish to take risks or can more exposure make for stronger families, citizens and nations? And how do we factor in legitimate fears and major disasters like Cave has covered in his time here: the Black Summer fires; the Christchurch massacre; and, of course, Covid?

The result is Grit meets Phosphorescence and Any Ordinary Day – a book that will change the way you and your family think about facing the world’s hazards.


Australia & the Pacific: A History

by Ian Hoskins

Australia’s deep past and its modern history are intrinsically linked to the Pacific. In Australia & the Pacific, Ian Hoskins — award-winning author of Sydney Harbour and Coast — expands his gaze to examine Australia’s relationship with the Pacific region; from our ties with Papua New Guinea and New Zealand to our complex connections with China, Japan and the United States. This revealing, sweeping narrative history begins with the shifting of the continents to the coming of the first Australians and, thousands of years later, the Europeans who dispossessed them. Hoskins explores colonists’ attempts to exploit the riches of the region while keeping ‘white Australia’ separate from neighbouring Asians, Melanesians and Polynesians. He examines how the advent of modern human rights and the creation of the United Nations after World War Two changed Australia and investigates our increasing regional engagement following the rise of China and the growing unpredictability of US foreign policy. Concluding with the offshore detention of asylum seekers and current debates over climate change, Hoskins questions Australia’s responsibilities towards our increasingly imperilled neighbours.


The Accidental Prime Minister

by Annika Smethurst

The definitive biography of Australia’s thirtieth prime minister, Scott Morrison.

‘Critics have repeatedly underestimated Morrison’s political skill and overplayed the impact of his missteps. But Morrison seems to understand, more than most, what gets through to mainstream Australians and what they ignore.’

Nine months after the spill that catapulted Scott Morrison to the top job, he won the 2019 election, surprising politicians and pundits throughout the nation. Yet, little was really known about the former marketing man whose hard-nosed political instincts and ‘daggy dad’ persona took him all the way to Kirribilli House.

A devout Christian family man on one hand, ambitious and poll-obsessed on the other, the seemingly blunder-prone Morrison has surpassed expectations of his tenure and voter popularity more than once, making him one of Australia’s most underestimated modern political figures.

In this first biography of the thirtieth prime minister of Australia, multi-award-winning political journalist Annika Smethurst examines the fundamental question about Morrison: is his success a case of being in the right place at the right time, or is he one of the most strategic and shrewd political operators to ever hold the office?

‘A penetrating study of relentless ambition and making “ordinary” the new political norm – none of it edifying, all of it essential reading‘ Laura Tingle


Lies and Falsehoods: The Morrison Government and The New Culture of Deceit

by Bernard Keane

Lies and Falsehoods: The Morrison Government and The New Culture of Deceit by well-known political journalist Bernard Keane combines Crikey’s eye-opening dossier of Scott Morrison’s documented lies with Keane’s insightful take on why deceivers dominate in the new era of politics.

All politicians lie. They twist the truth, exaggerate and spin. But blatant lying has now become a standard part of political discourse, led by Donald Trump and carried on by Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison. Combine this with an all-out assault on the truth in public debate along with the biggest communications revolution since the printing press, and you have a disaster in real time: a sea of fake news, hyper-partisanship and polarisation.

No society or democracy can function without trust, and the consequences of this profound shift are clear. The first step to a remedy is in understanding both the liars and the environments in which they lie. Lies and Falsehoods does exactly that, in this highly readable and incisive account of how we found ourselves in this fractured post-truth world, and how we might get out.


The Game

by Sean Kelly

What happens when the prime minister views politics as a game?

A must-read account of a man, a time and a nation.

Sean Kelly gives us the definitive portrait of Scott Morrison – a politician not quite like any other. Morrison understands that politics has become a game – one he is determined to win. He also understands something essential about Australia, something many of us are unwilling to admit, even to ourselves. But there are things Scott Morrison does not understand. This is the story of those failures, too – and of how Morrison’s approach to politics has become a dangerous liability.


Media Capture: How Money, Digital Platforms and Governments Control and the News

edited by Anya Schiffrin

Who controls the media today? There are many media systems across the globe that claim to be free yet whose independence has been eroded. As demagogues rise, independent voices have been squeezed out. Corporate-owned media companies that act in the service of power increasingly exercise soft censorship. Tech giants such as Facebook and Google have dramatically changed how people access information, with consequences that are only beginning to be felt.

This book features pathbreaking analysis from journalists and academics of the changing nature and peril of media capture–how formerly independent institutions fall under the sway of governments, plutocrats, and corporations. Contributors including Emily Bell, Felix Salmon, Joshua Marshall, Joel Simon, and Nikki Usher analyze diverse cases of media capture worldwide–from the United Kingdom to Turkey to India and beyond–many drawn from firsthand experience. They examine the role played by new media companies and funders, showing how the confluence of the growth of big tech and falling revenues for legacy media has led to new forms of control. Contributions also shed light on how the rise of right-wing populists has catalyzed the crisis of global media. They also chart a way forward, exploring the growing need for a policy response and sustainable models for public-interest investigative journalism. Providing valuable insight into today’s urgent threats to media independence, Media Capture is essential reading for anyone concerned with defending press freedom in the digital age.


Automation and the Future of Work

by Aaron Benanav

A consensus-shattering account of automation technologies and their effect on workplaces and the labor market

Silicon Valley titans, politicians, techno-futurists and social critics have united in arguing that we are living on the cusp of an era of rapid technological automation, heralding the end of work as we know it. But does the much-discussed “rise of the robots” really explain the jobs crisis that awaits us on the other side of the coronavirus?

In Automation and the Future of Work, Aaron Benanav uncovers the structural economic trends that will shape our working lives far into the future. What social movements, he asks, are required to propel us into post-scarcity, if technological innovation alone can’t deliver it? In response to calls for a universal basic income that would maintain a growing army of redundant workers, he offers a counter-proposal.


Time for Socialism

by Thomas Piketty

A chronicle of events that shook the world from the author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Over the past four years, world-renowned economist Thomas Piketty documented his close observations on current events through a regular column in the French newspaper Le Monde. His pen captured the rise and fall of Trump, the drama of Brexit, Macron’s ascendance to the French presidency, the unfolding of a global pandemic, and much else besides, always through the lens of Piketty’s fight for a more equitable world.

This collection brings together those articles and is prefaced by an extended introductory essay, in which Piketty argues that the time has come to support an inclusive and expansive conception of socialism as a counterweight against the hypercapitalism that defines our current economic ideology. These essays offer a first draft of history from one of the world’s leading economists and public figures, detailing the struggle against inequalities and tax evasion, in favor of a federalist Europe and a globalization more respectful of work and the environment.


American Kleptocracy: How the US created the greatest money-laundering scheme in history

by Casey Michel

An explosive investigation into how the United States of America built one of the largest illicit offshore finance systems in the world.

For years, one country has acted as the greatest offshore haven in the world, attracting hundreds of billions of dollars in illicit finance tied directly to corrupt regimes, extremist networks, and the worst the world has to offer. But it hasn’t been the sand-splattered Caribbean islands, or even traditional financial secrecy havens like Switzerland or Panama that have come to dominate the offshoring world. Instead, the country profiting the most also happens to be the one that still claims to be the moral leader of the free world, and the one that claims to be leading the fight against the crooked and the corrupt: the United States of America.

American Kleptocracy examines just how the United States’ implosion into a centre of global offshoring took place: how states such as Delaware and Nevada perfected the art of the anonymous shell company; how post-9/11 reformers watched their success usher in a new flood of illicit finance directly into the U.S.; how African despots and post-Soviet oligarchs came to dominate American coastlines, American industries, and entire cities and small towns across the American Midwest; how Nazi-era lobbyists birthed an entire industry of spin-men whitewashing transnational crooks and despots, and how dirty money has now begun infiltrating America’s universities, think tanks, and cultural centres; and how those on the frontline are trying to restore America’s legacy of anti-corruption leadership and finally end this reign of American kleptocracy.

It also looks at how Trump’s presidency accelerated all of the trends already on hand and how the Biden administration can, and should, act on this tawdry inheritance.


Trivial Grievances

by Bridie Jabour

An oddly optimistic, witty and insightful generation-defining book for a lost generation, the miserable Millennials, from Bridie Jabour, opinion editor at Guardian Australia

In 2019, Bridie Jabour wrote a piece for the Guardian about the malaise of millennials and how the painful, protracted end of their adolescence is finally hitting home. They’re looking at their lives and thinking: ‘Is this it? Have I chosen the right place to live, the right job, the right partner? Am I, perhaps, not as special as I thought?’

The article went viral overnight and Bridie decided the time had come to write a book about her generation – those much-maligned millennials. After all, she reasoned, this generation is coming of age in a unique set of social and economic circumstances, including precarious work, delayed baby-making, rising singledom, a heating planet, loss of religion, increased unstable housing and, now, a pandemic. But despite her assumption that this generation of 31-year-olds is the most miserable ever, she discovered that wasn’t the whole truth …

Forthright, funny, incisive and provocative, Trivial Grievances is truly a book for our times, and for every 20- or 30-something-year-old anxious about their place in the world.


The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century

by Amia Srinivasan

Thrilling, sharp, and deeply humane, philosopher Amia Srinivasan’s The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century upends the way we discuss—or avoid discussing—the problems and politics of sex.

How should we think about sex? It is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside forces; a place where pleasure and ethics can pull wildly apart.

How should we talk about sex? Since #MeToo many have fixed on consent as the key framework for achieving sexual justice. Yet consent is a blunt tool. To grasp sex in all its complexity—its deep ambivalences, its relationship to gender, class, race and power—we need to move beyond yes and no, wanted and unwanted.

We do not know the future of sex—but perhaps we could imagine it. Amia Srinivasan’s stunning debut helps us do just that. She traces the meaning of sex in our world, animated by the hope of a different world. She reaches back into an older feminist tradition that was unafraid to think of sex as a political phenomenon. She discusses a range of fraught relationships—between discrimination and preference, pornography and freedom, rape and racial injustice, punishment and accountability, students and teachers, pleasure and power, capitalism and liberation.

The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century is a provocation and a promise, transforming many of our most urgent political debates and asking what it might mean to be free.


The Missing Among Us

by Erin Stewart

In Australia 38 000 people are reported missing each year and in the US it’s over 600 000. In the UK someone is reported missing every 90 seconds. Many of these cases are never resolved.

Blending long-form journalism with true crime and philosophy,The Missing Among Ustakes us from the Australian bush to the battlefields of Northern France and the perilous space of a refugee camp to explore the stories of the missing. Erin Stewart speaks to parents of missing children, former cult members, detectives and investigators, advocates working on the crisis of missing refugees, a child of the Stolen Generations and many more to trace the mysterious world of missing persons.

Examining famous cases like that of Madeleine McCann to those who are lesser known yet equally loved and mourned, this unique book forces us to see the complex story behind each missing person and those they leave behind.


Our Exceptional Friend: Australia’s Fatal Alliance with the United States

by Emma Shortis

In Our Exceptional Friend, Emma Shortis draws on history, current affairs and questions of morality to mount a compelling and unique case as to why Australia’s relationship with the United States needs a serious overhaul.

Australians are told that we have two choices in this world: the United States, or China. Faced with that choice, Australian governments of all persuasions have always sided with America – even if that means siding with a President like Donald J. Trump. While the election of Joe Biden has led many of us to hope that we might be heading for a calmer, more compassionate world, and a reset of Australia and America’s ‘special relationship,’ going back to ‘normal’ is not only a bad idea – it’s a dangerous and immoral one.

Our Exceptional Friend challenges the old assumption that we have no option other than to submit to one global power at the expense of another, and asks Australians to really examine why it is that we welcome American dominance. In this, our 70th year of the Australia–US alliance, historian Emma Shortis argues it’s time to take a fresh and unflinching look at our special relationship, and examine whose interests it really serves. We don’t have to make a binary choice between subservience to an increasingly broken democracy and abandoning the alliance. There are other options. How can we make it better for us, and make the world a better place for it?


QAnon and On: A Short and Shocking History of Internet Conspiracy Cults

by Van Badham

From Gamergate to Pizzagate and beyond to QAnon, internet manipulation and disinformation campaigns have grown to a geopolitical scale and spilled into real life with devastating consequences, entangling everyone from politicians to Hollywood celebrities.

But what would motivate followers to so forcefully avoid the facts and surrender instead to made-up stories designed to influence and control? It’s a question that has haunted Van, herself a veteran of social media’s relentless trolling wars. In this daring investigation, Van exposes some of the internet’s most extreme communities to understand conspiracy cults from the inside.

QAnon and On is the story of the modern internet, the farscape of political belief and a disinformation pipeline built between the two that poses an ongoing threat to democracy itself. Shocking and mesmerising in equal measure, this book will open our eyes to the dangers of partisan belief.


The Brumby Wars: The battle for the soul of Australia

by Anthony Sharwood

The passionate debate surrounding the wild horses of Australia’s High Country and beyond – feral pests that ruin the environment or icons of our national heritage?

It’s not just a war over horses. It’s a battle for the soul of Australia.

This is a book about the intense culture war raging around Australia’s wild horses, known as brumbies. It pits a vision of the legendary Man from Snowy River and the iconic ANZAC Light Horse against the spectre of ecosystems destroyed by feral pests. The debate involves powerful politicians and media commentators, and stars an animal mythologised in Australian poetry and prose. But in essence, this is about us. The Brumby Wars is about Australians at war with each other over their vision of an ideal Australia.

To ecologists and people who ski, walk and fish in the High Country and other areas where the brumbies proliferate, they are a feral menace which must be removed to save delicate alpine landscapes. To the descendants of cattle families and many Australians in urban and regional areas, brumbies are untouchable, a symbol of wildness and freedom.

Something has to give. But what? The land or the horses? This war is set to escalate dramatically before we have an answer. Featuring interviews with characters from all sides of the debate, The Brumby Wars is the riveting account of a major national issue and the very human passions it inspires. It is also a journey, a quest to understand what makes us tick in our increasingly polarised country.


The Good Life: How To Grow A Better World

by Hannah Moloney

For Hannah Moloney, a good life is one built around community, sustainability and practising radical hope.

From growing your own food to composting, building a rocket stove to car sharing, The Good Life will show you how living an ordinary life can make an extraordinary contribution to countering the climate emergency. Whether you have a half-acre, a backyard, a tiny balcony or no balcony at all, there are tips and tricks to suit everyone.

Full of wisdom, hope and inspiration, The Good Life is your ultimate guide to improving your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you to create a better world for all.


The Book of Canberra

by Trevor Dickinson


Banksy: Completed

by Carol Diehl

There’s more to Banksy than the painting on the wall: the first in-depth investigation into the mysteries of the world’s most famous living artist.

Banksy is the world’s most famous living artist, yet no one knows who he is. For more than twenty years, his wryly political and darkly humorous spray paintings have appeared mysteriously on urban walls around the globe, generating headlines and controversy. Art critics disdain him, but the public (and the art market) love him. With this generously illustrated book, artist and critic Carol Diehl is the first author to probe the depths of the Banksy mystery. Through her exploration of his paintings, installations, writings, and Academy Award-nominated film, Exit through the Gift Shop, Diehl proves unequivocally that there’s more to Banksy than the painting on the wall.

Seeing Banksy as the ultimate provocateur, Diehl investigates the dramas that unfold after his works are discovered, with all of their social, economic, and political implications. She reveals how this trickster rattles the system, whether during his month-long 2013 self-styled New York “residency” or his notorious Dismaland of 2015, a full-scale dystopian “family theme park unsuitable for children” dedicated to the failure of capitalism. Banksy’s work, Diehl shows, is a synthesis of conceptual art, social commentary, and political protest, played out not in museums but where it can have the most effect–on the street, in the real world. The questions Banksy raises about the uses of public and private property, the role of the global corporatocracy, the never-ending wars, and the gap between artworks as luxury goods and as vehicles of social expression, have never been more relevant.


Fiction

One Hundred Days

by Alice Pung

One day, a boy in a nice silver car gives sixteen-year-old Karuna a ride. So Karuna returns the favour.

Eventually, Karuna can’t ignore the reality: she is pregnant. Incensed, her mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat for one hundred days, to protect her from the outside world – and make sure she can’t get into any more trouble. Stuck inside for endless hours, Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of power in her own life, as a new life forms and grows within her.

One Hundred Days is a fractured fairytale exploring the fault lines between love and control. At times tense and claustrophobic, it also brims with humour, warmth and character. It is a magnificent new work from one of Australia’s most celebrated writers.


After Story

by Larissa Behrendt

When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine decides to take her mother, Della, on a tour of England’s most revered literary sites, Jasmine hopes it will bring them closer together and help them reconcile the past.

Twenty-five years earlier the disappearance of Jasmine’s older sister devastated their tight-knit community. This tragedy returns to haunt Jasmine and Della when another child mysteriously goes missing on Hampstead Heath. As Jasmine immerses herself in the world of her literary idols – including Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and Virginia Woolf – Della is inspired to rediscover the wisdom of her own culture and storytelling. But sometimes the stories that are not told can become too great to bear.

Ambitious and engrossing, After Story celebrates the extraordinary power of words and the quiet spaces between. We can be ready to listen, but are we ready to hear?


Once There Were Wolves

by Charlotte McConaghy

From the author of the international bestseller Migrations comes a pulse-pounding new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands.

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team tasked with reintroducing fourteen grey wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape but a broken Aggie, too. However, Inti is not the woman she once was, and may be in need of rewilding herself.

Despite fierce opposition from the locals, Inti’s wolves surprise everyone by thriving, and she begins to let her guard down, even opening up to the possibility of love. But when a local farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, she makes a reckless decision to protect them, testing every instinct she has.

But if her wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will she do when the man she’s been seeing becomes the main suspect?

Propulsive and spellbinding, Once There Were Wolves is the unforgettable tale of a woman desperate to save the creatures she loves. Part thriller, part redemptive love story, Charlotte McConaghy’s profoundly affecting novel will stay with you forever.


The Kyoto Bell

by Colly Campbell

It’s 2141, the weather is savage, energy politics is brutal, and millions of climate refugees from Asia eke out an existence in a greening Australian desert.

Todd, the teenage son of powerful Indigenous energy mogul, Dr Madrigal Phipps, is kidnapped. A furious Dr Phipps gathers her old team from AuZgov Security Services and a renegade hacker, Andaman Marko, to hunt for Todd and his missing neo-Blues band, but both the climate chaos and her shadowy foes are treacherous.

The young people are held captive in a reclusive community in a central Australian gorge, run by a cult of privacy and silence, called the Qwietude. As adolescent tensions of sex and affection escalate, Todd and his friends plan their own escape. They scramble across the ravaged central desert to beat the arrival of the supercharged monsoon, and Todd calls up skills taught by his Indigenous Elders to survive.

Then, out of the blue, Madrigal’s 120-year-old father-in-exile calls with an extraordinary request from Kyoto, the only place on the planet where cherry trees still blossom.

Could Todd’s disappearance and the Old Man’s request be linked? And will the extreme weather prevent Madrigal from rescuing her son?


Crocodile Tears

by Alan Carter

The fifth and final instalment in the award-winning Cato Kwong series, Crocodile Tears sees Cato’s life on the line and his only hope is someone from his past. But can he trust him?

Detective Philip ‘Cato’ Kwong is investigating the death of a retiree found hacked to pieces in his suburban Perth home. The trail leads to Timor-Leste, with its recent blood-soaked history. There, he reunites with an old frenemy, the spook Rory Driscoll who, in Cato’s experience, has always occupied a hazy moral terrain.

Resourceful, multilingual, and hard as nails, Rory has been Canberra’s go-to guy when things get sticky in the Asia-Pacific. Now Rory wants out. But first he’s needed to chaperone a motley group of whistleblowers with a price on their heads. And there’s one on his, too.

‘Alan Carter is one of those authors who does not seem to get the attention that he so richly deserves … Crocodile Tears, is one of the year’s best crime thrillers.’ Murder, Mayhem and Long Dogs

‘A first-rate thriller and one of the year’s best books.’ Canberra Weekly


Now That I See You

by Emma Batchelor

The winner of the prestigious The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award.

In those first moments, that admission felt precious to me: it was something that I alone had been deemed worthy enough to carry and I was grateful. I was grateful to finally know, but I still couldn’t speak.

Something was wrong, she knew it, but she was entirely unprepared for what he would tell her.

Viewed through the lens of a relationship breakdown after one partner discloses to the other that they are transgender, this autofiction spans eighteen months: from the moments of first discovery, through the eventual disintegration of their partnership, to the new beginnings of independence.

In diaries and letters, Now That I See You unfolds a love story that, while often messy and uncomfortable, is a poignant and personal exploration of identity, gender, love and grief.

‘An insightful novel . . . absorbing page-turner from the start.’ Hsu-Ming Teo, previous winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award for Love and Vertigo


Poetry

How Decent Folk Behave

by Maxine Beneba Clarke

we are all just one small disaster
away from sinking,
and sometimes you only realise
when you’re gasping for air

On a daylight street in Minneapolis Minnesota, a Black man is asphyxiated – by callous knee of an officer, by cruel might of state, and under crushing weight of colony. In Melbourne the body of another woman has been found – this time, after catching a late tram home.

The Atlantic has run out of the English alphabet, when christening hurricanes this season. The earth is on fire – from the redwoods of California, to Australia’s east coast. The sea draws back, and tsunamis lash out in Samoa and Sumatra. Water rises in Sulawesi and Nagasaki. Bloated cod are surfacing, all along the Murray Darling.

The virus arrives, and the virus thrives. Authorities seal the public housing towers up, and truck in one cop to every five residents. Notre Dame is ablaze – the cathedral spire blackened, and teetering.

Out in Biloela, the deportation vans have arrived. Every Friday, in cities all across the world, children are walking out of school. The wolves are circling. The wolves are circling.

These poems speak of the world that is, and sing for a world that may one day be.


Killernova

by Omar Musa

A collection of poetry and wood cuts that burns blindingly bright.

The island of Borneo was once the most heavily wooded in the world, and its people have always carved wood beautifully. In KILLERNOVA, grappling with his heritage, Omar Musa remixes this ancient art form with fiery poetry forged in the stars.

With equal parts swagger, humour and vulnerability, Musa charts a journey through the colonial history of South-East Asia, environmental destruction, oceans, bushfires, race in Australia, the isolation and addiction of COVID lockdown, family, lost love and, ultimately, recovery.

Relentlessly on beat, visually captivating and deceptively intimate, this is a collection of words and art that burns blindingly bright.