The Book Club
Summary: The Book Club on 4ZZZ and the CRN
The Word Hunters trilogy is a fast-paced time-slip adventure in which twins, Al & Lexi, travel into the past with the help of a curious dictionary. The trilogy is a series of firsts: the first collaboration between writer Nick Earls (ZigZag Street, 48 Shades of Brown, The Fix, and many more well-loved novels) and illustrator Terry Whidborne; Nick's first children's book; and Terry's first time illustrating a novel. The second book in the series, The Lost Hunters, was recently released and sees the word hunters search for their missing grandfather across 1000 years of history. The whole series looks at the often strange and fascinating history of commonly used words and it was a great pleasure to have Nick and Terry join Amy Stevenson in the studio to talk about collaborations, 'gun' and shadowy villains. Originally broadcast on 24/04/13. Word Hunters: The Lost Hunters is out now through UQP.
What began as a Twitter hashtag has become a movement. At the end of August, 2012, in response to an announcement by Prime Minister Gillard that Australia would donate $300 million to train women in the Pacific region in leadership, radio host Alan Jones declared that women were doing enough harm already and signaled out two – Ex-Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon and Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore – as examples, saying that female leaders were destroying the joint. Jane Caro, author, lecturer, communications consultant and regular on The Gruen Transfer responded with a tweet “Got time on my hands tonight so thought I’d come up with new ways to destroy the joint, being a woman and all. Ideas welcome.” The response was enormous, and once the hashtag #destroythejoint was added, it became an organising point and rallying cry. Now, in addition to the twitter tag and facebook group, there is a book to add to the conversation. Jane Caro has edited and curated a new collection of essays and stories from the likes of Leslie Cannold, Penny Wong, Christine Milne and Melissa Lucashenko, called Destroying The Joint: Why Women Have to Change the World. Jane joined Sky Kirkham to talk about the idea and the book. Originally broadcast on 25/04/13. Destroying the Joint is out through UQP.
Hugh Howey has quickly become a well-known figure in fiction, not just for the success of his books, but for the way that they’ve succeeded. After writing a number of other books, including The Bern Saga quartet, some of them published through traditional small publishers, Howey wrote Wool, a novella or novelette, and self-published it through Amazon. The story was a massive success and so he began to expand on the world, writing a series of short novels that have now been condensed into the Wool Omnibus. Major offers from traditional publishers followed in the wake of this success, but Hugh Howey’s central demand was to retain the digital sales rights, something almost unheard of, and something he received. The books themselves are in the mould of dystopian SF, set in a small community in a future world where the city, or Silo, is set deep underground, hidden from the toxins that ravage the world’s surface, and those that commit crimes are sent outside, to clean the sensors that let the Silo have some view of the surface. Over the course of Wool and the very recently published Shift, the follow up book, we find out considerably more about the nature of the silos, their hierarchy and their beginning. It’s a rollicking tale of high adventure that, as with the best of SF, examines what the nature of humanity really is. Hugh joined Sky Kirkham in the studio to talk about dystopia, self-publishing and yachting. Originally broadcast on 18/04/2013. Shift is out now through Random House.
Madeleine St John was a fascinating writer. The author of amongst other works, The Women in Black and The Essence of the Thing – which saw her as the first Australian woman short-listed for the Booker prize. The Australian part of that acknowledgement didn’t thrill Madeleine though as she had, at that point, become very much an English writer in her own mind. Fiesty and formidable, brilliant but damaged, Madeleine St John makes for a character as fine as any she wrote, and Helen Trinca, managing editor at The Australian has looked into her life, writing and the moments that defined her in Helen’s new book Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John. Helen joined Sky Kirkham to talk about Madeleine St John, her father Ted St John and researching a person's life. Originally broadcast on 18/04/2013. Madeleine is out now through Text.
Zelda Fitzgerald was the wife of F Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, and is known mostly in reference to his achievements or as a troubled party-girl who spent time in asylums. Incredible socialites, living in expensive hotels and partying at the hottest nightclubs, the Fitzgeralds seem like they could be lifted from Scott’s own novels of money and myth. In her new book, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler looks to explore and dispel those myths, examining the life and times of literary’s golden couple through Zelda’s own eyes. She gives us a sense of Zelda as a person: a writer and artist in her own right and an individual very much distinct from her husband. Therese joined Sky Kirkham to talk about Zelda and showing truth through fiction. Originally broadcast on 18/04/13. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is out now through Hachette.
Chris Somerville is a Brisbane author who's just released his first short story collection, We are Not the Same Anymore. They're subtle, affecting stories that draw upon everyday life and bring surprising undercurrents and tensions to the surface, and once read they'll be difficult to forget. Chris joined Grace Nye to chat about short fiction, semi-autobiographical writing, influences and comic books. Originally broadcast on 11/04/2013. We are Not the Same Anymore is published by UQP.
Chris Somerville reads the story 'Earthquake' from his new collection of short fiction, We are Not the Same Anymore, out throguh UQP. Originally broadcast on 11/04/2013.
Karen Lord has a background that’s a story in its own right. Born in Barbados, she studied at the University of Toronto, before gaining her master's degree in science and technology policy in Glasgow and then a Doctorate in the sociology of religion in Wales. Her bio speaks of training soldiers, of diplomacy and of teaching physics, and then of course there’s the writing. Her debut novel, Redemption in Indigo, was published last year and has won the Mythopoeic Award and the Crawford Award for best first fantasy and, quite recently, The Golden Tentacle Award at the Kitschies. Her new novel is a lovely work of science fiction, called The Best of All Possible Worlds. Set on the melting-pot world of Cygnus Beta, it begins as the Sadiri, a rigidly self-controlled society of great galactic importance, are trying to come to terms with their own near-extinction, brought about by vengeful neighbours. The novel, with a deft and gentle gaze, looks at the ideas of race and culture, of coming to terms with tragedy and the ethical implications of telepathy. Karen joined Sky Kirkham to talk about extinction, cultural identity and Star Trek. Originally broadcast on 11/04/2013. The Best of All Possible Worlds is out through Pan Macmillan.
A.M. Homes is known as a challenging and provocative writer. Her works, which include the likes of The End of Alice, The Safety of Objects and This Book Will Save Your Life have been described as disturbing, terrifying, and perhaps most accurately – ‘monstrous as truth’. Her journalism appears in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and McSweeney’s and she has written for television, including for The L Word. Her newest novel, May We Be Forgiven, is a darkly surreal and remarkably funny look into a year in the life of Harry Silver, a middling academic seemingly sleepwalking through life before a shocking tragedy brings his routine existence crashing down. After his brother George kills his own wife, Harry is obliged to step in and look after the children, the pets, and George’s wardrobe. Along the way he collects a new family and begins to become a complete person again himself. A. M. joined Sky Kirkham to discuss brotherhood, Nixon and the absurd. Originally broadcast on 04/04/2013. May We Be Forgiven is out through Allen & Unwin.
The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers, takes its title from a marching cadence that he learnt in the army. A rather coarse and violent verse, it sits as an epigraph alongside a quote from Sir Thomas Browne; a combination that serves as an appropriate introduction to the novel itself. The Yellow Birds looks at the recent Iraq War from the inside, following Private John Bartle during his time there and then as he tries to cope afterwards. The harsh dialog and brutal moments of war are set against spare, exquisite descriptions of the land and empathetic examinations of emotion and recovery. It’s a wonderful book, shortlisted for the National Book Award and winner of the Guardian First Book Award. Kevin joined Sky Kirkham to discuss the story, the challenges with recovering from the army, and the power of imagination. Originally broadcast on 28/03/2013. The Yellow Birds is out through Hachette.
An internationally best-selling author of fantasy, with a back-catalogue that covers readers of all ages, Kate Forsyth is the author of over twenty books including the Aurealis Award-winning Chain of Charms series, The Witches of Eileanan series and recently, Bitter Greens. Her latest novel is The Wild Girl – a historical novel about the Brothers Grimm and a young woman who told them some of their most famous fairytales. Kate joined Amy Stevenson in the studio to talk about fairytales, research and romance. Originally broadcast on 28/03/2013. The Wild Girl is out through Random House.
Shereen El Feki is a writer, broadcaster and academic. She began her professional life with a doctorate in molecular immunology before going on to become an award-winning journalist with The Economist and a presenter with Al Jazeera English. She is the former vice-chair of the United Nation’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law and is a TED Global Fellow. Raised in Canada, Shereen is the child of Welsh and Egyptian parents and would visit her Egyptian family yearly as a child. As an adult, working with The Economist she was drawn to the surprisingly low HIV infection rate that was being reported in the Arab region. But as she began to dig deeper, particularly in the country of her family, she found a gap between official figures and private reality. Shereen has spent the last 5 years travelling throughout the Arab region, with a particular focus on Egypt, looking into sex and sexuality in that world. Marriage, pre-marital sex, gay relationships, even basic education all come under in the microscope in her book Sex in the Citadel. Sky Kirkham was joined by Shereen El Feki to talk about the impact of religion, the nature of virginity and the convenience of 'pleasure marriages'. Originally broadcast on 21/03/2013. Sex and the Citadel is out now through Random House.
A. C. Grayling is a noted ethicist and philosopher. Previously a professor of philosophy at the University of London, he is now Master of the New College of the Humanities and a supernumerary fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a representative to the UN Human Rights Council, and a frequent broadcaster on BBC Radio. The author of over thirty books, he has explored the nature of liberty, the ethics of Allied Bombing in WWII, and published on Wittgenstein, Descartes and Russell. Over the last few years though, he has turned his attention to religion, joining the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens in pushing for a secular society, free from religious interference. In 2011 he published The Good Book, a retelling of the bible from a secular humanist perspective and his latest work is The God Argument: The case against religion and for a better alternative. Sky Kirkham was joined by A. C. Grayling, ahead of a debate on church and state at the Sydney Opera House, to talk about the nature of humanism and the logic of atheism. Originally broadcast on 22/03/2013, The God Argument is out through Bloomsbury.
James Meek is a British author and journalist who has published five novels and two short story collections, and has been a frequent contributor to The Guardian and the London Review of Books. His latest work is The Heart Broke In, which tells the story of a sibling relationship threatened by a potential betrayal. It's a page turning comedy-drama and at the same time a perfectly-constructed moral epic that delves into fascinating questions of religion, atheism, ethics, science, fame, and love. James Meek was in Australia recently for the Perth Writers Festival, and he joined Grace Nye to speak about the book. Originally broadcast on 14/03/2013. The Heart Broke In is available through Allen & Unwin.
Three-time winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award and seemingly permanent resident on the Nebula and Hugo award shortlists, China Mieville’s novels are dense with ideas; positively bursting at the seams with concepts that could happily sustain a novel of their own. The author of 10 books of weird fiction, as well as a collection of short stories, he’s also eruditely academic. His PhD thesis was published in 2005 as a book: Between Equal Rights, A Marxist Theory of International Law. His latest novel is Railsea. A fantastical journey through a world crossed with rail-lines, populated with terrifying predators, where a train captain chases her white Moldywarpe - the giant mole who took her arm. Stunning prose abounds, as always, and it was a treat to have China join Sky on the line to talk about Melville, giant monsters, Dial H For Hero and the future of publishing. Originally broadcast on 07/03/2013. Railsea is out through Pan Macmillan.