Recommended Reads: June

Each month the TWC publishes four recommended reads on our website. Three of the recommendations are recent releases by a local Tasmanian writer, an Australian writer and a children’s writer. The fourth is a Tasmanian classic that you may not have got round to reading, or that you may not have read for a long time. If you can’t get your hands on a copy of the recommended Tasmanian classic, please feel free to pop into the library at the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and borrow a copy from us.

We would love to hear what you think of our picks – let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Steve Kelleher The Last Dog on the Island

Tasmanian recent release: The Last Dog on the Island by Steve Kelleher (New Holland, March 2017)

Detector Dog Elise and her handler, Steve Kelleher, were the only drug detection unit in Tasmania. Working for Customs, Tasmania Police, Federal Police and the Tasmanian Corrections Service, they hunted down marijuana stashes, caches of amphetamines and were instrumental in smashing an international Mafia drug ring. Tackling bikie gangs, hardened criminals and hazardous ship-to- shore transfers were all in a day’s work for Elise and Steve.

Their expertise took them all over Tasmania, to the mainland states and even into the South Pacific. Elise’s keen sense of smell, and Steve’s ability to interpret her behaviour, led to the seizure of millions of dollars in contraband. Ever wondered how the serious business of busting drug traffickers works? Find out in this lovely memoir, The Last Dog on the Island.

Kirsty Manning The Midsummer Garden

Australian recent release: The Midsummer Garden by Kirsty Manning (Allen and Unwin, April 2017)

Travelling between lush gardens in France, windswept coastlines of Tasmania, to Tuscan hillsides and beyond, The Midsummer Garden lures the reader on an unforgettable culinary and botanical journey.

1487 Artemisia is young to be in charge of the kitchens at Chateau de Boschaud but, having been taught the herbalists’ lore, her knowledge of how food can delight the senses is unsurpassed. All of her concentration and flair is needed as she oversees the final preparations for the sumptuous wedding feast of Lord Boschaud and his bride while concealing her own secret dream. For after the celebrations are over, she dares to believe that her future lies outside the Chateau. But who will she trust?

2014 Pip Arnet is an expert in predicting threats to healthy ecosystems. Trouble is, she doesn’t seem to recognise these signs in her own life. What Pip holds dearest right now is her potential to make a real difference in the marine biology of her beloved Tasmanian coastline. She’d thought that her fiance Jack understood this, believed that he knew she couldn’t make any plans until her studies were complete. But lately, since she’s finally moved in with him, Jack appears to have forgotten everything they’d discussed.

When a gift of several dusty, beautiful old copper pots arrives in Pip’s kitchen, the two stories come together in a rich and sensuous celebration of family and love, passion and sacrifice.

Kirsty Manning grew up in northern New South Wales. She has degrees in literature and communications and worked as an editor and publishing manager in book publishing for over a decade. A country girl with wanderlust, her travels and studies have taken her through most of Europe, the east and west coasts of the United States and pockets of Asia. Kirsty’s journalism and photography specialising in lifestyle and travel regularly appear in magazines, newspapers and online.

Book cover Albert Has Two Homes Now

Children’s Recent Release: Albert Has Two Homes Now by Kate Kelly and Albert Evans (Forty South, May 2017)

This unique and uplifting children’s picture book about family separation is written and illustrated by 4-year-old Albert and his artist mum, Kate.

When Kate and her partner separated in 2016, their son, Albert, was 3 years old. To help Albert through the situation, Kate went in search of books to help explain what was happening. Although she found numerous books for children on divorce and separation, they were consistently written from an adult point of view. Albert found many of these books baffling, sad, and scary.

As an artist and writer, creativity had always helped Kate find solace and sense in times where words failed her, and she thought that making art could also help her son, who was still too young to talk about his feeling in words alone. So they sat down together and Albert talked and drew.  Kate transcribed and queried and doodled alongside him. Through the process, this book was born.

Told from Albert’s perspective, and centred on his drawings, it was a true collaboration; with Kate’s writing and drawing skills refining and guiding the work into a tangible story of his direct experience of family separation.

Using simple language and imagery, it outlines some of the changes around family break-up and takes a positive approach to what is often a difficult, life-changing experience. The book also contains guidance for adults on using art and storytelling as a way of helping young children communicate their feelings, gain understanding and build confidence.

If you’d like to know more about the author and the process she used in making this book, you can read our blog post interview: Close and Personal: Kate Kelly.

*June Competition: You could win a copy of Albert Has Two Homes Now. Send an email to with ‘June Reading Competition’ in the subject line, and tell us why you’d like to win to be in the running. Winners will be notified by email.

Tasmanian Tales by Nairda Lyne


Tasmanian classics: Tasmanian Tales and Adventures at Powranna: More Tasmanian Tales by Nairda Lyne Children’s Books (Fullers Bookshop, 1965 and 1969)

The Tasmanian Writers Centre has recently accepted a wonderful donation of two children’s books from the 1960s, written and illustrated by Nairda Lyne and published by Fullers. One is titled Tasmanian Tales and the other is Adventures at Powranna: More Tasmanian Tales.

The daughter of Air Vice Marshal Adrian Cole, Nairda Lyne was born in Melbourne. Even as a child she contributed stories, verse and drawings to the children’s sections of newspapers in Melbourne and Sydney. She studied art at Swinbourne and the National Gallery of Victoria, before working as a freelance journalist and illustrator

The FAW Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) runs an annual competition for a children’s short story in honour of Nairda Lyne.

If you would like to see these two beautiful books, please pop into the Tasmanian Writers Centre library.

Many thanks to Sandy Roxburgh for this wonderful donation.