Recommended Reads: November

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.

This month we also have a great competition for you. We have one copy of PAUSE by Paul Fleming to give away, two copies of The Better Son by Katherine Johnson to give away, one copy of Dunstan and Theodore by Sharon Booth to give away, and one copy of Undertow by Susan Austin to give away. Phew!

Drop our Community Engagement officer Ruth an email on with ‘November Reading Competition’ in the subject line, and let her know which book or books you’d like to be in the running for. Winners will be selected at random on Thursday 1st December and notified by email.
Pause Paul Fleming

Tasmanian recent release: PAUSE: A collection of Tasmanian moments, Paul Fleming (November 2016)

PAUSE is a compilation of images from around Tasmania, all taken by photographer Paul Fleming, and accompanied by a moment of prose also written by Paul. This stunning book also has an introduction written by Bob Brown.

Over the past few years Paul has become well known on social media for his beautiful images of our island state. This book is his first venture in taking his work offline and into the physical world.

He says: “The book represents some of my favourite images from around the island; though this is not a traditional landscape photography book. My style is simple, positive and accessible, focusing on those stunning views, vistas and experiences most people could also find themselves enjoying; amazing moments that may require only a short walk, a scenic drive or the ability to function before the sun rises.

A piece of prose accompanies the images, evoking a feeling, emotion or imagined experience borne of that moment. There is no order, no plan that a reader of the book must follow; PAUSE is best enjoyed as a moment of peace and calm, an escape from a busy day.

This collection is a real work of art, and an essential addition to the bookshelves (or coffee table!) of every proud Tasmanian.

Katherine Johnson The Better Son

Australian recent release: The Better Son, Katherine Johnson (Ventura Press, October 2016)

Katherine Johnson‘s story of northern Tasmania in the 1950s is a rich and imaginative novel about secrets, family, forgiveness and the immense power of the island’s unique natural landscape.

For two young brothers, a hidden cave a short walk from the family farm seems the perfect escape from their abusive, shell-shocked father — until the older brother goes missing. Fearful of his father, nine-year-old Kip lies about what happened. It is a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Fifty years later, Kip — now an award-winning scientist — has a young son of his own, but cannot look at him without seeing his lost brother, Tommy. On a mission of atonement, he returns to the cave they called Kubla to discover if it’s ever too late to set things right. To have a second chance. To be the father he never had.

The Better Son was a double winner at the 2013 Tasmanian Literary Awards, winning both The University of Tasmanian Prize and the People’s Choice Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Writer. It also won the Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Awards 2013. It is Katherine Johnson’s second novel.


Children’s recent release: Dunstan and Theodore,  Sharon Yaxley

Launceston-based Sharon Yaxley is a creative Visual Merchandiser who also works as a teacher assistant. This adorable tale for young children – Dunstan and Theodore – is her first book.

Sharon says, “Dunstan and Theodore was created in memory of my dear friend Ellen Warren. Ellen made bears, over 200 bears, and Dunstan is my bear from her. Theodore was Ellens “stuffed” dog. After she passed, I decided to write a story for her great grandchildren in her memory. They all have a bear too. Ellen was also a pilot and the plane in the book is her plane and call sign. The story just happened one morning and the illustrations took a while to gestate. I needed to bond with the characters. It has been a very fulfilling experience that has unleashed a desire to do more. The second book in the series, Theodore Swims in the Sea, is at the designers and I have another in action on the art table. All the books  feature Tasmanian locations.

I am very encouraged by the response from my family and friends and really appreciate the assistance from Warren Boyles at Writers Island and the design team of Cate Lowry and Ebony Fahey. I hope many children will enjoy the adventures of Dunstan and Theodore.

Susan Austin Undertow


Tasmanian classic: Undertow, Susan Austin (Walleah Press, 2012)

Published almost five years ago, Undertow was Tasmanian poet Susan Austin’s first published collection of poetry. Many of them poems contained within had previously been published in anthologies and literary journals, including Green Left Weekly, Blue Giraffe, Tasmanian Times and Poets’ Republic.

They are accessible, personal poems which shine a light on the magic of everyday moments.

Fellow poet Tim Thorne says in his cover endorsement, “Susan Austin’s poems penetrate to the core of the human condition … Her perceptions are acute and originally presented, but what really stands out is the compassion which informs her celebration of the variousness of this world.

Director of the Tasmanian Poetry Festival Cameron Hindrum adds, “Her poems capture moments of delight and sorrow with equal honesty, and her incisive language peels away the veneer of routine and expectation to reveal some astonishing truths. Austin is a masterful poetic conjurer, concealing profound emotional insights in the patterns of everyday living. She has perfected the art of drawing the simplest words into the service of her compelling revelations, and her book is an impressive debut achievement.

For a fuller review of Undertow, please visit the Verity La website.