‘Reckoning’ wins ABA Booksellers Choice Award; booksellers of the year announced

The Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) Booksellers Choice Award for 2016 has been won by Magda Szubankski’s Reckoning. The ABA conference awards night was held on May 29 at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.  In her acceptance speech Szubanski took the opportunity to emphasise the value of Australian writers and authors saying that ‘without Australian stories we’re nothing but shadow puppets’, that, ‘we will dematerialise’.

Amelia Lush from Better Read Than Dead in Newtown was named Young Bookseller of the Year. Bookseller of the Year was shared by Deb Force from the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville, Melbourne and Anna Low from Potts Point Bookshop, Sydney. Robyn Huppert, the ABA’s Communications Manager and Kid’s Reading Guide organiser was awarded the Elizabeth Riley Fellowship for Children’s Bookselling.

Comedian Dave O’Neill hosted the night which included a speech from Deng Adut, who described his experiences as a child soldier in the Sudanese Civil War and his subsequent life in Australia. Jimmy Barnes from the band Cold Chisel read from his soon to be published memoir and performed three songs which drew a standing ovation from all in attendance.

Miles Franklin Literary Award 2016 shortlist announced

Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlisted titles for 2016 are:

  • Hope Farm (Peggy Frew, Scribe)
  • Leap (Myfanwy Jones, A&U)
  • Black Rock White City (A S Patric, Transit Lounge)
  • Salt Creek (Lucy Treloar, Pan Macmillan)
  • The Natural Way of Things (Charlotte Wood, A&U)

State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian Richard Neville said on behalf of the judging panel: ‘The focus of this year’s shortlist is the creation, maintenance and manipulation of identity: the impact of its dislocation, the devastation of its theft, and the consequences of its re-imagination. The 2016 shortlist moves around colonial society, a dysfunctional late twentieth century and a disturbing future, all realised with divergent but consistently powerful voices.’ 

Escape Winter Rebus Puzzle Competition


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Welcome to our Escape Winter Competition page.


Solve our puzzles & escape the cold this winter.


Each Wednesday, starting from 1 June 2016 a visual puzzle called a Rebus, will be posted here and on display at all Parramatta Library branches.


Solve the 14 puzzles by sounding out the pictures from left to right to create a book, movie or TV show title. It could even be a book and movie title! Guess all 14 puzzles or 1, it’s up to you.


All puzzles will have a common theme of escaping the cold…think tropical locations, deserts and all things warm.


Drop your answer to any Parramatta Library branch, email or enter online below.
Please include your name, library card number and phone number.
You can only enter once per puzzle but the more puzzles you answer, the more entries you’ll get!


Click on the links below each Wednesday and guess the book, movie or TV series each week! One new puzzle each week starting from Wednesday 1 June 2016.


Week 1 Puzzle          Week 2 Puzzle           Week 3 Puzzle           Week 4 Puzzle
Week 5 Puzzle          Week 6 Puzzle           Week 7 Puzzle            Week 8 Puzzle
Week 9 Puzzle          Week 10 Puzzle         Week 11 Puzzle          Week 12 Puzzle                                                    Week 13 Puzzle        Week 14 Puzzle


Each correct puzzle answer will be placed into a draw to win one of three $50 Booktopia gift certificates.

  • Open to all Library members 18 years of age and over.
  • Competion opens Wednesday 1 June 2016 with the last puzzle posted Wednesday 31 August 2016, all puzzle answers to be submitted by Monday 5 September 2016.
  • Winners will be notified by Wednesday 14 September. Winners can collect their prizes at any Parramatta Library branch.



How did you go with our sample puzzle? Did you get it right?


I Came to Say Goodbye


I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington

A young woman pushed through the hospital doors. She walked into the nursery, where a baby girl lay sleeping. The infant didn’t wake when the woman placed her gently in the shopping bag she had brought with her. There is CCTV footage of what happened next, and most Australians would have seen it, either on the internet or the news. The woman walked out to the car park, towards an old Corolla. For a moment, she held the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smelled her. She then clipped the infant into the car, got in and drove off. That is where the footage ends. It isn’t where the story ends, however. It’s not even where the story starts.


A disturbing and at times, harrowing read, that was heart-breaking because of its reality.  A very well written story that had us turning the pages quicker than an Aldi catalogue wanting to know what else could possibly happen or go wrong for this family.

While we liked the way the writer told the story, in letter form to a judge, some struggled to sympathise with him and other characters.  We all felt like they all could have done more or should have done more for each other.  This is the first book in a little while that has generated a lot of discussion within our group.  Over who did and why they did it. And who was at fault. And if the grandfather had intervened earlier, like he had always intended too, would any of this have ever happened.  We wondered where the mother went and why she seemed to have had no contact with anyone after she left.  Did some of the blame lay with her for simply disappearing from her children’s lives.

We found it a difficult to rate this book.  While we all agreed that while the writing was well done, we found the subject a little heavy and depressing and not something we wanted to scale too highly as to mislead other readers.

Read by  Cultcha Club

Rated – 6/10

The Strays

The Strays

By Emily Bitto

 The Strays



In The Strays, Evan Trentham is the wild child of the Melbourne art world of the 1930s. He and his captivating wife, Helena, attempt to carve out their own small niche, to escape the stifling conservatism they see around them, by gathering together other like-minded artists. They create a utopian circle within their family home, offering these young artists a place to live and work, and the mixed benefits of being associated with the infamous Evan. At the periphery of this circle is Lily Struthers, the best friend of Evan and Helena’s daughter Eva. Lily is infatuated by the world she bears witness to, and longs to be part of this enthralling makeshift family. As Lily observes years later, looking back on events that she still carries painfully within her, the story of this groundbreaking circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.



  • All thought it was very well written but some found the theme of underage relationships very challenging. The garden seems to be a metaphor for the story and characters. Sometimes Idyllic, sometimes almost sounding like ‘the Garden of Eden’ mirroring the children’s playground and fun times, but also overgrown and neglected which happened to the children.
  • The perspective of looking back as an adult and remembering the growing experiences and exciting times.
  • The plot was captivating and kept everyone reading to the end.


Read By: The Second Tuesday Book Group