Author Visit @ Nowra Library- Brendan Shanahan

Renowned travel writer Brendan Shanahan will be visiting us to share his collection of darkly funny and unexpected tales ‘Mr Snack and the Lady Water.’

Brendan is a Sydney-based writer and journalist who has was a columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and Daily Telegraph, and writes regularly for The Australian,  The Sydney Morning Herald and The Wall Street Journal Asia. He is also the author of ‘The Secret Life of the Gold Coast‘ and ‘In Turkey I Am Beautiful.’

Brendan will be appearing on Wednesday October 30 at 6pm. Call 4429 3701 to book your place.

See you there!


Author Visit @ Nowra Library- Nicole Alexander

Best selling Australian author Nicole Alexander will be appearing at Shoalhaven Libraries Nowra on Monday, September 23rd, at 11am, to speak about her latest novel, Sunset Ridge.

Nicole is the bestselling author of three #1 Australian Fiction novels; The Bark Cutters, A Changing Land & Absolution Creek. The Bark Cutters remains the highest selling debut novel in the rural literature genre and was shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award in 2011. In 2012 Absolution Creek was selected for the ‘50 Books You Can’t Put Down’ Get Reading campaign. alexander,%20nicole

Nicole’s work, which incliudes novels, poetry, travel writing, creative writing and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, America, Singapore, New Zealand, Germany & Canada. Her novels have been praised for their authenticity and rich historical detail, much of which is drawn from primary source material in the form of family archives dating back 140 years. Nicole grew up in rural NSW and combines writing with working on her family’s property, where she can be found in the stockyards, mustering sheep or cattle, inspecting crops, or working in the station office (from

Dean Swift Books will be selling Nicole’s copies of Nicole’s books on the day.

To book your place at this exciting author event, contact Kelly or Jessica on 4429 3710. We look forward to seeing you there!

Author Visit @ Nowra Library: Turia Pitt

We are pleased to announce that Turia Pitt will be visiting Nowra Library on September 28th at 11am. Turia will be speaking about her new book Everything to Live For, which tells the story of her survival against extraordinary odds.

Bookings are essential for this special event. Contact Robin (4429 3710 or Dean Swift Books Nowra (02 4421 5568) to book your place. Entry cost is $2, with proceeds going to Donate Life.

See you there!

3rd Wednesday Book Club- May 2013- Artreads

For this month’s theme, Artreads, we looked at book covers and book art. What goes into making a good book cover? What attracts us to certain book covers? And the all-important question- do you judge books by their covers?

We were fortunate in that at the same time we were pondering on the answers to these questions, award winning Australian author Kate Forsyth happened to wander into Nowra Library (don’t you love it when authors wander in at precisely the right moment?) Kate was happy to talk about the cover art on her novel Bitter Greens with us in an imromptu interview session in the tea room, moments before she appeared for an author talk in the library upstairs.

Bitter Greens is a re-telling of the traditional fairy tale ‘Rapunzel’, interwoven with the story of the woman who first published the fairy tale, French courtier Charlotte Rose de la Force. Much of the novel is set in the Palace of Versailles, at the Court of the Sun King Louis XIV, and also in Venice, where Petrosinella, the ‘Rapunzel’ character, resides. Also living in Venice is Selena Leonelli, the sorceress who buys Petrosinella for  ‘a handful of bitter greens,’ whose beautiful red hair inspires the artist Tiziano Vecelli (Titian.) For these reasons, Kate explained, the image of a beautiful young woman with tumbling red hair graces the cover of Bitter Greens.


Kate also told us that the novel spans two distinct historical periods — Renaissance Venice and 17th Century France, which both feature in the over design. Venice lies in the distance behind our mystreious red haired lady, while the beautiful scroll work at the edges of the cover  is based on a traditional French wall-paper from the 17th century. The antiquity of the fairy-tale and the artistic essence of the novel is further echoed in the parchment- like quality of the sky above Venice.

“Looks as ancient as the fairy-tale,” according to Kate!

Thanks, Kate!

We also chatted to our book club members this month about how they feel about book covers. Opinions varied. Some people feel that the cover design has little to do with their reading choices, while others are very sensitive about the physical appearance of books they choose to read. One of our members chose books this month based entirely on their covers, and was pleasantly surprised with the new authors she discovered this way. (Personally, I love book covers, especially beautiful fantasy and historical ones, and I love adding new books to my shelves. So much so that I often purchase books I love in both print and e-book formats, so I can have the best of both worlds- my Kindle in my handbag, and shelves of beautiful books at home. Perfect!- Kelly)

Now, for our May reads….

The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy by Barbara Vine
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
Follow the Money by Peter Corris
A Kingdom Beseiged by Raymond E. Feist
A Feast for Crows by George R.R Martin
The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth
Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula by M. J. Trow
The Man Who Lives With Wolves by Shaun Ellis
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
Harvest (Hyddenworld 3) by William Horwood
Here and Now: Letters (2008- 2011) by Paul Auster and J.M Coetzee
Foe by J.M. Coetzee
Youth by J.M. Coetzee
Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles by David Thomson
Lost Voices by Christopher J. Koch
Affinity by Sarah Waters
London by Edward Rutherford
Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster
Journey to the Stone Country by Alex Miller
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce
Spies by Michael Frayn
An Experiment in Love by Hilary Mantel

What makes a good book? We decided it should be easy to read, use appropriate language to the setting and character, voice and point of view, have intriguing characters, a story that grips you and keeps you turning pages, and, as well as all that, have clarity, credibility and beauty. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Happy reading!

The 2012 Aurealis Awards Finalists Have Been Announced! AND one of them is visiting us next month!

large_BRTD_MAY_wild_girl_coverYay!!!! The 2012 Aurealis Awards finalists have been announced! These awards, which were established in 1995 by the publishers of Aurealis magazine and are the premier awards for Australian speculative fiction, aim to highlight the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.

2012 saw almost 750 entries across 13 categories, which include Science Fiction, Fantasy, Youth, Horror, Children’s Fiction. Each category is divided further into novels and short fiction. Awards are also given to the best anthology and collection, and best illustrated work or graphic novel.  ( 

There are some amazing titles in the shortlist, and I am so excited to see that it includes two of my favourite reads for 2013 – Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan and Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. I braved an early morning train trip to Sydney to attend the 2013 NSW Writers’ Centre’s Speculative Fiction Festival last month and hear several authors of the who feature on this list- Kate Forsyth (who coordinated the festival), Juliet Marillier, Garth Nix, Kirstyn McDermott, John Flanagan and Jason Nahrung- talk about how they do their thing. Was that train trip worth it? In a word, YES!

forsyth-kateAnd while we’re on the topic… we’re lucky enough to have Kate Forsyth herself visiting Nowra Library next month. Our Morning Tea with Kate Forsyth will take place on May 1st here at Nowra Library and is sure to be a fascinating session with one of Australia’s top fantasy authors. Copies of Kate’s books, including her newest work, The Wild Girl, will be available for purchase. You can contact the library on 4429 3710 or to book your place. – Kelly.

The 2012  Aurealis Awards Finalists


Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier


“Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton in Bloodstones

“The Stone Witch” by Isobelle Carmody in Under My Hat

“First They Came” by Deborah Kalin in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 55

“Bajazzle” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape

“The Isles of the Sun” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape


Suited by Jo Anderton

The Last City by Nina D’Aleo

And All The Stars by Andrea K Host

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley


“Visitors” by James Bradley in Review of Australian Fiction

“Significant Dust” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape

“Beyond Winter’s Shadow” by Greg Mellor in Wild Chrome

“The Trouble with Memes” by Greg Mellor in WildChrome

“The Lighthouse Keepers’ Club” by Kaaron Warren in Exotic Gothic 4


Bloody Waters by Jason Franks

Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott

Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung

Salvage by Jason Nahrung


“Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton in Bloodstones

“Elyora” by Jodi Cleghorn in RabbitHole Special Issue Review of Australian Fiction

“To Wish Upon a Clockwork Heart” by Felicity Dowker in Bread and Circuses

“Escena de un Asesinato” by Robert Hood in Exotic Gothic 4

“Sky” by Kaaron Warren in Through Splintered Walls


Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney

And All The Stars by Andrea K. Host

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra


“Stilled Lifes x 11” by Justin D’Ath in Trust Me Too

“The Wisdom of the Ants” by Thoraiya Dyer in Clarkesworld

“Rats” by Jack Heath in Trust Me Too

“The Statues of Melbourne” by Jack Nicholls in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56

“The Worry Man” by Adrienne Tam

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)

Brotherband: The Hunters by John Flanagan

Princess Betony and the Unicorn by Pamela Freeman

The Silver Door by Emily Rodda

Irina the Wolf Queen by Leah Swann

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)

Little Elephants by Graeme Base

The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree by Gary Crew and Ross Watkins (illustrator)

In the Beech Forest by Gary Crew and Den Scheer (illustrator)

Inside the World of Tom Roberts by Mark Wilson


Blue by Pat Grant

It Shines and Shakes and Laughs by Tim Molloy

Changing Ways #2 by Justin Randall


The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene

Bloodstones edited by Amanda Pillar

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 6 edited by Jonathan Strahan

Under My Hat edited by Jonathan Strahan

Edge of Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan


That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote by K. J. Bishop

Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter

Living With the Dead by Martin Livings

Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren

The winners of the 2012 Aurealis Awards and the Peter McNamara Convenors Award will be revealed at a gala ceremony on the evening of Saturday 18 May 2013 at The Independent Theatre in North Sydney.