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!


3rd Wednesday Book Club- August 2013- Furreads

130-22-lLast month’s 3rd Wednesday Book Club followed the Read Watch Play theme of Furreads, which meant we spent lots of time reading and discussing Animal Tales (or Tails?). This reading theme was one of the most successful ones we’ve had this year and was greeted with great enthusiasm by our loyal book clubbers. In short, it was a “roaring” success.

August Reads 

Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres
Leviathan by Philip Hoare
The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Every Burnford
The Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell
Trim by Matthew Flinders
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
How Animals Grieve By Barbara J King
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Seabiscuit by Lauren Hillenbrand
Dogs from Riga by Henning Mankell
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Rifling Paradise by Jem Poster
My Place by Sally Morgan
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Botticelli Secrets Marina Fiorato
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Wilder Family by Kobie Kruger
The Light Between Oceans by  ML Stedman
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Swords and Crowns and Rings by Ruth Park
A Matter of Hope by Collette Livermore
Why Birds Sing by David Rotenburg
The Secret Life of Wombats by James Woodford
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend of the World’s Most Famous Dog by Susan Orlean
The Haunted Book by Jeremy Dyson with Aiden Fox
The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro
The Koran
Betrayal of Trust by JA Jance
The Lost Library by AM Dean
The Roswell Conspiracy by Boyd Morrison
Gershwin by Ruth Leon
The Ape House by Sara Gruen
Beauty in the Beasts: True Stories of Animals Who Choose to Do Good by Kristin Von Kreister
In the Presence of Horses by Barabara Dimmick
Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich
The Griffith Review no.40 – Women in Power

Most Talked About Reads 


Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres

‘In early 1998 I went to Perth in Western Australia in order to attend the literature festival, and part of the arrangement was that I should go to Karratha to do their first ever literary dinner. Karratha is a mining town a long way further north. The landscape is extraordinary, being composed of vast heaps of dark red earth and rock poking out of the never-ending bush. I imagine that Mars must have a similar feel to it.

I went exploring and discovered the bronze statue to Red Dog outside the town of Dampier. I felt straight away that I had to find out more about this splendid dog. A few months later I returned to Western Australia and spent two glorious weeks driving around collecting Red Dog stories and visiting the places that he knew, writing up the text as I went along. I hope my cat never finds out that I have written a story to celebrate the life of a dog.’ – Louis de Bernieres (from

Reserve a copy of Red Dog at Shoalhaven Libraries now.

Trim by Matthew Flinders

‘Trim was a much-loved cat who accompanied Matthew Flinders on several of his voyages. Trim was to sail on four ships with Flinders, travelling from the Cape of Good Hope to Botany Bay, to England and back to Sydney Town. Flinders wrote Trim’s story whilst being held by the French in Mauritius.’ (from

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent 

‘Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?’ (from

Reserve a copy of Burial Rites at Shoalhaven Libraries now.

Library & Information Week 2013

This week is Library & Information Week, when libraries and information services take the opportunity to showcase their resources, facilities, events, contacts and services. To celebrate, we’ve created a ‘Behind the Scenes at the Library’ display, so you can see exactly how the library operates, as well as the mysterious and magical process library books and items go through before they become available for you to borrow. Come in and have a look!

behindthescenespic   lifecycle


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.

3rd Wednesday Book Club- January 2013- Summer Reads

Welcome back! It was great to see everyone back after a safe and happy festive season. The first of our themes this year is Summer Reads. This is our interpretation of the Read Play Watch reading themes this year. Read Play Watch is an initiative of the NSW Readers Advisory Working Group, who last year were responsible for bringing us our lovely National Year of Reading themes. This year at Nowra Library we will be loosely following the Read Play Watch themes with our own special twist. Here we go!  

Summer Reads

Murder on the Ballarat Train by
Kerry Greenwood
Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears  
Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
Trouble at the Little Village School by Gervase Phinn
Winter Journal by Paul Auster
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
The Woman Reader by Belinda Jack
Summer Lies by Bernhard Schlink 
Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas
The Forgotten Wars by C.A Bayly
New Finnish Grammar by Diego Maravi 
The Golden Land by Di Morrissey
The Foundling by Agnes Desarthe
The Mousetrap by Ruth Hanka Eigner  
After Such Kindness by Gaynor Arnold
The Streets by Anthony Quinn
Poet’s Cottage by Josephine Pennicott
Medea by Kerry Greenwood
The Dinosaur Feather by Sisset Jo Gazan
Flying Crows by Jim Lehrer
Maestro by Peter Goldsworthy
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
Wanting by Richard Flanagan  
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
Possession: A Romance by A.S Byatt
The Tenderness of Wolves by Steph Penney
The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster

Most talked about reads

Winter Journal by Paul Auster

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

After Such Kindness by Gaynor Arnold

Author Love-In – Kerry Greenwood

Writers'_Week_Kerry_Greenwood_Adelaide_Festival_mediumKerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and after wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has a degree in English and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant. Kerry has written twenty novels, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D’Arcy, is an award-winning children’s writer and has edited and contributed to several anthologies. In 1996 she published a book of essays on female murderers called Things She Loves: Why women Kill.

The Phryne Fisher series (pronounced Fry-knee, to rhyme with briny) began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written sixteen books in this series with no sign yet of Miss Fisher hanging up her pearl-handled pistol. Kerry says that as long as people want to read them, she can keep writing them.

Kerry Greenwood has worked as a folk singer, factory hand, director, producer, translator, costume-maker, cook and is currently a solicitor. When she is not writing, she works as a locum solicitor for the Victorian Legal Aid. She is also the unpaid curator of seven thousand books, three cats (Attila, Belladonna and Ashe) and a computer called Apple (which squeaks). She embroiders very well but cannot knit. She has flown planes and leapt out of them (with a parachute) in an attempt to cure her fear of heights (she is now terrified of jumping out of planes but can climb ladders without fear). She can detect second-hand bookshops from blocks away and is often found within them.

For fun Kerry reads science fiction/fantasy and detective stories. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered wizard. When she is not doing any of the above she stares blankly out of the window.

Summer Time and the Reading is Easy – New Fiction Available at Nowra Library

Here’s a list of new fiction available at Nowra Library this January.readershavenbeach-064.jpg

AITKEN, Mark  Strikeforce Lightning (THR)

ALDERMAN, Naomi The Liars’ Gospel (HIS)

ARNOTT, Jake The House of Rumour (FAN)

ATHANASOU, Nikos The Person of the Man (GEN)

BLYTH, Henry  Mr Jones’ Men (THR)

BOLANO, Roberto Woes of the True Policeman  (GEN)

CAIN, Tom  Revenger  (THR)

CARVER, Will The Two (MYS)

CELASIN, Izzet Black Sky, Black Sea (GEN)

CHALLINOR, Deborah Behind the Sun (HIS)

CLANCY, Tom Threat Vector (THR)

CONDON, Matthew The Toe Tag Quintet (MYS)

CONWAY, Millie  From Essex to Chelsea with Love (GEN)

COOK, Pamela Blackwattle Lake (AUS)

CRAWFORD, Tad A Floating Life (GEN)

CRISP, Gemma  Be Careful What You Wish For (GEN)

DOYLE, Roddy Two Pints (HUM)

DUNN, Carola The Valley of the Shadow (MYS)

FOLEY, Gaelen My Scandalous Viscount (ROM)

FOSTER, Sara  Shallow Breath (THR)

FURNIVALL, Kate Shadows on the Nile (ROM)

GAMBOA, Santiago Necropolis (GEN)

GREAVES, C Joseph Hard Twisted (MYS)

HILL, Susan A Question of Identity (MYS)

HILTON, Lisa  Wolves in Winter (HIS)

HOFFMAN, Samantha What More Could You Wish For (GEN)

JOHNSON, Rachel  Winter Games (HIS)

JOYCE,  Rachel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (GEN)

KANE, Wyndam The Arochmur (HIS)

KHALIFA, Khaled  In Praise of Hatred (GEN)

KIERNAN, Alan Section Alpha (AUS)

KRENTZ, Jayne Ann Legacy (ROM)

LEE, Jonathan Joy (GEN)

MAYLE, Peter The Marseille Caper (MYS)

MOORE, Meg So Far Away (GEN)

NEVILL, Adam Last Days (HOR)

PADEL, Ruth The Mara Crossing (GEN)

PALMER, Michael Political Suicide (THR)

PILGRIM, Kitty The Stolen Chalice (THR)

PILKEY, Brent Secret Rage (MYS)

POWERS, Tim Hide Me Among the Graves (PAR)

REAY, Joanne Romeo Spikes (FAN)

REILLY, Martina Even Better Than the Real Thing (ROM)

ROBARDS, Karen Shiver (GEN)

ROBINSON, Patrick Power Play (THR)

SCALZI, John Redshirts (SFi)

SHEPHERD, Lloyd  The English Monster (THR)

SIEVWRIGHT, Ashley Walter (AUS)

SINGH, Nalini Tangle of Need (FAN)

SOMERVILLE,  Patrick This Bright River (GEN)

TELLES, Lygia  The Girl in the Photograph(GEN)

TREASURE, Rachael Fifty Bales of Hay  (AUS)

TSUKIYAMA, Gail A Hundred Flowers (HIS)

ULGEZER, Alice The Memory of Salt (GEN)

VINE, Barbara The Child’s Child (GEN)

WAX, Wendy Ocean Beach (GEN)

Stars of 2012- the books and authors our borrowers and staff couldn’t put down.

MC900438756[1]Now that the dust from 2012 has settled, we’ve had a chance to reflect on the reading year that was. To muse, if you will, upon the highs and the lows, the tragedies, triumphs, and surprises. To recognise the moments of literary awesomeness that glittered through our reading year like falling stars.  We caught some of those falling stars and put them in our pockets. Here they are:

Authors with the highest number of loans in 2012:

Peter Corris (Australian)
Trudi Canavan (Fantasy)
Catherine Cookson (General fiction)
Georgette Heyer (Historical)
Dean Koontz (Horror)
Kathy Lette (Humour)
Anne Perry (Mystery)
Norah Roberts (Romance)
Patrick O’Brian (Sea Stories)
A.S Byatt (Short Stories)
James Patterson (Thriller)
W.E Griffiths (War Stories)
Giles Tippette (Westerns)
James Patterson (Young Fiction)

Most reserved items of 2012:

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
A Wanted Man by Lee Child
Fifty Shades of Grey (trilogy) by E.L James
The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman
All That I Am by Anna Funder
Tick Tock by James Patterson
Bloodline by Linda la Plant
Opal Desert by Di Morrissey
Winter of the World by Ken Follett
A Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin
Daughters of Mars by Tom Keneally

Best Books of 2012 as chosen by our 3rd Wednesday Book Club members:

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon & Journal of a Novel by John Steinbeck (Anne)
Rena’s Promise by Rena Kornreich Gelissen (Joan)
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Everald)
The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster & Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (Elaine)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and The Idea of Home: Boyer lectures 2011 by Geraldine Brooks (Lyn)
(To be continued…)

Staff favourites for 2012:

Debbie- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Kristin- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Gail- The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Carol- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Marie- The Bay by Di Morrissey
Jessica- How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (non-fiction)
Charlotte Street by Danny Warren (fiction)
by Laura Buzo
Noela-  This is How by M.J Hyland
Sarah – Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan
Kelly-  Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (non-fiction)
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
The Last Werewolf and Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan
Paul- Cape Horn: The Logical Route by Bernard Moitessier
Bronwyn- The Convent by Maureen McCarthy
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Absolutist by John Boyne

Which books and authors shone brightest for you in 2012?  We’d love to hear about them!

NSW Marketing Awards for Public Libraries – Winner- Shoalhaven Libraries

The NSW Marketing Awards for Public Libraries is a yearly event which celebrates libraries and the range of services, programs and events that they provide for their communities.

Winning libraries (there are various categories) were announced last Friday at the National Year of Reading legacy event held at Blacktown Library.


… (drum roll, please)…

… we were one of them!!!!!!

Robin, Noela and Jessica receiving the award last month with Cr Win Gaffney, Chair of the Public Libraries NSW Metropolitan.

Our ‘Branching Out’ program took the cake for the NSW Public Libraries Marketing Award for Services (to see winners of other the other categories, scroll to the bottom of this post).

The Branching Out program was created and coordinated by our fantastic Outreach Services (Programs and Events) Manager,  Robin. Needless to say, we are ridiculously proud of her.

Here’s a run-down of the program in Robin’s words:

Robin at Oolong House.

Robin at Oolong House.

“[Branching Out] was aimed at reaching out to those in and around the areas of the Shoalhaven who for one reason or another have become disconnected with libraries and/or reading.It was envisaged that the program would identify particular groups and organisations and then deliver tailored library sessions to encourage reading as a common practice and a beneficial past-time.

We hoped these sessions would have a positive impact  on the participants and perhaps change their attitiude towards the written word. The ideal outcome was that the experience would improve their understanding of the importance and value of reading and the enrichment it can bring to life.

Jessica at Waminda South Coast Women's Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation

Jessica at Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation

Jessica with 10 Minutes a Day reading kits at Shoalhaven Hospital.

Jessica with 10 Minutes a Day reading kits at Shoalhaven Hospital.

The sessions included readers’ theatre, library tours, information sessions, baby reading kits for hospitals and special author talks  and storytelling. The National Year of Reading was a focus throughout these sessions.The groups that were identified in the Shoalhaven included babies, youth, those with a non-English speaking background, the elderly, the disabled and those at risk in our community eg. drug addicts, prisoners and their families, teenage mums, and other marginalised people in the Shoalhaven. Of particular interest was the South Coast Correctional Centre.”

Robin and Shoalhaven National Year of Reading Ambassador Dr Michael Davey visited the South Coast Correctional Centre and spoke about the importance of reading and how it can have positive impacts on life.

Shoalhaven Library staff perform Readers Theatre

Shoalhaven Library staff perform Readers Theatre at the Autistic Unit at North Nowra Primary School

25 maximum security inmates heard Michael’s story of resilience that is now a bestselling book ‘Journey of Hope.’ The group were engaged dyuring the session and talked about thier own experiences.

The year-long program was a great success.  A wide range of people not traditionally part of our reading and learning landscape were introduced to Shoalhaven Libraries and our services throughout the year. Consequently, we built connections with groups who can now feel confident to contact us for assistance and information.”

Derrilyn and Debbie read to residents at Greenwell Gardens Nursing Home.

Derrilyn and Debbie read to residents at Greenwell Gardens Nursing Home.

The full list of 2012 NSW Marketing Awards for Public Libraries winners are:

Shoalhaven Libraries for
Branching Out
Sponsored by NSW Metropolitan Public Libraries Association

Walcha Library for
Local History Road Show
Sponsored by Public Libraries NSW

Parkes Shire Library for
Sponsored by Southern Scene

Griffith City Library for National Year of Reading Launch and Calendar of Events
Sponsored by Library AV and Large Print

Manildra Library for Manildra Memories
Sponsored by Bolinda

Narrabri Library for Fractured Fairytales
Sponsored by Raeco

Central West Libraries for 24 Hour Read
Sponsored by ALS

Parramatta City Library Service for National Year of Reading Program of Events
Sponsored by ALS

Auburn Library for Art of Reading Bookmark Project
Sponsored by Wavesound

Tumut Library for Lunchtime Poets
Sponsored by Roger Henshaw Consultancy Services

Holroyd City Council Library Service for 21st Birthday Celebrations
Sponsored by the State Library of NSW

A gorgeous green and gold visitor at Nowra Library

The Green and Golden Bell frog outside Nowra Library today

We had a beautiful visitor today at Nowra Library- a gorgeous Green and Golden Bell Frog. These frogs are ground dwellers and native to Eastern Australia. They can reach up to 11cm in length, making them one of Australia’s largest frogs.

In recent times these frogs have experienced major population declines and, as a result, they are currently classified as globally vulnerable.

In 2011 Shoalhaven City Council launched a highly successful Green and Golden Bell Frog protection program, which enabled Council to manage the exploding local Bell Frog populations and protect the species’ natural habitat. Council worked with the Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water, frog experts and community members to ensure the continued well-being of this iconic frog species. The success of the project led to Shoalhaven City Council becoming a finalist in the 2011 Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards.

It’s great to see the result of all that hard work enjoying the gardens here at Nowra Library.


It’s been a little Grimm around here…

This December marks the 200th anniversary of the first edition of fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Nursery and Household Tales). In celebration, we decked out our display area here at Nowra Library with an enchanted forest, Rapunzel’s tower and yes, a real gingerbread house.

Our peg Rapunzel has a sad, sad face 😦

The display is getting plenty of attention from our borrowers (particularly children, which is a bit creepy, considering the purpose of the original gingerbread house) and the fairy tale based fiction and non-fiction displayed there has been seeing plenty of borrowing action. It’s no wonder, really. Fairy tales, ever enduring, have nonetheless been enjoying a resurgence in popular culture of late, as the 2011 Red Riding Hood film, soon to be released Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and the two Snow White films released this year demonstrate. Just last month Philip Pullman’s re-telling of Grimm’s fairy tales hit the shelves, and you only have to browse the catalogue here at the library to see the range of fairy tale based books we keep in our children’s, young adult and adult collections. 200 years later, the Brothers Grimm live on…happily ever after, you could say.

Meet the Brothers Grimm…  

They look cheery, don’t they?

Jakob (Ludwig Karl) (1785–1863) and Wilhelm (1786–1859) were born in Hanau, Germany. They studied law at the University of Marburg and it was there that their interest in folk tales first began. They collected folk tales from storytellers and print sources in the years following university and  in 1812 they published Kinder- und Hausmärchen, now more often known as Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The second edition of the tales was published in 1816. The collection includes tales such as  ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Snow White,’  ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ and ‘Hansel & Gretel’, among many other classic fairy stories. Up until 1857 the brothers continued to polish and refine the collection, ultimately releasing seven editions in all. The brothers also co-wrote a German dictionary, and Jacob, who was a professor of philology, wrote Deutsche Grammatick  (German Grammar) in 1819. It was the first historical study of German languages.

… and Mrs Grimm 

In 1825 Wilhelm married Dortchen Wild, a family friend. Dortchen (along with other female friends and acquaintances) was responsible for introducing the brothers to such tales as ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, ‘Hansel & Gretel’ and ‘The Singing Bone’. In her book, Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales, Valerie Paradiz explores the role upper class German women had in helping the brothers compile their fairy tale collection. According to Paradiz, more than half of the fairy tales were contributed by women such as writer Bettina von Arnim, Dorothea Viehmann, Annette von Droste- Hulshoff and, of course, Dortchen Wild.

Dortchen is the  focus of Australian fantasy author Kate Forsyth’s next novel, The Wild Girl. History and fairy tale merged beautifully in Forsyth’s 2012  novel Bitter Greens, a luminous re-telling of ‘Rapunzel’, and  fairy tale devotees will no doubt be looking forward to The Wild Girl’s April 2013 release.

And, while we’re on the subject… 

Kate Forsyth will be speaking about her take on fairy tales at the Fairy Tales Re-Imagined: Enchantment, Beastly Tales and Dark Mothers symposium at the University of Technology in Sydney this month.

Forsyth will be joined by fellow Australian writer Margo Lanagan (award winning author of Sea Hearts, a captivating selkie tale, and Tender Morsels, which is based on ‘Snow White, Rose Red’) as well as artists, academics, educators and media arts practitioners to examine the relevance of traditional fairy tales in contemporary culture and the motifs, themes and meanings within them.

The symposium has been initiated by media artist Sarah Gibson. Check out Sarah’s interactive online fairy tale project ‘Re- enchantment’ at

Fairy Tales Re-imagined will be held on Saturday October 13th at UTS.

See you there!