MonthMay 2021

Hugh Mackay – The Kindness Revolution

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

This is a gentle but assertive book. The author, a social psychologist by trade, has produced a work of contemporary philosophy in which he argues that kindness is hard-wired into us as human beings. We are as a species built for co-operation and collaboration, though, of course, we do not always behave in this way.

Hugh Mackay talks about The Kindness Revolution
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Ella Kurz, Simone King and Claire Delahunty (eds) – What We Carry

Recent Work Press, Canberra, Australia, 2021

This superb collection of poetry is about childbearing.  The editors speak in their introduction of ‘the ineffable mosaic of wonder, fatigue, love, elation, discomfort and tedium experienced during pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.’ The works selected also speak of the diversity of experience around the whole notion of childbearing – birth, pain, blood, loneliness, heritage, abortion, IVF, infertility, still birth, rape. But also, joy.

Barbie speaks to Ella Kurz about What We Carry
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Karly Lane – Take Me Home

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

Take Me Home is a story of the search for self and family. Our heroine Elle honours the wishes of her beloved grandmother by taking her ashes to her Scottish homeland, which she left at the age of 15 with a mystery in her wake.

Elle’s life to date has been one of feeling like a square peg in her family. Her siblings have all followed academic paths to successful careers; her mother is a bit of a helicopter, wanting Elle to also follow that expected path. Only her dad and her grandma (his mother) seem to understand that she is of a different ilk.

Barbie talks to Karly Lane about Take Me Home
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Kelly Rimmer – The Warsaw Orphan

Hachette Australia 2021
Offset by arrangement with Graydon House Books, an imprint of Harlequin, a division of Harper Collins Publishers USA

The Warsaw Orphan joins a growing collection of books about aspects of the Holocaust, this one the Nazi occupation of Poland. It is a story focused on  families caught up in the cruelties and privations of the period – the Jews who were placed in the confines of the ghetto in Warsaw and the Catholic Poles living in relative comfort but still under great duress and hardship in the part of  the city outside those walls.

Barbie talks to Kelly Rimmer about The Warsaw Orphan
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Win a double pass to the movie Finding You

Screening from 13 May 2021
Palace Electric Canberra, Hoyts Belconnen and Woden, and Limelight, Tuggeranong
119 minutes, rated PG

Courtesy of Courtesy of Rialto Films and through Miranda Brown Publicity we have 10 double passes for Finding You to give to Living Arts Canberra readers.

The first 10 entries received will receive a double pass. Simply email us at [email protected]

  • Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Katherine McNamara, Tom Everett Scott, Jedidiah Goodacre, Patrick Bergin, Rose Reid
  • Director and screenplay: Brian Baugh
  • Story by: Jenny B. Jones
  • Music composed by: Kieran Kiely, Timothy Williams

Finley, a talented aspiring violinist, meets Beckett, a famous young movie star, on the way to her college semester abroad program in a small coastal village in Ireland. An unexpected romance emerges as the heartthrob Beckett leads the uptight Finley on an adventurous reawakening, and she emboldens him to take charge of his future, until the pressures of his stardom get in the way. (Summary from

QL2 – REBEL Then.Now.When

The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre
7pm 20 – 22 May 2021, and 2pm on 22 May

This is a three-part work delving into the major social issues of our day and of the preceding eras, in particular that time of much social change, the 60s. 

Barbie spoke to Ruth Osborne, Steve Gow, Christopher Wade and Toby McKnight at QL2 about Then.Now.When
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Irma Gold – The Breaking

Midnight Sun Publishing, Australia, 2021

This is compassionate writing. There is compassion for the two young Australian women whose search for love and self is the framework of the story, compassion for the cruelly misused Thai tourist trade elephants, for the Thai people whose daily lives are shaped by the demands of Western tourists ever in pursuit of  exotic entertainment, for the reader lest we find the harsh reality of the results of our wanton search for pleasure too gruelling to face.

Barbie spoke to Irma Gold about The Breaking
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National Capital Orchestra – Fate

3pm, Sunday 16 May 2021
The Q, Queanbeyan

In a celebration of Beethoven’s 251st birthday, after his 250th party was sadly cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, Maestro Louis Sharpe makes his conducting debut with the NCO as it performs the thunderous Symphony No 5 in C minor.

Richard spoke to Louis Sharpe about Fate and the National Capital Orchestra
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Sutton Village Gallery – official opening

51 Camp Street Sutton NSW
2pm Saturday 8 May 2021
Some of the exhibiting artists will be in attendance

All are welcome to the official opening of Sutton Village Gallery with its first exhibition of 22 artists, working in a variety of mediums including painting,  printmaking, drawing, ceramics, glass, photography & sculpture. 

The gallery will feature a new artist every 4-6 weeks on the main wall. The first is Canberra-based printmaker, Sally Dunbar. (

Sutton Village Gallery is committed to promoting Australian artists, especially its regional artists, makers & designers.  Most artists are local. Workshops with local artists are in the planning stages. 

Belconnen Artists Network: Luminosity

A group exhibition at Strathnairn Arts
96 Stockdill Drive Holt ACT
Until 30 May 2021
Open Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4pm
Opening 5.30pm Thursday 6 May 2021 – RSVP [email protected]

This diverse collection is testament to the collegial strength of the Belconnen Artists Network (BEAN), a group of artists who support each other’s practice with regular meetings and an annual exhibition. Mediums in this year’s iteration include painting, photomedia, and textile art.

Barbie spoke to one of the BEAN artists, Margaret Kalms
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Fringe of Squaredom- Sunday Jazz series

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Four concerts from 23 May 2021

ANU School of Music vocal teacher Rachael Thoms, professional saxophonist and music educator Tom Fell with of James Luke, Chris Thwaite and Hugh Barrett plus special sessional guest artists.

Barbie spoke to Rachael Thoms and Tom Fell about the jazz series at Tuggeranong Arts Centre
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Kaneana May – All we have is now

Harper Collins, Australia, 2021

In this, her second novel, Kaneana May brings us a story of family. Most families will experience times of loss, grief, sadness, dispute, misunderstanding, failures of communication and petty bickering. But amidst it all there is usually love. And indeed, this is what we see in the lives of the three women at the centre of this epic tale.

Kaneana May talks about All we have is now
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Emma Bowd and Tania McCartney – Wonderful Shoes

Windy Hollow Books, Australia 2021

Emma Bowd’s lilting rhymes and Tania McCartney’s jaunty images marry beautifully in this new toddler book.

Who cannot remember their children or grandchildren clomping about in the grown-ups’ shoes? Of perhaps young parents will recall doing this themselves. And this is where the book positions itself, not just with its story of all the wonderful and varied shoes in a normal life, but in the visual perspective of a child, who of course often sees the world by looking up.

Barbie spoke to Emma Bowd and Tania McCartney about Wonderful Shoes
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Twist – film review

Britain, 2021
Showing in Canberra at Hoyts and Limelight
Directed by Martin Owen

With Sir Michael Caine in the role of Fagin, this modern take on Dickens’ Oliver Twist already had my ears pricked up. And indeed when he comes on screen with that characteristic voice, he is always a pleasure to watch.

This ‘adaptation’ is more of a rewrite. It sees an orphaned Twist with an artistic mother, from whom he receives an art education and probably his talent, grow into a free-running spray paint artist who falls foul of the law and is rescued by Fagin’s band of thieves.

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