MonthDecember 2021

The Furphy Anthology 2021

Hardie Grant, Australia, 2021
Cover design and illustrations Design by Committee

The Furphy Literary Award was established in 1992 for writers of all ages in the greater Shepparton region. It was inspired by the Furphy family’s interest in story-telling. In 2020 the award was expanded and entries were welcomed from across Australia. The topic for 2021 was Australian Life in all Its Diversity.

Furphy Anthology winner Thomas Alan talks about his work
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Steven Miller – The Exhibitionists

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, 2021
Design Dominic Hofstede (Mucho)

No-one could be better placed to produce a history of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, celebrating its 150th year, than long serving Chief Archivist Steven Miller.

Catchily titled, The Exhibitionists is at once a social history of those years and an examination of the changes in the nature and purpose of the gallery – this one and, by association, others in Australia.

Barbie spoke to Steven Miller about The Exhibitionists
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Colin Campbell – Poems

Stringybark Publishing, Australia, 2021

Poems is an intimate and affecting collection of work by a poet with an assured mastery of the English word and phrase. Many of the poems speak of his love for his mother and for the Suffolk countryside of his boyhood, often felt to be one and the same.

There are constant echoes of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Dylan Thomas in Colin Campbell’s beautiful language, along with the lilt and fall of the Suffolk dialect he sometimes employs in his story telling. For this is what these poems are, the stories of his life and loves, from the sadness and shame of his unmarried mother to the cruelty of the cane-wielding school master.

Colin Campbell talks to Barbie and reads some of his poems. Music is from Dubussy’s Clair de Lune
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Ausdance ACT – Youth Dance Festival download available

Following the successful Digital Dystopia Utopia Youth Dance Festival in November 2021, Ausdance ACT has announced that the festival download is now available for purchase.

Barbie speaks to Ausdance ACT’s Cathy Adamek about the downloads
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The Canberra Big Band Collective – Sunday afternoon special

Harmonie German Club, 49 Jerrabombera Ave, Narrabundah ACT
Sunday 12 December  2021 at 2pm – 4pm (doors open at 1.00pm)
Musical Director  – Justin Buckingham

Two of Canberra’s beloved big bands, Spectrum and ConneXion bring you an afternoon of hot swinging jazz.  There will also be a special swing dance display by the Swing Katz.

The program will consist of many favourites along with music by local arrangers and composers.

Tickets – $20 for adults; $5 for children under 13; $10 concession, or $45 for a family (includes two adults and up to three children).

Reserve a table of 6 for $100.

Food and drinks can be purchased at the club.

Booking recommended:

Barry Maitland – The Russian Wife

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021
Cover design Nada Backovic

I’m coming late to the David Brock and Kathy Kolla party, a fact I deeply regret. I hope to make amends by getting my hands on as much of Barry Maitland’s back catalogue as possible.

The Russian Wife is a cracking crime read, a suave amalgam of elegant writing, fast flowing action and pleasingly complex characters. I was immediately wedded to the welfare of our leads, despite only just now meeting them, 27 years into their on-page careers.

Barbie talks to Barry Maitland about The Russian Wife
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QL2 Quantum Leap – Hot to Trot

18-19 December 2021 at 6pm
QL2 Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre
55 Ainslie Ave, Braddon ACT

QL2’s senior Quantum Leapers, mentored by staff and supported by others in the ensemble as collaborators and performers, try their hand at choreography.

Ten young artists supported by additional dancers explore different models of creative practice both live and filmed. This project is an important starting point in the development of their choreographic practice and leadership potential.


The Song Company – HARK!

A Concert of Christmas songs and carols
Online Livestream – Australian Digital Concert Hall
Tuesday 21 December 2021 at 6pm
(ticket enables on demand stream for further 72 hours)

The Song Company presents exquisite carols from the Renaissance and perennial audience favourites.

The concerts will also be performed live in Sydney, with families welcome and sing-along opportunities

  • Garrison Church, Millers Point, Sydney NSW
    Monday 20 December 2021 at 6pm
  • St Philip’s Church, York Street, CBD, Sydney NSW
    Tuesday 21 December at 3pm and 6pm
    Wednesday 22 December at 3pm and 6pm


Fiona Palmer – The Long Weekend

Hachette, Australia, 2021
Cover design Christabella Designs

In her real life, Fiona Palmer has her feet firmly on the ground – or more accurately on the floor of large agricultural machinery or the pedals of a racing car, but in her fictional world she does love a good romance and at the same time takes a look at contemporary concerns, many of them urban.

Barbie talks to Fiona Palmer about The Long Weekend
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Stephanie Parkyn – The Freedom of Birds

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021
Cover design Lisa White

Stephanie Parkyn has chosen the failing years of the Napoleonic Empire as the period for this historical fiction, a sweeping tale of cultural theft, love and betrayal, abandonment and refuge.

The story follows the fortunes of storytellers Rémi and Pascal, whom we first meet as orphans working in the comedia dell’arte theatre of Gianni. They are soon joined by Saskia, a Russian travelling circus performer who had been kidnapped and mistreated by a mysterious religious Father.

Barbie spoke to Stephanie Parkyn about The Freedom of Birds
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Angela Taylor – The Machinery Shed

Self-published, Australia, 2021
Artwork by

On one level this is a picture book made for country kids, especially those who live on working farms. It presents the day to day lives of such children in a way that mainstream picture books and other children’s literature do not, thus acknowledging and valuing their real world experiences.

Barbie talks to Angela Taylor about The Machinery Shed
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Best Sellers – film review

Palace Electric Cinema, Canberra
To 8 December 2021 as part of the British Film Festival
Comedy, 100 min

Reviewed by Barbie Robinson

I must be honest and say that I would happily watch Michael Caine in almost anything on screen – oh that voice!. This film was classic Caine in the role of crotchety, cantankerous alcoholic writer Harris Shaw, whose novel (decades before the start of the film) put the Stanbridge family publishing house on the map.

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House Planet: A Discovery of Recovery – the Musical

An original musical created by Mr Tim Enterprises
Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Friday 10 December at 7pm and Saturday 11 December at 2pm
90 minutes, Tickets $15

This original musical was devised by program participants (aged 7-13 years) with Tim & Nathalie Bevitt from Mr. Tim Enterprises.

It has provided an artistic platform for young people to express their concerns and find solutions, confirming the directors’ strong belief that young people have important things to say, whilst realising Tim and Nathalie’s  passion for giving children a voice.

Tim and Nathalie Bevitt talk about the production
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