CategoryAudio interviews

Denotes website entries with audio interviews

Denise Leith – The Night Letters

Ventura Press, Australia, 2020

The Night Letters is Denise Leith’s second novel. She has also published two works of non-fiction, very much in the realm of her academic expertise in International Relations and Middle East politics.

She also draws on this, on extensive research and on the experiences of much overseas travel in the creation of this beautiful, sensitive novel set in Afghanistan, in particular in Kabul.

Denise Leith talks about The Night Letters
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Bad Sydney Crime Writers’ Festival

Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 November 2020
State Library of NSW in person and live streamed on Zoom
Book at

The Australian writers section of BAD features appearances by true crime and crime fiction writers.

Barbie speaks with Catherine de Peloux, director of Bad Sydney Writers’ Festival

It’s an impressive line-up:

Greg Woodland, Petronella Mc Govern, Benjamin Stevenson, Tanya Bretherton, Michael Robotham, Brian Toohey, Kate McClymont, Russell Oxford, Robert Anderson, David Balding, Garry Disher, Metjin Boersma, Justine Nolan, Deb Wallace, Michael Brissenden, Chris Hammer, Caroline Overington, Gary Jubelin, Suzanne Leal, Diane Armstrong, Alan Gold, Nick Kaldas, Natalie Conyer, Anna Downes, Tom Kenneally, Lyndal Gowland, Jess Hill, Ian Lynch, Duncan McNab, Angela Williams and Xanthe Mallett.

The fiction covers the gamut of the genre. The true crime includes social justice/crime issues like modern slavery and violence against women and children, as well as state security, victim impact, unsafe convictions and policing.

Offering a live option at the library, the festival is also live streaming all events in the Dixson Room viz Zoom. Detailed descriptions of each session, the writers and panelists are at

Bad ALL Year allows you to enjoy regular online events. You can subscribe to Bad Sydney e-newsletter via their home page.

Sophie Green – The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle

Hachette, Australia, 2020

Following the huge success of The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club (2017), Sophie Green brings us another story of female friendship. Four women of diverse ages and backgrounds and each with her own private demons and challenges, bond through a daily morning ocean swim.

Barbie talks to Sophie Green about The Shelly Bayt Ladies Swimming Circle
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Sullivans Trail public art and history project

Sullivans Trail is a public and history project developed to engage the community with the waterways through Canberra linking our mountains to our lake through the creation a cultural and creative corridor.

Project convener Nicola Lambert talks to Barbie about Sullivans Trail

The project aims to celebrate and strengthen cultural heritage and promote the wider understanding of the culture of indigenous and non-indigenous communities through the collection of stories and by place activation along the route. 

This project gives the community the opportunity to connect with place.  There will ultimately be a cultural and art trail for our visitors and residents to explore.

Members of the community are invited to participate by emailing [email protected]

Anna Morgan – Before the Beginning

Hachette, A Lothian Children’s book, Australia 2020

This is Anna Morgan’s second book, following All that Impossible Space, published in 2019 by Hachette and awarded a CBCA Notable Book for Older Readers.

Before the Beginning is a sensitive, though never self-indulgent, exploration of teenage angst, particularly that delicate place of transition, the end of the last year of school – the space between the end of school and the beginning of entering a new stage of life, typically at work, university or other tertiary study or through travel.

Anna Morgan talks about Before the Beginning
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Dr Cathy Adamek appointed Ausdance ACT Director

Ausdance has appointed Dr Adamek as its ACT Director with funding assistance from the ACT Government through COVID-19 Organisational Emergency Support Funding.

Barbie speaks with Cathy Adamek, newly-appointed Director of Ausdance ACT

For 30 years, Dr Adamek has made a significant contribution to Australian dance, theatre, music and film as an independent artist and creative producer and through her research, writing and organisational leadership. Most recently, her work with Ausdance SA as President has seen her lead a volunteer board to revive and reinvigorate the organisation.

Cathy trained in acting at NIDA and Webber-Douglas (London), has a BA (Hons) in English Literature, a PhD on Adelaide Dance Music Culture and studied ballet with Joanne Priest and Shelia Laing to an Advanced RAD standard.

Her physical theatre and dance music works have toured nationally in major venues and festivals. Cathy is an Associate Artist with Dance Hub SA and teaches regular adult ballet class as part of their programs.

Julie Bradley – evocation

Belconnen Arts Centre
Until 25 October 2020
10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday, closed public holidays.

Julie Bradley’s work in evocation is refined and elegant, mostly homage to Australian and Irish landscapes and the feelings they have left her with or that she has taken to them.

She works in collaged Japanese papers, gouache washes and line, and is often inspired by words from poems and songs as well as by the landscapes she visits. The layering is delicately wrought, but powerful in effect.

Barbie speaks to Julie Bradley about evocation
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Maya Cifali – The Silver Bracelet: An Egyptian Girlhood

Cheops Australia, 2017

This is a memoir of a life of migration stretching back to Maya’s forebears, but it is also a fascinating history of the Middle East, especially Egypt, seen from its impact on the ordinary citizen.

Brought up by grandmothers due to the circumstances of war, Maya had heritage in both French-Jewish and Italian-Roman Catholic traditions. This strong maternal influence has carried through generations and doubtless contributed richly to Maya’s own outlook on life.

Maya Cifali talks about The Silver Bracelet
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Canberra Bonsai Society Annual Show

10-11 October 2020
Canberra High School
Bindubi Street, Macquarie ACT

The display will feature high quality bonsai from the collections of CBS members, including some created by local artists currently represented in the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia at the National Arboretum, Canberra (NAC).

Barbie speaks with Brenda Berkeley from Canberra Bonsai Society
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Petronella McGovern – The Good Teacher

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2020

This is a thrilling second novel from the author of the best-selling Six Minutes.

Beginning in a distinctly domestic milieu with a primary school teacher suffering the breakdown of her 20 -odd-year marriage, the story moves inexorably into the dark realms of sociopathic crime. We feel our hackles rise as we live this story with Allison Walsh. It’s an emotionally demanding book with layer upon layer of conflicting emotions for the reader to navigate.

Petronella McGovern talks about The Good Teacher
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Mess – Belconnen Arts Centre

1-2 October 2020
COVID-safe restrictions apply – bookings
No door sales

Director Natsuko Yonezawa delves deep into the psyche of Hikikomori – the phenomenon in which people elect to be socially and physically isolated. Mess employs physical theatre, dance and live sound composition and plays experimentally with the shadows and light found in isolation and self-made mess.

Barbie speaks with Mess director Natsuko Yonezawa and performer Christopher Samuel Carroll
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Jill Baker – A Dog Called Harry

Hachette, Australia, 2020

One would expect an award-winning journalist to write well, and indeed we are not disappointed with Jill Baker’s engaging and moving book, A Dog Called Harry.

Jill’s comfortable and happy life as editor of major newspapers and magazines, married to George and living contentedly and healthily on a small farm, was suddenly brought to an end with two major life events – the sudden death of her husband due to an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, quickly followed by her own diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent chemotherapy treatment. She had well and truly lost her joy in life.

Jill Baker talks to Barbie about A Dog Called Harry
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Milena Cifali – Mallacoota Time – the lost summer of 2020

Echo Books, Australia, 2020
Available in soft and hardback editions
Design by Peter Gamble, Canberra
Cover art by – soft back Milena Cifali; hardback Ishak Masukor

Part memoir, part hymn to Mallacoota, part account of the fires of the Australian summer of 2019-2020 and the devastation and loss that resulted, Mallacoota Time is a beautifully written passage through grief.

The author aims to help others who have suffered loss through the fires, or other grief, to heal. She writes honestly of her own losses, fears and struggles and in this she invites us to feel our own – whatever they may be.

Milena Cifali talks to Barbie about Mallacoota Time
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Rawah Arja – The F team

Giramondo Publishing Company, University of Western Sydney, Australia, 2020
Design Jenny Grigg
Cover illustration Ben Juers

This is Rawah Arja’s debut novel and what a superb novel it is! Ostensibly and billed as YA fiction, The F Team has much to say to all readers.

The story hangs on a group of four Lebanese Muslim boys from Punchbowl High School whose behaviour (and potential) brings them to the notice of the school hierarchy in the context of a possible school closure. They are teamed up with four lads from rival school Cronulla to form a rugby league team for an inter-school competition and we follow the ups and downs of this process along with the challenges of the personal lives of each.

Barbie talks to Rawah Arja about The F Team
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David Roberts – It’s Elementary

Belconnen Arts Centre
Until 25 October 2020

David Roberts’ first solo exhibition is an evocative collection of landscapes, showing the artist’s keen observation of the relationship between land and sky. He depicts the varying moods of nature with skilful execution of clouds, earth and water.

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