CategoryAudio interviews

Denotes website entries with audio interviews

Nigel Gray and Bethan Welby – Phyllis and Grace

Scallywag Press, London, UK, 2022

This gentle picture book, written by Nigel Gray and illustrated by Bethan Welby, subtly conveys messages of kindness, neighbourliness, friendship across generations, the importance of family and the blessing of an open-hearted and compassionate view of the world – as seen by this story’s child Grace.

Author Nigel Gray spoke to Barbie about Phyllis and Grace
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The Training Ground – Unravel

Erindale Theatre
7pm, Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July 2022

Unravel is a contemporary dance interpretation of the Shakespearean Romeo and Juliet story. It promises to be emotionally engaging, relevant in its themes to the current day and of a high standard both choreographically and in dance technique.

Barbie spoke to The Training Ground’s co-director, Bonnie Neate
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Lauren Chater – The Winter Dress

Simon & Schuster, Australia, 2022
Cover design Nada Backovic
Cover images Beata Banach/Trevillion Images

Lauren Chater’s third historical novel is as finely woven as the 17th century silk dress which inspired it.

Lauren Chater talks to Barbie about The Winter Dress
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National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature

Located at The Hub, University of Canberra

The NCACL’s mission is to collect, document and preserve Australian children’s books and literature. It aims to share the collection with all Australians through outreach activities. In order to reach national and international audiences, resources are available online.

Barbie visited the Centre to talk to Director Belle Alderman, Emeritus Professor of Children’s Literature at University of Canberra.
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Matthew Spencer – Black River

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2022
Cover design by Luke Causby, Blue Cork
Cover photographs Luke Causby and Adobe Stock

Matthew Spencer’s debut novel has been aptly described by others more eminent than I in the following terms: ‘a meticulous thriller’ (Sarah Bailey), ‘sharply plotted and relentlessly paced’ (Michael Robotham) and ‘Black River hooked me and wouldn’t let me go (Tim Ayliffe).

Barbie speaks to Matthew Spence about Black River
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Repeat screenings for Stronger than Fiction Film Festival openers

Navalny on Tuesday 21 June at 9.15pm
A House Made of Splinters on Sunday 26 June 2022 at 12.30pm
Dendy Cinema Canberra

To open the STF 2022 season of monthly screenings, Stronger than Fiction presents two films in collaboration with the new Capital Film Festival (

Richard spoke to Hannah de Feyter about the first films in the Stronger Than Fiction 2022 season
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Twenty Minutes With The Devil – The Street Theatre

World premiere season
New dates – 18 to 25 June 2022
See website
link below
Tickets $35 to $45
Contains coarse language and loud noises, recommended 15+

Written by Luis Gómez Romero and Desmond Manderson, developed and made in Canberra, Twenty Minutes with the Devil is a gripping tale inspired by events leading to the capture of El Chapo, Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, in 2016.

Joanna Richards plays the part of Angela. Richard spoke to her about the role and career
Barbie spoke to performer Raoul Craemer, about Twenty Minutes With the Devil
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Nell Pierce – A Place Near Eden

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2022
Cover design by Christabella Designs
Cover photographs: Getty Images/Andersen Ross

A Place Near Eden, the winner of the 2022 Australian Vogel Literary Award, is a clever psychological thriller, a work exploring truth, perception and family relationships.

It’s a disturbing and thoroughly absorbing read. The author plays with the reader so that we not only distrust our own judgments but everyone else’s.

Barbie spoke to Nell Pierce about A Place Near Eden
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Ned Manning – Painting the Light

Broadcast Books, Australia, 2022
Cover design, artwork and internal design by Daniel New

This historical novel spans the period in Australian history from pre-World War 2 into the 1950s. It is inspired by the life of the author’s parents, drawing heavily on their experiences on the land and in wartime, and then in the political sphere of Labor politics.

Ned Manning talks to Barbie about Painting the Light
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Caroline Magerl – Piano Fingers

Walker Books, Australia, 2022
Text and illustrations by Caroline Magerl

I cannot for a moment pretend to be dispassionate about this book. I am utterly enchanted by it. And ‘enchanted’ is perhaps, an apt word for a book so very much in the realm of magical realism.

Caroline Magerl talks about Piano Fingers
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Canberra Spinners and Weavers – Warped and Twisted

Canberra Textile Works -70 Maclaurin Cres, Chifley. ACT
(the former Chifley Primary School)
Friday 3 to Sunday 12 June 2022
Open daily 10am to 3pm

Warped and Twisted showcases the diverse work of Canberra Spinners and Weavers’ members. There are 56 works on display employing different weaving techniques as well as knitting, crochet and stitching. Most work is for sale and at very reasonable prices.

Barbie spoke to Alison Leonard from Canberra Spinners and Weavers

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Mark Tedeschi AM QC – Missing, Presumed Dead

Simon and Schuster, Australia, 2022
Cover design by Luke Causby/Blue Cork
Cover photograph supplied

This book is an account of the kidnapping and murder of two Sydney women, Kerry Whelan and Dorothy Davis, the police investigation into their disappearance and the legal proceedings that led to the conviction of Bruce Burrell for both crimes.

Mark Tedeschi talks about Missing, Presumed Dead
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Canberra Sinfonia – Apcar’s Holland

Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest ACT
5pm, Sunday 19 June 2022
Featuring contemporary music specialist, pianist Ronan Apcar

The Canberra Sinfonia presents two world premieres and one Australian premiere at their next performance, Apcar’s Holland.

Lenny Weiss talks to Barbie about Apcar’s Holland
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David Conley – Mythology series

That Book About Greek Mythology Part 1
That Book About Greek Mythology Part 2
That Book About Norse Mythology Part 1
That Book About Norse Mythology Part 2
Written, illustrated and published by David Conley, Canberra, Australia, 2022

I wouldn’t normally bundle four books together but these belong so well as a set that I am doing so on this occasion. It’s something akin to the Labours of Heracles to create a set of books retelling the complex stories of Greek and Norse mythology suitable for and appealing to young children.

David Conley discusses his Mythology series
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Pamela Hart: An A-List for Death

H-Q Fiction, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises, a subsidiary of HarperCollins, Australia, 2022
Cover illustration and design by George Saad

The second in Poppy McGowan crime fiction series is as entertaining and cleverly constructed as the first, Digging Up Dirt. It’s a romping, fast paced story of family, fame and money, with smart digs at trash media and references to several important social issues neatly woven in.

Pamela Hart talks about An A-List for Death
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