CategoryAudio interviews

Denotes website entries with audio interviews

Charlotte Nash – Twenty-Six Letters

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2022
Cover design and illustration by Louisa Maggio

This is a book that could easily slide into sentimentality, but it never does. It’s a rich and real story about finding oneself through finding a parent, and hence putting a life story that has too many missing pieces back into place.

Charlotte Nash talks about Twenty-Six Letters
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Sophie Green – The Bellbird River Country Choir

Hachette, Australia, 2022
Cover design by Christabella Designs
Cover images courtesy of Shutterstock

When we read a Sophie Green novel, we know that the ‘good people’ will come off okay and that the less attractive ones have a good chance of getting their comeuppance. Knowing this in no way interferes with our enjoyment of the stories. There are times when, contrary to real life, we have need of this assurance.

Barbie speaks to Sophie Green about The Bellbird River Country Choir
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Dylan Van Den Berg – Ngadjung

The Theatre, Belconnen Arts Centre
18 -27 August 2022 at 7pm

Dylan Van Den Berg, Palawa playwright who lives in Canberra makes his directorial debut with his new play Ngadjung (Ngunnawal for water), a dystopian environmental drama featuring a First Nations cast, Lisa Maza and Kylah Day. Ngadjung, an important First Nations work written and set on Ngunnawal country, was commissioned by Belco Arts in 2019.

Barbie visited Belconnen Arts Centre to speak to the cast of Ngadjung
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Lauren Searson-Patrick – Amber Wolf

Self-published, Australia, 2022
Cover design, artwork and internal design by Franziska Stern

This is an assured debut from adult fantasy writer Lauren Searson-Patrick. It delivers all that is expected of the genre – a quest story, rich in characters and with meticulous world building.

Lauren Searson-Patrick talks about Amber Wolf
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Petros Papoulis  – Near Water

Humble House Gallery
93 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick, ACT
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm
Until 6 September 2022

Petros Papoulis shows mastery of technique and a capacity to evoke stillness in the meticulous, meditative works in this exhibition. They are drawings, mixed media works and paintings, inspired by the artist’s visits to regional and more distant water bodies.

Barbie spoke to Petros Papoulis about Near Water

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7th Annual Canberra Writers Festival – Power, Passion, Politics

Artistic Director Jeanne Ryckmans
Festival Director Paul Donohoe
Various Venues
10 to 14 August 2022

The festival presents 160 local, national, and international writers, journalists, commentators, and leading thinkers in 70 events at venues including the Museum of Australian Democracy, National Museum of Australia, National Press Club, and Kambri Cultural Centre at the Australian National University. 

Barbie talks to Canberra Writers Festival Artistic Director, Jeanne Ryckmans
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Shelley Burr – Wake

Hachette, Australia, 2022
Cover design by Debra Bilson
Cover photographs Stocksy, Franckreporter/Getty Images and Shutterstock

It’s an online true crime chat group that creates the jokey moniker for the case at the heart of this book, and that is its title.

Wednesday Addams Killed Evie (WAKE) is an acronym, callous and with no regard for truth, which insists upon the guilt of Mina, the sister of a missing girl Evelyn McCreery (Evie).

Shelley Burr talks about Wake
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Amelia Mellor – The Grandest Bookshop in the World

Affirm Press, Australia, 2020
Cover and internal Affirm Press
Cover illustrations Sylvia Morris

What a huge pleasure this book is! It has everything we want from magical realism – the archetypal struggle between good and evil, a pair of plucky youngsters who embark on a series of quests and overcome danger and fear in the process, a silver tongued villain who really is a nasty piece of work, human frailty and optimism, family love, quirky humour and a marvellous setting in a place we all want to visit i.e. The Grandest Bookshop in the World.

Barbie talks to Amelia Mellor about The Grandest Bookshop in the World
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Val Johnson – Here’s Looking at You, Canberra!

An exploration of Canberra in oils and mosaics
Strathnairn Homestead, 90 Stockdill Drive Holt ACT
27 July – 21 August 2022
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm

This exhibition is based on Val’s discovery of some of the beautiful natural places we have in the Canberra region – rivers, lakes, suburbia and parks. She has spent the past two years during Covid composing the paintings and mosaics for this exhibition.

Val Johnson talks about Here’s Looking at You, Canberra!
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Midwives – Stronger than Fiction Documentary Series

Dendy Cinema Canberra
Repeat screening Friday 29 July at 6.30pm

Burmese/Rakhine Language with English Subtitles
91 mins, awaiting classification

In a remote corner of Rakhine state, Myanmar, a Buddhist midwife and her Rohingya Muslim apprentice form an unlikely alliance amidst escalating ethnic violence. 

Stronger than Fiction co-director Hannah de Feyter talks to Barbie about Midwives
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Hayley Scrivenor – Dirt Town

Macmillan, Australia, 2022
Cover design by Deborah Parry Graphics
Cover photographs Doug Steley B/Alamy Stock photo and iStock

This is a book about concealment – a body, a crime, community and personal secrets and injuries held from the past. While it is a police procedural and its plot stems from the classic crime trope of a missing child, it is, for me, much more an intimate and perceptive portrait of a small town and how its secrets have long trails.

Hayley Scrivenor talks to Barbie about Dirt Town
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Helen Machalias  – Barren Ground

The Street Theatre
15 Childers Street, Canberra
5pm, Friday 29 July 2022
120 minutes

This work is a product of The Street’s First Seen program. It is a contemporary exploration of the asylum seeker experience in Australia, Barren Ground interprets The Tempest’s timeless themes of dislocation, forgiveness and redemption. 

Barbie spoke to Helen Machalias about Barren Ground
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