Peter Stanley – The Devil’s Uncle

Independently published, Australia, 2020
Cover and internal design Rosemary McKenzie

The Devil’s Uncle is the third of Peter Stanley’s Mansergh series, set in British colonial India and whilst indeed part of a series, it can certainly be read as a stand-alone. The exploits of Mansergh from previous novels have some residual effects, not least of which is what we would now call PTSD as a result of the horrors of war.

Barbie talks to Peter Stanley about The Devil’s Uncle
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Stephanie Owen Reeder and Cher Hart – Sensational Australian Animals

CSIRO Publishing, Australia, 2024
Cover and internal design Cher Hart

In creating a book about the five senses, Stephanie Owen Reeder and Cher Hart have eschewed the commonplace (pictures of noses and ears) and opted to show our unique Australian fauna and the way their use their senses, some of them in the most remarkable ways.

Stephanie Owen Reeder spoke to Barbie about Sensational Australian Animals
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Ben Drysdale releases new single dealing with mental health

Smith’s Alternative, Canberra City
Saturday 22 June 2024, 6-8pm
with Niall Howe
Also available on streaming platforms from 21 June

Canberra songwriter Ben Drysdale’s new single Listen Now had its genesis several years ago and has already won recognition at an international songwriting competition.

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Divertimento ticket giveaway

Palace Electric Canberra
From 20 June 2024
France, 2022 , 114 mins, rated PG
Rescreening from the 2024 Alliance Française French Film Festival

This film, directed by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, is based on the true story of one of the world’s leading renowned female conductors, Algerian, Zahia Ziouani.

Living Arts Canberra has two double passes to give away – just email

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Stephanie Owen Reeder and Liz Duthie – Courageous Kids and Their Amazing Adventures

National Library of Australia Publishing, Australia, 2023
Designer Hugh Ford
Cover and internal illustrations Liz Duthie

What a wonderful way for children to learn history this book is! All the heroes and heroines are children, some quite young, who are exemplars of bravery, care for family, perseverance in the face of difficulties and danger, cooperativeness and imaginative, innovative thinking. They also demonstrate practical life skills that see them through the worst of times.

Barbie spoke to Stephanie Owen Reeder about Courageous Kids and Their Amazing Adventures
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Victoria Purman – The Radio Hour

HQ Fiction, an imprint of HQBooks, a sunsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers, Australia, 2024
Cover design by Christine Armstrong
Cover image ClassicStock/Alamy Stock Photo

The Radio Hour is set at a time of transition in Australian social history, with the impacts of World War 11 still very much present in families and the wider society. It is a time of gradually changing attitudes to women in the workforce and their role in society, but of entrenched male dominance, sexism and misogyny in all spheres.

Barbie spoke to Victoria Purman about The Radio Hour
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Catherine McCullagh – Power and Obsession

Big Sky Publishing, Australia, 2024
Cover and internal design Think Productions

Catherine McCullagh has stayed in the realm of alternative historical fiction with this latest, thoroughly absorbing tale, set in a presumptive occupied Britain from 1940 to the end of the Second World War.

Barbie spoke to Catherine McCullagh about Power and Obsession
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Sara Haddad – The Sunbird

Independently published, Australia, 2024
Cover design and illustration by Tam Morris

This exquisite work contains both an allegorical story about Nabila Yasmeen, who as a girl experienced the horrors of the Nakba in Palestine, and a brief factual history of Palestine. We meet Nabila as a young child in Palestine in 1947 and also as an older woman in Australia in 2023.

Barbie talks to Sara Haddad about The Sunbird
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Margaret Wild and Hannah Sommerville – Reading to Baby

Affirm Press, Australia, 2024
Cover and internal design by Hannah Janzen

In Reading to Baby, author and illustrator have created a beautiful gentle book, a testament to family and to the power of reading.

Margaret Wild talks to Barbie about Reading to Baby
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The Training Ground – Wired

Erindale Theatre
2- 3 August 2024
Choreography by Bonnie Neate and Suzy Piani

Wired is a full-length contemporary dance work based on a true story about an individual who consciously decided to live in the walls and ceiling of a family home to facilitate a ghost-like and unnerving experience for the home’s occupants.  

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Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment

The Street, Canberra City
Adaptation by Marilyn Campbell-Lowe and Curt Columbus
Preview: Friday 21 June, 7.30pm
Season 22 June to 7 July 2024
90 min, various times

This dark production is at the same time fresh and faithful to the original. Often spoken of as the greatest crime story ever written, it is a tale of murder, motive and the search for redemption that plumbs the fundamental questions of existence.

Barbie spoke to actor PJ Williams at The Street about his role in Crime and Punishment
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Bell Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Directed by Pter Evans
Canberra Theatre Centre
7 – 15 June 2024

Director Peter Evans focuses on the play within the play, looking at the illusion of theatre and performance itself, with the assistance of Movement Director Nigel Poulton. This is billed as a highly physical production with eight actors playing multiple parts.

Barbie speaks to Imogen Sage from the cast of Bell Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
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