Kayte Nunn – The Last Reunion

Hachette, Australia, 2021

Another fine work of historical fiction by Kayte Nunn, The Last Reunion focusses on the women of the Women’s Auxiliary Services Burma (WASBies). It’s another of the largely untold stories of the contribution of women to the Second World War effort – these plucky women were the closest to the frontline of any servicewomen in this conflict, their role being to run a mobile canteen for the soldiers in the battlefield.

Kayte Nunn talks to Barbie about The Last Reunion
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Film review: Two by Two Overboard!

Now playing at Hoyts, Limelight and Palace cinemas in Canberra
89 minutes, rated PG (Mild themes)

This animated German-Luxembourg-Irish co-production (also known by the title Ooops! The Adventure Continues) is a sequel to the 2015 family film known in the UK and Ireland as Two by Two, and All Creatures Big and Small in the US.

It continues the Noah’s Ark theme of the original, this time with the colourful Nestrian and carnivorous Grymp family of stowaways on a creaky ark. With no land in sight, the one thing which keeps the carnivorous animals from eating the herbivores are communal meals of green slop – and food supplies are dwindling fast.

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Skywhales performer on the ground at The Street

PhEnO – Jess Green with her band
The Street, Canberra City
8pm Saturday 10 April 2021

Jess Green, aka Pheno, is widely known and most recently for the success of We are the Skywhales in collaboration with Patricia Piccinini.

After performing Pheno shows for the past two years as a solo act, Jess is joined by long time musical collaborator Lachlan Coventry, who has featured in many of her jazz projects, drummer James Hauptmann and Alyx Dennison on synths.

Barbie speaks with Jess Green about the performance. The interview includes parts of the tracks We Are the Sky Whales and Shadows in the Water
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Shelly Unwin and Jedda Robbard – Hello Baby

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

This charming picture book with words by Shelly Unwin and pictures by Jedda Robbard is the perfect gift for people expecting a baby into their lives. It would also be a lovely read for parents and grandparents wishing to spend time with the sibling of a newly arrived or expected baby.

Barbie talks to Shelly Unwin about Hello Baby
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Isla Patterson – Hall Countryside and Beyond

Kyeema Gallery at Capital Wines
Open Thursday to Monday 11.30am to 5pm
13 Gladstone Street, Hall, NSW
Until 19 April 2021

An exhibition by Isla Patterson always excites much attention from her many fans. Her skilful and evocative depictions of our landscapes, flora and fauna never disappoint.

Barbie spoke to Isla Patterson at Kyeema Gallery
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Carolyn Fitzpatrick – Drawing

Strathnairn, Woolshed Gallery
96 Stockdill Drive Holt ACT
Until 18 April 2021
Open Thursday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday – Sunday 12 pm – 3 pm

Carolyn Fitzpatrick’s superb drawings in ink and pastel carry a deep reverence for the landscape and for the tenacious power of nature Her sensitive evocation of land has found a perfect home in the woolshed at Strathnairn.

Barbie spoke to Carolyn Fitzpatrick at the Woolshed Gallery
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Playful theme for new $25,000 sculpture prize

[email protected]
Entries open nationally until 28 May 2021
Shaw Vineyards in partnership with Belconnen Arts Centre
4 to 19 September 2021 at Shaw Vineyards, Murrumbateman, NSW
Ticketed event with COVID limitations on numbers

This new prize aims to celebrate outdoor public art that exudes a sense of play and imagination. Artists are encouraged to challenge viewers with experiential works that can be small, large scale, or site specific to the beautiful Shaw Wines and surrounding Murrumbateman countryside.

Graeme Shaw, from Shaw Wines, and Monica McInerney, Co-CEO of Belco Arts, spoke to Barbie about [email protected]
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Carmel McCrow – Just Add Water

M16 Artspace
21 Blaxland Crescent Griffith ACT 2603
Until 4 April 2021

Wednesday to Sunday 12noon to 5pm
Gallery open Easter weekend Saturday and Sunday

This exhibition by one of Canberra’s most accomplished artists depicts the many facets of water in the Australian landscape. Possessed of a great love and respect for the landscape, the artist has made many travels inland and to coastal regions, translating to canvas her impressions of colour, light, movement, atmosphere and her own feelings.

Barbie spoke to Carmel McCrow at M16
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Esther Amini – Concealed

Greenpoint Press, New York, NY, 2020

This memoir of Jewish Iranian Esther Amini is at once moving and sad, funny and joyous; it is also highly instructive. For those of us who knew nothing of the history of the hidden Jews in Iran, how they came to be there and what they endured, this is indeed eye-opening.

Barbie spoke to Esther Amini in New York via Zoom
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Jo Portelli and Michelle Peddle – Animal Fair

Bungendore Fine Art
Until end of April 2021

Open Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 4.30pm

Jo Portelli’s work depicts lively, colourful, and often humorous, animal subjects.  Her modernist representation in impasto acrylic on board is bright, cheerful and edgy.  Jo is based in the Southern Highlands and also often paints domesticated animals in her locality.

Roz Dibley, a partner at Bungendore Fine Art, talks to Barbie about the Animal Fair exhibition

Michelle Peddle is a scraperboard artist who creates images using this skilled traditional method to depict Australian fauna. Michelle is passionate about her local wildlife and is particularly interested in showcasing endangered and vulnerable species. She has won many awards throughout the district and was the winner of the Memorial Art Award at the International Scratchboards Assoc Exhibition. She is based in the Southern Highlands.

Michelle Peddle, Twilight Rambler

Top image: Jo Portelli, Move along. Images courtesy Bungendore Fine Art

Ben Sanders – The Devils You Know

Allen & Unwin, Australia 2021

This is a rip-snorting thriller with all the elements of a Matt Damon movie – gun toting, the drug trade, a body count to rival Midsomer Murders, conspicuous wealth, punch-ups, car chases and stuntman-worthy driving feats, conspicuous acts of daring by our hero and to some extent by our heroine, a certain chemistry between the male and female leads and a little discreet sex.

Ben Sanders discusses The Devils You Know
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L.P. McMahon – As Swallows Fly

Ventura Press, Australia, 2021

This exquisite study of how we hold and resolve pain and loss is Lawrence McMahon’s first novel. Traversing themes of violence against women, the role of the missionary, religious practices, hierarchical structures in our society macro and micro – hence power plays between individuals and groups, medical ethics and our universal need for a place we call home, the novel is beautifully written and thoroughly absorbing in its content.

Barbie talks to Lawrence McMahon about As Swallows Fly
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Then Came You – Film Review

Romantic comedy, 2020
97 minutes

Written and produced by, and starring, Kathie Lee Gifford
Review by Barbie Robinson

Annabelle, a lonely widow, plans a trip around the world, carrying her husband’s ashes, to visit places in movies they loved. She arrives at the Inn in Loch Lomond, run by also grieving and already engaged Scotsman, Howard. Their meeting changes their lives, providing a second chance for love.

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Maureen Cashman – The Roland Medals

Independently published, Australia, 2021

Maureen Cashman’s historical novel The Roland Medals is a beautifully crafted story, elegantly written and demonstrating an adept control of literary dramatic tension.

The historical story takes place in 16th century Spain; the modern story begins in Finland and then moves to contemporary Spain, particularly the much-walked pilgrims’ way, the Camino de Santiago.

Maureen Cashman talks to Barbie about The Roland Medals
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Krys Saclier – Super Nova

Ford Street Publishing, Australia, 2019

This gentle story of girl power is told in the voice of Super Nova’s brother. She is always up to mischief but has everyone fooled except for him. Despite the challenges of being an older brother to Nova, he is always there to cheer her on – even through tussles with aliens.

Barbie speaks with Krys Saclier, author of Super Nova
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