Australian Author Richard Flanagan Wins 2014 Man Booker Prize.

Book Review

Author Bio

Richard Flanagan accepts the award

The 2014 winner of The Man Booker Prize for Fiction  was announced yesterday. Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan was awarded the prize for his book, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Named after a famous book by the Japanese poet Basho, this is the sixth novel from Richard Flanagan, who is considered by many to be one of Australia’s finest novelists. It centres upon the experiences of surgeon Dorrigo Evans in a Japanese POW camp on the now infamous Thailand-Burma railway. –

Flanagan joins compatriots Thomas Keneally and Peter Carey as the third Australian winner of arguably the world’s most prestigious literary award. Peter Carey, South African born Adelaide resident J.M. Coetzee and Hilary Mantel share the distinction of being the only novelists to have won the award twice. Mantel stands alone as the only author to have won Bookers with consecutive novels, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.

For more information on the history of The Booker prize click here.

For information on other book awards and literary prizes go here.

Website of the Week:

This week’s Website of the Week is

The site attempts to match your interests in books, films and music with other compatible content. Try searching your favourite author, book, film or band and Tastekid will suggest other things that you might like based on the style, audience and genre. Give it a try.image

Banned Books Week. 21-27 September.

“[I]t’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”Judy Blume

banned books week 2014 2

This week is Banned Books Week.  Initiated by the American Library Association, it is a chance to celebrate the freedom to read each September by drawing attention to the issue of censorship. Many public and school libraries in the US (and elsewhere) champion the vast range of literature that has been banned and/or challenged by over-eager legislators and officials.

30 years of banned books timeline

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The situation in Australia has thankfully been much more liberal with many fewer instances of this kind of attempted thought control. The last literary work to be actually banned in Australia was American Psycho, by Brett Easton Ellis way back in 1990. It is only available to over 18s in most states and still effectively banned in Queensland. Click on the links below for a story about the history of Literary Censorship in Australia and elsewhere.

Aussie banned books  UniMelb Banned Books Ex

In the U.S. Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2014 celebration will be held September 21-27.

airship  144 books banned and the reasons why

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported. The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

banned books week 2014 5  banned books week 2014 3

For more information on Banned Books Week, click here.

For some excellent quotes about Censorship click on the links below:

censorship goodreads  brainy quotes


Award Winning Author Phillip Gwynne Visits Cabra


Phillip Gwynne in the Cabra Middle School Library

Acclaimed Author Visits Cabra


Phillip Gwynne addresses students in St. Dominic’s Hall.

On Tuesday 29 July we were fortunate enough to be visited by acclaimed author Phillip Gwynne. Phillip’s  first novel Deadly Unna? the literary hit of 1998, has now sold over 180,000 copies. It was made into the feature film Australian Rules for which Phillip won an AFI award. The sequel, Nukkin Ya, was published to great acclaim in 2000.

He has also written The Worst Team Ever, Born to Bake, and A Chook Called Harry in the Aussie Bites series, and Jetty Rats, and has written an adult detective thriller The Build Up, The Debt series, and most recently, the young adult novel Swerve, which was shortlisted for many awards amongst them the 2010 Prime Minister’s Award and the Golden Inky.

Phillip presented four excellent large group talks to students ranging from Years 6-11. It was fantastic to see our students so engaged, listening to a successful writer speak about their work. We are indeed fortunate to be able to offer visits like this to our students and it is such a great way to help us all celebrate Book Week for 2014.

Phillip with Mrs Mills, Ms Sanderson Brewster and Mr Bull

Phillip with Mrs Mills, Ms Sanderson Brewster and Mr Bull. Photo by Spencer, Year 9

Phillip poses with big fan Ahmad, Year 11

Phillip poses with big fan Ahmad, Year 11










Phillip is published by Penguin Books. For a full list his books click here. To read an interview with Phillip from Good Reading Magazine click here.






Acclaimed Author Phillip Gwynne to Visit Cabra

Phillip Gwyne On Tuesday 29th July award winning author Phillip Gwynne will visit Cabra College to help us celebrate Book Week for 2014 .

Phillip is best know for Young Adult novels, first making his mark with the hugely popular and critically acclaimed Deadly Unna in 1998. Since then Phillip’s books have all received both high acclaim and popularity amongst readers, and he has penned works for all ages. He continues to write young adult novels (Swerve being the most recent), and his adult thriller The Build Up led to an epic thriller series for upper primary students: The Debt. Phillip now has a legion of young fans too, with picture books Yobbos Do Yoga, What’s Wrong Wobbegong? and more.

Phillip Gwynne’s first novel Deadly Unna? was the literary hit of 1998 winning Children’s Book of the Year and selling over 200,000 copies. It was made into the feature film Australian Rules for which Phillip’s screenplay won an AFI award in 2002.

Phillip is published by Penguin Books. For a full list his books click here. To read an interview with Phillip from Good Reading Magazine click here.






Gabriel García Márquez: 6 March 1927 (or was it 1928?) – 17 April 2014


Colombia’s most revered writer Gabriel García Marquez died in his adopted home of Mexico last month. Renowned the world over for his writing; short stories, screenplays,  journalism and literary fiction. He was seen by many as the Godfather of the literary style Magical Realism. He published consistently often returning to the same themes in a way that garnered him considerable commercial and vast critical success. He was perhaps the most successful Spanish Language writer since Cervantes. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Read Marquez’s Nobel lecture in full here.


100 Greatest Novels of All Time?

book300It’s always interesting reading someone else’s list of the “Best novels of all time”. Check out the Guardian Newspaper’s list here. They also have compiled their 100 Best Non-Fiction Books list too. What do you think? What books are missing in your opinion? How many have you read? If 100 books is not enough for you to choose from then take a look at the Guardian’s 1000 books everyone must read. Spanning five centuries this is a mega list of the best books ever written.

Read what you like, like what you read.

Bestselling Books of 2013

hard luck wimpy kid It’s heartening to discover that topping the list of the bestselling books across all genres and age ranges including fiction and non-fiction last year was the 8th installment in Jeff Kinney’s middle school saga Diary of A Wimpy Kid, Hard Luck. Selling almost 2 million copies  in hardback, this heavily illustrated children’s novel outsold Dan Brown, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald and even Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James.

As is so often the case forthcoming or newly released film adaptations helped spur interest and ultimately sales in both recent novels like Kinney’s as well as old chestnuts such as Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Read the full Publisher’s Weekly article here.

Author Richard Harland to Visit Cabra

Author BioAcclaimed author Richard Harland will once again visit Cabra College this Thursday 14th November for a series of talks, to promote his new novel, Song of the Slums. Harland is the author more than a dozen books including the Steampunk novels Worldshaker and Liberator. His new book Song of the Slums is once again set in the alternative historical fantasy world of Steampunk.

Richard’s novels and stories have won 6 Aurealis Awards and two French prizes, the Tam Tam Je Bouquine Award and the Prix Lucioles. Worldshaker was shortlisted for the NSW Premiers Literary Award, the Inky Award, and was adopted as a recommended school text by Queensland Education in 2012

Richard will visit Cabra College on Thursday 14th November. Signed copies of his books will be available for purchase at a mere $15. Please see Mr Bull in the Senior Library or Miss SB in the Middle School Library for details.

Check out the Richard Harland Links below for more info on the author.

Complete Bibliography of the author’s work.

Other Steampunk Novels to Consider

Steampunk Overview

Website of the Week: Biblioklept

(c) The Courtauld Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationThis week’s Website of the Week is Biblioklept. The word literally means “Book Thief” and it is a blog dedicated to discovering and sharing great things from books, art, film and culture generally. The site has been going since 2006 and is run by Edwin Turner.