Is there a better gift than a book?
We don't think so either.
And a Tasmanian author, all the better.
The 2023 year has seen a steady stream of new Tasmanian books hitting shelves, so we thought we'd put together a bookish Christmas giving guide so that you can not only give a sensational, thoughtful present to your loved-ones, but support a local author in the process.
These titles are available from your favourite independent Tasmanian book retailer.
by Lenny Bartulin (Allen & Unwin)
Set amidst the harsh terrain of the timber and ore industries of the west coast, The Unearthed is a haunting novel about the past and its quiet but tenacious grip on the present. It reveals the tragic connections between the disparate lives of post-war migrants and local workers, and the fallibility of memory, the illusion of truths and the repercussions on real lives.
On a Bright Hillside in Paradise
by Annette Higgs (Vintage Australia)
Told from five different points of view, each one revealing something different, On a Bright Hillside in Paradise, tells the story of a family of convict descendants in the back-blocks of Tasmania, on a farm in a place called Paradise. They lead hard-scrabble lives. The drama begins when strangers arrive, Christian Brethren evangelists who hold big revival meetings in local barns.
The Secrets of the Huon Wren
by Claire van Ryn (Penguin Random House)
Senior journalist Allira is writing a story for Folk magazine when she meets Nora, a nursing home resident with dementia and a doll cradled lovingly in her arms. Bit by bit, Nora reveals details about her younger life as a spirited teenage girl living beneath the Great Western Tiers in Tasmania’s heartland, of stitching linings into coffins, of her illicit romance with a charming Polish-German migrant, and of a family torn apart by heartbreak.
Line in the Sand
by Dean Yates (Pan Macmillan)
Dean Yates was the ideal warzone correspondent: courageous, compassionate, dedicated. After years of facing the worst, though, including the Bali bombings and the Boxing Day tsunami, one final incident undid him. In July 2007, two of his staff members were brutally gunned down by an American helicopter in Iraq. Line in the Sand is a memoir that is going to resonate for generations to come. It tackles the most important topic of our age in an unforgettable way.
The House of Now and Then
by Jo Dixon (Harper Colllins)
After a humiliating public scandal, Olivia is hiding from the press in a remote Tasmanian house when an unknown man knocks on her door, seeking Pippa, a woman who once lived there. His father, Jeremy, has died, leaving behind a letter for this mysterious woman. Olivia wants to help, but can she risk revealing her own sordid past?
Home to Echidna Lane
by Eva Scott (Harper Collins)
It's been thirteen years since Lacey Kane escaped the small town of Whitton for the big city, and life couldn't be better. Or so she thought. When her seemingly perfect life is exposed in the worst way, on live television no less, she suddenly finds herself facing her worst nightmare: returning to her parents' home on Echidna Lane in the small Tasmanian town of her childhood.
by Maggie Mackellar (Penguin Random House)
In Graft, Maggie MacKellar describes a year on a Merino wool farm on the east coast of Tasmania, and all of life – and death – that surrounds her through the cycle of lambing seasons. She gives us the land she knows and loves, the lambs she cares for, the ewes she tries to save, the birds around her, and the dogs and horses she adores.
by James Dunbar (Allen & Unwin)
In the tiny Tasmanian town of Mole Creek, retired cop and Vietnam veteran Pete McAuslan has retreated to his fishing cabin to write his memoirs. In Sydney, his grandson Xander, learns that Pete has taken his own life, begging forgiveness in a suicide note.
Arriving in Mole Creek in the aftermath of Pete's death, Xander discovers that his grandfather's laptop is missing. He begins to suspect that something is wrong. With the local police not interested in investigating, Xander sets about uncovering the truth.
by Richard Flanagan (Knopf Australia)
By way of H. G. Wells and Rebecca West’s affair through 1930s nuclear physics to Flanagan's father working as a slave labourer near Hiroshima when the atom bomb is dropped, this daisy chain of events reaches fission when Flanagan as a young man finds himself trapped in a rapid on a wild river not knowing if he is to live or to die.
by Amanda Lohrey (Text)
The conversion was Nick's idea, but it's Zoe who's here now, in a valley of old coalmines and new vineyards, working out how to live in a deconsecrated church. Can a church become a home or, even with all its vestiges removed, will it remain forever what it was intended to be? For Zoe, alone and troubled by a ghost from the recent past, the little church seems empty of the possibilities Nick enthused about. She is stuck in purgatory-until a determined young teacher pushes her way into Zoe's life, convinced of her own peculiar mission for the building.
Good Life Growing
by Hannah Maloney (Affirm Press)
Good Life Growing provides the inspiration and know-how to grow your own fruit and veg in any Australian climate. This bountiful guide from Gardening Australia presenter Hannah Moloney is packed with practical solutions for all conditions and every gardener. Whether you're getting started with a pot or developing a plot, you'll find everything you need to hone your skills, fire your imagination and have good, fresh food all year round.
She Doesn't Seem Autistic
by Esther Ottaway
With her characteristic heart and power, Esther Ottaway turns her attention inward in this new poetry collection, creatively illuminating her own hidden autism and that of girls and women, most of whom are misdiagnosed and unsupported in a medical system designed for boys. Every page will surprise and move you. 'With wit, artistry, compassion and determination, Esther unflinchingly shares her own truth and the truth of multitudes of autistic girls and women.' – Dr Michelle Garnett PhD.
When One of Us Hurts
by Monica Vuu (Pan Macmillan)
Port Brighton hates outsiders. The small coastal town has its own ways of dealing with the evil, the foolish, the misled, and it holds tightly to them. But the seams start to split after two deaths occur on the same tragic night: a baby abandoned at the foot of a lighthouse, and a drunken teenager drowned in the storming sea.
by Fiona Stocker
A book for foodies and those who want to know more about where their food comes from. It’s for anyone who wants a behind-the-scenes look at the foodie-haven of Tasmania, and the pork ‘underbelly’ of farming life. It's also the story of two Saddleback sows called Rosie and Bella, and a boar called Co-Pilot Bob. Told with trademark wry humour and at times heart-breaking honesty, Saddleback Wife is a story about the struggle to make a living from land and livestock, and the reality behind the dream of gourmet farming.
The Escapades of Tribulation Johnson
by Karen Brooks (Harper Collins)
From the author of The Good Wife of Bath comes this brilliant recreation of the vibrant, optimistic but politically treacherous world of London's Restoration theatre, where we are introduced to the remarkable playwright Aphra Behn, now a feminist icon but then an anomaly, who gravitated to the stage - a place where artifice and disguise are second nature and accommodates those who do not fit in.
by Stephanie Trethewey (Allen & Unwin)
Motherland gives a voice to the extraordinary lives of fourteen rural mothers across states, territories, cultures and generations. Each offers an unfiltered insight into the tragedies and triumphs that have shaped their lives on the land, motherhood being the most challenging role of all.
The Empty Honour Board
by Martin Flanagan (Viking)
A prison diary, a story of brotherly love, a journey of redemption, Martin Flanagan’s compelling book about his boarding school days goes inside an experience many have had but few have talked about. The Empty Honour Board is part memoir, a reflection on truth and memory, and what is lost in rushing to judgement.