Tag Archives: Author Interviews

Interview with Bill Wilkie, author of The Daintree Blockade

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Last week I reviewed The Daintree Blockade: The Battle for Australia’s Tropical Rainforests. This week Bill Wilkie, the author of that excellent book, kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.

He’s also generously made a special offer to readers of this blog, Adventures in Biography. Details at the bottom of this post…

Bill grew up in Brisbane and studied sociology and Australian history at the University of Queensland. He has lived in London, Dublin and Sydney, and travelled throughout Europe, Asia and South America. Bill now lives in the small Queensland town of Mossman with his partner and their two daughters.

Bill was a participant in the ACT Writers Centre’s HARDCOPY 2015 program, which was where I first met him. (You can find a compilation of all my posts about the program here.) I found him to be friendly, supportive and quietly intelligent.

The Daintree Blockade is your first book – what sort of writing have you done up until now? Read the rest of this entry

Eat Your History by Jacqui Newling – Review and Interview

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eat-your-historyHands up if you love to cook? Keep your hand up if you are interested in Australian history? Still with me?  Then do I have the perfect book for you (or for someone you know – Christmas is just around the corner and books are ever so easy to wrap…)

Eat Your History: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens is a wonderful, and very beautiful, collection of recipes, social history and historical insights.

According to the author, “This book invites you to share forgotten tastes and lost techniques, and rediscover some of the culinary treasures that have nourished many generations of Australians. Rather than being a history of food in Australia, or a history of Australian food, it offers stories about Australians and the food they ate.”

The stories have been gathered by Jacqui Newling, in her role as ‘resident gastronomer’ at Sydney Living Museums, which looks after 12 historic properties dating between 1788 and 1950. And, yes, one of those properties is Elizabeth Farm, the home of Elizabeth Macarthur. She gets quite a few mentions throughout as does the first Australian cook book (by Edward Abbot and which I blogged about in 2014).

Australian garden history is a definitely a thing, with it’s own society and followers.  Yet Australian food history still seems like unexplored territory.  Jacqui Newling seeks to fill that gap, and does it extraordinarily well.

Eat Your History is a lovely mix of historic depth and practical example, with a well-balanced mixture of prose, pictures and recipes.

Readers are provided with historical context and background and then treated to fascinating recipes – each tested by Newling, and often using the kitchens and utensils of the period!  Some are familiar, like the sea-food chowder and tomato chutney, others are less so, like oyster loaves or rosella jelly.  I’m definitely no cook but some recipes even I’m itching to try, like Mrs MacLurcan’s Wholesome Summer Barley Water or Mrs Gaffney’s Date and Nut Cake.

Eat Your History is a book for dipping into and it takes us all the way from the first fleet to the 1950s. Newling shares, for example, details about the nature of colonial kitchens, Aboriginal fishing practices, commercial ice manufacture, and dining room etiquette.

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet Jacqui Newling, in Sydney.  I found her friendly, intelligent and forthright. She kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me.

What was your writing process?  Lots of research, then lots of writing?  Or did you undertake the research as you went along? Read the rest of this entry

9 Questions: an interview with Eleanor Limprecht, author of Long Bay

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Eleanor Limprecht Take note now so you can tell your bookish friends “I told you so.”  Eleanor Limprecht is an Australian writer you’re likely to hear a lot more about.

Limprecht is in the throes of launching her new book, Long Bay (which I reviewed last week) but she kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.  Her answers are thoughtful and articulate – just like her books, really.

And in a literary scoop for Adventures in Biography, read on to discover just how recently Limprecht became an Australian citizen – welcome to Oz, Eleanor!

To recap, Long Bay is a fictional account of the real-life Rebecca Sinclair, a woman convicted in 1909 for manslaughter, as the result of performing a botched abortion.  Sinclair, in her twenties, was sentenced to three years hard labour at the Long Bay Women’s Reformatory.  Six months later she gave birth to a daughter.  Limprecht’s novel depicts Sinclair’s life with insight, sympathy and telling detail.  The razor-sharp line between making just enough money to keep a family and falling into penury is chillingly demonstrated and lends the novel – a genuine page turner – a dark air of foreboding. 

There are lots of stories in the archives – why was it that Rebecca Sinclair’s story captured you? Read the rest of this entry