Australian books to get excited about in the first half of 2017

Here’s a preview of some of the most exciting local releases for the first half of 2017!


  • An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen (March) – A thought-provoking erotic sci-fi told in five parts.
  • From the Wreck by Jane Rawson (March) – Inspired by the life of George Hills, who survived the sinking of the steamship Admella off the South Australian coast in 1859.
  • Do You Love Me or What? by Sue Woolfe (March) – A collection of eight sparkling new stories.
  • The Crying Place by Lia Hills (March) – A powerful story about the landscapes that shape us and the ghosts that lay their claim.
  • Jean Harley Was Here by Heather Taylor Johnson (March) – Follows the fallout of a tragic accident on a group of people.
  • The Starlings by Vivienne Kelly (April) – A coming-of-age story about being just a little bit different from your family.
  • The Restorer by Michael Sala (April) – The long-awaited new book from the author of The Last Thread.
  • Billy Sing by Ouyang Yu (April) – A fictionalised telling of the life of Gallipoli hero William ‘Billy’ Sing.
  • The Last Garden by Eva Hornung (May) – New fiction from the author of Dog Boy.
  • The Gulf by Anna Spargo-Ryan (June) – The second novel from the author of the heartbreaking debut, The Paper House.
  • Gravity Well by Melanie Joosten (June) – A novel about the families we make, and the ones we are born into.
  • Ache by Eliza Henry-Jones (June) – A family in rural Australian must recover from a terrible bushfire.
  • Some Tests by Wayne Macauley (June) – A strange, unsettling journey deep into the medical system.


  • The Circle and the Equator by Kyra Giorgi (February) – These stories loop through time and place to delve into the lives of those caught at the articulation points of history.
  • Down the Hume by Peter Polites (March) – A much-hyped debut from a new Sydney writer that has drawn comparisons with the early writing of Christos Tsiolkas.
  • The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades (March) – A beautiful Australian story about the life of one woman.
  • In Two Minds by Gordon Parker (April) – A rollicking tale of mental illness in our modern world from the founder of the Black Dog Institute.
  • Rubik by Elizabeth Tan (April) – A novel-in-stories that slips outside the borders of realism.
  • Storyland by Catherine McKinnon (April) – A sprawling epic set on the banks of Lake Illawarra that spans four centuries.
  • See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (April) – A re-imagining of the unsolved American true crime case of the Lizzie Borden murders.
  • Closing Down by Sally Abbott (May) – From the inaugural Richell Prize Winner, this debut envisions a near-future Australia.


  • Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly by Adrian McKinty (February) – This ninth book continues the adventures of perennial favourite, Detective Inspector Sean Duffy.
  • Crimson Lake by Candice Fox (February) – A new thriller form the always brilliant Ned Kelly winner.
  • All Fall Down by Cassandra Austin (February) –If David Lynch filmed Wake in Fright
  • Winter Traffic by Stephen Greenall (February) – Think Peter Temple for this literary crime debut set within Sydney’s underworld of 1994.
  • The Unfortunate Victim by Greg Pyres (February) – This fiction debut was inspired by a chilling true story.
  • The Unmourned by Tom Keneally and Meg Keneally (March) – The second book in the father and daughter’s historical crime series.
  • To Know My Crime by Fiona Capp (April) – Modern Melbourne literary noir at its finest.
  • The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster (April) – Family betrayals and shocking secrets all wrapped up in pacy suspense.
  • The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey (June) – A Melbourne author’s debut with twists to rival the best of the genre.


  • The Case Against Fragrance by Kate Grenville (February) – A provocative look into the science of scent and the power of the fragrance industry.
  • The Family by Chris Johnston and Rosie Jones (February) – The story of one of the most bizarre cults in modern history.
  • A Rightful Place edited by Shireen Morris (February) – In this anthology, leading indigenous writers and thinkers provide a road map to recognition.
  • Still Lucky by Rebecca Huntley (February) – A compelling cross-section of what Australians are really thinking.
  • Time to Die by Rodney Syme (February) – Over the past 20 years, Syme has advocated for medically assisted dying; in this book he explains why.
  • Breaking the Mould by Angela Pippos (February) – Veteran sports journalist Angela Pippos demonstrates how female athletes are changing the status quo in Australian life.
  • First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson (March) – The bestselling author, journalist and media personality talks about her life-long struggle with anxiety.
  • No Way but This by Jeff Sparrow (March) – Part biography, part travelogue, Sparrow looks at African-American activist and performer Paul Robeson’s legacy in the context of today.
  • They Cannot Take the Sky edited by Michael Green, Angelica Neville, André Dao, Dana Affleck and Sienna Merope (March) – Testimonies from people living inside Australian detention centres.
  • Take Heart by Chloe Shorten (April) – Challenges assumptions about who qualifies as ‘a family’, and explores the new normal.
  • Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander (April) – A new paperback edition of Alexander’s food and gardening book features that even more recipes.
  • The Pleasures of Leisure by Robert Dessaix (May) – The author’s guide to work and play in the twenty-first century.
  • Anaesthesia by Kate Cole-Adams (June) – What really happens to us when we are anaesthetised?
  • Women of Substances by Jenny Valentish (June) – Investigates the nature of addiction and explores issues particularly pertinent to women.
  • Please Explain by Anna Broinowski (June) – On the rise, fall, and rise again of Pauline Hanson.


  • The Helen 100 by Helen Razer (Februrary) – A funny, frank account of Razer’s attempt to go on 100 dates inside a calendar year.
  • Only by Caroline Baum (March) – A memoir about an unconventional childhood.
  • The Green Bell by Paula Keogh (March) – Set in a psychiatric unit of the Canberra Hospital, this is a tale of love and madness.
  • Woolloomooloo by Louis Nowra (March) – A biography of Woolloomooloo from one of Australia’s leading playwrights.
  • And Then I Found Me by Noel Tovey (March) – The second memoir from the Australian dancer, actor, mentor, director and choreographer.
  • After by Nikki Gemmell (April) – Gemmell explores the devastating aftermath of her elderly mother’s decision to end her own life.
  • A Writing Life by Bernadette Brennan (April) – The first-ever full-length study of Garner’s 40 years of work.
  • Things That Helped by Jessica Friedmann (April) – A candid account of postpartum depression from a striking new voice.
  • Beyond Veiled Cliches by Amal Awad (June) – Based on more than 80 interviews, the book explores life from the perspective of Arab women, both in the West and the Arab world.
  • Understory by Inga Simpson (June) – A nature writing-memoir from an extraordinary Australian writer.
  • Adult Fantasy by Briohny Doyle (June) – A topical, provocative and wry inquiry into the culture of ‘adultescents’.
  • A new book by Jane Caro (June) – A new feminist manifesto from the incomparable Caro.


  • Transparencies by Stephen Edgar (February) and Sure by Jennifer Harrison (March) – Black Pepper Publishing are releasing brand-new collections from two highly acclaimed poets.
  • The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan (March) – A watershed anthology that features the work of 134 poets, including many WA Indigenous poets.
  • The Metronome by Jennifer Maiden (March) – The award-winning poet addresses political and social issues of the moment, particularly the tension caused by the election of the US president.
  • The Collected Poems of Fay Zwicky edited by Lucy Dougan and Tim Dolin (May) – In 2004, Fay Zwicky was declared one of the Western Australian State’s Living Treasures.


  • Lucy’s Book by Natalie Jane Prior and Cheryl Orsini (February) – This story of what happens when a favourite book disappears from her library will appeal to booklovers of all ages.
  • At the Zoo I See by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells (February) – An adorable board book that features the native and exotic animals to be found in Australian zoos.
  • Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys (March) – A gorgeous celebration of the joy and comfort that love can bring, no matter where you go.
  • Slow Down World by Tai Snaith (March) – We adore Tai Snaith’s earlier picture books and we’re already certain we’ll adore this one as well.
  • Florette by Anna Walker (March) – A gentle story of a child discovering a way to feel at home after a big move.
  • My Brother is a Beast by Damon Young and Peter Carnavas (March) – A brilliantly boisterous picture book celebrating lovable brothers.
  • Doodle Cat is Bored by Kat Patrick and Lauren Marriott (May) – The follow-up to one of the best picture books of last year.


  • Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky by Robert Newton (March) – A much-anticipated new book from the PM award winner.
  • The Turnkey by Allison Rushby (March) – 12-year-old Flossie Birdwhistle learns of a secret Nazi plot to win the war.
  • The Beast of Hushing Wood by Gabrielle Wang (April) – A lovely blend of action, fable and magic realism.
  • The Blue Cat by Ursula Duborsarsky (April) – A tale of friendship set against the backdrop of Sydney, 1942.
  • The Boy and the Spy by Felice Arena (April) – Antonio must face German soldiers, fearsome gangsters and fascist police in this action-packed adventure.
  • Mammoth Mistake and The Robbery Riddle by Alex Miles and Maude Guesne (April) – Mega movie star Olive Black is a new funny, lovable heroine for readers 9 and up.
  • The Fall by Tristan Bancks (June) – A taut page-turner for tweens that takes place in a single apartment building, and over just 24 hours.


  • A Shadow’s Breath by Nicole Hayes (February) – YA readers will recognise themselves in this courageous story of first love.
  • Remind Me How This Ends by Gabrielle Tozer (April) – A new mature YA romance from the 2015 Gold Inky Award winner.
  • Night Swimming by Steph Bowe (April) – Crop circles, a musical with goats and more feature in this quirky story which takes place in a colourful small town.
  • The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil (April) – The third book from Australia’s queen of YA rom-coms features a maths genius and amateur magician.
  • Begin, End, Begin: A #Loveozya Anthology edited by Danielle Binks (May) – This anthology is a feast of homegrown talent.
  • Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin (May) – 20-year-old activist Nevo Zisin is an inspiring transgender young person; this is their story.
  • Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield (May) – A ghost thriller with a literary feel.
  • My Life As A Hashtag by Gabrielle Williams (June) – More funny, heartwarming contemporary YA for one of our favourite authors.
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The Restorer

The Restorer

Michael Sala

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