The Convent
Maureen McCarthy
Allen & Unwin, A$22.99

McCarthy is best known as a writer for teens, but this book is for women of all ages. It tells the story of the Abbotsford convent, via the lives of four generations. Sadie is an unmarried mother, who loses her daughter Ellen to the convent orphanage. Ellen's daughter Cecilia is lost by becoming a nun. And Cecilia's daughter Peach is quite unaware of her family history. Their stories are told in interlinked chapters, a rich tapestry.

The Fabulous Feminist
Suniti Namjoshi
Spinifex, A$24.95

Namjoshi is an Indian writer in English, of a feminist bent. She is a poet, but best known as a fabulist, taking the matter of old tales and revising them. This collection is an introduction to her rich body of work. There are issues of gender, class and colonialism, but treated with imagination and wit. There is much to appeal here, but a personal pick is the story of Goja, a narrative about a servant woman.

Unstuck In Time
Gregory D. Sumner
Hunter, A $29.95

The subtitle of this book is A Journey Through Kurt Vonnegut's Life and Novels. Vonnegut was a quintessential American author, his range including science fiction and the political. Not all of his work was consistent but, when he soared, he left a lasting mark in our imaginations. Sumner essentially provides a guide to Vonnegut's work. It can descend to plot summary, but it can also illuminate the man and his creations.


The Reivers by William Faulkner
Not his best book, but his last and I loved that it was a big, optimistic, romantic adventure. The Snopes and the McCaslins captured me when I first read them, through all the darker and more difficult books as well, but The Reivers is a romp in which the grandfather gives a wonderful piece of sage advice to the 13-year-old who's lost innocence. I also like the film with Steve McQueen.
John Edwards.John Edwards. Photo: Danielle Smith

John Edwards is an Australian television producer who has made award-winning programs such as The Secret Life of Us, Offspring, Love My Way, Tangle, Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo, Howzat! Kerry Packer's War and Puberty Blues.