LJM Owen – The Great Divide

Echo, Australia, 2019

LJM Owen is the Director of the Terror Australis Festival in Cygnet Tasmania and will appear at the festival between 1 and 3 November 2019.

LJ departs from her inter-millenial sleuth series to introduce us to a new hero, Jake Hunter, in a dark tale of decades of child abuse in a small fictitious Tasmanian town called Dunton.

Leaving his police job in Melbourne to escape a personal drama, Jake thinks his posting to Dunton will be a chance for a quiet time to regroup and consider his future, enjoy the peace and mind-space of the rural setting and do some rock climbing.

Barbie talks to LJM Owen about The Great Divide
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You are here festival

25 to 27 October 2019
Various locations in Civic and Braddon, Canberra

You are here is an experimental arts festival and focusses in 2019 on responding to societal malaise – it aims to be restorative and relaxed.

Ketura Budd talks to Barbie about You Are Here

There is music, dance, workhsops, spoken poetry, installations, discussions, community making, sleep training, projection art and even a dinner party.

The festival is funded by the ACT Government, Sydney Myer Fund, Nelson Meers Foundation, W and A Johnson Family Foundation and Keir Foundation.

Most events are free. Some however require booking. Find out more at

Painting with Parkinson’s – Silver Lining

Exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre
1 to 24 November 2019

The Painting with Parkinson’s program celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2019 with an exhibition of work by artists Adrian Aylott, Kathy Drake, Ann Gould, Margaret Healey, Charles Jordaan, Katrina Muir, Marilyn Nelson, Ann Nugent, Jan Robbins, Ann Somers, Dennis Thorncraft, Nazli Underwood, Barbara van der Linden and Helen Woodbridge.

Belconnen Arts Centre is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Information at

Image credit: Untitled by Dennis Thorncraft.

World premiere: Flight Memory

The Street Theatre, Canberra
14-17 November 2019

Information and bookings:

The so-called ‘black box’ flight recorder is probably Australia’s greatest gift to global aviation safety. Flight Memory, a new song suite at The Street Theatre, tells the story of its inventor, Dr David Warren AO.

Caroline Stacey tells Richard about Flight Memory
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Shiny Bum Singers – Kerry Kennedy Tribute Concert

Sunday 27 October 2019 at 2pm
The Artists Shed
88 Wollongong Street Fyshwick
Entry by donation

Kerry Kennedy contributed many songs to the Shiny Bums’ 20-year collection of parodies about the Public Service, politicians and other issues. Kerry sadly died on 10 April this year and the Shiny Bums will pay tribute to their dear friend by performing their favourites from his oeuvre.

All are welcome to celebrate the musical work of Kerry Kennedy at this event.

Shiny Bum Singers – Rampant Bureaucracy

Sunday 17 November 2019 at 2pm
The Artists Shed, 88 Wollongong Street Fyshwick
Tickets $20 including refreshments

Shiny Bums reprise this popular performance, which never seems to go out of date. Dubbed a public service melodrama, it has everything a public service town is familiar with – probes, cutbacks, affairs of the flesh and departmental moves. It’s lots of fun – if it weren’t so close to the bone.

For bookings and enquiries email,
phone 0412 101 543

Information at

Art in Miniature Canberra -exhibition

Strathnairn Homestead Gallery
Until 10 November 2019

Eighteen artists showing ninety-nine works make this a big exhibition of small works. Some of Canberra’s best known and loved artists have works in this exhibition with subject matter so varied there is sure to be something for every taste.

Barbie speaks with artist Camelia Smith

There are still life studies, flowers and fruit along with tiny detailed landscapes and seascapes. There are boats, birds and other animals, bonsai trees, cityscapes and festival scenes. Armchair travelers will find scenes from around the world.

With the constraint of making an image 10x10cms or no larger than 100 square centimetres, the artists in this exhibition prove that it is possible to do a great deal with very little space.

The artists are: Sharon Buckland, Margaret Bice, Margaret Carr, Lyn Cottingham, Kylie Fogarty, Jocelyn Godber, Eva Henry, Cheryl Hodges, Janet Hicks, Sandra House, Val Johnson, Michaela Laurie, Stuart Marshall, Isla Patterson, Neil Renfree, Camelia Smith, Jan Vincent and Arlene Williams.

Strathnairn is open Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4pm at 80 Stockdill Drive Holt.

Information at

Joanna Nell – The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker

Hachette, Australia, 2019

Joanna Nells’ second novel is a sensitive, gently humorous story that takes us into the mind of a woman with dementia.

To say this baldly however does scant justice to a beautiful work in which the story of a life unfolds both through the failing mind of Mrs Henry Parker and those around her on the Golden Sunset cruise ship.

Mrs Parker spends most of this story looking for her husband Henry, who has mysteriously disappeared from the ship (perhaps, she thinks) or perhaps she just keeps missing him as their paths fail to cross. We know there is something going on but we are not allowed to know what until the very end – satisfyingly.

Joanna Nell talks about The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker
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Opera Australia: West Side Story

Directed and choreographed by Joey McKneely
Canberra Theatre Centre
Until Sunday 27 October 2019

This production of Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim’s classic musical retelling of Romeo and Juliet comes to Canberra after touring to Melbourne, New Zealand, Germany and Sydney.

It stars Todd Jacobsson (alternating with Nigel Huckle) as Tony, Nigel Sophie Salvestani as Maria, Chloe Zuel as Anita, Noah Mullins as Riff and Keanu Gonzalez as Bernardo.

Richard spoke to Chloe Zuel (pictured), who plays the part of Anita, at the Canberra media preview
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Tara Moss – Dead Man Switch

Harper Collins, Australia , 2019
Tara Moss will appear at Terror Australis Festival, 1 to 3 November 2019 in Cygnet Tasmania

Dead Man Switch is Tara Moss’s first foray into historical crime fiction, set in Sydney in 1946. It is her twelfth novel and introduces us to a new character, Private Investigator Ms Billie Walker.

(And yes, Wiki tells us that Ms was an acceptable abbreviation for Mistress, in England, in the 17th and 18thcenturies, which then enjoyed a revival in the 20th century, a surprise to all of us who thought it was a modern phenomenon.)

Barbit talks with Tara Moss about Dead Man Switch
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Sulari Gentill on Bouchercon and the Terror Australis Festival

What is Bouchercon and why are Sulari Gentill and three fellow writers, Emma Viskic, Jock Serong and Robert Gott, going there?

Bouchercon® is the annual world mystery convention. Readers, writers, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers and other lovers of crime fiction gather for 4 days of education, entertainment, and fun.

Sulari Gentill talks about Bouchercon and the Terror Australis Festival
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Tim Snowdon Still Life

Suki & Hugh, Bungendore
12 October – 17 November 2019

In this exhibition, his first solo in 20 years, Tim will present a body of work which has been almost two years in the making. Offering a range of canvas sizes, a centre piece of the show is the large- scale work ‘Peaches’. The richness and accuracy of colour and the high level of detail are mouth-watering. Draped fabric appears to cascade off the canvas.

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In Conversation: Liz Nugent and Kirsten McDougall

Thursday 3 October 2019 at 6.30pm
Karori Library Wellington New Zealand

We attended this delightful free event at Karori Library whilst in Wellington. It was a friendly and well organised gathering with a cup of tea and light refreshments on arrival and a well-paced discussion between the two writers. The Wellington Library service is to be congratulated on providing high quality free events like this one. Great to be introduced to a local (NZ) writer’s work as well as the dark tales of Liz Nugent.

Liz Nugent, who was named Irish Woman of the Year in Literature in 2017, chats to Wellington writer Kirsten McDougall about turning to psychological thrillers after a career in Irish radio and television, and the art of getting inside the heads of monstrous characters.

Liz has published three novels Unravelling Oliver, Lying in Wait, and Skin Deep – which have all been  bestsellers and have collectively won four Irish Book Awards. Lying in Wait was voted Readers’ Choice for the British Richard and Judy Book Club.

In 2018, Kirsten McDougall’s second book Tess was a finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel and longlisted for the Acorn Prize for Fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Angela Savage – The Dying Beach

Text Publishing, Melbourne, Australia, 2013

Angela Savage will appear at the Terror Australia Festival in Cygnet Tasmania 1 to 3 November 2019

Angela Savage is the Director of Writers Victoria. She is a Melbourne-based crime writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. Her first novel, Behind the Night Bazaar, won the 2004 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript.

Savage is a winner of the Scarlett Stiletto Award and has twice been shortlisted for Ned Kelly awards.

Barbie talks to Angela Savage about The Dying Beach
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