A few times every month, Fairfield Books hits the road and supports writers events at libraries and other venues around Melbourne. This Wednesday we are at Northcote Library to listen to three Australian crime writers, including our very own Aoife Clifford. You might have met Aoife in the shop on Mondays and Tuesdays. She will be talking about her bestseller All These Perfect Strangers and her new book Second Sight. Appearing along with her is Cath Ferla who won a Davitt Award for her novel Ghost Girls and Christian White, who’s debut The Nowhere Child won the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Unfinished Manuscript has rushed onto bestselling lists all over the country. You can RSVP on Darebin Libraries website or phone on 1300 655 355. It should be a great night – see you there!
It’s one of our favourite times of the year – counting down to the announcement of the winner of Man Booker Prize which is announced tomorrow in the U.K. Apparently, the winner will actually be chosen by the judges in an 8 hour long meeting before the announcement at the gala so no pressure. The longlist caused controversy with a crime book (the fine Belinda Bauer’s Snap – well worth a read for crime aficionados) and for the first time ever a graphic novel – Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina. We have copies of both in store.
The shortlist is also an ecclectic mix of very good books. The favourite to win is Richard Power’s The Overstory which I finished on the weekend. A sprawling book filled with beautiful writing, interesting characters and a heck of a lot of trees. At the heart of it is nothing less than a fight for the natural world. It certainly has me viewing the neighbourhood trees around us in a new light and I thoroughly recommend it to you.
Another favourite is Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room which has been highly praised on both sides of The Atlantic. Set in 2003 California, it follows Romy Hall who is about to serve two life sentences in jail. This unflinching novel takes us into a hidden world that we so rarely see, preferring to lock them up and forget. It is gritty, difficult but not without humour. Kushner set the literary world on fire with her second novel The Flamethrowers and this book seems to be following the same trajectory.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan tells the amazing tale of Washington Black, an eleven year old slave in a Barbados sugar plantation and Christopher ‘Titch’ Wilde, an eccentric English naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist who wants to create the perfect ariel machine. The adventure and Washington’s quest for freedom takes him from Barbados to the Canadian Arctic, to London and Morocco. Based on a true story, this is a thrilling, fast-moving story about a world destroyed and the search to make it whole again.
Anna Burn’s Milkman set in Northern Ireland, The Long Take, a poetic tale of PTSD by Robin Robertson and Daisy Johnson’s modern take on the Greek Myth of Sophocles in Everything Under round out the shortlist.
May the best book win!
We are getting very excited about our second edition of Opening Pages. The fabulous Mira Robertson will be talking about her historical novel set in country Victoria during World War Two, The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean. Claire Varley will be discussing her extraordinary The Book of Ordinary People set in Melbourne (any local reader will find the world that these characters inhabit very familiar). Join us for a glass of wine or something softer on 23 October at 7pm to have a great discussion with two amazing authors.
Fairfield Books is always excited when a new cookbook turns up in the shop and so are our customers if the sales for Ottolenghi Simple are any indication. Together – Our Community Cookbook is something special.
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in London in 2017 a decision was made to start up the Hub Kitchen, a community kitchen, to offer up a space for women affected by the fire to cook but it was only open two days a week. It took a visit from the royal formerly known as Meghan Markle, HRH The Duchess of Sussex who came one day to do some cooking. It was her idea to produce this cookbook in order to fund the kitchen to be open seven days. Penguin Random House came on board and all profits will be donated. But don’t buy this book out of charity, buy it because the recipes are fabulous. An amazing mix of family recipes, some of them handed down from generation to generation, from all around the world that are simple but so extremely tasty. From the picnic perfect Tuna, Olive & Sun-dried Tomato cake (an emergency dish made out of storecupboard ingredients and perfect hot or cold) to the addictive Jeera Chicken, Toffee-Apple Crumble to Russian Semolina Cake. These are simple dishes that are the family favourites of those people affected by the Grenfill fire and they can become your family favourites as well. At only $22.99 this is a wonderful initiative to create something good out of tragedy and in this current crazy world a fabulous thing to support.
It was such a great event a couple of Wednesdays ago, that we’ve decided to hold another Opening Pages event on Tuesday 23 October with two fabulous local authors – Mira Robertson and Claire Varley. Mira’s book The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean is set in rural Victoria in 1944 and focuses on Emily who has been sent from Melbourne to stay with relatives. It explores the effects of the war on the family as William comes home wounded and Claudio, the Italian prisoner of war, is employed as a farm labourer. A delightfully wry novel about desire, deceit and self-discovery it has been loved by people as diverse as Rosalie Ham, author of the megaselling The Dressmaker and movie aficionado Margaret Pomeranz. Claire Varley’s The Book of Ordinary People is a beautifully written novel about five characters living in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Evangelina is stuck in traffic on Reservoir’s High Street with the kids complaining in the back, DB is swimming laps of Clifton Hill pool, Aida is panicking on the South Morang train line, the Failed Hack can’t get out of bed in his apartment in Thornbury and in the CBD Nell is in the office working frantically. A book where you won’t just recognise the geography but you will feel you already know the characters. To RSVP please email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP, ring us on 90174748 or even better pop in to the shop. See you there.
We are so excited to be welcoming debut authors and stars of the podcast series The First Time – Kate Mildenhall & Katherine Collette to Fairfield Books. Join us for a glass of wine and chat to the authors about their fantastic books Skylarking and The Helpline. Kate’s Skylarking was published to acclaim in 2016. Set in the 1880s it is the story of the daughters of the lighthouse keeper growing up on an isolated Australian cape and is based on a true story. Katherine’s very funny The Helpline is a brand new release about Germaine, a woman terrible with people but great with numbers. Please come join us!
We are so looking forward to welcoming Katherine Collete and Kate Mildenhall and their wonderful books The Helpline and Skylarking to our bookshop for our first Opening Pages event. Want to know more about them and can’t wait until 12 September, why not listen to their podcast The First Time which talks all about what it is like to publish a book. Katherine and Kate describe it as one part reality show, one part writing masterclass. So remember it is 12 September starting at 7pm. Cost is free but RSVP on email@example.com or 90174748 so we have the right amount of wine glasses polished and ready to go. Can’t wait!