John Darnielle’s unsettling second novel

Universal HarvesterJohn Darnielle, best known as the man behind the American indie folk band, The Mountain Goats, has just released his second novel, Universal Harvester.

The novel, published by Scribe, is a slow-burn mystery set in the seemingly calm cornfields of a small town in Iowa in the late 1990s.

Customers of the local video store are finding dark, disturbing scenes spliced onto their rented videos – scenes which seem to transfix all those who have seen them.

My interview with John was recorded live on ABC RN’s Books and Arts, and you can listen to it here.

Trainspotting live


Published in 1993, Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting, about a group of down and out heroin addicts living in Edinburgh, came to define a generation.

The film adaptation of the novel became an international blockbuster, and the sequel T2 Trainspotting is in cinemas across Australian now.

Tonight in Melbourne a stage adaptation of the novel opens and promises to immerse you in Trainspotting’s world of sex, drugs and 80s trance.

I recorded this interview live on RN’s Books and Arts and you can listen to it here.

Graham Moore: The Last Days of Night



Graham Moore is the New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian and the Academy Award–winning screenwriter for The Imitation Game.

His latest novel, The Last Days of Night, tells the story of the battle between the great inventors Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to electrify America.

But instead of being narrated by one of the two great men, this novel is told from the perspective of a young lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, who takes on the mammoth task of representing Westinghouse in his legal battle against Edison.

I produced this story for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can listen to the story here.

Matthew Griffin’s heartbreaking debut novel Hide


Matthew Griffin’s debut novel, Hide, tells the story of two men who meet in North Carolina not long after World War Two, and fall in love.

Griffin’s tender novel switches between the early days of their relationship and the present day, when Wendell is struggling to care for the increasingly unwell and confused Frank.

It’s a heartbreaking story about ageing and the enormous sacrifices this couple have had to make to be together.

I produced this story for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can listen to the interview here.

Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers

Cameroonian author Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel Behold the Dreamers is a story of immigration, families, wealth and the American Dream.

It follows Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant who gets a job for Clark Edwards, an executive at Lehman Brothers.

Jende’s job draws him, his wife Neni and their son into the privileged world of the New York City elite.

When Clark’s wife Cindy Edwards offers Neni work and takes her into her confidence, the fault lines in the Edward’s family threaten to destabilise the Jonga family too.

I spoke to Imbolo for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can hear the interview here.

Liam Pieper’s moral thriller The Toymaker

ToymakerThe Toymaker, Liam Pieper’s debut novel, is set between contemporary Melbourne and Nazi Europe.

It follows the story of Arkady Kulakov, a prisoner in Auschwitz who is forcibly recruited by Nazi doctors.

Arkady risks death to steal a scalpel and begin carving out hope – wooden toys for the children kept in Mengele’s laboratories.

When the war is over, he escapes to Melbourne and finds success and fame establishing a toy company called Mitty & Sarah.

The Toymaker, which has a devastating twist at its heart, cuts between Auschwitz and Melbourne in the modern day, where Arkady’s grandson Adam and his wife Tess now run the toy company.

 I spoke to Liam for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can listen to the interview here.

Katherine Brabon’s The Memory Artist

9781760292867Since it began in 1980, the Vogel’s Literary Award has launched the careers of some of our most cherished writers, like Tim Winton, Kate Grenville and Gillian Mears.

The prize, which is worth $20,000, is Australia’s richest and most prestigious award for an unpublished manuscript from a writer under the age of 35.

While many of the past authors have set their novels in Australia, this year’s winning novel is set entirely in Russia.

Katherine Brabon won the award for her debut novel, The Memory Artist, which follows a man called Pasha Isanov, the son of dissidents who is struggling to come to terms with his country’s brutal past.

I produced this story for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can hear the story here.