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Episode 27 – Author’s choice

Jane Rawson

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This episode I am joined by award-winning Australian author and environmentalist Jane Rawson.
Formerly editor of the environment and energy section of The Conversation, she now works for the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, writing about nature conservation, and is also the co-founder of Read Tasmania. She likes cats, quiet, minimal capitalisation, and finding out that everything is going to be OK … don’t we all!
Jane is the author of two novels, a novella and co-authored a nonfiction guide to surviving climate change. Her stories and essays have been published in the Guardian, Lithub, Meanjin, Overland, Review of Australian Fiction, Kill Your Darlings and Australian Book Review and in 2017 she won the Aurealis Award for best science fiction for her novel From The Wreck.
The pairings:
Winner of the 2020 The Australian/Vogels Literary Award
There is a woman, somewhere, here, in Van Diemen’s Land, unless she had died or otherwise departed, called Maryanne Maginn. Gabriel Fox, the young son of an old English house, arrives in a land both ancient and new. Drawn by the promise of his heart’s desire, and compelled to distance himself from pain at home, Gabriel begins his quest into Van Diemen’s Land. His guide, a cannibal who is not all he seems, leads him north where Gabriel might free himself of his distracting burden and seek the woman he must find. As Gabriel traverses this wild country, he uncovers new truths buried within his own memory.
For this Tasmanian setting written by a Tasmanian author, Jane suggested a Tasmanian wallaby stew, made with a Tassie Pinot of course, and whilst waiting for it to cook – ever so slowly – a Poltergeist Unfilterd Gin and tonic.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.
Everywhere I look by Helen Garner
Spanning fifteen years of work, Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of re-reading Pride and Prejudice.
This book is just filled with gorgeous little nuggets of observation and is so beautifully written. It doesn’t need to be read as a whole but is easy to dip in and out of.
I would pair it with a crisp, dry riesling and some perfectly fresh and crunchy salted or pickled cucumber sandwiches.


This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.