Episode 44 – 10 July 2019

Writer Amra Pajalic tells Mel Cranenburgh about her new book, Things Nobody Knows But Me, a memoir about being parented by mother with bi-polar disorder who is from a non-English speaking background. The book was published by Transit Lounge in 2019.

Peta Hanrahan and Anna Kennedy then talk Mel through a new production based on Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, adapted by Sentient Theatre and showing at fortyfivedownstairs.

Episode 43 – 26 June 2019

In this episode of Backstory, Nicola Redhouse joins host, Mel Cranenburgh, to talk about Nicola’s latest release Unlike The Heart: A Memoir of Brain and Mind, a memoir which explores post-natal anxiety through a psychoanalytic lens.

And author Meg Keneally joins Mel to discuss her first solo novel, Fled, an epic historical adventure based on the extraordinary life of convict Mary Bryant.

Episode 42 – 19 June 2019

In this episode, author Mark Brandi joins Mel Cranenburgh to talk about his new novel, The Rip, described asan urban crime novel that slowly and masterfully hooks you in… then shocks with the horrific crime and the dread that the characters you care about aren’t going to make it out alive’.

Then Melbourne-based animator, comic artist and zinemaker, Peo Michie, and multidisciplinary artist, musician and writer, Heather Joan Day, come by to chat with Mel about Interstitial, an event exploring life between cultures from the Emerging Writers Festival and Liminal.

Episode 41 – 12 June 2019

In this episode, Bren MacDibble, author of the award-winning How To Bee, joins host Mel Cranenburgh to talk her new book, The Dog Runner, and what it’s like to write for the ‘middle audience’ – those young readers aged between 9 and 12.

Plus, we hear from Glen Eira Storytelling Festival Festival Director Suzanne Olb about this year’s event, a cultural extravaganza of music, comedy, stories and workshops held from 22 June to 7 July.

Episode 40 – 5 June 2019

On this episode, Fiona McGregor, author of A Novel Idea joins host Mel Cranenburgh to chat about what life is really like when a writer sits down to stare down the blank page.

Katie Smyrk, deputy editor of The Big Issue, also joins Mel to review two books you need on your to-read list.

Episode 39 – 22 May 2019

In this episode of Backstory, host Mel Cranenburgh is joined by author Wayne Macauley, whose latest book Simpson Returns. ‘A concise satire of Australian platitudes about fairness and egalitarianism, it is timely, devastating and witheringly funny’. Released in time for 2019’s Anzac Day ‘celebrations’, it has been received to critical acclaim with the Australian Book Review noting that ‘they should teach this book at school.’ https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/simpson-returns

Mel is then joined by Izzy Roberts-Orr, Artistic Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival. They talk about the themes of the 2019 iteration of the festival which is held in Melbourne from June 19 – 29 at the Wheelers Centre. For more details, visit https://emergingwritersfestival.org.au/events/festival/2019/

Episode 38 – 15 May 2019

In this episode, host Mel Cranenburgh talks to 2019 Nature Writing Prize co-winner Jenny Sinclair about her book An Orchard For My Father. Jenny’s previous non-fiction books include Much Ado About Melbourne (Affirm Press, 2015) (first published as When We Think About Melbourne, 2010) and A Walking Shadow (Arcade Publications, 2012). As a journalist, she has been on staff at The Age and at local newspapers, and written for a wide variety of publications.

Mel’s then joined by author Alice Robinson to chat about her novel The Glad Shout, set in a frightening future Melbourne where storms and floods have ravaged the city; families have been separated, and food and water supplies are limited. Alice’s first novel Anchor Point was long-listed for the Stella Prize.

Episode 37 – 8 May 2019

On this episode of Backstory, Mel Cranenburgh chats to writer Melanie Cheng about her debut novel, Room for a Stranger [https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/room-for-a-stranger] Melanie is best known for her award winning collection of short stories, Australia Day.

Then Julie Ganner and Sarah Runcie drop in to talk about the launch of Inclusive Publishing in Australia: An Introductory Guide. [https://apo.org.au/node/233721?utm_source=APO-feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=rss-all]

 

Episode 35 – 10 April 2019

Mel Cranenburgh is joined by two special guests. Graeme Simsion  talks about his new novel The Rosie Result – the final in the widely acclaimed Rosie trilogy.

She’s then joined by Vicki Leaveau-Harvie, whoseStella prize winning, beautifully told memoir, The Erratics, explores the universal ways in which aging parents, mental illness and addictions complicate families.

Episode 34 – 3 April 2019

Host Mel Cranenburgh catches up with novelist Kate Richards about her debut novel Fusion and writer/critic Mel Campbell reviews Annaleese Jochem’s novel Baby.

 

Episode 33 – 27 March 2019

In this episode, host Mel Cranenburgh is joined by author Carrie Tiffany to talk about her latest novel, Exploded View. Spare, poetic and intensely visual, Exploded View follows on from Carrie’s previous works, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living and Mateship with Birds. She is one of Australia’s most celebrated writers and winner of the inaugural Stella Prize.

Mel is then joined by Beth Wilkinson, the founder, editor and creative director of Lindsay, to talk about the latest issue of the magazine which is based in Melbourne but celebrates the importance of culture and place across the planet.

Episode 32 – 20 March 2019

Editor Louise Swinn and contributors Amy Gray and Monica Dux join Mel Cranenburgh to tell us about their powerful new collection of writing, Choice Words. Including fiction, non-fiction and poetry, the collection explores the dominant narrative and taboos surrounding abortion and gives invaluable insight into how this impacts on Australian women today.

Mel’s then joined by City of Yarra Mayor, Cnr Danae Bosler, and writer and musician Justin Heazlewood (author of Get Up, Mum) to hear about the Fitzroy Writers Festival. (https://library.yarracity.vic.gov.au/fitzroywritersfestival)

Episode 31 – 6 March 2019

On this episode of Backstory, CEO of Readings Mark Rubbo drops in to speak to Mel Cranenburgh about the 50th anniversary of the flagship Carlton store. Plus, scholar and writer Julienne van Loon discusses her latest book, The Thinking Woman.

Episode 30 – 27 February 2019

On this episode of Backstory, host Mel Cranenburgh chats to Danish author Mads Peder Nordbo talks about his arctic crime thriller The Girl Without Skin. 

She’s then joined by local author Ella Holcombe to talk about the recent release of her Young Adult fiction piece, The House On The Mountain, a beautifully poignant portrait of one family’s experience of the Black Saturday bushfires.

Episode 29 – 20 February 2019

Sonia Orchard joins host Mel Cranenburgh to tell us about her new novel, Into the Fire, out now through Affirm Press. Into the Fire is Sonia’s third book and second work of fiction that author Rosalie Ham (The Dressmaker) has described as ‘a perceptive, provoking story of friendship and intimacy’.

Mel is then joined by Matters Journal editor Megan Anderson to chat about their new issue (https://mattersjournal.com/shop/issue3) and the pleasures of reading long form articles away from the screen.

Episode 28 – 13 February 2019

This week on Backstory, host Mel Cranenburgh talks to author, Emily Brewen, about her latest novel, Small Blessings, ‘a poignant and uplifting tale of secrets, motherhood, innocence and heartache, and ultimately what we’re willing to do for love’. Small Blessings is Emily’s second book following up from her first novel, Hello, Goodbye, which was described as ‘a powerful debut that will capture your heart’. In the interview, she and Mel discuss the genesis of the novel, her writing process and what it takes to kill off a character before they make it to the final draft.

Mel is then joined by filmmaker Charlie Turnbull, whose documentary The Bikes of Wrath (http://bikesof.wrath.squarespace.com) retraces the journey the fictional Joad family undertook in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Armed with 420 dollars, 5 bikes and 2 guitars, Charlie, co-conspitator Leon Morton and several friends travelled 2600kms from Oklahoma to California talking to ‘real’ Americans about the same themes that characterised Steinbeck’s novel: migration, inequality, the wealth gap and their experiences of the so-called ‘American Dream’.

Episode 27 – 6 February 2019

In this episode of Backstory, Melissa Cranenburgh is joined by Elise Valmorbida, the author of the novels Matilde Waltzing, The TV President, and The Winding Stick, as well as The Book of Happy Endings. Her most recent work, The Madonna of the Mountains received the Prize for Fiction at the 2019 Victorian Literary Awards.

Mel is then joined by Sam Cooney, head of the not-for-profit independent publishing organisation that produces the quarterly literary magazine The Lifted Brow, publishes books under its Brow Books imprint, posts new pieces of commentary and criticism online every day or two, stages events, awards writing prizes, and does a whole lot more.

Episode 26 – 21 November 2018

On this episode, host Mel Cranenburgh talks to Markus Zusak, the author of six books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, and is translated into more than forty languages – establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia.

His latest book, the  much-anticipated Bridge of Clay was released in October 2018 in the USA, the UK and Australia, with foreign translations to follow.

Episode 25 – 14 November 2018

Mel Cranenburgh returns to Backstory and catches up with award winning author Toni Jordan to talk about her latest book The Fragments, a superbly crafted and captivating literary mystery about a lost book and a secret love.

Mel is then joined by The Small Press Network’s General Manager Tim Coronel and Dr Rebecca Giblin, an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor within Monash University’s Law Faculty, to talk about all things independent publishing including the challenges facing small presses in the digital age.

Episode 24 – 7 November 2018

In this episode of Backstory,  Mel takes a short break and the lovely Mia Timpano @mia.timpano takes the reins to interview some heroes of local independent magazine publishing. Kimberley Thomson (co-founder/editor of @swamplandmag – and one-half of punk band @shrimpwitch); Isabella Trimboli (co-editor/co-founder of @gushermagazine, joined her over the phone from Sydney); and Pino Demaio (editor-and-chief and creative director of @mattersjournal).

 

Episode 23 – 31 October 2018

On Backstory this week, Mel Cranenburgh is joined by author, Moreno Giovannoni, whose book The Fireflies of Autumn:And Other Tales of San Ginese explores tales of war and migration, feasts and misfortunes – of a people and their place over the course of the twentieth century in an imaginary Tuscan village. Moreno Giovannoni was born in San Ginese but grew up in a house on a hill, on a tobacco farm at Buffalo River in north-east Victoria. He is a freelance translator of long standing.

https://www.blackincbooks.com.au/books/fireflies-autumn

Mel then speaks to Michael Veitch, performer, writer and broadcaster, about his latest work Hellship which documents the fate of the emigrant clipper Ticonderoga and its passengers. Shortly after crossing the equator, typhus had erupted throughout her decks, and in just a few weeks, one hundred of her mainly Highland Scots emigrants had perished, hastily buried at sea with what little ceremony could be afforded. Forbidden to enter Melbourne, the Ticonderoga was made to offload her human cargo onto a small beach inside the heads where, for the next six weeks, a makeshift quarantine hospital was established. Through the tireless efforts of the ship’s young surgeon, Veitch’s great-grandfather, aided by a handful of passengers, including a courageous young Scots woman from the Isle of Mull (his great-grandmother), many lives were saved. Hellship is a book, a play and has a soundtrack by Veitch’s son, Thomas Veitch and Rose Hampton.

https://www.hellshipticonderoga.com/

 

Episode 22 – 24 October 2018

On this episode, host Mel Cranenburgh is joined by celebrated author, Rosalie Ham, whose book The Dressmaker was turned into a successful, international film. Her latest book, The Year of the Farmer also explores the vageries of life in a small Australian country town.

Mel is then joined by Melanie Cheng, author of ‘Australia Day’, and the facilitator of the opening event at the Brimbank Writers & Readers Festival, Celebrating Migrant Voices.The Festival is an annual event that encourages a love of reading and literature, celebrates creativity and diversity, and promotes lifelong learning. Read more about the festival here – https://www.brimbanklibraries.vic.gov.au/writersfestival

 

Episode 21 – 17 October 2018

In this episode, Mel Cranenburgh is joined by singer, songwriter and novelist, Holly Crosby, to talk about her new novel Cedar Valley, a follow up to her bestselling 2016 novel Goodwood. Described as a “distinctly Australian coming-of-age story…balancing carefully evoked dread with genuine warmth”, Holly and Mel explore the influence that Holly’s love of TV series Northern Exposure has had on her storytelling and the mystery of the Somerton man, a gentleman found dead in Adelaide in 1948 whose case fascinated her because of its bizarre circumstances.

Mel is then joined by David Innes, one half of comedy duo Innes Lloyd, to talk about their upcoming performance of The War of the Worlds Anniversary Broadcast at The Butterfly Club on 29 October.

Episode 20 – 10 October 2018

On this episode, Mel Cranenburgh discusses with Krissy Kneen her latest book, Wintering, a supernatural thriller set in a remote community in Tasmania. Krissy Kneen is the award-winning author of memoir—Affection—and fiction: An Uncertain Grace, Steeplechase, Triptych, The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine, as well as the Thomas Shapcott Award-winning poetrycollection Eating My Grandmother. She has written and directed broadcast documentaries for SBS and ABC Television.

Mel is joined by Artistic Director of the The Digital Writers Festival, Izzy Roberts-Orr. The Digital Writers Festival is an online writers’ festival dedicated to celebrating the work of writers from Australia and across the world, and fostering new relationships through collaboration between writers, where ever they may be. It is a product of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, a not-for-profit organisation whose foundations are built on supporting emerging writers. The 2018 Digital Writers’ Festival runs from Tuesday 30 October – Saturday 3 November  http://2018.digitalwritersfestival.com/program/

Episode 19 – 3 October 2018

This week, Mel Cranenburgh spends some time, metaphorically, in New York, New York.
Mel speaks to Alice Nelson about her novel The Children’s House, which has been described as “a love song to the idea of families in all their mysteries and complexities, their different configurations and the hope that creates them”.
She is then joined by Madelaine Lucas on the line from New York, whose short story Ruins won the Australian Book Review’s (ABR) 2018 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. Madelaine wrote Ruins while living in Brooklyn but it is very much set in Australia.

Episode 18 – 26 September 2018

This week, author, screenwriter and biologist, Margeret Morgan joins Mel Cranenbugh to discuss The Second Cure, a provocative debut novel about control, courage and belief with a decidedly sciency bent,

She’s then joined by well known social commentator and broadcaster, Jane Caro, to discuss Just Flesh and Blood, the final novel in Caro’s trilogy about monarch Queen Elizabeth I.

Episode 17 – 19 September 2018

In this episode, host Mel Cranenburgh is joined by new Australian writer, Katherine Collette, author of The Helpline, a sharp, witty, big-hearted comedy about people power and brain power—and the difficulty of getting them to work together.

She’s then joined by Liam Amore, improv actor and cast member of Murder Village which featured as part of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Episode 16 – 12 September 2018

This week, Melissa Cranenburgh speaks to Stuart Kells about his new book, Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature, a new take on the endless mystery of who or even what was Shakespeare, taking us through both different conceptions of the man himself and the library that purportedly constitutes his works.

Mel is then joined by Astrid Edwards to talk about Shaun Tan’s children’s book Cicada as well as Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow series. They then swap notes on what it takes to do a good literary interview.

Episode 15 – 5 September 2018

In this edition of Backstory, host Melissa Cranenburgh is joined by Majok Tulba, author of When Elephants Fight, a haunting coming of age young adult fiction about the hardships of life as a refugee. Majok Tulba’s debut novel, Beneath the Darkening Sky, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and likened to the work of Nam Le, Markus Zusak and Primo Levi. https://www.penguin.com.au/books/when-elephants-fight-9781926428437

Mel is then joined by Sharon Galleguillos from the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to talk about Indigenous Literacy Day, a national celebration of Indigenous culture, stories, language and literacy. You can find out more at https://www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au/how-you-can-help

Episode 14 – 29 August 2018

On this episode, host Mel Cranenburgh is joined by Brooklyn based author Maria Dahvana Headley who was in town for the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. They talk about Headley’s most recent book The Mere Wife, a modern-day re-imagining of Beowulf. Described by critics as “exquisite and imaginative” and “on-point and thought provoking”, The Mere Wife is a “wild adventure; a celebration of monsters, myths, and the power of mother-love”.
She is then joined by Dr SanazFotouhi a dynamic writer, filmmaker and director of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators to talk about the Melbourne City of Literature event, A Persian Feast with Iranian Thinkers.

Episode 13 – 15 August 2018

On this episode of Backstory, Mel Cranenburgh is joined by Sally Piper, author of The Geography of Friendship, a story about fractured relationships, hiking and the reclamation of space by women.
Then Rebecca Hanson from the Centre for Youth Literature joins Mel to talk about the Inky Awards. The Inky Awards recognise high-quality young adult literature, with the longlist and shortlist selected by young adults, and the winners voted for online by the teen readers of InsideaDog.com.au. There are two awards: the Gold Inky Award for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky Award for an international book.

Episode 12 – 8 August 2018

Description
In this episode, host Mel Cranenburgh is joined by Gerard Elson, bookseller at Readings St Kilda, and the 2015 recipient of the ABA Penguin Random House Young Bookseller of the Year award to discuss French Basque writer Marie Darrieussecq’s latest novella Our Life in the Forest. They are then joined by Marie from Basque country to discuss her writing.

Episode 11 – 1 August 2018

On this episode, host Mel Cranenburgh is joined by Angela Myer, publisher at Echo Press, to talk about Angela’s debut novel, A Superior Spectre.

Ginny Maxwell, co-editor of the much loved literary journal, The Lifted Brow, then joins Mel to talk about her thoughtful piece, “Labour Failures in the Arts Industry”, published in early 2018 in The Saturday Paper.

Episode 10 – 25 July 2018

Enza Gandolfo joins Backstory with Melissa Cranenburgh this week to talk about her second novel The Bridge. Drawing on the true events of Australia’s worst industrial accident (the collapse of The West Gate Bridge), a tragedy that still scars the city of Melbourne. The Bridge is a profoundly moving novel that examines class, guilt, and moral culpability. Yet it shows that even the most harrowing of situations can give way to forgiveness and redemption. Ultimately, it is a testament to survival and the resilience of the human spirit.

And we catch up with Khalid Warsame from West Writers Forum. The Forum is an annual event that aims to encourage diverse and critically engaged conversations between writers/storytellers, readers and industry members. The forum includes panels, workshops, performances, installations and story walks and is held from the 27 – 29 July at Footscray Community Arts Centre.

Episode 9 – 18 July 2018

Enza Gandolfo joins Backstory with Melissa Cranenburgh this week to talk about her second novel The Bridge. Drawing on the true events of Australia’s worst industrial accident (the collapse of The West Gate Bridge), a tragedy that still scars the city of Melbourne. The Bridge is a profoundly moving novel that examines class, guilt, and moral culpability. Yet it shows that even the most harrowing of situations can give way to forgiveness and redemption. Ultimately, it is a testament to survival and the resilience of the human spirit.

And we catch up with Khalid Warsame from West Writers Forum. The Forum is an annual event that aims to encourage diverse and critically engaged conversations between writers/storytellers, readers and industry members. The forum includes panels, workshops, performances, installations and story walks and is held from the 27 – 29 July at Footscray Community Arts Centre.

Episode 8 – 11 July 2018

Mel talks all things crime writing with Christian White whose debut thriller, The Nowhere Child, is a “combustible tale of trauma, cult, conspiracy and memory”.

Mel is then joined by Jacqui Horwood, the chief judge wrangler of the Sisters in Crime Davitt Awards, which will be presented on Saturday 11 August at Swinburne University.Since 2001, the Davitts have played a pivotal role in getting women’s crime writing published and better recognised and Mel and Jacqui discuss the amazing work being done by female writers in the crime genre.

Episode 7 – 4 July 2018

Get literary on Backstory this week as Jenny Ackland swings by to chat about her new book Little Gods: a novel about the loss of innocence and the mess of family, and Festival Director Rosemary Sorenson drops by to talk about the 2018 Bendigo Writers Festival Program.

Episode 6 – 27 June 2018

On this episode of Backstory, Mel Cranenburgh speaks to writer and cultural historian, Maria Tumarkin about her extraordinary new book, Axiomatic, described by Robert Dessaix as “a brilliant kaleidoscope of arresting observations on suffering and innocence in modern times”. She’s then joined by Backstory’s podcast producer, Lisa Gye, to talk about their shared experience of coming from mixed race families in the context of the ongoing white washing of Australian history.

Episode 5 – 20 June 2018

On this edition of Backstory, host Mel Cranenburgh talks to Young Adult fiction writer, Clare Strahan, author of The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge as well as the program director of Melbourne Rare Book Week, Professor Chris Browne.