Upcoming New Releases We’re Looking Forward To, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Here at Underground we’re always hearing about new and exciting books being released in Australia. There’s always a delightful and relevant combination of fiction, non-fiction and poetry titles from new and emerging authors available, and now is also a great time to get your hands on #ownvoices works and stories from marginalised voices around Australia and the world. So below is a round-up of the books we’re most looking forward to being released in the next few months!
 

ADULT FICTION

WA Author
To be published in late 2020
Genre: Crime; Thriller
Publisher: Fremantle Press
It is Fremantle in 1989 and Frank Swann is at home, suffering from an undiagnosed and debilitating illness. When Frank is called in to investigate an incident at a local brothel, it soon appears there is a link between the death of two women and the arrival of the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the port city. Shore Leave is the fourth book in the Frank Swann series and also features Lee Southern, the main character from True West.
Debut work
Publication date: 28/07/2020
Genre: Fantasy Publisher: PanMacmillan
Bettina Scott lives a tidy, quiet life in Runagate, tending to her delicate mother and their well-kept garden after her father and brothers disappear – until a note arrives that sends Bettina into the scrublands beyond, searching for answers about what really happened to this town, and to her family. For this is a land where superstitions hunt and folk tales dream – and power is there for the taking, for those willing to look.
Debut work
Publication date: 4/08/2020
Genre: Crime; Thriller
Publisher: Text Publishing
The summer of 1966–7. Hal and his little brother have just come to live in Moorabool. They’re exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog. Not just dead, but killed. Not just killed, but horribly maimed. Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his big-city job as a detective, is also new in town—and one of his dogs has gone missing. Like other pets around the town. He knows what it means when someone tortures animals to death. They’re practising. So when Hal’s mother starts getting late-night phone calls—a man whistling, then hanging up—Goodenough, alone among the Moorabool cops, takes her seriously. But will that be enough to keep her and her young sons safe? Nostalgic yet clear-eyed, simmering with small-town menace, Greg Woodland’s wildly impressive debut populates the rural Australia of the 1960s with memorable characters and almost unbearable tension.
Indigenous author, winner of the 2020 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript
Publication Date: October 2020
Genre: Adult fiction
Publisher: UWAP
Spanning four generations, with a focus on the 1960s and 70s, an era of rapid social change and burgeoning Aboriginal rights, Where the Fruit Falls is a re-imagining of the epic Australian novel. Brigid Devlin, a young Aboriginal woman, and her twin daughters navigate a troubled nation of First Peoples, settlers and refugees – all determined to shape a future on stolen land. Leaving the sanctuary of her family’s apple orchard, Brigid sets off with no destination and a willy wagtail for company. As she moves through an everchanging landscape, Brigid unravels family secrets to recover what she’d lost – by facing the past, she finally accepts herself. Her twin daughters continue her journey with their own search for self-acceptance, truth and justice.
Publication date: August 2020
Genre: Crime; Thriller
Publisher: Twelfth Planet Press
After a six-year estrangement from her troubled family, Simone Parker returns home to the small Australian town of Brownbeck to attend a funeral. Now that their violent and abusive father is dead, she hopes to reconcile with her younger sister, Claire. When Simone is the only witness to a brutal and near-fatal bashing, she discovers that Brownbeck harbours a criminal gang trafficking in illegal firearms. At the funeral, she recognises Claire’s new partner as one of the assailants. How can she help police officer Mitchell Ross in his investigation if her own sister might be involved?
Publication date: 22/09/2020
Genre: Crime; Thriller
Publisher: PanMacmillan
Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…
Publication date: 27/10/2020
Genre: Crime; Thriller
Publisher: PanMacmillan
Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be … dangerous. When Rose discovers that she cannot fall pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of unexpected love.
 

YA & MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION

WA Author, winner of The Fogarty Literature Award
Publication Date: 1/09/2020
Genre: YA fiction
Publisher: Fremantle Press
Following the death of their parents, Jessie and her older sister Kay move to their grandmother’s abandoned house. One night they discover The History of Mischief hidden beneath the floor: it is like no book they have ever seen. From Ancient Greece to war-torn China, from the Ethiopian Empire to Victorian England, the pages reveal a world of mischief and mystery, adventure and adversity – stolen bones and fiery dragons, feisty philosophers and tempestuous tyrants, shape-shifting trees and scorched scrolls. But not everything is as it seems, in the book or in her life, and Jessie is determined to find the truth. The History has a history of its own. Unravelling its secrets might be the biggest mischief of all.
WA Author
Publication date: 28/07/2020
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: PanMacmillan
Liobhan, the young warrior and bard, has lost her brother to the Otherworld. Even more determined to gain a place as an elite fighter, she returns to Swan Island to continue her training. But Liobhan is devastated when her comrade Dau is injured and loses his sight in their final display bout. Blamed by Dau’s family for the accident, she agrees to go to his home, Oakhill, as a bond servant for one year. But Oakhill is a place of dark secrets. The menacing and enigmatic Crow Folk still threaten both worlds and while Brocc battles them in the Otherworld, Dau must battle his own demon – despair. When Liobhan and Dau begin to expose the evil at the core of Oakhill, they place themselves in mortal danger. For their enemy wields great power and will stop at nothing to get his way. It will take all the skills of a Swan Island warrior and a touch of the uncanny to give them any hope of survival . . .
Debut work, winner of the 2019 Text Prize
Publication date: 4/08/2020
Genre: YA fiction
Publisher: Text Publishing
Lona has dropped out of art school and no one is quite sure why, least of all Lona. It’s just that nothing in her life seems to make sense anymore, including art. She spends her days sneaking into the darkroom at her old school to develop photographs and her nights DJ-ing at the local roller disco. Her aimlessness terrifies her, but everyone else appears oblivious to her fears: her parents are bewildered by her sudden lack of ambition, her brother is preoccupied with his new girlfriend, and her best friend Tab seems to be drifting away. Even a budding relationship with a bass-playing, cello-shredding med student isn’t enough to shake her existential angst. Lona knows it’s up to her to figure out what she wants to do with her life: the problem is, she has absolutely no idea where to start.
Publication date: 4/08/2020
Genre: YA fiction
Publisher: Text Publishing
Jamila is happy in her new home in Australia, though she still misses her old life in Iraq. She and her new best friend Eva sing side-by-side in the choir at school and have picnics together on the weekends. One day, Jamila gets some exciting news: Mina, her oldest friend from Iraq, is coming to Australia. Jamila can’t wait to see her and introduce her to Eva. But when Mina arrives, things do not go as planned. Jamila feels torn between her two friends, and sad that Mina isn’t the same person she remembers. Can Jamila be a true friend to Mina, and help her feel safe and happy in her new home?
WA author
Publication date: 29/09/2020
Genre: YA fiction
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Late in the night, fourteen year old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below. At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette. The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other. Honeybee is a tender, profoundly moving novel brimming with vivid characters and luminous words. It’s about two lives forever changed by a chance encounter—one offering hope, the other redemption. It’s about when to persevere, and when to be merciful, as Sam learns when to let go, and when to hold on.
Publication Date: 29/09/2020
Genre: YA fiction
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Piper’s mum wants her to be ‘normal’, to pass as hearing and get a good job. But when peak oil hits and Melbourne lurches towards environmental catastrophe, Piper has more important things to worry about, such as how to get food. When she meets Marley, a CODA (child of Deaf adult), a door opens into a new world where Deafness is something to celebrate rather than hide, and where resilience is created through growing your own food rather than it being delivered on a truck. Future Girl is the art journal of sixteen-year-old Piper, a visual extravaganza of text, paint, collage and drawings, woven into a deeply engaging coming-of-age story set in near-future Melbourne. For ages 13-16.
Publication Date: 29/09/2020
Genre: Middle-grade fantasy
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Ants don’t bully each other, hornets don’t hold grudges, and butterflies certainly didn’t spend the whole of lunchtime being gross and jealous. Amber always loved insects, even before the day her life changed forever. But now she feels something different. Something more . . . powerful. And controlling her power might be the hardest thing Amber has ever done. Especially when she is running for her life. Who is the mysterious Firefighter? What connection does he have to Amber’s old life? And, most importantly, does Amber have what it takes to truly become . . . Skydragon? For ages 8-14.
 

NON-FICTION

Publication Date: 1/01/2021
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Black Lives Matter began as a hashtag when Alicia Garza wrote what she calls ‘a love letter to Black people’ on Facebook. But hashtags don’t build movements, she tells us. People do. Interwoven with Garza’s experience of life as a Black woman, The Purpose of Power is the story of how she responded to the persistent message that Black lives are of less value than white lives by galvanizing people to create change. It’s an insight into grass roots organizing to deliver basic needs – affordable housing, workplace protections, access to good education – to those locked out of the economy by racism. It is an attempt not only to make sense of where Black Lives Matter came from but also to understand the possibilities that Black Lives Matter and movements like it hold for our collective futures. Ultimately, it’s an appeal to hearts and minds, demanding that we think about our privileges and prejudices and ask how we might contribute to the change we want to see in the world.
Publication date: 29/09/2020
Genre: Biography
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
According to your 1939 Gestapo file you adopted the cover names Landau and Maxim. The name your mother and father gave you was Moses. We knew you as Max. You had worked in secret. From an early age you concealed yourself—like the Grey Box Beetle in the final country of your exile, maturing on its journey out of sight beneath the bark of the tree. You risked death every day. And when at last the struggle became hopeless, you escaped the hell and found a haven in China first, and then Australia, where you became one of those refugees who in their final place of exile chose, not death, but silence and obscurity. Alex Miller followed the faint trail of Max Blatt’s early life for five years. Max’s story unfolded slowly, at first from the Melbourne Holocaust Centre’s records then to Berlin’s Federal archives. From Berlin, Miller travelled to Max’s old home town of Wroclaw in Poland. And finally the circle of friendship was closed and the mystery of Max’s legendary silence was unmasked.
Publication date: 29/09/2020
Genre: Biography
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Lowitja O’Donoghue is a truly great Australian. A former Australian of the Year, she is arguably our nation’s most recognised Indigenous woman. The inaugural chair of ATSIC, she has also represented Australia’s Indigenous people at UN forums in Geneva and New York. Had Australia voted to become a republic in 1999, she was a likely candidate to become the country’s first president. In 2001 a bitter controversy arose over whether Lowitja had been ‘stolen’ as a child. There has never been any doubt that she had been handed over to missionaries at the United Aborigines Mission in Oodnadatta and was thereafter completely cut off from her mother and her culture. Stuart Rintoul, who was then a journalist at The Australian, accompanied Lowitja back to Central Australia to search for answers. This compellingly written, long-awaited authorised biography completes the journey into Lowitja’s life and the challenging history of her times.
Publication date: October 2020
Genre: Non-fiction Anthology
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Australia — and the world — is changing. On the Great Barrier Reef corals bleach white, across the inland farmers struggle with declining rainfall, birds and insects disappear from our gardens and plastic waste chokes our shores. The 2019–20 summer saw bushfires ravage the country like never before and young and old alike are rightly anxious. Human activity is transforming the places we live in and love. In this extraordinarily powerful and moving book, some of Australia’s best-known writers and thinkers — as well as ecologists, walkers, farmers, historians, ornithologists, artists and community activists — come together to reflect on what it is like to be alive during an ecological crisis. They build a picture of a collective endeavour towards a culture of care, respect, and attention as the physical world changes around us. How do we hold onto hope.
Publication date: September 2020
Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Cole has heard it all before — token, bougie, oreo, Blackish — the things we call the kids like him. Black kids who grow up in white spaces, living at an intersection of race and class that many doubt exists. He needed to get far away from the preppy site of his upbringing before he could make sense of it all. Through a series of personal anecdotes and interviews with his peers, Cole transports us to his adolescence and explores what it’s like to be young and in search of identity. He digs into the places where, in youth, a greyboy’s difference is most acutely felt: parenting, police brutality, Trumpism, depression, and dating, to name a few.
Publication Date: 3/11/2020
Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Bachar Houli is as accomplished an AFL footballer as they come. He’s been part of two Richmond Premiership sides, he was an All-Australian in 2019, and with over 200 games to his name he remains a key part of a champion team. Picked at number 42 in the 2006 National Draft by Essendon, Houli played 26 games for the Bombers before moving in late 2010 via the pre-season draft to Tigerland, where rookie coach Damien Hardwick was assembling the team that six years later would achieve the seemingly impossible and claim Richmond’s 11th Premiership. Another flag followed two years later, with Houli close to best on ground in both deciders. Yet it’s as the AFL’s most prominent Muslim player that Houli is best known – and his strong Muslim values are at the heart of the man he is. Writing for the first time, Houli explores the experiences and beliefs that sparked his trailblazing success as a Muslim footballer, and that established him as a leading voice within the AFL community for inclusion, understanding and tolerance. Co-authored with acclaimed broadcaster and writer Waleed Aly, Bachar Houli: Faith, Football and Family tells the unique story of one of football’s most fascinating men.
Publication Date: 3/11/2020
Genre: Non-fiction Anthology
Publisher: Penguin Random House
A response to the devastating 2019–20 bushfires, Animals Make Us Human both celebrates Australia’s unique wildlife and highlights its vulnerability. Through words and images, writers, photographers and researchers reflect on their connection with animals and nature. They share moments of wonder and revelation from encounters in the natural world: seeing a wild platypus at play, an echidna dawdling across a bush track, or the inexplicable leap of a thresher shark; watching bats take flight at dusk, or birds making a home in the backyard; or following possums, gliders and owls into the dark. Hopeful, uplifting and deeply moving, this collection is also an urgent call to action, a powerful reminder that we only have one world in which to coexist and thrive with our fellow creatures. By highlighting the beauty and fragility of our unique fauna, Australia’s favourite writers, renowned researchers and acclaimed photographers encourage readers to consider it in a new light.
To be published in 2021
Genre: History; Non-fiction
Publisher: Fremantle Press
From searches for serial killers and missing persons to the persecution of migrants and Aboriginal people, David Price takes us back to a time when the line between lawmakers and criminals was lightly drawn. Based on a wide array of contemporaneous accounts of life in the Gascoyne, these sometimes shocking, sometimes disturbing true crime stories depict an era when Australia’s laws served to maintain order rather than to secure justice. Dark Tales from the Long River offers a window into an evolving history of Western Australia that is still struggling into the light.
 

POETRY

Indigenous authors
Publication date: 1/08/2020
Genre: Poetry Anthology
Publisher: Magabala Books
Guwayu — For All Times is a collection of First Nations poems commissioned by Red Room Poetry over the past 16 years, and is a radical literary intervention for its breadth of representation, temporal depth and diversity of language. This fiercely uncensored collection features 61 poems from First Nations poets in 12 First Nations languages, and together they are an exquisite expression of living First Nations culture. Journey through a range of poetic forms from lyric, confessional, protest, narrative and song, showcasing new voices and established poets. Guwayu is edited by Wiradjuri poet, Dr Jeanine Leane, produced by Red Room Poetry, a leading arts organisation committed to making poetry in meaningful ways.

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