Memoir

A Promised Land

$65.00

A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency-a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office.

Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden.

A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective-the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.

This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

Eat A Peach

$42.99

The celebrated chef behind Momofuku and star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious gets uncomfortably real in his debut memoir.

In 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in a tiny, stark space in Manhattan’s East Village. Its young chef-owner, David Chang, worked the line, serving ramen and pork buns to a mix of fellow restaurant cooks and confused diners whose idea of ramen was instant noodles in Styrofoam cups. It would have been impossible to know it at the time, but he was about to become one of the most influential chefs of his generation.

Chang grew up the youngest son of a deeply religious Korean American family in Virginia. Graduating college aimless and depressed, he fled the States for Japan, hoping to find some sense of belonging. While teaching English in a backwater town, he experienced the highs of his first full-blown manic episode, and began to think that the cooking and sharing of food could give him both purpose and agency in his life.

Full of grace, candour, grit, and humour, Eat a Peach chronicles Chang’s journey. He lays bare his mistakes, wrestles with his lifelong feelings of otherness and inadequacy, explores the mental illness that almost killed him, and finds hope in the shared value of deliciousness. Along the way, Chang gives us a penetrating look at restaurant life, balancing his deep love for the kitchen with unflinching honesty about the industry’s history of brutishness and its uncertain future.

An intimate account of the making of a chef, the modern restaurant world that he helped shape, and how success can be much harder to understand than failure.

Is This Anything?

$49.99

The first book in twenty-five years from Jerry Seinfeld features his best work across five decades in comedy.

Since his first performance at the legendary New York nightclub “Catch a Rising Star” as a twenty-one-year-old student in autumn of 1975, Jerry Seinfeld has written his own material and saved everything. “Whenever I came up with a funny bit, whether it happened on a stage, in a conversation, or working it out on my preferred canvas – the big yellow legal pad – I kept it in one of those old-school accordion folders,” Seinfeld writes. “So I have everything I thought was worth saving from forty-five years of hacking away at this for all I was worth.”

For this book, Jerry Seinfeld has selected his favourite material, organised decade by decade. In page after hilarious page, one brilliantly crafted observation after another, readers will witness the evolution of one of the great comedians of our time and gain new insights into the thrilling but unforgiving art of writing stand-up comedy.

One Day I’ll Remember This

$29.99

Helen Garner’s second volume of diaries charts a tumultuous stage in her life. Beginning in 1987, as she embarks on an affair that she knows will be all-consuming, and ending in 1995 with the publication of The First Stone and the furore that followed it, Garner reveals the inner life of a woman in love and a great writer at work.

With devastating honesty and sparkling humour, she grapples with what it means for her sense of self to be so entwined with another—how to survive as an artist in a partnership that is both enthralling and uncompromising. And through it all we see the elevating, and grounding, power of work and the enduring value of friendship.

Rising Heart

$34.99

Author event: Aminata Conteh-Biger in conversation with Juliet Rieden


One woman’s astonishing journey from unimaginable trauma to becoming a power for good.

In 1999, Sierra Leone was in the midst of a brutal civil war where mindless violence, vicious amputation and the rape of young enslaved women were the everyday weapons of bloody conflict.

It was also where rebel soldiers snatched the young Aminata Conteh-Biger from her father’s arms, then held her captive for months.

After she was released, the UNHCR recognised that her captors still posed a serious threat to her safety. So, still in her teens, she was put on a plane and flown to Australia to start afresh as a refugee in a land she knew nothing about.

It is here that she has proudly built a life, while never allowing her trauma to define her. Yet it was a near-death experience she suffered during the birth of her child that turned her attention to the women of Sierra Leone – where they are 200 times more likely to die while having a baby than in Australia.
So she set up the Aminata Maternal Foundation, then returned to the land of her birth to help. This is her story.

Read an extract of the book in the Sydney Morning Herald

PRAISE FOR RISING HEART

‘Aminata knocked me out at our first meeting in Sydney some years ago…courage shining through as she spoke of some of her experiences in Sierra Leone. Her story, Rising Heart, will never leave you; searing, powerful, disturbing, hopeful.’ – The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO

‘The spirit of Aminata’s story will stay with you long after you finish reading. Rising Heart has refuelled my sense of perspective and purpose. Aminata’s courage in sharing this intensely personal story is rewarded with the power of inspiring hope. Thank you, Aminata, for sharing.’ – Yael Stone, actor and activist

Son of the Brush

$34.99

A frank and revealing memoir by the son of Australia’s greatest living painter.

Tim Olsen is the son of arguably Australia’s greatest living artist, Dr John Olsen. Son of the Brush is his fascinating, candid memoir of what it was like to grow up in the shadow of artistic genius, with all its wonder, excitement and bitter disappointments.

Tim’s childhood was dominated by his father’s work, which took the family to Europe and to communities around Australia as John sought inspiration and artistic fellowship. Wine, food, conversation and the emerging sexual freedom of the 1960s wove a pattern of life for the family. It was both the best and worst of childhoods, filled with vibrancy and stimulation, yet fraught with anxiety and eventual sadness as John separated from Tim’s mother Valerie and moved away from the family.

The course of Tim’s life has been set by the experiences of his childhood, and by the passion for art he inherited from both his parents (his mother was an acclaimed painter in her own right). His life has always been about art, although he has followed a different path from his parents. Having overcome and recovered from addiction, Tim is today one of Australia’s most respected gallery owners, with a knowledge of art and artists forged from what is literally a lifetime immersed in the art world.

Son of the Brush is a memoir about a son and his father, and what it takes to forge your own identity and chart your own course in life, but it is also about the wider world of art, artists and the joy, inspiration and sacrifices of the creative life.

Watsonia: A Writing Life

$49.99

Out 17 November

Watsonia gathers the fruits of a writing life. It covers everything from Australian humour to America gone berserk; from Don Bradman to Oscar Wilde; from birds and horses to history and politics. Wherever Don Watson turns his incisive gaze, the results are as illuminating as they are enjoyable.

Watsonia displays the many sides of Don Watson: historian, speechwriter, social critic, humourist, biographer and lover of nature and sports. Replete with wit, wisdom and diverse pleasures, this comprehensive collection includes a wide-ranging introduction by the author and several previously unpublished pieces. No other writer has journeyed further into the soul of Australia and returned to tell the tale.