All the latest from Ligature and the world of electronic publishing.
We’re thrilled to publish Peter Doherty’s The Knowledge Wars internationally for the first time. Peter was joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 for his work on the immune system and was named Australian of the Year in 1997.
The Knowledge Wars is his appeal for evidence and reason in a world where my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge and where research is overwhelmed by vested interests and magical thinking. It’s e=mc² vs ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
The Knowledge Wars traces a path through these battles and finds a way forward—encouraging an open mind but testing every claim. It’s now available outside Australia and New Zealand as a DRM-free e-book from the Kindle Store, the iBookstore, the Kobo store and affiliates and direct from the Ligature Bookshop.
Don’t go into the comments section without it.
A treat for our non-Antipodean friends: we have released two more recent plays by Tim Winton in e-book form. Following on from Rising Water (2012) we now have Signs of Life (2013) and Shrine (2014). The new plays show a deepening and a broadening of Tim’s theatrical technique while continuing to explore the ways that great expanses of time and geography can be compressed into an hour or so on a single stage.
Signs of Life finds Georgie Jutland, the heroine of Tim’s novel Dirt Music, alone on a farmhouse veranda in the wheat belt — a widow on her husband’s land. Two strangers arrive, a brother and sister. They say they’re in trouble but they won’t say what kind — and they won’t leave. Almost as if they own the place… As they circle each other, the play unravels ideas of connection and belonging and the hold of the past on the present.
Shrine digs deeper into the abiding influence of the past, centring on a roadside shrine that marks the tragedy that has shattered the Mansfield family — the death of their son — but hints at an even darker secret. With another visitor from the past and a reckoning for unpaid debts, this is an exquisite conclusion to a loose trilogy. All three plays weave together memory and forgetting, reflection and humour, landscape and language, and are at much at home on the page as on the stage.
Fans from Tim’s homeland and its shaky neighbour can still get Rising Water from us and the other plays from their favourite e-store courtesy of Penguin — and keep an out for local productions of these terrific Australian plays. The rest of the world can purchase all three plays from Ligature or the usual outlets.
Garry Disher’s latest book in his best-selling and critically-acclaimed Wyatt series, The Heat, is out now from the excellent people at Text. This is the eighth outing for the hard-boiled, hard-bitten and frequently hard-up criminal—the last one, Wyatt, won the Ned Kelly award for Best Novel in 2010. And the first four Wyatt novels—Kickback, Paydirt, Deathdeal and Crosskill—are now available in new electronic editions from Ligature.
The series hits the ground running, and the first four books see Wyatt entangled in hits and heists from a noirish Melbourne to a rural South Australian outpost and on to a seedy Brisbane and Gold Coast as the jobs get bigger and more dangerous and Wyatt’s enemies grow more powerful and numerous. Each of the books builds on the last while standing on its own as a perfectly constructed crime thriller.
If you’ve read the recent Wyatts, or you’re about to—and you really should—then go back to where it all began with these classics of Australian crime writing.
‘For the connoisseur of crime the Wyatt series represents Disher at his stylish best… wicked and wonderful. Welcome back, Wyatt.’ — Sydney Morning Herald
‘Writing of the highest calibre, neatly crafted and strongly evocative.’ — Sunday Mail
‘Garry Disher is one of Australia’s most exceptional crime writers… The spare and sparse language, particularly in the way Disher frames the landscape, makes lines leap from the page.’ — Good Reading
We were delighted (but hardly surprised) to hear last week that Bernard Cohen had won the inaugural Russell Prize for Humour Writing for The Antibiography of Robert F Menzies against a very strong field.
Bernard donated his prize to two organisations close to his heart and ours — the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Save the Children’s work for children in immigration detention on Nauru.
All of Bernard’s work is deeply funny and profoundly serious — much like Bernard — and we are thrilled to publish electronic editions of his pre-antibiographical novels, featuring covers painted by Bernard himself and beginning with the multi-award-winning post-modern mystery The Blindman’s Hat and his first novel Tourism, which firmly established Bernard’s propensity to defy and define genres and forms. Both are available worldwide and DRM-free from the Ligature bookshop or your favourite e-book retailer, with the fractured road story Hardy Beach Weather and the post-apocalyptic Snowdome still to come.
This month we take a fascinating diversion into science non-fiction with Robyn Arianrhod’s first book, Einstein’s Heroes: Imagining the World through the Language of Mathematics, which explores the language of mathematics and the laws of electromagnetism through the lives of Albert Einstein’s three heroes: Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727), James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) and Michael Faraday (1791–1867). Einstein’s Heroes was first published in 2003 in Australia and later in the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, France and Turkey. It was shortlisted for the 2004 Age Non-Fiction Book of the Year and the 2004 Victorian Premier’s Prize for a First Book of History.
Robyn is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Monash University and has since written Seduced by Logic: Émilie Du Châtelet, Mary Somerville and the Newtonian Revolution—about two self-taught mathematicians who became world authorities on Newtonian mechanics a century apart—and Young Einstein: and the story of E=mc², which has become one of the best-selling Kindle Singles in the science category. Einstein’s Heroes established Robyn as a masterful writer and researcher who effortlessly weaves history and personality with scientific theory and practice. It combines diagrams and poetry, formulas and anecdotes, and a deep understanding of both mathematics and storytelling.
A tantalising précis of Einstein’s Heroes appears in Robyn’s recent article for The Conversation, “Let there be light! Celebrating the theory of electromagnetism”, which marks January 2015 as the 150th anniversary of the theory of electromagnetism. You can also listen to Robyn’s recent conversation with Richard Fidler for the ABC, and watch her twilight lecture on “Mathematical Love Stories: Writing popular scientific biography and history” for the Melbourne University graduate union.
It’s been a minute since our last release, but this is worth the wait – introducing Rising Water, the first play by one of Australia’s most popular and awarded writers, Tim Winton.
Rising Water takes place on a boozy Australia Day in a Fremantle marina, where it winds through the lives and histories of three “live-aboards”—Baxter, Col and Jackie, the residents of the permanently moored Shirley, Goodness and Mercy respectively. Jackie is—among other things—a refugee of Tim’s story “Boner McPharlin’s Moll” from his collection The Turning, itself now also a play and a movie; and the other characters also feel like they belong in the same Winton universe: they’re full of life and secrets, capable of great vulgarity and lyricism, irrepressible and unforgettable.
The play combines the wit and tenderness of Tim’s novels with the rhythm and texture that the theatre allows, soaring and diving between the Australian vernacular and language heightened to poetry. It was first performed in 2011 by the Black Swan Theatre Company and has toured nationally. The electronic edition includes stills from the original production and is a must-read for any fan of Tim Winton or Australian theatre. It’s on sale now from all the usual outlets, DRM-free as always.
Every book is a privilege to publish, but we are particularly proud to present a new hand-crafted electronic edition of Dorothy Porter’s poetry collection Crete.
Dorothy is, of course, one of our most important poets and verse novelists. She is perhaps best known for her international best-selling The Monkey’s Mask (1994), which—unusually for a novel in verse—was also made into a movie. Crete is the follow-up to that phenomenally successful work: it’s both more personal and more allusive; its layers of classical and historical imagery barely contain the great tides and currents of passion that run through it. On its release it was described as “breathtaking”, and that is its enduring characteristic.
Dorothy’s death in 2008 was a terrible loss to Australian literature and Australian culture. Her influence remains enormous. I am hugely grateful to Dorothy’s partner, Andrea Goldsmith, for her generosity in helping to shape this e-book and sharing the handwritten drafts that are reproduced within this edition and underpin its design; and to her agent, Jenny Darling.
We are now working on an earlier poetry collection, Driving Too Fast, and hope to bring out more editions of Dorothy’s works in the future. In the meantime, you can buy Crete from the Ligature bookshop or from your favourite e-book retailer.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of a new edition of Abbas El-Zein’s first novel, Tell the Running Water. It’s a remarkable story of Beirut during the civil war, of three young people whose fates become entangled on either side of the Green Line.
Tell the Running Water was first published in 2001 by Hodder Headline to widespread acclaim:
“In El-Zein’s elegy for Lebanon’s lost youth, dispassion and stylistic poise keep the horror of civil war at a just bearable distance. A remarkable first novel.” — Felicity Bloch, The Age.
“…in his ambitious and highly charged novel… Abbas El-Zein evokes the madness that gripped his country of birth from 1975 until 1990.” — Tony Maniaty, The Weekend Australian
“Documentary realism gives way to poetical grace in this first novel of destruction and self-discovery.” — Debra Adelaide, The Sydney Morning Herald.
“As timely as today’s headline, and as timeless as a Levantine love song, Abbas El-Zein draws on his own experience of Beirut’s bitter war to create a novel that is elegant and elegiac. This writer has the rarest combination of gifts: a scientist’s precision and a poet’s eloquence.” — Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of People of the Book and March.
Abbas has updated the book slightly and it is now better than ever. We are privileged to be publishing the e-book versions of a novel, a memoir and a collection of short stories by such a talented and versatile writer. All three are connected in intricate ways—the Lebanon of Abbas’s memoir runs together with the riven city of the novel; his own life catches reflections of Kareem’s, Raawya’s and Tony’s—and one of the most striking of his celebrated short stories has its origin in Tell the Running Water. You really have to read all three.
Ligature’s Tumblr of basically forever is, inescapably, I Love Ligatures (dot tumblr dot com), which since 2011 has been collecting examples of typographic ligatures (and some associated letterforms, like swashes and, basically, cursive). There are some inspired selections, like this disappearing RSVP, this elegant logo and this admirable tattoo, and some that have been under our noses forever, like the venerable Star Wars logo. Check out the archive for some more ligaterrific designs.
Although this is our Tumblr of basically forever, we can’t say that Tumblr itself is our social network of any significant period. For obvious reasons, our social network of however long social networks last is Pinterest.
A real treat for the weekend: not one but two collections of Garry Disher’s shorter fiction, plus a special collection of those two collections.
Garry first made his name as a short-story writer (The Age described him as the best in the country) and is probably best known now for his series and standalone crime novels. These two collections intriguingly capture his transition between the two.
Flamingo Gate comprises a novella and six short stories that circle the Flamingo Gate apartment complex in a distinctly hard-boiled inner-city Melbourne, full of corruption and drifting souls. These are human stories, snatches of conversation and cross-purpose—tied together by a killer stalking the city. It’s a real page-swiper! It was first published as a collection in 1991—the same year that Garry’s first Wyatt novel, Kickback, was released.
Straight, Bent & Barbara Vine came out fifteen years later, in 2006. By then Garry had six Wyatt books under his belt, as well as three of the Challis and Destry novels—not to mention his young adult books and the literary fiction we’ve been privileged to publish. The new collection sees him examining the crime genre from every angle—the inside, the outside, and the inside-out side. To call the stories post-modern doesn’t convey the fun; to call them playful doesn’t do justice to the punch they pack. Highly recommended for fans of the genre—or of genre itself.
Two of the stories appear in both collections, though in different contexts. If you’re worried about paying twice for the same stories—or you just like a bargain—you can buy both collections in one volume for a discounted price.
Put them on your phone, read them on the bus—or the tram, for authenticity. Do yourself a favour.