Tank Water – Book Club Questions (pdf, 230 kb)
PB 300 | 234 x 153 | ISBN: 9781925227888 | $29.99
Novel | Also available as ebook
MidnightSun Publishing | October 2021
Distributed by NewSouth Books
James Brandt didn’t look back when he got away from his rural hometown as a teenager. Now, he’s returned to Kippen for the first time in twenty years because his cousin Tony has been found dead under the local bridge.
The news that Tony has left him the entire family farm triggers James’s journalistic curiosity – and his anxiety – both of which cropped up during his turbulent journey to adulthood. But it is the unexpected homophobic attack he survives that draws James into Continue reading Tank Water
Michael Burge is an Australian author and journalist who lives at Deepwater in the New England region of NSW with his husband and their dogs. After graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Michael undertook media studies in the United Kingdom. His non-fiction debut Questionable Deeds: Making a stand for equal love lifted the lid on familial and institutional homophobia in Australia during the marriage equality campaign.
Michael has written, edited, directed and broadcast for Fairfax Media, Intermedia, United News & Media, Margo Kingston’s NoFibs and a range of lifestyle mastheads. He is director of the annual High Country Writers Festival in Glen Innes. His complete works can be found at burgewords.com. Tank Water is Michael’s first novel.
Book Cover Design Competition
MidnightSun Publishing is on the hunt for Australian creatives to design covers for two of our upcoming novels. Whether you are currently studying, new to the field, or an experienced designer, we would love to see what ideas you come up with. This is a unique opportunity to have your work shown on a real published novel set to be released mid-2022 and win a cash prize of $500 per cover.
The brief is to design the front cover, back cover, and spine based on a description of each novel. We are looking for something that encompasses the tone of the story, but also incorporates elements of the characters and plot. If you would like references to see the types of work we have published previously, please feel free to look through our Books Page. These examples may help grasp the type of style we usually go for on our book covers. However, we are looking for bold, new directions in our designs so please send unique and interesting work. We especially encourage entries from First Nations designers and designers from diverse backgrounds.
The two cover competitions will be assessed separately, so you can choose to submit a design for one or both novels. As the tone of the books are very different, we would love to see how you can implement distinctive styles based on the different briefs. Along with your submission, we are also asking you to include a short personal statement so we can get a better understanding of your background and design process. This doesn’t need to be too detailed; it is just an opportunity for you to outline any previous work, experience, or education you may have. The personal statement will not have an impact on our assessment of your cover design.
Applications are open now and will close on Sunday 10th October 2021. To submit your entry, please follow the links below to visit the application forms. As a point of reference, there is a template available outlining the dimensions for the cover. The link to download the PDF and InDesign template can be found on the application form.
The winning designs will feature on the published novels, which comes attached with a cash prize of $500 per cover, and there is the opportunity for other entries to be highly commended. Submissions will be assessed by MidnightSun’s Director Anna Solding and the rest of the MidnightSun team as well as the outgoing designer Kim Lock after the 10th October, once the closing date has passed. Successful applicants will then be contacted within two weeks.
If you have any questions about the competition, please email email@example.com
Good luck to all!
The Rider on the Bridge tells a story from 20 years ago of a young narrator’s escape to Melbourne in an attempt to flee his unstable mother. After encountering the charming Julia, he is invited to stay with her friends in a derelict two-storey art deco squat hidden behind an overgrown wilderness. The story follows the narrator’s recollections of the adventures shared with his manor companions, as well as a memory recounted by his mother of a boy precariously riding his bicycle on a bridge high above a busy motorway.
In late autumn, Kitten, so named by a girl he met long ago, sits and remembers an aching adolescence; not of lost love and romance, but of wild and unbound joys and sorrows. And of those enduring friendships that linger at the periphery, that come with the hope that one day everything will return to what it once was.
The Rider on the Bridge tells of an episode that occurred 20 years previously in the life of the narrator when he was fifteen: He escapes from an unstable mother and flees into Melbourne where he encounters the charming Julia. She names him ‘Kitten’ and invites him to stay with her friends in their Balaclava squat that they refer to as The Manor. It is a derelict two-storey art deco building hidden behind a wilderness of overgrown trees and bushes. Here, Kitten meets Brad, erstwhile leader of the group, Sophie, Julia’s associate, and Jake, a come-and-go wanderer with a penchant for unplanned adventure. Together the group decides to save money and move to Byron Bay.
The title of the book comes from a recollection Kitten has early in the novel. His mother tells him of how she saw, on a rail bridge nearby, a boy ride his bicycle along the edge of the bridge, high above the two-laned road below. The boy’s companions gathered money from people who stopped to watch and to bet that he would fall. This image of a precarious balancing act that hovers between thrill and disaster, the obscene fascination of those gathered to watch, stays with Kitten.
This is a story that takes place, predominately, in late autumn and winter. Their tones inform Kitten’s memory of the boy on the bridge and his recollection of the experience he shared with his Manor companions.
Set against a post-pandemic Melbourne struggling with the effects of climate change, the story follows three characters as their lives collide. A novel about destiny, and how the choices we make may be able to change it, if not always in the way we might expect. It explores the importance of compassion and human connection in an increasingly fragmented world.
Random Acts of Unkindness is set in a Melbourne of the near future, where the effects of climate change mean that the weather can be volatile and extreme. Bushfires burn on the outskirts of the city, low-lying Pacific Islands are underwater, and tsunamis devastate India’s south-west coast. Australia is in a protracted cold war with China, and Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens has become an encampment for refugees and the homeless.
Against this post-pandemic background, fifty-two year old photographer Roz Hale lives in an inner-Melbourne Housing Commission flat with her black Kelpie, Sam. Her life is a daily struggle to put food on the table, and keep the electricity on so that she can work on her colourful abstract photographs and listen to her beloved jazz music. Roz was born with an excess of empathy, and her ability to tune into other people’s distress allows her to see a short way into the future.
Emily is a thirty year old behavioural psychologist at the University of Melbourne, who is carrying out experiments on white lab rats to research the effects of overcrowding. She also volunteers at Careline, a telephone counselling service that Roz likes to use. Emily meets a young Indian man, Rajiv, who gives her his card showing a pink lotus flower unfolding on a blue background, and they start a relationship. At around the same time, she begins to receive threatening calls and text messages from an unknown stalker.
Rajiv’s beautiful, horoscope-loving sister, Amala, is in Melbourne to study social work, but misses her home town of Pondicherry, on the Bay of Bengal. To cover her tuition fees and living expenses, as well as satisfy her love of expensive clothes, she secretly works as an escort. She also has a blog called ‘Random Acts of Unkindness’, where she invites people to post their stories of the spiteful and unpleasant things that others have done to them, and then responds with her special brand of light-hearted advice.
The three characters’ stories collide when Roz has a vision of a female suicide bomber blowing up a Melbourne train, and believes that Emily and Amala are in danger of being caught up in the disaster. Roz will need to overcome her lack of faith in herself if she is to help the women. But first, she has to solve the puzzle of what may be about to happen, and even then, there may not be enough time to save both women.
Teachers’ Notes for The Lanternist (pdf, 135 kb)
Teachers’ Notes for The Colour of Music (pdf, 54 kb)
PB 400 | 198 x 128 | ISBN: 9781925227840 | $19.99
YA Fiction | Also available as ebook
MidnightSun Publishing | July 2021
Distributed by NewSouth Books
1901. The slide clunks into the lantern, and Phantoms come alive on the wall. The father-and-son Magic Lantern team of Bert and Tom Eliot are masters of The Art of the Story. The only problem is that they are missing a wife and mother. Then one morning eleven-year-old Tom wakes to find his father missing, too. Continue reading The Lanternist
Stephen Orr has published eight novels, a book of short stories, as well as essays, columns and other scribblings. Thankfully, he has never written a poem, ever. He has taught Science and English in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia and, to be honest, has learnt more in schools than he’s taught (especially how to get pen refills to stick into ceiling tiles). He’s come second (or third or fourth) in many awards and competitions, so now believes that winning is overrated (although his vegetable soup did help the 1st Hillcrest Scouts win the 1979 Cohen Cup for best bush cooks!).
HB 32 | 210 x 297 | ISBN: 9781925227871
$29.99 | Picture book
June 2021 | MidnightSun Publishing
Distributed by NewSouth Books
Molly can see the music. Colours flash brilliantly as she listens. The music takes her on a journey into places filled with colour, revealing connections between music, emotions, and the world we live in. Continue reading The Colour of Music
Matt Ottley is an award-winning multi-modal artist, working equally across the fields of literature, visual arts and music. Matt has had 37 picture books published and his work also appears in more than thirty nonfiction books.
His awards include the CBCA Picture Book of the Year and both the Queensland & NSW Premier’s Awards for literature. His international awards include Ibby Honour Book for Australia and a White Ravens listing, Bologna. He has recorded his music with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir.
Lisa Tiffen is a children’s picture book author, illustrator and composer. She has previously published a family of four quirky books; Grumps, Lovelies, Sorrows and Frights.
A piano teacher for many years, Lisa has recently commenced writing orchestral music to accompany her books. Being able to combine her love of music, art and writing makes her heart sing.
HB 32 | 210 x 210 | ISBN: 9781925227802
$24.99 | Picture book
MidnightSun Publishing | March 2021
Distributed by NewSouth Books
Denver flushes all kinds of things down the toilet but never stops to think about what happens to them once they are gone. One night, while he sleeps, the ocean begins to stir, no longer able to suppress its fury over how it’s being treated. Can Denver and his sister Maisy make things right before it’s too late? Continue reading The Plastic Throne
Kera Bruton lives on the south coast of New South Wales with her husband, two sons and Italian water dog Alfonzo. From a young age art has always been a major part of Kera’s life. Her previous careers saw her working as a special-effects make-up artist and milliner.
Kera loves creating illustrations that allow the viewer to enter a new world away from their own, where dreams can come true and new friends can be found. Kera loves to experiment with all mediums and uses multiple creative techniques in her illustrations. The Plastic Throne is her first picture book.
Amani Uduman is a children’s author and primary school teacher from Melbourne. In addition to her teaching degree, Amani has graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science, Health Promotion from Deakin University. She has numerous titles published by a non-profit organisation called Library for All, Australia, and her work has been included in many fundraising anthologies.
In her spare time, Amani enjoys reading, writing, walking and listening to R&B music. She also has a keen interest in metaphysics.
The Breaking – Book Club Conversation Starters (pdf, 451 kb)