Publishers of books that change lives

Sacha Jones in The Spinoff

Sacha Jones Author of The Grass Was Always Browner

The Monday Extract: The ballerina who was hospitalised with anorexia

Finch Memoir Prize Winner 2017 – Congratulations Anne Tonner

Gold medallion2017Winner is Announced!
Finch Publishing is pleased to announce the winner and the shortlisted manuscripts for the 2017 Finch Memoir Prize. The prize is an annual award for memoir or life writing and has been running since 2010. The winner receives $5000 in prize money and publication. The prize is decided by a panel of three independent judges. This year’s judges were author Maggie Mackellar (When it Rains, How to Get There), Rowena Morcom (Editor of Good Reading magazine) and author Suzanne Faulkner (Mick: The Life of Randolph Stow).

The shortlisted authors and their manuscripts are:

Freya Latona with Deep Down Things

Kate Mathieson with Ways to Come Home

Julie Weatherburn with Swimming Across Myself

The winner is Anne Tonner with Cold Vein, a searingly honest and heartbreaking account of her daughter’s battle with anorexia.

Maggie Mackellar says:‘There is a ferocity and velocity to this memoir that’s totally compelling. I found myself reading with my breath held as the narrator reported on the disintegration of her family’s life as her daughter disappeared figuratively and literally under the savages of anorexia.This is an important memoir. It lays bare the powerlessness of a family in the face of a chronic disease. The loss of identity, the obsession with saving a child, the sacrifice, the guilt over neglected siblings, a marriage placed under enormous strain – all of this relentlessly builds to a crescendo of a story about survival. Many readers will relate to this book and find in it a source of hope that someone has been before them. This knowledge of itself is powerful.’

Rowena Marcom described Cold Vein as ‘harrowing, intense, absorbing and compelling. I defy anyone to read it without shedding a tear. You come to a realisation while reading how truly debilitating a disease Anorexia is and also how negatively society views this disease, giving it short shrift. It’s simply a book everyone should read.’

Cold Vein will be published in May 2017.

Pregnancy Clause – for female cricketers

It has been all over the news, the request by Cricket Australia that when signing a contract, women players need to state they are not currently pregnant and subsequently to alert the organisation and team doctor if they fall pregnant.

There were also reports in The AUSTRALIAN… ‘that the players are not provided with maternity leave provisions available to other employees at Cricket Australia.’

Will this become a reoccurring issue as women’s sport rises in popularity?

Was Cricket Australia doing as they suggest simply putting the player’s health and safety first? Or is this symptomatic of a larger problem, that sporting organisations just don’t know how to deal with professional female athletes without resulting in gender bias?

Co-author of SHINEI asked Megan Maurice, co-author of SHINE – The making of the Australian Netball Diamonds, to give me her take on the reports.

“We were fascinated with Shine to explore the complicated world of fertility and female athletes.” She states, “As Liz Ellis informs us in the book ‘Fertility waits for no woman,’ so it is certainly an issue that sporting bodies need to address if they want to extend the playing careers of their female athletes and allow them to lead balanced lives outside of sport.”

“For those who have doubts about the need to provide maternity leave entitlements to female athletes, I’d urge you to read the stories featured in Shine to better understand the sacrifices made by these athletes and the impact that policies like this can have on their careers and their lives.” Megan concludes.

It is an interesting question, when is an employer such as Cricket Australia intruding into a woman’s personal life and possibly prejudicing that player for selection, and when is it a duty of care by the employer to the player to provide for her safety?

Shine Cover FinalSHINE – The making of the Australian netball diamonds









Unwrap some great gifts on Christmas morning

Gifts so good they are unwrapping themselves! – launched

New official website launched for The Priests

We are excited to announce that the new website – – is now up and running.Author James Miller

This website will enable our author James Miller to share his thoughts and insights across a wide range of issues, from the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse through to great bush walks that help to quiet the mind and deal with the fallout of abuse.

So check it out at we can guarantee an interesting and insightful read.


THE BOOK OF HE – A guaranteed laugh on Christmas morning


In the The Book of He, Peter Berner (comedian, television and radio personality) offers a delightfully droll look at modern life from the perspective of a very ordinary man who has no desire to be anything but very ordinary.

Peter writes in his introduction: ‘He never climbed a tall mountain or saved a family from a burning building or even donated his time to charity, but he also never stood in the way of anyone who wanted to do those things. That had to count for something.’

Berner uses a minimalist style: ‘I’ve always been attracted to simple line work both spoken and drawn. There is an economy to being able to tell a story using the least nucity-hub-pic-the-book-of-he-031215-1mber of lines. Plus, it’s a better hourly rate when you divide number of lines used into the fee,’ he says.

Peter does not work to a rou­tine: ‘Some day I’ll have an idea first and the drawing follows – but more often than not I will sit and start making marks on paper and watch what happens.

‘I take panic, self doubt, and a constant fear of disappoint­ing people and add to that blank paper, a pen and ink. I’ve never worked in what could be called a “structured fash­ion”.’

About Peter Berner

Peter Berner is one of Australia’s most popular and re­spected media entertainers, stand-up comics and corporate performers. He has written and performed solo come­dy in both Australia and the UK since 1988. Peter has been a gym instructor, petrol station attendant, newspaper copy boy, advertising executive, barman, auctioneer, film actor and banana picker. He has appeared in TV commercials, worked as a radio broadcaster, writer, magazine columnist, TV presenter, stand-up comic, artist, cartoonist, corporate speaker and now author. All this means he either has a wealth of life experience or can’t hold down a job. He currently lives on an island in the sun.

‘“He” is hilariouBook of He coverls. And so is Peter Berner. Loved it.’
Amanda Keller, co-host Jonesy & Amanda, Breakfast WSFM101.7 and host of The Living Room, Network 10

‘Peter’s not only one of my favourite stand-ups of all time but I now find out that he’s also a wonderfully funny cartoonist! I’m almost paralysed with jealousy.’
 Mikey Robins, comedian, writer, broadcaster and TV host

‘Who knew there were this many things to complain about? A perfect take down of modern life … This is Berner at his best.’  Paul Murray, journalist, broadcaster and host of Paul Murray Live, Sky News



I KNEW YOU’D HAVE BROWN EYES – A wonderful Christmas read


I Knew You'd Have Brown Eyes webA conservative Catholic family in Queensland in 1974 is no place to be a pregnant teenager. With an authoritarian mother and facing enormous societal pressures, Mary Tennant must make a decision to save her future … but it is one that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

After putting her baby son up for adoption, Mary tries to return to her old life and her studies to be a nurse but finds that she cannot escape thoughts of her son or feelings of guilt. The situation is made worse because her mother and family completely ignore what has happened and Mary cannot talk to anyone about how she feels. Even after travelling throughout remote Australia as a nurse and health advisor, eventually marrying and having two daughters, Mary feels incomplete and restless.

Then the adoption laws regarding contact between birth mothers and their children are changed. Mary decides that the time might be right to see if her son wants to meet her. But nothing is ever as simple as it seems and Mary’s life and world is about to be turned upside down all over again.

Spanning forty years and set against a backdrop of changing social attitudes in Australia, this is the story of a young girl searching for meaning, coming to terms with her guilt and grief, and learning that breaking the silence brings empowerment.

Mary Tenant with her son Michael

Mary Tenant with her son Michael

‘This is a powerful memoir about shame, guilt, regret and growth. It tells the all too familiar story of teenage pregnancy and adoption … the author is to be congratulated on turning her pain into a story that many people will relate to and recognize themselves within.’– Maggie MacKellar, author of When it Rains

‘A standout memoir, told with clear-eyed grace and nicely controlled passion … This is written with great confidence and clarity, is moving but not sentimental, and is an absorbing read from start to finish.’– Debra Adelaide, author of The Women’s Pages and Letters to George Clooney

‘This is just lovely … it’s that rare thing – a personal memoir that feels thoroughly universal.’– Dominic Knight, author and former ABC radio broadcaster

Mary Tennant

Mary Tennant

Mary Tennant is a retired registered nurse. She completed her general training at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, midwifery at the Mater Mother’s in Brisbane and Community Child Health certificate at Curtin University Perth. Later she obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science (Nursing) and a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Mary has worked in hospitals in Brisbane and Perth but the majority of her career has been in Aboriginal Health.

Excerpt from ‘Mary Tennant wins Finch Memoir Prize with unsentimental tale of adoption’ – by Linda Morris, Arts and Books writer, Sydney Morning Herald Online, May 19, 2016

Mary Tennant was almost finished school when she fell pregnant. Aged 18 she gave her son up for adoption. He was 29 when they met again and 36 when they reunited on sturdier emotional ground. Tennant’s account of her girlhood choices, the life it was to shape, and the bittersweet attempts at reunion, which stopped and abruptly restarted just two years ago, has won this year’s $10,000 Finch Memoir Prize.

I Knew You’d Have Brown Eyes was selected by an independent judging panel comprising Debra Adelaide, Maggie Mackellar and Dominic Knight. Adelaide praised the book as a “standout memoir, told with clear-eyed grace and nicely controlled passion … This is written with great confidence and clarity, is moving but not sentimental, and is an absorbing read from start to finish,” she said.

The memoir’s title comes from Tennant’s recollection of her one and only permitted visit in the hospital nursery of the baby she placed up for adoption. From a conservative Catholic family, Tennant called her newborn Christopher Anthony after the patron saint of travellers. Twenty-nine years later on a beach in Hervey Bay she told her son, now named Michael: “When I saw you in your cot, through the window, you opened a pair of dark eyes as if to say hello. That was why I was sure you would have brown eyes.”

Click here to go to entire review

SHINE This Christmas

SHINE This Christmas

This is the sporting book of the year and makes the perfect Christmas stocking present for netball enthusiasts and players of all ages.

Shine Cover FinalNetball is the biggest grassroots participation sport for women in Australia and the Australian Netball Diamonds are the best-known and most successful of Australia’s high profile women’s sports teams.

Shine reveals the discipline and determination of the players, coaches and support staff team to show what it really takes to be a world class player.   Within its glossy pages, Shine goes behind the scenes with interviews from the players, coaches and support staff professionals, to give readers an unprecedented glimpse into the elite training environment and the work involved in taking a team to a World Cup win.

Australia Diamond Laura Geitz and Bianca Chatfield during the 5th game of the Constellation Cup between Australia Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns at the AIS Stadium in Canberra, 13th October, 2013

Australia Diamond Laura Geitz and Bianca Chatfield during the 5th game of the Constellation Cup between Australia Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns at the AIS Stadium in Canberra, 13th October, 2013

Shine was launched during the Constellation Cup series and has been promoted on TV (ABC Breakfast) and Radio (Roy & HG) as well as in a “sisters-in-arms” article in on-line magazine Sportette to promote the story and the importance and power of player unity.

Paul Kennedy calls the book “A wonderfully written story – Inspirational” Liz Ellis “great to see a book highlighting women in sport – long overdue” and Danielle Warby, calls Shine an “engaging read from start to finish. Plenty here for everyone from the casual reader to the biggest die-hard netball fan”.

Don’t miss out on this informative yet exciting book for your sporting family to learn how and what it takes to reach their goal and “Shine like a Diamond”.

RRP $34.99

Schools of Fish – A feel good Christmas read

Schools of Fish –by Alan Sampson

 Winner of the 2015 Finch Memoir Prize

Alan Sampson is a man bent on success. Schools of Fish by Alan SampsonAs a very strict high school principal he is renowned for transforming weak schools into centres of academic and sporting excellence. But the long hours take their toll on his home life. As his marriage ends and his family is torn apart, he is given a school with one of the worst reputations in the state. And to make matters worse, in this school is one of the most troublesome students he has ever come across … his own son, Greg.

Winner of the 2015 Finch Memoir Prize

Winner of the 2015 Finch Memoir Prize – Alan Sampson

As Alan strives to find a way to tame his son’s behavioural problems at school and at home, he and Greg battle each other as well as the ingrained obstacles in the education system. Only when they both find the courage to step outside the rules do they find their way through to each other … and realise that the best education in life can often be found outside the school system.

About the author          

Alan Sampson has worked in the education department in Queensland for 30 years as a teacher, high school principal, Inspector of Schools and Assistant Regional Director. He is the proud father of four children and enjoys spending his spare time surfing, travelling and writing.

‘I read this book in 6 hours – I couldn’t put it down. It’s an excellent semi-autobiographical book from my former practical teaching supervisor, Alan Sampson’ – Dr Stephen Brown

Holistic Nutrition Book Launch

The Holistic Nutrition book launch was a wonderful event for our author Kate Callaghan. The MC for the night was Alison Morgan – one of Australia’s leading health & wellness industry connectors – when introducing Kate Callahan she spoke about the book being …“a fabulous platform for you to help all those women and families out there.  And I am so proud of you, congratulations”.  She also went on to say that she “loves the fact that Kate works with women to optimise their health, happiness and hormones…. through nurturing their bodies…”

Holistic Nutrition Book Signing

Kate Callaghan and book launch and signing

Holistic Nutrition The Book

Kate Callaghan, Alison Morgan and Sarah Wilson

The book was then officially launched by Sarah Wilson – “I Quit Sugar” – who spoke about the books holistic approach to female hormone health and the fact that Kate has “walked the talk” in her book and practice.

Focusing on hormone health as a way for women to overcome such issues as an under-active thyroid, obesity, pre-diabetes, PCOS, heart conditions and depression, Holistic Nutrition urges women to take a step back from the train harder, eat less attitude that has resulted in many unhappy women struggling with body image and poor hormone health.

Holistic Nutrition – Eat well, train smart and be kind to your body

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