Big Mother’s Day book giveaway

17 April 2014: Congratulations to Amanda Barrett, winner of the giveaway and bonus prize!

16 April 2014: Competition CLOSED. Winner announced tomorrow.

15 April 2014: Last day to enter! Competition closes midnight. To enter, remember to (1) sign up for the newsletter, and (2) leave a comment here. Good luck!

This month I’m happy to be teaming up with Writers Ask Writers friends Emma Chapman, Annabel Smith, Sara Foster and Dawn Barker to offer a fabulous Mother’s Day prize of ten books: our most recent releases plus one that each of us has selected as a book we would give to our mothers. So the winner of the competition will receive a copy of the following titles:


There’s also a bonus prize, if the winner is from Perth: two tickets to see Jennifer Saunders discussing her recently released memoir, Bonkers: My Life in Laughs, at the Octagon Theatre on 28 April 2014, 7.30–8.30pm. (If the winner is not from Perth, the bonus prize will go to the first Perth entrant we draw after that.)

Huge thanks to Beaufort Street Books—one of my favourite bookshops—for sponsoring the giveaway. Jane and her fabulous staff really know books—and really know their customers, too! We’re delighted to have them on board.


How do you enter? There are a few ways, and the more ways you use, the more chances you’ll have:

  • Sign up for my free email newsletter here, and leave a comment on this post, telling me what book you’d like to give your mother on Mother’s Day. If you’re already a newsletter subscriber, you won’t miss out; just leave your comment and that will count as an entry. *If you want to be in the running for the Jennifer Saunders tickets, make sure you add ‘PS I’m local’ to your comment.
  • Go to Emma’s, Annabel’s, Sara’s and Dawn’s blogs (links at the end of this post) and follow their instructions for entering.

Apologies to our international readers, but this one is open only to Australian residents.

The competition ends midnight on Tuesday 15 April, and we’ll be announcing the winner on Thursday 17th. So if you win, you’ll be well prepared for spoiling your mother, or someone else’s, or just yourself on Mother’s Day!


My mother is a great reader, and my sister and I are always giving her books, or suggesting titles she might like to borrow from the library. Among several she’s enjoyed recently are Jo Baker’s Longbourne (Pride and Prejudice told from the servants’ point of view), Ian Reid’s That Untravelled World (a novel of early twentieth-century Perth) and Deborah Burrows’s Taking a Chance (a romance set in World War II Perth).

I’ve chosen Simone Lazaroo’s 2010 novel Sustenance as a wonderful Mother’s Day read, for several reasons. But first, let me tell you a little about it.

sustenance_cover_AWSustenance is set in the foothills of Bali, at the Elsewhere Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel for Western tourists. The main character, Perpetua de Mello, daughter of a Malaccan mother and an English father, is the hotel’s cook and an observer of life and of lives—the hotel’s wealthy guests, its Balinese staff, its owners (her ageing father and his dubious American business partner), its village neighbours, and a visiting Australian food critic who has a proposition for her.

The peaceful, idyllic world of the Elsewhere is torn asunder when the hotel is invaded by armed gunmen, its staff and guests taken hostage, and everything underpinning the comfortable complacency of Western tourism is revealed.

And so to my reasons for choosing Sustenance as an ideal Mother’s Day book.

First, the writing. Simone Lazaroo is one of Western Australia’s—indeed, Australia’s—most gifted writers, three times winner of the WA Premier’s Book Award for Fiction, and Sustenance is a beautiful, moving, witty, thought-provoking book.

Second, the food! It is a sensory delight to read the sumptuous descriptions of Perpetua’s meals, and we discover so much about this character through her respect for ingredients and the traditional recipes inherited from her mother.

Third, place. Bali is a destination well loved by so many Australians—including my mother—and this novel both celebrates and interrogates the relationship between the countries. It also evokes a visceral sense of place—the colours, the textures, the tropical scents, the human tapestry.

elemental_COVERFinally, Sustenance is a mother’s story—powerfully so—and that is an aspect of the novel best discovered through the reading. And I think that makes it a good companion novel for Elemental, a grandmother’s story written by my character Meggie and intended as as a gift for her granddaughter’s 21st birthday. Elemental’s dedication reads:

Edna Jean

and all grandmothers


And so, get commenting and signing up, and you’ll be in the draw for our big book giveaway—plus the bonus Jennifer Saunders tickets if you’re located in Perth. Links to posts by Sara, Annabel, Emma and Dawn are below.

Good luck!

Sara Foster has chosen for the giveaway a book she’s already given to her mother, M.L. Stedman’s bestselling The Light Between Oceans. Sara’s mother loved it!

Annabel Smith’s Mother’s Day pick is Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour, ‘a book about motherhood—about the sacrifices it asks of us and the rewards.’

Emma Chapman calls her chosen book, The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait, a real page-turner: ‘a wonderful, heartbreaking novel about the effects of depression on a family.’

Dawn Barker says of her pick, Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret: ‘My mum would love the page turning story and the emotional drama—as I did.’


Filed under Writers ask writers

78 responses to “Big Mother’s Day book giveaway

  1. annabelsmith

    My mum also recently read Longbourn after we both saw Jo Baker speak at Perth Writers festival – it sounds fascinating.

    • I liked it too. It was unsentimental in its rendering of the hardships of life ‘downstairs’. And it made me remember all those stately houses I’ve visited in the UK—and that every time I’d come to a little corridor leading off to a less grand part of the house, always with a NO ENTRY chain across it, that’s where I wanted to go!

      • annabelsmith

        Yes, I always love to know what goes on behind the scenes. I remember the first time I went backstage at a theatre and it felt wonderfully mysterious.

      • 🙂 Oh yes, that would be fun!

        Just thinking about those stately houses again, I don’t think I’ve ever been to one where you could look into the kitchens. They must have been fascinating—and maybe a bit appalling, too!

  2. Pingback: Sara Foster - Writers Ask Writers Mother’s Day Australia giveaway!

  3. Pingback: EMMA CHAPMAN » Mothers’ Day Giveaway: Australian Readers

  4. Renée

    My mother died about 20 years ago, so if I were to win the book I wouldn’t be giving it to her. But I am a mother myself, and knowing what I know now, it’s clear that my mother made a great many sacrifices (some obvious, some not so) for her nine children. If I could I would give her Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour, ‘a book about motherhood—about the sacrifices it asks of us and the rewards.’ – if only to see whether she would recognise herself in that. I am blessed to have a de facto mother-in-law who is a great friend and support. She loves reading and she usually loves my recommendations. I might give the book to her, though she’d probably read my thoughts and say we should share it. 🙂

  5. I think I’d choose Secrets of the tides or The shadow year by Hannah Richell, as I think they would have appealed to my mum. For my stepmum though, who’s not much of a reader but loves animals, I’d choose one of Nick Trout’s books, probably The patron saint of lost dogs.
    PS I’m Local 🙂

  6. Just realised I should have entered here, rather than on your facebook page! As I said there, the book I’d give to my beloved Mum would be Anne of Green Gables, which was such a delightfully positive part of my childhood. PS I’m a Perth local!

  7. If my mother read English, which she doesn’t, I would give her Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns because she would relate to the portrayal of women in an Islamic society – it would make her cry and tell me stories of her own mother who married when she was only 14. Then to cheer her up, I would probably give her something by Alexander McCall Smith!

  8. I would recommend The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce to my Mum. It’s a easy-reading story that touches on some difficult subjects (Alzheimer’s being one of them) that ends with a feeling of peace and that wonderful ‘everything is going to be ok’ sigh.

    Mel xx
    (Perth – Bayswater)

    • Thanks, Mel. It’s great to hear people’s reasons for choosing a book for a special occasion. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter so I can enter you into the draw. 🙂

  9. Gemmy

    I would give my mum The Turning by Tim Winton. Beautiful book that I think she would really love.

  10. Katherine Swift’s “The Morville Hours” was recommended to me by a dear old friend, mother of two now adult girls. I will give it to my own adult daughter to read as we all love to garden and we have great affection for small country villages.

    • I love the sound of that one, Liz; I’ll put it on my TBR list. I’m pretty keen on small villages too—and gardening, when I have time (and when it isn’t too hot). Thanks for entering, and good luck! 🙂

  11. Unfortunately my mother died a little over seven years ago, but she was an avid reader, and would read any good fiction (and occassionally non-fiction) she could get her hands on.

    I’m very much the same. As well as being a mother, I’m nan to six beautiful grandchildren.

    • My mother is the same, Cheryl. So many of us owe our love of books to mothers who taught and encouraged us. It’s a lovely legacy.

      If you want to enter the giveaway, please don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter—and thanks for sharing that comment about your mother. 🙂

  12. Hmm, I’m always putting books on my mum’s ‘you should read this pile’ but I tend to neglect crime/thriller books, which is a favourite genre of hers. I’d recommend Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse – it’s a domestic thriller that’s very cleverly plotted.

    Thanks for the lovely giveaway – I’m a Perthie so I will make get out to Beaufort St Books in soon to browse and buy 🙂

    • Hi samstillreading and thanks for entering—and, being a Perthie, you’ll be in the draw for the bonus prize!

      My mother likes thrillers, too, so I’ll let her know about this one, which is a new release, I think?

      Good luck! 🙂

  13. Amanda Barrett

    The Author I would recommend to my mum would be Fleur McDonald and the particular book I would choose is Blue Skies as it’s set in Esperance WA. I was lucky to have the opportunity to listen to and meet Fleur during a Author tour this week. Not only does she amaze me with her stories of the land in our rural state of WA she is also a genuinely lovely person and very humble about her success. My mum too shares a love of home grown WA rural literature.
    I am a Perth local.

    • Thanks, Amanda. Great that you’ve chosen a WA writer, and I agree, Fleur is a lovely person. 🙂

      So now you’re in the draw for the book package and the bonus prize. Good luck, Amanda!

  14. Amber Boyce

    The Husband’s Secret

  15. mum loves borrowing my books so she if every easy to pick books for – she also tells me I buy to many books, then points out a book that she thinks I will want to read (that she really wants to read) so I can buy it for her!

  16. geckogirlreads

    (sorry if I already commented here – having trouble with internet tonight) Mum is very easy to buy books for, because she loves borrowing my books so if I like it she will!

  17. Dee

    I would choose The Light Between Oceans for my Mum because it has one of the most beautiful sentences I have ever read – “For the briefest moment, he had no edges”. It is an unforgettable story of awful things happening to good people, and the way love between parents and children transcends biology.

    P.S. I’m a local (and the setting of this book is my favourite location in WA!)

  18. emmatruscott

    The book I would recommend is Sweet Damage by Rebecca James. It’s a psychological thriller centered around a withdrawn character, Anna London who lives alone in a Sydney mansion. My mum is intrigued by mysterious houses and enjoys a good thriller.

    Based in Perth – subscribed.

    • Hi Emma. That sounds like another one my mother would like—thanks! 🙂

      (I can’t see you on the subscriber list, so do please drop me a line through the contact page to let me know if it’s under a different name.)

  19. Deborah

    I think I would choose Jo Baker’s Longbourne for my Mum. It sounds like exactly the sort of book she would get lost in (in a good way). For my Mother in Law it would have to be Sustenance. She loves Bali and people watching so it sounds perfect. Plus we are always swapping books so I’d get to read it too.
    P.S. I’m local

  20. Fantastic giveaway. I would recommend Liane Moriarty to everyone, She is a beautiful story teller.

  21. brendat59

    Thanks for this great giveaway – right up my alley! I’d love to give to my Mum (if she was still with us) Dawn Barker’s Fractured as I enjoyed that very much 🙂 Thanks!

  22. Lorraine McDonald

    I think I would choose “How to be a Good Wife” because it sounds so intriguing! 🙂

  23. Lorraine McDonald

    oopsy nearly forgot….. p.s. i am local 😀

  24. Kris Williams

    Hi Amanda. For my mum I would recommend your book of course and Sara’s book. She has trouble reading these days so perhaps one day they will be audio books. PS I’m local. 🙂

    • Thank you, Kris 🙂 Elemental isn’t an audio book (not yet, anyway)—I wish it was (they’re such a good idea). I don’t know about Sara’s Shallow Breath.

      PS don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter so I can enter you into the giveaway. x

  25. Elizabeth davey

    The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

  26. Delores Bebbington

    Hi Amanda, thanks for the wonderful opportunity for an avid Perth reader. I no longer have my Mum or Gran but would like to nominate one of my daughters to receive Rebecca Wait’s book, the view on the way down.

  27. Sarah Ure

    I had so many books rush to mind when thinking of mum, some recent favourites being Dawn Barker’s ‘Fractured’ and Louise Erdrich’s ‘The Round House’ (both of which are extraordinary novels). But then I thought for the day where I want to make her feel warm and fuzzy, I couldn’t pass up giving her ‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion.

    PS. I’m a local too 🙂

    • Thanks for your list of favourites, Sarah. Did you know that Graeme Simsion is going to be a guest of the Margaret River Writers and Readers Festival in May? 🙂

      Good luck in the draw!

      • Sarah Ure

        No I didn’t 🙂 Might have to take up some local Margaret River friends on their offer for me to come visit them!

  28. Wendy Beach

    Reading is a joy my mother and I both share. I would love to give my mother Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. The Icelandic setting and theme of the story (last ‘witch’ to be hung in Iceland) sounds fascinating. I recently read an article about all the research done on this novel, and am amazed the length author’s will go to create an authentic story. I really wanted to get it for my mother. She is an avid reader and I am certain she would enjoy Burial Rites. As a mother myself, I would love it if my children gave me Inherited or Elemental as a gift. These are two books I have been hanging out to read.

    • Thanks, Wendy—I hope your children see your wish list. 🙂 And yes, Burial Rites is a fabulous choice; I imagine a lot of mothers will be getting that this year.

      Good luck with the competition!

  29. Janine Kimberley

    Hi, I would probably give my mum one of Dianne Blacklock’s books, she writes a great story and my favourite is Almost Perfect. I admit I haven’t read any of your books yet, but I would love the opportunity to do so. Thank you for the fabulous giveaway.

    • Hi Janine, and thanks for telling me about Dianne Blacklock—I know the name but I’m not familiar with her books.

      Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter, so I can put you in the draw! 🙂

  30. I am unsure what I would give my mother. Possibly Elizabeth Peters crime fiction. She is a crime fiction fan but likes less gore and for her it is an escape and anything that stops her worrying is a bonus for me. 😀 PS: I am local but you knew that already. But I rescind my eligibility for the bonus prize so you can give to another local. 🙂

    • Thanks, Marisa. My mother likes crime fiction, too; I don’t know if she’s read Elizabeth Peters.

      If you want to be in the draw for the main book package prize, don’t forget to do a newsletter sign-up. 🙂

  31. My Mum was not a great reader, so who can explain why my sisters and I forever are telling each other about the books we’re reading, as well as sharing them around. But I was privileged, in her final years, to read to her from her Bible, which was her most treasured book.
    When I was in Perth for the editors conference last year, I picked up a copy of ‘The Husband’s Secret’. Somehow, it disappeared from my room!

    • A lovely memory of your mum, Desolie. Thanks for sharing that.

      Disappearing books—that’s terrible! Well, you’re in the draw for the ten, including the one you lost 🙂

  32. Mary Preston

    My Mother has such eclectic tastes, so pretty much any book I chose would be most welcome.

    I’m thinking a biography or autobiography would be a great choice. Someone political – she is a political animal. She has been looking back over her life & even writing down snippits of her life, so I’m thinking a biography about Winston Churchill would win the day.

  33. I would like to find an ‘unguessable’ crime fiction and give it to my mum. We often read simultaneously and she ALWAYS guesses the plot!!! I want to find one that she simply can’t guess just so she enjoys it more 🙂

  34. Alison Watts

    Mum is a great reader of diverse genres. She really loved Barbara Kingsolver’s “Poisonwood Bible” and I’m sure “Flight Behaviour” would be a winner with her..besides her four daughters all love sharing her books after she’s finished reading them!

  35. Emma

    I have to ask my Ma if there any books that she wants in particular, otherwise I’ll just get her a book that sounds nice and possibly romantic that hopefully has a happy ending.

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