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A few weeks ago a few of us were lucky enough to get along to the launch of Sofie Laguna’s latest adult novel, The Choke. Sofie spoke as an advocate for her characters, sharing their experiences and the world they inhabit. The Choke is set at the Murray River and tells the story of Justine as she grows up in a cruel world of poverty and violence.

Today we would like to share two fantastic review excerpts with you.

First up, Chris Gordon of Readings:

Laguna has beautifully captured the bewilderment of childhood and the emergence of adulthood in her character of Justine. It is so unquestionably heartbreaking. Reading becomes the sole purpose of the day. You cannot put the book down because you are immersed, completely and utterly, until the story finishes.

And from Helen Sullivan from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Laguna’s villains, like all of her characters, are sensitively drawn and terrifyingly real: deadly, damaged men to whom children and women cling in spite of themselves. Laguna is sensitive to the complexity of Justine’s relationship to her father. She is also unforgiving of his actions.

Justine becomes the target of violent revenge for her father’s crime. Pushed to the brink of death and sanity, she finally starts to fight back, and the slingshot is released. The Murray’s banks touch at the choke; the book races to the finish line. The stone Laguna lets fly ricochets inside you for days afterwards.

With our next Booked Out Book Club coming up we are all passing The Choke around the office with relish. We hope you will get a chance to read it too.

Writers Victoria this week announced their new appointed Director, Angela Savage.

Author and Booked Out speaker, Angela has been influential in the local writing industry through her published works, her school talks and workshops, and her classes for adults. With experience leading other organisations and programs, we have no doubt Angela will excel in her new position and we wish her all the very best!


Author and performer Justin Heazlewood will be presenting an afternoon of storytelling on Sunday 24 September at Bella Union, Trades Hall, Carlton.

He will offer lashings from his library as senior writer for Frankie and forthcoming memoir. Poems, diaries, the back of a Passiona can – nothing is off limits for his dulcet tones.

Justin will also draw from his prolific back catalogue including 2012’s hilariously dark The Bedroom Philosopher Diaries about the rollercoaster of interstate touring and Funemployed, his brutally honest account of what it means to make a living off art.

For more details and tickets, visit

Wednesday 6 September marks Indigenous Literacy Day, a national day to celebrate Indigenous culture, stories, language and literacy. This is a day to work towards closing the literacy gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous children, with donations helping to provide books and literacy programs to remote communities across Australia.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation encourages us all to participate in this day  – here are some suggestions:

  • Hold a Great Book Swap
  • Make a donation through their website
  • Hold a literacy event such as a book launch or storytelling session
  • Take an ILF donation box to work or school
  • Advocate for us on social media and tag @IndigenousLiteracyFoundation on Facebook and @IndigneousLF on Twitter with #ILD2017

You can also go to the ILF website to buy a book!

For more information or to make a donation, visit the Indigenous Literacy Foundation HERE

This week in the Booked Out office we are celebrating the release of Take Three Girls, the highly anticipated collaboration between three of our wonderful speakers: Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood. Pictured is the Take Three Girls cake from the launch at Readings Hawthorn – it tasted as good as it looks!

Take Three Girls is a tale of unlikely friendship, cyber-bullying and feminism, exploring the challenges facing young women today. This book is the perfect read for year 9-10 students navigating the tricky waters of relationships and social media.

A couple of us were lucky enough to hear these three fabulous authors speak at Melbourne Writers Festival today – now it’s safe to say we are even more excited to dive into Take Three Girls, and our office copy is in hot demand!

Congratulations Cath, Simmone, and Fiona!



Today one of our agents Hannah was lucky enough to get in on the Book Week action, and visited Pascoe Vale South Primary School to see the brilliant Fiona Harris and Scott Edgar talk about their new series, the Super Moopers!

The grade 2 and 3 students were treated to a rousing song about Moopertown, which also helped to wake up Scott. They saw how Fiona and Scott worked together to come up with the character designs for the Moopers (the inhabitants of Moopertown) and some of the preliminary names for the series. They also learnt that Every Picture Tells a Story (a very important take home message).

At the end of the session Fiona and Scott read the story of Dramatic Dom, and then created a new Super Mooper character, Fearless Freddie (pictured below). Scott showed how the face and body language of a character helps us understand their mood.

Here is some feedback from Inga Spyrou, a grade 2/3 teacher at Pascoe Vale South Primary School:

On Wednesday the 23rd of August, Pascoe Vale South P.S. had the privilege of being thoroughly entertained by the hilarious Fiona Harris and Scott Edgar. Fiona (Author) and Scott (Illustrator) created the extremely colourful and energetic series, The Super Moopers.
Fiona and Scott were absolutely fantastic! The students, and staff, were captivated the entire time. Dramatic Dom, Giggling Gertie, Musical Markus and Nervous Nellie will definitely win a place in every child’s heart. Fiona and Scott, these Super Moopers are an absolute credit to you both. Congratulations and thank you.


A big thank you to Fiona, Scott and Pascoe Vale South Primary School for letting Hannah tag along for the session.

We are thrilled to congratulate all the hard working authors who have taken out the top spots at the prestigious 2017 CBCA Book of the Year Awards!

Congratulations are in order for the wonderful Trace Balla, winner of the Book of The Year: Younger Readers Award for Rockhopping, and Claire Zorn, author of One Would Think the Deep, winner of Book of the Year: Older Years Award.

Congratulations also to the authors whose books were named 2017 Honour Books:

Cath CrowleyWords in Deep Blue
Zana FraillonThe Bone Sparrow
Wendy OrrDragonfly Song
Kate and Jol TempleCaptain Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade
Lance BalchinMechanica

We would like to extend our congratulations to the CBCA team, the judges and people behind the scenes who bring the Book of the Year awards to us, as well as all the talented authors and illustrators who were acknowledged by the CBCA this year.

To view the full list of winning books, visit the CBCA website . 

Booked Out is proud to announce that Claire Zorn, Zana Fraillon and Cath Crowley have made the shortlist for the 2017 Gold Inky Award. The Inky Award’s shortlist includes five Australian titles was selected by an expert panel of teenage judges. It’s now time for other teens to have their say, with voting open until the 17th of September via the State Library of Victoria’s Inside a Dog page. The winners will be announced on October the 2nd. Congrats, girls!

1 August 2017
500 Minutes of Danger


Don’t have enough danger in your life? Well, thankfully Jack Heath has some for us – 500 minutes of it in fact.

Designed for younger readers, 500 Minutes of Danger follows 10 brave kids as they find themselves in 10 very dangerous situations. They all have 50 minutes to escape, and you, the reader can follow their story IN REAL TIME….

Bobby wakes up somewhere dark, cold, and enclosed. Has he been buried alive, or is something else going on?

Ella’s trapped in quicksand, and sinking fast. Will she escape, or will one of the predators roaming the jungle find her first?

Kelsey has infiltrated a top-secret science lab, where a giant remote-control crocodile is being prepared to attack the city…

These nail-bitingly dangerous short stories will fascinate and terrify for the full 50-minute countdown.

500 Minutes of Danger is out with Scholastic Australia.

Attention all teachers in Melbourne! Right now there is an exciting opportunity to have a visit from the one and only JC Burke. Writer of many excellent books for YA readers, JC is going to be in Melbourne in Book Week, and still has Wednesday 23 August available.
The best-known of JC’s books is The Story of Tom Brennan, which won the 2006 CBC Book of the Year – Older Readers and the 2006 Australian Family Therapists Award for Children’s Literature. It is still studied in schools across the country.
To find out more, don’t hesitate to call us on  03 9824 0177 or email