Japanese writer Haruki Murukami. Photo: Marco Garcia
There's a war on in the world of books. It began 100 years ago, and publishers will mark the centenary of World War I with a barrage of history books, memoirs, first-hand recollections and Great War-themed fiction.
But it's not only old battles being fought out on paper. From Hillary Clinton to Julia Gillard, leaders and former leaders are looking back, taking stock and producing memoirs, collaborating with biographers, or simply writing on something about which they are passionate.
It's not only old battles being fought out on paper. From Hillary Clinton to Julia Gillard, leaders and former leaders are looking back.
In fiction, we can look forward to a new Salman Rushdie novel, a new Hercule Poirot mystery, a sequel to The Rosie Project, the next Game of Thrones saga and a debut Australian hip-hop verse novel. David Malouf will celebrate his 80th birthday with a collection of his writings and a new volume of poetry.
Author Emma Donoghue.
World War I
The accent in these centenary books is not so much on the grand sweep of history, but more on individuals caught up in the war.
Richard van Emden's The Great War 1914-18 (Bloomsbury, July) looks at soldiers' experiences, in their own words and pictures, while Sebastian Faulks is editing an anthology of war stories, memoirs and letters (Random House, July).
Many Australian books focus on the Gallipoli centenary coming up in 2015. Peter FitzSimons will provide a popular history with Gallipoli (Random House, November).
Peter Stanley looks at the first wave of soldiers who landed and died there in Lost Boys of Anzac (NewSouth Books, April).
Michael McKernan puts together stories of soldiers, nurses and families in Victoria at War (NewSouth Books, August). In Hell-Bent (Scribe, November), Douglas Newton examines events in Britain and Australia a week before the war began. Raden Dunbar unearths the hidden toll of venereal disease in The Secrets of the Anzacs (Scribe, August).
Former Australian army officer James Brown takes a critical look at the legend in Anzac's Long Shadow (Black Inc, February). Ross Coulthart tells the story of war correspondent C. E. W. Bean in If They Only Knew (HarperCollins, October). And there's an updated edition of Simpson and the Donkey by Peter Cochrane (MUP, January).
Several novels focus on World War I and its aftermath. They include a love story from Louis de Bernieres (RandomHouse).
Warriors of the word
The top international political biography might well be HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (Hutchinson, February). If you wait until June, you can read Clinton's own words in Hillary Rodham Clinton, a memoir for Simon & Schuster, on her time as United States Secretary of State and how to navigate the challenges of the 21st century.
Julia Gillard leads the list of Australian politicians turned authors with a memoir of her last six turbulent years, due from Knopf in October.
Two of the independents whose support was crucial to Gillard are also going into print. Tony Windsor is producing a memoir of the early days of the Gillard government (with Graham Nuttall, MUP, August), and Allen & Unwin is publishing his authorised biography, as well as Rob Oakeshott's The Independent Member for Lyne (June) and a memoir from Wayne Swan.
John Howard is following his bestselling autobiography with The Menzies Era (HarperCollins, October); and Malcolm Fraser is examining our ties with the US in Dependent Allies (MUP, May).
Bob Carr has written a Diary of a Foreign Minister (NewSouth Books, May) Greg Combet has produced a memoir with Mark Davis (MUP, August), and Bob Brown writes about something every politician needs: Optimism (Hardie Grant, July).
There's plenty more for political junkies. Patrick Weller is giving us a biography of Kevin Rudd (MUP, September). We can also read biographies of Joe Hockey (Madonna King, UQP, August); Don Dunstan (Dino Hodge, Wakefield Press, April); and The Liberal Liberal, on former Victorian premier Rupert ''Dick'' Hamer (Tim Colebatch, Scribe, October).
In The Warriors (ABC Books, September), Aaron Patrick and James Massola analyse how the Liberals got elected and what they will do; Paul Kelly takes ''a very strong view'' on how Labor lost in Anatomy of a Tragedy (MUP, October), Guy Rundle dissects the rise and fall of the Right in Rightards (MUP, September), and Susan Mitchell looks at ''the love story that shaped the nation'' in Margaret and Gough (Hachette Australia, October).
Sonya Hartnett has her second novel for adults, The Golden Boys, out in June with Hamish Hamilton. There are novels from Man Booker prize winner D. B. C. Pierre (Breakfast with the Borgias, Random House, June); Joan London (The Golden Age, Random House, August); Craig Sherborne (Tree Palace, Text, April); Favel Parrett (When the Night Comes, Hachette, September); and Nick Earls (Analogue Men, Random House, July). Janette Turner Hospital tells an updated version of the Tichborne false-identity case in The Claimant (HarperCollins, May). John Scott imagines in N (Brandl & Schlesinger, February) what might have happened in 1942 had Australia invited the Japanese into the country.
Gerald Murnane fans will welcome a new ''reflection on the reliability of storytellers'' (A Thousand Windows, Giramondo, July), and hordes of fans are impatiently hanging out for Graeme Simsion's sequel to The Rosie Project (Text, October).
The most surprising find is In Certain Circles (Text, May), a previously unpublished novel by Elizabeth Harrower, whose 1966 story, The Watch Tower, was reprinted by Text in 2012.
Among many intriguing debuts, the standout might be Here Come The Dogs, a hip-hop verse novel from Oma Musa (Viking, June).
Watch out for Maxine Beneba Clarke's Foreign Soil (Hachette Australia, May); Emily Bitto's The Strays (Affirm Press, May); Suzanne McCourt's The Lost Child (Text, March); and Eli Glasman's The Boy's Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew (Sleepers, July).
From overseas, as well as Rushdie's, expect new novels by Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Ben Elton and Rose Tremain. Haruki Murakami has a new novel, Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years of Pilgrimage (August), said to be a return to his Norwegian Wood-style lyrical realism.
Top Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard brings out the third book in his autobiographical fiction series, My Struggle, in March. There's a comic erotic thriller, Beautiful You, by Chuck Palahniuk in August and a new Irvine Welsh novel, Sex Lives of the Siamese Twins, in May. All the above titles are from Random House.
Other highlights are Hanif Kureishi's first novel in six years, The Last Word (Faber & Faber, February); Emma Donoghue's Frog Music (Pan Macmillan, March); Alice Hoffman's The Museum of Extraordinary Things (Simon & Schuster, April); and three titles from Hachette: David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks (September); James Frey's Il Divino Bambino (June); and Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests (September).
From Bloomsbury in October, look out for short-story collections by Richard Ford (his Frank Bascombe stories) and Margaret Atwood.
Crime, thrills and lighter reads
The most ambitious crime novel this year must be James Ellroy's Perfidia (Random House, June). It's the first of four novels where all the major characters from previous books will feature as young protagonists, and the quartet will contain, Ellroy promises, the longest, most detailed homicide investigation in literary history.
A very different kind of crime yarn is in store when Agatha Christie's detective, Hercule Poirot, is resurrected for another mysterious case, this time written by Sophie Hannah (HarperCollins, September).
Back home, the ever-reliable Peter Corris has another Cliff Hardy crime novel out this month (Silent Kill, Allen & Unwin).
Expect new crime novels by Tony Cavanaugh, P. M. Newton, Geoffrey McGeachin, Alex Hammond, Jaye Ford and Stephen Orr. Candice Fox makes a strong debut with the first two thrillers in a series about a serial killer, Hades (January) and Winter Days (December, Random House).
Game of Thrones fans will be impatient for September, when Voyager publishes the next instalment in George R. R. Martin's epic Song of Ice and Fire series, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Other eagerly awaited books are Justin Cronin's City of Mirrors, the last in The Passage trilogy (October), and Stephen King's latest shocker, Mr Mercedes (June, both Hachette).
Pan Macmillan has a new Jeffrey Archer novel, Be Careful What You Wish For, in March. Random House has Joanna Trollope's, The Breadwinners in February, and a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child in August.
In Australia, we will have novels by Kate Morton (Allen & Unwin), Joy Dettman (The Tying of Threads, Pan Macmillan, March) and Monica McInerney (Hello from the Gillespies! Michael Joseph, October).
Pan Macmillan has Christmas blockbusters from Matthew Reilly and Di Morrissey.
True lives, true stories
The most eagerly awaited Australian non-fiction book is probably Helen Garner's investigation into the case of Robert Farquharson, twice convicted of murder for driving a car into a dam with his three sons inside (Text, September).
It's another strong year for life stories, with a memoir by Mandy Sayer (The Poet's Wife, Allen & Unwin, February), Barry Dickins writing about his father (Black Pepper), Doris Brett on illness (The Twelfth Raven, UWA Publishing, March), and David Walsh, the man behind Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art, telling his tale in A Bone of Fact (Pan Macmillan, May).
The popular genre of memoir entwined with commentary on social issues, emerges in Tara Moss' The Fictional Woman (HarperCollins, June); Sian Prior's Shy (Text, June); and Lee Kofman's The Dangerous Bride (MUP, October).
Pending biographies range from Brenda Niall on Archbishop Mannix (Text, November) to Graeme Blundell on Bert Newton (Bert, Hachette, November) and the second biography of Kerry Stokes, by Andrew Rule (HarperCollins, November).
A literary biography to watch out for is Suzanne Falkiner on Randolph Stow (UWA Publishing, August).
Overseas, life stories range from a John le Carre biography by Adam Sisman (Bloomsbury, October) to a John Cleese autobiography (Random House, October). Edmund White writes about his years in Paris in Inside a Pearl (Bloomsbury, February).
David Malouf's Earth Hour (UQP, March), his first full volume of poetry in seven years, will be published in hardback with the companion volume Typewriter Music for his 80th birthday. (Random House will also publish a collection of his writings.)
From Giramondo comes Judith Beveridge's Devadatta's Poems in April and Maria Takolander's The End of the World; and in July, Bonny Cassidy's Final Theory.
Black Pepper is publishing Todd Turner's first collection, Woodsmoke (February); Stephen Edgar's Exhibits of the Sun (April) and a collection from Jennifer Harrison.
Puncher and Wattmann have four books out in January: Jill Jones' The Beautiful Anxiety, Peter Boyle's Towns in the Great Desert, Ken Bolton's Threefer and David Prater's Leaves of Glass.
In May there's Alex Skovron's Towards the Equator, and in August, Alterworld, the last in a trilogy by Philip Salom.
Fremantle Press has John Kinsella's Sack in November, and in July, John Mateer's Emptiness: Asian Poems 1998-2012 and Nandi Chinna's Swamp Poems.
From John Leonard Press comes The Book of Skins by Jacinta Le Plastrier (March) and Chapter Twelve by Paul Magee (May).
There is a strong theme of uncovering secrets in books such as Ben Hills' gossipy history of Fairfax Stop Press (ABC Books, August), The Snowden Files by Luke Harding (Guardian Faber, April), and Dirty Secrets, edited by Meredith Burgmann (NewSouth Books, April), in which leading Australians read their ASIO files.
History buffs can look forward to the third volume in Thomas Keneally's Australians series (Allen & Unwin), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, edited by Simon Ville (Cambridge University Press, October), and Sophie Cunningham's Warning: Cyclone Tracy (Text, August).
Paul Toohey writes on Stopping the Boats (Quarterly Essay, Black Inc, March). Boat people stories come together with recipes in The Asylum Seeker Cookbook, by Gaye Weeden and Hayley Smorgon (Ilura Press).
Books about books
For book lovers comes My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (Bloomsbury, June), billed as a literary The Devil Wears Prada, and The Road to Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead (Text, February) about the author's life-long affair with George Eliot's novel.