Archives par étiquette : Black Inc.


How do animals guard, serve, and care for us? And how and why do we love them so much?

The meaning of animals in our lives
by Anne Coombs
Upswell (Australia), August 2024
(via Black Inc. Books)

Anne Coombs spent a lifetime working to understand the profound answers that come from these two deceptively simple questions. Before her death in late 2021 she researched the topic extensively and reflected deeply on her own experiences with animals, both domestic and in the paddocks. The animals in her life were privy to her deepest and darkest emotions: her despair, her tears and her love. Opening with the story of Anne’s childhood familiar, Elsie the goat—and introducing Lena the donkey, her beloved dogs, Charlie the cat, the cows on the farm, and Vincent the horse—this tender book takes us on an expansive journey that is part personal memoir, part insightful research, and part noble call to action.

In OUR FAMILIARS Anne has left us with a beautiful meditation on the awe-inspiring responsibility we take on with other living creatures: from their containment and loss of freedom, to our intense and mysteriously mutual love. With wit, humour, and insight, she asks us to feel wonder as we watch how our animal companions live, and to empathise deeply with OUR FAMILIARS.

Anne Coombs was a journalist, author, political activist, and philanthropist. She authored five books, including No Man’s Land (Simon & Schuster, 1993), Sex and Anarchy: The life and death of the Sydney Push (Viking, 1996) and Broometime (Hodder Headline, 2001), co-authored with Susan Varga. Her final novel, Glass Houses, was published in 2023 by Upswell. Anne was one of the founders of Rural Australians for Refugees. She was a board member and chair of GetUp! She shared a passion with her partner for a fairer Australia, advocating for refugees and people seeking asylum. In recent years Anne was a frequent essayist and commentator, and a regular contributor to the Griffith Review. She also wrote a feature film script set in Australia’s far north, currently being developed for production. Anne died at her Exeter home in December 2021.


From prehistory to now, the fascinating story of why music is vital to the human experience.

by Andrew Ford
Black Inc. (Australia), August 2024

From award-winning broadcaster and composer Andrew Ford, The Shortest History of Music is a lively, authoritative tour through several thousand years of music. Packed with colourful characters and surprising details, it sets out to understand what exactly music is – and why humans are irresistibly drawn to making it.

This is not a traditional chronological account. Instead, Andrew Ford focuses on key themes in the history of music and considers how they have played out across the ages. How has music interacted with other social forces, such as religion and the economy? How have technological changes shaped the kinds of music humans make? From lullabies to concert halls, songlines to streaming services, what has music meant to humans at different times and in different places?

Andrew Ford OAM is a composer, writer and broadcaster who has won awards in each of those capacities, including the Paul Lowin Prize for his song cycle Learning to Howl, a Green Room Award for his opera Rembrandt’s Wife and the Albert H Maggs Prize for his large ensemble piece, Rauha. He has been composer-in-residence for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. In 2014 he was Poynter Fellow and visiting composer at Yale University, in 2015 visiting lecturer at the Shanghai Conservatory, and in 2018 HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellow at the Australian National University. Ford has written widely on all manner of music and published ten previous books. He has written, presented and co-produced five radio series for the ABC and, since 1995, presented The Music Show each weekend on Radio National. He was awarded an OAM in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

THE HEALING PARTY de Micheline Lee

Evocative, taut and wryly funny, this stunning novel is about faith and lies, the spirit and the flesh.

by Micheline Lee
Black Inc. (Australia), August 2023

Estranged from her family, Natasha is making a life for herself in Darwin when her sister calls with bad news. Their mother is ill, and has only a few months to live. Confused and conflicted, Natasha returns to the home she fled many years before. But her father, an evangelical Christian, has not changed—he is still the domineering yet magnetic man she ran from, and her sisters and mother are still in his thrall.
One night her father makes an astonishing announcement: he has received a message from God that his wife is to be healed, and they must hold a party to celebrate. As Natasha and her sisters prepare for the big event—and the miracle—she struggles to reconcile her family’s faith with her sense that they are pretending. Is she a traitor or the only one who can see the truth? And what use is truth anyway, in the face of death?
THE HEALING PARTY is a unique and compelling portrait of the deep complexities of family connection.

Micheline Lee’s novel, THE HEALING PARTY, was shortlisted for several awards including the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Born in Malaysia, she migrated to Australia when she was eight. Micheline has lived with a motor neurone disability from birth. She is also a former human rights lawyer and painter. Her forthcoming Quarterly Essay is on humanity, disability and the NDIS.


A snake, an octopus and the near death of Johnny Ramone. The almost true account of the 1977 New York City blackout.

by Rachel Coad
Upswell Publishing/ Black Inc., July 2023

Set in the 1970s, the story’s capstone is the 1977 New York City blackout. Ray the snake is a sad, lonely, middle aged insurance salesman from Midway Kentucky, looking for a better life. Strawberry is a Glow Octopus (Stauroteuthis syrtensis) with an inability to control her glow. Strawberry finds herself in constant trouble; she has a prison record and an FBI file to prove it.
The unlikely pair embark on a road trip to New York City, where they rub shoulders with rock royalty, things get electric – in more ways than one.
A tribute to all kinds of music, from elevator to opera.

In a painting career spanning 20 years, Rachel Coad has exhibited in both Australia and the UK. In 2016 she was awarded The Lester Prize for portraiture. A former newspaper artist and designer, this is Rachel’s first graphic novel. Or as she likes to call it: ‘A long comic’.

HALF DEAF, COMPLETELY MAD de Tony Cohen & John Olson

This exuberant, tragic memoir of master music producer-engineer Tony Cohen is an extraordinary cultural message in a bottle.

by Tony Cohen & John Olson
Black Inc., November 2022

This is a book about making art and the transgressions that might occur in doing so. Tony helped define the sounds of innumerable Australian bands from the 1970s through to the 2000s, and his always entertaining stories are hilarious, incisive and self-deprecating. Tony’s work with Nick Cave and his three bands – The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds – comprises a large part of this memoir. There are also indelible stories of: Chrissy Amphlett/Divinyls, Beasts of Bourbon, Blondie, Cold Chisel, The Cruel Sea, Dirty Three, The Go-Betweens, Hoodoo Gurus, Michael Hutchence, Paul Kelly, Men at Work, Mixed Relations, The Saints, Split Enz … This is vastly entertaining fly-on-the-wall account of a life lived LOUD.

Like many geniuses, [Tony] was a nightmare to work with. But you came back again and again because he was just so good, everything he did was so unique and bold and startling. He was a master at both what not to do in the studio and what to do in the studio. For example – don’t set fire to the studio, don’t sleep in the air-conditioning vents, don’t not show up to the sessions for days at a time, but conversely – do record music like your very life depended on it, do create sounds that no-one has ever heard before …” —Nick Cave

Tony Cohen was perhaps Australia’s most original and influential record producer. He helped define the sounds of innumerable Australian bands (many of whom went on to find new lives in the UK and Europe) from the 1970s through to the 2000s, until his untimely death in August 2017.
John Olson is a producer and engineer, who interviewed Tony Cohen and assembled this account of his life and times.