Meet the Authors

John Lyon & Sylvie le Clezio chat with Philip Bray
Tuesday, November 14th
6:30 for a 7:00pm start


Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir tells the story of John, Sylvie and their son, Jack’s six years living and working in Jerusalem.

John is a three times Walkley Award winning journalist who has worked as a foreign correspondent for The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald. His TV credits include Sunday and Four Corners.

Sylvie is a film maker, producer and director. Her photographs grace the center pages of the book. Together they contributed on the 2014 Walkley winning Four Corners program, Cold Stone Justice. John and Sylvie also received three United Nations Human Rights Awards during their time in Jerusalem.

John’s outspoken and candid reporting on events in the Middle East has surrounded him in controversy and earned him many critics determined to discredit his opinion.

Tickets: $12.50 or $10 for Brays Loyalty Club Members.

Call to book your seat on 9810 5613.

Posted in Australian Authors, Bronwyn, Event, Israel, John Lyons, Meet the Author, Memoir, Sylvie Le Clezio | 1 Comment

Meet the Author – Scott Bevan

Scott Bevan – journalist, author, TV presenter, playwright and musician.

scott bevan

Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s greatest and most beautiful bodies of water.

Scott Bevan has explored its many coves and bays by kayak, yacht and barge, gathering our Harbour’s stories. He has talked to boat builders, fishermen, ship’s captains, historians, divers and environmentalists. The result is a beautiful, authoritative, meditative journey – and of course, the Balmain Peninsula features prominently!

The Harbour: A City’s Heart, A Country’s Soul is due for release on the 1st November with Simon & Schuster, Australia. We can’t wait to see the final product!

Scott has worked in newspapers and television for 32 years. From 2005 to 2016 he was with the ABC, working on the 7:30 report, ABC News, ABC Local Radio and as Moscow Correspondent.

He is the author of four books: The HunterBattle Lines: Australian Artists at War, Water From The Moon: A Biography of John Fawcett and Bill: The Life of William Dobell. His documentary work includes Oll: The Life & Art of Margaret Olley and The Hunter. He is now a musician.

On Wednesday 1st November, Scott will be chatting with Philip Bray about his new book, The Harbour, his career and his music.

Time: 6:30pm for a 7pm start

Cost: $12.50 or $10 for Brays Loyalty Club members. Finger food and drinks provided.

Tickets: available in store, or call (9810 5613) or email

download (1)

In the bestselling tradition of Peter Ackroyd’s The Thames, a celebration of one of the world’s great waterways. 

Everyone knows Sydney Harbour. At least, we think we do.

Everyone can see the harbour, whether they have ever been to Sydney or not. By as little as a word or two, the harbour floats into our mind’s eye. The Bridge. The Opera House. Fireworks on New Year’s Eve. When we see those images, we feel a sense of belonging. No matter who we are or where we’re from, we see the harbour and we feel good.

In this beautiful, authoritative and meditative journey, Scott Bevan takes us from cove to cove, by kayak, yacht and barge to gather the harbour’s stories, past and present, from boat builders, ship captains and fishermen to artists, divers, historians and environmentalists, from signs of ancient life to the submarine invasion by the Japanese.

This is the ultimate story of Sydney Harbour – a city’s heart and a country’s soul.

Posted in Australian Authors, Australian Books, Bronwyn, Event, Meet the Author, Philip Bray, Scott Bevan | Leave a comment

Meet the Author – Sulari Gentill

Sulari Gentill
Tuesday, October 3rd
6:30 for a 7:00pm start


Sulari Gentill is best known as the author of the award winning Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, a series of historical crime novels set in 1930s Australia. Gripping, beautifully written and deeply researched, they follow the exploits of one Rowland Sinclair, youngest son of a wealthy high society family; an artist and a gentleman, possessed also of a significant talent for scandal. As well as this, she is the author of the Hero Trilogy, a fantasy adventure series for teens.

Sulari’s newest book, Crossing the Lines, is a literary crime novel  that has been described as “a shining (and refreshing) example of meta-fiction at its best.” The novel is an intricate, postmodern piece of storytelling that blurs the real and the fictional.

Sulari set out to study astrophysics, though graduated in law, and later, as she says “abandoned her legal career to write books instead of contracts.” She lives with her family on a small farm in the Snowy Mountains, where she grows truffles and breeds miniature cattle.

I, personally, am a huge fan of the Rowland Sinclair books. You can see my responses as I read each book on my ‘at home’ blog, Brona’s Books.

Hope to see you all on Tuesday evening for a scintillating chat about books, crime, art, the 1920’s and fine food!

Posted in Australian, Australian Authors, Bronwyn, Crime and mystery fiction, Event, Meet the Author, Sulari Gentill | Leave a comment

Meet the Author at Brays

Following our hugely successful evening with Michael Brissenden – we have another fabulous author event coming up on Tuesday, September 19th!

Tania Blanchard
6:30 for a 7:00pm start


The origin story of Tania’s novel, The Girl from Munich, is hinged on a series of very fortunate discoveries. The first is Tania’s discovery of a collection of letters belonging to her grandmother, telling of her life in Germany during the second world war, and her eventual emigration to Australia; the fascinating true story on which Blanchard would base her historical fiction novel.

Then, the discovery of the manuscript of the novel itself, by an editor at a writing masterclass Blanchard was attending; they were so taken by it that they decided not only to publish it, but to offer her a deal for a second book as well.

Tania currently lives in Sydney with her family. Following a career in physiotherapy, she has returned to her passion for writing, and is looking forward to delving further into her interests of history and family stories. She is currently working on the sequel to The Girl From Munich, set in 1950s Australia.

Tickets are $12.50 or $10 for Brays Loyalty club members.

Book your ticket in store, by calling 9810 5613 or emailing


Posted in Australian, Authors, Bronwyn, Event, Meet the Author, Tania Blanchard | Leave a comment

Special Story Time Event

Speech Pathology Week is coming up on the 20-26th August. The aim of the week is to not only promote the work of speech pathologists but to ensure that communication is a basic human right for everyone. Each year, during this week, they also announce the winners of their best books for language and literacy development in children across a variety of age groups.

To celebrate this announcement we’re hosting, along with Let’s Connect Speech & Language Pathology, Balmain, a free story time at Brays Books at 10am on the 21st August.

If you would like to attend please leave a comment below or call us on 9810 5613 to reserve a spot for your child/ren.

Tips for successful communication*

  • Always treat the person with the communication disability with dignity and respect
  • Be welcoming and friendly
  • Understand there are many ways to communicate
  • Ask the person with the disability what will help with communication
  • Avoid loud locations, find a quiet place
  • Listen carefully
  • When you don’t understand, let them know you are having difficulty understanding
  • If you think the person has not understood, repeat what you have said or say it a different way
  • Try asking the person yes or no questions if you are having difficulty understanding them
  • Ask the person to repeat or try another approach if you don’t understand
  • To make sure you are understood, check with the person that you have understood them correctly
  • If you ask a question, wait for the person to reply
  • Allow the person time to respond, so always be patient
  • Speak directly to the person and make eye contact. (Though be mindful that there are some people who may not want you to look at them, e.g. some people with autism spectrum disorder)
  • Speak normally. There is no need for you to raise your voice or slow your speech.

*Source: Adapted from SCOPE, Communication for All Bookletwww.

Posted in Event, Speech Pathology, Storytime | Leave a comment

Author Visits at Brays

Exciting news!
We are now able to host author evenings in our shop. We will have a range of authors – someone to interest everyone.

Michael Brissenden
First off the rank, on Tuesday August 8th, is Michael Brissenden – who you probably know as ABC political journalist and foreign correspondent.

michael brissenden

He is also an ex-staff member of Brays Books!

Michael’s book The List draws on his experiences covering world conflicts and is a top class thriller set in the familiar streets of Lakemba, Cronulla and Canberra.

Young Muslim men on ASIO’s terror watch list are turning up dead in Sydney’s suburbs. Federal Police officers Sid Allen and his partner Haifa Hourani, a Muslim woman, try to find out what’s going on: their investigation of the murders leads them, however, to a much wider threat.

The list

The List confronts us with the local impacts of a global conflict, examining the effects of its violence on individuals and of divisive fear on communities, and the things done in the name of national safety.

Don’t miss the book or Michael’s evening at Brays.

August 8th at 6:30 for 7pm.

Bookings are essential. Tickets are only $10 for our Loyalty Members (normally $12.50) and finger food and drinks are included. To book, phone 9810 5613, email, or call in at the shop.

Tania Blanchard

tanya blanchard

Make a note also of September 19th, for a fascinating evening with Tania Blanchard.

The origin story of Tania’s novel, The Girl from Munich (not yet published), is hinged on a series of very fortunate discoveries. The first is Tania’s discovery of a collection of letters belonging to her grandmother, telling of her life in Germany during the second world war, and her eventual emigration to Australia; the fascinating true story on which Blanchard would base her historical fiction novel.


Then, the discovery of the manuscript of the novel itself, by an editor at a writing masterclass Blanchard was attending; they were so taken by it that they decided not only to publish it, but to offer her a deal for a second book as well.

We will keep you posted as more author evenings are finalised.

Philip Bray


Posted in Australian Authors, Australian Books, Event, Meet the Author, Michael Brissenden, Philip, Philip Bray, Tania Blanchard | Leave a comment

The promise of a cookbook…

At Brays, we not only love to peruse the wonderfully delicious cookbooks that grace our shelves, we also love trying them out on our family and friends!

Recently Sara’s daughter baked one of Annabel Crabb’s yummy recipes – Blueberry and Orange Cake with Lady Grey Sauce from Special Delivery.

They also highly recommend the Cumin and Cauliflower with Fried Lentils & Spinach Yoghurt in Community by Hetty McKinnon.

Sylvia is another fan of Community – her favourites so far are Balsamic Brussel Sprouts & Puy Lentils with Parmesan & Mint and Spicy Fried Edamame with Eggplant & Soba Noodles.


Bronwyn has been making seasonal variations of Sarah Wilson’s Coco-Nutty Granola from I Quit Sugar since 2013.

More recently, Ottolenghi’s Tomato and Pomegranate salad in Plenty More is Bron’s favourite go-to BBQ salad. However, Bill Granger’s Everyday Asian is her all-time fave, with several never-fail recipes under her belt including Cashew & Chicken Curry and Fish Baked in a Bag with Lime Butter & Potatoes.

Libby is another Yotam Ottolenghi fan. Lately she has been been exploring the various vegetable salads in Jerusalem. She is still swooning over his Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Fresh Figs and Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds.

Sadly, the first food director of delicious. magazine, Valli Little passed away two weeks ago. In April she celebrated the launch of her last cookbook called My Kind of Food. We’re hoping one of our clever colleagues will soon be inspired to bake her scrummy Moroccan Spice Cake!

Posted in Bronwyn, Cooking, Libby, Sara, Staff Favourites, Sylvia | Leave a comment

Miles Franklin Shortlist 2017

The Miles Franklin Literary Award Shortlist was announced this week.


The finalists are:

  • An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire (Picador)
  • The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn  (UQP)
  • Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill (Black Inc.)
  • Waiting by Philip Salom (Puncher & Wattmann)
  • Extinctions by Josephine Wilson (UWA Publishing)

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, State Library of NSW Mitchell librarian Richard Neville had this to say about the five shortlisted novels:

None of these novels draws on familiar tropes of Australian literature, yet each brings a distinctive pitch of truth and insight into the Australian experience. (They) explore the restorative power of love, the pernicious influence of the past upon the present, the tragedy of the present avoiding the past, the challenge of unconventional identities, the interweaving of lives across communities, the devastation of grief, and the warzone that is the media, masculinity and a small country town.


An Isolated Incident is a psychological thriller about everyday violence, the media’s obsession with pretty dead girls, the grip of grief and the myth of closure, and the difficulties of knowing the difference between a ghost and a memory, between a monster and a man.

The Last Days of Ava Langdon is an intimate, witty and soulful conjuring of a once-great artist in her final days, which will leave the reader questioning – what passion would sustain you if everything was lost?

Their Brilliant Careers is a playful set of stories, linked in many ways, which together form a memorable whole. It is a wonderful comic tapestry of the writing life, and a large-scale parody in which every detail adds to the humour of the overall picture.

Waiting is a story of two odd couples in prose as marvellously idiosyncratic as its characters.

Humorous, poignant and galvanising by turns, Extinctions is a novel about all kinds of extinction – natural, racial, national, and personal – and what we can do to prevent them.

For more details see their website.

Posted in Australian, Australian Authors, Australian Books, Bronwyn, Miles Franklin Award | Leave a comment

What are We Reading?

It’s official!

Reading books is Australia’s most enjoyable leisure activity.

A recent survey showed that ‘reading books’ rated well ahead of ‘browsing the internet’, ‘watching tv’ and ‘creative craft’.


The top 4 reasons given for reading were:

  1. For relaxation
  2. To learn
  3. The drama of good stories
  4. To become immersed in another world

Crime/mystery/thriller is the most popular fiction genre for nearly half of Australian readers. While a third enjoy reading historical fiction, contemporary fiction and science fiction/fantasy.

Autobiography, biography and memoir are the most widely read non-fiction books – read by up to 45% of Australians. These are followed by cook books at 37% and history & humour books at 28%.


And how did people find out about books?

66% said ‘word of mouth’ and 53% said ‘browsing in bookshops’. Obviously there is an overlap there!

Speaking of word of mouth (ho ho) we would love you to recommend Brays to your friends so we can bring the enjoyment of books to still more people.

Happy reading!

Posted in Philip, Reading Habits, Survey | 1 Comment

Pretty Book Covers

Do attractive covers influence you when you’re book browsing?

The good folk at the Australian Book Design Awards 2017 think so. Each year for the past 65 years, they have celebrated

the bravest and brightest, the most original and beautiful books published in Australia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This year’s winners include:

  • Darren Holt for the Best Designed Commercial Fiction BookRed Herring by Jonathan Cullinane (Harper Collins).
  • Sandy Cull for the Best Designed Literary Fiction BookThe Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose (A&U).
  • Mary Callahan for the Best Designed Nonfiction BookThe Art of Reading by Damon Young (MUP).
  • Sandy Cull for the Best Designed SeriesWisdom Tree books by Nick Earls (Inkerman & Blunt).
  • Bruno Herfst & Marc Martin for Best Designed Children’s Illustrated BookLots by Marc Martin (Viking).
  • Amy Daoud for Best Designed Children’s Fiction BookMagrit by Lee Battersby (Walker).
  • Allison Colpoys for Best Designed Young Adult BookGirl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (Harper Collins).
  • Allison Colpoys for Best Designed Children’s/YA SeriesWord by Word series -various authors (Little Hare).
  • Daniel New for Best Designed Fully Illustrated Book Under RRP $50Grown and Gathered by Matt and Lentil Pubrick (Plum).
  • Allison Colpoys & Kasia Gadecki for Best Designed CookbookFlorentine by Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant).

Which cover is your favourite?

Posted in Australian Books, Book Covers, Bronwyn | Leave a comment