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Alumni Book Club

All University of Southern Queensland alumni, students, staff and friends are invited to participate in our Alumni Book Club.

The University of Southern Queensland Alumni Book Club began in 2022 as an initiative between the School of Humanities and Communication and the Alumni Office. All discussions for the book club take place online and are hosted by UniSQ staff members. From the below list you will find the 2023 Book Club topics and sessions.


April - May 2023 - Dark as Last Night by 2022 UniSQ Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection Winner, Tony Birch
These exceptional stories capture the importance of human connection at pivotal moments in our lives, whether those occur because of the loss of a loved one or the uncertainties of childhood. In this collection we witness a young girl struggling to protect her mother from her father’s violence, two teenagers clumsily getting to know one another by way of a shared love of music, and a man mourning the death of his younger brother, while beset by memories and regrets from their shared past.

The webinar discussion for this book featuring author Tony Birch will occur on Thursday, 25 May 2023 - between 7pm - 8pm Brisbane, Australia Time Zone.

Words can wound, words can heal, and in the case of this internationally bestselling crime novel, words can find people. The year is 1988, and 16-year old Annabelle Brown from northern Queensland runs away from her family and friends for the bright lights of somewhere new. She ends up in Kings Cross in Sydney, where her life takes some dark twists and turns. Endorsed by the Australian Federal Police, Write About Me is real and raw and will break your heart into a million pieces. Inspired by the author’s true family cold-case mystery, Write About Me is a heart-wrenching story about a teenage runaway who doesn’t come home. Sparking a new investigation into the disappearance of Ursula Dianne Barwick in 1987, Write About Me is not fact, not fiction, but that dangerous place in between.     

The webinar discussion for this book featuring author Melissa Pouliot will occur on Thursday, 24 August 2023 - between 7pm - 8pm Brisbane, Australia Time Zone.

Mothers wrote the playbook on leadership with their no-nonsense approach. 

It takes common-sense basic principles to be an effective leader, the very same principles one would apply to raising children. When you can successfully teach, nurture, and develop kids, multitask your way through their childhood and survive their teenage years, you can lead a team effectively. 

A great leadership practices are indeed simple,but you should not confuse simple with easy

As you will find in the real-life stories of this former Disney leader mother of three, parenting takes discipline, consistency, patience, and so does leadership. 

The similarities between the two are obvious, and you don’t have to look much further than our own childhood or your own parenting approach to know what works and what doesn’t. 

“Because I said so!” is not effective in parenting, nor is it in leadership.2023

In “Manage like a Mother”, the best practices that are fundamental to success are laid out in a pragmatic and practical way so you can apply the no-nonsense wisdom of moms to your leadership approach. 

Valerie’s book will be available for purchase online only beginning in July 2023. Be on the lookout for the link in order to purchase it.

The webinar discussion for this book featuring author Valerie Cockerell will occur on Thursday, 26 October 2023 - between 7pm - 8pm Brisbane, Australia Time Zone.

Fish Out of Water is a wonderful companion for all athletes who are venturing out into the uncharted waters of sports retirement. Jade has gently and honestly provided readers with a window into her post-sport journey, as well as that of others, and some preventative measures to contemplate. A gifted story teller, Jade depicts the old landscape of retirement, the new landscape of retirement, and the ongoing, ever-present challenge that all athletes, or anyone for that matter, face when closing a significant chapter of their life.

You can watch the discussion about the book we had with author Jade Edmistone.

During September and October 2022, we read Scales of Empire by University of Southern Queensland alumnus Kylie Chan. To know more about Kylie Chan, listen to her interview here.

In Scales of Empire, Corporal Jian Choumali is on the mission of a lifetime – security officer of one of Earth’s huge generation ships, fleeing Earth’s failing ecosystem to colonise a distant planet. The ship encounters a technologically and culturally advanced alien empire led by a royal family of dragons. 

The webinar discussion for this book featuring author Kylie Chan occurred on Thursday, 27 October - between 7 – 8 pm AEST. 

During July and August 2022, we read Man in the Water by University of Southern Queensland alumnus and current staff member Dr David Burton. To know more about Dr David Burton, listen to his interview here.

Man in the Water is a coming-of-age young adult thriller set in a rural mining town in Queensland and follows a teenager who launches an investigation into a mysterious dead body which promptly vanishes after he leaves to report it. 

The webinar discussion for this book featuring author Dr David Burton occurred on Thursday, 25 August - between 7 – 8 pm AEST.

The recording for this session is unavailable.

Dr David Burton

During May and June 2022, we read The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley. To know more about Melissa Ashley, listen to her interview here.

In The Birdman’s Wife, a young girl falls in love with a demanding and ambitious genius and comes into her own as a woman, artist and adventurer while defying convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to collect and illustrate Australia’s birdlife. 

Watch the webinar discussion of this book featuring author Melissa Ashley.

The first book of 2022 was Car Crash: A Memoir by Lech Blaine.

This book recalled when in 2009, Lech Blaine walked away unscathed from a car accident in Toowoomba involving seven teenage boys. Three of his friends died and two were seriously injured. The driver was later acquitted of any crime.  Car Crash dissects the public and personal aftermath of a fatal accident through the experiences of a survivor.

You can watch the discussion about the book we had with Lech Blaine, Dr Kate Cantrell and Dr Nycole Prowse.