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This tag is associated with 21 posts

January 29, 2015 – Death of Colleen McCullough, Australian neuroscientist, author, and academic


Colleen Margaretta McCullough AO (married name Robinson, previously Ion-Robinson; 1 June 1937 – 29 January 2015) was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds and The Ladies of Missalonghi. McCullough was born in 1937 in Wellington, in the Central West region of New South Wales, to James and Laurie McCullough.  Her father was of Irish descent and her mother was a … Continue reading

January 17, 1877 – Birth of May Gibbs, English-Australian author and illustrator


Cecilia May Gibbs MBE (17 January 1877 – 27 November 1969) was an Australian children’s author, illustrator, and cartoonist. She is best known for her gumnut babies (also known as “bush babies” or “bush fairies”), and the book Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Gibbs was born in Sydenham, Kent, in the United Kingdom, to Herbert William Gibbs (1852 – 4 October 1940) … Continue reading

January 2, 1830 – Henry Kingsley, English Australian writer, born in Northamptonshire


Henry Kingsley (2 January 1830 – 24 May 1876) was an English novelist, brother of the better-known Charles Kingsley. He was an early exponent of muscular Christianity in an 1859 work, The Recollections of Geoffry Hamlyn. Kingsley was born at Barnack Rectory, Northamptonshire, the son of the Rev. Charles Kingsley the elder and Mary, née Lucas. Charles Kingsley came of a long line of clergymen and … Continue reading

December 19, 1843 – Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” was published


On December 19, 1843, Charles Dickens’ classic story “A Christmas Carol” was published. Dickens was born in 1812 and attended school in Portsmouth. His father, a clerk in the navy pay office, was thrown into debtors’ prison in 1824, and 12-year-old Charles was sent to work in a factory. The miserable treatment of children and the … Continue reading

November 25, 1952 – Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” opens in London


“The Mousetrap,” a murder-mystery written by the novelist and playwright Agatha Christie, opens at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. The crowd-pleasing whodunit would go on to become the longest continuously running play in history. When “The Mousetrap” premiered in 1952, Winston Churchill was British prime minister, Joseph Stalin was Soviet ruler and Harry Truman was president. Christie, already a hugely successful … Continue reading

Babies celebrate as experts urge parents to read aloud to kids, starting at birth


“Yippee!” said one bookseller when she heard the news. She continued,”This is our big chance to dump our inventory of kids’ books.” Giving a thumbs-up sign to an assistant, she said, “Get all the junk onto the selling floor and prepare to sell, sell, sell!” Couples who really want to jump the gun are reportedly … Continue reading

English teaching in Australia fails the test


When Alice in Wonderland cried “curiouser and curiouser” she could have been describing what passes for English teaching in the national curriculum and official classroom resources. As Justine Ferrari reports, (High-school classes go for pop culture, Monday) students are now expected to “create an artwork from trash, play the logo quiz, study car and perfume … Continue reading

December 16 1775 Jane Austen born


On December 16th 1775, English novelist Jane Austen was born, the seventh of eight children of a clergyman in a country village in Hampshire, England. Jane was very close to her older sister, Cassandra, who remained her faithful editor and critic throughout her life. The girls had five years of formal schooling, then studied with … Continue reading

October 19 1931 Novelist John le Carre is born


On October 19th 1931, David Cornwell, later known as spy novelist John le Carre, was born in Poole, England. Le Carre’s father was a charming, dishonest con man who ran up millions of dollars in debt, snookered friends and family on phantom deals, and spent time in jail for embezzlement. Charismatic and delightful company, Ron … Continue reading

September 15 1890 Agatha Christie is born


On September 15th 1890, Mary Clarissa Agatha Miller, later known as Agatha Christie, was born in Torquay, Devon, England. Raised and educated at Ashfield, her parents’ comfortable home, Christie began making up stories as a child. Her mother and her older sister Madge also made up stories: Madge told especially thrilling tales about a fictional, … Continue reading

September 13 1916 Children’s author Roald Dahl is born


On September 13th 1916, Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and James and the Giant Peach (1961), was born in South Wales. Dahl’s childhood was filled with tragedy. His father and sister died when Dahl was three, and he was later brutally abused at his boarding school. After high school, he … Continue reading

August 20 1918 Valley of the Dolls author Jacqueline Susann born


On August 20th 1918, Jacqueline Susann, the author of Valley of the Dolls, the 1966 mega-hit novel about the showbiz lives of three women (reportedly modelled in part after Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly), was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Like her characters in Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann moved to New York … Continue reading

July 12 1389 Geoffrey Chaucer named chief clerk by Richard II


On July 12th 1389, King Richard II appointed Geoffrey Chaucer to the position of chief clerk of the king’s works in Westminster. Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London sometime around 1343, the middle-class son of a wine merchant. He served as a page in an aristocratic household during his teens and was associated with the … Continue reading

June 22 1964 Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown born


On June 22nd 1964, Dan Brown, author of the international blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” as well as other best-selling thrillers, was born in New Hampshire. Brown’s extensively researched novels are known for involving symbols, conspiracies and secret societies. Brown was raised in New Hampshire, where his father taught math at Phillips Exeter Academy and … Continue reading

June 10 1881 Tolstoy disguises himself as a peasant and leaves on a pilgrimage


On June 10th 1881, Count Leo Tolstoy sets off on a pilgrimage to a monastery disguised as a peasant. Tolstoy had already produced his two greatest masterpieces War and Peace (1865-1869) and Anna Karenina (1875-1877). The Russian nobleman was engaged in a spiritual struggle and felt torn between his responsibility as a wealthy landlord to … Continue reading

June 6 1949 George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four is published


On June 6th 1949, George Orwell’s novel of a dystopian future, Nineteen Eighty-four, was published. The novel’s all-seeing leader, known as “Big Brother,” became a universal symbol for intrusive government and oppressive bureaucracy. George Orwell was the nom de plume of Eric Blair, who was born in India. The son of a British civil servant, … Continue reading

May 30 1593 Christopher Marlowe killed in tavern brawl


On May 30th 1593, playwright Christopher Marlowe, 29, was killed in a brawl over a bar tab. Marlowe, born two months before William Shakespeare, was the son of a Canterbury shoemaker. A bright student, he won scholarships to prestigious schools and earned his B.A. from Cambridge in 1584. He was nearly denied his master’s degree … Continue reading

April 23 1564 and 1616 Birth and Death of William Shakespeare


On April 23rd 1564,  the great English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon, and on April 23rd 1616, he died. It is impossible to be certain the exact day on which he was born, but church records show that he was baptised on April 26, and three days was a customary amount … Continue reading

March 22 1947 Novelist James Patterson Born


On March 22nd 1947, one of the world’s top-selling novelists, James Patterson, was born. Best known for his thrillers, Patterson, the creator of the Alex Cross detective series and the Women’s Murder Club series, among others, has written books in a variety of genres, from historical fiction to young adult. His novels have sold an … Continue reading

March 20 1852 Uncle Tom’s Cabin Published


On March 20th 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was published. Within three months, the novel had sold 300,000 copies and was so widely read that when President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe in 1862, he reportedly said, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” … Continue reading

King of Torts by John Grisham


The King of Torts is typical of the perception most people have of John Grisham. It portrays two lawyers, one honest and one corrupt. The twist in this tale of litigation and intrigue is that the main character is both lawyers. Clay Carter is a burnt out public defender, an honest man who has failed … Continue reading

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Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

China’s military has an Achilles’ heel: Low troop morale

China’s military has an Achilles’ heel: Low troop morale

The Chinese Communist Party has unintentionally revealed weaknesses of the country’s military. One indication came with the building of facilities for launching new intercontinental ballistic missiles in an inland desert region. The other was a series of further attempts to increase childbirths, including measures to help reduce the costly burden of educating children. Behind these […]

Cadence Column: Asia, September 20, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, September 20, 2021

China steps up expansion via Hong Kong elections. Seven editors are banned from Wikipedia on concerns of not acting in good faith and with relation to China. The US sails through the Taiwan Straight again, this time a destroyer. Taiwan wants more backup runways for fighter jets. Escalations only continue and no side shows any […]

China adds powerful new ship to maritime patrol fleet

China adds powerful new ship to maritime patrol fleet

China has added a new powerful ship to its fleet of maritime patrol vessels in the South China Sea, state media has reported. The 5,560-ton Hai Xun 03 was launched on Tuesday and will become the largest ocean patrol ship under the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration (MSA), the official China News Service reported, adding that […]

A lesson in political economy on investments in China

A lesson in political economy on investments in China

Paul Krugman, the eminent Nobel laureate in economics, recalls how companies are different from nations and their reasons. Business managers have different perspectives. It is economists – not managers – who place the question of foreign trade, the balance of payments and the exchange rate at the center of their reflections. Since 1989, China and […]

Are China’s climate promises just a load of hot air? (Yes!)

Are China’s climate promises just a load of hot air? (Yes!)

China is prepared to hold its cooperation on climate issues hostage to Western concessions elsewhere. Few cities in China represent the country’s addiction to coal more than Tianjin, where Alok Sharma travelled this week to talk about cooperation on climate issues. It sits on the coast of one of China’s most polluted regions, and its […]

The vanishing allure of doing business in China

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It is nothing new for foreign firms to endure shakedowns by the Chinese Communist Party. As far back as revolutionary times, Chairman Mao’s victorious troops did not directly confiscate foreign-owned assets as their Bolshevik forerunners had done in Russia. Instead, they wore them down with higher taxes and fines so big that eventually companies gave […]

Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans

Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans

Wikipedia has suffered an “infiltration” that sought to advance the aims of China, the US non-profit organisation that owns the volunteer-edited encyclopaedia has said. The Wikimedia Foundation told BBC News the infiltration had threatened the “very foundations of Wikipedia”. The foundation banned seven editors linked to a mainland China group. Wikimedians of Mainland China accused […]

Diaries of former Mao aide spark custody battle over unofficial history of China

Diaries of former Mao aide spark custody battle over unofficial history of China

Today, “Li materials” are the subject of a legal battle between Stanford University and Mr. Li’s widow in Beijing. This is a battle for custody of an unofficial history of China. In millions of handwritten Chinese characters, Mr. Li documents his early days in the party, the revolution that brought him to power and his […]

World’s dirtiest cities list raises issue: Why don’t politicians call out China?

World’s dirtiest cities list raises issue: Why don’t politicians call out China?

Ponder this: A new tally of global cities’ emissions finds that the top 25 are responsible for 52% of the planet’s urban greenhouse gas emissions. Twenty-three of those are in China. New York City is the first American city to appear, at No. 26. Out of the top 75, just four other American cities are listed […]

Cadence Column: Asia, September 13, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, September 13, 2021

The easiest solution to China’s escalating situation in the South Sea is to enforce China’s own formal statements at face value. China says they respect other countries and do not want to militarize the South Sea. Leave it at that. Any disrespect toward other countries is not at the behest of Xijinping. Any militarization of […]