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Agnes Nieuwenhuizen

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen was born in Iran of Hungarian parents. Her family emigrated to Australia in 1949. After many years as a secondary school teacher, Agnes decided to pursue her interest in youth literature and promoting reading. She established the Youth Literature Program and later the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria. She was widely published in the field. After her retirement in 2005 Agnes focused on reviewing adult fiction, memoirs, and works on reading, as well as the occasional YA book.

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen reviews 'Now' by Morris Gleitzman and 'Where There’s Smoke' by John Heffernan

June 2010, issue no. 322 01 June 2010
Now eighty, Felix, whom we met in two previous novels by Morris Gleitzman, is living in hot dry country Australia. In Once (2005), little Felix escaped from a convent, desperate to find his parents, not understanding that they had left him there in an effort to protect him. In Then (2005), he was ten. After jumping from a train bound for a concentration camp, he struggled to hide himself and six-y ... (read more)

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen reviews 'Dreaming of Amelia' by Jaclyn Moriarty

February 2010, no. 318 07 October 2022
Welcome to Moriarty country. This is our fourth visit to Ashbury High, in New South Wales, which is peopled with smart, sassy teenagers given to commenting on their lives and those of their friends, family, and teachers in many modes and many (far too many this time) words. Moriarty has been tracking three of these private-school girls since Year Nine. Now they are tackling Year Twelve. Meet Emil ... (read more)

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen reviews 'Australian Lives: An intimate history' by Anisa Puri and Alistair Thomson

August 2017, no. 393 23 July 2017
Meet Ruth Apps, born 1926 and gleefully proud of her Irish convict ancestry. Her father lost the use of an arm in Gallipoli and was also mentally affected. During World War II he slept in the yard to avoid bombs. Ruth won a scholarship to a selective girls’ high school in Sydney when few girls were educated beyond primary school. She did well and gained work as a stenographer. She loved going to ... (read more)

Reading Australia: 'Zac and Mia' by A.J. Betts

Reading Australia 02 November 2016
In the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s there was a flurry of what were called ‘single issue’ or ‘problem’ novels for teenagers. The books focused on problems or issues that frequently confronted teenagers, such as bullying, anorexia, child abuse, depression, suicide, unplanned pregnancies, struggles over friendships, puberty, divorce, and more. These were indeed matters faced by young people ... (read more)

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen reviews 'Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil' by Melina Marchetta

December 2016, no. 387 29 November 2016
Much has been made of the fact that Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is Melina Marchetta’s first adult novel. Marchetta is best known for her Young Adult titles, which include Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, and On the Jellicoe Road lively, popular works about the intense lives and tribulations of teenagers and their families, often in a cross-cultural (Italian–Australian) context. Hav ... (read more)

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen reviews 'Saved to Remember: Raoul Wallenberg, Budapest 1944 and after' by Frank Vajda

October 2016, no. 385 26 September 2016
'Is the Mystery of Raoul Wallenberg's Death Finally Solved?' asked a headline in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, on 6 August 2016. The New York Times published a similar story, reporting on the publication of Notes from a Suitcase: Secret diaries of the first KGB chairman, found over 25 years after his death (2016). Suitcases of journals were discovered hidden in the wall of a house inherited by the g ... (read more)