Tag Archives: memoir

Book Launch of ‘The Sides of Heaven’

IMG_3252IMG_324720180223 Hazel Barker A3 poster (A2820473) (1)IMG_3253



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The Sides of Heaven by Hazel Barker

sides of heaven_front

The sequel of Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child will be out shortly.

Set in a turbulent period of history, the story continues to unfold the struggles and sufferings of mother and children until death steals another three more of them.

Join the family in their journey to faith and freedom from the land of pagodas to the world of koalas and kangaroos.

To be released within the next few weeks by Armour Books.

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The Sides of Heaven by Hazel Barker

heaven tempers the wind cover


Dear Friends,


You have already read and enjoyed Part One of my memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child, which was published in 2016. The manuscript had been shortlisted in the Barnardo Great Aussie Book Competition of 2014, and the book was shortlisted in the Australian and New Zealand-wide CALEB Competition of 2017.


Now, its sequel, The Sides of Heaven has been accepted by Armour Books and will be in print by late March 2018. The story is set in Burma during a turbulent period of history. It tells of love and hate, burning passions and exquisite joy.


Fear holds the protagonist, Hazel, a prisoner. Hope sets her free. She longs for freedom – then dedicates her newly won-freedom to God!


More information of the book launch and author talks will be available next year…



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Carindale Library


My Writing Journey. Talk at Carindale Library 13th October 2017


My thanks to the Carindale Library for giving me the opportunity to speak to this lovely audience about my writing journey. Hope everyone enjoyed the presentation and learned from my mistakes.

My books: Where’s Home Mummy? A Migrant’s Story, Zeus Publications, 2004

Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child, Armour Books, 2016

Chocolate Soldier. The Story of a Conchie, Rhiza Press, 2016



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Book launch of “Encounters” anthology

Encounters. A collection of short stories and poetry was launched on Friday the 21st October at the Carindale library.


Four of my short stories have been selected for publication in the anthology. They are excerpts from Book I of my memoir Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child (Armour Books) and my as yet unpublished manuscripts.

The stories are:

An Encounter with my Boss  excerpt from Book II Hope Springs Eternal – Memoir

Death excerpt from Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child – Memoir

Milan excerpt from The Soprano Historical Fiction

The Promise of Tomorrow excerpt from Book II Hope Springs Eternal – Memoir

All profits will be donated to the Silky Oak’s family support programs at Manly West. The book is available for purchase at $16 per copy.

For more information email:  carindalewritersgroup@gmail.com


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Grieve Writing Competition

The Grieve Live Reading held last Friday 29th August in Newcastle, NSW, was a great success. In addition to the shortlist of 23 pieces, we also enjoyed two musical items courtesy of the Hunter Singers and Catherine Mahony who wrote a piece especially for the evening.

I was long-listed for the Australia-wide Grieve Writing Competition, and my short story, June’s Death – an excerpt from my unpublished memoir See No Evil: story of a war child – was published in Grieve: stories and poems for Grief Awareness Month 2014.


The Opening Aria

The Opening Aria

The Readers

The Readers

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June’s Death

The events of that fateful day are seared into my memory. My sister, ten-year-old June, developed a raging fever one night. At seven, I couldn’t understand how ill she was.
The next morning, June sat bolt upright, pulling the blanket off me with her abrupt movement. She muttered strange, garbled words and I sat up too, suddenly afraid. Beads of perspiration stood upon her brow, and she seemed unaware of me. Staring straight ahead with a glassy gaze and unseeing eyes, she kept muttering through parched lips.
I slid out of bed and ran to my mother. ‘June’s looking strange, and I can’t understand her.’
My parents rushed to June and spoke to her. She lay on her back, her eyes darting all over. What was happening to my sister? I’d never witnessed her so helpless and so sick.
Mum fell to her knees at the bedside and stormed heaven with her prayers. She pressed a crucifix to my sister’s lips and kept repeating, ‘Merciful Mother, have mercy on her.’
Mum’s face turned pale. Her lips moved in prayer. Dad remained strangely quiet, watching June who appeared relaxed. We gathered around. Moments later, she gave a few gasps, her head rolled to one side and she who but a mere twenty-four hours ago bounded with fun, life and energy, now lay still and silent.
I froze at the sight of my sister, so young, so active, stretched out on the bed.
Dad placed a small hand mirror against June’s face. His Adam’s apple slid up and down. With a look of anguish, he left the room.
His gloom rolled towards us like a damp fog, and plunged us into despair. Mum shut the door and hastened to June.
My sister stared at us, but the light had gone out of her eyes. After attempting to close her eyes without success, Mum placed a coin on June’s eyelids until they remained closed of their own accord. She kissed her forehead and told us to do the same. Then she fell on her knees beside her.
The hand of grief gripped me, giving a choking, stifling sensation. A lump stuck in my throat. I stole away and threw myself upon my bed, shaking with sobs. A solemn stillness prevailed. The room grew dark, as if a black cloud had passed over the sun.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around, trying to distinguish, through my tears, the figure standing behind me.
‘Don’t cry,’ my brother Bertie whispered. ‘June’s in heaven, you know.’
His words of sympathy only caused me to break into more frenzied sobbing. He did his best to console me, but to no avail. Totally lost, I couldn’t survive without June, my constant companion. At nights, I had shared her blanket, her bed and her bodily warmth.
Days passed. Desolation greeted me from every direction. I curled up in bed like a wounded animal and sought solace in slumber.
Overwhelmed, I lost part of my childhood.


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