Steve Brook is a Melbourne writer. This does not mean that he writes Melbourne, but that he lives there. At various times, he has been a hot metal compositor, a proofreader, a print and radio journalist, a book editor, and a clerk in an obscure department of the Commonwealth Public Service. So far, he has been responsible for a memoir, Strawberries with everything: A Polish Odyssey 1966-1974 (2005) and two allegedly satirical novels, Bali Sugar: A tale of tropical love, God and politicking (2004) and McQuail: A likely story (2003). But first:

Breaking news: MULTIPLE BIRTH!

Steve Brook is delighted to announce the arrival of not one, but two new books. Here's what they look like:

Available now from Australian Book Group, phone (03) 5625 4290. Official launch was at Trades Hall, Melbourne on 10 September. Watch this space for reviews!


Strawberries With Everything: A Polish Odyssey 1966-1974

ISBN 0-646-45004-2. RRP $24.95.

Strawberries with everything brings a new tone to political memoirs. How did a nice Jewish boy finish up in a place like Poland? In sometimes hilarious detail, Steve Brook describes his early years in prewar London, the emigration of his family to Australia, and his eventual Aussification. While still in his teens he gets a heavy dose of Left politics. After a holiday in Poland, via London, he is offered a job at the Polish Radio in Warsaw. He spends eight years on the wrong side in the Cold War, with a ringside seat at some of the most significant events in European history including the Warsaw Dog Show, the "anti-Zionist" uproar of 1968 and the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia the same year.

He returns to Australia in 1974 and after numerous Candide-like adventures, he finds himself wondering if it was all worthwhile.

Of course it was.


Bali Sugar: A Tale of Tropical Love, God and Politicking

ISBN 0-646-43764-X. RRP $23.95.

Arnold Gold, married, two teenage children, wants to write a satire on pornography. But he feels constrained by the domestic demands of suburban Melbourne, and rents a room in Kuta, Bali. Now at last he can devote all his time to "Monica’s Mouth". But of course, it is not to be. His new life is increasingly taken up by Dutch tourists, Australian Greeks, some decidedly odd religious fringe-dwellers and a beguiling local lady, who threatens to pull out the rug from under his existing marriage. Through her he also gets mixed up with Indonesian politics, the Australian media and a bloke he once thought of as a good friend. "Monica’s Mouth" slips further and further into the background and Arnold breaks through into a completely new dimension. It could happen to anyone.


McQuail: A Likely Story

ISBN 0-646-42517-X. RRP $22.95.

This a book to change lives, just as John Alexander McQuail did. Read how this illegitimate son of a Melbourne rabbi takes himself on a rutting spree, first though his schoolmates’ mums, then through the South Pacific, then through Sydney and London. How somewhere along the way he manages to get married thrice, serially, father some children, found an entirely new religion, become an international celebrity, get sweatily involved with a lady politician from Queensland and find himself deported from the US of A.

A likely story.

All right, it may not change your life, but it’s a bloody good read!

If you wish to order any or all of these books, contact Rawprawn Publishing through Australian Book Group at email:

You can also order online:

Australian Book Group Online Catalogue

Steve Brook is contactable at:


What they wrote


…about Strawberries with Everything

Click an article to read the full text...

Strawberries with Everything was launched last October in the Trades Hall, Melbourne. Peter Love was MC and Rod Quantock did the formal bit. Guests were fed on strawberries and cream and Polish doughnuts. The whole thing was recorded on video. Profound apologies for the quality of the sound, which is not quite a hundred percent. To view the launch, press the start button in the player below. For non-Australian visitors, translations from the Oz can be had by dropping us an email. You can also view the videos on YouTube.

Video hosted by YouTube. If you have problems with the videos, please visit the YouTube troubleshooting page.


…about Bali Sugar

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Jo Maree Coghlan, University of Wollongong, NSW (email)

I am a lecturer and postgrad at the University of Wollongong. I am currently finishing a PhD on Megawati and was interested in your book. It seems to have been written with a lot of first hand knowledge and I was wondering how you would feel about a) a formal interview for my research that might include publication in either the thesis or any book I can get out of it, of b) a chat with a Bali/Indo addict.

I am particularaly interested in the way that you/we see/saw Megawati as a social democrat, how she was represented in the western media and how Indonesians understood her, whether as a Sukarno or as a nationalist? Much of my work has been about understanding Mega in relation to her father...In relation to the western media, I have done a two year study of the Australian, British and American press to argue that they legitimised Mega as a pro-capital democrat and accepted her nationalism as an anti-balkanisation position that was good for foreign (US) capital.

...Should you feel this all a bit much, thanks for the book, it made me laugh out loud, and nothing since Douglas Adams has made me do that.

8 August 2005


...about McQuail

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June Factor, author Cinderella Dressed in Yella (email)

...finally got round to reading "McQuail". Not sure what Phillip [Adams] meant by the comparison with Vonnegut (your book isn't full of blood and guts!), but I enjoyed it, especially the authorial comments, the chapter headings, the lively and convincing depiction of boyhood and the affectionate but unblinking observation of your only faintly imaginary Trots group. Not bad for a first novel! Look forward to the next!

23 October 2003

John Scheffer MP, Monash Province, Vic. (email)

I read "McQuail" and want you to know I really did enjoy myself - chuckling away in bed, reading bits out loud to Angela. You said to feel free to write up a review. Easily said, but no time I'm afraid.

... Episodes take entirely unexpected directions into impossible, absurd worlds. Reminiscent of Rushdie? The writing is very Australian - economical and funny. Understated - matter of fact. Characterisation is great. I got to care about McQuail - high praise. He's amoral and yet moral, sexist with a great sense of equality and humanity, prepared to go for the personal advantage but not an exploiter. The women characters are strong and well individualised.

Also, "McQuail" in its 'rollicking ramble' takes on the contemporary politico-social world. And what is more unpredictable and audacious than contemporary world events? Reality outstrips fiction. Who would have thought, when we were in our 20s and 30s, that religion would have disregarded the Marxist injuction to wither away along with the state? Quinarianism is hilarious - as hilarious as so called real religions...The Jewish theme is a very cheeky lampoon.

And who would have thought that the socialist secularists such as me would end up defending the right of women to wear the hijab? Crazy world. And it's all in "McQuail", including the great nexus of sport and religion. I also enjoyed the parody of Blue Collar International and so much more.

Congratulations Steve - a good read.

30 September 2003

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