Five Star Review in Good Reading Magazine September 2011

The descriptions of flight are written in language so assured and masterly that it’s easy to suspend disbelief and be taken on the journey into the clouds with the flyers…

…compelling in every way, When We Have Wings is an outstanding debut. Five stars RG (Recommended for Reading Groups) – Maryanne Hyde

The Reading Room by Brigita Ozolins – Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Brigita Ozolins

22 July – 16 October 2011
Art Gallery 4

“My father’s ever-expanding library was a constant source of inspiration; the universe itself seemed contained within those books.”

-Brigita Ozolins

The Reading Room is an exhibition about the wonderful world of books and reading.

The gallery is transformed into a warm den of carpets, plush furniture and reading lamps.

Lining the room are literally thousands of books, arranged in great piles, and across the red walls a mysterious code appears.

Watch and listen to people – famous and ordinary – read excerpts from their favourite books. 
Go to The Reading Room website and upload your own recorded readings to contribute to the art work.

I was fascinated to hear about this exhibition from some friends: “Dear Claire

Charles and I are in Hobart and there is a wonderful installation at the Tas Museum called “The reading room” by Brigita Ozolins, an artist from melb.

It is a huge room with armchairs and reading lights and literally 1000’s of book line the walls.
One whole wall is a screen showing people reading from their favourite book.  Across the bottom is the name of the reader and the book they are reading / author.

She was filming people reading from their favourite book for a video piece today as part of this exhibition.  So we ducked home and picked up your book, which Charles had brought with him, and went back to do a reading.
This was filmed by Charles standing to the side, but it will give you an idea.

So there you have it, your book has already made it onto A big screen!

A Review in The Weekend Australian 30 July

“Corbett’s prose has the clarity, luminosity and beauty of a well-cut diamond, especially when she describes dreamlike aerial visions. When We Have Wings is a confident and challenging debut; this flight of fancy deserves to soar. “- Thuy On



Interview with the Herald-Sun

A well-written piece, I think, which teases out quite a few different issues:

‘Corbett’s novel comes at a time when the teen market is saturated with paranormal romances about fallen angels. The cover of her book could give the impression it’s of a similar ilk. But When We Have Wings is more akin to the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood and Audrey Niffenegger, dealing as it does with adult issues of social engineering, mothering and sacrifice.

“There is no magic in my book. I don’t ask the reader to believe anything that I haven’t researched. There’s nothing that breaks the laws of physics,” Corbett says.

“It is not about flight that is easy and romantic; these people almost need to have the discipline of an Olympic athlete to do it. This is about struggle, achievement and transformation.”

On the book’s cover is an endorsement from filmmaker Jane Campion. Corbett explains that in her second year at UTS she worked as an assistant editor on Campion’s first movie Sweetie. “One of the things that is incredible about Jane is she is interested in other people’s creativity and she really encouraged me,” she says.

Corbett also worked on Campion’s Oscar-award winning The Piano, but then lost contact with the director for 20 years. “I was so excited when I’d finished this book and I thought, ‘She’s always believed in me as a writer, I’ve now got something to show her’,” Corbett says.

“I just wanted her to read it. Instead, she rang up and said, ‘My God, you’ve done it, I love it’.’

The Book Launch Banquet

Some of us had dinner together after the launch. The Carrington Hotel was full of guests for Yulefest and we had a Yulefest banquet in the Library, a lovely room with a crackling fire.

The launch and the dinner went smoothly and perfectly, thanks to the staff of the Carrington, and we had many comments on how good the food was.

We were so beautifully looked after in this glorious hotel. Thanks Michael and Candie and Darryl and our lovely waitstaff that night – you made the night stress-free and happy.

When We Have Wings Book Launch

The book launch was a fabulous night. We held it in the grand Victorian ballroom, painted in luscious eau-de-nil and gold, of the Carrington Hotel and the co-owner of the hotel, who has a beautiful voice, even sang Volare for us!


So many people came and had a great time and enjoyed the swing jazz (provided by some of our oldest and dearest friends, Paul Bennett and his son Scott, bass player Richard Lancaster and wonderful singer Jo Kenderes) and the bubbly and rich chocolate cake. Our local independent bookseller was there and said it was one of the best he’s ever been to. It was lovely to have my publisher, Annette Barlow, of Allen & Unwin, there and there was the most amusing MC (my husband Julian). Amanda Lohrey launched the book with one of the best speeches – so complex, erudite and intelligent – I’ve ever heard. 

It’s great when reality surpasses your hopes and dreams. Thank you everyone for making it such a special night.

More Reviews

‘So poignant and so true. … A fabulous debut novel for Australian author Claire Corbett, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for what she does next.’ – read the rest of this review at the My Four Bucks blog

‘The flying sequences featured throughout When We Have Wings have a vivid, dreamlike intensity. Corbett’s characters are well developed, and she engages with a range of important social issues. These issues include genetic modification, motherhood, and class stratification…. Corbett skilfully depicts a bleak future in which advanced technology only exacerbates social inequalities. The plight of her characters (particularly Peri) is gripping and often moving.’ – from the review by Jay Daniel Thompson, ABR

‘Not one of the moral quandaries in this book is improbable as they are the same dilemmas the world now struggles to resolve: whose life is worth saving, how to define a parent, how should the resources of the planet be allocated, what is love. This is what makes When We Have Wings unsettling–the realization that this is a metaphor for today’s world….

‘The pages of [Peri’s] her solo flight are truly memorable, exhilarating and terrifying, and the linchpin upon which the story appears to pivot. But as with all thoughtful fiction, everything is not what it seems. Humanity is still the force that matters and endures. And it is this which gives strength and depth to this book.’ – from the review by Mary Philip, Daily Telegraph

A great review at The Fringe Magazine

I like the focus on the writing in this review: “When We Have Wings by Claire Corbett is a beautiful story, written with such poetic rhythm and elegance that is was almost like reading a sonnet or poem. The story was very original and the plot was intriguing and quite remarkable….


…The relationships and dialogue in When We Have Wings is so very powerful and exceptionally well written.

Brilliant piece of writing.” Scott Wilson – The Fringe Magazine posted Friday July 1st

Monday June 27th was the big day – release of When We Have Wings

Even better, two of the most awesome bookshop window displays I have ever seen are devoted to my book. One is my local bookstore, Megalong Books, and the other is Lovethatbook on the Gold Coast. Bookshop owner Benette Hibbens made those stunning fluffy wings with her own hands. Amazing. Try doing that with an ebookstore. 

Love those bookstores.