Melbourne Laureate Professor Emeritus John Hattie
AITSL Board of Directors

My top 4 books for 2022 are

  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Lessons by Ian McEwan
  • Nights of Plague by Orhan Pamuk
  • The Last King of America by Andrew Roberts

Beth, AITSL Board of Directors


Cold Coast by Robyn Mundy. The book is set on Svalbard in 1932, and follows a year in the life of Wanny Wolstadt who was Norway’s first female trapper. The sheer beauty, isolation and dangers of living and trapping in this remote, inhospitable part of the world is beautifully portrayed by Mundy alternating a focus on humans in this environment with the native wildlife, particularly that of a blue fox, the runt of the litter. It is a story of courage and resilience set against the societal and environmental challenges of early twentieth century.

Danny, General Manager Teaching and School Leadership


  • Chemtrails over the Country Club by Lana Del Rey
  • Mercurial by Vera Blue
  • The Minefield podcast
  • The Ezra Klein Show podcast

Michael, Senior Policy & Project Officer


There were some great releases by young First Nations artists this year. My highlights:

  • Conversations by Budjerah (soulful R&B/pop)
  • King Stingray – self-titled album: Described as Yolŋu surf rock and featuring members from northeast Arnhem Land, they sing in both English and local language Yolŋu Matha.
  • Meanjin by Thelma Plum (folky pop)

And my favourite podcasts

  • Missed Fortune podcast - my favourite limited series/story-based podcast this year
  • Strong Songs podcast
  • The Imperfects podcast

Georgia, Senior Policy & Project Officer – Initial Teacher Education


  • Off Menu podcast with James Acaster and Ed Gamble – comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite special guests into their magical restaurant to each choose their favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. Ever wanted to eat your dream meal? It's time to order Off Menu. There is a secret menu item, that if the guests say, gets them kicked off the podcast.
  • The Imperfects podcast, especially:
    • Two-part series with Kate Reid, founder of Lune
    • Hamish McLachlan
    • Darcy Vescio
    • Glenn Robbins

Beth, Policy & Project Officer


  • Midnights by Taylor Swift
  • Dance Fever by Florence and the Machine


  • Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez


  • Fisk on ABC
  • My Octopus Teacher documentary on Netflix

Nicole, Policy & Project Officer


  • Teachers Off Duty podcast – a comedy from a group of teachers in the USA who talk about the funny things going on at their school and with students. They’re part of the Bored Teachers group, which also has other podcasts and comedy tours, YouTube videos, TikTok etc.
  • Heavyweight podcast – comedian Jonathan Goldstein helps people try to resolve a moment from their past that they wish they could change. 

Mark, Principal, Teaching & School Leadership


  • Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People podcast - hosted by comedian Chris Gethard


  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Judith, Director, Initial Teacher Education


  • British Scandal podcast - my Saturday morning Park Run companion. Alice Levine and Matt Forde are very amusing hosts – you think you know the story, but there is always something you didn’t know!
  • Here’s the Thing podcast - Alec Baldwin is an excellent host who interviews many famous and not-so-famous people. He manages to extract surprising facts from everyone he interviews.


  • Lessons by Ian McEwan - a semi-autobiographical novel that you can’t put down.
  • Swimming Home: A Memoir by Judy Cotton - This is a little ripper autobiography from an Australian artist who now lives in Connecticut. She describes her life and family history using a non-linear narrative. It shouldn’t work but it does! Her descriptions of the Australian landscape including flora and fauna are incredibly evocative.