From the Issue

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

by Carla Lipsig-Mumme, Michael Henry, Ben Brooker, Michael Morley, Vivian Morrigan, Yves Rees

ABR Arts

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Book of the Week

Indigenous Studies

Truganini: Journey through the apocalypse by Cassandra Pybus

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Truganini: Journey through the apocalypse follows the life of the strong Nuenonne woman who lived through the dramatic upheavals of invasion and dispossession and became known around the world as the so-called ‘last Tasmanian’. But the figure at the heart of this book is George Augustus Robinson, the self-styled missionary and chronicler who was charged with ‘conciliating’ with the Tasmanian Aboriginal peoples. It is primarily through his journals that historians are able to glimpse and piece together the world fractured by European arrival.


August 2019, no. 413

Publisher of the Month with Rachel Bin Salleh

I do think that concentrating on getting good stories from literate peoples may be a narrow way of looking at the world. Statements by some non-Indigenous publishers that they have ‘standards’ when it comes to First Nations writing are also extraordinarily limiting. Honestly, you mob seriously need to think outside the box and open up to different ways of thinking.


May 2019, no. 411

Emma Lew is Poet of the Month

A bit of space and peace are good for writing poetry. I like to feel warm, so a small electric heater should be blowing on my ankles.


June–July 2019, no. 412

Open Page with Chris Womersley

Cleaning out my flat recently I offloaded quite a few books that – after carrying them around for twenty years – I finally admitted I would probably never read again. Among them were quite a few Paul Auster novels. I had a huge crush on his work when I was younger, but feel they have outlived their appeal for me.

From the Archive

September 2005, no. 274

East of Time by Jacob G. Rosenberg

Most of a lifetime ago, I read of an exhibit at the Bell Telephone headquarters. It consisted of a box from which, at the turning of a switch, a hand emerged. The hand turned off the switch and returned to its box. If this struck me as sinister, it was because the gambit seemed emblematic of human perversity – of a proneness to self-annulment ...

From the Archive

November 2002, no. 246

Religion and Justice

‘Dear God. Save us from those who would believe in you.’ Not long after the attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11 last year, those words were sprayed on a wall in New York. Knowing what provoked them, I sense fear of religion in them. Their wit does not dilute the fear, nor does it render its expression less unsettling. To the contrary, it makes the fear more poignant and its justification more evident.

Enough people have been murdered and tortured over the centuries in the name of religion for anyone to have good reason to fear it. Is it, therefore, yet another example of the hyperbole that overwhelmed common sense and sober judgment after September 11 to sense something new in the fear expressed in that graffiti? In part, I think it is. But the thought that makes the fear seem relatively (rather than absolutely) novel is this: perhaps the horrors of religion are not corruptions of religion, but inseparable from it. To put it less strongly, but strongly enough: though there is much in religion that condemns evils committed in its name, none of it has the authority to show that fanatics who murder and torture and dispossess people of their lands necessarily practise false religion or that they believe in false gods. At best (this thought continues), religion is a mixed bag of treasures and horrors.

From the Archive

August 2005, no. 273

The Singing by Stephanie Bishop & The Patron Saint Of Eels by Gregory Day

The Singing is the inaugural publication in the Varuna Firsts series, a collaboration between the Varuna Writers’ House and Brandl & Schlesinger. Both should be applauded for bringing a distinctive new voice into Australian writing; not to mention the honour due to the prodigious talent of Stephanie Bishop herself. Bishop has written a haunting novel with a seemingly simple story: love gone awry. A woman runs into an ex-lover on the street (neither protagonist is named), and this meeting throws her back into the story of their past. The two narratives – her solitary life now and the tale, mainly, of the relationship’s end – run in parallel. The novel’s energy, however, is ruminative rather than linear, circling around the nature of their love, pressing at the bruises left by its collapse.

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