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ABR Arts

Book of the Week

On Kim Scott: Writers on writers
Literary Studies

On Kim Scott: Writers on writers by Tony Birch

In this latest instalment of Black Inc.’s ‘Writers on Writers’ series, we have the intriguing prospect of Tony Birch reflecting on the work of Kim Scott. While most of the previous twelve books in this series have featured a generational gap, Birch and Scott, both born in 1957, are almost exact contemporaries. This is also the first book in the series in which an Indigenous writer is considering the work of another Indigenous writer. It will not be giving too much away to say that Birch’s assessment of Scott’s oeuvre is based in admiration. There is no sting in the tail or smiling twist of the knife.




From the Archive

August 2004, no. 263

Outback Charms

Here are two engaging books that trade on the romance and exoticism of northern Australia. Neither makes much demand on the reader nor offers profound insights, but both in their different ways abound in atmosphere and a genuine ‘feel for place’.

Rosemary Hemphill’s childhood was one of extreme contrasts. Her father, the product of Jewish Orthodox parents and Sydney Grammar, washed up in Broome with the dream of becoming the master of a pearling fleet. As so many do, he fell in love with the place and stayed until forced out by the fall of the pearling industry. He served in World War I and, while recuperating from wounds in England, fell in love with the beautiful and cultured daughter of a conventional upper-middle-class couple. The English in-laws insisted that he convert in order to marry their daughter. Back in Sydney, his father declared ‘my son is dead’, as is the custom of Orthodox Jews whose progeny ‘marry out’, and forced the rest of the family to cut ties as well. Louis Goldstein, now Louis Goldie, returned to Broome with his wife and pursued the half-glamorous, half-arduous life of the ‘master pearler’. The life was harder on the women, who were forced to battle the extreme physical conditions, isolation and monotony.

From the Archive

April 2001, no. 229

John Croaker by John Booker and Russel Craig

This book, John Croaker, is a work of convict biography. Its authors are of the opinion that we could do with a deal more convict biography. But convict biography with a difference. Though ‘a well-established medium’, the need is, we are told, to go beyond assessments of ‘colonial figure-heads’, for ‘it is time to examine the men and women on whom the lime­light only flickered’.

From the Archive