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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

April 2008, no. 300

The graphomaniac

Media discussion of the 2006 Nobel Prize winner, Orhan Pamuk, tends to focus on his political persecution at the hands of the Turkish state. Pamuk concedes that history has forced him to don a ‘political persona’, one that journalists and literary festival audiences are keen to encounter. Yet Pamuk’s new collection of essays, Other Colours: Essays and a Story, reveals where politics (or political commentary) and the writer of imaginative thinking part company.

From the Archive

July–August 2011, no. 333

Green’s Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green

Dictionaries of slang have a history as long as that of dictionaries of Standard English, and both kinds of dictionary arose from a similarity of needs. The need for a guide to ‘hard’ words generated the earliest standard dictionaries; the need for a guide to the language of ‘hard cases’ (beggars, thieves, and criminals generally) generated the earliest slang dictionaries. Samuel Johnson produced his Dictionary of the English Language in 1755. In 1785 Francis Grose published A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, a work that includes an array of slang words that would never find a home in Johnson’s lexicographic world. Similarly, when the Oxford English Dictionary project was producing its first fascicles at the end of the nineteenth century, an alternative view of what constitutes the lexicon of English was presented in A. Barrère and C.G. Leland’s A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon and Cant (two volumes, 1889–90) and in J.S. Farmer and W.E. Henley’s Slang and Its Analogues (seven volumes, 1890–1904).

From the Archive

October 2012, no. 345

Mine-field: The Dark Side of Australia’s Resources Rush by Paul Cleary

When BHP Billiton announced last month that it would indefinitely shelve its proposed Olympic Dam expansion in South Australia, some said it signalled the symbolic end of the mining investment boom. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill’s reaction was particularly revealing. With his government now staring into a $1 billion black hole, Weatherill declared that he and the community had lost trust in BHP, and that the decision was a ‘major disappointment’. Many of Weatherill’s critics have suggested that his response betrayed his party’s zeal for the mining project, to the detriment of other sectors, with the sole aim of bolstering the state’s beleaguered economy. Putting ‘trust’ and ‘mining companies’ in the same sentence may be nothing more than political aikido. After all, given the tumescent economic growth that has come from the commodities rush, Weatherill’s reaction is predictable. Yet one can’t help but feel that his trust is misplaced.