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A Bigger Picture by Malcolm Turnbull

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Malcolm Turnbull looks us straight in the eye from the cover of this handsome book, with just a hint of a smile. He looks calm, healthy, and confident; if there are scars from his loss of the prime ministership in August 2018, they don’t show. The book’s voice is the engaging one we heard when Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott in July 2015 and promised a style of leadership that respected people’s intelligence. He takes us from his childhood in a very unhappy marriage, through school and university, his astonishing successes in media, business, and the law, his entry into politics as the member for Wentworth, and ends with his exit from parliament.


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.


March 2019, no. 409

Open Page with Debra Adelaide

Generally where I am right now, in my study writing, but also in the garden. It is very uncomplicated. 


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.

From the Archive

May 2004, no. 261

Sybil’s Cave by Catherine Padmore & The Submerged Cathedral by Charlotte Wood

Several years ago, I was privy to a breakfast conversation with one of our venerable literary critics, in which he lamented the proliferation of novels in Australia by young women. Of particular concern, he announced, was the tendency of said young women to construct ‘itsy-bitsy sentences from itsy-bitsy words’. And he smiled around the table warmly, secure in venerable male polysyllabic verbosity. As a young woman myself of vague literary urges, I felt thoroughly rebuffed. The only words I could think to form were both too itsy-bitsy and obscene to constitute effective rebuttal, and they remained unsaid.

From the Archive

September 1989, no. 114

Night Parrots by John Kinsella

Lasseter, it has been said, was a strange man, admired for his unusual and innovative ideas. He told a story of being caught during a storm in Central Australia: he put all his clothes in a hollow log, stood naked until the storm passed, and was then able to don his dry clothing. Though some claim that Lasseter was at Gallipoli, he did become the source of another great Australian myth of failure.

From the Archive

November 1978, no. 6

On Jessica Anderson, Nene Gare, Michael Wilding, and Damien White

In Tirra Lirra by the River, an elderly woman, Norah Porteou, returns to live in her childhood home in Brisbane after forty years as a ‘London Australian’. The house is empty, so is her life. Norah is a ‘woman whose name is of no consequence’. She is sensitive, vaguely artistic, slightly superior (‘Mother,’ she appeals in a childhood scene, ‘don’t let Grace call me Lady Muck.’) The novel consists of a review of her past, with interruptions from half-remembered neighbours offering curious and resentful help.

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