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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

June 2007, no. 292

Soft Weapons: Autobiography in transit by Gillian Whitlock

Anyone browsing in bookstores in the past five years has undoubtedly come across one of the dozens of life narratives that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11. The attack on the World Trade Centre and the consequent ‘war on terror’ produced a new market for the publishing industry – and it has deluged us with offerings. Prominent among them are the sensational, eroticised best-sellers by Muslim women recounting their persecution under the Taliban; journalistic accounts of war by ‘embedded’ Western news correspondents from Afghanistan and Iraq; edited oral histories offering testimony by refugees to the trauma of war in the Middle East; and memoirs of exile by Iranian women living in the United States.

From the Archive

September 1986, no. 84

Malcolm Fraser On Australia edited by D.M. White and D.A. Kemp

There have been two major cycles in Australian political rhetoric since the war. The first occurred during the postwar reconstruction period, from 1943 until 1949, when contest over a new social order impelled an unusually clear articulation of philosophy and policies by the contenders for influence – represented in public debate by Curtin and Chifley on one hand, and Menzies on the other. The eventual ascendance of Menzies and the dominant ideas that emerged from that debate informed our political life for the next two decades. Not until the late 1960s, when the Liberal-Country Party coalition’s grasp of events slipped, and when the new problems of the modem world economic system and Australia’s precarious place within it dislodged the assumptions engendered in the 1940s, did the debate about the nature of our policy gain a new edge.

From the Archive

July 1999, no. 212

Happy Families by Susan Varga

During my reading of Susan Varga’s first work of fiction, Happy Families, I was drawn back into the fields of family and emotion as offered in the two recent American films: The Ice Storm and Six Degrees of Separation. Each of these works hard at tracking the intricacies of humans connecting and communicating, the tectonics of family and emotional landscapes. Happy Families shows us, up close, mothers and daughters, aunts and grandchildren and cousins, lovers and spouses and neighbours. The drive of the work is, as with the two films cited, about how trauma is carried in the body, how we try and trick ourselves about recoveries. And, to a lesser extent, how we integrate the apprehension of difference into our experience of walking through the world. Varga’s novel is one of restitution and connection.