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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 1988, no. 101

Gender and Power by R. W. Connell

A founding figure in the Sociology Department at Flinders and now Professor at Macquarie, Bob Connell is almost certainly the most significant figure in sociology in Australia. If sociology has traditionally been a poor relation in our older universities to both politics and anthropology, its current claims to influence owe a considerable amount to the directions in which Connell has pushed it.

For Connell, sociology has always been a discipline that can contribute directly to the political project of establishing a more humane and equitable society, and his concerns have been largely around the major dimensions of inequality along lines of class and gender (racial and national divisions have been far less of a preoccupation, although he acknowledges their significance). His work has been heavily anchored in the Australian experience, though with a larger theoretical interest; in a submission to the C.R.A.S.T.E Committee he argued for encouraging original theoretical work in Australia rather than merely Australianising the empirical content of scholarship.

From the Archive

April 1990, no. 119

What Price Surrender?: A story of the will to survive by Desmond Jackson

Mr Jackson’s book narrates his experience and that of a friend as prisoners of the Japanese in Thailand during World War II. It is neither a good nor memorable book, but it does raise, however unintentionally, significant issues. In a nation still bereft of a civil religion, that amalgam of myths and tales of heroes which defines a country’s sense of self and values, the experiences described by Mr Jackson should be honoured.

From the Archive

April 1996, no. 179

The kingdom of correct usage is elsewhere

Some years ago the poet John Forbes was addressing himself to that national monument, Les Murray, and he had occasion to remark, ‘The trouble with vernacular republics is that they presuppose that the kingdom of correct usage is elsewhere.’ It was, I suppose, designed to highlight the fact that the homespun qualities of the Bard from Bunyah were dependent on an awareness of the metropolitan style Murray willed himself to transgress and that there was an inverted dandiness, if not a pedantry, in all that Boeotian ballyhoo. It does not seem to me a remotely fair remark but it is a good epigram notwithstanding and it takes on a range of meanings depending on what light you look at it in. Presumably Forbes thought, or feigned to think, that Murray’s poetic demotic was a variation on that Colonial Strut which is, in fact, a version of the Cultural Cringe. In any case his words came into my head the other day when I was reading Simon During’s new Oxford monograph about Patrick White.