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Blueberries by Ellena Savage

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The writerly ‘I’ is notoriously fraught and political in non-fiction writing. What are the implications of writing from a biased and limited perspective (as all of us inevitably do)? How to get around – or work within – the constraints of the personal? These questions are ethical ones but also ones of craft. Many memoirists and essayists have grappled explicitly with them on the page.



Open Page with Trent Dalton

I’m the buffoon with the flailing arms thanking every last booklover who dropped some hard-earned money, cleared the diary for an hour, hopped in their car, paid for parking, found the right tent on the map, and came to hear me talk about the thing that makes my legs move.


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. 


August 2019, no. 413

Open Page with Bruce Pascoe

Mum and dad. I still need to talk to them. My kids, Marnie and Jack. Best meal was scallops and a few beers with my son at Huonville on a pontoon in the river.

From the Archive

April 1989, no. 109

The Glass Whittler by Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson writes short stories and writes mainly about women. It’s as though there’s a specific genre in current writing that ties together these two kinds of writing, for women writing about other women in short prose pieces make up a distinct category that includes almost all of the familiar names of women writing in Australia now. These women writers include migrants who have made their homes in Australia and write from that position. Johnson, for instance, is a New Zealander.

From the Archive

March 1981, no. 28

The Impersonators by Jessica Anderson

As she did so vividly in Tirra Lirra by the River, Jessica Anderson uses a returning expatriate woman to cast fresh eyes on the social and urban landscape of Australia. Here, it is Sylvia Foley who has spent some twenty years in Europe eschewing the comforts and constraints of suburban life, teaching Italian and conducting tours of the British Isles and the Continent. On a whim, she abandons her peripatetic life to return to Sydney for a few months prior to her plan to settle in Rome. Unbeknown to her, her autocratic father, Jack Cornock, is dying and she is immediately suspected by other members of her dislocated family of returning to benefit from the will – which she ultimately does as the recipient of her father’s vindictive gesture to spite his wife. And Sylvia’s ‘family’ is considerable. There is her illiterate mother Molly, now married to Ken, her brother Stewart, and her stepsiblings: Harry, Rosamond, Hermione, and Guy, the children of her father’s second wife, Greta.

From the Archive

November 2002, no. 246

A Pavane for Another Time by Bernard Smith

It’s a Proustian title, or at any rate a Powellian one, that Bernard Smith has produced for this memoir of his life in the long-ago 1940s, and, yes, there on the cover is Anthony Powell’s hero, Poussin. That’s doubly appropriate because one of the more vivid figures (though also one of the more saturnine ones) in this remembrance of things past is Anthony Blunt, great scholar of Poussin’s work, master spy, eminent director of the Courtauld and critical educator of the Young Bernard.

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