Christina Stead

Christina Stead can take comfort, if such were to give comfort and if comfort were what she needed, that the publication of a reader of extracts from her work must signify that she is established not only on the reading lists of our universities – a dubious honour she has had for some time – but also, I presume, in our high schools. I cannot imagine who else this sort of book can possibly be aimed at. Perhaps at people who want to appear to have read Christina Stead but do not relish the work of reading her admittedly lengthy novels. In which case they deserve all that they miss. Is the next step towards the heights of literary honour to be, like Dickens, condensed? Our school children, at any rate, deserve better. Christina Stead certainly does.

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ABR is very proud to present its readers with this special supplement in honour of the eightieth birthday of one of Australia's most significant writers, Christina Stead, whose birthday falls on July 17. I am particularly grateful for John McLaren for asking me to edit this supplement and for thus allowing me to be associated with this gesture of respect and esteem towards one whom I regard as a most valued friend.

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