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Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy won the 2013 Pascall Prize for cultural criticism, and the 2017 Horne Prize for her essay ‘The Limit of the World’. A former Editor of ABR (1986–87), she is one of Australia’s most prolific and respected literary critics. Her publications include several anthologies, a critical study of Helen Garner, and her book Adelaide, which was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. In November 2012 she was named as the inaugural ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellow. Her Fellowship article on reviewing, ‘Everyone’s a Critic’, appeared in the May 2013 issue of ABR.

Survey | Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews the 1987 National Book Council Awards for Australian Literature shortlist

February–March 1987, no. 88 01 February 1987
‘If you can’t say something nice,’ my mother always said, ‘don’t say anything at all.’ (I pinch this opening gambit, shamelessly, from Kate Grenville’s Self-Portrait in the last ABR, and hope she does not mind; imitation is the sincerest form etc.) Apropos of parental expectations regarding niceness-or-silence, however, I am reminded of a remark of Elizabeth Jolley’s: ‘I think my ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Radicals: Remembering the Sixties' by Meredith Burgmann and Nadia Wheatley

July 2021, no. 433 22 June 2021
Studying at the University of Sydney in the late 1960s, Meredith Burgmann and Nadia Wheatley were both living in Women’s College. Burgmann recalls: Very late one night when I was sitting in my room, struggling with John Donne … I heard a clump clump clump coming along the corridor. Opening my door, I discovered Nadia – wearing a red flannel nightie and gumboots – on her nightly mission ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Yacker: Australian writers talking about their work' by Candida Baker and 'Rooms of their own' by Jennifer Ellison

July 1986, no. 82 01 July 1986
Why do we like interviews so much? There must be a reason. Maybe it’s the lure – too often, alas, as in lurid – of confession: the ‘X Reveals All’ syndrome that deceives the mind into thinking it has always wanted to know what it is (finally) about to be told; or the more elevated sense of privilege and honour felt by those in whom such truths are confided. ... (read more)

'Abbreviations' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

August 1987, no, 93 01 August 1987
I don’t usually reply to Letters to the Editor, but … Since this lot (see opposite) is particularly atrabilious, a lovely word I have just learned from Don Anderson, I feel moved to make a few mild replies. Ken Gelder and Gerard Windsor are big boys now and can look after themselves, but I will say that John Carroll’s is the only negative response I have seen or heard to Windsor’s June Sel ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Morgan’s Run' by Colleen McCullough

October 2000, no. 225 01 October 2000
I recently took part in a forum on contemporary Australian fiction, a discussion during which the publisher on the panel talked about popular and/or ‘middlebrow’ fiction, and about her ire with reviewers who either simply trashed such novels, or else insisted on emphasising their status as ‘popular fiction’, and on discussing them within the context of its generic expectations and limitati ... (read more)

'Abbreviations' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

August 1986, no. 83 01 August 1986
This year’s annual conference of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature was held in mid-July at James Cook University in Townsville, to which some two hundred delegates flocked to soak up ideas, information, sunshine, and the odd ale. Everybody had a good time except possibly the indefatigable organisers, Tony Hassall, Robert Dixon, and Stephen Torre, who, if they were not too ex ... (read more)

'Abbreviations' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

June 1986, no. 81 01 June 1986
Vale John Hanrahan. Dear reader, if you think you miss him, you should see how I feel. I tried to get a Sydney person to take over this column. I really did. He said no. (Actually, he laughed.) So for those Sydney people who complain that ABR suffers from rampant Melbocentrism (and as a native of Adelaide I am far from blind to the ravages of this local disease, myself), bear in mind that the numb ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Stranger Inside: An erotic adventure' edited by Red Symons

December 1994, no. 167 01 December 1994
The Stranger Inside is billed on its own front cover as ‘an erotic adventure’. The title would be considerably more innocuous if the book didn’t announce itself as erotica, but once it does, the phrase ‘the stranger inside’ suddenly becomes suggestive in the extreme. It’s a good title, partly because grammar renders it fruitfully ambiguous: apart from the obvious implication, it could ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Fifth Season' by Philip Salom

December 2020, no. 427 25 November 2020
In Western culture’s calendar year, is there some hidden fifth season, and if there is, what is it? The main character of Philip Salom’s fifth novel, a writer called Jack, asks himself near the end of the book whether the fifth season might be ‘Time, which holds the seasons together’, or perhaps the fifth season is simply ‘the Unknown’. Jack is preoccupied with the lost: with those peo ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Sisters' edited by Drusilla Modjeska

September 1993, no. 154 01 September 1993
Jane Gallop has explored the often-bitter rivalry between sisters for the love of the father, and increasingly, for self/love. Helena Michie, ‘Not One of the Family’ Marianne, now looking dreadfully white, and unable to stand, sunk into her chair, and Elinor, expecting every moment to see her faint, tried to screen her from the observation of others, while reviving her with lavender wa ... (read more)