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Jan McGuinness

Jan McGuinness

Jan McGuinness has more than thirty years’ experience in print and television journalism. She teaches feature writing in the School of Journalism at Monash University and is researching a biography of Shirley Hazzard.

Jan McGuinness reviews 'A Writing Life: Helen Garner and her work' by Bernadette Brennan

May 2017, no. 391 27 April 2017
Who is the I in Helen Garner’s work? This is the question Bernadette Brennan probes by canvassing more than forty years of Garner’s writing and her seventy-four-year existence. It is the proposition Garner’s fans and critics are most exercised by, although some presume to know the answer by reading her fiction as autobiography and her non-fiction as personal opinion. Brennan examines both a ... (read more)

Jan McGuinness reviews 'Bob Ellis: In his own words' by Bob Ellis, compiled by Anne Brooksbank

November 2016, no. 386 28 October 2016
In his introduction to Bob Ellis: In his own words, Bob’s son Jack says of his father that ‘writing was his reason for being ... and through his writing he saw himself in conversation with the world’. That conversation stopped on 3 April 2016 with Ellis’s death from neuroendocrine cancer. He was seventy-three. For devotees or those merely curious about his life and times, the conversation ... (read more)

Jan McGuinness reviews 'Killing Fairfax: Packer, Murdoch and the ultimate revenge' by Pamela Williams and 'Rupert Murdoch: An investigation of political power' by David McKnight

November 2013, no. 356 30 October 2013
With James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch grinning smugly on its cover, Killing Fairfax: Packer, Murdoch and the Ultimate Revenge projects a strong message that they are indeed the company’s smiling assassins. Pamela Williams mounts a case that these scions of Australia’s traditional media families landed killer blows through their investments in Internet start-ups, which were ultimately responsib ... (read more)

Jan McGuinness reviews 'The Memory Trap' by Andrea Goldsmith

May 2013, no. 351 28 April 2013
Andrea Goldsmith, in her seventh novel, plunges once more into a world of characters whose ideas and relationships swirl and churn around a psychological trigger. This time it is memory in all its errant, bewitching manifestations. Memory plays tricks as the old adage goes, and for the novel’s main characters it is the trick of emersion in an idealised but ruptured past. Two sisters (Zoe and Ni ... (read more)

Jan McGuinness reviews 'Gina Rinehart: The Untold Story of the Richest Person in Australian History' by Adele Ferguson and 'The House of Hancock: The Rise and Rise of Gina Rinehart' by Debi Marshall

November 2012, no. 346 25 October 2012
Reading two books about Gina Rinehart back to back is far from edifying. So rich, so controlling, so opinionated, so entitled – and these are among her less objectionable qualities, as described in the two biographies published since she burst into the headlines amid reports of family litigation, media buy-ins, and escalating wealth. Indeed, whatever she did would captivate widespread interest, ... (read more)

Jan McGuinness reviews 'Man Bites Murdoch: Four Decades in Print, Six Days in Court' by Bruce Guthrie

December 2010–January 2011, no. 327 30 November 2010
Get in line, Bruce. The world is full of those who have been done over by Rupert Murdoch. In the immortal words of George Cukor to an aggrieved actor: ‘Will you stop about being fired. Everybody’s been fired.’ So what makes Bruce Guthrie, sacked as Editor-in-Chief of the Herald Sun, so special that he should write a book about it? The answer is that Guthrie bit back and sued News Ltd (the Au ... (read more)