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Murray Waldren

Murray Waldren has been a journalist at The Australian newspaper for 25 years, where his roles have included Literary Editor, Review Editor and Deputy Editor of The Australian Magazine. His literary rap sheet includes extensive author profiles and interviews, book reviews and columns, and he has written several books, among them Dining out with Mr Lunch, Moran V Moran and most recently The Mind and Times of Reg Mombassa. He is currently a judge for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and has been on judging panels for The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award, the NSW Premiers Award and the ABC Fiction Award.  He also compiles the Literary Liaisons website.

Murray Waldren reviews 'Parrot and Olivier in America' by Peter Carey

December 2009–January 2010, no. 317 01 December 2009
In life and in literature, Peter Carey has been as attracted by the pull of the past as by realities of the present. Then there is his recurrent fascination with the two-country divide, where the lure of exile vies with the sentiment of ‘home’, and the schism between country of choice (or country that ‘chooses’ you) and country of birth means that neither is ever fully suitable. Such equi ... (read more)

Murray Waldren reviews 'Gravel' by Peter Goldsworthy

March 2010, no. 319 01 March 2010
Peter Goldsworthy justly commands a seat at the big table of the Australian hall of literary achievement. This was underlined on Australia Day with his gonging as a Member of the Order of Australia for service as an author and poet. It is a prize that should glitter comfortably on the mantelpiece alongside the likes of his South Australian Premier’s Award, his Commonwealth Poetry Prize, his Bice ... (read more)

Murray Waldren reviews 'Inside Story: From ABC correspondent to Singapore prisoner #12988' by Peter Lloyd

October 2010, no. 325 01 October 2010
Few who saw them will forget the grainy newspaper images of Australian drug traffickers Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers. Despite high-level diplomatic pleas from the Australian government, they were hanged at Pudu jail in Kuala Lumpur in July 1986 for possessing 180 grams of heroin. In the post-execution mêlée, their bodies were concealed by blankets, but one foot was casually left uncovered. Th ... (read more)

Murray Waldren reviews 'Nemesis' by Philip Roth

November 2010, no. 326 15 November 2011
W ith book thirty-one arriving as its author approaches his seventy-eighth birthday, the numbers are stacking up for Philip Roth. Yet while it is more than fifty years since his publishing début with Goodbye Columbus (1959), he seems to have locked on to an accelerating production line at a time when many of his contemporaries are in rocking chairs. That is an image with no relevance to Roth, gi ... (read more)

Murray Waldren reviews 'Wasted: The true story of Jim McNeil, violent criminal and brilliant playwright' by Ross Honeywill

December 2010–January 2011, no. 327 07 December 2010
Jim McNeil was a two-bit thug. A liar, a thief, a recurrent wife-beater and bully, probably a murderer, definitely a racist, he was a man in whom psychotic rage was seldom remote. Contradictions were elemental to his character: he was intelligent and charismatic, yet obdurate and ratty. Violence and menace defined him, but he was at heart a coward. He meticulously planned armed robberies, but freq ... (read more)