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Rebecca Starford

Rebecca Starford

Rebecca Starford is the co-founder and publishing-director of Kill Your Darlings and an editor at Text Publishing. She has written for Guardian, Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian newspapers. She was a founding member of the Stella Prize steering committee.

Rebecca Starford reviews ‘The Rainy Season’ by Myfanwy Jones

March 2009, no. 309 01 March 2009
Twenty-four-year old Ella arrives in sweltering Ho Chi Minh City. It is 1994; the United States has just lifted the crippling trade embargo. Ella sets herself up in a grungy hostel and begins teaching English at a local school. She has come to Vietnam ostensibly in search of information about her father, a veteran, who abandoned the family years ago. ‘What does it mean to miss so much something ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews ‘UTS Writers’ Anthology: Making Tracks’

November 2006, no. 286 01 November 2006
Making Tracks (UTS Writers’ Anthology: Making Tracks, ABC Books, $24.95 pb, 186 pp) is the latest collection of poems, short stories and experimental prose by students in the prestigious writing courses at the University of Technology, Sydney. The anthology covers the themes of loss, love and self-discovery, often confronting the writers’ personal experiences from childhood and adolescenc ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews 'The Séance' by John Harwood

April 2008, no. 300 01 April 2008
Reflecting the nineteenth-century obsession with death and the afterlife, thousands of British men and women turned to spiritualism and psychical research. This was, in part, a consequence of many educated people's unease with orthodox religion. From crowded public halls to private drawing rooms, practitioners were present during putative ‘messages’ from the dead, rapped out on tables, walls a ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews 'Emails from the Edge: A journey through troubled times' by Ken Haley

December 2006–January 2007, no. 287 01 December 2006
Expulsion from Syria on suspicion of terrorism; an encounter with someone who might be Osama bin Laden in a Tehran bazaar; expulsion from the Hungarian parliament in hand-cuffs; an interview with the editor-in-chief of al-Jazeera: this gripping sequence of events reads more like a synopsis of a John le Carré novel than Ken Haley’s two-year journey, as detailed in Emails from the Edge. In this e ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews 'Write Home for Me: A red cross woman in Vietnam' by Jean Debelle Lamensdorf

September 2006, no. 284 01 September 2006
Towards the end of her story, Jean Debelle Lamensdorf admits that she ‘wanted to mentally shut out the horror of Vietnam – to remember only a sanitised version of our year out there’. Having spent twelve gruelling months working as a volunteer for the Red Cross, tending to the non-medical welfare of wounded ANZAC troops, Debelle Lamensdorf has succeeded in cleansing this personal account of ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews 'The Woman in the Lobby' by Lee Tulloch

September 2008, no. 304 01 September 2008
The Woman in the Lobby lacks the satirical punch of Fabulous Nobodies (1989) and the blithe esprit of Wraith (1999) that has made Lee Tulloch such a diverting storyteller. This overlong novel, entertaining in places, engages in some of the lowest common denominators of popular fiction – fashion, drugs and lots of sex. Dumped by her husband, Violet, a global aid worker, begins an affair with int ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews 'Many Years a Thief' by David Hutchison

March 2008, no. 299 01 March 2008
The first of Western Australia’s 9,000 or so adult convicts were not transported there until 1850, but 234 boys from the Parkhurst Reformatory, on the Isle of White, had been sent to the colony in the 1840s. Classified as ‘Government Juvenile Immigrants’, they became apprentice settlers. Among them was fifteen-year-old John Gavin, the first European to be executed in Western Australia. David ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews 'Things We Didn’t See Coming' by Steven Amsterdam

April 2009, no. 310 01 April 2009
Since its establishment in 2003, Sleepers Publishing has made quite a name for itself. Coordinating literary salons and the annual publication of the Sleepers Almanac, which garners contributions from some of the country’s most esteemed practitioners, the small press is now branching out into the domain of full-length fiction, with Steven Amsterdam’s Things We Didn’t See Coming as the opener ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews 'Ma Folie Française' by Marisa Raoul

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307 01 December 2008
Marisa Raoul’s memoir recounts the ten years she spent living and working with her husband in France. With French travel memoirs lining bookshop shelves – such as Ellie Nielsen’s Buying a Piece of Paris (2007), Mark Greenside’s I’ll Never Be French (no matter what I do) and Lucy Knisley’s French Milk (both 2008) and, of course, Peter Mayle’s wildly popular A Year in Provence (1991) ... (read more)

Rebecca Starford reviews 'Rendezvous at Kamakura Inn' by Marshall Browne

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
After twenty years in the Tokyo police, Inspector Aoki knows the ‘beeping of the excrement detector in his brain was a definite warning that shit was coming down the freeway’. His declaration is indicative of this convoluted plot. Aoki, after seventeen months heading an excruciating investigation into the corrupt ‘Fatman’, a high-profile government official, discovers that his case has bee ... (read more)
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