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Paul Morgan

Paul Morgan is a Melbourne-based novelist, writer, and editor. He is the author of The Pelagius Book (2005) and Turner’s Paintbox (2007); his short stories have appeared in many journals and collections; and for many years he ran the poetry imprint Domain Press. He was also Deputy Director of SANE Australia, the national mental health charity.

Paul Morgan reviews 'What Is to Be Done: Political engagement and saving the planet' by Barry Jones

October 2021, no. 436 23 September 2021
Barry Jones is a proud member of the Awkward Squad, one who follows his own convictions rather than the exigencies of day-to-day government. He confesses that in Parliament, ‘I was always aiming for objectives that were seen as beyond the reach of conventional politics’. The memo about ‘the art of the possible’ clearly never reached Jones’s desk. His time as a minister between 1983 and 1 ... (read more)

Paul Morgan reviews 'The year everything changed: 2001' by Phillipa McGuinness

June-July 2018, no. 402 25 May 2018
Every era imagines its own future. We always get it wrong, of course; often comically, sometimes tragically. The year 2001 was emblematic of ‘the future’ for decades, thanks to Stanley Kubrick’s visionary film of the same name. Videophones! Robots! Spaceships elegantly ascending to a Strauss waltz! With the approach of the new millennium, we imagined The End of History, as Francis Fukuyama p ... (read more)

Paul Morgan reviews 'Peak: Reinventing middle age' by Patricia Edgar and Don Edgar

April 2017, no. 390 28 March 2017
We are often told that baby boomers reshaped every stage of life they passed through. They are the most liberal-minded, creative, self-assured – and most of all, lucky – generation in history. Pop music, the sexual revolution, environmentalism, the internet – there is little, it seems, they have not been responsible for in the modern world. As they approach their sixties and seventies, howev ... (read more)

Paul Morgan reviews 'Dancing in My Dreams' by Kerry Highley

March 2016, no. 379 26 February 2016
Imagine a child falling ill. Her fever worsens. Becoming paralysed, she screams in pain. Rushed to hospital, she is separated from her family for months. She undergoes agonising treatments: strapped in splints, encased in plaster, weeping as her limbs are stretched on rack-like machines. She may be encased in an 'iron lung' to breathe, like a coffin with her head poking out. She yearns to return h ... (read more)

Paul Morgan reviews 'Before Rupert' by Tom D.C. Roberts

January-February 2016, no. 378 21 December 2015
Many public figures are fated to be remembered for a single incident rather than a lifetime's work (think of Gough Whitlam's ad-libbing outside Parliament house, or his nemesis's trousers, forever lost in Memphis). Often, almost perversely, it is one event that stays in the mind. For Keith Murdoch (1885–1952), that phenomenon was the so-called 'Gallipoli letter' of 1915. Most Australians know ab ... (read more)

Paul Morgan reviews 'Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK: The Case for Overturning his Conviction' by Geoffrey Robertson

May 2014, no. 361 08 April 2014
Who was Stephen Ward? And why does his fate matter today? The Profumo affair, with its mixture of sex, politics, aristocracy, and espionage, has become the archetypal scandal. In 1962, Jack Profumo was British Secretary of State for War (ministerial titles were more frank in those days). He had a brief affair with a beautiful young woman, Christine Keeler, who was introduced to him by Dr Stephen ... (read more)

Paul Morgan reviews 'Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist' by Brigitta Olubas

June 2013, no. 352 26 May 2013
The cover of Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire shows a vast and terrible conflagration. Flames reach high into the sky, devouring the air and seeming to set the wide river alight. In the distance, an eerily familiar pair of ghostly towers rises above the smoke. In the foreground, tiny human figures move around as a boat sets off towards the fire, perhaps in some desperate attempt at rescue. The p ... (read more)

Paul Morgan reviews 'Stalking Nabokov: Selected Essays' by Brian Boyd

September 2012, no. 344 30 August 2012
We are all exiles. In time, if not in space, we are inevitably parted from what is most familiar and dear to us. ‘Loss’ is stamped in all our passports. Vladimir Nabokov understood exile better than anyone. Heir to a wealthy landowning family in Imperial Russia, he escaped the communist revolution of 1917 to a life of genteel poverty in a Berlin boarding house. Eking out a living as a tennis ... (read more)
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