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.

'Abbreviations' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

June 1986, no. 81 01 June 1986
'Abbreviations' by Kerryn Goldsworthy
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
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Stranger Inside: An erotic adventure' edited by Red Symons
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
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Fifth Season' by Philip Salom
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
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Sisters' edited by Drusilla Modjeska
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)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Stella Miles Franklin: A biography' by Jill Roe

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Stella Miles Franklin: A biography' by Jill Roe
In December 1982, publisher Richard Walsh commissioned a ‘life and times of Miles Franklin’ from historian Jill Roe. The book ‘has been a long time coming’, says Roe, ‘due to other commitments and responsibilities, and because of the extent of previously unexamined source material.’ That source material – letters, articles, unpublished manuscripts, journals – exists in quantities t ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Paul Kelly: The man, the music and the life in-between' by Stuart Coupe

September 2020, no. 424 24 August 2020
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Paul Kelly: The man, the music and the life in-between' by Stuart Coupe
The voice on the car radio was not immediately recognisable, nor was the song familiar to me. There was just a smoky laid-back piano and someone singing a song that sounded as though it was from the 1940s: ‘Young lovers, young lovers …’ I thought the voice, whomever it belonged to, had a real musicality in it, a precision of pitch and phrasing in tandem with a kind of liquid sweetness. I ha ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Underground' by Andrew McGahan

October 2006, no. 285 19 August 2020
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Underground' by Andrew McGahan
Several years ago, on two separate occasions, Drusilla Modjeska and David Marr called for Australian fiction writers to address directly the state of the country in its post-9/11 incarnation. ‘I have a simple plea to make,’ said Marr in the Redfern Town Hall in March 2003, delivering the annual Colin Simpson Lecture: ‘that writers start focusing on what is happening in this country, looking ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Grandmothers: Essays by 21st-century grandmothers' edited by Helen Elliott and 'A Lasting Conversation: Stories on ageing' edited by Dr Susan Ogle and Melanie Joosten

June–July 2020, no. 422 26 May 2020
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Grandmothers: Essays by 21st-century grandmothers' edited by Helen Elliott and 'A Lasting Conversation: Stories on ageing' edited by Dr Susan Ogle and Melanie Joosten
Grandmothers are not what they used to be, as Elizabeth Jolley once said of custard tarts. It’s a point made by several contributors to Helen Elliott’s lively and thoughtfully curated collection of essays on the subject, Grandmothers, and it partly explains why these two books are not as similar as you might expect. A Lasting Conversation: Stories on ageing – edited by Dr Susan Ogle and Mel ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Friends and Rivals: Four great Australian writers' by Brenda Niall

May 2020, no. 421 20 April 2020
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Friends and Rivals: Four great Australian writers' by Brenda Niall
Armed with more than half a century’s worth of knowledge, experience, the fermentation of ideas and approaches in literary history and criticism over that period, and her own formidable reputation as a scholar and teacher of Australian literature, Brenda Niall returns in her latest book to the territory of her earliest ones. In Seven Little Billabongs: The world of Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Br ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Blessed City' by Gwen Harwood

November 1990, no. 126 01 November 1990
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Blessed City' by Gwen Harwood
Gwen Foster met Lieutenant Thomas Riddell in Brisbane in 1942, when she was twenty­-two. ‘Tony’ Riddell, stationed in Brisbane, was sent to Darwin early in 1943; and between January and September of that year, Gwen Foster wrote him the eighty-nine letters that make up this book. It’s the chronicle of a year, of a city, of a family, of a friendship, of a war no one could see an end to, an ... (read more)