University of Queensland Press

This is a fascinating publication. The first book by Wiradjuri author John Muk Muk Burke, Bridge of Triangles, is really free-form short fiction than a novel proper. Novella length, it is episodic, impressionistic, often poetic and open­ended. And, while it has many strengths, this 1993 winner of the David Unaipon Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors is ultimately a disquieting piece of work.

... (read more)

On the day of the last Federal election, I became engaged in an unlikely conversation with a helper for the ‘Call-to-Australia’ cause at my local polling booth. When I revealed that I had recently completed a research project on Dr H.V. Evatt, my elderly companion asserted that Evatt should not be hailed as the hero of the labour movement. Australia’s greatest politician, this former member of the Australian Labor Party informed me, was ‘Edward Granville Theodore’.

... (read more)

Contemporary Aboriginal writing, like Aboriginal art, is now so diverse that is impossible to talk about any one particular style. John Muk Muk Burke, whose first novel, Bridge of Triangles, has just been published, recently told a Sydney seminar for Aboriginal writers that they were no longer writing from the viewpoint of victims. He said they were survivors rising from the ashes of the invasion like the phoenix. Burke’s own novel is multi-layered, poetic and visually strong, with a structure informed by his study of world literature.

... (read more)

This is Maurice French’s sixth work on the Darling Downs. An Associate Professor of History and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Southern Queensland, he is ideally placed to study this fertile plateau in south-east Queensland, reputedly the richest agricultural land in Australia.

... (read more)

Literary biographies are reputedly more widely read than their subjects’ own works: more people have probably read David Marr’s biography of Patrick White than have tackled The Twyborn Affair or The Aunt’s Story. The same may perhaps can be said for autobiography, and it’s my bet that Geoffrey Dutton’s Out in the Open will attract more attention than, say, his novel, Andy (Flying Low), his collections of poetry, or even his impressive biography of Edward John Eyre.

... (read more)

Part guru, part factoid, Gough Whitlam shows every sign of enjoying his retirement from politics. Thanks primarily to Sir John Kerr, Sir Garfield Barwick, and Sir Anthony Mason. And of course, Malcolm Fraser.

... (read more)

This is a dazzling book. A sprawling, sensual, rambunctious marvel of a novel, it drives its readers out of their everyday world and every comfortable preconception. It takes enormous risks, not least that of demanding our understanding for the monstrous.

... (read more)

I am enmeshed in criticism. Criticism defines and speaks me. I criticise, therefore I have a job. But criticism is a tricky business. It’s partial, changes from one time/place/person to another (as Jennifer Gribble acknowledges).

I’m not an expert on Janet Frame or Christina Stead (although I’ve included books by each on courses in the past) and my awareness of Peter Goldsworthy’s oeuvre is better but patchy. Like most university lecturers (I suppose), I read more reviews than actual books, although my preference is for the reverse. But with the vision of ABR’s editor as the bejewelled ringmistress conjured up in Gina Mercer’s book, I don my cap and bells, cry ‘Nuncle!’, and off I go into the hurricane.

... (read more)

What do we do, where do we go to get beyond the routines of the self and the paradoxical alienation it produces in both ourselves and in others? Is it possible to break down the shell of separation and deal with others from a perspective that is neither ‘self- or need-observed’? These are the questions that occupy Bruce Beaver in many of the poems in this collection, and one that he traces through an engaging variety of forms and themes.

... (read more)

Well I’m damned! Ern Malley of all people! It’s been fifty years since I last laid eyes on him. Seeing him again recalls my vanished youth as nothing else could. Angry Penguins, Cecily Crozier’s valiant Comment magazine, the ‘social realists’ upbraiding everyone like so many Marxist Savonarolas, the Jindyworobakians quarrelling with the ‘cosmopolitans’, the Contemporary Arts Society quarrelling with itself – stirring times! But Ern was the epicentre of our cultural storm in a teacup.

... (read more)