Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is a freelance writer and adjunct professor with the Writing and Society Research Group, University of Western Sydney. Her work has appeared recently in Griffith Review, Inside Story, and The Conversation. She won the Calibre Prize in 2009.

Jane Goodall reviews 'Patterns of Creativity: Investigations into the sources and methods of creativity' by Kevin Brophy

October 2010, no. 325 01 October 2010
Jane Goodall reviews 'Patterns of Creativity: Investigations into the sources and methods of creativity' by Kevin Brophy
In his conclusion to this book, Kevin Brophy states a key principle of creative composition: ‘to be responsive to what happens, what is thrown into the mind, what one comes upon.’ This is at once a statement of advice for an artist at work, and a theoretical proposition. Through the course of the ten essays that make up the volume, Brophy develops a hypothesis about the kinds of brain functio ... (read more)

2009 Calibre Prize (Winner): 'Footprints'

April 2009, no. 310 01 April 2009
Fingerprints have associations of guilt, but the footprint traditionally speaks of innocence. Think of Good King Wenceslas and his pageboy, crossing the moonlit snow to deliver food and fuel to the poor: Mark my footsteps, good my page,Tread thou in them boldlyThou shalt find the winter’s rageFreeze thy blood less coldly. Legend has it that the saint went barefoot on these nocturnal journeys. ... (read more)

Jane Goodall reviews 'The Lake's Apprentice' by Annamaria Weldon

November 2014, no. 366 01 November 2014
Jane Goodall reviews 'The Lake's Apprentice' by Annamaria Weldon
Samuel Johnson had some advice for aspiring writers. ‘Read over your compositions,’ he said, ‘and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.’ One imagines the impact of this recommendation on an eighteenth-century student of literature, clutching a page of overblown rhetorical flourishes and faux erudition. Our crimes of vanity in writing are ve ... (read more)

Jane Goodall reviews 'Tree Palace' by Craig Sherborne

April 2014, no. 360 26 March 2014
Jane Goodall reviews 'Tree Palace' by Craig Sherborne
Craig Sherborne’s previous books include two memoirs, Hoi Polloi (2005) and Muck (2007), and an autobiographical novel, The Amateur Science of Love (2011). His second novel, Tree Palace, is an excursion outside the confines of the first-person narrative. First-person narrative does not of course always imply confinement, but in Sherborne’s case the mining of his own life experience has an inte ... (read more)

Jane Goodall reviews 'Tales from the Political Trenches' by Maxine McKew

December 2012–January 2013, no. 347 28 November 2012
Jane Goodall reviews 'Tales from the Political Trenches' by Maxine McKew
By its title, Tales from the Political Trenches promises reportage from the front line, eyewitness accounts of what really happens in the hidden zones of the political battlefield. The tales told here follow a rollercoaster sequence of political events: the meteoric rise of Kevin Rudd, Maxine McKew’s triumph over John Howard in the seat of Bennelong in the 2007 election, the plotting of malconte ... (read more)

'Remembering Robert Hughes (1938–2012)' by Jane Goodall

September 2012, no. 344 30 August 2012
When Gore Vidal died a few weeks ago, his publisher issued a statement calling him the last survivor of a postwar crop of American literary giants. ‘It is hard to think of another … who cut as dashing and visible a figure in various public realms,’ said Vidal’s Doubleday editor, Gerald Howard. Less than a week later the obituary columns were taken over by just such another figure – excep ... (read more)

Jane Goodall reviews 'The Office: A Hardworking History' by Gideon Haigh

July–August 2012, no. 343 09 July 2012
Jane Goodall reviews 'The Office: A Hardworking History' by Gideon Haigh
What two things do the following people have in common: Samuel Pepys, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Honoré de Balzac, Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Émile Zola, Franz Kafka, P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy L. Sayers, Kurt Vonnegut, and Gabriel García Márquez? Answer: they all did office work, and they all wrote about it. Regardless of Kafka’s conviction that ‘writing and the office cannot be reconci ... (read more)

Jane Goodall reviews 'The Novels of Alex Miller: An introduction' edited by Robert Dixon

June 2012, no. 342 24 May 2012
Jane Goodall reviews 'The Novels of Alex Miller: An introduction' edited by Robert Dixon
As creative writing programs continue to surge in popularity, it has become something of an uphill battle to recruit students for literature courses in universities. In an environment overstocked with would-be writers fixated on the image of a potential publisher whose own field of vision is a mass of BookScan figures, a collection of critical essays on a literary writer has something of an ambass ... (read more)

Jane Goodall reviews 'As I Was Saying: A collection of musings' by Robert Dessaix

March 2012, no. 339 01 March 2012
Jane Goodall reviews 'As I Was Saying: A collection of musings' by Robert Dessaix
‘I’m sitting in my tower, cogitating.’ Well, Dessaix admits, it’s not a real tower, though he likes to think of it that way. Actually, it is an elevated writing room in his house in Hobart, with a view of the mountains to the west. He is cogitating, not meditating – he’s particular about this – and the thoughts he proceeds to capture on the page are those of a mind given to rambling. ... (read more)

'Something is turning: The role of essays in a questioning culture' by Jane Goodall

April 2011, no. 330 23 March 2011
Address to the reader is one of the conventions of the modern essay form, going back to Montaigne, who includes a statement of address by way of an introduction to his collected writings. A question or series of questions refreshes the direct address along the way, accentuates the sense of voice, and vitalises the connection by supposing the reader as an interlocutor, someone whose responses may b ... (read more)