Peter Craven

Julius Caesar (Bell Shakespeare Company) ★★★

Peter Craven
23 July 2018

Julius Caesar, first performed in 1599, dates from the period when Shakespeare was leading up to Hamlet, and its central figure Brutus, the conscientious assassin, is a b More

Books of the Year 2016

Sheila Fitzpatrick et al.
23 November 2016

Originally published in German, Albrecht Dümling’s The Vanished Musicians: Jewish refugees in Australia More

Peter Craven reviews 'The Boy Behind the Curtain' by Tim Winton

Peter Craven
23 November 2016

Everybody thinks they know about Tim Winton: the working-class hero from the West; the whale of a man who’s been writing since he was a boy; the master of one of ...

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Peter Craven reviews 'The Discreet Hero' by Mario Vargas Llosa translated by Edith Grossman

Peter Craven
28 May 2015

Mario Vargas Llosa is one of the marvels of contemporary fiction. The Peruvian Nobel Prize winner not only bestrides it like a colossus, he is also a law unto himself. It is as if he takes the legacy of a realism that is only in his hands magical (because of the enchantment he creates from it) as a kind of blank cheque with which he can license any expense of narrat ... More

Reading Australia: 'Lilian's Story' by Kate Grenville

Peter Craven
27 May 2015

Kate Grenville’s Lilian’s Story is one of the great Australian novels of the last thirty years. When it was first published in 1985, it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. The original cover carried a recommendation by Patrick White, Nobel laureate and the greatest writer of any kind Australia has produced. White said ... More

Book reviewing and its provocateurs: 'What single development would most improve the Australian critical culture?'

Patrick Allington et al.
27 April 2015

Last month in Melbourne, a group of book reviewers and literary editors took part in a conference organised by Monash University’s Centre for the Book. There were more than thirty short papers, or ‘provocations’, as they were styled. Our Editor lamented the low or non-payment of some reviewers (especially youn ... More

Peter Craven reviews 'The Young Desire It' by Kenneth Mackenzie

Peter Craven
25 August 2013

The legend of Kenneth Mackenzie (1913–55) has always hovered around the corridors of Australian literature. From Western Australia, was he? Died young, didn’t he? Trouble with drink, wasn’t it? Or sexual identity, could it have been? They say he’s worth reading but nobody much has, have they?

Well, the republication of The Young ... More

Peter Craven on Patrick White's 'Happy Valley'

Peter Craven
30 August 2012

Happy Valley is the first of Patrick White’s novels and it is a consistently compelling book, as well as the exhilarating performance of a great writer in the making. Everyone knows the legend, rooted in truth: that Patrick White finds his voice as a consequence of the war and after discovering the love of his life in Manoly Lascaris; and that the first i ... More

Peter Craven on Porter's 'The Rest on the Flight'

Peter Craven
04 May 2011

It’s the voice, isn’t it, of a master, so unmistakably in command of a music that is inseparable from the personal modesty that is its signature, which belies all grandeur and refuses to take credit for the gift but has it nonetheless in abundance. When Craig Sherborne read the last poem in this Selected Poems, ‘After Schiller’, at the Melbourne mem ... More