As a reader, teacher, and scholar of Australian literature, I applaud any initiative directed towards increasing readers’ understanding of, and engagement with, Australian writing. Geordie Williamson’s The Burning Library sets out to achieve that goal. Through a mix of biography and literary review, Williamson seeks to recuperate the work and reputation of fifteen Australian writers whom he judges to have been underappreciated or sidelined by academics, publishers, and, consequently, the reading public. His stable of writers includes Marjorie Barnard, Flora Eldershaw, Xavier Herbert, Christina Stead, Dal Stivens, Patrick White, Jessica Anderson, Sumner Locke Elliott, Amy Witting, Olga Masters, David Ireland, Elizabeth Harrower, Thomas Keneally, Randolph Stow, and Gerald Murnane.
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