Shirley Walker

Shirley Walker’s most recent publication, The Ghost at the Wedding, won the 2010 Kibble Literary Award and shared the Asher Award (2009). It was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award.

Shirley Walker reviews 'Loyalties: Stories' by Laurie Clancy

July–August 2007, no. 293 01 July 2007
Shirley Walker reviews 'Loyalties: Stories' by Laurie Clancy
It is a treat to see ten of Laurie Clancy’s short stories collected in this volume, his third. Given their quality, it is not surprising that seven of them have already been published in magazines and anthologies. But to read them together is to see their interdependence, their thematic patterns. All deal with male experience, beginning with that of the fourteen-year-old Leo, on the brink of sex ... (read more)

'Bitter Fruit: Ruth Park's trilogy of want and human spirit' by Shirley Walker

July-August 2009, no. 313 01 July 2009
'Bitter Fruit: Ruth Park's trilogy of want and human spirit' by Shirley Walker
The reissue in one volume of three of Ruth Park’s much-loved novels The Harp in the South (1948), its sequel Poor Man’s Orange (1949), and the prequel Missus (1985) is welcome. The trilogy completes the family saga, taking the Darcy family from its emigrant beginnings in the dusty little outback towns where Hughie and Margaret meet and marry, to their life in the urban jungle of Surry Hills, t ... (read more)

Shirley Walker reviews 'Long Afternoon of the World' by Graeme Kinross-Smith

October 2007, no. 295 01 October 2007
Shirley Walker reviews 'Long Afternoon of the World' by Graeme Kinross-Smith
Graeme Kinross-Smith, the author of Long Afternoon of the World, is a prolific writer, perhaps best known for his poetry – and it shows. This narrative is infused with the poetry of landscape and the joy of music: ‘Down the rooms of the past I hear music ... Music informs landscapes, the patient streets, the city’s lights spreading across the hills.’ The world of Tim Menzies comes alive on ... (read more)

Shirley Walker reviews 'Writing the Story of Your Life: The ultimate guide' by Carmel Bird

April 2007, no. 290 01 April 2007
Shirley Walker reviews 'Writing the Story of Your Life: The ultimate guide' by Carmel Bird
While Australian women in particular have been avid diarists and letter-writers, the activity du jour is overwhelmingly the writing of memoir, inspired by the notion that everyone’s life is memorable and worth recording. Some memoirists are searching for the truth of their lives, to recover the past or perhaps recover from it. Some are simply recording their story for family consumption. Others, ... (read more)

Shirley Walker reviews 'Landscape of Farewell' by Alex Miller

November 2007, no. 296 01 December 2007
Shirley Walker reviews 'Landscape of Farewell' by Alex Miller
Alex Miller, twice winner of the Miles Franklin Award for Journey to the Stone Country (2003) and The Ancestor Game (1992), is one of our most profound and interesting writers. His latest novel, Landscape of Farewell, tells the story of Max Otto, an aged and disillusioned German professor of history, devastated by the death of his beloved wife. He knows now that he will never write the historical ... (read more)

Shirley Walker reviews 'Inventing Beatrice' by Jill Golden

October 2006, no. 285 01 October 2006
Shirley Walker reviews 'Inventing Beatrice' by Jill Golden
Jill Golden’s Inventing Beatrice is a fictionalised account of the life of her mother, Beatrice (or B). This is life writing at its most precarious, right out there on the borderline of ‘fact’ and the ‘inventing’ of the title. Is it a novel or a biography? The media release labels it a novel but concedes that it ‘crosses the genres of biography and autobiography, fiction and non-fictio ... (read more)

Shirley Walker reviews 'Dove' by Barbara Hanrahan

October 1982, no. 45 01 October 1982
Shirley Walker reviews 'Dove' by Barbara Hanrahan
In Dove, the familiar Barbara Hanrahan ingredients – acute realism and the fantastic, the grotesque – are combined once again to produce yet another powerful and moving novel. The scale of realism and fantasy is, as always, finely balanced. The various locations of the novel, for instance, are beautifully realised. Hanrahan has the eye of the graphic artist for the broad canvas, the sweep of l ... (read more)

Shirley Walker reviews 'Nine Lives' by Susan Sheridan

February 2011, no. 328 04 May 2011
Susan Sheridan’s Nine Lives, a ‘group biography’, analyses the life stories and literary achievements of nine Australian women writers. The purpose, according to Sheridan, is not only to rediscover the life story of each, but also, by exploring their publishing and aesthetic context, to create a ‘fresh configuration’ of our literary history. Nine Lives reminds us of an earlier generatio ... (read more)