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John Byron

John Byron

John Byron is Principal Policy Adviser at the Queensland University of Technology. He has 25 years’ experience in higher education and research policy, including as executive director of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and as a federal ministerial policy adviser in the previous Labor government. Most recently he contributed substantially to a major independent review of the Australian Research Council. He has degrees in English Literature from the Universities of Adelaide (BA Hons 1M) and Sydney (PhD). His début novel, The Tribute, was published by Affirm Press in 2021.

John Byron reviews 'Film Adaptation and its Discontents: From Gone With The Wind to The Passion of The Christ' by Thomas Leitch

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
If the past is a foreign country, Hollywood is another planet: they sure do things differently there. Just how differently is the predictable and tedious obsession of far too much adaptation scholarship, fixated on the degree of fidelity of a film to its adapted literary Urtext. This practice, boring and unimaginative, diverts the attention from what art can tell us about ourselves to what it can ... (read more)

John Byron reviews 'Mind of the Nation: Universities in Australian life' by Michael Wesley

August 2023, no. 456 24 July 2023
Michael Wesley is an academic and deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Melbourne. During the Covid lockdowns, while the rest of us were baking sourdough, he pulled together several related strands of thought about universities and Australia’s complicated relationship with them. Mind of the Nation, the result, offers a survey of where we are and how we arrived here, looked at from a number ... (read more)

John Byron reviews 'And So It Went: Night thoughts in a year of change' by Bob Ellis

July-August 2009, no. 313 01 August 2009
Bob Ellis’s lightly edited journal alternates between two main timelines spanning 27 June 2007 to 8 November 2008: that is, from the run-up to the last Australian federal election to Barack Obama’s victory. Ellis’s insomniac musings over these sixteen-odd months are brilliant and shambolic, irritating and moving. The book is essential reading, but you have to work hard for the gems. ... (read more)

John Byron reviews 'Resourceful Reading: The New Empiricism, eResearch, and Australian Literary Culture' edited by Katherine Bode and Robert Dixon

April 2010, no. 320 01 April 2010
A quiet revolution has been occurring within the humanities over the last decade: the emergence into mainstream scholarship of new methods and approaches that exploit digital tools, electronic infrastructures, networks of data resources and the sheer computational power of modern technology. This renaissance builds on decades of pioneering work – well before its time and largely unacknowledged ... (read more)

John Byron reviews 'The Long Haul' by John Brumby

January-February 2016, no. 378 18 December 2015
Alongside the current boom in political memoir, with its tendency to self-aggrandisement, score-settling, and justification of the indefensible, there grows quietly a small but compelling genre of books that explore the craft and policy purpose of various types of political work. Notable examples from Melbourne University Press include James Button's Speechless: A Year in My Father's Business (201 ... (read more)