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Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy won the 2013 Pascall Prize for cultural criticism, and the 2017 Horne Prize for her essay ‘The Limit of the World’. A former Editor of ABR (1986–87), she is one of Australia’s most prolific and respected literary critics. Her publications include several anthologies, a critical study of Helen Garner, and her book Adelaide, which was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. In November 2012 she was named as the inaugural ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellow. Her Fellowship article on reviewing, ‘Everyone’s a Critic’, appeared in the May 2013 issue of ABR.

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews ‘Hecate vol.30, no.2’ edited by Carole Ferrier, ‘Island 99’ edited by David Owen and ‘Griffith Review 7: The lure of fundamentalism’ edited by Julianne Schultz

April 2005, no. 270 18 July 2024
Towards the end of the last century, Australian little magazines were forced to make a choice: become more interdisciplinary, or die. Those that have survived, and the new ones that have emerged, have taken on a new coherence and cohesion. Still mostly featuring a varied mix of writers, genres and approaches, they tend these days to have some unifying topic, or topos, and to be conducting a kind o ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews ‘Platform Papers No. 4: The Myth of the Mainstream: Politics and the performing arts in Australia’ by Robyn Archer and ‘The Woman I Am: A memoir’ by Helen Reddy

June–July 2005, no. 272 01 June 2005
In 1964 the Australian television show Bandstand set up an annual talent contest called Bandstand Starflight International. In its first year, one of the national finalists was a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl called Robyn Smith, who later changed her surname to Archer. The following year, the contest was won by a 24-year-old professional singer called Helen Reddy. Reddy and Archer were both born in ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews ‘The Stuart Case’ by K.S. Inglis

February 2003, no. 248 01 February 2003
On the afternoon of Tuesday 23 December 1958, all work in the remote South Australian coastal towns of Thevenard and Ceduna came to a halt for the funeral of nine-year-old Mary Olive Hattam, who on the previous Saturday afternoon had been violently raped and then bashed to death in a little cave on the beach between the two towns. On the morning of her funeral, a 27-year-old Arrernte man called Ru ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Best Australian Stories 2003' edited by Peter Craven, and 'Secret Lives: 34 modern Australian short stories' edited by Barry Oakley

December 2003–January 2004, no. 257 01 December 2003
At Adelaide Writer’s Week in 2002, Drusilla Modjeska spoke about the prevalence in contemporary Australian fiction of historical subjects and distant eras; she exhorted Australian writers to consider instead the importance of addressing our own times. Much of this speech subsequently found its way into the essay ‘The Present in Fiction’, published in Modjeska’s Timepieces later the same ye ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Gods of Freud: Sigmund Freud's art collection' by Janine Burke

November 2006, no. 286 01 November 2006
Berggasse 19, the address at which Sigmund Freud and his family lived for almost fifty years, is now Vienna’s Freud Museum. It is the other Freud Museum, the one in London, that houses the extensive collection of antiquities which is Janine Burke’s main focus in The Gods of Freud, but the Berggasse museum contains a number of Freud’s other personal possessions, including some little bottles, ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Vertigo' by Amanda Lohrey

October 2008, no. 305 01 October 2008
Vertigo is to dizziness what a migraine is to a headache, or the flu to a cold in the head; you don’t really grasp the difference until you’ve had the nastier one. True vertigo pitches you into a chaotic blackness in which you lose your bearings utterly; no relief is to be had from sitting or lying down, because the chair, the bed, the floor all fall away from you as well. Disorientation on th ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Frank Moorhouse: A life' by Catharine Lumby

November 2023, no. 459 26 October 2023
Near the end of this biography of Frank Moorhouse, author Catharine Lumby tells a story that will strike retrospective fear into the heart of any male reader who has ever climbed a tree. Watching an outdoor ceremony in which a cohort of Cub Scouts was being initiated into the Boy Scout troop to which he belonged himself, and having climbed a tree to get a better view, the young Moorhouse ‘slippe ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Candle Life' by Venero Armanno

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
Deep under the streets of Paris, the tunnels, chambers and galleries of the catacombs run in all directions, some of them filled with the skeletons of the dead who were displaced in the eighteenth century from the overflowing cemeteries of Paris and moved here, their bones stacked six feet high and six feet deep along the walls. During World War II, the chambers and tunnels were used by the French ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'On a Bright Hillside in Paradise' by Annette Higgs

August 2023, no. 456 24 July 2023
Anyone who watched the recent SBS survival series Alone Australia will have gained a new understanding of western Tasmania: of how wild it is, and how rugged, and how cold. A hand-to-mouth, hardscrabble life of subsistence farming there would be bad enough today; for the nineteenth-century white settlers of Annette Higgs’s novel it is close to unsurvivable, and indeed some of her most vulnerable ... (read more)