Michael Winkler

Philip Larkin famously suggested that ‘they fuck you up, your mum and dad’, but the alternative is usually worse. Twenty years before Larkin wrote ‘This Be the Verse’, his compatriot John Bowlby published Maternal Care and Mental Health (1951), which described profound mental health consequences when ...

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In Alexis Wright’s novel Carpentaria (2006), Girlie claims, ‘If you ever want to find out about anything in your vicinity, you have to talk to the mad people.’ There are a lot of mad people in Wright’s biography of Aboriginal activist, thinker, and provocateur ‘Tracker’ Tilmouth. He is probably the maddest of all, in the ...

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In the Australia of my childhood, the Gypsy skirt was fashionable, ABC Radio played Django Reinhardt, ‘The Gypsy Rover’ was in school songbooks, peripatetic players were called ‘Gypsy footballers’, the Gypsy Jokers were a feared bikie gang, and nefarious Gypsies were stock villains in children’s books. Gypsies – or Roma – occupied cultural terrain, but ...

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One of the many contradictions of Islamic State, as exposed in Robert Manne’s latest work, is that a mob seemingly dedicated to deeds rather than words is in fact logocratic. For all of their murderous antipathy towards the People of the Book, Islamic State has relied not on speeches or policy platforms, but on a succession of books.

While some trace the g ...

Gambling is part of Australia’s self-definition. The way we like to tell the story, lads at Gallipoli went over the top with a two-up kip in one hand and a rifle in the other, while exchanging tips for the Melbourne Cup ...

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There is a well-meaning musician who performs intermittently in Central Australia. When he plays his hit song, he tries to augment the lyrics by chanting the ...

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At the bottom of one of Kim Mahood's desert watercolours, she scrawled, 'In the gap between two ways of seeing, the risk is that you see nothing clearly.' A risk for ...

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2016 Calibre Essay Prize winner

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Michael Winkler 280pxMichael Winkler (photograph by Chris Riordan)M

News from the Editor's Desk in the June–July issue of Australian Book Review.

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2016 Calibre Essay Prize (Winner): 'The Great Red Whale'

Michael Winkler
Monday, 23 May 2016

The history of my onomastic apprehension and misapprehension about the big thing in the middle of Australia: It is called Ayers Rock. No, it is ...

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