Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Shannon Burns

Shannon Burns

Shannon Burns is a freelance writer and member of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice. He is a former ABR Patrons' Fellow, and has published short fiction, poetry, and academic articles. He is the author of a memoir, Childhood (Text Publishing, 2022).

Shannon Burns reviews 'Dying in the First Person' by Nike Sulway

September 2016, no. 384 23 August 2016
During boyhood, Samuel and his twin brother, Morgan, invent and in a sense inhabit a world and language called 'Nahum'. Years later – after a family tragedy and long separation – Morgan is a celebrated novelist, while Samuel makes a living translating his brother's fiction from Nahum into English. The greater part of Dying in the First Person's force is figured in its language. It begins with ... (read more)

Shannon Burns reviews 'Something for the Pain' by Gerald Murnane

October 2015, no. 375 25 September 2015
Narrators in Gerald Murnane’s novels and stories have occasionally scorned autobiography. Near the beginning of A Million Windows (2014), for example, we find: ‘Today, I understand that so-called autobiography is only one of the least worthy varieties of fiction extant.’ Murnane is even more direct in Philip Tyndall’s 1990 documentary Words and Silk, which explores the author’s fictional ... (read more)

ABR Patrons’ Fellowship: 'The scientist of his own experience: A Profile of Gerald Murnane' by Shannon Burns

August 2015, no. 373 28 July 2015
The town of Goroke (population six hundred) stands almost exactly between Melbourne and Adelaide, in the Wimmera region of Victoria. It is, in many ways, a typical small country town. If you drive there in the morning during late spring or early summer, you’ll need to slow the car to avoid kangaroos on the road. Magpies are everywhere. Horses and other livestock mope and sway in front and backya ... (read more)

Letter from Adelaide | Shannon Burns on the Coetzee Colloquium

December 2014, no. 367 01 December 2014
Few authors summon the various modes of irony to better purpose than J.M. Coetzee. Typically, before Coetzee gives a reading, the audience can safely suppose that they are in for a good laugh, the odd squirm and cringe, and at least one moment of bewilderment. But there are exceptions to this general rule, and the several hundred people who gathered to hear Coetzee read last week, on a balmy Tuesd ... (read more)

Shannon Burns reviews 'Three Stories' by J.M. Coetzee

November 2014, no. 366 01 November 2014
Each fiction in this small but handsome volume emerges from an interesting, perhaps even ‘transitional’ phase in J.M. Coetzee’s writing life: between the publication of Disgrace (1999) and Slow Man (2005); before and after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. The first story in the collection also predates Coetzee’s move to Adelaide in 2002, as does, presumably, the compositio ... (read more)

Shannon Burns reviews 'A Million Windows' by Gerald Murnane

August 2014, no. 363 01 August 2014
Since the publication of Tamarisk Row (1974), Gerald Murnane has continued to shape his own peculiar literary landscape. With The Plains (1982), he perfected the novelistic expression of his style; since then Murnane has concentrated on hybrid forms better suited to his purposes. Landscape with Landscape (1985), Velvet Waters (1990), and A History of Books (2012) are high points of this phase, but ... (read more)

Shannon Burns reviews 'Kafka: The Decisive Years' by Reiner Stach

April 2014, no. 360 28 March 2014
Franz Kafka lived in Prague in the early part of the twentieth century, during a period of considerable turmoil. Before succumbing to laryngeal tuberculosis aged forty, he witnessed the disintegration of an empire and the subsequent formation of a republic. Kafka also endured the administrative and domestic realities of a world war and was among millions of Europeans infected with Spanish flu. He ... (read more)

Shannon Burns reviews 'Hawthorne’s Habitations: A Literary Life' by Robert Milder

June 2013, no. 352 27 May 2013
Unlike Hawthorne: A Life (2003), Brenda Wineapple’s penetrating and engaging biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne’s Habitations, is a work of literary criticism informed by a narrow but fascinating range of biographical details and sources. These details support Robert Milder’s construction of an author ‘divided’ by contradictory drives that remained unresolved in Hawthorne ... (read more)

Shannon Burns reviews 'Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace' by D.T. Max

February 2013, no. 348 01 February 2013
According to D.T. Max, ‘At the time of his tragic death by suicide in September 2008, David Foster Wallace was the foremost writer of his generation, the one who had forged the newest path and from whom the others, directly or indirectly, took their cues.’ Indeed, for someone desperate to escape the confines of self and wary of literary celebrity, Wallace endured more than his share of hype an ... (read more)
Page 3 of 4