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Susan Sheridan

Susan Sheridan

Susan Sheridan FAHA is Emeritus Professor in the School of Humanities at Flinders University in Adelaide. Her latest book is The Fiction of Thea Astley (2016). Earlier books include: Nine Lives: Postwar Women Writers Making Their Mark (2011), Christina Stead (1988), Along the Faultlines: Sex, Race and Nation in Australian Women’s Writing 1880s to 1930s (1995), and Who Was That Woman? The Australian Women’s Weekly in the Postwar Years (2002); as editor, Grafts: Feminist Cultural Criticism (1988), Debutante Nation: Feminism Contests the 1890s (1993) with Sue Rowley and Susan Magarey, and Thea Astley’s Fictional Worlds (2006), with Paul Genoni.

Susan Sheridan reviews 'The Dressmaker’s Daughter' by Kate Llewellyn

April 2008, no. 300 01 April 2008
This memoir moves through points of intensity in Kate Llewellyn’s life, from an idyllic childhood at Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsula in the 1940s through to her leaving Adelaide to make a new life in Sydney in the 1980s. By this time she is a recognised poet, but her life is in turmoil. The book does not set out to tell a success story; rather, it describes that uneven movement from childhood in ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Her Sunburnt Country: The extraordinary literary life of Dorothea Mackellar' by Deborah Fitzgerald

November 2023, no. 459 26 October 2023
Anyone who is old enough, and had their primary schooling in Australia, would know by heart the lines I love a sunburnt country,A land of sweeping plains,Of ragged mountain ranges,Of droughts and flooding rains from the poem ‘My Country’, by Dorothea Mackellar. At a time of climate crisis, when the inhabitants of that country are more apprehensive than ever about sunburn, droughts, and f ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'The Anthology of Colonial Australian Romance Fiction' edited by Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver

May 2010, no. 321 01 May 2010
The dreamy-eyed young girl from Peter Weir’s film Picnic at Hanging Rock, whose image adorns the cover of this anthology, gives a misleading impression of the ‘Australian girl’ who features in most of the stories. This girl may be the central figure in the colonial romance genre, as the editors propose, but she is characterised by energy and independence, rather than by the kind of sexually ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'She and Her Pretty Friend' by Danielle Scrimshaw

July 2023, no. 455 28 June 2023
She and Her Pretty Friend is a collation of stories about lesbians in Australian history, ranging from the convict women of the ‘flash mob’ in Hobart’s Cascades prison to the lesbian separatists of the 1983 Pine Gap Peace Camp. Along the way, the reader meets a couple who farmed together in the 1840s, another couple who taught swimming and started the first women-only gym in Melbourne in 187 ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Middlebrow Modernism: Eleanor Dark’s interwar fiction' by Melinda J. Cooper

March 2023, no. 451 23 February 2023
In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in Eleanor Dark (1901–85), which singles her out from the group of women who dominated the Australian literary scene in the 1930s and 1940s, and attends to the literary significance as well as the political and historical contexts of her work. While Miles Franklin and Katharine Susannah Prichard have been the subject of massive biographies, ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'An Illustrated History of Dairies' by joanne burns

February 2008, no. 298 01 February 2008
joanne burns: There’s a name to conjure with. The familiar lowercase signature – first encountered in my now-tattered copies of 1970s women’s poetry magazines such as Khasmik and Cauldron, and in the anthologies Mother, I’m Rooted (1975) and No Regrets (1979) – now appears on burns’s fourteenth book. An Illustrated History of Dairies offers a generous selection of her verse and prose p ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Hard Joy: Life and writing' by Susan Varga

July 2022, no. 444 25 June 2022
When Susan Varga made the momentous, long-delayed decision to commit herself to writing, her first task was to write her mother’s story – that of a Holocaust survivor who migrated from Hungary to Australia with her second husband and two daughters in 1948, when Susan was five. That story, which is also one of a complex and difficult relationship between mother and daughter, became the award-wi ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Orphan Rock' by Dominique Wilson

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
Dominique Wilson’s new novel is another foray into the field of historical fiction. Her two previous novels deal with the pain of living through periods of civil strife and migration, and cover long periods of time and several cultures: The Yellow Papers (2014) is set in China and Australia from the 1870s to the 1970s, while That Devil’s Madness (2016) moves from Paris to Algiers to Australia ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Inseparable Elements: Dame Mary Durack, a daughter’s perspective' by Patsy Millett

March 2022, no. 440 21 February 2022
Another book about a mother by a daughter, I thought when I saw this one, summoning to mind Biff Ward’s In My Mother’s Hands (2014), Kate Grenville’s One Life (2015), and Nadia Wheatley’s Her Mother’s Daughter (2018). But while each of those books presents an impressive woman cramped – sometimes tragically so – by her postwar circumstances, in this case we have a subject who was noth ... (read more)

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Eve Langley and The Pea Pickers' by Helen Vines

October 2021, no. 436 23 September 2021
In 1942, The Pea Pickers was published by Angus & Robertson in Sydney, garnering high praise for its freshness and poetic invention. A picaresque tale of two sisters who, dressed as boys, earn their living picking seasonal crops in Gippsland in the late 1920s, it impressed Douglas Stewart, literary editor of the Bulletin, with its ‘love of Australian earth and Australian people and skill in ... (read more)
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