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Georgina Arnott

Georgina Arnott

Dr Georgina Arnott joined Australian Book Review as Assistant Editor in 2022 after a career in academic research in Australian history, biography, the British empire and literary studies. She has a PhD in History and an MA in Literary Studies, both from the University of Melbourne. Georgina has been published as a book reviewer, essayist and scholarly journal author. Her first book, The Unknown Judith Wright (UWAP, 2016), was shortlisted for the National Biography Award in 2017, and she is the editor of Judith Wright: Selected Writings (La Trobe University Press, 2022). In 2021 she was named an ABC Top 5 Humanities Scholar and produced the Radio National episode Commemorating James Stirling?

Georgina Arnott reviews ‘Tasting Life Twice: Conversations with remarkable writers’ by Ramona Koval

June–July 2005, no. 272 01 June 2005
Tasting Life Twice is a collection of twenty-six interviews conducted by Ramona Koval over the past ten years at literary festivals, on radio programmes and in the homes of such writers as Les Murray, Morris West and Joseph Heller. Any randomly selected shortlist of these writers would impress: among them are Toni Morrison, Michael Ondaatje and P.D. James, and some who have recently passed away: S ... (read more)

Georgina Arnott reviews ‘The Sleepers Almanac, No. 5’ edited by Zoe Dattner and Louise Swinn and ‘New Australian Stories’ edited by Aviva Tuffield

April 2009, no. 310 01 April 2009
What makes a good short story? Zoe Dattner and Louise Swinn, editors of the fifth Sleepers Almanac, say there is no objective measure of quality; that everyone likes something different; and that they simply choose what appeals. As I sit down with their funky-looking volume, I don’t want to believe it. If that is the case, there is no place for literary critics, no real justification for academi ... (read more)

Georgina Arnott reviews 'The Danger Game' by Kalinda Ashton

December 2009–January 2010, no. 317 01 December 2009
If you believe the hyperbole surrounding her novel – Christos Tsiolkas has pronounced it ‘masterful, poignant, powerful and true’ – Kalinda Ashton is, at thirty-one, her generation’s answer to Helen Garner: a novelist of everyday Melbourne who makes sad, daily truths pleasurable to read because her writing is so easy to consume. The Danger Game is, at one level, a family saga and a love ... (read more)

Georgina Arnott reviews 'The Lives and Legacies of a Carceral Island: A biographical history of Wadjemup/Rottnest Island' by Ann Curthoys, Shino Konishi, and Alexandra Ludewig

July 2023, no. 455 27 June 2023
Islands, as recent histories of immigration detention and quarantine show, offer unique things to human societies. Rimmed by a watery bulwark, they have more surveyable borders than do mainlands. Their status as sublands suggest that they exist outside the conventions and temporal dimensions of larger, mainland societies. What happens on an island stays on an island; at least, island prison warder ... (read more)

Georgina Arnott reviews 'Still Pictures' by Janet Malcolm

April 2023, no. 452 27 March 2023
Janet Malcolm knew the difference between the remembered thing and the thing itself. Her writing life and 1984 masterpiece, In the Freud Archives, explored that crevice, asking: is what really matters how we experience life, not life itself? This makes the photograph a curious thing: its captured details seem to prove memory. An immaculately groomed, smiling mother cradles her wriggling, blurry o ... (read more)

Georgina Arnott reviews 'A Momentary Stay' by William C. Clarke and 'Sand' by Connie Barber

April 2003, no. 250 18 October 2022
William C. Clarke cuts an interesting figure. An anthropologist who has concentrated on Pacific populations, Clarke combined this discipline with an interest in poetry in his 2000 lecture ‘Pacific Voices, Pacific Views: Poets as Commentators on the Contemporary Pacific’. Clarke used his poetry as a vehicle for considering issues such as land tenure, corruption, and tourism. It is angry, astute ... (read more)

Georgina Arnott reviews 'Black Ghost of Empire: The long death of slavery and the failure of emancipation' by Kris Manjapra

October 2022, no. 447 26 September 2022
‘To fully understand why the shadow of slavery haunts us today, we must confront the flawed way that it ended.’ This premise guides the third book of Kris Manjapra, a Bahamian of African and Indian descent and history professor at Massachusetts’s Tufts University. As Manjapra invites us to see, the ‘voids’ in his family’s history reflect the pernicious afterlife of five hundred years o ... (read more)

Georgina Arnott reviews 'HEAT 13' and 'Griffith Review 16'

July–August 2007, no. 293 26 August 2022
On the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 referendum, the Weekend Australian editorial devoted considerable time to savaging the dominant 1970s model of indigenous development, most closely associated with Nugget Coombs: a ‘neo-pastoralist dream [that was] philosophically flawed, a fatal fusion of romanticism and Marxism’. Helen Hughes, in an excerpt from Lands of Shame in the same newspaper, ec ... (read more)

Georgie Arnott reviews 'Mind the Country: Tim Winton's fiction' by Salhia Ben-Messahel

April 2007, no. 290 01 April 2007
University of Western Australia Press should be commended for recognising a significant gap in Australian literary scholarship: a book-length study on the work of Tim Winton. Aside from Tim Winton: A Celebration (1999; not a critical work), and Michael McGirr’s Tim Winton: The Writer and His Work (1999), written for young readers, there have been no major studies of his work and little critical ... (read more)

Georgina Arnott reviews 'Indigo 1' edited by Donna Ward

October 2007, no. 295 01 October 2007
More than a journal, Indigo represents a vibrant creative writing movement based around the Fremantle Arts Centre. Submissions are accepted from those who currently reside in Western Australia or who have lived there for at least ten years. But why start a journal for Western Australian writing alone? Is there something distinctive about Western Australian experience? Certainly, the way sandgroper ... (read more)
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