Francesca Sasnaitis

It is no secret that Lily Brett has mined her past and her family history in her fiction. Her parents, like those of her current alter ego, Lola Bensky, were survivors of the Łódź ghetto and Auschwitz concentration camp; Lola, like the author, was born in a displaced persons’ camp before her family emigrated to Australia. Lola, a chubby baby, was possibly the o ...

‘Will the real Nicole Kidman please stand up?’ Many readers will remember that line from the television game show Tell the Truth, in which celebrities were required to guess which of three contestants was the ‘real’ person. Pam Cook tells us that our ‘search for veracity is doomed to failure’ because, in this case, the celebrity’s identity is a fragmentary and contradictory media construct.

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Imagine the book as a repository of memories: to turn the pages is to remember. Fiction, in particular, encourages flipping back and forth through memory’s volume. An author’s life informs her fiction. Memories, personal and second-hand, play a pivotal role in the formation of narrative structures. In a début novel, it is not uncommon for the author to resort to childhood sources for inspi ...

The making of a writer involves more than talent and ambition; perseverance and a thick skin are also prerequisites. The best that can be hoped for from a teaching institution is that potential writers are exposed to new ideas and encouraged to experiment with content and form. The results are seldom perfect, but at least they can prove interesting.

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The Longing is an ambitious first novel. Set in the Western District of Victoria, with parallel narratives in the mid-nineteenth century and the present day, its principal theme is the occupation of Gunditjmara country by white settlers, and the decimation of Indigenous tribes. Novel writing is, of course, an act of imagination, and writers should be commended for their research, tenac ...

For many years I have looked forward to the ongoing exploits of Kerry Greenwood’s sassy heroine Phryne Fisher – the marvellous descriptions of period detail and fashion, the historical background of her ripping yarns – and have wilfully ignored occasional anachronisms of language or behaviour.

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Inheritance is either a burden or a blessing in this selection of Amanda Curtin’s short stories. Strung like beads under evocative headings, each story addresses an aspect of love, loss, grief, or desire, and reveals Curtin’s capacity for empathetic characterisation.

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Stuart Littlemore was the inaugural compère of ABC TV’s Media Watch, and is remembered for his acerbic wit and incisive analysis. Clearly, his long career as a Sydney silk has given him enough material to fill this first novel, Harry Curry: Counsel of Choice. I suspect there is plenty left over for more than one sequel.

With a nod to Lit ...

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