Monash University Publishing
The fortieth anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras might have been an occasion for unbridled elation. Held in March of 2018, the celebration came soon after the bitterly fought battle to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia. Dennis Altman, a pre-eminent figure in Gay Liberation, paints a different picture of the Mardi Gras. His new book, Unrequited Love: Diary of an accidental activist, conveys a sense of unease despite the frolicsome charms of such festivities.... (read more)
Mallees contradict the green pompom-on-a-stick notion of treeness. The word ‘mallee’ stems from the Wemba Wemba word ‘mali’ for a form of eucalyptus tree; one with a shrubby habit with a multi-stemmed trunk branching out from a lignotuber (a woody life-support system at or below the ground). Highly adapted to challenging environments, more than 400 species of the genus Eucalyptus are considered mallee. The diverse and unique ecosystems that they define evolved within the bewildering contexts of aridity, salinity, heat and wind exposure, and soils devoid of nutrients.... (read more)
Just over one hundred years ago, Sydney readers were speaking in hushed tones about a shocking new book by a young woman, Zora Cross. A collection of love poems by an unknown would not normally have roused much interest, but because they came from a woman, and were frankly and emphatically erotic, the book was a sensation. It wasn’t, as a Bulletin reviewer said demurely, a set of sonnets to the beloved’s eyebrows. It was ‘well, all of him’. It broke the literary convention that restricted the expression of sexual pleasure to a male lover. Cross took Shakespeare’s sonnets as her inspiration. Her Songs of Love and Life (1917) was a long way from being Shakespearean, but it roused huge admiration. Cross was hailed as a genius, ‘an Australian Sappho’.... (read more)
Graeme Davison reviews 'Asbestos in Australia: From boom to dust' edited by Lenore Layman and Gail Phillips
Wittenoom is no more. The notorious mine has been abandoned and the township, ten kilometres away across the Pilbara, has been demolished and buried. The name has been erased from road signs along Route 95. Blue asbestos – the mineral that created and then condemned the place – is still virulently present in its soil, air, and water. But while Wittenoom is no mo ...
Life and times memoirs are often lives leavened with some tangential nods to times. In Iola Mathews’s book Winning for Women: A personal story, a notable career is inextricably linked with the remarkable times she did much to shape.
It is the story of a feminist, the Australian feminist movement, and the battle for transformational political, lega ...
Ilana Snyder reviews 'Jean Blackburn: Education, feminism and social justice' by Craig Campbell and Debra Hayes
In the foundation Jean Blackburn Memorial Lecture in 2014, David Gonski observed that Australian schooling was unfairly funded – that the money wasn’t going where it was needed. To our national shame, this is not a new phenomenon. Successive governments in Australia have adopted school-funding policies for ...... (read more)
Nowadays every second young person seems to want to be a stand-up comic, an occupation that perfectly represents the ‘gig’ economy in its precariousness and occasional nature. Anne Pender gives us mini-biographies of seven Australians who succeeded, often spectacularly, in the risky business of being a comic long ...... (read more)
To complement our ‘Books of the Year’ feature, which appeared in the December 2018 issue, we invited some senior publishers to nominate their favourite books of 2018 – all published by other companies.... (read more)
Tali Lavi reviews 'A Second Chance: The making of Yiddish Melbourne' by Margaret Taft and Andrew Markus
In my childhood home, Yiddish prompted a frisson of the suppressed. This was a direct consequence of adults speaking it whenever they did not want us children to understand. Yiddish was the language in which jokes, clever and sometimes ribald, worked. When attempting to translate, inevitably my grandmother would shrug ...... (read more)
In August 1964, Charmian Clift returned to Australia from the Greek island of Hydra after nearly fourteen years abroad. As Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell portray her return – a description based, as always in this book, on solid or at least reasonably persuasive evidence – she ‘was leaving her beloved Hydra ...... (read more)