Kerryn Goldsworthy

Most Australians, if asked to name a date they associate with the name Gough Whitlam, would say ‘11 November 1975’. Steven Carroll subverts this expectation at the outset ... ... (read more)

Last month in Melbourne, a group of book reviewers and literary editors took part in a conference organised by Monash University’s Centre for the Book. There were more than thirty short papers, or ‘provocations’, as they were styled. Our Editor lamented the low or non-payment of some reviewers ( ...

When Richard Flanagan won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for his sixth novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, it was not the first time that he had won an international fiction prize; his third novel,

In 1978, Australia’s two most coveted national literary prizes of the time were both won by women: Helen Garner’s first novel Monkey Grip (1977) won the National Book Council Award for fiction, and the Miles Franklin Literary Award was won by Tirra Lirra by the River (1978), Jessica Anderson’s fourth novel. Both of these books have since become classics of Australian literature, rarely out of print and regularly rediscovered by new generations of readers.

Australian fiction, both in its production and in its critical reception, had been dominated by male writers since the end of World War II. There were isolated exceptions, most notably Christina Stead, Elizabeth Harrower, and Thea Astley, all now regarded as major Australian novelists. But the two big awards to Anderson and Garner in 1978 marked a shift in readerly tastes and the beginning of something more like equality in the writing, publishing, and reading of fiction in Australia. It may or may not be a coincidence that the narrator–heroines of Monkey Grip and Tirra Lirra by the River are both called Nora; it’s the name of the main character in Ibsen’s classic play A Doll’s House (1879), which, like these novels, explores the theme of women’s emancipation and selfhood in modern society.

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Books of the Year is always one our most popular features. Find out what our 41 contributors liked most this year – and why.

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When the polio epidemics at the hinge of the twentieth century were catching hundreds of Australian children and adults in their web of pathogens, a pub in suburban Perth called ‘The Golden Age’ was converted – with its name unchanged – into a convalescent home for children who were recovering from polio but still unready to go back into the world. Joan London has used this fact as the starting point for her new novel, sticking with the allusive and luminous name of the real-life institution.

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Kerryn Goldsworthy admires Margaret Atwood’s depth of intellect as revealed in MaddAddam, the concluding sequel to Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood.

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I have ludicrous erotic dreams about dreadfully inappropriate people. I also dream about crashing the car. I hope these two things are not connected.

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The novel for which Lionel Shriver is best known, We Need to Talk about Kevin (2003), generated endless discussion across the spectrum of readers, from buzzing suburban home-based reading groups to the pages of the Guardian and the New York Times. Much of this discussion circled around the question of the first-person narrator and mother, ...

‘We place on paper without hesitation a tissue of flatteries, to which in society we could not give utterance, for our lives, without either blushing or laughing outright,’ wrote Edgar Allan Poe in 1846. His title was ‘The Literati of New York City’; his topic was the discrepancy, as he saw it, between the critics’ private opinions of books and the p ...