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Cassandra Atherton

Cassandra Atherton

Cassandra Atherton is a poet and scholar. She is Professor of Writing and Literature at Deakin University. She was a Harvard Visiting Fellow in English and a Visiting Scholar in Comparative Culture at Sophia University, Tokyo. She is writing a book of prose poetry on the atomic bomb with funding from an Australia Council grant.

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Killing Commendatore' by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen

October 2018, no. 405 25 September 2018
There is a running joke in Japan that autumn doesn’t start each year until Haruki Murakami has lost the Nobel Prize for Literature. Most recently, in 2017, he lost to Kazuo Ishiguro, who was born in Japan but is now a British citizen. To date, two Japanese writers have been awarded the prize – Yasunari Kawabata (1968) and Kenzaburō Ōe (1994) – and many believe Murakami will be the next Jap ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Rubik' by Elizabeth Tan

November 2017, no. 396 25 October 2017
Invoking the Rubik’s Cube – a puzzle where twenty-six ‘cubelets’ rotate around a core crosspiece – Rubik is less a novel and more a book of interconnected short stories exploring narcissism, neoliberalism, and consumerism. At the book’s core is Elena Rubik, who dies in the first chapter with a Homestyle Country Pie in her hand. Despite her demise, Elena remains the protagonist of the n ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Portable Curiosities' by Julie Koh

August 2016, no. 383 25 July 2016
Julie Koh's first full-length short story collection, Portable Curiosities, is an electrifying satire on Anglo-Australian hegemony and the underbelly of the Australian Dream. In twelve stories populated with ghostly lizard boys, 3D yellow people who step out of the cinema screen like the Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), and girls who grow cat ears and tails, Koh provides an existential context for the ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Freeman's' edited by John Freeman

December 2015, no. 377 30 November 2015
Arrival is the first volume in a new series of literary anthologies comprising previously unpublished fiction, non-fiction, and poetry edited by John Freeman, former editor of UK-based Granta. The book begins with a boring and self-indulgent introduction about the choice of theme: Arrival. Freeman explains that after experiencing serious turbulence on a flight to Syracuse, he 'never forgot how exh ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Feet to the Stars' by Susan Midalia

November 2015, no. 376 27 October 2015
Susan Midalia's Feet to the Stars references Sylvia Plath's poem 'You're', in which Plath addresses her unborn child: 'Clownlike, happiest on your hands, / Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled, / Gilled like a fish ...' This clever title foreshadows Midalia's exploration of children in the family dynamic and the use of intertextuality, which are integral to her short stories. This is Midalia's thi ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'The Hazards' by Sarah Holland-Batt, 'Conversations I've Never Had' by Caitlin Maling, 'Here Be Dragons' by Dennis Greene, and 'The Guardians' by Lucy Dougan

October 2015, no. 375 30 September 2015
Contemporary Australian poetry has a complex and ever-evolving relationship with the land, both at home and abroad. Almost twenty-five years post-Mabo and entrenched in ongoing ecological crises, Australian poets explore new ways of experiencing and defining place. Where misguided nationalism sought to limit Australian poets to their local landscapes, peripatetic poets have embraced transnational ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Breaking Beauty' edited by Lynette Washington

January-February 2015, no. 368 16 December 2014
The authors of the stories in Breaking Beauty are graduates of the University of Adelaide, which Brian Castro (a professor there) reminds us in his introduction is ‘the first and best creative writing college in the country’. However, as an advertisement for creative writing at Adelaide University, this collection has limited success. While the contributors’ biographical notes are impressive ... (read more)

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Axon: Creative Explorations', Vol. 4, No. 1

October 2014, no. 365 01 October 2014
Axon’s commitment to publishing new research in creativity and the creative process is highlighted in this issue on poetry. Lucy Dougan, consultant editor, introduces its exploration of ‘how poetry constitutes knowledge; how it is made; how poets think about their work’, and one of the exhaustive questions in the academy: ‘how poetry may be understood as research.’ Like Text: Journal of ... (read more)

Meet the Publisher | Ben Ball interviewed by Cassandra Atherton

September 2014, no. 364 01 September 2014
Ben Ball was born in Melbourne in 1970. He grew up in London, New York, and Sydney, and went to school in all of these places. He completed an Arts/Law degree, in Australia, ‘more or less entirely to create the pleasing symmetry B. Ball, BA, LLB’. In the United Kingdom he undertook an M.Phil in Contemporary English Literature. Ball worked in London in publishing for more than a decade, with Bl ... (read more)
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