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This is an honest, modest report of what students and teachers across the country think about the teaching of Australian history in schools. Anna Clark has allowed her subjects to speak for themselves; being a scrupulous historian, she has not edited their offerings. So we hear words like these: ‘Now they’re having like record numbers [at Anzac Day], and like huge ceremonies all over Australia and they’re like young people that respect it’; and ‘Reading a textbook, when you have to like read three pages of a textbook, and then the teacher’s like, “Do the questions”...’ An enduring value of this book will be its record of teenagers’ spoken English in the first decade of the twenty-first century. It makes for rather tiresome reading, but it is salutary to be constantly reminded of where students are at, like.

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I recently watched a DVD of The Big Chill (1983). The film’s melancholy over the lost radicalism of the 1960s pervades What Happened to Gay Life?, Robert Reynolds’s new book. One might guess that a book about gay – once synonymous with happy life might feature a bit of glitter and laughter, but this is not the book’s point.

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Last year I was invited to a literary festival celebrating writing about Antarctica. At the opening drinks session, I fell into conversation with a woman who, when she learned I was a participant, asked me if I had been ‘down south’. I said I hadn’t. She replied somewhat ungraciously, I thought, that she felt few would take me seriously in this forum because I hadn’t made the trip. I was taken aback, but still managed to mutter something in reply about Antarctica’s fascination as an imaginative space.

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In September 2018, NewSouth published a new edition of A Certain Style.

On a chilly evening in 1980, a stylish woman in her early seventies, wheezing slightly from a lifetime’s cigarettes, climbed a staircase just beneath the Harbour Bridge, entered a room full of book editors – young women mostly, university-educated, making their way ...