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Morag Fraser

Morag Fraser

Morag Fraser was Chairperson of ABR and was for many years Editor of Eureka Street. She is currently writing a biography of the poet Peter Porter.

Morag Fraser reviews 'This is the ABC: The Australian Broadcasting Commission 1932–1983' by Ken Inglis

September 2006, no. 284 01 September 2006
The list of corrigenda at the end of the new edition of This Is the ABC (first published by Melbourne University Press in 1983) underscores the point: insiders, listeners, viewers and politicians have inundated him with corrections and information to refine and expand his already minutely detailed volume one of the history. Listeners plead with him to include the story of the newsreader who announ ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews ‘The Riddle of Father Hackett: A life in Ireland and Australia’ by Brenda Niall

October 2009, no. 315 01 October 2009
Brenda Niall has the knack of lucid multi-focus, a great thing in a biographer. That organisational deftness, an ability to keep the tangled loops of people’s lives spooling freely through her fingers while she projects a rich and dramatic context for them, was evident in her group study of The Boyds (2002), and it is the structural virtue in this new work, The Riddle of Father Hackett. William ... (read more)

'A little bit of revolution' by Morag Fraser

December 2009–January 2010, no. 317 01 December 2009
In the anniversary week of Barack Obama’s election, the New York Yankees won the World Series, as all the world surely knows by now. The victory might have guaranteed a celebration, even in an America where unemployment hit ten per cent in the same week, but the glitz of the Yankees’ Friday ticker-tape parade through Lower Manhattan’s sombre but not sobered financial district was overshadowe ... (read more)

'Ten Weeks in America' by Morag Fraser

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307 01 December 2008
John Reed would have relished it. He could have stood in Times Square in mid-October and watched as the neon newsflash chronicled the fall of capitalism as we know it. And felt the tremor. The difference now is that the ripple effect of seismic events spreads almost instantly. As Wall Street gyrated, banks in Iceland collapsed, and British police departments and local councils faced billion-dollar ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'Civil Passions: Selected Writings' by Martin Krygier

October 2005, no. 275 01 October 2005
Martin Krygier’s deft, discursive prose could persuade anyone except an ironclad ideologue that it is exhilarating as well as healthy to examine one’s prejudices and complacencies. Krygier is also a writer possessed of a frank openness that gives credence to the idea that you can judge a book by its cover. I suspect he’d also enjoy the piquancy of maxim busting. The cover of Civil Passions i ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President' by Taylor Branch and 'The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr' by Ken Gormley

July–August 2010, no. 323 01 July 2010
While Americans squirmed or vented self-righteous outrage at the revelation of their president’s escapades with Monica Lewinsky, the rest of the world seemed bemused. Oxford history fellow, George Cawkwell, who knew William Jefferson Clinton in his 1960s Rhodes Scholar days, was worldly in defence of his former student: ‘I think the truth is that people behave in sex matters in a way they’d ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'The Wife of Bath' by Marion Turner

August 2023, no. 456 25 July 2023
In her 2019 biography, Chaucer: A European life, Marion Turner provides a fine-grained social context for the poet’s life – from early days. Young Geoffrey Chaucer, we learn, would likely have been educated in a school such as London’s St Paul’s, with its generously stocked library, and a ‘master’ who ‘sat in a chair of authority, raised up, surveying the room’, and whose pedagogic ... (read more)

‘St Matthew Passion: An exhilarating performance of J.S. Bach’s plea for mercy and forgiveness’ by Morag Fraser

ABR Arts 21 April 2022
There are some circumstances that shift a musical performance into another dimension of significance. Mstislav Rostropovich playing Bach’s cello suites in Berlin on 11 November 1989, two days after the fall of the Wall, is perhaps the twentieth century’s most vivid example. On Good Friday in Melbourne, as poignantly perfect an autumn afternoon as one could conjure, the Recital Centre celebrat ... (read more)