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Astrid Edwards

Astrid Edwards is a bibliophile. She hosts The Garret: Writers and Publishing and often judges literary prizes. She is the former Chair of Melbourne Writers Festival and the former Deputy Chair of Writers Victoria.

Astrid Edwards reviews ‘The Relationship Is the Project: A guide to working with communities’ edited by Jade Lillie and Kate Larsen with Cara Kirkwood and Jax Brown

June 2024, no. 465 27 May 2024
The Relationship Is the Project is a guidebook to working with communities. The work explicitly asks the reader to consider not only how art is created but from where that art comes – and it so often comes from community. Originally conceived by Jade Lillie, this work came together through a multi-year collaboration with Kate Larsen, Cara Kirkwood, and Jax Brown. The overall process is a demons ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'The Anniversary' by Stephanie Bishop

April 2023, no. 452 28 March 2023
Stephanie Bishop’s The Anniversary is an example of both deft literary craft and an engrossing read – a feat rarer than it should be. Billed as a ‘novel about writing and desire’, this is more a work interrogating the nexus between art, celebrity, and commerce, while unpicking the ways in which gender informs all three. JB, the narrator, is an accomplished novelist on the cusp of winning ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'The Power of Podcasting: Telling stories through sound' by Siobhán McHugh

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
A book about podcasting prompts an immediate question: what is the intended audience? Is it for listeners already devoted to the audio medium? Is it for storytellers who already podcast and want to enhance their craft? Or is it for those interested in podcasting but clueless as to how to go about it? The Power of Podcasting, by Siobhán McHugh, attempts to appeal to all three audiences, with mixed ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'A Lonely Girl Is A Dangerous Thing' by Jessie Tu

August 2020, no. 423 24 July 2020
What a title, and what a début novel. Jessie Tu brings us Jena Lin, a twenty-two-year-old Asian Australian sex addict who was once a violin prodigy fêted around the world. She is a character to remember. The reader knows this from the beginning, and the compelling narrative tension is driven by the slow revelation of an event that occurred seven years before the novel begins. This is an explora ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'Mammoth' by Chris Flynn

May 2020, no. 421 27 April 2020
Everything about Chris Flynn’s Mammoth – the characters, plot, and structure – should not work. But it does, and beautifully so. Mammoth is narrated by the fossilised remains of a 13,354-year-old extinct American Mammoth (Mammut americanum), who likes to be addressed as Mammut. On 24 March 2007, the eve of his sale at the Natural History Auction in New York, Mammut finds himself in a room wi ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'Below Deck' by Sophie Hardcastle

April 2020, no. 420 20 March 2020
Below Deck is a stunning literary novel. This is a poetic work that can be read aloud just as easily as it can be read in silence. Sophie Hardcastle wrote Below Deck in 2018 when she was a Provost’s Scholar in English Literature at Worcester College at the University of Oxford. As she reveals in the acknowledgments, she read a draft aloud to her professor, an experience that no doubt consolidate ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'Grand Union: Stories' by Zadie Smith

December 2019, no. 417 25 November 2019
Zadie Smith’s commanding collection Grand Union puts our contemporary lives and mores under the microscope. She sets her sights on the insanity (and inanity) of social media, the internet, and ‘call-out culture’, but leaves room to consider the tensions inherent in post-colonial nations, including race, gender, and sexuality. Smith, born in London to a Jamaican mother and British father, ha ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'Three Women' by Lisa Taddeo

October 2019, no. 415 25 September 2019
Lina. Maggie. Sloane. These are the women – real women, albeit with their names changed – in whose intimate lives Lisa Taddeo invested eight years of her own. She spoke to these women daily, uprooting herself to chronicle and share their worlds. Taddeo’s goal was to reveal the hidden desires and erotic longings of women. She does so, and the result is revelatory – few works are so absorbin ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'Diving into Glass: A memoir' by Caro Llewellyn

April 2019, no. 410 26 March 2019
Memoirs of illness are tricky. The raw material is often compelling: dramatic symptoms, embarrassing public moments, and unavoidable relationship pressures. The challenge is to share that raw material in a new way. Not every memoir needs to turn on the conceit that illness is an obstacle that must be overcome. Full disclosure: I have multiple sclerosis. I approached Caro Llewellyn’s memoir Divi ... (read more)

Astrid Edwards reviews 'Boys Will Be Boys' by Clementine Ford

November 2018, no. 406 24 October 2018
Clementine Ford’s Boys Will Be Boys is a timely contribution to feminist literature. Her central point is clear and confronting, and it represents something of a challenge. Ford writes, ‘everyone’s afraid that their daughters might be hurt. No one seems to be scared that their sons might be the ones to do it.’ The book makes the case for a change in how we raise both boys and girls, since ... (read more)
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