Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy won the 2013 Pascall Prize for cultural criticism, and the 2017 Horne Prize for her essay ‘The Limit of the World’. A former Editor of ABR (1986–87), she is one of Australia’s most prolific and respected literary critics. Her publications include several anthologies, a critical study of Helen Garner, and her book Adelaide, which was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. In November 2012 she was named as the inaugural ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellow. Her Fellowship article on reviewing, ‘Everyone’s a Critic’, appeared in the May 2013 issue of ABR.

'Abbreviations' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

July 1986, no. 82 08 June 2022
I had sworn, in my editorial capacity, not to reinforce or allow to be reinforced, by word or deed, the old Sydney vs. Melbourne scenario in the pages of this magazine; but I realised very quickly that this was a case of one’s reach exceeding one’s grasp. The construction of this inter-city relationship as ‘St Petersburg or Tinsel Town?’, with its suggestion of two (and only two) opposing ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Chosen' by David Ireland

September 1997, no. 194 01 September 1997
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Chosen' by David Ireland
Like much else about this novel, its title The Chosen is not the relatively straightforward affair it may, at first, appear to be. One assumes for the first hundred pages or so that the ‘chosen’ are those citizens of the small NSW Southern Tablelands town of Lost River who have been chosen by a randomising computer program to have their lives represented in the commemorative tapestry being wov ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Dark Places' by Kate Grenville

July 1994, no. 162 01 July 1994
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Dark Places' by Kate Grenville
It seems like a slender connecting thread, but reading Kate Grenville’s new novel, Dark Places, reminded me of an experience I had hoped I’d forgotten: reading American Psycho. Reading stories with repellent narrators is like being left alone in a locked room with somebody you’d edge away from if you met him, or her, in a bar. Such stories are unsettling in the way that good satire is unset ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Children’s Bach' by Helen Garner

February–March 1985, no. 68 01 February 1985
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Children’s Bach' by Helen Garner
The characters in Helen Garner’s new novella The Children’s Bach make up the kind of social molecule in at least one of which all of us feature as an atom. Athena, who emerges as the core character, runs a household of, initially, four: herself, her husband Dexter Fox (we are not told what surname Athena uses), and their sons Arthur and the ‘strange’ Billy. Then there’s Elizabeth, with ... (read more)

Telecom Australian Voices | 'In the Flesh: Watching writers read' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

December 1992, no. 147 01 December 1992
Telecom Australian Voices | 'In the Flesh: Watching writers read' by Kerryn Goldsworthy
‘To our bodies turn we, then, that soWeak men on love revealed may look;Love’s mysteries in souls may growBut yet the body is his book.’ John Donne, ‘The Ecstasy’ ‘...the unstable self, the fractured ego, Maud thought, who ... am I? A matrix for a susurration of texts and codes? It was both a pleasant and an unpleasant idea, this requirement that she thinks of herself as interm ... (read more)

Survey | Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews the 1987 National Book Council Awards for Australian Literature shortlist

February–March 1987, no. 88 01 February 1987
‘If you can’t say something nice,’ my mother always said, ‘don’t say anything at all.’ (I pinch this opening gambit, shamelessly, from Kate Grenville’s Self-Portrait in the last ABR, and hope she does not mind; imitation is the sincerest form etc.) Apropos of parental expectations regarding niceness-or-silence, however, I am reminded of a remark of Elizabeth Jolley’s: ‘I think my ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Radicals: Remembering the Sixties' by Meredith Burgmann and Nadia Wheatley

July 2021, no. 433 22 June 2021
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Radicals: Remembering the Sixties' by Meredith Burgmann and Nadia Wheatley
Studying at the University of Sydney in the late 1960s, Meredith Burgmann and Nadia Wheatley were both living in Women’s College. Burgmann recalls: Very late one night when I was sitting in my room, struggling with John Donne … I heard a clump clump clump coming along the corridor. Opening my door, I discovered Nadia – wearing a red flannel nightie and gumboots – on her nightly mission ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Yacker: Australian writers talking about their work' by Candida Baker and 'Rooms of their own' by Jennifer Ellison

July 1986, no. 82 01 July 1986
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Yacker: Australian writers talking about their work' by Candida Baker and 'Rooms of their own' by Jennifer Ellison
Why do we like interviews so much? There must be a reason. Maybe it’s the lure – too often, alas, as in lurid – of confession: the ‘X Reveals All’ syndrome that deceives the mind into thinking it has always wanted to know what it is (finally) about to be told; or the more elevated sense of privilege and honour felt by those in whom such truths are confided. ... (read more)

'Abbreviations' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

August 1987, no, 93 01 August 1987
I don’t usually reply to Letters to the Editor, but … Since this lot (see opposite) is particularly atrabilious, a lovely word I have just learned from Don Anderson, I feel moved to make a few mild replies. Ken Gelder and Gerard Windsor are big boys now and can look after themselves, but I will say that John Carroll’s is the only negative response I have seen or heard to Windsor’s June Sel ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Morgan’s Run' by Colleen McCullough

October 2000, no. 225 01 October 2000
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Morgan’s Run' by Colleen McCullough
I recently took part in a forum on contemporary Australian fiction, a discussion during which the publisher on the panel talked about popular and/or ‘middlebrow’ fiction, and about her ire with reviewers who either simply trashed such novels, or else insisted on emphasising their status as ‘popular fiction’, and on discussing them within the context of its generic expectations and limitati ... (read more)