Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Scribe

In October 2014, an article by health reporter Aisha Dow appeared in Melbourne’s Age newspaper titled ‘Deadly flu pandemic could shut down Melbourne’. It began with a dystopian vision of Australia’s second most populous city plunged into a Spanish flu-like crisis:

... (read more)

Gunflower by Laura Jean McKay

by
December 2023, no. 460

Laura Jean McKay’s new collection, Gunflower, offers a range of disturbing, deftly satiric, and sometime bizarre short stories. As in her award-winning novel The Animals in that Country (2022), some of the stories in the collection explore the relationship between the human and non-human, and often challenge rational explanations or simple allegorical interpretations for the imaginative worlds they create. Even the conventional realist narratives sometimes defy generic conventions. The story ‘Flying Rods’, for example, moves from standard verisimilitude to Gothic horror. ‘Site’ transforms the familiar terrain of an adulterous affair with repeated descriptions of a ship sighted off the coast, such that the ship’s symbolic meanings remain tantalisingly unclear.

... (read more)

Michael Gawenda has written a deeply personal story about his Jewish identity. It comes during a period when conflict in Israel/Palestine has been painful for all. While he remains committed to a two-state future that supports the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in their own countries, the author critiques influential sections of the political left where acceptance has come to require demonising the Jewish state. A key message of the book is that too often on the left the only good Jew is one who publicly rejects Israel’s right to exist and remains silent when it is declared racist and nothing more than a coloniser of an indigenous population.

... (read more)

West Girls by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

by
October 2023, no. 458

Laura Elizabeth Woollett demonstrates her mastery of the polyphonic novel in West Girls. The book, Woollett’s fourth, comprises eleven nimbly interwoven chapters that explore origin, agency, and delusion in a patriarchal society. 

... (read more)

In the 1960s, as Egypt built the second Aswan Dam, the monuments of ancient Nubia, including the colossi at Abu Simbel, risked vanishing beneath a lake. Backed by UNESCO, an international coalition of archaeologists, celebrities, politicians, and engineers succeeded in moving them. Whole temples were cut off their rock bases and lifted with hydraulics, or removed in segments from cliff-faces and sinking islands, for reassembly on higher ground. The struggles involved, American author Lynne Olson’s book Empress of the Nile makes clear, were fiendish. The engineering problems were considered impractical, the politics foolhardy. For the sake of flood regulation and hydroelectricity, ancient buildings seemed an acceptable loss. Rousing the political will to save them took scholarship, conviction, charm, and sheer nerve. In short, it took French Egyptologist Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt. 

... (read more)

There is every reason for wanting to get to the bottom of Rupert Murdoch. It is arguable that he has done more than any modern individual to shape public life, policy, and conversation in those parts of the Anglosphere where his media interests either dominate or hold serious sway. His influence is richly textured, transformative. Beyond bringing a populist insouciance to his host of print and television properties, he is also unafraid of using his reach as a political weapon, a tactic used with such vehement ubiquity that governments pre-emptively buckle to what they suppose is the Murdoch line. Debate is thus distorted and circumscribed. Public anxiety is co-opted as a cynically exploited tool of sales and marketing.

... (read more)

Just over a decade ago, Ross McMullin published Farewell, Dear People (2012), a magisterial biography of ten remarkable Australians killed in World War I. The book met with much acclaim, including the award of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History in 2013. Life So Full of Promise, a sequel to this volume, provides three more biographies of men whose early lives suggested that they would have made extraordinary contributions to Australian public life, had they survived the war.

... (read more)

Luck has always been a potent force in politics, good and bad, but for Scott Morrison, Australia’s thirtieth prime minister, it almost single-handedly drove his unheralded ascent. 

... (read more)

Since crossing paths nearly two decades ago, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have forged one of the more potent partnerships in modern American politics – winning three of the last four presidential elections between them – and have built an enduring friendship. It is all the more remarkable for its rarity. The pressures of the White House, overlapping ambitions, and competing loyalties have soured the relationship between most presidents and their deputies (think of Richard Nixon’s notorious bitterness towards Dwight Eisenhower or the froideur between Al Gore and Bill Clinton). 

... (read more)

Maps are central to Kim Mahood’s practice as a writer, artist, and intercultural collaborator. She began making them in the wake of her father’s death in a helicopter mustering accident thirty years ago. This tragic event compelled her to make a pilgrimage to the country where she spent her late childhood and teenage years living on Mongrel Downs cattle station in the Tanami Desert. This journey became the subject of her award-winning memoir, Craft for a Dry Lake (2001). This journey set in motion a renewed relationship with the place that has seen her return to the Tanami annually for more than twenty years. The relationships that developed during this period resulted in Mahood’s longstanding preoccupation with maps and mapmaking developing into collaborative mapping projects with Walmajarri and Jaru peoples, the contours of which she traces in her second book Position Doubtful: Mapping landscapes and memories (2016).

... (read more)