A collection organised around ‘the best’ of anything invites a particular kind of evaluation, a seeking of the criteria that such an elastic adjective might imply. The criteria employe More
An annual challenge: how to select essays which capture the moment but live beyond the immediate?
For some, rigour matters. The series editor for The Best American Essays invites magazine editors and writers to submit contributions to a Boston postal address. The rules are strict: an essay is a literary work that shows ‘an awareness of craft and f ... More
Journalism is on the back foot. That’s putting it kindly. Hundreds of newspapers and thousands of careers have been consigned to the great media burial ground since the dawning of the digital age. Those still standing operate in a climate of deepening mistrust. From Trump’s America to Erdoğan’s Turkey, demagogues saddled with democratic political systems trum ... More
In 2015 it was virtually impossible to set foot in Singapore without being exposed to the government-led 'SG50' campaign commemorating the island nation's fiftieth year of independence. All over the country the 'little red dot' logo appeared on everything from double-decker buses and A380s to festive Chinese moon cakes and special-edition Tiger Beer bottles. In real ... More
Ever since the baby boomers hit middle age, the supposed gerontophobia of their youth has been sent back to them with interest. One-liners from the 1960s – such as Pete Townshend's 'I hope I die before I get old' and Jack Weinberg's 'Don't trust anyone over thirty' – have circulated in popular culture like ghostly refrains haunting an entire generation. Fall ... More
In 2010, writing in Westerly, Carmel Lawrence despaired about the lack of science writing in the collection of 'best non-fiction' of the year that she had been asked to review. It wasn't, she concluded, for want of material. Science writing had undergone a huge resurgence in popularity at t ... More
In Jo Case's 'Something Wild', young single mother Kristen is tempted to rediscover 'the thrill of doing what she feels like, just to see what happens'. She could be speaking for characters in many of the pieces in The Best Australian Stories 2015, a collection that features people on the verge of transgression. As Amanda Lohrey writes in her introduction, ... More
In more than ten years on the scene, Sleepers has positioned itself as both champion of the small press sector – the natural home of the short story – and a canny player in the broader publishing landscape; its Almanac has been a reliable litmus test for the direction of new Australian writing.
In this instalment, several absurdist and satirical works are stacked into the c ... More
Of all the books published in the United States last year, only three per cent were of foreign origin. This year is hardly likely to be any different. So it is something of a wonder that this considerable and imaginative collection of modern Australian poetry was produced in the unlikely setting of the University of Louisiana. Professors Jack Heflin and William Ryan ... More