In the advertising world there’s a new and controversial trend towards catering for the X-Generation; that is, consumers with a two-second attention span, and we’re not just talking about teenagers on rollerblades.

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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 ...

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, ...

Nigel Featherstone reviews 'Perspectives'

Nigel Featherstone
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

In her foreword, Emily Maguire says, ‘You need a desperate, hungry energy to tell a story, to write a poem, to scratch at the surface of a life and see what slithers beneath.’ For some, the university campus is the place for this desperation and hunger to find a voice and have a public hearing. For the University of Sydney, the public hearing is in the form of < ...

Geoff Page reviews 'From the Trenches'

Geoff Page
Friday, 28 March 2014

Mark Dapin’s anthology, From the Trenches, is a timely but not opportunistic book. At more than 400 pages, it is long enough to suggest the sheer scale of the war and its centrality to European (if not world) history ever since. It samples all the relevant genres (letters, memoir, journalism, fiction, poetry) and offers a multiplicity of viewpoints (senior ranks, subalterns, NCOs, priv ...

Australia is a country that will not be intimidated by its own decency. On 28 August 2001, as a detail of Special Air Services soldiers was dispatched to MV Tampa, Prime Minister John Howard spoke about the 438 people – mostly Afghan Hazaras – who languished aboard the freighter ...

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Susan Lever on 'The Best Australian Essays 2013'

Susan Lever
Wednesday, 26 February 2014

In his introduction to this selection of prose engagements with the world, Robert Manne tells us he was looking for the ‘presence of a distinctive voice’ as a sign of what he calls a good essay. Some of these pieces are conventional essays, but others are memoirs, newspaper columns, sketches, ‘true’ stories – there’s even a speech and an article from Man ...

Danielle Clode on The Best Australian Science Writing 2013

Danielle Clode
Sunday, 19 January 2014

All scientists are writers. Science only exists in the written form. What is not written is not published, is not accepted, is not knowledge, and does not exist. It is written science that is scrutinised, peer-reviewed, and cited – nothing else matters but to ‘publish or perish’. Scientific articles, in all their clever, compacted, content-laden complexi ...

Dion Kagan reviews 'The Best of the Lifted Brow'

Dion Kagan
Friday, 17 January 2014

Ronnie Scott, who started The Lifted Brow in Brisbane in 2007 at the age of twenty, has now curated this Best of collection from the magazine’s first five years. It’s an eclectic mixtape of contributions from internationals such as David Foster Wallace, Heidi Julavits, and Tao Lin, local writers Christos Tsiolkas and Frank Moorhouse, a ...

The end of the year tends to bring a small and exquisitely formed avalanche of Australian poetry, including Best Poems from Black Inc., Best Poetry from the University of Queensland Press, and the Newcastle Poetry Prize anthology. Sadly UQP gave up the ghost with its annual after 2009 ...

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