Biography and Memoirs

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Moving Among Strangers'

Susan Sheridan
27 November 2013

When Gabrielle Carey wrote Puberty Blues (1979) with her school friend Kathy Lette, it was closely based on her own experience as a teenager. This initiated a writing career specialising in autobiography. Her novel The Borrowed Girl (1994) is based on her experience of living in a Mexican village, and So Many Selves ... More

Robyn Williams on Stephen Hawking

Robyn Williams
27 November 2013

ABR Radio National’s Robyn Williams reviews Stephen Hawking’s memoirs and recalls his two interviews with the remarkable and remarkably long-lived author–scientist.

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Shannon Burns reviews a new biography of Derrida

Shannon Burns
31 October 2013

By what right, and in accordance with what set of social conditions or teleological commitments, ideologies, cultural and biographical conventions, and in whose name might one begin to speak of, formulate, detail, or analyse the life of Jackie aka ‘Jacques’ Derrida?

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Miriam Cosic reviews 'A Spy in the Archives'

Miriam Cosic
31 October 2013

When Sheila Fitzpatrick arrived in Oxford in 1964, with a couple of years of Russian language studies at Melbourne University and a Commonwealth Scholarship under her belt, she had more than a passing knowledge of Cold War spying. Her father, Brian Fitzpatrick, was a labour historian and well-known leftist who had advised the Labor Opposition leader H.V. Evatt ... More

Richard Broinowski reviews 'Charles Robert Scrivener'

Richard Broinowski
31 October 2013

In the 1890s the six Australian colonies were preoccupied not only with getting a fair deal over tariffs and customs – and maintaining the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race – but also with the location of the national capital. Denizens of Melbourne and Sydney felt that it should be one of them. The compromise was a capital in New South Wales, closer to Sydney ... More

James Walter on the new biography of Margaret Thatcher

James Walter
30 October 2013

Our media treat leaders as personifying everything that matters, yet social scientists disdain leadership. Most of what we know about leaders comes from biographies. And biography, dominated by those wishing either to demonise, or to celebrate, their subject, is a craft monopolised by insiders, acolytes, and journalists. Regarding Margaret Thatcher, academics ... More

Gillian Terzis on 'The Story of Clive Palmer'

Gillian Terzis
30 October 2013

Even the most seasoned political observers would have been surprised at the Palmer United Party’s triumph at the federal election, which saw it claim three seats in the Senate. Was it a stroke of luck or the work of a remarkable political strategist? In any case, the political fate of the PUP’s founder remains undecided, more than a month after the electio ... More

Dennis Haskell reviews 'The Local Wildlife'

Dennis Haskell
30 September 2013

Pre-teen and early teen years had me and many others enjoying Ross Campbell’s witty column in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper about the goings-on in ‘Oxalis Cottage’, a fictionalised version of his Sydney home. Robert Drewe’s often hilarious columns for The Age and The Weekend West are a kind of modern equivalent, and a selection of ... More

A History of Silence

Kári Gíslason
25 September 2013

Memoirist Kári Gíslason reviews New Zealander author Lloyd Jones’s ‘brilliant memoir’ about the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch and a series of ancestral silences.

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Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'W. Macmahon Ball'

Lyndon Megarrity
27 August 2013

William Macmahon Ball (1901–86) was many things: an academic, a diplomat, a writer, and what we would now refer to as a ‘public intellectual’. As Ai Kobayashi’s new study of this fascinating man ably demonstrates, Ball was predominantly an educator. In the classroom, through books, and in the media, Ball encouraged his audience to reflect more deeply a ... More

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