Biography and Memoirs

Debbie Hamilton's 'Out of Bounds'

Debi Hamilton
27 November 2013

Last week I received an envelope in the mail, the address written in my father’s hand. My heart accelerated a little and it struck me as unseemly, at my age and in my circumstances, to be still so easily rattled by a parent.

The envelope was light – inside I found only a newspaper clipping and a small note. I spread them out on the kitchen bench. A frien ... More

Ian Gibbins on 'Gardens of Fire'

Ian Gibbins
27 November 2013

As I write this article in my Adelaide Hills home, surrounded by native eucalypts and introduced fruit trees, large areas in New South Wales are dealing with the consequences of some of the worst bushfires in recorded history. Remarkably, given the unseasonally extreme weather, the rugged terrain, and the ferocity of the fires the ... More

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?

... More

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 'Clive: The story of Clive Palmer' by Sean Parnell

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 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

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