Tim Bowden, ABC journalist and historian, hosted a television program called BackChat between 1987 and 1994. Viewers could write in with their comments on Aunty’s offerings. One correspondent criticised the Rob Sitch-inspired spoof of the commercial current affairs programs, Frontline ...... (read more)
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.... (read more)
Mary Cunnane, who has worked in the publishing industry since 1976, laments the laziness and irritation of those publishers who resent and underestimate unsolicited submissions from authors... (read more)
Books of the Year is always one our most popular features of the year. Find out what 30 senior contributors liked most this year – and why.... (read more)
Italo Calvino once observed that the ideal condition for a writer is ‘close to anonymity’, adding that ‘the more the author’s figure invades the field, the more the world he portrays empties’. These comments about anonymity were made during an interview on Swiss television, no less. Calvino must have felt his imaginary worlds slipping away as he spoke ...... (read more)
For centuries, Japan has magnetised the West’s imagination, evoking both fear and fascination. In the late nineteenth century, when most writers and readers in Europe, North America, and Australia had yet to see this ‘young’, newly accessible country for themselves, literary fantasies on the Madam Butterfly theme became a craze. Then, after Japan invaded ...
Telling Stories is a great brick of a book full of diverting bits and pieces about Australian culture over the past seventy-seven years. It is hugely entertaining – a sort of QIin book form, with seventy-nine authors offering their brief observations on aspects of Australian cultural life. No one will read it cover to ...
Nothing ever gets taken out of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) – at least, that’s what I believed until I read this book. Words which are no longer used simply stay where they are, complete with their quotations, and the addition of a small dagger symbol (†) to signify their obsolescence: for example,
‘I do get truculent sometimes. As you know.’ So wrote the American novelist William Gaddis (1922–98) to his mother in 1950, before anybody, except perhaps Gaddis himself, suspected him of greatness. The Letters of William Gaddis, edited by prominent Gaddis scholar Steven Moore, might easily have been called Truculent Sometimes. A big book, ...