Non Fiction

In April 2012, barely a week after Queensland had elected a conservative government to office for the first time in twenty-six years, Campbell Newman announced the abolition of the state-funded premier’s literary awards. The decision, despite disingenuous claims to the contrary, was entirely symbolic, coming as it did before Newman’s Liberal National Party ...

Mary Eagle reviews 'Affairs of the Art'

Mary Eagle
Saturday, 27 April 2013

What happens when a famous artist dies, leaving a wife, husband, or children to tend the flame? The question recurs in Ian Hamilton’s spellbinding Keepers of the Flame (1992), an account of a dozen literary estates over a period of three hundred years, and remains suspended in this journalistic assessment by Katrina Strickland of the manag ...

Julian Meyrick: 'National cultural policy-making 101'

Julian Meyrick
Saturday, 27 April 2013

To estimate the amount of waffle in a cultural policy document, try this patented test: (i) identify a given sentence or section; (ii) highlight the key terms; (iii) swap the key terms around. If it still makes as much sense, it’s waffle. Another way of saying this is that there are always two people responsible for cultural policy. The first is reasonable, ...

Rachel Robertson reviews 'Boomer & Me' by Jo Case

Rachel Robertson
Friday, 26 April 2013

The last decade has seen a significant growth both in the number of motherhood memoirs and in books about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Australia is no exception to this trend, and Jo Case, in Boomer & Me, makes a contribution to both fields. As someone who has written a motherhood memoir about autism, I am a sympathetic reviewer but might also be c ...

Mark Latham rose to the leadership of the Labor Party unexpectedly, lost the 2004 federal election, retired to sulk from the sidelines, and has done so ever since. Whether he or Graham Richardson has done more damage to the party that nurtured them is a question I leave to the blogosphere. Before Latham became leader in 2003, he published considerably more abo ...

'The Lonely Death' by Hayley Katzen

Hayley Katzen
Friday, 26 April 2013
Find Me Before I Die a Lonely Death.com

– Title of an album by electronic band Minuit

A human body exposed to summer heat can be reduced to bones in nine days. First the flies and maggots feast on the body’s fluids. As the tissues decay, they feed on the whole body through orifices and wounds. N ...

Everyone’s a Critic

Kerryn Goldsworthy
Wednesday, 24 April 2013

‘We place on paper without hesitation a tissue of flatteries, to which in society we could not give utterance, for our lives, without either blushing or laughing outright,’ wrote Edgar Allan Poe in 1846. His title was ‘The Literati of New York City’; his topic was the discrepancy, as he saw it, between the critics’ private opinions of books and the p ...

An unsuspecting reader might guess that this book belongs to the disreputable genre of psychobiography. Beginning with Sigmund Freud’s analysis of Leonardo da Vinci (1910), which explored themes of unconscious homosexuality and maternal attachment, biographers have attempted to make sense of individual lives with the aid of psychological theory, most often of a ps ...

Rachel Robertson reviews 'Welcome to Your New Life'

Rachel Robertson
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The welcome in the title of this memoir refers both to Goldsworthy welcoming her baby son and to her recognition that her own life has irrevocably changed. The commonplace but also profound shifts resulting from motherhood are gently displayed for the reader, without sentimentality or the relentless self-deprecating irony of many motherhood memoirs and blogs. As rea ...

Paul Humphries reviews 'Flood Country' by Emily O’Gorman

Paul Humphries
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A friend and colleague from Europe visited in October 2010 for the first time in almost a decade. I had peppered him in the intervening years with emails bemoaning the long drought, the record heat, the lack of rain, the bushfires, the water restrictions, the young and old trees dying, the rivers ceasing to flow and finally drying altogether. I had described the har ...

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