Essays and Commentary

ABR RAFT Fellowship: 'God and Caesar in Australia' by Paul Collins

Paul Collins
23 February 2018

Like it or lump it, Catholicism is enormously influential in Australia. This is true even just in terms of raw statistics. The Catholic Church is the largest religious body in the country, More

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Elizabeth Harrower: Critical essays' edited by Elizabeth McMahon and Brigitta Olubas

Susan Sheridan
22 February 2018

The appearance in 2014 of In Certain Circles, a new novel from Elizabeth Harrower, was an important literary event. The author, who still lives in Sydney, had published nothing si More

Lucas Thompson reviews 'The Best Australian Essays 2017' edited by Anna Goldsworthy

Lucas Thompson
22 February 2018

It takes only five months for a newt to regrow a lost limb. Skittles and Tic Tacs both made public statements denouncing Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential race. Psychologists have More

'Picnic at Hanging Rock fifty years on' by Marguerite Johnson

Marguerite Johnson
24 November 2017

Far from being a flimsy, frilly story for women full of antique charm and middle-class manners, Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock is a novel of sharp social observations and nuanced More

ABR RAFT Fellowship: 'If This Is a Jew' by Elisabeth Holdsworth

Elisabeth Holdsworth
27 October 2017

For most of my life I have thought of myself as a secular Jew; fascinated by the turbulent history of the Jews, not part of synagogue life. All that changed in 2012. We were living in Goul More

Suzy Freeman-Greene reviews 'Bitch Doctrine: Essays for dissenting adults' by Laurie Penny

Suzy Freeman-Greene
25 October 2017

Like Wonder Woman loping across a battlefield, arms raised, bracelets repelling bullets, Laurie Penny charges boldly into the culture wars. In Bitch Doctrine, we traverse trigger More

Mark Williams reviews 'Can You Tolerate This?: Personal essays' by Ashleigh Young

Mark Williams
30 August 2017

Ashleigh Young is one of a number of writers currently distinguishing themselves as the latest generation to emerge from the creative writing program at Victoria University in Wellington. The course, founded by Bill Manhire in 1975, maintains the supply of excellence that attracted so much resentment as its ‘spectacular babies’ – from Barbara Anderson to Elean ... More

'Beyond Songlines' by Philip Jones

Philip Jones
24 August 2017

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines, one of the most influential books about Australia to reach an international a More

Sue Kossew reviews 'Late Essays: 2006–2017' by J.M. Coetzee

Sue Kossew
24 August 2017

While it is true that the essay as a genre has a long and continuous history, it is not always an easy form to categorise or define. J.M. Coetzee has himself contrasted the ‘rather tight discourse’ of criticism with the relative freedom of writing fiction. Indeed, essays – like those collected in this volume – require ‘slow reading’, a term derived from ... More

David Schlosberg reviews 'How Did We Get Into This Mess? Politics, equality, nature' by George Monbiot

David Schlosberg
23 July 2017

In reviewing this broad retrospective of George Monbiot’s Guardian columns, How Did We Get Into This Mess?, it is difficult to focus solely on the actual content of those commen More

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