Essays and Commentary

Patrick Allington reviews 'A Long Time Coming: Essays on old age' by Melanie Joosten

Patrick Allington
24 August 2016

Melanie Joosten begins the introduction to A Long Time Coming, her book of essays about ageing, by quoting Simone de Beauvoir: 'let us recognise ourselves ...

More

Kevin Rabalais reviews 'The Abundance' by Annie Dillard

Kevin Rabalais
22 August 2016

Read a few of the essays or chapter excerpts in Annie Dillard's The Abundance, and you might find yourself writing a letter to the author. Part of that letter might look like ...

More

'How do we live with ourselves? The Australian national conscience' by Alan Atkinson

Alan Atkinson
22 August 2016

When Australian federation was being planned and its implications first worked through, various men and women with agendas of their own set themselves ...

More

Carol Middleton reviews 'All my Januaries' by Barbara Blackman

Carol Middleton
25 July 2016

Amid the resurgence of the personal essay, Barbara Blackman's volume is a paragon of the genre. It reminds us how much experience, anecdote, and wisdom can ...

More

Doug Wallen reviews 'On Bowie' by Simon Critchley

Doug Wallen
25 July 2016

When David Bowie died in January 2016, Simon Critchley received many invitations to reflect on the pop star, in part because he had published a collection of brief essays ...

More

Daniel Juckes reviews 'Things My Mother Taught Me' by Claire Halliday

Daniel Juckes
24 May 2016

Claire Halliday's Things My Mother Taught Me opens thus: 'History is a personal thing.' But in this book – a collection of interviews with famous Australians about ...

More

2016 Calibre Essay Prize (Winner): 'The Great Red Whale'

Michael Winkler
23 May 2016

The history of my onomastic apprehension and misapprehension about the big thing in the middle of Australia: It is called Ayers Rock. No, it is ...

More

Brian Matthews reviews 'We Need Silence to Find Out What What We Think: Selected Essays' by Shirley Hazzard

Brian Matthews
26 April 2016

In her speech as the winner of the 2003 National Book Award, Shirley Hazzard said, 'We should do our best by the language. We mustn't torture it; we mustn't diminish it. We have to love it, nurture it, and enjoy it.'

Reading Hazzard, as she is variously represented in this collection, is to encounter a writer who has done her 'best by the language' and, in t ... More

Jill Jones reviews 'Everywhere I Look' by Helen Garner

Jill Jones
22 April 2016

You could regard this latest book by Helen Garner as simply a collection of various essays, a miscellany if you wish, but to do so would be to give it less than its due. There is nothing casual or accidental about Everywhere I Look. Its coherence may, of course, have much to do with Garner's voice, which is consistent and compelling, as is her actual writin ... More

James McNamara reviews 'The Best American Essays 2015' edited by Ariel Levy and 'The Best Australian Essays 2015' edited by Geordie Williamson

James McNamara
24 February 2016

At the back of the cupboard of old lies is a crusty one that goes like this: the essay is a lesser form of literature. Oddly, it is perpetuated in collections like Ariel Levy's The Best American Essays 2015, which – in its foreword by series editor Robert Atwan – bashfully admits that essays are the B-team of the writing world. 'The quintessential essay ... More

Page 4 of 12