Essays and Commentary

#Queryfail

Mary Cunnane
27 November 2013

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

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Patrick White: A theatre of his own

Andrew Fuhrmann
30 October 2013

Andrew Fuhrmann’s acclaimed Fellowship essay on the theatre of Patrick White closely examines these brilliant, problematic plays and draws on interview material with key directors closely associated with White.

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At dusk in the Gévaudan

Tom Griffiths
26 August 2013

Thirty years ago, I walked out of the railway station at Le Puy in the Auvergne region of the Massif Central of France, put most of my belongings in a locker at the station along with a note in schoolboy French explaining that I hoped to be back, and then walked over the horizon at sunset. I was embarked on my discovery of the Velay and the Gévaudan. < ... More

Peter Craven reviews 'The Young Desire It' by Kenneth Mackenzie

Peter Craven
25 August 2013

The legend of Kenneth Mackenzie (1913–55) has always hovered around the corridors of Australian literature. From Western Australia, was he? Died young, didn’t he? Trouble with drink, wasn’t it? Or sexual identity, could it have been? They say he’s worth reading but nobody much has, have they?

Well, the republication of The Young ... More

In the Moscow archives

Sheila Fitzpatrick
22 August 2013
Distinguished Soviet historian Sheila Fitzpatrick – now back in Australia – writes about her remarkable experiences in Moscow from 1966 and about the perils of being an exchange student and researcher. More

Simon Caterson on 'John le Carré’s spy at fifty'

Simon Caterson
26 May 2013

In describing the enduring cultural impact of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – published fifty years ago and often nominated as the best spy novel ever written – a good place to start, strange though it may sound, is James Bond. John le Carré’s squalid yet subtle world of Cold War spies may appear antithetical to the glamorous fantasy of Bond. ... More

Penguins on Horseback

Emma McEwin
25 May 2013

Wandering through the Mawson collection at the South Australian Museum one winter afternoon, I stare through the glass at the reconstruction of my great-grandfather, Douglas Mawson’s room in the hut, the sound of a moaning blizzard in my ears. The eerie sound of the wind coming through the installation, so familiar to Mawson and his men, is strangely allurin ... More

Julian Meyrick: 'National cultural policy-making 101'

Julian Meyrick
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, ... More

'The Lonely Death' by Hayley Katzen

Hayley Katzen
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 ... More

Everyone’s a Critic

Kerryn Goldsworthy
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 ... More

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