Patrick Allington

This issue of open access e-journal Transnational Literature offers contributions from a 2009 symposium on migration, held in Adelaide. It is a diverse collection, appropriately so given persistent themes of dislocation, assimilation and multiculturalism. Still, perhaps diversity has its limits: the issue is burdened with Graeme Harper’s keynote symposium address, a ponderous and misplaced commentary on ‘the journey’ creative writers undertake: ‘As might already be realised, post-working can be the pre-working for future Creative Writing, and it can (and often is [sic]) emphasize the fact that creative writers are creative writers because they are actively engaged in one or more of the many acts of Creative Writing.’

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Patrick Allington reviews 'Unintelligent Design' by Robyn Williams

Patrick Allington
Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) suggests that the Babel fish, which, when inserted into the ear, offers instant translations of any alien language, cannot have evolved by mere chance. Similarly, proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) argue that, as Robyn Williams summarises, ‘there are parts of the natural world so complex and engineered with such precision that only a very smart intelligence, not blundering selection, could account for them’.

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Open Page with Patrick Allington

Australian Book Review
Monday, 27 July 2020

I appreciate critics who enter into a conversation with a book and who draw upon curiosity, wonder, and deep thinking to judge. Maria Tumarkin writes magnificently about writers and books.

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Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Rise & Shine' by Patrick Allington

Naama Grey-Smith
Tuesday, 26 May 2020

‘What is the use of saying, “Peace, Peace” when there is no peace below the diaphragm?’ asks Chinese writer Lin Yutang in The Importance of Living (1937). The subject of food and its manifestations – sustenance, communion, gluttony, longing – has claimed a place in the books of every era and genre, from heavenly manna in the Book of Exodus to starving gladiators in Suzanne Collins’s multi-billion-dollar The Hunger Games franchise. Writers as varied as Marcel Proust and Margaret Atwood have prioritised this theme in their work.

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Pandemic reading: Books that solace or distract

Tim Flannery et al.
Monday, 27 April 2020

ABR asked a few colleagues and contributors to nominate some books that have beguiled them – might even speak to others – at this unusual time.

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Patrick Allington reviews Bodies of Men by Nigel Featherstone

Patrick Allington
Monday, 22 July 2019

From its raw and revelatory prologue, Nigel Featherstone’s novel Bodies of Men offers a thoroughly humanising depiction of Australians during World War II. In telling the story of two soldiers, William – too young to be a corporal – and his childhood friend ...

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2017 Books of the Year

Australian Book Review
Sunday, 26 November 2017

To celebrate the best books of 2017 Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser, Susan Wyndham, James Ley, Geordie Williamson, Jane Sullivan, Tom Griffiths, Mark Edele, and Brenda Niall.

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In his fiction, Steven Carroll stretches and slows time. He combines this with deliberate over-explaining and repetition, the echoing of memories and ideas, coincidence, and theatricality. A distinctive rhythm results: when reading his work, I often find myself nodding in time to the words. Occasionally – and it happens now and again in his new novel, A New En ...

South Australia remains something of a national contradiction in terms, and this is brought out well in this richly diverse and varied collection of essays and stories. Shifting its focus away from Adelaide to many of South Australia’s older industrial and pre-industrial centres, including Whyalla, Port Augusta, the Riverland, and Clare, Griffith Review’s St ...

Books of the Year 2016

Sheila Fitzpatrick et al.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Originally published in German, Albrecht Dümling’s The Vanished Musicians: Jewish refugees in Australia (Peter Lang), a fascinating compendium of Jewish musicians who found refuge in Australia in the 1930s and 1940s, is now available in Australian Diana K. Weekes’s excellent translation ...

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