Sarah Walker

What's it like losing a parent amid a pandemic? How do we mourn and celebrate when Covid-19 has made all public gatherings problematic? In her highly personal essay 'Contested breath', Sarah Walker explores with wit, humour and an unforgettable poignancy her experience of her mother's death during the coronavirus pandemic, and how to find the space to grieve when the world itself is shaken.

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2020 Calibre Essay Prize winner: Yves Rees

Australian Book Review
Monday, 01 June 2020

There’s a script for everything. Someone, voice wavering, says, ‘She’s dead’, and you say, ‘What?’ They say it again, and you say, ‘Oh, my god.’ You ask the usual questions, and then hang up and everything is incredibly quiet. You tell your boyfriend, and you both walk around the house trying to pack useful things: a sleeve of Valium, warm socks. You call your brother in London. He texts to say it’s five am there, can it wait? You call back. Before he even answers the phone, he knows.

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The Great Australian Play 

Sarah Walker
Wednesday, 26 February 2020

A play begins its conversation with an audience well before the house lights go down. Marketing images, PR blurbs, interviews – they all launch the process of introducing the work, of situating it in the world. By opening night, the audience is primed. A good production slips seamlessly from the abstract to the real, maintaining a coherent identity from marketing copy to stage. The Great Australian Play, now playing at Theatre Works, promises a scathing indictment of the emptiness at the heart of our national mythology. Instead, it delivers a meandering portrait of a writer who is embarrassed by his own source material.

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Oh No! Satan Stole My Pineal Gland! 

Sarah Walker
Monday, 23 September 2019

Oh No! Satan Stole My Pineal Gland! – almost certainly the best title in this year’s Fringe Festival – is a ridiculous yet rigorous work that demonstrates the wonderful agility of fringe theatre in Melbourne. After nearly twenty years in its North Melbourne hub, the Fringe has moved homes to the newly renovated Trades Hall ...

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Australian Realness 

Sarah Walker
Friday, 23 August 2019

Australians love a bogan in pop culture. Kath & Kim broke ratings records; The Castle regularly tops lists of favourite local films. This sense of affection for the working class becomes more complex off-screen, when Aussie battlers become ‘cashed-up bogans’ and turn Queensland into a Liberal state; when they start threatening middle-class values ...

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I swim at night, carving through water full of chlorine and tasting of mould, turning lap after lap before the pool closes down, while cells inside me hurry into being like bubbles under a running tap. The lifeguard stalks along beside the pool watching me. I know he’s trying to get me out, but I can’t stop swimming ...

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2019 Calibre Essay Prize winner: Grace Karskens

Australian Book Review
Thursday, 29 March 2018