Alex Miller (1936–), is an Australian novelist. His first novel, Watching the Climbers on the Mountain was published in 1988. Since then, he has won many awards for his fiction. He has twice won the Miles Franklin award, for The Ancestor Game (1993) and for Journey to the Stone Country (2003), and also twice won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, for Conditions of Faith (2001) and Lovesong (2011).
Morag Fraser has written about Journey to the Stone Country (2002) as part of the Reading Australia initiative. Click here to read her essay.
Further Reading and Links
Brenda Walker reviews Alex Miller: The Ruin of Time (2014) in the December 2014 issue of ABR
Jane Goodall reviews The Novels of Alex Miller: An Introduction (2012) in the June 2012 issue of ABR
Brian Matthews reviews Coal Creek (2013) in the October 2013 issue of ABR
Morag Fraser reviews Autumn Laign (2011) in the October 2011 issue of ABR
Open Page with Alex Miller in the October 2009 issue of ABR
Jane Sullivan, Interview: Alex Miller, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 October 2013
Andrea Streeton reviews Journey to the Stone Country, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 November 2002
‘Miles author hits out at ‘‘dud’’ Rudd’, Jason Steger, The Age, 22 April 2010
Australian Book Review welcomes, and is pleased to contribute, to Reading Australia, a visionary new initiative of Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Reading Australia will publish online resources for the teaching and study of Australian literature in Australian schools and universities. Distinguished Australian, scholars and commentators will appraise 200 major Australian books in stylish, helpful, accessible 2000-word essays, all intended to heighten our appreciation of Australian writing.
ABR will commission and publish some of these essays (and refers our readers to the Reading Australia website for the others). Some of the ABR essays will appear in print. All of them will appear on our website. Students and general readers will learn much from these succinct essays.
Reading Australia essays commissioned and published by Australian Book Review:
Helen Garner (1942–) is an Australian novelist and non-fiction writer. Garner’s first novel, Monkey Grip, was published in 1977 and was adapted for film in 1981. Since then she has written many works of fiction, including The Children’s Bach (1984), Cosmo Cosmolino (1992), and The Spare Room (2008), as well as non-fiction, including The First Stone (1995), Joe Cinque’s Consolation (2004), and most recently The House of Grief (2014). She has won numerous literary awards and in 2006 she won the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature.
Bernadette Brennan has written about The Children's Bach (1984) as part of the Reading Australia initiative. Click here to read her essay.
Further reading and links
Peter Rose reviews Joe Cinque's Consolation (2004) in the September 2004 issue of ABR
Peter Rose reviews The Spare Room (2008) in the May 2008 issue of ABR
Felicity Plunkett reviews This House of Grief (2014) in the September 2014 issue of ABR
Jennifer Byrne interviews Helen Garner for The Book Club (aired 23/09/2014)
'Helen Garner visits the dark side of humanity'. Interview with Jennifer Byrne for ABC's Big Ideas (published 8/3/2010)
'A Pleasant Discord'. Kathryn Kramer reviews The Children's Bach and Postcards from Surfers in the New York Times, 7 December, 1986
Raimond Gaita was born in Germany in 1946. He is Emeritus Professor of moral philosophy at Kings College London and a Professorial fellow at the Melbourne Law School and the faculty of Arts of the University of Melbourne.
His books have been published in many translations. They include: Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception (1991), Romulus, My Father (1998), A Common Humanity, The Philosopher’s Dog (2002) and After Romulus (2011). A feature film of Romulus, My Father was released in 2007, and won the AFI award for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Young Actor.
Kári Gíslason has written about Romulus, My Father as part of the Reading Australia initiative. Click here to read his essay.
Further Reading and Links
Paul Morgan reviews After Romulus by Raimond Gaita for the October 2011 issue of Australian Book Review
Jean Curthoys reviews A Sense for Humanity: The Ethical Thought of Raimond Gaita edited by Craig Taylor with Melinda Graeffe for the October 2014 issue of Australian Book Review
Craig Taylor reviews The Antipodean Philosopher, Volume 2: Interviews with Australian and New Zealand Philosophers edited by Graham Oppy and N.N. Trakakis for the December 2012 - January 2013 issue of Australian Book Review
'From Frogmore, Victoria: Understanding Raimond Gaita' by Helen Garner, published in The Monthly, May 2007
'Truth, writing and national belonging in Romulus, My Father' by Brigitta Olubas, published in Australian Humanities Review, Issue 43, December 2007
Germaine Greer (1939–), is an Australian academic, author and theorist. She was born in Melbourne, completed an arts degree at Melbourne University in 1959 and a Masters degree at Sydney University in 1962, before going as a Commonwealth Scholar to Newnham College, Cambridge, where in 1967 she wrote her doctorate on Shakespeare's early comedies. In 1970 the publication of The Female Eunuch made her a public figure in the United States, Australia, Britain, and Europe (where it was widely translated). Since then she has published many books, including the memoir Daddy, We Hardly Knew You (1989), The Change: Women, Ageing, and the Menopause (1991), Shakespeare's Wife (2007), and White Beech (2014).
Miriam Cosic has written about The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer as part of the Reading Australia initiative. Click here to read her essay.
Further Reading and Links
John Thompson reviews White Beech (2014) in the February 2014 issue of ABR
‘Germaine Greer stirs the pot again on Q and A with Julie Bishop question’. Josephine Tovey, The Age, 10 March, 2015
‘The Female Eunuch 40 years on’. Laurie Penny, The Guardian, 27 October, 2010
‘The Better Self? Germaine Greer and the Female Eunuch’. Louis Nowra, The Monthly, March, 2010
‘80 Days That Changed Our Lives – Publication of Germaine Greer’s the Female Eunuch’ ABC TV, March, 2015
‘Germaine Greer & The Female Eunuch’. State Library of Victoria, ERGO, 2015
The outlook for America in Obama’s second term Morag Fraser
Fit audience of readers Bernadette Brennan
The cult of Rupert Murdoch Joel Deane
A copious biography of J.M. Coetzee Gillian Dooley
Shapes of feelings in Brian Castro Francesca Sasnaitis
When Nettie Palmer visited Henry Handel Richardson Brenda Niall
Asian Australian fiction in the Asian Century Alison Broinowski
The life of David Foster Wallace Shannon Burns
Artur Domosławski: Ryszard Kapuściński Sheila Fitzpatrick
Diana Wyndham: Norman Haire and the Study of Sex John Rickard
Sonya Hartnett (ed.): The Best Australian Stories 2012 Cassandra Atherton
Anthony Macris: Great Western Highway Patrick Allington
Graeme Simsion: The Rosie Project Jo Case
Jessie Cole: Darkness on the Edge of Town Romy Ash
Annabel Smith: Whisky Charlie Foxtrot Stephen Mansfield
Matthew Condon: The Toe Tag Quintet Simon Collinson
Ross Gibson: 26 Views of the Starburst World Andy Lloyd James
Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden (eds): The Letters of T.S. Eliot James McNamara
William Shawcross (ed.): Counting One’s Blessings Michael Shmith
Charles Rosen: Freedom and the Arts Michael Morley
Kelly Gellatly (ed.): 101 Contemporary Australian Artists Doug Hall
Lincoln Morag Fraser
Nikki Gemmell: Honestly Gillian Dooley
Jon Altman and Seán Kerins (eds): People on Country Richard J. Martin
Richard Broinowski: Fallout from Fukushima Gillian Terzis
‘Life Cycle of the Eel’ Sarah Holland-Batt
‘Fragile Pranks’ Emma Lew
Young Adult Fiction
James Roy: City Laura Elvery
Alison Croggon: Black Spring Bec Kavanagh
Glyn Maxwell: On Poetry David McCooey
Simon Armitage: Walking Home Bronwyn Lea
Don Share and Christian Wiman (eds): The Open Door Stephen Edgar
Jennifer Maiden: Liquid Nitrogen Kate Middleton
Graeme Kinross-Smith: Available Light Mike Ladd
Alan Wearne: Prepare the Cabin for Landing Peter Kenneally
Julianne Schultz (ed.): Griffith Review 38 Imogen Smith
J.H. Elliott: History in the Making Norman Etherington
Kenneth Slessor (1901–1971) was an Australian poet, war correspondent and journalist. Born in Orange NSW, he began writing poetry as a child with his first publication appearing in the Bulletin. He began his career as a journalist at The Sun in 1920 before later becoming a war correspondent to the Commonwealth in 1940. He was highly critical of poets such as Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson, preferring the styles of city-dwelling writers such as Hugh McCrae and Jack Lindsay over ‘bush poetry’. He received the O.B.E for services to literature in 1959. The Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry has been created in his honour with the most recent recipient being Fiona Hile for Novelties in 2014.
Peter Kirkpatrick has written about One Hundred Poems: 1919–1939 by Kenneth Slessor as part of the Reading Australia initiative. Click here to read his essay.
Further Reading and Links
‘Slessor, Kenneth Adolf’. Dennis Haskell, Australian Dictionary of Biography Entry: Volume 16
‘Kenneth Slessor’s Importance’. Clive James, via clivejames.com (April, 1976)
‘Kenneth Adolf Slessor’. Biography on the Australian War Memorial website
‘Kenneth Slessor’. Bibliography on the Poetry Foundation website
Elizabeth Jolley AO (4 June 1923–13 February 2007) was an English-born writer who moved to Western Australia in 1959 with her husband Leonard Jolley and their three children. She was fifty-three when her first book, Five Acre Virgin and Other Stories (1976), was published, and she went on to publish fifteen novels (including an autobiographical trilogy), four short story collections and three non-fiction books. She won The Age Book of the Year Award three times (for Mr Scobie's Riddle (1983), My Father's Moon (1989)and The Georges' Wife(1993)) and she won the Miles Franklin Award for The Well (1986). She was recognised in Australia with an AO for services to literature and was awarded Honorary Doctorates from Curtin University (1986); Macquarie (1995), Queensland (1997) and The University of New South Wales (2000).
Delys Bird wrote about Miss Peabody's Inheritance as part of Copyright Agency's Reading Australia project. Click here to read her essay.
Further reading and Links
Francesca Rendle-Short's review of The House of Fiction by Susan Swingler published in the May 2012 issue of ABR.
'The Jolley Deception' by Susan Wyndham, published in The Age 28
'Fiction and lies: what we learn from Elizabeth Jolley’s love letters' by Elizabeth Webby, published in The Conversation 29 October 2013
David Williamson (1942–) is one of Australia's most decorated playwrights. Writer of award-winning theatre, film and television, David's works have remained consistently relevant, with new seasons performed yearly. He has won awards in both film and theatre, with The Removalists earning him the George Devine Award as well as the prestige of being the first foreigner to win the award. The Removalists was the first of Williamson's plays to head abroad, being performed in London in the early 1970's. Later being adapted for the screen by Williamson, staring Jacki Weaver and Peter Cummins, the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival, receiving critical praise. Williamson continues to produce works for stage and screen with his recent successes including Balibo (2009) and Rupert (2013).
James McNamara has written about The Removalists as part of the Reading Australia initiative. Click here to read his essay.
Further reading and links
'40 years on, The Removalists is still asking big questions', Natalie Bochenski, The Brisbane Times, 12 August 2014
'Still facing the brutal reality', Elissa Blake, Sydney Morning Herald,
Video interview with David Williamson for Brisbane Powerhouses' 2013 season performance of The Removalists
Thea Astley (25 August 1925–17 August 2004) was an Australian novelist and short story writer. Her first novel, Girl with a Monkey, was published in 1958. She was a prolific and multi-award-winning writer who published fifteen novels and two short story collections and won the Miles Franklin award four times (for The Well Dressed Explorer in 1962, for The Slow Natives in 1965, for The Acolyte in 1972, and then for her last novel, Drylands, in 2000). Other awards she received include: The Patrick White Award in 1989, The Age Book of the Year Award for A Kindness Cup in 1975, the 1980 James Cook Foundation of Australian Literature Studies Award for Hunting the Wild Pineapple, the 1986 ALS Gold Medal for Beachmasters, the 1988 Steele Rudd Award for It's Raining in Mango, the 1990 NSW Premier's Prize for Reaching Tin River, and the 1996 Age Book of the Year Award and the FAW Australian Unity Award for The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow.
Susan Sheridan has written about It’s Raining in Mango (1987) as part of the Reading Australia initiative. Click here to read her essay.
Further reading and links
Susan Wyndham’s ‘Literary World Mourns Thea Astley’ published in the Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 2004.
Valerie Miner’s review of It’s Raining in Mango ‘Four Generations Down Under’ published in the LA Times, 22 November 1987.