Book Talk

What goes on at magazines and inside publishing houses? What’s involved in putting together a magazine like ABR? Where do an editor’s responsibilities and entitlements begin and end? And beyond the world of magazines, what’s happening in bookshops and publishing houses and major libraries. What are the new threats to the humanities in our universities?

In Book Talk, ABR takes you behind the scenes and introduces you to a number of individuals and organisations that help to shape our cultural life.


The members of PEN Melbourne know full well what this knock at the door signifies for a writer who has spoken out courageously against a tyrannical government. PEN Melbourne condemns the arbitrary arrests of members and staff of the Belarus PEN centre for carrying out peaceful protests against the recent presidential election result, following claims that the vote was falsified. Those detained include secretary, poet, and translator Hanna Komar, project manager, poet, and translator Uladzimir Liankievic, and translator Siarzh Miadzvedzeu.

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Thinking in headlines

Peter Rose
24 August 2020

What we read at difficult times in our lives – plague, insurrection, divorce, major root canal work, etc. – is always telling. Carlyle, miserable and unwell at Kirkcaldy, read the whole of Gibbon straight through – twelve volumes in twelve days – with a kind of horrified fascination. I recall one friend who, at a time of ineffable tension, calmly read Les Misérables, one thousand pages long, in a single week. (I would have been incapable of reading a tabloid.) Another time, lovelorn in Siena, I stayed in my ghastly hotel room and read The Aunt’s Story right through while the handsome Sienese sunned themselves in the companionable Campo.

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The cancellations started in the middle of March, just after Adelaide Writers’ Week. One by one, the various writers’ festivals advised that due to Covid-19 they would not be proceeding.

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Q&A with Monash intern Bernd Faveere

Australian Book Review
10 February 2020

'The ABR internship was a wonderful opportunity offered by the university to inject some practical experience into my Literature major.'

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'Poetry and Australian Book Review'

John Hawke
24 January 2020

John Hawke – poet, academic, and poetry editor of ABR – chaired the judging panel for the 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize. At the Porter Prize ceremony held at the Boyd Community Hub on January 16, he addressed various themes in his opening remarks. Following readings of the five shortlisted poems, Morag Fraser then named A. Frances Johnson as the overall winner of the Porter Prize. 

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Dear Chancellor French, I write this open letter to you to make certain points about the environment of university press publishing, in support of UWA Press and its Director, Professor Terri-ann White, and her team.

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The closure of UWA Publishing

Daniel Juckes
14 November 2019

Sometimes Western Australia feels a long way from anywhere. Of course, that can be an attraction. It makes for something distinct and telling: everyone either revels in it or rebels against it, and both are productive in their own way. But now we must resist. The University of Western Australia’s recent decision to close UWA Publishing (at least in its present form) has made the gap between here and the rest of the country yawn. Western Australians need support from other literary communities across Australia if UWAP is to be reinstated.

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ASAL protests the non-appointment of the University of Sydney Chair of Australian Literature

The Association for the Study of Australian Literature
18 October 2019

As the largest and one of the oldest literary associations in Australia, and the peak body representing Australian literary studies, the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) joins with its affiliated Associations in expressing the gravest possible concern about the non-appointment of the Chair of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney following Professor Robert Dixon’s retirement this year.

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This month something truly remarkable has happened for Australia. It won’t make front-page news or cause a Twitter storm, but it exists for every one of us. The national, state, and territory libraries joined forces to launch one giant national digital collection of Australian publications. It’s called National edeposit – or NED for short ...

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'Long Live the Bookshop'

Robbie Egan
09 August 2019

In June 2019 I got a new perspective on an industry I’ve been part of for twenty-five years. I have attended many Australian Booksellers Association’s (ABA) conferences as a bookseller, but this year’s ninety-fifth annual conference in Melbourne was my first as CEO of the ABA. More than three hundred delegates came together to ...

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