Each year, ABR’s prestigious Calibre Essay Prize, one of the world’s leading prizes for a new essay, attracts some of the finest writers from Australia and overseas.
Tehran, April 1987: Going Under - Descending in a stream of arpeggio broken chords: as we moved through night and the vernal air down into the green earth, my mother thought she heard a children’s song on the stairs as the bombs fell cascading. Like bells, bells of Hades sounding out inverted intervals, the bombs fell interminably. The sirens that were singing sang us downward to the damp islands of the underground shelter, a honeycomb under the Tehran metropolis, buzzing with heat-maddened, with death-maddened men and women ...... (read more)
It is quiet and cool and dark blue. At this depth the pressure on my body is double what it is at the surface: my heartbeat has slowed, blood has started to withdraw from my extremities and move into the space my compressed lungs have created ...... (read more)
The history of my onomastic apprehension and misapprehension about the big thing in the middle of Australia: It is called Ayers Rock. No, it is ...... (read more)
In 2013 we published Martin Thomas's Calibre Prize-winning essay ‘“Because it’s your country”: Bringing Back the Bones to West Arnhem Land'. This powerful story of the repatriation of Aboriginal bones soon became the best read article on our website and we are delighted to be able to launch the ABR podcast with it.... (read more)
Percy Grainger walked to avoid self-flagellation. David Sedaris walked to placate his Fitbit. Virginia Woolf walked the streets of London, and later the South Downs, endlessly: because she loved it, because she was walking her dogs, because she needed to think clearly. For Henry Thoreau, every walk was a sort of ‘crusade’ ...... (read more)
During a lull in the fiercest weather event the south-east of the continent has seen in thirty years – we call them ‘events’ these days, as though someone’s putting them on – I went out on a Sunday morning and bought myself a book.
I should tell you that we live on an acre in the country one hundred and t ...
I am at the exhibition ‘National Treasures from Australia’s Great Libraries’. I have come to see a picture of a man named Bungaree. I am standing in front of him, but I am distanced. The painting is glazed, low-lit, hung on a wall on the far side of quite a deep display case. If I stand up straight he is in focus, but too far away for me to see the details. As ...
Odd to start by quoting P.G. Wodehouse: ‘She was a girl with a wonderful profile, but steeped to the gills in serious purpose.’ Bertie Wooster is complaining, in ‘Jeeves Takes Charge’1, about Honoria Glossop, who has forced upon him ‘Types of Ethical Theory’. ‘Odd’ because anyone steeped to the gills i ...