Commentary

It is a famous parable. If a frog is dropped in boiling water, it will immediately leap out. But if placed in tepid water that is gradually heated, the frog will not notice the increasing temperature until it is boiled alive. The parable may be biologically inaccurate, but it remains instructive in the context of civil liberties ...

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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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It is easy to overlook that nature itself has a history – or at least our thinking about it does. In the years since Henry Thoreau initiated the modern genre of return-to-nature literature in Walden (1854), his autobiographical account of a two-year stint in the woods, the view that the natural world is a sphere apart – a realm untouched by human interv ...

The Australian outback has long been a muse for artists and storytellers. Australian flora – including the iconic eucalypt in its many forms – has the ability to tell a story about cultural identity and our rich history with the land. This extends to our urban landscape, with native plants common throughout our bustling city streets and parks – they can transf ...

If you google the words ‘Night Parrot’, they come up with a companion set of adjectives, the most common being ‘elusive’, followed by ‘mysterious’, ‘secretive’, ‘enigmatic’, ‘mythical’, and, until recently, ‘thought-to-be-extinct’. Apart from anecdotal claims, there were no confirmed sightings of the Night Parrot from 1912, when one was captured and shot, until a dead parrot was found by a roadside in 1990 and a live bird was photographed by naturalist John Young in Western Queensland in 2013. Controversy, compromised reputations, and accusations of faked evidence followed the re-emergence

 

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At first I can’t make out the inscription, even though I’m searching for it. Smooth new bark has grown into the cuts, bulging around the incision, preserving the words on the trunk. I run my hand across the surface, tracing the grooves, feeling the letters: R-E-T-R-I-B-U-T-I-O-N. And below, in slightly larger hand, ‘CAMP’ ...

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Stan Grant’s comment on the prolonged booing of the Australian Rules football star Adam Goodes – featured in Daniel Gordon’s new documentary, The Australian Dream (produced by Grant himself) – has attracted much interest, including more than one million hits on one website ...

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In retrospect, the Morrison government’s win in May 2019 is not surprising. After the shift to the right in a number of liberal democracies since the election of Donald Trump, why did we assume that Australia would be immune? The assumption that Labor was certain to win resembled the attitude of most commentators towards Hillary Clinton ...

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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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In June 2019, Australian Book Review announced the ABR Behrouz Boochani Fellowship, an initiative generously funded by Peter McMullin in association with the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness (University of Melbourne). This initiative was not only created to highlight issues pertaining to ...

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