Essays and Commentary

Kevin Rabalais reviews 'The Abundance' by Annie Dillard

Kevin Rabalais
Monday, 22 August 2016

Read a few of the essays or chapter excerpts in Annie Dillard's The Abundance, and you might find yourself writing a letter to the author. Part of that letter might look like ...

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When Australian federation was being planned and its implications first worked through, various men and women with agendas of their own set themselves ...

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Amid the resurgence of the personal essay, Barbara Blackman's volume is a paragon of the genre. It reminds us how much experience, anecdote, and wisdom can ...

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Doug Wallen reviews 'On Bowie' by Simon Critchley

Doug Wallen
Monday, 25 July 2016

When David Bowie died in January 2016, Simon Critchley received many invitations to reflect on the pop star, in part because he had published a collection of brief essays ...

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Claire Halliday's Things My Mother Taught Me opens thus: 'History is a personal thing.' But in this book – a collection of interviews with famous Australians about ...

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2016 Calibre Essay Prize (Winner): 'The Great Red Whale'

Michael Winkler
Monday, 23 May 2016

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 ...

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In her speech as the winner of the 2003 National Book Award, Shirley Hazzard said, 'We should do our best by the language. We mustn't torture it; we mustn't diminish it. We have to love it, nurture it, and enjoy it.'

Reading Hazzard, as she is variously represented in this collection, is to encounter a writer who has done her 'best by the language' and, in t ...

You could regard this latest book by Helen Garner as simply a collection of various essays, a miscellany if you wish, but to do so would be to give it less than its due. There is nothing casual or accidental about Everywhere I Look. Its coherence may, of course, have much to do with Garner's voice, which is consistent and compelling, as is her actual writin ...

At the back of the cupboard of old lies is a crusty one that goes like this: the essay is a lesser form of literature. Oddly, it is perpetuated in collections like Ariel Levy's The Best American Essays 2015, which – in its foreword by series editor Robert Atwan – bashfully admits that essays are the B-team of the writing world. 'The quintessential essay ...

Reflecting on the first day she attended a clinic for eating disorders, Sydney poet Fiona Wright admits: 'I'm ... not sure that I would ever have gone ahead with the admission if I hadn't thought that I could write about it later.' This is a remarkably self-aware statement, one that encapsulates the fierce intelligence of her linked essays in Small Acts of Disap ...