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Stan Grant is the ABC’s international affairs analyst and Vice-Chancellor’s chair of Australian-Indigenous Belonging at Charles Sturt University. He won the 2015 Walkley Award for his coverage of Indigenous affairs and is the author of On Thomas Keneally, The Australian Dream, Australia Day, The Tears of Strangers, and Talking to My Country.

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Krissy Kneen is the award-winning author of fiction, poetry, and memoir, including An Uncertain Grace, Steeplechase, Triptych, The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine, Wintering, Eating My Grandmother, and Affection. Her latest book is the memoir The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen. She has written and directed broadcast documentaries for SBS and ABC Television.

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Open Page

by Australian Book Review
April 2021, no. 430

I’ve been fortunate to work with talented editors like Sally Heath (formerly with MUP and now with Thames & Hudson) and more recently with Chris Feik and Kirstie Innes-Will at Black Inc. I’d be lost without their close reading of my work and their suggestions for improvement. As Chris says, skilful editing helps to make any book the best version of itself.

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I enjoy critics who read beyond the content of the book to discuss what they think the book or author is trying to achieve. Even better if they discover that the book does something the author wasn’t expecting or didn’t deliberately plan.

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The use of the word ‘learnings’ should be an offence punishable by death. On the other hand, fine old Australian words like ‘lair’, ‘cove’, and ‘skite’ are long overdue for a comeback. ‘Crapulous’, a wonderful synonym for hungover, is pretty good too.

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I appreciate critics who enter into a conversation with a book and who draw upon curiosity, wonder, and deep thinking to judge. Maria Tumarkin writes magnificently about writers and books.

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Open Page with James Bradley

by Australian Book Review
May 2020, no. 421

I’m always little uneasy about the edge of élitism underlying the policing of language, but I have to confess to a loathing for psychological banalities like ‘closure’ and ‘unconditional love’, most of which are actually worse than meaningless.

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Open Page with Cassandra Pybus

by Australian Book Review
April 2020, no. 420

When I was younger and could tolerate copious amounts of alcohol, I really enjoyed writers’ festivals, especially in Canada, where they are often in stupendous landscapes. I made some lifelong friendships with marvellous writers and enjoyed memorable late-night conversations in the lobbies and bars of swish hotels.

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During much of my childhood, my mother was bravely and passionately insisting on teaching postcolonial African literature to (mostly) white university students in apartheid South Africa. I was probably way too young to fully understand it, but Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga’s 1988 début novel, Nervous Conditions, was one of the books my mother was teaching, and it had a huge impact on me.

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Childhood sporting humiliations have left me with a dread of being in places where somebody might throw a ball towards me and expect me to do something with it.

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