Book reviewing and its provocateurs: 'What single development would most improve the Australian critical culture?'
Last month in Melbourne, a group of book reviewers and literary editors took part in a conference organised by Monash University’s Centre for the Book. There were more than thirty short papers, or ‘provocations’, as they were styled. Our Editor lamented the low or non-payment of some reviewers (especially youn ... More
When Richard Flanagan won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for his sixth novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, it was not the first time that he had won an international fiction prize; his third novel, Gould's Book of Fish (2001), won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2002. Nor was it the first time that one of his novels had caused deep division amon ... More
In 1978, Australia’s two most coveted national literary prizes of the time were both won by women: Helen Garner’s first novel Monkey Grip (1977) won the National Book Council Award for fiction, and the Miles Franklin Literary Award was won by Tirra Lirra by the River (1978), Jessica Anderson’s fourth novel. Both of these books have since become c ... More
When the polio epidemics at the hinge of the twentieth century were catching hundreds of Australian children and adults in their web of pathogens, a pub in suburban Perth called ‘The Golden Age’ was converted – with its name unchanged – into a convalescent home for children who were recovering from polio but still unready to go back into the world. Joan Lond ... More
Kerryn Goldsworthy admires Margaret Atwood’s depth of intellect as revealed in MaddAddam, the concluding sequel to Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood.More
Why do you write?
Because I’m a compulsive communicator. I also like structure and making things, so making sentences out of words and paragraphs out of sentences seems the obvious way of making sense of the world.
Are you a vivid dreamer?
Occasionally ... More
The novel for which Lionel Shriver is best known, We Need to Talk about Kevin (2003), generated endless discussion across the spectrum of readers, from buzzing suburban home-based reading groups to the pages of the Guardian and the New York Times. Much of this discussion circled around the question of the first-person narrator and mother, ... More
‘We place on paper without hesitation a tissue of flatteries, to which in society we could not give utterance, for our lives, without either blushing or laughing outright,’ wrote Edgar Allan Poe in 1846. His title was ‘The Literati of New York City’; his topic was the discrepancy, as he saw it, between the critics’ private opinions of books and the p ... More
‘Too many vampires,’ wrote Patrick White. The year was 1980; the document was a letter to Shirley Hazzard; the subject was their friend and fellow novelist Elizabeth Harrower, who had published nothing but a handful of uncollected short stories since 1966. ‘Elizabeth keeps her principles,’ he wrote. ‘Whether she is also writing, I have given up aski ... More
Admirers of the first two volumes in Frank Moorhouse’s ‘Edith Trilogy’, Grand Days (1993) and Dark Palace (2000), will remember the gripping and heartbreaking scene at the end of Dark Palace in which Edith Campbell Berry, her British husband, Ambrose, and several of their senior colleagues are humiliatingly informed, in the cruellest ... More