The ABR Podcast

ABR PodcastThe ABR Podcast is released fortnightly every Wednesday and features reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.

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The imminent closure of Australian Associated Press, or AAP, has sounded alarm bells for many citizens and journalists already worried about the lack of media diversity in Australia. AAP has long played a fundamental role in investigative journalism, which we need more than ever in an age of government intrusion, evasion, and over-reach. Johanna Leggatt, a journalist who has worked for Fairfax, News Corp, and AAP, writes about this troubling threat to journalism.

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In 1975 the governor general, John Kerr, removed a democratically elected Labor government, amid great intrigue and subterfuge. The dismissal of the Whitlam government remains one of the blights on our democracy – perhaps the most controversial event in Australian political history. And yet the full record of what happened in the weeksand months leading up to the dismissal is still unavailable to Australian citizens because of the intransigence of Queen Elizabeth and the expensive lengths to which the National Archives of Australia have gone to suppress access to John Kerr’s correspondence with Buckingham Palace.

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Poetry for Troubled Times

The ABR Podcast
Tuesday, 24 March 2020

At this ominous time, as we all hunker down, hoping for a cure, perhaps only poetry offers true insight and consolation, if we lean on it, as we’ve always done in past crises. In this episode, 18 fine poets and close associates of ABR – such as John Coetzee, Robyn Archer, and Sarah Holland-Batt – read some favourite poems, works that seem to resonate in these anxious times. (All the poems are listed on the episode page).

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'Nah Doongh's Song' by Grace Karskens

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Nah Doongh’s Song’, Grace Karskens's Calibre Prize-winning essay, examines the unusually long life of one of the first Aboriginal children who grew up in conquered land. Born around 1800, Nah Doongh lived until 1898. Her losses, her peregrinations, her strong, dignified character are the subjects of this questing essay, in which Karskens states: ‘Biography is not a finite business; it’s a process, a journey. I have been researching, writing, and thinking about Nah Doongh … for over a decade now.’ The discoveries she makes along the way – the portrait she finally tracks down – are very stirring.

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'Salt Blood' by Michael Adams

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Since 2007, the Calibre Essay Prize has generated many thousands of new essays. This year alone, we received about 600 entries from around the world. In this week's episode, we look back at one of the most popular Calibre Prize-winning essays, Michael Adams's highly personal essay 'Salt Blood' – which introduced many of us to the phenomenon known as free diving. 

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Etched in Bone, the acclaimed documentary by Martin Thomas on the repatriation of Indigenous remains, is premiering in the US in March. The documentary stems from Thomas's essay ‘"Because it’s your country": Bringing Back the Bones to West Arnhem Land', which won the 2013 ABR Calibre Essay Prize. In this bonus episode of The ABR Podcast, we look back on Thomas's reading of his remarkable essay.

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'Season of Reckoning' by Tom Griffiths

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 26 February 2020

After this calamitous summer, this 'season of reckoning' as he puts it, celebrated historian Tom Griffiths reflects on names given to bushfires – all those Black Sundays and Mondays, etc. – and wonders if they truly capture what is new about this savage summer. His article will appear online in our upcoming March issue.

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'The Testaments' by Margaret Atwood, reviewed by Beejay Silcox

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments – a coda to her celebrated novel The Handmaid’s Tale – was one of the most anticipated books of 2019, and it went on to share the Booker Prize. Reviews of the novel were mostly warm, but our reviewer, Beejay Silcox, offers a much more qualified reading.

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'Yellow Notebook, Vol. 1' by Helen Garner, reviewed by Peter Rose

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 12 February 2020

In our new episode, ABR Editor Peter Rose reviews Yellow Notebook, the first volume of the diaries by Helen Garner, a most anticipated book. Here, we delve into Garner's own private musings, the diaries she kept during the pivotal years of her writing life. 

 

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The 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 05 February 2020

In our new episode, the shortlisted poets for the 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize – Lachlan Brown, Claire G. Coleman, Ross Gillett, A. Frances Johnson, and Julie Manning – read their shortlisted poems. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on 16 January 2020 in Melbourne.

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