Lisa Gorton

The ABR Podcast 

Released every Thursday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.

Subscribe via iTunes, StitcherGoogle, or Spotify, or search for ‘The ABR Podcast’ on your favourite podcast app.


Jolley Prize Shortlisted Authors

Episode #114

2022 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize

Listen to the three shortlisted authors read their stories

In this year’s ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story prize, we received more than 1,300 entries from thirty-six different countries, a testament to ongoing international interest in the Jolley Prize and ABR. Writers explored themes and topics including the pandemic, climate change, grief, desire, parenthood, and community. In this week’s podcast, the three finalists read their shortlisted stories: ‘Dog Park’ by Nina Cullen, ‘Natural Wonder’ by Tracy Ellis, and ‘Whale Fall’ by C.J. Garrow. They are briefly introduced by Jolley Prize judge and ABR Deputy Editor, Amy Baillieu. A more detailed judges’ report on the three shortlisted stories is available on our website, along with the details of the fourteen longlisted stories.


The stories also appear in our August issue, now on sale. We will announce the overall winner of the Jolley Prize at a special online event this Thursday, 11 August at 6pm Melbourne time. All are welcome to this free event, but please register with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We look forward to seeing you there!




Recent episodes:

‘I would like to write about dominance, revulsion, separation, the horrible struggles between people who love each other,’ wrote Helen Garner, foreshadowing How to End a Story, the final instalment of her published diaries, following Yellow Notebook (2019) and One Day I’ll Remember This (2020). While the first two volumes spanned eight years apiece, How to End a Story spans only three. Starting in 1995, shortly after shortly after the release of Garner’s The First Stone, it details the dissolution of her marriage to another writer, V. As Lisa Gorton notes, this volume differs from its precursors both in tone and focus: ‘This one is as compelling as a detective story. This one is edited with the sense of an ending.’

... (read more)

The first two volumes of Helen Garner’s diaries – Yellow Notebook (2019) and One Day I’ll Remember This (2020) – cover eight years apiece. This one covers three. It is an intense, even claustrophobic story of the breakup of a marriage – a story told in the incidental, fragmentary form of a diary.

... (read more)

Only one manuscript of Beowulf has survived. It was in Sir Robert Cotton’s library. Cotton had been a student of that careful genius William Camden, who, through a lifetime’s work, formulated a different view of history: not the record of victory but the recollection of lost worlds and times. He and his fellow Antiquarians searched out fragments and ruins: Roman urns in the fields, Saxon burials under St Paul’s, a giant’s thigh-bone under a London cellar. They collected ancient manuscripts.

... (read more)

Lexicographers, not just newspapers and television, respond to disasters. Language is never fixed, never finished, never done. In recent months, language has been shaped by the coronavirus. In this episode, Amanda Laugesen, director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre at ANU and editor of The Australian National Dictionary, discusses coronaspeak, the language of lockdown. 

... (read more)

Lisa Gorton began publishing in ABR in 2003. Since then she's given us several dozen review essays and poems. Lisa has published three poetry collections, most recently the acclaimed Empirical, a Giramondo publication. Her novel, The Life of Houses, shared the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction. 

This month we published Lisa's long poem 'On the Characterisation of Male Poets' Mothers'. As Lisa explains, the poem almost entirely comprises a medley of quotes that describe famous poets' mothers – sourced all from Wikipedia.

... (read more)

Charles Baudelaire’s mother—
                       orphaned at seven—living
                       on the charity of friends—
                       at twenty-six married
                       an ex-priest, widower—     
After her husband died she married again
                       and was happy—

... (read more)

John CoetzeeJ.M. Coetzee was born in South Africa and educated in South Africa and the United States. ...

It is strangely moving to learn how a reader thinks about something I’ve written. Mostly, I’ve been lucky to have reviewers who crystallise, for me, some pattern in my thinking or inchoate hope for the work. It helps me to start something new. I learn as much, perhaps, from reviews of other people’s work – other approaches, a sense of connection.

... (read more)

In her latest collection of poems, Empirical, Lisa Gorton demonstrates – definitively and elegantly – how large, apparently simple creative decisions (employing catalogues or lists; quoting from the archive; engaging in ekphrasis or description) can produce compelling and complex poetic forms.

... (read more)

In this intelligent and unusual play, director Peta Hanrahan arranges Virginia Woolf’s great essay A Room of One’s Own into an hour-long play for four voices. Curiously, perhaps, it works so well as a play because of how well Hanrahan has read the essay.

... (read more)