Released every Wednesday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.
Is it possible to parse Australian writers by states and territories? In today's episode, Tony Hughes-d'Aeth – Chair of Australian Literature at the University of Western Australia – speculates about new ways of contemplating Australian writers through the lens of regionalism. As he writes in his upcoming essay in our November issue, 'Thinking in a regional accent: New ways of contemplating Australian writers': 'Yes, we are divided into states and territories, but are these anything other than lines on a map, drawn with a ruler and a set square, and the occasional river? The contrast between the political map of Australia and the now iconic AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia graphically exposes the poverty of the Australian regional imagination and the essential irreality of our territorial demarcations. More particularly, for someone like me, is it right to conceive of Australia in terms of literary regions?'
In today's episode, listen to Mykaela Saunders read the entirety of her remarkable 'River Story', which won this year's ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. Mykaela is a Koori writer, teacher, and community researcher. Of Dharug and Lebanese ancestry, she’s working-class and queer, and belongs to the Tweed Aboriginal community. Mykaela has worked in Aboriginal education since 2003, and her research explores trans-generational trauma and healing in her community.... (read more)
Fire Front, edited by Gomeroi author and scholar Alison Whittaker, is an anthology of contemporary First Nations poetry. Featuring several eminent Australian writers – including Ellen van Neerven, Tony Birch, Alexis Wright, and many more – this collection serves as a testament to the contemporary renaissance of First Nations poetry. It is divided into five thematic sections, each introduced by an essay written by a prominent Aboriginal writer and thinker, such as Bruce Pascoe, Ali Cobby Eckermann, and Evelyn Araluen.
In this episode, listen to Declan Fry discuss Fire Front before reading his review of the book.... (read more)
Andy Warhol, who died in 1987, remains one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. His works command stratospheric prices, yet some regard him as a huckster, vacuous and inflated. He perfected a kind of cynical celebrity: the denizen of Studio 54, the consort of Lee Radziwill and all. Fame for Warhol became a kind of world-weary obsession.
In today's episode, Paul McDermott – comedian, writer, and occasional painter – examines this contradictory artist, who is the subject of a new biography written by Blake Gopnik.... (read more)
The Peter Porter Poetry Prize is one of the world's leading prizes for an unpublished poem. It's named after one of Australia's finest poets, Peter Porter: a regular contributor to ABR. Now in its seventeenth year, the Porter Prize is worth a total of $10,000. Entries are open now, with a closing date of October 1. Click here for more information.
As poets around the world hone their entries, here's an opportunity to listen to all previous winning poems of the Porter Prize, going right back to 2005. There's nothing like hearing an author read their own work, and each poem in this episode is read by the poets themselves.... (read more)
ABR has published an environment issue every year since 2014, with our next one appearing in October. This themed issue has transformed our coverage of sustainability, climate change and the environment – right throughout the year.
During this ever-worsening climate crisis, it’s good to look back at the ABR Fellowship essay that appeared in our 2015 environment issue – Ashley Hay’s ‘The Forest at the Edge of Time’. Ashley has published novels and multiple works of non-fiction. In 2002, Ashley published Gum, a book that explores the eucalypt. Here she revisits the ‘majestic or scrawny’ gum.... (read more)
In today's episode, we present James Ley’s hilarious and deeply serious review of The Trials of Portnoy by Patrick Mullins. James channels the memorable prose of Philip Roth himself. Mullins’s book chronicles the legal spat that surrounded Penguin's attempt to publish Portnoy's Complaint, Roth's controversial novel that was considered lewd and offensive by Australia's censuring authorities.... (read more)
It’s Jolley time again! In August we’ll name the winner of the 2020 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. It’s timely then to revisit last year’s winner: Sonja Dechian's poignant story 'The Point-Blank Murder', which was selected by judges Maxine Beneba Clarke, John Kinsella, and Beejay Silcox from a field of thirteen hundred and fifty entries. In today's episode, Sonja Dechian reads 'The Point-Blank Murder' in full.... (read more)
Each year, ABR publishes an issue dedicated to sustainability, climate change, and the environment. In today’s episode, we look back on Stephen Orr’s Eucalypt Fellowship essay, which was the feature of the October 2017 issue of ABR. His essay, ‘Ambassadors from Another Time’, attempts to understand Australia’s complex relationship with the eucalypt, examining the nation’s evolving understanding of these iconic trees.... (read more)
What's it like losing a parent amid a pandemic? How do we mourn and celebrate when Covid-19 has made all public gatherings problematic? In her highly personal essay 'Contested breath', Sarah Walker explores with wit, humour and an unforgettable poignancy her experience of her mother's death during the coronavirus pandemic, and how to find the space to grieve when the world itself is shaken.... (read more)
The Calibre Essay Prize is one of the world's leading prizes for an original non-fiction essay. This year was the fourteenth time ABR has presented the prize, which is now worth a total of $7,500. The winner of this year's prize is Dr Yves Rees, whose essay is titled 'Reading the Mess Backwards'. Rees, who came out as transgender aged 31, describes their essay as 'a story of trans becoming that digs into the messiness of bodies, gender, and identity'. The full essay appears in the June-July issue of ABR.... (read more)