Released every Wednesday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.
In 2017, Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his masterful novels, which, in the judges’ words, uncover 'the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world'. His new work, Klara and the Sun, is his first novel published since winning the Nobel Prize. In today's episode, Beejay Silcox discusses the novel and our expectations of the author, and reads in full her review which appears in ABR's upcoming March issue.
During the Covid-19 crisis, many of us are surfeiting on television drama from Netflix, Stan, and the rest of them. Back in 2015, we published James McNamara's Ian Potter Foundation Fellowship essay 'The Golden Age of Television?', which considers the ascendancy of television drama and its cultural significance. Listen to James reading his essay, which appear in ABR's film and television issue in April 2015.... (read more)
Peter Rose – before introducing this week’s ABR Podcast guest – updates readers on ABR’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Australia Council’s inexplicable decision not to fund ABR in 2021–24. Then Robyn Archer – renowned performer and ABR Laureate – currently hunkering down in Melbourne, reflects on how people are surviving and what Australia might look like when it emerges from this crisis.... (read more)
The extraordinary life of Truganini, an Aboriginal woman known as the 'last Tasmanian', is explored in this turbulent history by Cassandra Pybus. An inspiring and haunting story, Truganini’s life spanned psychological and cultural shifts nearly beyond comprehension. In this episode of The ABR Podcast, Billy Griffiths, author of the award-winning Deep Time Dreaming, reviews Truganini, Pybus's history of a woman reclaimed by the Tasmanian Indigenous community as a symbol of 'rights, identity, ownership, and survival'.... (read more)
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.... (read more)
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.... (read more)
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).... (read more)
‘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.... (read more)
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.... (read more)
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.... (read more)
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.... (read more)