Released every Wednesday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.
Yves Rees on Sound Citizens by Catherine Fisher
In the pre-television era of the early twentieth century, radio reigned supreme. It offered news and light entertainment, but also a means of communion and solidarity for the many women confined to the domestic sphere. In her new book Sound Citizens, historian Dr Catherine Fisher explores how a cohort of professional women broadcasters, activists, and politicians began utilising radio to improve the status and rights of women in Australia. In today’s episode, we hear from writer and historian Dr Yves Rees, who reviewed the book for ABR’s recent September issue. Rees is a David Myers Research Fellow in History at La Trobe University and co-host of the history podcast Archive Fever. Yves has published widely across Australian gender, transnational and economic history, and also writes on transgender identity and politics.
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)
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.... (read more)
In our first episode, the poet Michael Hofmann reads his brilliant satire on Donal Dump (aka Donald Trump), and then delves into a discussion about its development and significance in the current age of political tumult.... (read more)