The ABR Podcast

The ABR Podcast 

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

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Beejay Silcox

Episode #92

‘Those shelves have power’

Beejay Silcox on Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

‍In 2002, Nadia Wassef founded – with her sister, Hind, and their friend, Nihal – the Cairo-based independent bookstore Diwan. Wassef’s memoir, Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, is a record of the setbacks and success of the store’s creation, while also an insight into a nation simmering with revolutionary politics. In today’s episode, ABR critic Beejay Silcox, who spent several years living in Egypt, describes in a personal review how she stumbled upon Diwan on her first night in Cairo: ‘a pocket of alphabetised calm in the city’s ever-roiling chaos’.




Recent episodes:

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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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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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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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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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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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.

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