The ABR Podcast

Paul McDermott reviews 'Warhol' by Blake Gopnik

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 05 August 2020

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.

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The Porter Prize: Listen to all the past winners

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 22 July 2020

The Peter Porter Poetry Prize is one of the world's leading prizes for an unpublished poem.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.

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‘The Forest at the Edge of Time’ by Ashley Hay

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 15 July 2020

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. 

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James Ley reviews 'The Trials of Portnoy' by Patrick Mullins

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 08 July 2020

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. 

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'The Point-Blank Murder' by Sonja Dechian

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 01 July 2020

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.

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'Ambassadors from Another Time' by Stephen Orr

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 24 June 2020

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.

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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.

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'Reading the Mess Backwards' by Yves Rees

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 10 June 2020

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.

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Gwen Harwood: A centenary birthday tribute

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 03 June 2020

Gwen Harwood, who died in 1995, was born on 8 June 1920, in Brisbane, of course, which she went loved dearly. Harwood seems increasingly to have been one of the finest poets Australia has ever produced. She was much loved; anyone who knew her relished her wit, her directness, her inextinguishable spirit. To mark the centenary of her birth, ABR asked a number of her colleagues and admirers to record some of her poems. Happily, there are hundreds of them to explore.

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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. 

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