Or, a wick-ed picture of a candle in the Sun.

Putting my puns down, this is the image I came up with for the March cover of Australian Book Review. It goes with Joel Deane’s very timely review of (former journo and political thinker) David McKnight‘s new book Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Political Power.

In the article Deane writes:

— News Corporation’s news outlets are bullies. They do pick winners and losers in political battles. Their editors – such as Chris Mitchell at The Australiancan, and do, as Robert Manne said in his laudable Quarterly Essay, Bad News: Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping of the Nation (2011), act as enforcers of ‘those values that lie at the heart of the Murdoch empire: market fundamentalism and the beneficence of American global hegemony’…

Deane, former speechwriter to Brack and Brumby, argues with McKnight, but agrees that Murdoch wields tremendous power:

— . . . how much power Murdoch is able to legally wield in the United Kingdom, where he owns forty per cent of the newspaper business; in Australia, where he owns seventy per cent; and in the United States, where Fox News defines and dominates populist Republican politics.

His last paragraph and a bit about “these people” (as then-communications minister Michael Duffy called them) is a stinger.

+ + +

Life like a Rose

This issue, as usual, reviews a cartload of new titles focusing on Australian authors, including books by name brands Robert Dessaix, Haruki Murakami and Kerry Greenwood; and also debut novels by Chris Flynn and Romy Ash (disclosure: I designed both their covers).

Plus, engaging and entertaining pieces like the Letter from Jaipur (Literature Festival); a q & a with lit-expat Peter Conrad; and the five poems that make up the shortlist for the Peter Porter Poetry Prize (try saying that fast).


And lastly for those who enjoy a bit of insider voyeurism, you can discover (on-line sub) how an editor of a literary journal gets through a year. Peter Rose has trustingly published portions of his 2011 journal. For a taste, let’s look at, say, from April 3:

Woken early by University House’s resident screeching cockatoos. We skipped Bryce Courtenay’s lecture and visited the War Memorial, then drove to Goulburn . . .

. . . I recall John Forbes coming up to me and boasting about the negative review he had written of my first book, The House of Vitriol, back in 1990 . . .

. . . After an excellent lunch (oysters in Goulburn!), about fifty locals began to arrive. Speeches began at 2 p.m. Rob Morrison thanked various people, then introduced me . . .

. . . I met several of the guests and ate so many sausage rolls I needed a long walk . . .


And a schnortle for those who can recognise names in the poetry world:

Met Gig Ryan in the foyer, with Owen Richardson. Neither of us had been invited to the opening of the National Poetry Centre. ‘Well, if you two weren’t . . . Owen laughed into his Antarctic beard.


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