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Bethanie Blanchard

Writer, critic and Liticism blogger

A twisty, cosmic tale crowns the youngest-ever Booker winner

A twisty, cosmic tale crowns the youngest-ever Booker winner

— This piece originally appeared as a Crikey news article. This morning, 28-year-old New Zealand author Eleanor Catton made history as the youngest author ever to win the Man Booker Prize, for her intricate tome The Luminaries. It’s been described by the judges as “a dazzling work, luminous, vast”. Catton is only the second Kiwi author to win […]

NYWF series: an interview with Nadia Saccardo

NYWF series: an interview with Nadia Saccardo

“Smith Journal was really conceived as a place to kind of pull out stories that get lost between the internet and other print media or don’t get the attention they deserve, so it could be an old dude building boats or it could be a robot worker, or something like that. But it’s really our […]

NYWF series: an interview with Alice Bell

NYWF series: an interview with Alice Bell

Ahead of her appearances at the National Young Writers’ Festival, I spoke with Alice Bell about screenwriting, The Slap, and her unusual career niche.

NYWF series: an interview with Adam Liaw

NYWF series: an interview with Adam Liaw

Ahead of his appearances at the National Young Writers' Festival, I spoke with Adam Liaw about food writing, having a public profile, and the tendency towards cliche in food journalism

Young NZ author wins spot on Man Booker shortlist

Young NZ author wins spot on Man Booker shortlist

— This piece originally appeared as a Crikey News article. The shortlist for the 45th annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction wasannounced last night in the UK, and young voices that span the globe have dominated. From a longlist described by the judges as “surely the most diverse in Man Booker history” comes a shortlist with authors from […]

Martin McKenzie-Murray on the culture of timidity in political speechwriting

Martin McKenzie-Murray on the culture of timidity in political speechwriting

When I meet with Martin McKenzie-Murray, a former speechwriter for a Federal department during the Rudd government’s first time in office, his frustration at the structure and culture of Canberra speechwriting is palpable: “I was never the speechwriter there, I would say, because the culture of the place was the speechwriter. A million people would […]

Tom Switzer on political ventriloquism and the pace of speechwriting

Tom Switzer on political ventriloquism and the pace of speechwriting

When I speak with Tom Switzer, he tells me he’s envious of me as I’m the second person he knows who has met Boris Johnson on his Melbourne trip. The week before, the infamous London Mayor – a former editor of The Spectator, the Australian edition of which Switzer himself edits – appeared at the […]

James Button on the death of the campaign speech

James Button on the death of the campaign speech

In 2008 during the Democratic presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton repeated an adage made famous by former New York governor Mario Cuomo: “You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.” She didn’t mention Barack Obama by name, but her audience knew the comment’s target. It was intended as a rebuke to a man who was regarded […]

'The most diverse in Man Booker history': 2013 Man Booker Prize longlist announced

'The most diverse in Man Booker history': 2013 Man Booker Prize longlist announced

Something was announced last night in the UK that wasn't to do with the royal baby. The longlist for the 2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, which judges describe as the most diverse in the prize's history.

Melbourne Writers Festival 2013 program launch: an interview with Director Lisa Dempster

Melbourne Writers Festival 2013 program launch: an interview with Director Lisa Dempster

Before the full launch of the 2013 MWF program, I spoke with the festival director Lisa Dempster on the writers chosen for inclusion in this year's line up.