Bethanie Blanchard

Writer, critic and Liticism blogger

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

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

October 16, 2013

— 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

October 4, 2013

“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

September 30, 2013

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

September 23, 2013

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

September 11, 2013

— 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

September 7, 2013

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

September 5, 2013

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

September 4, 2013

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

July 24, 2013 1

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

July 18, 2013 2

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.

Emerging Writers’ Festival 2013: an interview with Director Sam Twyford-Moore

Emerging Writers’ Festival 2013: an interview with Director Sam Twyford-Moore

May 17, 2013

Beginning as a one-day zine fair in 2004, the Emerging Writers Festival has expanded to ten days of events, workshops, panel discussions and gala nights, as well as digital events using the #ewf13 hashtag — and it all begins next week! I’m very excited to be a part of two events this year: hosting a masterclass […]

Tony Abbott, ebook author

Tony Abbott, ebook author

May 13, 2013 5

Today, Tony Abbott, like Australia’s own Hannah Horvath, announced the publication of an ebook. Titled The Little Book of Big Labor Waste — invoking perhaps the wildly successful late-90s Little Book of Calm — the Coalition’s new work takes as its theme “60 examples of Labor waste and mismanagement from the Gillard Government,” an ironic inversion of the meditation […]

The persistence of gender: a Stella Miles Franklin shortlist

The persistence of gender: a Stella Miles Franklin shortlist

April 30, 2013 1

There is no question that the debates around gender in literary awards have been important and resulted in real culture change. Yet I feel an uneasiness that it has reached the point where gender has become almost the primary concern in reportage.

All-female 2013 Miles Franklin shortlist announced

All-female 2013 Miles Franklin shortlist announced

April 30, 2013 1

Five novels make the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist, and they're all by female authors

Chris Somerville’s <i>We Are Not The Same Anymore</i>: an interview

Chris Somerville’s We Are Not The Same Anymore: an interview

April 24, 2013 3

On the release of Chris Somerville's debut collection of short stories, I interviewed the Brisbane based author on epigraphs, water motifs and placelessness.

Notes from the Stella Prize

Notes from the Stella Prize

April 17, 2013

The overwhelming experience of being at the awards was female writers and authors supporting one another, and the new national award they had created.

Sydney Writers’ Festival 2013 program highlights

Sydney Writers’ Festival 2013 program highlights

April 12, 2013

The full Sydney Writers’ Festival program has just been released and new Director Jemma Birrell has curated a wonderful line up. As well as showcasing our incredible Australian writers and authors, I’m particularly excited about the international guests coming out — such as Diego Marani, Anis Mojgani, Naomi Wolf, James Wood, Karl Ove Knausgaard, even […]

‘I know when I am writing erotica or literary fiction. I feel it in my body’: an interview with Krissy Kneen

‘I know when I am writing erotica or literary fiction. I feel it in my body’: an interview with Krissy Kneen

April 10, 2013 1

Krissy Kneen’s new novel Steeplechase is a claustrophobic, unsettling story of two sisters linked by art and madness. It is also her first non-erotic work. Before the Melbourne launch of the novel at Readings tonight, I interviewed Kneen on the line between erotic and non-erotic literature, equine metaphors, and her fascination with the taboo.

The female protagonist as writer — <i>Girls</i> part II

The female protagonist as writer — Girls part II

April 2, 2013

“Usually when people say they want to be a writer, they really don’t want to do anything except eat and masturbate.” – Ray. The second season of HBO’s Girls has been consistently amusing in its representation of the experience of life as a writer. Though the series has again provoked debates about sex (and, this season, […]

Female dominated Miles Franklin longlist

Female dominated Miles Franklin longlist

March 26, 2013 1

This year the Miles Franklin longlist was released via a slow literary striptease from the Trust Company – revealing, one twitpic at a time, the covers of the ten novels. And what an interesting longlist it is. Not only decidedly free from the controversy that plagued it in 2009 and 2011 following all-male shortlists that saw […]