September, 2012

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A talisman of luck and love: Gillian Mears’ Foal’s Bread

, Sep 18, 2012

This review is cross-posted from the Wheeler Centre’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards series.  It is a talisman of luck, and love. Foal’s bread – both the object and the novel – is a strange, rare and mesmerising thing. ‘Just every now and then,’ he explained, ‘a foal is born with something that looks like a little slice of […]
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‘Your words, my pictures’: Brenda Niall’s True North

, Sep 10, 2012

This review is cross-posted from the Wheeler Centre‘s Victorian Premier’s Literary Award series.  The most fascinating section of Brenda Niall’s biography of the Durack sisters is the penultimate chapter, ‘The Making of Eddie Burrup.’ As with most artistic controversies involving a nom de plume (or, in this case, de brush), with time, the pseudonym tends […]
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Going Down Swinging #33 launch: Interview with Geoff Lemon

, Sep 01, 2012

Amongst all the many panel discussions, debates, and ‘in conversations’, the Melbourne Writers Festival is the site of launches for new and established literary magazines. MWF has hosted the Big Issue Fiction Edition, Seven Stories, Veranda and Above Water to name just a few. The closing night of MWF tomorrow will see the launch of the latest issue of Going Down […]
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‘I don’t write for people who already know what they think’: Interview with Anna Krien on Us and Them

, Aug 23, 2012

‘Let’s not kid ourselves. The injustice is complete. This is not a debate over whether our treatment of animals is unethical or not. It’s unethical. We know this…The question is: just how much injustice do we want to partake in?’ Earlier this year, Anna Krien wrote a Quarterly Essay on our nuanced and often contradictory […]
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2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Award winners announced

, Jul 23, 2012

      The winners of the fifth annual Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were announced today at the National Library of Australia. The awards, which ‘celebrate the contribution of Australian literature and history to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life,’ are the richest in Australia, with $80,000 going to the winner in each category, as well as $5,000 to […]
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Guest Post — The Political Post-Apocalypse: Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow’s Left Turn

, Jul 16, 2012

Guest post by Adam Brereton  Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow, in the introduction to their new book Left Turn: Political Essays For The New Left, invite the reader to imagine current examples in popular culture that envision a future ‘in which the world to come is, in any respect whatsoever, an improvement on the present.’ […]
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Guest Post — ‘A design of beauty and significance’: Rachel Robertson’s Reaching One Thousand

, Jun 29, 2012

Guest Post by Elizabeth Bryer  I have been waiting for this book for four years. Not that I knew that it would come into existence; I just hoped, quietly confident, that it would. Rachel Robertson’s ‘Reaching One Thousand’, joint winner of the 2008 ABR Calibre Essay Prize and later published in Black Inc.’s Best Australian […]
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Writing Another Jakarta: An Interview with Ruby J. Murray

, Jun 26, 2012

Guest Post by Rebecca Harkins-Cross Ruby J. Murray’s debut novel Running Dogs explores how mythologies, both political and personal, may influence the trajectory of our lives. Protagonist Diana is an Australian aid worker living in Jakarta (an experience that Murray herself had in 2009-10), who occupies a liminal space as neither tourist nor insider in […]
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‘To whittle down all that I am and give it a value’: Anna Funder and the Miles Franklin decision

, Jun 21, 2012

At the end of All That I Am the protagonist Ruth muses: ‘It is the hardest thing, to work out one’s weight and heft in the world, to whittle down all that I am and give it a value.’ This now seems remarkably apt for a work given a dazzling array of literary value. Anna […]

Liticism’s Miles Franklin Countdown: Favel Parrett’s Past The Shallows

, Jun 20, 2012

*Spoiler alert: this is not intended as a straight review and I do refer to key plot points in this analysis. It’s strange the way works read in succession can speak to each other, the way the mind finds connections in works never written to be compared. In Tony Birch’s Blood the protagonists see a matinee […]

Liticism’s Miles Franklin Countdown: Tony Birch’s Blood

, Jun 15, 2012

*Spoiler alert: this is not intended as a straight review and I do refer to key plot points in this analysis. In one of the most vividly memorable moments of the novel, our young protagonists Jesse and Rachel wander like giants among miniature versions of the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids, Dutch windmills, and the Leaning […]

Miles Franklin 2012 shortlist announced

, May 03, 2012

         The shortlist for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award has just been announced, and it appears to be decidedly free from the controversy that plagued it last year — we are neither in ‘sausage-fest’ nor ‘cock-forest’ territory. There are five works in the shortlist, down from a longlist of thirteen, and with three female writers […]
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Liticism’s Miles Franklin Countdown: Anna Funder’s All That I Am

, May 02, 2012

*Spoiler alert: this is not intended as a straight review and I do refer to key plot points in this analysis. In the context of the Miles Franklin and its criteria of presenting ‘Australian life in any of its phases’ Funder’s work seems, initially, difficult to advocate. Though the ‘now’ of the novel is the primary […]
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‘I close my eyes and count to one hundred’: Romy Ash’s Floundering

, Apr 05, 2012

The tangy residue of Twisties on small fingers. The sickly flavor of soft drink so warm it tastes like tea. Vinyl car seats that melt and stick. In her debut novel, Romy Ash has conjured startlingly an aspect of Australian childhood – sitting, hot, thirsty and uncomfortable in the back seat of a boiling car, […]
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Miles Franklin 2012 longlist announced

, Mar 28, 2012

The longlist of titles for the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award have been announced today. There are thirteen nominees in the longlist this year (from 61 entires): Tony Birch Blood Steven Carroll The Spirit of Progress Mark Dapin Spirit House Virginia Duigan The Precipice Anna Funder All That I Am Kate Grenville Sarah Thornhill Gail […]
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‘A writer first and a woman after’: Overland journal’s Women’s Work

, Mar 08, 2012

Women’s Work is Overland’s new anthology of short stories by emerging female writers launched today as part of International Women’s Day. The collection was developed in conjunction with the Stella Prize as a response to debates about the gender imbalance in literary publishing. As editor Clare Strahan writes, The underrepresentation of women in writing is […]
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Knowledge of good and evil: Chris Flynn’s A Tiger in Eden

, Mar 05, 2012

If narrator Billy Montgomery’s life was an action movie, A Tiger in Eden depicts the time after the credits roll, after the gunshots and the bloodshed when the protagonist rides off into the sunset to some tropical climate to escape their fate. Billy is on the run from the violence and warring of the Troubles […]
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Observations of desire at Cohuna: Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with Birds

, Feb 29, 2012

*Spoiler alert: this is not intended as a straight review and I do refer to key plot points in this analysis. Mateship with Birds is a reflection on the various tangled forms of desire, love, and lust. In a revealing passage towards the end of the novel, Tiffany writes of one of the protagonists’s understanding […]
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Our Stories? Gender and the ‘Australian experience’ in the National Year of Reading

, Feb 17, 2012

Though for many of us it is a perpetual state, 2012 is the officially appointed National Year of Reading. One of the centerpieces of the NYOR is an initiative called ‘Our Story’. Over the summer of 2011-2012, Australians were encouraged to vote for one of six titles in a shortlist for their state/territory that best […]
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‘All the dark places’: Michael Sala’s The Last Thread

, Feb 06, 2012

‘Gezellig. This is Mum’s word. “Nou ja, dit is gezellig,” she says as she shrugs off her coat full of winter rain and puts on a light.’ Gezellig is a word that recurs throughout The Last Thread. We have no literal translation or equivalent in English. The closest we have is ‘cosy’ or ‘coziness’, but […]