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On the call for a return to an Australian canon

On the call for a return to an Australian canon

All occasions provide an opportunity to reflect – upon achievements as well as failings – and in the lead up to Australia Day there has been a focus upon the recognition and preservation of our literary history. On Sunday, Fairfax provided an interesting editorial that noted our ‘tendency to anti-intellectualism and…veneration of physical achievement’ and […]

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s <i>Letters of Note</i>

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Letters of Note

I’ve become addicted lately to the beautiful site Letters of Note – for the slightly voyeuristic glimpses into writers’ lives, their doubts, frustrations and hopes. There’s a beautiful new letter by F. Scott Fitzgerald on Letters of Note today, in which he announces, in a July 1922 letter to his editor, of hoping to ‘write something new […]

Literary bad girls

Literary bad girls

So often the lists of controversialists, contrarians and rule breakers of the literary world are of men, and last week Flavorwire published a list of their top ten ‘Legendary Bad Boys of Literature‘ (a press shot with a cigarette seemed to be obligatory for inclusion in certainly the top four places of that list). In response, Kerryn […]

E-publishing and the dangers of malleability

E-publishing and the dangers of malleability

There was an interesting article in the New York Times a few weeks ago, ‘Books That Are Never Done Being Written’ by Nicolas Carr in which he claims to have ‘got a glimpse into the future of books’. Carr had published a series of old essays as an e-book via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service, […]

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Returns to… Roald Dahl’s <i>Matilda</i>

Returns to… Roald Dahl’s Matilda

“‘Tell me one that you liked.’ ‘I liked The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’ Matilda said. ‘I think Mr C. S. Lewis is a very good writer. But he has one failing. There are no funny bits in his books.’ ‘You are right there,’ Miss Honey said. ‘There aren’t many funny bits in Mr […]

Returns to… in which we return to our favourite childhood books

Returns to… in which we return to our favourite childhood books

‘All grownups started off as children (though few of them remember).’ – The Little Prince. When I co-edited antiTHESIS journal early last year, we were lucky enough to have an image contributed by Shaun Tan. This was before he had won his Oscar, before his illustration had graced the cover of Overland, and at that time […]

A good, bad review: <i>The Omnivore’s</i> ‘Hatchet Job of the Year’ Award

A good, bad review: The Omnivore’s ‘Hatchet Job of the Year’ Award

In the penning of every review there are two reputations at stake – that of the artist, of course, but also that of the reviewer themselves, their insight and opinion being their own art. There is a fearlessness that goes along with good reviewing – in going against the establishment, in forgetting reputation and alliances and judging […]

#lessambitiousbooks

#lessambitiousbooks

Perhaps because writers and lit lovers are as ubiquitous on twitter as pictures of cats on the internet, there are often some pretty awesome literary hashtags doing the rounds. Since the beginning of this year #lessambitiousbooks has been trending worldwide, and amusing me no end. There have been some absolutely brilliant titles: The Adequate Gatsby Love in […]

Update on D Publishing agreement

A few weeks ago I published an interview with Steve Rossiter from The Australian Literature Review on the serious problems with the author contract in Dymocks Books’ self-publishing venture D Publishing. In response to widespread criticism of the document, Dymocks had amended its initial agreement, but the changes – as Rossiter wrote at the time – were […]

On reading and re-reading and not reading

On reading and re-reading and not reading

Like the cool, quiet hours linking dawn and daylight, the days between Christmas and the first day of a new year seem similarly stolen, and tantalising in their possibility. For me, it was a time to catch up on forgotten books in the steadily growing and increasingly precarious mountain beside my bed. In an essay […]

The medium & the message: Australian literary journals move to multi-platform

The medium & the message: Australian literary journals move to multi-platform

  In a status update on its Facebook page last week, literary journal Kill Your Darlings announced a move to multi-platform publishing. In the new year, the journal will be available as an ebook through Booki.sh, online via subscription, and in its original print form – as editor Rebecca Starford told Liticism, ‘We have no plans […]

‘Authors Beware’: Interview with Steve Rossiter editor of <i>The Australian Literature Review</i> on the D Publishing saga

‘Authors Beware’: Interview with Steve Rossiter editor of The Australian Literature Review on the D Publishing saga

  If you follow certain bookish sites, you may have seen the ominous warning ‘Authors Beware’ quite a lot in the last few days. Dymocks Books, Australia’s largest bookselling chain, last week launched its widely anticipated self-publishing arm, D Publishing. Described in the promotional material as ‘author driven,’ the service allows authors to upload draft […]

Review: <i>Women of Letters</i>

Review: Women of Letters

In our current technological age, the lure of nostalgia seems more potent that ever. Just as laptops have meant that many writers now long for the romance of the typewriter, so too, in the age of email, has the art of letter writing become a beautifully nostalgic endeavour. Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire sought to […]

‘The dying of the brightness’: Didion’s <i>Blue Nights</i>

‘The dying of the brightness’: Didion’s Blue Nights

How does one write about grief? The ‘vortex’ is what Didion called it in The Year of Magical Thinking – a feeling that consumes utterly, that swallows you whole. The chance stumbling upon an object or place or day that reminds you of those lost, so powerfully, you feel you may suffocate. It is the […]

Doing history slowly: Paul Keating’s <i>After Words</i>

Doing history slowly: Paul Keating’s After Words

Though the Keating era was somewhat before my time, there’s been many an afternoon I’ve spent happily watching Keating rants on youtube (such is the excitement of life as a PhD student). In the utter linguistic banality of our current political period, it’s sometimes heartening to watch lively political debate, and in clip after clip Keating consistently delivers – […]