Articles on Literature

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Set in the 1890s, this is one of few novels about a girl’s maturation that has come to be understood as a “classic”. State Library of Victoria

The case for Henry Handel Richardson’s The Getting of Wisdom

If you had to argue for the merits of one Australian book, one piece of writing, what would it be? Welcome to our occasional series in which our authors make the case for a work of their choosing. See…
This sassy new prize may not be so hot. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Folio Prize nominations reveal underlying cultural chauvinism

The winner of The Folio Prize is announced on 10 March. This prize may be young, but it has already administered some high profile snubs. Its creation was in itself an implied criticism: founded as a response…
Bryson gives us a comprehensive and rigorous exploration of the Azaria Chamberlain case. matthiassiegel

The case for John Bryson’s Evil Angels

If you had to argue for the merits of one Australian book, one piece of writing, what would it be? Welcome to our occasional series in which our authors make the case for a work of their choosing. See…
Has the mining industry drowned out the arts in Western Australia? Not at all – the mines are fertile ground for storytellers. AAP Image/Rebecca Le May

Mining for stories: the boom-and-bust mining literature cycle

It is often difficult to ascertain how the location or culture that you live within is perceived by others, but travelling to other parts of Australia or indeed the world as a Western Australian it’s usually…
“Scott’s novel is not in denial of the brutal realities of the colonial process.” sarah_browning

The case for Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance

If you had to argue for the merits of one Australian book, one piece of writing, what would it be? Today, we start an occasional series in which our authors make the case for a work of their choosing…
Krasnaya Polanya, the site of the Sochi 2014 games, has long been a haunt of Russian artists and intellectuals. EPA/Michael Kappeler

Writing the Caucasus: Sochi and Russia’s literary retreats

Sochi – currently hosting the Winter Olympics – looks like the beach resort it is, situated on the blue waters of the east coast of the Black Sea, and enjoying a sub-tropical climate. There is what looks…
None of these Victorian-era New Zealand women became a Henry Handel Richardson. Thiophene Guy/Flickr

Why New Zealand has no great 19th-century novel

Historically, geographically, culturally – there are many points of comparison between Australia and its neighbour to the east, New Zealand. But there are notable differences. This week, The Conversation…
The godfather of punk. zapdelight

The beat goes on: 100 years of William S Burroughs

When William S Burroughs returned to New York City in 1974, after two decades of peripatetic rambling, dubious pleasure and restless escape, the rising rock poet Patti Smith expressed her deep pleasure…
moving spread.

Inside the making of a book trailer

Last year, while designing the cover for Gabrielle Carey’s book Moving Among Strangers (UQP, 2013), Gabrielle and I started talking about book trailers. A book trailer is a short video created to promote…
Plot – above all else – has proven successful for Australian author Reilly. Peter Morris/Pan Macmillan.

Improving one’s plot in life: why Matthew Reilly’s books sell

I don’t know whether Australian author Matthew Reilly ever studied Aristotle, but he certainly studied action novels. As the subject of tonight’s Australian Story on ABC, Reilly’s affinity with the Greek…
Filer’s work is based on experiences as a psychiatric nurse. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Nathan Filer’s stunning debut wins Costa book award

“I live a Cut & Paste kind of life”. So the narrator of Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall tells us. But in terms of its daring exploration of a life little understood and left in shadow, there is…
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face. Wikimedia Commons

A Robert Burns is for life, not just for 25 January

On 25 January, people all over the world will congregate to feast upon a spicy sheep’s stomach – but not before they’ve recited a poem in its honour. The occasion is Burns Night, the poem is Robert Burns’s…
IMG.

Printed Matter: books as art objects

As a book designer, I’m often asked whether I think printed books have a future. Short answer: yes, but it’s complicated. The future of print question is often followed by a declaration of love for tangible…
However you read them, there are some hot books this summer. Leonard John Matthews

Australian literature and summer – books that sizzle

Summertime and reading always went together in my family. Whether we were sunbathing on hot silky beach sand or cooling off in the back yard under a shady plum tree, our books came too. In those pre-digital…
lostart cover.

An argument for reading one thing at a time

My new year’s resolution is to read less, more deeply. By this, I mean that I aim to break my habit of skimming multiple texts at a time; to focus on reading one thing from start to finish, before moving…
Writers such as Sheldon are easy to knock – if you haven’t read them. rocketlass

Other sides of midnight: what we can learn from Sidney Sheldon

I was somewhere in the middle of Howard Jacobson’s 2010 Man Booker Prize winner The Finkler Question and finding it uncompelling. (Sorry, Howard.) I needed a potboiler pick-me-up stat. What better than…

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