Articles on Literature

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Reading from an early age can instill healthy habits for a lifetime. “Possum Magic”, by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas. Scholastic

Worth a thousand words: the top ten best Australian children’s picture books

The academics and the “mummy bloggers” are in furious agreement – reading picture books to children is one of the best things you can do for a child’s development. It also happens to be, in the opinion…
Our obsession with worlds worse than our own says more about our future than we might realise. x ray delta one

Science fiction and dystopia: what’s the connection?

The future in science fiction is often presented in a dystopian setting. Certainly films such as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca and Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men follow this pattern…
Reading the same book can bring students closer together as a group. Students reading image from www.shutterstock.com

A journey with The Boat: students connect over a common story

First-year undergraduate students at the University of Melbourne have been invited to participate in a new initiative. “Melbourne Summer Reading” identifies a book which speaks to some of the big issues…
After 70 years, Mein Kampf is to be re-printed. Michael Dawes

Is Mein Kampf still too dangerous?

Almost 70 years ago, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in the bunker of the Reich Chancellery, marking the downfall of one of the most murderous regimes the world has ever seen. Decades later, there is still…
Changing the rules of the Vogel would be like changing the rules of the AFL. Let’s not spoil the theatre. Flickr/Michael Spencer

The theatre of the game: why the Vogel age restriction works

A student in Japan once told me that old age is the best cure for youth. It took me a long time, and a lot more life experience, before I finally figured out what she meant: there is no way to avoid the…
Gunter Grass caused a stir with his anti-Israel poem, but political poetry often misses the mark. AAP/Marcus Brandt

Political poetry took down Günter Grass … but is it any good?

The world of political poetry has suffered some significant losses in recent months. Václav Havel, a poet long before he was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic…

End of year report (letter to Hisham)

The following is a poem commissioned by The Conversation from Sydney City Poet, Kate Middleton on the year that was. Did you read about the MARS-500 simulation? Six men in isolation sharing a broken English…
Steve Jobs’ desire for an enduring memory of his work led him to engage a biographer. The book has become his obituary. EPA/Britta Pedersen

The power of biography: Why Steve Jobs’ legend will live on

Steve Jobs’ “official” biography was always going to be a bestseller, with its promise of a candid examination of the inner workings of the world’s most successful salesman and the company he twice built…
It’s fourth time lucky for Julian Barnes in the Booker Prize. EPA/Alessandro Della Bella

Booker victory for Julian Barnes but should the focus be on ‘readability’?

Julian Barnes today won the Man Booker Prize for his novel about a childhood friendship and the fragility of memory, The Sense of an Ending. This is the fourth time he’s been nominated, and Barnes declared…
Thousands of Brits moved to Australia for the thrill of a more glamorous life. But many struggled. Flickr/MarkFaviellPhotos

A moving history: how personal stories illuminate the past

Published biographies, and indeed many histories, are often about the famous, rich or powerful. And most often, they’re about men. I’ve preferred to research and write about so-called “ordinary” men and…
Kim Scott’s tale of early settler relations has been applauded by the literary community. The Trust Company

Kim Scott leaves competition for dead in all-male Miles Franklin win

Western Australian author Kim Scott won the Miles Franklin Literary Award for the second time last night with his fifth novel, That Deadman Dance. Described by one judge as “post-reconciliation” fiction…

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