Articles on Memoir

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In his new memoir ‘Born to Run,’ Bruce Springsteen details his lifelong battle with depression. Norsk Telegrambyra AS/Reuters

Why Bruce Springsteen’s depression revelation matters

With stigma about mental illness still pervasive, The Boss' frank admission helps shatter some of the most common stereotypes about depression.
Raise your voice … a protester from the women’s rights group Femen protests in the Ukraine. Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Friday essay: talking, writing and fighting like girls

Clementine Ford's Fight Like a Girl is the latest in a new wave of feminist memoirs. These frank, fearless books reveal the hostility and deep discomfort women’s ever-strengthening public voice has provoked.
The 1978 Mardi Gras started as a peaceful march and degenerated into a violent clash with police. The Pride History Group

Friday essay: on the Sydney Mardi Gras march of 1978

Is a formal apology to the 1978 Mardi Gras marchers warranted? Some understanding of the oppressive social conditions affecting the lives of sexual minorities in Australia in that era is required.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is back in the public eye thanks to a series of open letters he’s written since the start of 2016. Reuters/Phil Moore

Why Mbeki’s contested articles have a role to play in South Africa’s history

Former President Thabo Mbeki’s critique of South African historiography, and his concomitant attempt to correct this body of work, has set off a significant public discussion.
Memoirists who write about divorce, addiction or suicide can start important conversations – and leave families feeling exposed or humiliated. Where do you draw the line? fosa./Flickr

Friday essay: Can you keep a secret? Family memoirs break taboos – and trust

True stories that enrich our public sphere are often drawn from the intimate and shared lives of their authors. Where is the line between rattling social proprieties and respecting others’ privacy?
Gloria Steinem’s new autobiography reminds us of her work as a tireless grassroots campaigner. Here pictured with Barack Obama receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Reuters/Larry Downing

Setting the record straight: Gloria Steinem reflects on her legacy in My Life On The Road

In her new autobiography, celebrated feminist, activist and author Gloria Steinem seeks to set the record straight on controversial aspects of her legacy.
Magda Szubanski in one of her most famous roles - Sharon Strzelecki - in Kath and Kim, with actors Gina Riley, Peter Rowsthorn, Glenn Robbins and Jane Turner. Paul Jeffers/AAP

Magda Szubanski’s Reckoning: A Memoir

Magda Szubanski’s engaging debut memoir, Reckoning, is an exercise in precisely that: reconciling the past. It is also a celebration of the life and career of one of our greatest comedians.
Sacks’ works have introduced readers to the marvellous complexities of the mind. Mars Hill Church Seattle/Flickr

Celebrating Oliver Sacks’ romantic science and a life now ending

The popular neurologist revealed earlier this year that he only has months to live – a statement which casts his recently-released memoir, On the Move: A Life, in a new light.
Campbell Newman is keen to be the subject of a memoir – but the University of Queensland Press doesn’t want to publish it. AAP Image/John Pryke

Why on earth would a publisher knock back a politician’s memoir?

The University of Queensland Press caused controversy when it turned down Campbell Newman's memoir – but why shouldn't a publisher be entitled to principled refusal?
Otto Dov Kulka in Terezín, 1960s. Archive of Security Services (ABS), Czech Republic

Can we question Holocaust memoirs?

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, the victims of the Holocaust stand, with a good reason, at the centre of our attention. It is survivors’ memoirs that shaped…
Cullen possessed a natural likeability, even an awkward politeness. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Review: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen by Erik Jensen

Adam Cullen, Australian artist and winner of the 2000 Archibald Prize, died just over two years ago at the age of 46. He spent the last three years of his life working with a young writer, Erik Jensen…
True story, seriously, it’s all about me. Nathan O'Nions

Non-fiction’s beauty is in the I of the beholder

Are we being saturated with “inconsequential memoir”? That question was posed in the latest edition of The Lifted Brow (TLB), a print/online journal of new Australian and international (think US) writing…
Shy people long for social connections but have to fight through a thicket of fears. Lili Vieira de Carvalho

Shyness isn’t nice, but shyness shouldn’t stop you

Shy people have quite a bit to contend with – not least the word itself. It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To “shy away” from something implies avoidance; to “shy” can…
What links the former Soviet Union to the Russia we know today? Rob Ketcherside

Back in the USSR: my life as a ‘spy’ in the archives

Spies were a glamour news item in Western (and Soviet) press in the 1960s; it was the age of Kim Philby, British spymaster-cum-Soviet spy, and the endless media hunt for the “fifth man” of the Cambridge…
‘I am not like you suburb-dwellers,’ Carr is telling us. ‘I am extraordinary.’ Alan Porritt/AAP

Bob Carr’s Diary reveals a true satirist, a self-made grotesque

Bob Carr is at least as vain as your average politician. The unusual thing is that he knows it. And the shocking thing is that he doesn’t seem to mind letting us know that he knows it. Such are the complex…

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