Smoke rises over the city of Manchester in William Wyld’s painting Manchester from Kersal Moor. (1852). Wikimedia commons

Cli-fi

Reading classic novels in an era of climate change

Can the Victorian novel offers us a means of thinking and feeling about our own moment anew?
Composing a symphonic landscape: Caspar David Friedrich’s 1818 oil painting, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. Wikimedia Commons

Classical music

Decoding the music masterpieces: Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony

With An Alpine Symphony, Richard Strauss achieved something remarkable: the painting of the German alps, complete with cow meadows and waterfalls, in sound.
William Faulkner’s typewriter in Mississippi. The writing life may sound idyllic, but it was often a furious battle to make ends meet. Visit Mississippi/Flickr

Getting by

Scrounging for money: how the world’s great writers made a living

Writers have tried pretty much anything to make ends meet: advertising, journalism, butterfly collecting, working as a janitor or a postal clerk.
Sarah and Olive Kanake read one of the new breed of girl-power picture books. Miriam Ackroyd from Life is Beautiful Photography

Girl power

Friday essay: the feminist picture book revolution

The lack of strong female characters in children's picture books is oft-lamented. But a new crop of books invites girls to write themselves into history.
A message ploughed in the land calls on the federal government to help drought-affected farmers near the wheatbelt town of Kondinin in 2001. Liza Kappelle/AAP

Literature

Writing the WA wheatbelt, a place of radical environmental change

In two 30-year periods, an area in WA roughly the size of England was stripped of native vegetation for farming. It has produced some of our finest writers, from A.B. Facey to Dorothy Hewitt to Jack Davis.
What will an eBook be 20 years from now? What will a book be? Voyagerix/shutterstock

The way we read

Has the print book trumped digital? Beware of glib conclusions

Reports of the decline of the eBook are premature. The publishing industry is changing rapidly and data that appears robust tells us less than it once did.
Brett Whiteley: his colourful biography frequently obscures the seriousness of his work. Transmission films

Film

Whiteley: a seductive cinematic portrait of a serious artist

Brett Whiteley's output was uneven but at his best, his work was brilliant. A new film offers an unusual insight into the life and art of this creative and troubled maverick.
Gilgamesh explores what it means to be human, and questions the meaning of life and love. Wikimedia Commons

Guide to the classics

Guide to the classics: the Epic of Gilgamesh

From environmentalism to the meaning of life, the themes of the world's most ancient epic are still remarkably relevant to modern readers.
Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art: a must-see tourist destination, but for whom? Lukas Cooch/AAP

Art and class

Who goes to MONA? Peering behind the ‘flannelette curtain’

The acclaimed Museum of Old and New Art is located in one of Tasmania's most disadvantaged municipalities. But new research has found that locals have mixed feelings about the gallery.
Part of Mandy Martin’s painting Cool Burn (2016): in her painting workshops at Djinkarr, Indigenous rangers brought the threats to their land to life on canvas.

Friday essay

Friday essay: caring for country and telling its stories

Feral cats and pigs, mission grass and climate change - in western Arnhem Land, Indigenous rangers are battling many environmental threats. Through painting and performance, they are also telling 'healthy country' stories.

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