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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…
The “digger myth” has left little room for appreciation or debate surrounding the work of today’s service personnel. Australian Department of Defence/AAP Image

The hard sell: has the Anzac industry passed its use-by date?

In his new book Anzac’s Long Shadow: The cost of our national obsession, James Brown argues that: a century after the war to end all wars, Anzac is being bottled, stamped and sold. The former soldier turned…
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…
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…
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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…
Serialised eBook chapters force us to make time to read. Ken Lee

A good year for screen readers: notable eBooks of 2013

I’ve nominated these eBooks as notable publications in 2013 based on three criteria. First, I enjoyed reading them enough to finish the whole text on a digital device. Second, they use the digital format…
Australian crime fiction hit the regions on 2013 – and international crime held a few surprises too. jcoterhals

Out of the big smoke: crime fiction in 2013

Oddly enough and against trend – all those Scandinavian crime novels bobbing up in translation – I spent most of the year travelling Australia in crime fiction. From East (Peter Cotton’s Canberra in Dead…
Read on for some notable children’s books from the year gone by. San José Library

Tales of mystery and the mundane: children’s books in 2013

What makes a children’s book compelling? Is it a driving, action-centred plot that forces us to turn the page? Is it a puzzle that we solve from clues thrown down by the narrator – or is it a story that…
Digital technology has changed what, when, where and how we read. zandwacht

When books go digital: The Kills and the future of the novel

There is a section early in Richard House’s transmedia novel The Kills – published this year by Pan Macmillan and long-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize – in which the protagonist, Ford, is on the run…
Hilary Mantel: unprecedented success, but not the whole story. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Women’s prizes inspire some and wind others up – perfect

The Costa book awards shortlists have been announced and the one thing that dominates people’s first reactions has been the fact the fiction shortlist is made up entirely of women authors. Is the response…
Lessing: “intellectually uncompromising”. Juan Martin/AAP

Doris Lessing was a radical, in the truest sense

The writer and critic Margaret Drabble recently made an observation that I think is representative of the diverse and prolific career of the British author Doris Lessing, who died last night at 94: She…
Left: Girl Reading, by Franz Eybl. Oil on canvas, 1850. Right: Woman Reading, by Andrew Stevovich. Oil painting, 2011. Flickr, Plum Leaves; Wiki Commons, Andr.V.S.

What is a book in the digital age?

As a professional book designer, I’ve spent a decade observing electronic books from a cagey distance. A couple of years ago, I reluctantly recognised the need to engage with these alien book forms, both…

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