Articles on Australian literature

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The Miles Franklin authors with their novels, clockwise from top left: Felicity Castagna, Eva Hornung, Kim Scott, Michelle de Kretser, Catherine McKinnon and Gerald Murnane. Courtesy Perpetual/ Copyright Agency/ Martin Ollman/Timothy Hillier. Eva Hornung image: Noni Martin.

Your guide to the Miles Franklin shortlist: a kaleidoscopic portrait of a diverse nation

For many years, the Miles Franklin award was a bastion of monoculture. But this year's stories are a diverse reflection of Australia.
Behrouz Boochani photographed on Manus Island. Jason Garman/Amnesty International via AAP

Truth to power: my time translating Behrouz Boochani’s masterpiece

Behrouz Boochani wrote his memoir of incarceration on Manus Island one text message at a time. Translating this work of 'horrific surrealism' from Farsi to English was a profoundly philosophical experience.
Guy Pearce as the Chandleresque private investigator Jack Irish: in the early years of Australian crime fiction, convicts and bushrangers featured prominently. Lachlan Moore

Friday essay: from convicts to contemporary convictions – 200 years of Australian crime fiction

Australia's rich tradition of crime fiction is little known – early tales told of bushrangers and convicts, one hero was a mining engineer turned amateur detective – but it reveals a range of national myths and fantasies.
Four of the six shortlisted books for the 2018 Stella Prize were from smaller presses, as was the winner, Alexis Wright’s Tracker. Stella Prize

Friday essay: the remarkable, prize-winning rise of our small publishers

As major publishers chase bestselling books, small ones are leading the way in publishing Australian literary fiction. And of late, they have been sweeping our major literary awards.
The pyjama girl mystery, as featured in Famous Detective Stories no. 6. State Library of New South Whales

A criminal record: women and Australian true crime stories

Once typecast as 'bad' or 'good' in true crime tales, women are now more likely to be presented as complex figures in them. And many more women are writing true crime themselves.
Joan of Arc depicted on horseback in an illustration from a 1505 manuscript. Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: Joan of Arc, our one true superhero

Forget Wonder Woman and Batman. The Maid of Orléans - an uneducated, teenage girl who led armies to victory - is a hero for our times.
Eugenia Falleni in 1920. An Italian-born-woman-turned-Sydney-dwelling-man, Falleni was convicted of murder in 1920. Wikimedia

Friday essay: tall ships, tall tales, and the mysteries of Eugenia Falleni

An Italian-born-woman-turned-Sydney-dwelling-man, Eugenia Falleni was convicted of murder in 1920. Researching a novel about Falleni left this author literally, and figuratively, at sea.
Shortlisted Stella authors, clockwise from top left: Cory Taylor, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Catherine de Saint Phalle, Heather Rose, Emily Maguire and Georgia Blain. Stella Prize/The Conversation

Unflinching, luminous, and moving, the Stella shortlist will get under your skin

All six books nominated for the Stella Prize - to be announced tonight - engage the brain, and the heart. These are books that matter because they show us how to live in desperate times.
Georgia Blain: Her work draws attention to the tiny incandescent moments that make up our lives. Scribe Publications

Goodbye Georgia Blain: a brave and true chronicler of life

The Australian writer Georgia Blain, who died last week, wrote extraordinary portraits of family relationships, in luminous prose, with devastating insight. And when she became ill, she wrote about her cancer.
How many non-white writers are published in Australia each year? Is their job to remain at the exotic margins of our literary culture? Siryk Denys/shutterstock

Diversity, the Stella Count and the whiteness of Australian publishing

A recent attempt to broaden the Stella Count by measuring the diversity of writers reviewed proved to be a hard ask. Is the bigger problem here the whiteness of our publishing industry?
Judith Wright: she opened our eyes to our dark history, to modernist poetry and to the beauty of our landscape. courtesy of Meredith McKinney

Friday essay: Judith Wright in a new light

Judith Wright was possibly our greatest poet and a passionate social activist. But a new biography suggests that in writing her family memoirs, Wright avoided evidence that her settler forebears likely participated in the murder of Aborigines.
Carl Rahl’s Orestes Pursued by the Furies (1852). Wikimedia

Guide to the classics: Christina Stead’s The Beauties and Furies

The tale of a married woman who joins her lover in Paris, The Beauties and Furies is a modernist classic. Like Joyce's Ulysses, the action is concentrated in one city, but dreams are nightmarish in this city of night, not light.
Michael Mohammed Ahmad asks us to reconsider who the insiders and outsiders are in modern Australia. Sally Tsoutas

Radical, young, Muslim: the Arab-Australian novel in the 21st century

Arab-Australian identity is not some singular, homogeneous label. Rather it exists as a spectrum and contains more complexity and diversity than the mainstream media allow.
The burden of creating a more inclusive, fairer and more tolerant society is carried by the younger generation. Hadi Zaher/Flickr

How Australian dystopian young adult fiction differs from its US counterparts

There are many similarities between blockbusting young adult novels such as The Hunger Games series and Australian books such as Taronga – but there are also clear differences in their messages for the young.
Deciding on the winner of a literary award is, in the end, a highly subjective process. RebeccaVC1

Literary awards and Joan London’s The Golden Age

Joan London's The Golden Age won the Kibble Award last week, having been shortlisted – but unsuccessful – in several high-profile prizes previously. Deciding on winners is a highly subjective process.

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