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Nick Cater’s shortlisted work, The Lucky Culture, is one of several non-fiction options. AAP /Dean Lewins

The curious case of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

This year’s cultural debates about the constitution of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards judging panels are now giving way to consideration of the shortlists and their relative worth. Even as these…
The Robert Farquharson case raised questions about male violence that go unanswered. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Garner’s This House of Grief ducks some hard questions

Helen Garner isn’t usually thought of as a crime writer, but some of her best-known prose has been on law-breaking. She won the prestigious Walkley Award for her 1993 Time Magazine article on the murder…

A Spurr to abandoning the literary canon

Most people had little call to know of University of Sydney poetry professor Barry Spurr until a series of his emails were published by New Matilda. The messages contained racist slurs, misogynistic attitudes…
Responsible reading involves the simultaneous interaction with the text and with so-called real life. AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

The Man Booker and Nobel judges are right: novels can do us good

October is the biggest month of the year for those in the literary world. This year, the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Patrick Modiano and the Man Booker Prize, to Richard Flanagan for The Narrow…
We don’t seem to be able to shake our cultural status anxiety. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

The Book Club, Flanagan and our endemic cultural cringe

Writing in the Bulletin in January 1899, Henry Lawson complained about the difficulties of making a living as a writer. In this article he offered the emerging author a piece of unvarnished advice: [S]tudy…
Winner of the chicken raffle. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Australian writer Richard Flanagan wins the Man Booker prize

Richard Flanagan has won the 2014 Man Booker Prize with his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Giving his acceptance speech he said: In Australia the Man Booker is seen as something of a chicken…
This year’s Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Patrick Modiano, a worthy - and noble - winner. EPA/IAN LANGSDON

The Nobel Prize rewards noble writers over literary merit

There is a tendency in academic job applications to refer to the “prestigious x prize (or fellowship)” that a candidate has been awarded. It’s a phrase that turns out to be self-contradictory, since all…
YA fiction. It’s a thing. Get over it. josefnovak33 Little Readers

In defence of children and their literature

This is not the first response to writer and radio presenter Helen Razer’s recent piece on young adult (YA) fiction in the Daily Review, the latest in a trend to either shame adult readers who enjoy the…
Secretary to the Swedish Academy Peter Englund emerges to announce the 2014 Nobel Prize winner. EPA/ANDERS WIKLUND

Fierce battles underly judging for the Nobel Prize in Literature

Yesterday’s decision to confer the Nobel Prize for Literature on revered French novelist Patrick Modiano has sent even the most widely-read English speaking critics scurrying to find copies of his books…
Patrick Modiano has won the Nobel Prize for Literature – with what must be the right kind of transgression. EPA/IAN LANGSDON

Shocking ideas and safe jobs: what makes a Nobel author?

When something is wrong in the world of literature, who better to blame than the writers? Nobel Prize for Literature judge Horace Engdahl said this week, only days before the award was given to French…
The literary laurels are no longer so lasting. Miguel Garcia Saavedra/Shutterstock

The Nobel limelight: literary fame wasn’t always so fleeting

Every October, some unsuspecting writer gets a phone call from the secretary of the Nobel Prize committee. And overnight, an averagely respected author is turned into a global literary celebrity. Quite…

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