Articles on Books

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Could a work of fiction constitute a truth commission in its own right? NCinDC

When the war is over, literature can help us make sense of it all

As we’ve marked the centenary of the first world war in 2014, the great poets of that conflict – Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke – have brought the literature of conflict into focus. But…
A symbol of solidarity. Alex Hofford/EPA

Thinking back to Gandhi amongst brute force and umbrellas

In this age of the rule of brute force, it is almost impossible for anyone to believe that anyone else could possibly reject the law of the final supremacy of brute force. So wrote Mohandas Karamchand…

How publishing works: a book designer’s perspective

Authors don’t write books, they write manuscripts. Publishing is the process of getting an author’s manuscript into the hands of a reader, by materialising it – giving it form, as a book. This may be printed…
Three of the five Miles Franklin award nominees for 2013 were women - but female authors are still underrepresented in the review pages. AAP Image/Honner Media, Hamilton Churton

The Stella Count is in – women authors don’t get fair treatment

So, the Stella Count is in for 2013. These are annual statistics collected by the Stella Prize that measure the number of books by women that get reviewed in major publications and the number of books…
The children’s literature industry is comprised of adults, who hold their own ideas of what children want or need to read. amanda tipton

Reading between the gender lines of children’s books

As a bookseller, I frequently find myself in conversations with customers about “appropriateness” when choosing literature for young readers – and these often conflict with research I have encountered…
What renders this work a classic, a book that every Australian should read? Palo

The case for The Commandant by Jessica Anderson

“We knew it in words, yet kept it secret,” says Frances, the young sister-in-law of Patrick Logan, the eponymous – and notoriously cruel – commandant of Moreton Bay penal colony in Jessica Anderson’s ground-breaking…
Brooke Hemphill’s book Lesbian for a Year has stirred new conversations about what it means to be a lesbian today. Purple Sherbet/Flickr

Be a lesbian for a year if you must – but what about lesbians for life?

I recently found myself at a bookshop at Sydney’s domestic airport with less than ten minutes until my plane boarded. Scanning around frantically for something to read, my eyes were immediately drawn to…
Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton has funded a grant to let readers write. EPA/TAL COHEN

Reading as a creative act: Eleanor Catton’s bold new grant

Booker Prize-winner Eleanor Catton announced last week she would use her NZ$15,000 winnings from the New Zealand Post best fiction and people’s choice prizes to set up a new grant for writers, dedicated…
Why do dictatorships make such a compelling backdrop for crime fiction? Dean Ayres/Flickr

Why dictators and detectives are a good match in crime fiction

Dictators dislike detective novels. Both fascist Italy and Nazi Germany outlawed crime fiction in 1941. The crime novel, according to the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture, weakened the health of the…
Social reading in book clubs helps readers make sense of big ideas through personal experience. Susana Fernandez

Book Week is good for kids – and book clubs are great for adults

If my Facebook feed is anything to go by, last month parents scrabbled to make costumes of popular characters from children’s books. They were preparing for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s annual…

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