Articles on Books

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Shane Warne has lived his professional life in the public eye. Does this make it more difficult for a biographer to tell his story? AAP Image/Mal Fairclough

Biography in the age of celebrity: what’s left to reveal?

Virginia Woolf – so Hermione Lee writes in Virginia Woolf, her 1997 biography of the celebrated writer – thought it immensely difficult to ever know another person. Today the winner of the 2014 National…
Good reviewers don’t need editors to fight their battles. Luke Larsson

Self-defence for book reviewers

It is perfectly understandable for an editor to be protective of his own patch, but it is worrying when the editor of a national magazine, which claims to be the leading independent Australian literary…
Our book shelves would look very different. Sharon Drummond

Without World War I, what would literature look like today?

As we begin to commemorate the outbreak of World War I in earnest, just how central the “Great” war is to Britain’s conception of its history is ever more obvious. And this is also very true in terms of…
Mary’s poems give a unique insight into how the queen experienced her bloody, passionate and tragic life. Dave McLear

Mary, Queen of Scots was a poet – and you should know it

Think Mary, Queen of Scots and a few key facts probably come to mind: she was Catholic, she was imprisoned and she had her head chopped off. But a poet who offers insight into 16th-century women’s writing…
What can be read between the handwritten lines of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables manuscript? Bibliothèque nationale de France

Don’t be Misérables – it’s Hugo’s original manuscript

The handwritten manuscript of Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables (1862) – from which the blockbuster stage show and numerous movies ultimately descend – has arrived at the State Library of Victoria (its…
Australian writing for young adults has moved on as has our thinking about what it means to be gay. Pat Reynolds

Gay? Jewish? Neither? A manual to help you challenge the rules

Young adult fiction and complex themes go hand in hand – not least in one of the most recent entries to this field. Melbourne-based writer Eli Glasman’s debut novel The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper…
True story, seriously, it’s all about me. Nathan O'Nions

Non-fiction’s beauty is in the I of the beholder

Are we being saturated with “inconsequential memoir”? That question was posed in the latest edition of The Lifted Brow (TLB), a print/online journal of new Australian and international (think US) writing…
Can literary works play a productive part in the process of reconciliation? butupa

The case for Gail Jones’ Sorry

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future. – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology…
All serious writers should take their own work, and the efforts of others, seriously. photosteve101

Book reviewing is an art, in its own way

There should be no hard and fast rules concerning book reviewing. That’s because reviewing constitutes a worthy genre in its own right, one that should not be limited by guidelines or mandates. Criticism…
Nadine Gordimer died at her home, aged 90 on July 14 2014. EPA/Alejandro Ernesto

Remembering Nadine Gordimer

The passing of Nadine Gordimer is a tremendous loss, both to South Africa and to the literary world. For me, and others who knew her, it will also be an enormous personal loss. Born in November 1923, Nadine…
David Malouf’s Imaginary Life plays out in the hillsides of the Black Sea. What’s so Australian about that? Hans Juul Hansen

The case for David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life

… further from the far, safe place where I began, the green lands of my father’s farm, further from the last inhabited outpost of the known world, further from speech even, into the sighing grasslands…

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