Articles on Books

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The new non-fiction writer can cover as many information miles as fiction writers, without taking a single step. Marvin (PA)

Non-fiction and the internet – establishing a connection

For the pre-internet fiction writer, with imagination as staple source of material, it was possible, theoretically, to proceed from the first written word to the last without needing to leave the desk…
Donna Tartt is the bookies’ favourite for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize. EPA/Bas Czerwinski

The Women’s Prize for Fiction and our forgotten literary foremothers

Speculation is rife as to who will win the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. The prize, which launched as the Orange Prize in 1996, has a distinguished list of former winners, including Kate Grenville…
Australia has not yet signed the Marrakesh Treaty and time is running out. China's Nanjing Blind School. EPA/Jerry Lu

The Marrakesh Treaty could bring the world’s books to the blind

An estimated 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired. Some 90% of those live in developing nations, where less than 1% of the world’s books are available in a form they can read. In developed…
For James, the reasons for putting pen to paper haven’t changed. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Clive James on death, dragons and writing in the home stretch

Death is a funny thing. It creeps up on us all, or surprises us if we are unlucky (or lucky, depending on the circumstances). For a writer, especially a self-confessed solipsist such as Clive James, the…
There’s renewed interest in poetry that takes risks and engages inventively with form. Tian Yang

2014 is a rich and radical time in Australian poetry

Do you think of poetry as a quaint hobby or an antiquated riddle? Think again. If you haven’t been keeping up with Australian poetry this year, you’re missing some of the country’s most exciting avant-garde…
Irvine Welsh’s book represents the cry of the unvoiced in any cultural place or age. hélène veilleux

Choose Trainspotting: Welsh’s debut was and is a great novel

It’s been 21 years since the publication of Irvine Welsh’s groundbreaking and controversial novel, Trainspotting. Since then, it has been widely praised and criticised, rejected by a mainstream audience…
e ed b. Wendy

Should literature come with trigger warnings?

If you’ve been involved in internet discussions about sensitive topics like sexual abuse, you may have seen the letters “TW”, short for “trigger warning”. The convention originated primarily on feminist…
The Tibetan Book of Proportions, produced in Nepal during the 18th century. The Public Domain Review

Sublime design: an ode to the layout grid

Staring at a blank page is daunting. Where to make the first mark? As designers have known for centuries, one way is to start with a grid. A grid is a structure of lines used by designers to help organise…
Democracy is deeply defective but it’s all that we have. Justus Hayes

The case for The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough

If you had to argue for the merits of one Australian book, one piece of writing, what would it be? Welcome back to our occasional series in which our authors make the case for a work of their choosing…
The next Shakespeare… in a manner of speaking. EPA/Paul Buck

Russell Brand English A Level will be refreshing and rigorous

The exam board OCR recently announced a new English Language and Literature A Level that they intend to offer from 2015. The proposed syllabus boasts that “the range of texts to be studied is to be the…
Disasters such as the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami show how vulnerable cities are. Sendai pictured here. U.S. Pacific Fleet/Flickr

Cities are failing to cope with global challenges

The old German saying Stadt Luft Macht Frei (“urban air makes you free”) is the defining injunction of modernity. Modern western cities were launched as the vessels of liberation from a human era darkened…

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