Ada, the author’s grandmother, is pictured at right.
Alison Watt’s grandmother was diagnosed with ‘puerperal insanity’ and institutionalised not long after giving birth to her father. He didn’t meet her – or know she was alive – until his early 20s.
As we age, it can be hard to fathom the gap between our younger selves and the bodies we inhabit. Carol Lefevre explores this strange form of homesickness.
Frank Moorhouse had a lifelong fascination with crossing borders – including the borders of gender and sexuality. It was reflected in both his life and his writing.
Joseph Lycett, Aboriginal Australians Spearing Fish and Diving for Shellfish, New South Wales, c. 1817.
National Library of Australia, nla.obj138500727.
Across the continent, diverse, adaptable fishing practices, recipes and rituals were a cornerstone of Indigenous life at the time of first contact – and many remain so to this day.
Nebuchadnezzar – William Blake (c.1805). Tate Britain.
Humans have attempted to understand and treat mental illness for centuries – from ancient Greek medicine, Middle Ages exorcisms and the rise of asylums, to modern medical breakthroughs.
Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie.
To read broadly and deeply is a marvellous thing that can make us alert to the wide-ranging varieties of being. But no book will condemn or redeem us.
Dhunggala Munungurr (left) sole surviving signatory of the petitions and (on right), a ceremony at which the fourth petition was returned to Yolŋu descendants of their original creators.
Photos: Clare Wright, National Gallery of Australia
Clare Wright has spent ten years researching the history of these groundbreaking petitions. Though few Australians have heard of them, she writes, we can learn much from the story of their creation.
Chinese Australians use WeChat for everything from paying bills and attending funerals, to helping community members in need. Banning the ‘super sticky’ app would do more harm than good.
Invisible to the naked eye, the work of the wind often goes unnoticed. Yet, for millennia, this unseen force has shaped religion, trade, warfare, culture, science and more.
When Shauna Bostock began researching a book on her family, she thought it would be limited to her Aboriginal ancestry. But then a late-night phone call led her down a surprising path.
(Clockwise from left): American civil war soldier Frances Hook; 19th century Dahomey women soldiers; defending a besieged German city in 1615; 18th century British soldier Hannah Snell and Union soldier Frances Clayton. Sources:
Wikimedia Commons, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbuettel
Fighting in sieges, an army of crack female troops, cross-dressing as male soldiers: women have survived and thrived as part of the war machine. But they’re rarely included in military histories.
Anna McGahan as Charmian Clift in the State Theatre Company’s Hydra.
Jeff Busby/State Theatre Company
‘Literary couples are a plague,’ wrote Elsa Morante, married to Alberto Moravia. They’re one of the couples in this lively exploration of what happens when two writers share loves and lives.
Leo Brophy, on right, pictured in Darwin during the war.
Kevin Brophy grew up fearing his violent father. Going through the papers of his war record, he began to wonder if his dad was someone else as a young man — someone he might have enjoyed knowing.
Wanning Sun spent nearly a decade talking to migrant workers at the Apple factory in China’s Shenzhen about their intimate lives – and how their relationships are affected by inequality.
Edwina Preston reflects on the lost art of hanging out – which feeds creativity – and the need to reclaim time from the pressures of productivity. She draws on new books by Jenny Odell and Sheila Liming.
Photos: Natalie Boog/AAP, Andy Rain/EPA, Ettore Ferrari/EPA, Alastair Grant/AP, Javier Etxezarreta/EPA, Joel Ryan/AP
So many of our artistic geniuses have complicated legacies. What do we do with work we love by artists whose behaviour is more difficult to admire?
They tend backyards brimming with cactus varieties, consuming the produce. Prudence Gibson meets a hidden group of gardeners and ponders the allure – and – danger of psychoactive plants.
A Uighur woman protests before a group of paramilitary police in western China’s Xinjiang region.
Ng Han Guan/AP
China’s Xi Xinping had trialled his COVID lockdown measures on what he callously called the ‘virus’ of the Uighurs, writes Stan Grant. COVID lockdowns are now over, but the trace of tyranny remains.
Migrant women come to Australia with high hopes but their husbands’ careers often take precedence. Farjana Mahbuba spoke to Bangladeshi Muslim women, finding stories of isolation and under employment.
A stuffed toy at the site of collapsed buildings after the earthquake in Hatay, Turkey, 17 February 2023.
It is easy to feel jaded in a time of catastrophe but there is a compelling moral argument for us to work towards a better world.