Australian literature

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Dramatic in its effect, Fly away Peter is a requiem to the fallen and damaged of the first world war. Photo: Zan Wimberley. Sydney Chamber Opera

Fly Away Peter on the opera stage is a masterful adaptation

One of the few Australian novels dealing with the first world war, David Malouf's Fly Away Peter, has been adapted for the opera stage – and the Sydney Chamber Opera's production is a great success.
An opera based on David Malouf’s Fly Away Peter opens in Sydney this weekend. Carriageworks/Toby Burrows

Fly Away Peter: when Australian literature goes to the opera

Sydney Chamber Opera's production of David Malouf's 1982 novel Fly Away Peter opens this weekend. It's not the first opera adaptation of Australian literature – and there are reasons to hope it's not the last.
Bitto has remarked on the major impact of the Stella Prize and the conversations it has encouraged about women writers. Jone

Debut novelist Emily Bitto wins the Stella Prize

Emily Bitto has won the 2015 Stella Prize for her debut novel, The Strays. The prize is now in its third year and was established to redress the way in which women writers were typically overlooked for major literary prizes
The “MONA effect” has set Tasmania’s arts scene on fire – will Richard Flanagan’s Man Booker win do the same for its literature? EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

The Flanagan effect: Tasmanian literature in the limelight

Richard Flanagan's 2014 Man Booker Prize has put Tasmanian writing in the spotlight – and the announcement of new state literary prizes has helped too. So what is distinctive about Tasmanian literature?
The new waterfront in Australian literature: Parramatta. Lina Hayes/Flickr

The new Australian literary frontier: writing Western Sydney

Despite boasting a population of 2 million people – more than South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the ACT combined – Western Sydney has, to date, had little impact on the literary pulse…
Bush balladeers celebrate the district, its identities and their adventures. Oceana/Flickr

Australian bush ballads keep galloping on

When Brian the farmer finished his poem the crowd went wild. Small wonder he earned the People’s Choice Award on the night. We were at a so-called poetry “slam” at a country hall in a place so tiny it…
Books do not necessarily bring us all together, tell ‘our’ story, unite us. AAP/Joe Castro

PM’s Literary Awards: how reading opens us to a world of pain

On Monday night, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were announced with a tie in the fiction category between A World of Other People by Steven Carroll and the Booker Prize and Queensland Literary Award…
Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest has won the inaugural Voss Literary Prize. Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr

The Voss Literary Prize celebrates a fine new Australian novel

The Voss Literary Prize, for which I was a judge, was awarded for the first time this week. The winner, Fiona McFarlane for her novel The Night Guest, was chosen from a shortlist that included Hannah Kent…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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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