Literature

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Sofie Laguna last night became the fourth woman to win the Miles Franklin award in as many years. Allen&Unwin

Sofie Laguna’s Miles Franklin win helps keep half the world visible

If a society should be judged by the way it treats its children, and those who are struggling on the margins, then Laguna’s work once again proves that the novel is a crucial means for drawing attention to the burning problems of our times.
Fan tributes on Oscar Wilde’s tomb. Chrissy Hunt/Flickr

The literary pilgrimage: from Brontëites to TwiHards

The desire to connect with literary places supports a substantial tourist trade. And the reasons why people embark on literary pilgrimages are as diverse as the kinds of fiction that inspire them.
Eleanor Catton won the 2013 Man Booker Prize, for a novel centred largely on men. EPA/Tal Cohen

Books by women are not enough: we need better women’s stories

We know that male writers win more prestigious literary awards than female writers, but sadly, when women do win, it's typically because they write about male characters, or "masculine’ topics.
Technology has always transformed the novel and given it new shapes to play with. Thomas Leuthard

The byte may destroy the book but the novel isn’t over yet

Victor Hugo famously claimed the invention of the printing press destroyed the edifice of the gothic cathedral. Others fear the internet age will eventually destroy the novel. But guess what? It won't.
Sacks’ works have introduced readers to the marvellous complexities of the mind. Mars Hill Church Seattle/Flickr

Celebrating Oliver Sacks' romantic science and a life now ending

The popular neurologist revealed earlier this year that he only has months to live – a statement which casts his recently-released memoir, On the Move: A Life, in a new light.
A new collection of essays explores the role of books in founding and dismantling The British empire. Shutterstock

The books that shaped the rise and fall of the British empire

Books have active political lives. They inspire social movements and bind people together. Books can stand as short-hand symbols for larger galaxies of ideas.
Hamid Mohsin is a guest of the Sydney Writers' Festival. Photo © Jillian Edelstein. Penguin Books.

Against binaries: a conversation with Mohsin Hamid

"I have a bit of resistance to the way the world is and making up my own world is a response to that," says Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid, a guest at this year's Sydney Writers' Festival.
Should we be upset that some of our favourite authors don’t actually exist? Mark Nye

Ghostwriters haunt our illusions about solitary authors

Modernism – and western culture generally since the late 18th century – taught us that books were written in solitary creative frenzies. But ghostwriters are increasingly challenging that assumption.
The pantheon of the Bard’s plays is now larger by one – or so the headlines would have you believe. George

Shakespeare’s Double Falsehood? Alas, that’s neither true nor false

You'd be forgiven for thinking Double Falsehood was recently "found" and confirmed as being by Shakespeare. But that's not what the researchers behind the computational tests actually said. So what's up?
Zannoni’s 1771 Map of the British Isles shows the heart of the “civilised” world – at least according to Adam Smith when he was writing The Wealth of Nations. Wikimedia Commons/Geographicus Rare Antique Maps

Savage peoples: the racism of Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations

To burnish the virtues of "civilised" Europe, Adam Smith relies on a barrage of racial insults. Where did his information about the so-called "savage peoples" come from in the first place?
Memory makes us human but also sometimes inhumane. Trung Bui Viet

What Ishiguro’s Buried Giant tells us about memory

Though Kazuo Ishiguro makes us wonder whether remembering is really better than forgetting, he also makes it clear that the answer is irrelevant. Remembering is our fate.
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
A fantasy about free markets in primitive society lies at the heart of Adam Smith’s wealth of nations – but did they ever exist? Steve Rhodes/Flickr

The myth that holds Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations together

The myth that our primitive forebears were capitalists at heart is fundamental to Adam Smith's arguments in The Wealth of Nations.

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