Feature Articles posts

A spotlight on a brilliant new Australian crime novel

by Jock Serong

Mark Brandi’s debut novel is more than atmospheric: this is visceral Australian noir. Jock Serong introduces us to the next big thing in Australian crime fiction.

Brandi is a writer who pays close attention to the physical; to the shapes and smells and sensations of the human body, set in vivid contrast to the torpor of a dead-end town. Wimmera is the story of two best friends, Ben and Fab, gr…

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Australian YA: the quiet achiever

by Emily Gale

Professionally, you’d have to be a little short of Earth logic to give your heart away to young adult (YA) fiction in this country. The challenges come from all sides.

You’re up against industry snobbery, for a start, despite the fact that children’ and YA books as a category is that rare beast: a print publishing and bookselling growth area. Martin Amis skimmed us a casual slur in 2011, summing…

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Thoughts on Go Set A Watchman

by Nina Kenwood

I’ve finished reading Go Set A Watchman.

Whew! What a relief! Now I can read all those reviews, opinion pieces, hot takes and tweets safe in the knowledge that I have read the book, and my opinion, should I choose to comment on an article (I won’t) is somewhat qualified. If anyone ever says to me, ‘Well have you actually read the book?’, I can say, ‘Yes, I read it within a day of release,’ and t…

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Rebecca Starford on writing Bad Behaviour

by Rebecca Starford

I studied creative writing at university. I loved almost everything about the course: the teachers were inspiring, the readings insightful and provocative, and the workshops were a safe and temperate space.

But the exercises I hated the most – which left me sitting under the fluorescent lights, mouth agape, my mind utterly blank – were on memoir.

‘Write about your childhood,’ our tutor instruct…

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On stories of motherhood

by Emily Harms and Chris Gordon

Emily Harms and Chris Gordon discuss two new anthologies, Mothers & Others and Mothermorphosis, featuring women writing about their experiences of being – and not being – a mother.

Chris: Reading two books about women’s experiences of motherhood back-to-back was quite engulfing. I found myself reflecting on my kids’ birth stories quite a lot. Essentially the stories and experiences, even the s…

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Miriam Sved on Janette Turner Hospital

by Miriam Sved

I am teaching a creative writing subject this semester about short fiction. I’ve tutored in this subject a few times over the years, and I love it. Lots of grist in the reader: Chekhov, Faulkner, Garner, Munro. I can keep coming back to these stories and finding new ways into them. And short fiction is good to teach: literary techniques jump right out at you, there’s nowhere for them to hide. In …

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Rebecca Harkins-Cross on Hilton Als

by Rebecca Harkins-Cross

‘I come from the Stanislavski school of writing,’ said Hilton Als, delivering a keynote on ‘The Role of the Critic’ in 2010. ‘You become the subject.’

A theatre critic for the New Yorker since 2002, it’s no surprise that performance metaphors abound in Als’s essays too. But the notion of the non-fiction writer embodying their subject as an actor would is radical, profoundly shifting the way we d…

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James Butler on Jeanette Winterson

by James Butler

I’ve been thinking a lot about the body lately, about consciousness and embodiment and the ways we relate to them. The mind and body are often distinguished from each other, drawn as two parts of a whole: the mind an essence and the body a vessel. I’ve been questioning why we maintain such a distinction, what the repercussions of that distinction are, and what writing and actively thinking about …

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Samuel Rutter on Michel Houllebecq as himself

by Samuel Rutter

The appearance of writers on the silver screen is nothing new – think of William S Burroughs in Drugstore Cowboy or Maya Angelou who both wrote Janet Jackson’s poetic lines and played a minor character in John Singleton’s 1993 ‘hit’ Poetic Justice. At best these writers appear as a more or less romanticised version of themselves, with a few zinging one-liners, and at worst they have a non-speakin…

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Oliver Driscoll on beauty and menace in Janet Frame’s work

by Oliver Driscoll

No doubt like many people, when I first watched Jane Campion’s 1990 film An Angel at My Table, some ten years ago, I intended to read Janet Frame’s three-part autobiography – To the Is-Land, An Angel at My Table and The Envoy from Mirror City – on which the film is based, and anything else of hers I could get my hands on.

The books cover, respectively, Frame’s childhood and teenage years; then …

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