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Category Archives: Australian literature


May’s KYD First Book Club: Notes on Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil

When it was announced that Maxine Beneba Clarke was the winner of the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript at last year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival, jubilation hung in the air. Her face glowed with relief; public recognition had obviously been a long time coming for the Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Read more »

Watch KYD’s DWF book club with Luke Carman

Sydney writer Luke Carman is an exciting new voice in Australian writing, and Veronica Sullivan and I were lucky enough to chat to Luke this week at the inaugural Digital Writers’ Festival (DWF). A self-declared ‘anti-folk monologist’, Luke’s writing is remarkable Read more »

MUBAs and Shakers: The 2013 Most Underrated Book Award

The Small Press Network hosted the Most Underrated Book Awards of 2013 last Friday night. From the start, the equivocal nature of ‘underrated’ was under the microscope. As ebullient MC Mary Masters put it, the award could be interpreted as the literary equivalent of ‘that shirt is divine … Read more »

Looking west: an evening with Tim Winton

It’s four years since I left WA and in that time I keep hearing about how it’s changed. ‘It’s so expensive.’ ‘The airport is full of miners in fluoro.’ ‘The place has changed.’ But I brush it off – I’ve been back many times in these four … Read more »

The E.P. Thompson of historical fiction: Amanda Curtin’s Elemental

Amanda Curtin is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors of historical fiction. Unlike, say, Hilary Mantel or Anna Funder, Curtin is interested in the people that History tends to sweep over: the labouring poor, marginalised women, and those who evade categorisation as ‘male’ or ‘female’. Curtin … Read more »

Novel writing and the melodic blizzard: the influence of music on The Burial

There has been some confusion about which Warren Ellis wrote the blurb on the cover of my recently released novel, The Burial. Is it Warren Ellis the writer of comics and novels or Warren Ellis the wiz with a violin?

Pulp fiction: Australia’s other forgotten literary history

There’s been a lot of talk so far this year about Australia’s forgotten literary history. Universities have been criticised for failing to appreciate and teach Australian literature. Text is re-releasing ‘classics’ of Australian literature. The Wheeler Centre has organised a series of talks in which contemporary writers … Read more »

What does YA mean to you? A discussion about definition

Image: Horia Varlan We’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking and talking about what constitutes Young Adult (YA) fiction lately. It’s quite a topical, contentious subject amongst writers, readers, publishers and sellers. So, in the lead up to the KYD YA Championship, without being purposefully reductive … Read more »

Castaways, convicts and cannibals: Patrick White’s A Fringe of Leaves

Why do we read Patrick White? The answer, ‘because he won a Nobel Prize’ is not sufficient in itself. If it were, we’d read Vicente Aleixandre, Jaroslav Seifert and Wislawa Szymborska. But by and large, we don’t. Nor do many of us read White. No doubt some … Read more »

God in the Machine: Peter Carey’s The Chemistry of Tears

The root of the word ‘automaton’ is the Greek automatos, or ‘acting of itself’. A lifelike machine is an uncanny and fertile image, and forms the central metaphor that propels the plots and subplots of Peter Carey’s latest novel The Chemistry of Tears. The themes evoked by … Read more »