Author Archives: hilary

Who is Alex Miller?

Only late in her life did my mother tell me about finding skulls in the sand on Brunie Island in Tasmania as a child. And how her elderly friend near the South Australian border whispered about finding bags of ears … Continue reading

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MJ Hyland – This is How

I HAVE female friends who say they cannot finish MJ Hyland’s novels because she cuts so close to the bone. We recognise the blind spots and casual cruelties of her families, the unwitting neglect that only shows up when the … Continue reading

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Beth Yahp – Eat First, Talk Later

Vintage 2015 Reviewed by Hilary McPhee This beautifully crafted memoir by Beth Yahp of her ancestors, parents and herself is shaped around journeys which criss-cross the Malaysian Peninsula where her Siamese-speaking Eurasian mother and her Hakka Chinese father met and … Continue reading

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Sending Papers up the Hume

Hilary McPhee reflects upon a large number of boxes in her laundry   In London again this summer, I return as I always do to the handsome Reading Room of the Wellcome Medical Library in the Euston Road, my place … Continue reading

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In conversation with Caroline Baum

  Earlier this year Caroline Baum interviewed me about publishing. The interview, mainly about the McPhee Gribble days and our dealings with both US and British agents and publishers, as well as the great changes affecting editing, publishing and writing … Continue reading

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Missing Betty

Melbourne. Full moon, winter solstice and a real chill in the air. I have been walking the Fitzroy streets even more than usual in the days since Betty Burstall died, trying to compose a condolence of sorts to her sons. … Continue reading

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Memoirs of a Young Bastard – Introduction

About the Burstall Diaries   Tim Burstall began keeping a diary in late 1953 when he was twenty-six, married with two small sons. The Burstalls and four other young families were building their mudbrick houses around a large dam on … Continue reading

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Silences

  A short unspoken history of this part of the coast Once upon a time, a long time ago, in the 1950s and 60s when photos were black and white and scarce, there was a beautiful place by the sea, … Continue reading

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Semifinal 2 – Tournament of Books: My Brilliant Career vs The Fortunes of Richard Mahony

   VS  This is torture. Two dead white women whose books feel like friends — and I am already deep in subjectivity. They sort of map my life. Once a fierce nineteen year old like Miles Franklin’s Stella/Sybylla, I was … Continue reading

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Certainties

My euphoria after the people’s uprising in Tunisia and Cairo and the stirrings in Syria lasted for weeks. Then, during the long run up while the UN was deliberating over the no-fly zone for Libya, I was visiting the fiord … Continue reading

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