Category Archives: Archive

Ukelele

2006 was a bad year for me – about as bad as a year could be. But I had begun a weird and wonderful job in the Middle East and by September was heading back to Amman for a couple … Continue reading

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On reading Greg Sheridan in Ramallah

The writers’ bus was about to enter the Qalandria checkpoint on the road from East Jerusalem to Ramallah in Occupied Palestine when it stopped beside a part of the Wall where a graffiti artist was at work. He had lined … Continue reading

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Introduction to Christina Stead – A Web of Friendship – Selected Letters (1928 – 73)

The Miegunyah Press – 2017 Christina Stead left Australia at the age of twenty-six, arriving in England in 1928 ‘like a small insect waving its antennae’. ‘I really hate work,’ she wrote to her cousin Gwen. ‘I am not a … Continue reading

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Brian Johns: The Force Of Ideas

    O the sad but perfect irony of me being asked to write about my friend Brian John’s legacy for Meanjin online just a few days after his death. He, who rarely spoke about himself, would not have approved. He loved … Continue reading

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Letter to the Editor – ABR October 2015

  Shannon Burns’ splendid ABR essay, The scientist of his own experience, a profile of Gerard Murnane, is rich with insights and pithy observations, plus some rather fine photos. Much of it resonated for me, as Murnane’s first editor, soon … Continue reading

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It Happened on a Fishing Trip

  Affirm Press, 2015. Edited by Paddy O’Reilly   All the way down the South Gippsland highway in the back of Fred’s new car the women sang to Paul Kelly then to an old Tammy Wynette compilation, so no one … Continue reading

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A Culture of Conformity

‘Cringe’, wrote A.A. Phillips, is ‘a disease of the Australian mind’. This was an unpleasant enough notion in the Australia of the 1950s, then a remnant colonial monoculture with no separate language to hide behind. Now with our cosmopolitan aspirations … Continue reading

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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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