I declare 2012 the year of Australian women writers.
At this year’s Melbourne Writers’ Festival I was in a session about Australian classics with Text Publishing’s Michael Heyward, broadcaster Ramona Koval, and poet, academic and deputy general editor of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature David McCooey, chaired by the Wheeler Centre’s man about town Michael Williams. I was very excited by the prospect of this panel, with its provocative title – The ‘Real’ Australian Classics – and genesis in Text Publishing’s new classics series.
Yesterday the Guardian published a story called: ‘I took secret photos of my abortion to empower and educate women’. Sensibly, the woman who wrote it remained anonymous – because these are dangerous times for women and our bodies.
GDP figures purportedly measure our national wealth, they supposedly calculate the success or otherwise of our economic lives. And the latest GDP figures rock. But what, exactly, do they measure? All legal transactions in the money economy. No more and no less. Which raises the more important question: what, exactly, do GDP figures not measure.
And then I read a comment below his blog: ‘I think there has to be a direct discourse of kindness unearthed somewhere. Kindness has become a kind of granny-virtue, if I can say that and be understood without offending grannies.
Ninety years ago in the title of The Waste Land TS Eliot played with the Arthurian myth of the Fisher King, whose wounded genitals blighted the regenerative powers of his kingdom as they blighted his own. Both lay wasted. The poem’s opening line, ‘April is the cruellest month’, makes spring a time not of green abundance but of pain, and overturns Chaucer’s invocation to the fertility of April which opens his Canterbury Tales.
The Red and the Black was published in France in 1830, some 15 years after the fall from power of Napoleon Bonaparte, Stendhal’s lifelong hero. The novel is a fierce attack on France following Napoleon’s demise, the story of a young man determined to find heroism in those vacuous days, and a lament for heroic times gone by.
A new issue of Overland (205) is out this week and marks the end of my first year as its fiction editor. So I thought it would be a good moment to reflect on this year of fiction, especially in…
Last Friday night in Melbourne a new prize for women’s writing was officially launched. Called the Stella Prize, it’s named after Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin. The name is a nod at the fiction prize Franklin established in her will,…