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Posts tagged ‘Australian Literary Review’

Australian Literary Review and Walkley Conference

I’ve somewhat belatedly realised today is Australian Literary Review day. As usual selected highlights are available online, including the Pascal Award-winning Mark Mordue on Bret Easton Ellis’ Imperial Bedroom (which I’ve been meaning to try and compose some thoughts on myself) and a number of pieces linked to the election, of which the most significant is probably Christine Jackman’s piece on Annabel Crabb, David Marr and Nicholas Stuart’s books about Kevin RuddALR Editor Stephen Romei’s Editorial is also online.

Reading Stephen’s Editorial has also reminded me that next week is the Walkley Foundation’s Annual Conference, which this year is focussed on narrative. Given it’s smack in the middle of the penultimate week of the election campaign it’s possible it’s not the most perfectly timed media conference in history, but it’s still got a pretty fantastic line-up. Featured international speakers include author and academic, Jay Rosen (the man behind PressThink), political blogger, John Nichols, South African activist and academic Harry Dugmore and NBC News Correspondent Bob Dotson. There’s also a host of Australian speakers, including Charlotte Wood, Malcolm Knox, Kerry O’Brien, Laurie Oakes, Annabel Crabb and Lawrie Zion.

I’m appearing on two panels on Wednesday 11 August, ‘Writing in the Internet Age’ at 11:40am with Jay Rosen, Crikey! Editor Sophie Black and Meanjin Editor and author, Sophie Cunningham, and ‘The Critics Speak’ at 3:30pm with Jenny Tabakoff, Stephen Romei and Sydney Morning Herald Literary Editor, Susan Wyndham. It looks like a fantastic program, so with luck I’ll see at least some of you there.

More information is available on the Walkley Conference website.

Australian Literary Review out today

ALRJust a reminder that The Australian Literary Review is free in today’s Australian. As usual some of the highlights are online, not least Delia Falconer’s review of J.M. Coetzee’s Summertime and Michael Wood’s look at Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, but as usual the bulk of it is only available in the print edition (though over at Australian Literature Diary Kerryn Goldsworthy attempts to straddle that divide with some thoughts about her print-only review of Cate Kennedy’s new novel, The World Beneath).

So what are you waiting for? Go out and grab The Oz and do yourself a favour.

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Literary bloodsport

Louis Nowra

Louis Nowra

If you haven’t seen it, make sure you check out Louis Nowra’s review of Bob Ellis’ latest, And So It Went: Night Thoughts In A Year Of Change, in yesterday’s ALR. Nowra’s criticism can be a bit up and down (though whose isn’t?) but this piece is pure gold, systematically, stylishly and very wittily dismantling not just the book, but Ellis himself, his immense self-importance, the disconnect between his supposed values and his personal behaviour, and perhaps most tellingly, the disproportionate relationship between his reputation and his actual achievements as a writer and public figure.

What will be most interesting though, is what Ellis decides to do about the piece. Ellis is, of course, the man who cost Random House more than a quarter of a million dollars by making untrue and extremely unsavoury claims about Tanya Costello, wife of the former Treasurer, Peter Costello. Whether that was an appropriate outcome or not is a matter for another time (you’d probably be unsurprised to learn that despite the recent changes I think Australia’s defamation laws still need further reform, and that large payouts are a totally inappropriate remedy) but what’s most notable about the case is that Ellis himself is not only utterly unrepentant about his actions, but has actually repeated the smear in at least one public forum I’ve attended (thereby exposing the organization involved to potential legal action, an act of gross irresponsibility in and of itself).

I’m not sure the Nowra piece is actually defamatory, and I’ve no doubt News Ltd’s lawyers have picked over it pretty carefully (which raises the amusing question of what, if anything, was taken out) but it comes pretty close, which means Ellis could, at least in principle, sue Nowra and News Ltd. Would he do it? Obviously I don’t know, and I wouldn’t want to assume anything, but I’d have to say that ironic as such an outcome might be, it wouldn’t seem entirely out of character, not least because Ellis so often seems to exist in a parallel universe in which all roads lead, inevitably, to Bob.