Writing in Elsewhere

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LES MURRAY INTERVIEWED (2003): The poet of the political and personal

9 Jan 2003  |  4 min read

The day after Australian Prime minister John Howard is hailed by US President George Bush as being "kind of like a Texan", Les Murray considers the statement. "Then maybe they'll take him," he muses - then laughs in a high, sharp pitch which punctuates the digressive and amusing half-hour conversation. "He isn't all bad, of course. But he does seem to glory... > Read more

THE SKEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST by DR BJORN LOMBORG

24 Mar 2002  |  9 min read

Good news arrives in small paragraphs. Take, for example, remarks from John Caldwell, a professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, at a United Nations conference on demography. If his report was published at all, it was buried behind the stories of tanks rolling into Palestinian camps and the usual warnings about the decline of civilisation through pollution, poor... > Read more

LIFE OF PI by YANN MARTEL

27 Nov 2001  |  2 min read

This ingenious, fable-like and gently philosophical novel by Spanish-born, Montreal-based author Martel has not only been salivated over by critics but also longlisted for the Booker. Don't let that put you off. The witty, often deliberately misleading narrative engages from the start, makes probing digressions into matters of faith and commonly held belief, and the core of the story... > Read more

CRAIG MARRINER INTERVIEWED (2001): Coming in from the margins

10 May 2001  |  5 min read

There's Led Zeppelin on the jukebox, a few old soaks at the bar, a pool table in the corner and a handle of beer in front of him. Craig Marriner seems right at home in this world as distant from literary pretension as is possible. At 27, his long, blond hair tied in a ponytail, Marriner fits the profile of one who might know the violent world of dope dealing and life on the edge that is... > Read more

FUTURE JAZZ by HOWARD MANDEL

25 Feb 1999  |  1 min read

In a recent column I said that when the histories of jazz last century are written one name will loom unnaturally large, that of trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis. I speculated this undeniably talented, articulate and media-savvy musician would either be hailed as the one who saved jazz from disappearing into arthouse obscurity or derided as a man who marginalised otherwise important... > Read more

ALBERT WENDT INTERVIEWED (1991): Shaping a life in words

6 Jul 1991  |  7 min read

The beer cartons were dumped on the writer’s verandah “like an hermaphroditic orphan.” Inside were random jottings, diary entries, what appeared to be short stories, poems and events in a life which may – or may not – have taken their author across the globe from Samoa and Auckland to Israel and the United States. And accompanying this flotsam of a life... > Read more