Non-Fiction

November 2019

Not My Problem:
on The Colonial Fantasy

The Colonial Fantasy could have been a book that shaped how future settler publics saw their predecessors – it’s what I hoped for when I opened it – but that ambition falls flat. And as she asks her peers to pull out of governing us, is Maddison not doing her own supplanting? She rehashes Kevin Gilbert’s Because a White Man’ll Never Do It – a book with almost the very same thesis, and a book that’s older than my parents.

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The SRB is an initiative of The Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University

October 2019

Primary Reading

‘The links between presidential aspirants and books is well-established. It has become more unusual in recent years for presidential candidates not to have written books, usually in the form of memoirs, policy works, or some combination of both.’

Forgive her, for she knows not
what she draws

‘Reading One Good Turn is like getting injected with adrenaline and misandry and good old-fashioned class warfare in one massive hit. It makes my blood boil and seethe and seep. It makes me want to ignite the world with my words, burn it all down. It is infectious, but unlike patriarchy, it doesn’t make me sick. It makes me furious.’

Finding Australia’s
Lost Arabs

‘At times, as Arabs, lost in the world of displacement, marginalised by our dispersal, and racialised as inferior to our Western counterparts, we can become weary of our lived experiences as diasporic subjects. But with writing as empowering, affecting and beautiful as Sakr’s poetry, or testimonials as stimulating as those assembled by Abdel-Fattah and Saleh, can we dare become ‘tired’ of diaspora writing in any of its modes?’

Autism Aesthetics

A new understanding of literature and rhetoric emerges, as does a new understanding of autism; for as these three books demonstrate in different ways, autistic readers and writers can widen the range and deepen the complexity of human expression.

Cover of The Cherry Picker's Daughter by Kerry Reed-Gilbert

Testimony from the Home Front: Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert

To describe this work as autobiography is too limiting. It is a testimony woven through the stories of the lives of two women, Aunty Kerry and Mummy. In a similar vein to the life writings of Glenyse Ward, Margaret Tucker, Ida West, Monica Clare, Doris Pilkington, Mabel Edmund and Ruby Langford-Ginibi, The Cherry Picker’s Daughter brings the past up close and personal and tells first-hand how decisions made by politicians, bureaucrats, educators, health professionals and social workers from a distance impact on the day to day lives of Aboriginal people. But it differs too from these earlier works through its centring of the child’s voice; and for the way in which Aunty Kerry invites the reader into her home.

Stepping on Rakes:
Terry Eagleton’s Humour
and Peter Timms’ Silliness

‘Humour and Silliness are nostalgias rather than books about humour in 2019. If a book about humour has to be written at all, it probably shouldn’t be by someone in their seventies, unless they’re very online. They’d have to know that the politics of identity are neither to be tip-toed around nor dismissed off-hand, and that if political correctness achieves anything, it’s to purge a lot of cheap, bullying, boring, dead weight from collective humour.’