Non-Fiction

December 2019

Cryptic Cargo

Centred on the arrival narrative of a single book, the Kasasol Ambia (Stories of the Prophets), in a mosque built in 1887 at the edge of the desert in Broken Hill, historian Samia Khatun’s Australianama, is, like the object of its inquiry, a book of books. The mystery of ‘who/what’ brought this 500-page compendium of Bengali Sufi poetry, printed in eight volumes between 1861 and 1895 in Calcutta, to this outpost of empire down-under, launches Khatun into a decade-long odyssey from Sydney to Dhaka, Perth to Calcutta, Melbourne to Lahore, and deep into the archival reserves of nineteenth-century colonialism.

This is your brain.
This is your brain on drugs.

Fleming deploys an intelligence that does not seek to draw a firm line between a before and an after; instead, the confessor is borne on the question of drugs and what they mean, rather than born again after drugs have been left behind.

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

November 2019

The Trouble with Strangers

In Placeless People, literary language is shown to have its own kind of agency in redressing this dynamic. Metaphor becomes a node of connection between thought and word, word and action, action and the formation of new kinds of political and ethical communities. The agency of literary language is generative and it is also interrogative. Stonebridge’s writers ask what it is to be placeless so that we know how to be citizens; their acts of questioning seek to erode the distinction between these two categories of being.

The Hipster

‘The appropriation of black language cannot be stopped, except only if we were to leave for Mars and never come back. At issue isn’t the transmission, but the vacuous want behind it – as if black culture lives to rescue mass culture from boredom. Surely there exists some ethical method for taking on the words of others – white America has yet to find it. For the curse to be undone, the desire must be undone, and undoing the desire means taking a knife to its insides and learning what it’s full of.’

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.