Non-Fiction

May 2019

Women Who Write About Their Feelings and Lives

'I go to memoir because there, someone understands what this is like, to be smaller and more fragile and vulnerable to those ‘large, heavy bodies spilling out of doorways’, to ‘feel the micro-aggressions as macro’ (Meera Atkinson), to grow up in a world where even your own father says things like ‘Good day—for a rape’ (Rozanna Lilley) to old ladies, even though he doesn’t mean you, of course not you, love.'

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

March 2019

At The Limits of Liberalism: The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

Why then is Brett’s new biography important? It is important, because, written with conspicuous skill and economy, it is the leading continuation and affirmation of Deakin’s liberal-progressive life and work in our own troubled times of short parliaments and major geopolitical changes – the rise of China at a time of uncertainty about US leadership in the world today. It is important because, in those ways, it offers the most rational defence of Deakin’s nation against the changes he already saw the need to guard it against. But while the biography presents the face of liberal reason and a sharp, though still sympathetic psychological and political portrait, it generates a certain silence. Its greatest importance may indeed be that it takes us to the limits of its liberal comfort zone. For at that limit, it becomes possible to see how the biography’s minimal history represents the ongoing liberal denial of the geopolitical reality that was a mainspring of federation.

The New Natural Histories of Mushrooms

Fungi are integral to the functioning of ecosystems; we ignore them (and it seems that in our environmental legislation we do ignore them) at our peril. But this ignoring, sometimes bordering on outright hostility, is being slowly, partially corrected by a literature on fungi and a culture of fungal regard emerging (shiitake-style) from the woodwork (a woodwork they will perhaps go on to devour, if they’ve learnt anything from the wood-rotting fungi that Pouliot proudly claims have sunk more ships than all the naval battles since 1600).

Fascist Creeps

‘For once, the person that will be called a fascist is an actual fascist.’ In the manifesto disseminated before his murderous attack on Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, Brenton Tarrant proclaims openly the political tradition to which he belongs. But what, precisely, does it mean to be an ‘actual fascist’ in the second decade of the twenty-first century? We might tease out an answer through a selection of recent books, most of which take as their key reference point the US presidential election of 2016.

Best in Show:
Australian Art Exhibitions: Opening our eyes

'The considerable achievement of this book has been to chart the various curatorial paths and strategies adopted by people working both inside and outside the official art establishment and the discussion of the fascinating intersections between these various paths.'