Kerryn Goldsworthy portrait

Kerryn Goldsworthy

is a freelance writer and critic who lectured in literature at the University of Melbourne for seventeen years.


About Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy is a freelance writer and critic who lectured in literature at the University of Melbourne for seventeen years and has written extensively about Australian fiction. Her most recent book, Adelaide (2011), was shortlisted for the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, and she won the 2013 Pascall Prize for Criticism.


Articles about Kerryn Goldsworthy

Articles by Kerryn Goldsworthy

Between a Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain book cover

The Dancer From the Dance: Between a Wolf and a Dog

The novel’s title is the translation of the French expression l’heure entre chien et loup, ‘the hour between dog and wolf’. It refers to twilight, the dusky hour when you can no longer see clearly and might easily mistake a dog for a wolf or vice versa. Between a wolf and a dog: the uncertain space between faithful companion and savage predator, between civilisation and wildness, darkness and light, the known and the unknown, life and death. And on the day that most of the action in this novel takes place, every main character is in such a liminal zone, a place of flux and cusp, moving through a scary transition from one state to the next.

The Life of Houses by Lisa Gorton cover

Inhabiting Spirits: The Life of Houses
by Lisa Gorton

‘Gorton’s way of seeing the world and of naming its parts is the quality that sets her debut novel apart from the mass of fiction currently being published in Australia… Most contemporary novels favour substance a long way over style, which can lead to a lot of commonplace sentences. But as one might expect from a poet, Gorton’s every sentence – and not just every sentence, but every phrase and every word – has been turned this way and that in the light of her attention and fitted to the next with the precision of a mosaicist.’ Kerryn Goldsworthy on Lisa Gorton’s The Life of Houses.

What Days Are For by Robert Dessaix

Rolling downhill: What Days Are For
by Robert Dessaix

Written in the first person and the present tense, What Days Are For has a diary-like tone and structure, covering the twelve hospitalised days immediately following what Dessaix calls ‘the emergency’.

A country in mind by Saskia Beudel cover

A living landscape: A Country in Mind by Saskia Beudel

Throughout the book, Beudel uses a technique that approaches – and seems to be trying, humbly, to learn from – Aboriginal ways of seeing country, of the dynamic interrelatedness of people, animals, plants and the land itself, to write her own story.

A girl is a half formed thing cover by Eimear McBride cover

A sentence is a half-formed thing

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is a piece of high modernism a century on, recognisable in its stream-of-consciousness ways as using a version of the techniques practised by James Joyce, and also by Virginia Woolf, who might have approved its style but would have hated its subject matter.

The unseemly splatter

Australia’s first female Prime Minister is the figure at the centre of this pile of books, and they were all produced during the last few months of her Prime Ministership. They came out in quick succession... all of them had gone to press before the afternoon of June 26 when Prime Minister Julia Gillard called the leadership spill that saw the federal ALP caucus vote her out of office in favour of Kevin Rudd.

What we talk about when we talk about Australian literature

Kerryn Goldsworthy takes a look at the 'canonising project' that is involved in the publication of Australian literature classics.