Rachel Morley

lectures in Writing and Communications at Western Sydney University.

About Rachel Morley

Rachel Morley lectures in Writing and Communications at Western Sydney University. She has published essays in a range of fields including biography and autobiography, nineteenth century literature, the use of digital databases in remote communities, and women in sport. She co-hosts the literary arts show Shelf Life (channel 44).

Articles about Rachel Morley

Articles by Rachel Morley

Carmel Bird: ‘Flying About The Place’

‘I’m always writing – even if only in my head. I take notes on paper – often backs of envelopes and other scraps, I confess. But yes, I am always writing. It’s what defines me. If I need defining, what I am is a writer. That’s what I do.’ Rachel Morley speaks with Carmel Bird about her long career as a writer.

Everyday Intimacies: An interview with Fiona Wright

‘It’s that wonderful mediating effect of writing, its ability to hold things clear that I’ve always been drawn to, and which is very similar to the way in which hunger works.’ Rachel Morley interviews poet, critic, editor and essayist Fiona Wright for the SRB.


Tony Abbott and Fifty Shades

Two remarkable things happened this week that cannot pass without mention. The Liberal Party proved to the Australian people that it wasn’t at all like the supposedly ‘dysfunctional’ Labor Party by behaving uncannily like the Labor Party, and one of the world’s worst best-selling novels, Fifty Shades of Grey, turned a nightmare into reality by showing up in Australian cinemas daring to call itself a movie. For what it’s worth, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has read Fifty Shades of Grey.

philipstallard taronga zebra totem 182X90 $2700

Harper Lee

A second novel by Harper Lee. It was the one we couldn’t have predicted last Friday when we published our list of upcoming 2015 releases. But that was the news that came out of the US on Tuesday when Harper Collins announced it was publishing Go Set a Watchman, a novel written by Lee in the mid-1950s, but shelved on the advice of a publisher, and then later presumed lost.

The year ahead

As the first issue of the Sydney Review of Books for 2015 has been taking shape, we have been contemplating the coming year in publishing. Given the recent speculation about titles and leaders at the national level we think it’s only fitting that we begin the year by nominating our ‘captain’s picks’ for 2015 — a list that reads like a roll call of contemporary literature’s knights and dames.

Cuts to the ABC

Tonight marks the end of state-based television current affairs on the ABC, with all eight Friday night 7.30 programs preparing to air their final episodes. The state editions, which for more than two decades have covered local politics, arts, sport and cultural issues that would otherwise miss out on coverage beyond the local papers, have been axed as part of the much-discussed (and criticised) federal government cuts to the ABC.


It is something of an understatement to say that Serial has become a cultural phenomenon. The statistics are widely quoted – each episode averages 1.5 million listeners. It is both the number one and the fastest downloaded podcast in the history of iTunes. The show has inspired countless opinion pieces, interviews, analyses, memes, google hangouts with program ‘characters’, and even a parody. There are dedicated discussion outlets. Slate has its own weekly Serial forum, podcast and, aggregated feature story site, for example; while Reddit, in typical fashion, has taken its obsession to another level, with its devoted citizen-sleuth pages.

Whitlam, Blanchett and Bolt

There was a moment during the speech Cate Blanchett delivered at Gough Whitlam’s memorial service on Wednesday when the headlines got up and wrote themselves. It took 51 seconds and began with the following eight words: ‘I am the beneficiary of free, tertiary education.’ While the majority of the crowd showed their support for the actor’s agenda with a thunderous seventeen-second round of applause, a small coterie of others set their faces to a stony neutrality.

gladesville half remembered

The Nobel Prize and creative writing programs

Last night, Australian time, the Swedish Academy of Literature announced that the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature was Patrick Modiano. The Nobel Academy awarded the French novelist – the eleventh writer from France to win the eight million kroner ($1.26 million) prize – for his mastery of 'the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation'.

Pet Cat Frightened 2014

Primavera and university deregulation

Next week, on Tuesday 23 September, Stefan Collini will be giving a public lecture at Sydney University entitled ‘What’s Happening to Universities? Historical and Comparative Perspectives’. Collini has been an outspoken and trenchant critic of the deregulation of the university system in the United Kingdom, and his lecture is sure to be relevant to the present situation in Australia.

Martin Harrison

This week readers, students, colleagues and friends are mourning the death of Martin Harrison, who was widely regarded as one of the country’s finest poets, essayists and teachers. Harrison died of a heart attack on Saturday 6 September. He was 65 years old.

Bushfire (Blue) by Joseph Tjangala Zimran 100x180cm
The Wimmera region near Goroke Victoria

Political memoirs

2014 has been something of a watershed year for books on Australian politics. Of course, this is hardly surprising. The soap opera of the Gillard and Rudd years will probably exercise politicians, analysts and biographers for years to come. But we are currently facing something of an armada – to steal a phrase from the popular media – of political memoirs and biographies.

Biography Week

In the opening chapter of her biographical study of Virginia Woolf, Hermione Lee recalls her subject’s troubled relationship with the literary form. ‘My God, how does one write a Biography?’ Woolf wrote to Vita Sackville-West, lamenting the difficulty of writing the life of Roger Fry: ‘How can one deal with facts – so many and so many and so many. Or ought one, as I incline, to be purely fictitious? And what is a life? And what was Roger?’ Some 60 years later, Lee found herself facing similar questions. How should she deal with a life so voluminously documented?

Innovative Libraries

There are countless stories on the web about the innovative (and contentious) measures that librarians and other bibliophiles are taking to ensure libraries and book culture remain relevant. Fundamental to the modern library these days are built-in cafes, access to wifi, iPads, virtual librarians, lounging furniture, Xboxes and even a whole new code of manners that has sent the old-fashioned ‘shhh’ into decline.

Susan O'Doherty Earlwood Kitchen

Eimear McBride and Therese Ryder

Eimear McBride has won another award for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing: the £10 000 (A$18 350) Desmond Elliott Prize. Reflecting on McBride’s achievement, author and judging chair, Chris Cleave, lauded the author and her novel with the kind of praise that would leave most writers breathless.

Therese Ryder, Dancing Lubra