Scenes from the Top End: Mary Anne Butler
I think good plays suggest worlds rather than prescribing them. And audiences are capable of making all kinds of leaps in reading films, so I was interested in how far theatre could go with a filmic sensibility. I had a lot of inspirations with Broken. Andrew Bovell’s When The Rain Stops Falling taught me that not only can you put anything on stage; you can leap eras and locations in a single sentence.
James Bradley: Fitting the Pieces Together
‘Although it looks like you write one book and then another and then another, the reality is much messier than that, and the books are really part of a larger process that’s surprisingly difficult to understand when you’re in the middle of it.’ James Bradley speaks with SRB editor Catriona Menzies-Pike about the shape of a writing career in progress.
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.
Gerald Murnane: An Idiot in the Greek Sense
‘The question will arise: did I live this imaginative life because I didn’t find my real life satisfactory? That’s a question that I can’t answer, that no one else can answer. You can’t answer these questions definitively. In some respects I was immensely satisfied by my real life, and yet, by the evidence of my writing, I wasn’t. Some people have terrible lives. I didn’t have a life like that, yet, on the evidence of my writing, my life wasn’t enough for me, and I had to have this other life. There’s no answer to these questions. It’s just a wonderful part of the mystery of being human.’ Gerald Murnane speaks with Shannon Burns
Writing, Editing: An Interview with Ellen van Neerven
‘I think Indigenous writers kind of need each other. I feel that more and more, that sense of camaraderie and community. We challenge each other to write better. It is sometimes hard when you’re perhaps the only black writer on a festival or you’re put into a situation where you have to represent a whole community. That’s why we take strength from each other.’ SRB editor Catriona Menzies-Pike speaks with Ellen van Neerven.
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.
Sofie Laguna: ‘There Is No Reader In The Room’
‘I am meant to be a writer– but it is the actor in me who writes. What I mean by that is that I joyfully inhabit the voice of a character as if I’m playing that character.’ Miles Franklin winner Sofie Laguna speaks to the SRB about her fiction and the forces that have shaped her as a writer.
- The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard First Published 1980
Across the face of the sun
I still don’t fully understand The Transit of Venus, which I suspect is why I will keep returning to it throughout my life. It has been fascinating to observe, in other writers’ responses, how often they remark on seeing its greatness only on a second visit – often decades after first buying or reading it.
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.
Fiction as Alchemy: An extract from an interview with Gerald Murnane
I understand that there is a time in the history of the visual arts when what we call scholars or critics wrote much about the composition of a painting. Not just the subject matter alone, but the way that the painting, the details or items in the painting, were arranged or composed… what I’ve just been talking about in relation to A Million Windows could be called the composition, and I get tremendous satisfaction from discovering what the composition will be, and then satisfaction afterwards in just standing back and admiring the composition.