Rosemary Sorensen is director of Bendigo Writers Festival and one of the judges of the 2015 and 2016 National Biography Award.
All essays by Rosemary Sorensen
by Kim Mahood
Published August, 2016
Crossing The Line: Position Doubtful by Kim Mahood
To cross a line can be to start something – a race or a journey – or to breach a boundary. It can also mark a disruption or a transgression. In her new memoir, Position Doubtful, Kim Mahood crosses many lines. She broaches topics that are fraught with ethical, social and intellectual complexities, and while she does so with a confidence earned through experience, she does not relinquish her uncertainties. She questions herself, her right to be doing what she does, her reactions to people and to her situation as a white artist working with Aboriginal people.’
Luke Carman evokes poor old Gilles Deleuze as he sets out on his ‘what are writers festivals for?’ inquiry. He at least has the grace then to say we should ‘put aside’ what Deleuze meant when he said, ‘To write is to become something other than a writer’: indeed, that ‘something other’ is a beguiling and strange idea, a lifetime’s contemplation really. As for suggesting that ‘nowhere is Deleuze’s complex of “unbecoming” more evident than in the proliferation of the literary festival’, while that’s an amusing misuse of the French translation, it’s a furphy
The Natural Way of Things
by Charlotte Wood
Allen and Unwin
Published October, 2015
Listen to the Sirens: The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
‘Charlotte Wood’s fifth novel The Natural Way of Things is a virtuoso performance, plotted deftly through a minefield of potential traps, weighted with allegory yet swift and sure in its narrative advance. In Wood’s fictional imagining, the mechanism of punitive control is simply to remove those whose sexuality has become a provocative inconvenience to powerful men. It’s galling, but is it impossible?’
by Graeme Davison
Allen & Unwin
Published June, 2015
The Dread of Bad Blood: Lost Relations by Graeme Davison
‘It’s as though a well-dressed man has taken off his hat to pat his hair and found a bald spot he then delights in scratching. Never overplayed, and modestly developed, the interplay between the stories of the past and the historian’s self-scrutiny in recounting them is a device that is both charming and revelatory.’ Rosemary Sorensen on Graeme Davison, ‘chattering genealogists’ and family history.
The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia
by Don Watson
Published October, 2014
You Can’t Kill Myths: The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia by Don Watson
This is a book every Australian should read. The kind of people we are, the kind of nation this is, the big myths and the way they have been forged – these are the stones with which Watson’s builds his book.
by Robert Hillman
Published April, 2014
The novelist’s revenge: Joyful by Robert Hillman
Women lust and die in Robert Hillman’s Joyful, but not, it would appear, in the classic realist novel manner. Where a heroine such as Emma Bovary yearns, is seduced, and falls from grace, Joyful offers a twenty-first century update on that scenario. Women still die, but it is the men who love longest when all hope is gone.
by Fiona Capp
Published July, 2013
An island of sanity: Gotland by Fiona Capp
Gotland is a memoir-like novel that shuttles between Melbourne in July and October 2010, and the Swedish island of Gotland in September of that year, where Esther’s sick sister, Rosalind, witnesses Esther’s life-changing and possibly life-saving encounter with the sculptor Sven.