A Book Review by Janet Malcolm

Of course you should click through and read it.  It's a book review by Janet Malcolm.  Yes, Janet Malcolm. In the New York Review of Books.  The Master Writer of the City is Malcolm's review of a biography of a writer, Joseph Mitchell.  And in the course of the review Malcolm writes about writing.  That alone makes it worth your while. Apparently the biographer discovers that some of Mitchell's non-fiction pieces in fact included quite a lot of fiction.  Malcolm ostensibly does not approve of such creative flights.  Or does [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:39+11:00April 8th, 2015|Interesting Articles|0 Comments

The East India Company: The original corporate raiders by William Dalrymple

Fantastic article from The Guardian about the East India Company.  Well worth a read. As with all such corporations, then as now, the East India Company was answerable only to its shareholders. With no stake in the just governance of the region, or its long-term wellbeing, the company’s rule quickly turned into the straightforward pillage of Bengal, and the rapid transfer westwards of its wealth. Before long the province, already devastated by war, was struck down by the famine of 1769, then further ruined by high taxation. Company tax collectors [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:39+11:00March 14th, 2015|Interesting Articles|0 Comments

#ReviewWomen2015: It’s Time To Take Commercial Fiction Seriously

I couldn't agree more with this recent article from the Huffington Post. Because whatever the statistics show us, there is a genre of fiction that rarely gets reviewed in any serious publication: and that's 'women's fiction.' Now, as I made clear last year, I don't like the term 'women's fiction'. It's an unnecessary clarification that marginalises commercial novels by women. The books we're talking about are simply contemporary fiction that happen to be written by female authors. Books dealing with subjects that, if written by men, would be lauded as [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:40+11:00February 5th, 2015|Interesting Articles|0 Comments

Long articles – perfect for a long weekend

Photo: Adventures in Biography Australia Day falls on 26 January - a public holiday and a long weekend that often spells the end of school (and other) holidays. The English First Fleet - full of sailors, marines and convicts - arrived at what would become Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.  So Australia Day is also known colloquially to some as Invasion Day.  Elizabeth Macarthur arrived with the Second Fleet, some two and a half years later. None of this is news to my Australian readers of course, [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:40+11:00January 22nd, 2015|Interesting Articles|0 Comments

Julian Barnes – What is literature for you?

I've spent some lovely, lazy hours this Christmas browsing through the many wonderful interviews with writers generously posted online by the Paris Review. One of the interviewers asked English novelist Julian Barnes "What is literature for you?" There are many answers to that question. The shortest is that it’s the best way of telling the truth; it’s a process of producing grand, beautiful, well-ordered lies that tell more truth than any assemblage of facts. Beyond that, literature is many things, such as delight in, and play with, language; also, a [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:41+11:00January 7th, 2015|Interesting Articles|0 Comments

Like Pushing an Elephant Into a Volkswagen

There seems to be theme emerging around my current selection of interesting articles about writing: how and when to find the time. This article by Liz Entman Harper is a beauty. She interviews seven writers who write while also holding down a day job. The myth of the full-time writer is a perniciously sticky one—and it doesn’t help that once in a blue moon a J.K. Rowling does come along, thereby entrenching the cultural delusion that being a full-time writer is a thing that could realistically happen. But the truth [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:41+11:00December 12th, 2014|Interesting Articles, Writing|0 Comments

Richard III’s Teeth

AP Photo. University of Leicester Richard III has become, once again, quite the celebrity.  At this rate everyone will want to be buried in a car park. Of course his life story was tolerably interesting, as far as lives go, but his story as historical artifact is (with apologies to Robert Palmer) simply irresistible. The latest news thrown up after extensive DNA testing of Richard III's skeleton is that at least some previous members of the royal family aren't who they thought they were - or perhaps their [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:42+11:00December 9th, 2014|Interesting Articles|0 Comments

Ursula K Le Guin

Ursula K Le Guin has been awarded the USA's National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. The recipient recieves US$10,000 and is a person who has enriched the literary heritage of the USA over a life of service, or a corpus of work.  The citation includes the following: For more than forty years, Le Guin has defied the conventions of narrative, language, character, and genre, as well as transcended the boundaries between fantasy and realism, to forge new paths for literary fiction.  Among the nation's most revered [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:42+11:00November 21st, 2014|Interesting Articles, Writing|0 Comments

Cockatoos in Renaissance Art – rethinking what we thought we knew

Still Life: Game, Vegetables, Fruit, Cockatoo. Adriaen van Utrecht. Flemish, 1650. Oil on canvas 46 x 98 1/16 in. This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program. This gorgeous still life hangs in the Los Angeles Getty Centre and last week I had the privilege of seeing it in person.* Check the date: it was painted in 1650.  That's 120 years before Cook 'discovered' Australia.  So how on earth did an Australian cockatoo come to find itself featuring in a Renaissance artwork? [...]

The Trouble with Writing

The trouble with writing is that life seems to constantly get in the way. Michelle Huneven, a Californian novelist and journalist of whom I've never heard, put it much more articulately in her recent keynote address at the Writing Workshops LA: The Conference, which took place on June 28, 2014 at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. I decided to talk about some of the troubles that I personally have encountered over the years, namely some the mental and spiritual troubles associated with writing as an activity and writing as [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:43+11:00October 1st, 2014|Interesting Articles, Writing|0 Comments
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