David Marr: My Country

David Marr – My Country – Cover image

David Marr is the rarest of breeds: one of Australia’s most unflinching, forensic reporters of political controversy, and one of its most subtle and eloquent biographers. In Marr’s hands, those things we call reportage and commentary are elevated to artful and illuminating chronicles of our time.

My Country collects his powerful reflections on religion, sex, censorship and the law; striking accounts of leaders, moralists and scandalmongers; elegant ruminations on the arts and the lives of artists. And some memorable new pieces.

‘My country is the subject that interests me most, and I have spent my career trying to untangle its mysteries’ — David Marr

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David Marr has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Saturday Paper, The Guardian and The Monthly, and he has served as editor of The National Times, reporter for Four Corners and presenter of ABC TV’s Media Watch.

His books include Patrick White: A Life, The High Price of Heaven, Dark Victory (with Marian Wilkinson), and six bestselling Quarterly Essays: His Master’s Voice, Power Trip, Political Animal, The Prince, Faction Man and The White Queen.

‘David Marr is as brilliant a biographer and journalist as this country has produced.’ — Peter Craven.

David’s first book was Barwick (Allen & Unwin), a biography of the former Chief Justice of Australia, which won the 1981 NSW Premier’s Literary Award.

This was followed by The Ivanov Trail, the story of the spy scare in Canberra.

Then in 1991 the brilliant and universally critically acclaimed biography Patrick White — A Life was released by Random House in Australia, Jonathan Cape in Britain, and Random House in the USA. This biography of the Novel Prize winning novelist won seven major Australian awards.

In 1994 Patrick White — Letters was published in Australia followed by publications in the UK and USA.

The Henson Case, released by Text Publishing in 2008, examined the uproar caused by the withdrawal of some of Bill Henson’s photographs from a Sydney art gallery on the grounds that they may have been obscene.

My Country is published in Australia by Black Inc. at http://www.blackincbooks.com/

Helen MacDonald

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London, 1868: visiting Australian Aboriginal cricketer Charles Rose has died in Guy’s Hospital. What happened next is shrouded in mystery. The only certainty is that Charles Rose’s body did not go directly to a grave.

Written with clarity and verve, and drawing on a rich array of material, Possessing the Dead explores the disturbing history of the cadaver trade in Scotland, England and Australia, where laws once gave certain officials possession of the dead, and no corpse lying in a workhouse, hospital, asylum or gaol was entirely safe from interference.


Helen MacDonald is the author of the critically acclaimed Human Remains, which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (History) and was short listed for the Ernest Scott History Prize. She is a Senior Fellow at The Australian Centre in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne.

Steven Miller

Steven Miller: Dogs in Australian Art

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A New History of Antipodean Creativity

Dogs in Australian Art looks at Australian art through the lens of dog painting, showcasing over 150 masterworks that illustrate the deep bond between Australians and their best friends. Steven Miller’s whimsical text argues that all the major shifts which occurred in Australia art, and which have traditionally been attributed to the environment or historical factors, really occurred because of dogs. His book is also a study of how the various dog breeds have been depicted from colonial times until the present.
Steven Miller is head of the Research Library and Archive of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He has published widely on art, with his book on Australian culture between the two world wars (Degenerates and Perverts) winning the NSW Premier’s Australian History Award in 2006. He lives in Sydney and is the proud owner of Finbar, a Welsh Terrier.

Margo Kingston

kingston-nhjHer personal account of Pauline Hanson’s 1998 election campaign, Off the Rails, was published by Allen and Unwin in 1999 and won the Dobbie Award for the most outstanding first book by a female author.

Margot’s analysis of the Howard Government, Not Happy, John!, was published by Penguin in 2004 and went straight to the best-seller lists.


Margo Kingston is a Canberra-based journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Neil James

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Neil James and Harold Scruby, with Illustrations by Alan Moir

Modern Manglish

‘It’s dog eat dog in this rat race’

‘We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.’

‘I hope to come first or second, or at least win it.’

The information superhighway brings more text to our door than ever before. It’s just that most of it gets mangled along the way. Twenty years ago, Harold Scruby’s Manglish became an instant bestseller. This version expands on the consummate mangles of the original, with all-new Scrubyisms and recent classics from the shame files of the Plain English Foundation.

Neil James completed a doctorate in English while working as an editor and a book reviewer. In 2003, Neil established the Plain English Foundation with Dr Peta Spear to improve the quality of Australian public language. The foundation has since trained some 10,000 professional people. The latest of his three books is Writing at Work, and he has published more than 60 articles, reviews, and essays on language and literature.

During Harold Scruby’s 25 years in the rag trade, he wrote two books: Waynespeak and Manglish. He spent eight years on Mosman Council as a councillor and depu­ty mayor.

Alan Moir has been an editorial cartoonist for The Bulletin, The Courier-Mail and The Sydney Morning Herald. He has won the Stanley Award for Editorial Cartoonist of the Year six times, as well as the Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2000 and 2006.

Writing at Work

Here Neil James talks about his book Writing at Work:

‘We stopped teaching grammar in the Australian school system for 20 years. This was a great mistake… Because writing is such a threshold skill, this is now affecting… careers. I’d also like to see… rhetoric — the art of speaking and writing effectively and persuasively — restored to the curriculum. This is the classic craft of communication that was tossed out over a hundred years ago, having been at the heart of education for centuries.’

Margaret Harris

Margaret Harris
Margaret Harris

Margaret Harris held positions in the Department of English, University of Sydney, including the Challis Chair of English Literature, from 1969 to 2007. Since 2007, she has been Director of Research Development, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of Sydney.

Her major research projects have in common intensive investigation of the manuscripts of creative writers. Her research in Victorian fiction has established new interpretations of the careers of two major authors, George Eliot and George Meredith, based on original analysis of their unpublished writings such as notebooks and diaries, and knowledgeable and imaginative commentary on their novels. These contributions to the field were put into circulation initially in scholarly editions of previously unpublished writings, as well as of editions of each writer’s novels. Both The Journals of George Eliot (1998, with Judith Johnston) and The Notebooks of George Meredith (1983, with Gillian Beer) expand the published corpus of the work of the author, and provide insight into the creation and production of the work.

The Hanging Garden, cover image
The Hanging Garden, cover image
Professor Harris has published also on Australian authors, notably Christina Stead, in articles and a major collection of letters, Dearest Munx: The Letters of Christina Stead and William J. Blake (2005). She is currently engaged in an ARC-funded project on Patrick White in collaboration with Elizabeth Webby, which includes an edition of his working notebooks and publication of an unfinished novel, The Hanging Garden, in 2012, the centenary of White’s birth.

Paul Dillon

  Paul Dillon

  Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs
 

 
 

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There are so many questions that need answers, but how do parents start talking to their kids about alcohol and drugs? Asking ‘Are you taking drugs?’ won’t do it — that approach won’t give teenagers the information they desperately need to keep themselves and their friends safe.

Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs has been written in response to the stories Paul Dillon has heard over 25 years in drug and alcohol education. It gives answers to the questions he has been asked by young people and their parents, and also includes solutions to the many scenarios he has heard about from .

This book shows parents how to talk to their children in a way that is respectful and reasonable, non-threatening and non-judgmental. It will help them understand the issues their children are facing, and show them how to help their kids negotiate a minefield of misinformation and social pressure in a calm and sensible way — to tell them what they really want and need to know about alcohol and drugs.

Rights: Spain, Ediciones Medici
 

Michelle Dicinoski

dicinoski-michelle-2012Michelle has found the love of her life — and now she just wants to get married and live happily ever after.

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The only problem is, she’s in love with an American woman, Heather, and neither Australia nor America recognises same-sex marriage. What to do? For Michelle, the answer is clear: go to Canada and get hitched there.

This is the deep, funny, heartwarming and brave story of that trip. Along the way, Michelle reflects on why anyone would want to get married anyway, on the power of acceptance, and on the startling ghost stories in her family.

World Rights: Black Inc, 2013


Michelle Dicinoski writes non-fiction and poetry. Her second book, Ghost Wife: A Memoir of Love and Defiance, was published by Black Inc. in March 2013. Her poetry collection Electricity for Beginners was published in 2011. Her poems and essays have appeared in anthologies, newspapers and journals including the The Best Australian Poems, The Australian, and Meanjin.

Michelle has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Queensland, and received a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship for 2012-2013. She lives in Melbourne.

 

Robert Dessaix

‘Dessaix is one of perhaps three Australian writers whose
every appearance in print is a not-to-be-missed event’

Sydney Morning Herald

‘Dessaix is some kind of national treasure because he represents with a kind of Helpmann-like elegance and virtuosity
the side of our sensibilities we publicly repress’

— Peter Craven, Australian Book Review

‘Dessaix writes with great elegance, with passion,
compassion and sly wit’
— John Banville

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One Sunday night in Sydney, Robert Dessaix collapses on a Darlinghurst pavement, and is helped to his hotel by a kind young man wearing a T-shirt that says FUCK YOU. What follows are weeks in hospital, tubes and cannulae puncturing his body, as he recovers from the heart attack threatening daily to kill him. While lying in the hospital bed, Robert chances upon Philip Larkin’s poem ‘Days’.
What, he muses, have his days been for?
What and whom has he loved – and why?
This is vintage Robert Dessaix.
His often surprisingly funny recollections range over topics as eclectic as intimacy, travel, spirituality, enchantment, language and childhood, all woven through with a heightened sense of mortality.


“The pleasure and elegance of all Dessaix’s writing is in the language, the erudition, the delicate, often unexpected and lovely connections, and the intimate, conversational voice. Anyone who listened to him during his decade as presenter of the ABC’s Books and Writing program will immediately ‘hear’ him.
What Days are For is an illuminating companion to A Mother’s Disgrace (1994), which recounted Dessaix’s childhood as a much-loved adopted son, his early studies and travels, but mainly his sense of emptiness until he finds his birth mother and a new identity. He notes: ‘I would like to move hearts, not just minds.’ And he does.”

— Agnes Nieuwenhuizen, in The Australian

After teaching Russian language and literature in the 1970s and ’80s, and presenting the ABC’s Books and Writing program for ten years, he became a full-time writer in 1995. He lives in Hobart.

His autobiography, A Mother’s Disgrace, was published by HarperCollins in 1994.

Robert’s best-selling novel Night Letters was published to great success in Australia, U.K. and the U.S.A. as well as being translated into German, French, Italian, Dutch, Finnish and Portuguese. This was followed by Corfu, released by Scribners in the UK in 2001 and in the Netherlands by Muelenhoff.

Twilight of Love followed, which highlighted Robert’s fascination with Russia and in particular Russian writers. He is a fluent Russian speaker and his doctoral thesis was as study of the author Ivan Turgenev. In Twilight of Love he revisits the Europe he experienced more than twenty years ago and follows the footsteps of Turgenev. Robert weaves together Turgenev’s time in the nineteenth century, his own Soviet experience, and Russia as it is today. Released at the Melbourne Writers’ Week in 2004 by Pan Macmillan, it was also published in the UK by Simon and Schuster and in the US by Shoemaker and Hoard.

dessaix-as-i-was-cvrRobert’s next book (Pan Macmillan 2008) was Arabesques, based on the life and travels of Nobel Prize winning author André Gide. Part travel, part memoir, Arabesques explores Robert’s fascination with Gide’s attempt to find a balance between his homosexual desires and an almost puritanical core.

Robert’s recent collection of non-fiction, As I was Saying, is a swirling conversation with the reader on everything from travel to dogs and cats, from sport and swearing to the pleasures of idleness.

 Rights: various

Eva Cox

  Eva Cox

  Leading Women
 

 
 

Eva is a high-profile feminist economist, and very much in demand as a public speaker and commentator. She delivered the ABC Boyer Lectures in 1995 and her book Leading Women — an examination of he place of women in the contemporary political economy of Australia — was published by Random House in 1996.

Rights: Australia and New Zealand: Random House Australia, 1996