Learning from Country Exhibition: Fisher Library, University of Sydney, 15 May – 31 July 2017
Curatorial Essay

After visiting the Aboriginal community of Papunya in 1998, artist Ken Searle and I embarked on a journey through six books, 250 Aboriginal countries and 40,000 years of Australian history. This essay tells the story… 

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An Australian Alter Ego: The 50th Anniversary of George Johnston’s My Brother Jack

Within a few years of publication, My Brother Jack became more of a legend than a mere piece of fiction. By this, I mean that it became one of those stories that people feel they have read, even if they have not. As the novel reaches its fiftieth anniversary, it is timely to explore the making of this Australian classic.

Published The Monthly, May 2014

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Writing Australians All

Why did  I spend nine years of my life writing a history book that would be marketed to young Australians in the second decade of the twenty-first century — a time when kids are supposedly not interested in either (a) history or (b) books?   

Published in Agora, Journal of the History Teachers Association of Victoria, Vol 48, No 3, 2013

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Lies and Silences

I knew that many readers would come to a biography of Charmian Clift with a view of her that was shaped by the lies and silences of fiction.

Published in The Best Australian Essays, 2002, ed. Peter Craven, Black Inc, 2002.

 

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The Inspiration of Story

Looking back on what it was that made me into a reader, I believe it was really important that the written stories I first encountered when my mother read me books were enfolded in this larger embrace of the spoken stories that she told me over and over again.

Keynote Address given to Children’s Book Council of Australia, New South Wales Branch, 3 April 2012, published CBCA News, June 2012.

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Remembering Jan Mark

 When I think of Jan Mark talking during those days and nights in the Blue Mountains, I always think of her fiercely intelligent eyes blazing out from behind her English-sheepdog fringe. And yet, although Jan took no prisoners in her attitudes to politicians and publishers, I remember too how genuinely interested she seemed in chatting with my twelve-year-old stepdaughter, who was not a bookish child.

Published Magpies, Vol 21, issue 2, May 2006

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Remembering Mary Malbunka

I remember very clearly the time when Mary Malbunka began to tell me her story. 'I was born in the creek at Haasts Bluff,' she said to me, in a voice so quiet that I barely heard her.

Published Magpies, May 2005

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