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[2 Mar 2016 | No Comment | ]

The long awaited football tragic’s Heartfelt Moments in Australian Rules Football edited by Ross Fitzgerald and featuring 37 authors has been launched in Melbourne.
It was launched in the heart of Blues territory at Carlton’s Il Gambero on the Park.
One of the authors is Cardinal George Pell. His Eminence, it should be remembered, signed to play for Richmond in his final year of school in 1959. As Pell writes in the book: “I was promised a place on their training list and financial help to attend Melbourne University.
Alas, seminary life made …

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[28 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

IT is hard to imagine life without the Adelaide Crows. They have become part of our social fabric, part of our identity. We have to remind ourselves they haven’t always been here.
In a new book, I have written what amounts to a potted history of the club — and the exercise became a reminder of so much that is good about the Crows and sport. In an interview for my chapter, Crows champion Mark Ricciuto said something quite remarkable.
I’ll get back to that but, first, remember the upheaval at the …

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[27 Feb 2016 | One Comment | ]

He is as tough a man as ever played the modern game; but skilful, too. He has hurt opponents on and off the field. He played 312 AFL games, all with the Crows, and won a Brownlow medal. He is an eight-time all-Australian (twice named captain) and he captained Adelaide. One year he cried from the sidelines as his teammates won a grand final and the next he returned to hold the premiership cup. When the AFL allows cloning, the Adelaide Football Club’s first draft pick will be Mark Ricciuto’s …

Books »

[13 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

The Charles Family’s War
By Alan Fewster
Big Sky Publishing, 228pp, $29.99
When former journalist and diplomat Alan Fewster found a treasure trove of letters after the death of one of his uncles, he knew he had a book on his hands. Mind you, this intriguing and multi-layered tale of Australian twin brothers during World War II has had a long gestation.
It was in 1987, following the death of his uncle Edwin “Ted Charles, that the author came across a cardboard box containing the hundreds of letters that form the basis of this …

Books, Featured »

[18 Oct 2015 | No Comment | ]

Bumbling Mangoland academic, Professor Dr Grafton Everest, has been elected to the Australian Senate, without really knowing why, and due to the influx of weird independents, finds himself holding the balance of power. Despite this, his personal life is a train wreck. A prostatectomy has left him impotent, his daughter is staging a theatrical event with an outlaw motorcycle gang and he suspects his wife is planning to have him put to sleep. On top of it all, Australia is facing natural disaster from Tectonic Change. Can Grafton save his …

Books »

[14 Dec 2014 | One Comment | ]

WHEN the nonfiction prize at the 2009 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards was awarded to two books, Kevin Rudd “went apeshit, to quote someone who was a judge at the time, and ordered there never again be joint winners. If we needed further evidence that we’re not in Rudd-land any more it came at the 2014 awards this week, the first under a Liberal prime minister, when three of six prizes were split.
Tony Abbott, who was in good spirits at Monday night’s awards dinner at the National Gallery of Victoria, made …

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[15 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]

Review of ‘Peacemongers’
By Barry Hill
UQP, 676pp, $45 (HB)
BARRY Hill and I share at least one thing in common: an abiding admiration for Indian poet, novelist, ­philosopher and playwright Rabindranath Tagore. Born in 1861 in Calcutta (now Kolkata, West Bengal), Tagore died in 1941, a few months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
A friend of Albert Einstein, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohandas Gandhi, Tagore was one of the world’s great public intellectuals, an early leader of India’s nationalist movement and, in 1913, the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. …

Books »

[21 Oct 2014 | No Comment | ]

After months of delays and uncertainty, the government finally announced the Prime Minister’s Literary Award (PMLA) shortlists yesterday.
Among the finalists in the fiction category is Richard Flanagan, who won the Man Booker Prize in London last week for his novel ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’. A few conservatives were riled when Flanagan, within minutes of winning his award told the BBC he was “ashamed to be Australian when asked about the government’s environmental and energy policies. Despite his comments Flanagan’s shortlisting might reduce any impression of bias coming …

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[25 May 2014 | No Comment | ]

Tony Abbott has remade the $600,000 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards in his own image, with a line-up of mostly like-minded judges, including his publisher Louise Adler, conservative columnist Gerard Henderson and former Liberal MP Peter Coleman.
The names were announced by press release after Mr Abbott spoke at the Australian Book Industry Awards dinner on Friday, ending a delay that stirred concern he might drop the awards started by Kevin Rudd. Mr Abbott chose the judges from a list of suggested candidates.

At the dinner in Sydney, Mr Abbott and his Arts …

Books »

[24 May 2014 | No Comment | ]

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has announced a radical shake-up of the judging panels for the nation’s richest book prizes, the $600,000 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.
The nonfiction and history panels will be chaired by conservative commentator Gerard Henderson. He will be joined by former politician and editor Peter Coleman, who is Peter Costello’s father-in-law, Ross Fitzgerald, a professor of politics and history, Ida Lichter and Ann Moyal.

The fiction and poetry panels will be chaired by publisher Louise Adler, who published Mr Abbott’s political memoir. She will be joined by Margie Bryant, …

Books, Featured »

[18 May 2014 | No Comment | ]
Busy in the Fog

Busy in the Fog is a wildly funny sexual-political romp which will amaze, delight, annoy and almost certainly offend. Grafton Everest is now at his wit’s end facing life in his gluttonous middle age. Forced to deal with unexpected changes in his wife Janet, their allegedly gifted child Lee-Anne, and in his supposedly academic place of work, Grafton passes through episodes of a spiralling, phobic anxiety, Ross Fitzgerald’s Queensland has more than its share of terrorists, religious ratbags, free enterprise maniacs and right and left-wing zealots.
“Utilising a lethal wit, Fitzgerald’s …