Archive | Writers

Peter Fleming

Yes, that Fleming; Ian was his brother. Far less of an armchair traveller than his bestselling sibling (who plotted many a Bond mission from the safety of his swank Jamaican digs), Fleming-the-lesser-known rambled through Asia and South America in the inter-war years. While I’m not usually a fan of travel writing—a very cosy genre in […]

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Tony Clark on the opportunity shop

Tony Clark’s essay for Perimeter Editions’s slim volume on Polly Borland, You,  is a fine example of a big statement in a small essay. ‘Any proper study’ of recent Australian art, he declares, ‘would have to examine, in detail, the role of the opportunity shop’. ‘Every significant Australian artist of the last half-century has been […]

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Richard Jefferies

I don’t recall precisely when or why I began reading Richard Jefferies’s essays. I do know that at the time I was in the habit of borrowing from the research collection of the University of Melbourne’s Baillieu library. That was where redundant, superseded and foreign language volumes were stacked. The shelves were lined with uniform […]

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Bram Stoker

The vampire industry spawned by Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) overshadowed his many other novels. Some of them are indifferent but here’s a wonderful line from his The mystery of the sea (1902); the American heroine’s reply to florid wooing by her British suitor—‘You talk like a small book with gilt edges’. Stoker’s theatrical background shows; […]

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Melissa Reeves, ‘Furious mattress’

Melissa Reeves’s play ‘Furious mattress’ was staged at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne in February 2010. It’s loosely based on the death of Joan Vollmer during an exorcism conducted by her husband in rural Victoria in 1993. I wrote this short piece for the theatre program accompanying the performances. The final line is spoken by one […]

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