The defunding of the University of Sydney’s professorial chair of Australian Literature was announced earlier this month to follow the retirement of Professor Rob Dixon, causing an outcry in the academic community and drawing scathing responses from several of the discipline’s most senior colleagues and professional bodies. The Australian attributed the move to our oft-cited cultural cringe—a national unwillingness to claim as worthy our own literature. Its headline asks, ‘What kind of country can’t bear to teach its own literature?’ But this is a question which draws greater attention to the traditionalist perceptions of academia, to the concept of a […]
Warning: Contains spoilers ‘Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?’ This is a question Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix in Todd Phillips’?Joker, puts to his psychologist. ‘Out there’ is the garbage and rat-infested Gotham, where poverty and social disquiet are on the rise. The word ‘crazy’ is deliberate. It is the habitually repressed and discredited antithesis of ‘normal’, in this instance the capitalist social order, a system allergic to difference and contest. Hollywood films have a long history of misrepresenting mental illness, exaggerating its danger or its sufferers’ propensity for violence. It’s a bankable trope. […]
Recently I ran my first short fiction workshop. Over the months leading up to the event most of my spare mental time—in the shower, walking to the train station, operating a spotlight at my job—was spent remembering and rewording advice I’d received from other writers in similar workshops. And, of course, some of that time was spent trying to quash, or allowing myself to wallow in, imposter syndrome. So often a writer’s self-doubt—or self-flagellation—is not only linked to the quality of her own work, but to the quality of what she has or hasn’t read (as so many writers have […]
For at least three days in June 2019 gangs of drunken English soccer ‘fans’ laid siege to the beautiful Portuguese city of Porto. Apparently, they were there for the Europa Cup but sport had nothing to do with their behaviour. All night they roamed the streets singing and chanting inane songs punctuated with God Save the Queen and Rule Britannia. Shirtless, tattooed, short back and sides and loafers were their uniform. Their days were spent drinking and littering the streets. The amount of rubbish they left behind was astounding; much of it plastic beer cups strewn everywhere and no doubt, […]
Google has this handy and terrifying feature called Timeline, which shows you everywhere you’ve ever been, how many times you’ve been there, and how long you’ve been there each time. It collects data from your phone, constantly if you have an Android, and if you have an iPhone, it logs your location every time you open the Google Maps app. Nothing disappears: your every movement is a collection of data points, fed into algorithms that use this information to do everything from alert you to traffic jams in your area to notify you when you’re running low on nappies for?your […]
There is shock and horror in the Californian almond region tonight.
Initial reports suggest ten dead and at least a dozen more injured.
Click here to access a Spotify playlist of Sevdah music compiled by the author What I remember most is how yellow his skin was. He looked bilious to me, sickly. The wrinkles on his forehead were sharper because of the yellowish hue, and the way he sat in his wheelchair, hiding his amputated leg with a jacket, he seemed like he needed to get back to bed, not go on a holiday to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Like a typical wog family, we were all at the airport. My parents, my uncles and aunts, my cousins and their children—there were […]
In the crumbling church there’s a bone of a saint the Romans boiled in olive oil. A coat hanger is a deformed cross that has outlived the golden vestments of the priests. In her office on the hill the virgin’s ears intact in fake fur. She’ll stare forever at the very same stars that wheel above the world of the true night. A forgotten swamp’s refilled to the level of the recalled banks and the swifts return each dusk to the paper map spread out candlelit, and illumined as their valley. Adam Aitken’s memoir One Hundred […]