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2014 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow **Christa Jonathan**'s *The Long Way Home* is a short-story cycle with illustrations that will be published as a series of themed zines. The work will be primarily based on travel writing and her experience growing up as Chinese-Indonesian and living in Melbourne., How unlikely is the world's first for-profit mission to colonise Mars? Very. Daniel Handler's racist joke mars the National Book Awards. Hanna Rosin confronts former best friend Stephen Glass about his famous fabrications. Farewell to Mike Nichols. And a look at how books get their names. , We speak to Melbourne writer **Paul Mitchell** about why 'just keep writing' is bad advice, why you should never believe what your friends and relatives say about your work, and his son's lucky escape from being named 'Valjean'., During her time as a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, **Rebecca Harkins-Cross** worked on a cultural history of Australian cinema, looking at the unifying motif of terror in Australian cinema and how this fits into our larger national mythology. In this extract, she considers *Picnic at Hanging Rock*., **Nick Earls** reflects on discovering classic Australian novel *The Delinquents* - Brisbane's *Last Exit to Brooklyn* - in 1989, as the film starring Kylie Minogue was made at a local hotel, and he hung around the edges of the set., **S.A. Jones** ignored her creative writing teacher's advice to never write about mental illness in a novel ... but has spent a lot of time wrestling with the question of whether mental illness and the novel can do each other justice. And how do you write about a form of mental illness that defies the beginning, middle and end that the novel demands?, **Jo Case**, author of *Boomer and Me: A Memoir of Motherhood and Asperger's*, reflects on Jerry Seinfeld's 'coming out' as as being on the autism spectrum this week - and the conflicting responses from the autism community, which range from outrage to gratitude, Helen Garner & Elena Kats-Chernin, Woolf & Wilde: A Queer Party and Thomas KeneallyMore

Our third and final group of Hot Desk Fellows for 2014 begin their work at the Wheeler Centre today. As is customary, we've invited each of our six talented writers - Susie Anderson, Louis Bravos, Eli Glasman, André Dao, Emily Stewart and Claire Rosslyn Wilson - to share an introduction to the projects they'll be spending their time on., In this edition of Working with Words, we spoke to author Kirsty Murray about the lives a book's characters take on, the value of critical reading for writers, and checking in with Balzac every decade or so., **Aurelia Guo**'s *The Weather Report* is a performance poetry series of found and self-authored fragments, taken from the internet, daily life and social interactions. Here are two of the poems she worked on during her time as a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow., We speak to novelist **Jessie Cole** about immersing herself in another world when she writes, being encouraged by Kate Grenville just before her first ever speaking gig, and being told by a reader that an event in her first novel, *Darkness on the Edge of Town*, couldn't have happened (with no evidence other than her personal experience to support the claim)., **Mel Campbell** published her first book, *Out of Shape*, last year. Since then, she's been struggling with ideas of what it is to be a successful author … along with most of the other authors published in Australia. Here, she reflects on what it means to be in the 'midlist' right now: financially, personally and professionally., Our second group of Hot Desk Fellows for 2014 are settled at their desks in the Wheeler Centre, getting stuck into their writing projects. We thought you might like to see what they're up to - so here's an introduction to the six talented scribes currently occupying the hot desks, and their projects., **Anthony Morris** asks the eternal question: why can't creators leave their much-loved characters alone once the story has clearly ended? Are they attempting to retain authorial control - and to stave off the alternate lives and imagined endings of fan-fiction writers? And when does fan service start to feel like exploitation?, Men on Men, Queer Writing Unconference, Queering the Margins, Woolf & Wilde: A Queer Party, Thomas Keneally and December: Hot Desk Edition More

**Peter Carey** speaks to **Michael Williams** about his new novel *Amnesia*, his school days at Geelong Grammar and Monash, the Australian character, and how he used Julian Assange as a springboard for creating his activist hacker, Gaby Baillieux., When former independent MP Rob Oakeshott spoke at Epic Fail recently, he shared what his time in federal parliament taught him about power, money, the influence of corporate interests and the benefit of hindsight., Optimism is not something we commonly associate with a life in politics, but recently retired Greens leader Bob Brown is an exception in more ways than one. His biographer, **James Norman**, reflects on Brown's life and career - and his contribution to Australian life., Evie Wyld has won this year's Miles Franklin - you can watch a video of our event with her online. A new David Sedaris essay is online at the *New Yorker*. How did the CIA use *Doctor Zhivago* as a weapon in the Cold War? Julian Assange has been invited to be a part of London's fashion week, due to his status as a 'good looking … popular hero'. And in Alaska, they're fighting foetal alcohol syndrome with free pregnancy tests in bars., Indira Naidoo calls for a new conversation about refugees in Australia – one based on compassion, empathy and ethics, rather than fear. She speaks from experience, and looks at the politics and history of our current hardline (and hard-hearted) stance, and its roots in the original mass boat arrivals to Australia: The First Fleet., **Tony Birch** connects the lack of genuine remorse within Australia's colonial psyche with our regressive stance on climate change - and our lack of will to protect environment., Australia is about to get its first cat cafe. In the US, bulletproof blankets have been invented to guard students against school shootings. A slavery ring is behind prawn supply to major global supermarkets. How Ronald Reagan made Bruce Springsteen come out of the political closet. And we share the Women in Writing Manifesto that grew out of this year’s Emerging Writers' Festival., The Show of the Year and Intersex Bodies and the Society that Shapes ThemMore

See the stunning artwork for five great (imaginary) literary film sequels: *Labyrinth 2*, *Willy Wonka and the Great Glass Elevator*, *Fight Club 2*, *Blade Runner 2054* and *Sleepy Hollow 2*. , Find out what Frank Bascombe and Tony Soprano have in common. How do we make students less likely to decide they're not 'science smart'? Is neuroscience wildly popular, or irrelevant? And find out how books can influence a writer's work-in-progress., In this edition of Working with Words, we spoke to author Kirsty Murray about the lives a book's characters take on, the value of critical reading for writers, and checking in with Balzac every decade or so., This Wednesday 3 September is Indigenous Literacy Day, an annual initiative of the Australian book industry that raises funds to provide books and literacy resources to remote Indigenous communities across Australia, through the Indigenous Literacy Foundation., The illustrated *Heart of Darkness*. Jeanette Winterson on her love for Kate Bush. The dos and don'ts of workplace swearing. Emily Perkins on Robyn Davidson's *Tracks* and candour vs confession when it comes to memoirs. Lena Dunham's *New Yorker* essay on anxiety and therapy. , We share the latest news in book-to-film adaptations, from the inevitable acquiring of Donna Tartt's *The Goldfinch* to the more surprising news about Jack Black starring in a *Goosebumps* movie., **Tim McGuire** talks to a range of Australian writers and publishers, including Penguin's Cate Blake and writers Tom Doig, Krissy Kneen and Michelle Law, about the advantages - and drawbacks of putting the publishing contract before the book., Helen Garner & Elena Kats-Chernin, Men on Men, Thomas Keneally and December: Hot Desk Edition More

From the outside, **Clare Wright**'s life is a model of professional achievement and personal contentment. And yet, when she was asked to take part in the Wheeler Centre's Epic Fail event, she immediately knew what to write about. Here, she shares her story of the 'the year my brain broke' - and how she came back from the brink, stronger than ever., Angela Savage is currently conducting research on commercial surrogacy for her PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University. Here, she draws on her reading to reflect on the case of baby Gammy, which has dominated news headlines in recent days., How do we achieve true diversity in the Australian media - and why is it important? **Fatima Measham** looks at the gap between the cultural make-up of Australia and of our media, and asks what we can do to close that gap, and make sure we have a wider variety of voices and experiences representing us., **Sian Prior**, author of the acclaimed memoir *Shy*, reflects on how shyness manifests in her body - and on writing a memoir to trace its effects., Evie Wyld has won this year's Miles Franklin - you can watch a video of our event with her online. A new David Sedaris essay is online at the *New Yorker*. How did the CIA use *Doctor Zhivago* as a weapon in the Cold War? Julian Assange has been invited to be a part of London's fashion week, due to his status as a 'good looking … popular hero'. And in Alaska, they're fighting foetal alcohol syndrome with free pregnancy tests in bars., Kelly-Lee Hickey says that the public desire to shut down Dylan Farrow's disclosures about the childhood sexual abuse she allegedly suffered mirrors the private response met by so many who speak out (including in Hickey's own experience). Childhood sexual abuse is one of the biggest taboos there is - but when we make something taboo, we force the grief of those who experience it underground., Anthony Morris explains why The Wire is the best television drama ever made - despite (or because of) breaking every convention about the crime genre and small-screen storytelling. There is no lead on The Wire: it's an ensemble show, and its central character is Baltimore itself; its central subject how the system is broken, across the police, the world of work, politics, schools and the media., Intersex Bodies and the Society that Shapes Them, The Trans Body Politic and Queering the MarginsMore

Should non-Indigenous Australian authors write Indigenous characters? If so, how can they get it right - and avoid stereotyping? **Deanne Sheldon-Collins** gets the lowdown from **Anita Heiss** on how to research and write stories 'with believable, meaningful and (hopefully) empowering Indigenous characters'., **Sian Prior**, author of the acclaimed memoir *Shy*, reflects on how shyness manifests in her body - and on writing a memoir to trace its effects., **Ambelin Kwaymullina** is an Aboriginal writer and illustrator; she has published both picture books and a YA dystopian series, The Tribe. In this engrossing essay, which doubles as a call to arms, she describes what it's like to be an Indigenous writer, the importance of 'laughter-stories' even (or especially) about terrible things, and why writing for young people demands an 'impossibly high' standard., We are living, it seems, in 'the golden age of storytelling', where the seductive power of narrative is king. But is there a downside to privileging narrative above all else? Can our emphasis on crafting good stories sometimes come at the expense of good thinking? And what of (often messy) truth - can it suffer when we're chasing neat narratives? **Maria Tumarkin** questions the limits of storytelling., At Deakin Edge last night, Lionel Shriver talked about her latest novel, Big Brother, our culture's obsession with food and weight, her feelings about being interviewed, and the fact that literary fame has been 'nice' rather than exciting. , In this edition of Friday High Five, we take on the internet troll, question the (manly) voice of God, explore the benefits of being a loser, and hitch a ride through France's Mer de Glace region... on the back of an eagle., Anthony Morris argues that an unlikely influence planted a vital seed for the golden age of television drama. A drama that was weird, violent, distinctively atmospheric and very much the work of one auteur-like creator; one with long-form narrative arcs and an overarching mystery. He looks back at David Lynch's Twin Peaks, and traces its lineage to the Sopranos, Mad Men and more., The Show of the Year, The Trans Body Politic and Queering the MarginsMore

There are practicing doctors around Australia who still oppose abortion and even refuse to prescribe contraception, citing 'conscience' as their explanation. Former Victorian health services commissioner Beth Wilson looks at where this type of so-called conscientious objection leaves women - and how the removal of choice can impact women’s health., **Julian Cribb** warns of an environmental danger that looms larger than climate change in terms of its immediate threat to human health - the deluge of chemicals we are all now subject to, 24/7. Drawing on multiple international studies, he outlines the full extent of the problem and proposes solutions that will enable us to not only undo the damage, but lead to better health for us and our planet, A favourite headline, in the 'quality' press and tabloids alike, concerns the evils of young people, technology and sex. With the easy availability of porn on the internet and the ability to share nude images with a swipe of the smartphone, new generations of young people are said to be exposed to sex too early and in too much detail. But **Sam George Allen**, an almost-digital-native and editor of *Scum*, believes that sex and the internet are a great combination for her generation. She defends - and celebrates - writing sex online., From October 2012 to June 2013, **Mark Isaacs** worked for the Salvation Army performing support work and humanitarian aid for asylum seekers in the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. After resigning from his role in Nauru, he spoke out publicly against Australia’s offshore detention policy, and wrote about his experiences in *The Undesirables: Inside Nauru*., **Adam Alter**, professor of marketing and psychology at NYU, reveals the world is full of such hidden forces that shape our every thought, feeling and behaviour, without us ever realising. Understanding these cues, Alter argues, is key to smarter decision-making, more effective marketing, and better outcomes for ourselves and society., We speak to Adam Alter, author of *Drunk Tank Pink: The Subconscious Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel and Behave*, about loving academia, why it's powerful to get feedback from children on your work, and his advice for aspiring writers: write a letter or an email to 20 of your favourite writers, explaining your aspirations and asking for advice. and Ben Zygier, an Australian-Israeli citizen, took his own life in Israel's maximum security, 'suicide proof' Ayalon Prison in 2010. In this extract of his recent Lunchbox/Soapbox talk on the Zygier espionage saga, journalist Rafael Epstein explains that there were serious gaps in Australia's handling of the case – both before and after his death.More

During her time as a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, **Rebecca Harkins-Cross** worked on a cultural history of Australian cinema, looking at the unifying motif of terror in Australian cinema and how this fits into our larger national mythology. In this extract, she considers *Picnic at Hanging Rock*., In the week after Gough Whitlam's death, **Peter Carey** spoke at length to **Michael Williams** about remembering the Dismissal, why he doesn't like the term 'conspiracy theory', and why America had an interest in the Whitlam government's demise - and might have been involved. , **Fatima Measham** was awarded one of last year's Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships to work on an essay in defence of her suburb, Werribee. She gives the history of the Western Treatment Plant (second only to Kakadu as one of the most biodiverse areas in Australia, and a mecca for birdwatchers - including Jonathan Franzen when he visited Melbourne in 2011) and explains the dangers of 'postcode superiority'., **Tony Birch** connects the lack of genuine remorse within Australia's colonial psyche with our regressive stance on climate change - and our lack of will to protect environment., **Paul Mitchell** wonders why we habitually ignore the second verse of our national anthem ... the one that promises to share our boundless plains with those who come across the seas. Maybe it's because we don't want to share these days? He calls for those of us who don't paint our faces with the Southern Cross to sing the whole song ... or refuse to sing it at all., Rochelle Siemienowicz has been working in the Australian film and television industry for decades. At first glance, mass-downloading seems like a distant threat to the local industry (where the challenge is to attract audiences in the first place) - but a deeper look reveals that all those Game of Thrones downloads are having an insidious psychological effect that erodes the idea of paying for entertainment at all., Whether it’s our treatment of asylum seekers or the current debate around free speech, we seem to be confused -about the notion of free rights for all. Australians care about human rights, but we're also dangerously complacent about the lack of protections that exist - and conflicted on the question of who deserves human rights protection. Looking back into our rights history to examine today’s issues, Hugh de Kretser outlines a vision for stronger, universal protection of rights in Australia. and The Show of the YearMore

**S.A. Jones** ignored her creative writing teacher's advice to never write about mental illness in a novel ... but has spent a lot of time wrestling with the question of whether mental illness and the novel can do each other justice. And how do you write about a form of mental illness that defies the beginning, middle and end that the novel demands?, Novelist **Jessie Cole** reflects on the surprising self-exposure of writing fiction, the way it brings the submerged to the surface, 'a little like posting a selfie that unwittingly reveals all your subconscious thoughts' - unlike memoir, where the writer consciously mines and reveals their own subtext., On the 10th anniversary of *The Big Issue*’s fiction edition, the magazine’s associate editor, Melissa Cranenburgh, reflects on the challenges and rewards of making (and selling) the edition. And she tells why it's important that, unlike most short-story collections, it needs to sell copies in the thousands: because the magazine's reason for existence is to enable homeless and unemployed people to make a living., **Rajith Savanadasa** is writing a novel or collection of linked stories that re-interprets the semicircular stone slab known as a moonstone (or Sandakada Pahana) in Sri Lanka. It's about a family living in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the end of the civil war in 2009. Each chapter's from the perspective of a family member. This extract, written during Savanadasa's time as a Hot Desk Fellow, is the mother's chapter., The majority of Australians accept the science of climate change these days. But it seems to have made little difference to the way we behave. **Jane Rawson** is former environment and energy editor at *The Conversation* and author of the 'cli-fi' novel *A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists*. She's uniquely placed to ask the question: can climate change fiction make a difference, where scientific argument hasn't? Can it get help us to truly imagine the future - and act to change it?, When pulp author Carl Ruhen died late last year, there was almost no mention of him in the press. Andrew Nette looks back on Ruhen's prolific career, taking in some of literature's seediest corners – and the forgotten history of Australia's pulp publishing industry., Geordie Williamson has just been appointed the new fiction editor of *Island* magazine. We spoke to him about his new appointment, his background as an editor for Duffy & Snellgrove, what he looks for in a story, and his approach to editing fiction … plus, tips for writers who might like to submit! and Men on MenMore

We speak to Melbourne writer **Paul Mitchell** about why 'just keep writing' is bad advice, why you should never believe what your friends and relatives say about your work, and his son's lucky escape from being named 'Valjean'., **S.A. Jones** ignored her creative writing teacher's advice to never write about mental illness in a novel ... but has spent a lot of time wrestling with the question of whether mental illness and the novel can do each other justice. And how do you write about a form of mental illness that defies the beginning, middle and end that the novel demands?, We speak to *Archer Magazine*'s **Amy Middleton** about talking sex in the *Archer* office, building up the confidence/arrogance to start her own publication, and why human interaction is the best way to get anywhere., We talk to international bestselling author **Matthew Reilly** about how writing is born out of 'an unstoppable need to put words on a page', the laughs he gets from reading an unkind review aloud during speeches (on four continents), and what he'd talk about over dinner with Hannibal Lecter., Should non-Indigenous Australian authors write Indigenous characters? If so, how can they get it right - and avoid stereotyping? **Deanne Sheldon-Collins** gets the lowdown from **Anita Heiss** on how to research and write stories 'with believable, meaningful and (hopefully) empowering Indigenous characters'., In the week after Gough Whitlam's death, **Peter Carey** spoke at length to **Michael Williams** about remembering the Dismissal, why he doesn't like the term 'conspiracy theory', and why America had an interest in the Whitlam government's demise - and might have been involved. , Novelist **Jessie Cole** reflects on the surprising self-exposure of writing fiction, the way it brings the submerged to the surface, 'a little like posting a selfie that unwittingly reveals all your subconscious thoughts' - unlike memoir, where the writer consciously mines and reveals their own subtext., Helen Garner & Elena Kats-Chernin, Men on Men, Queer Writing Unconference and Woolf & Wilde: A Queer PartyMore

How do we achieve true diversity in the Australian media - and why is it important? **Fatima Measham** looks at the gap between the cultural make-up of Australia and of our media, and asks what we can do to close that gap, and make sure we have a wider variety of voices and experiences representing us., **Paul Donoghue** interviews bestselling philosophy advocate Alain de Botton on *The News*, his philosopher's look at the newspaper stories that so many of us read, but so few of us really study ... or question. Why we are so interested in stories about crime, celebrity and the like? What does it say about us, and how can we read the newspapers better?, Kelly-Lee Hickey says that the public desire to shut down Dylan Farrow's disclosures about the childhood sexual abuse she allegedly suffered mirrors the private response met by so many who speak out (including in Hickey's own experience). Childhood sexual abuse is one of the biggest taboos there is - but when we make something taboo, we force the grief of those who experience it underground., **Emily Laidlaw** goes behind the scenes to find out what it’s like to be a book publicist: parties, press releases and looking after authors ‘without being a fussing pain in the arse’. She picks the brains of Black Inc.’s Imogen Kandel and Bloomsbury Australia’s Brendan Fredericks., In this week's Working with Words, screenwriter Kris Mrksa talks to us about conservatism in Australian TV, the media's preoccupation with directors and the 'wonderful circuit breaker' (see also: 'pain in the arse') of collaboration., As the federal election looms on Saturday, we thought it was a good time to look back on our political events earlier in the year, for reflections on the state of our politics. In our Australian Democracy in 2013 event, event, James Button was one of several prominent Australians who spoke about the challenges and opportunities of democracy right now. , Former advertising copywriter Greg Foyster tells how advertising promotes discontentment with what we have in order to sell us stuff we don’t need – and how the resulting waste is choking ecosystems and causing dangerous climate change. and The Show of the YearMore

**Peter Carey** speaks to **Michael Williams** about his new novel *Amnesia*, his school days at Geelong Grammar and Monash, the Australian character, and how he used Julian Assange as a springboard for creating his activist hacker, Gaby Baillieux., In the week after Gough Whitlam's death, **Peter Carey** spoke at length to **Michael Williams** about remembering the Dismissal, why he doesn't like the term 'conspiracy theory', and why America had an interest in the Whitlam government's demise - and might have been involved. , Hear from **Julia Gillard** on on Kevin Rudd and the leadership, in an edited extract from our event with **Kate Langbroek** last week. Gillard talks about Rudd's strengths and weaknesses as a leader, the lessons for modern leadership in general, and how you 'never get to run the control test' in politics., **Julia Gillard** reflects on the 'curious question of gender', how that affected her performance (and experience) as prime minister - and the lessons her experience might hold for how we treat and respond to female leaders in the future. This is an edited extract from her conversation with **Kate Langbroek** at the Regent Theatre in our event last week., When former independent MP Rob Oakeshott spoke at Epic Fail recently, he shared what his time in federal parliament taught him about power, money, the influence of corporate interests and the benefit of hindsight., Optimism is not something we commonly associate with a life in politics, but recently retired Greens leader Bob Brown is an exception in more ways than one. His biographer, **James Norman**, reflects on Brown's life and career - and his contribution to Australian life., Indira Naidoo calls for a new conversation about refugees in Australia – one based on compassion, empathy and ethics, rather than fear. She speaks from experience, and looks at the politics and history of our current hardline (and hard-hearted) stance, and its roots in the original mass boat arrivals to Australia: The First Fleet., The Show of the Year and Intersex Bodies and the Society that Shapes ThemMore

**Fatima Measham** was awarded one of last year's Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships to work on an essay in defence of her suburb, Werribee. She gives the history of the Western Treatment Plant (second only to Kakadu as one of the most biodiverse areas in Australia, and a mecca for birdwatchers - including Jonathan Franzen when he visited Melbourne in 2011) and explains the dangers of 'postcode superiority'., **Tony Birch** visits his grandmother's grave and reflects on the lessons she taught him: that unless we provide our families and each other adequately with the basics of life – food, warmth and shelter – everything else is worthless. And that unless we provide the basics equally across society, we should be ashamed of ourselves., Sylvia Nasar talks about why Marx was wrong (and why The Communist Manifesto was influenced by the Bible), the woman who invited the welfare state, Dickens' crusading journalism (and the true meaning of A Christmas Carol), how John Maynard Keynes fought the Depression, and Amaryta Sen's economic war against poverty., When Yvonne Ward began researching Queen Victoria's Letters, she found that key aspects of her life were deemed unsuitable for public consumption: her experience of motherhood, her struggle to combine the roles of ruler and wife, and her intimate friendships with other royal European women. In this edited version of her Lunchbox/Soapbox address last week, she unveils the details of her globetrotting historical detective work, as she filled in the gaps for herself., Enrolments in Australian history subjects are perilously low, with universities cutting their programs back as a result. But who killed the subject for the students who are staying away in droves? Some say the fault lies with the way Australian history is taught in schools., In the latest in our occasional series Working with Words, we talk to Alan Hollinghurst about writing, his book-buying habits and reading his own reviews., The problem of biography. and Thomas KeneallyMore

In this week's Friday High Five, it's about the music - with songs about books, songs as books, raps about literature and Jennifer Egan's great rock and roll pauses. Headphones recommended., **Luke Horton** looks at how a 'perfect novel' published to general indifference in 1965 is now being hailed as a masterpiece by everyone from Bret Easton Ellis to Tom Hanks, to Ian McEwan., At Deakin Edge last night, Lionel Shriver talked about her latest novel, Big Brother, our culture's obsession with food and weight, her feelings about being interviewed, and the fact that literary fame has been 'nice' rather than exciting. , It's been the year of women on the Australian literary award scene, with the awarding of the first Stella Prize and the first ever all-women Miles Franklin shortlist. Paul Mitchell asks if it's time to turn our attention to men - not by creating an award for male writers, but one designed to attract male readers to literary fiction., George Monbiot writes on climate change, Australia's heatwave and Tony Abbott in the Guardian. The Hatchet Job of the Year will be awarded again in 2013. David Sedaris reads 50 Shades of Grey. An investigative journalist confronts his former tormentor - Scientology spymaster Mark Rathbun. And Vulture interviews Hollywood insiders about why romantic comedies are in free fall at the box office., Following Christopher Bantick's article arguing that Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera is inappropriate for 'kids' due to an incident of sex with a minor, the VCE board is reviewing whether it should remain on the Year 12 English syllabus. Year 11 student Billie Tumarkin argues in defence of the book. 'The ideas that have led to this show a deep misunderstanding not only of teenagers, but of literature,' she says., In the wake of the book-reviewers-for-hire furore, Stephanie Honor Convery examines the scandal's context: a world of 'consumer review spaces' and a shift from the fading institutional foundations of literary criticism. and Thomas KeneallyMore

Has foodie culture gone too far? (A leading food critic thinks so.) Is gluten avoidance sensible, or a fad? Five Indigenous writers whose books are must-reads. Windowless planes are coming. And William Gibson predicts the future, again., The Australian government is committed to supporting the coal industry. Meanwhile, nations around the world are stepping up their support for renewable energy, and for the first time in history, Australia will need no new coal or gas power capacity in the next ten years. We look at the good and bad news about our renewable energy future. , It seems increasingly likely that the government may have to intervene and write a code on internet piracy into copyright law, after talks to negotiate a voluntary agreement to tackle piracy have effectively fallen apart. But new research from Monash University suggests current laws don't work. What should we do, then?, Karen Andrews recalls the thrill of discovering old movies on her neighbour's VHS cassette tapes in the 1980s. She relishes the comfort of reliving them - scene by scene, song by song, moment by treasured moment – using an altogether newer technology (YouTube) now., Writer and digital native George Dunford shares some tips for what to do when the internet keeps luring you away from your work ... and jamming your thoughts with kooky videos and streams of tweets., Do your passwords protect you? A Wired writer who lost everything digital this year says no. Ann Patchett helps bookstores strike back. Gabrielle Carey joins the New York Times in asking whether irony is over. Take a peek at Oslo Davis's Melbhattan - and if you're looking for ideas on what to read next (or Christmas gifts), we've got a bunch of Best Books 2012 lists that should help you out. and Robots that look like people, programmed to have their own emotions and facial expressions and to react to human interaction? It sounds like science fiction, but within the past decade, it’s also become reality. And Japan’s Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro is at the forefront of making it come true, with his remarkably life-like robots.More

In this extract from the cover story of the latest *Island* magazine, **Gerard Elson** goes in search of Nick Cave's inner word nerd, and unearths his various literary influences., In this week's Friday High Five, it's about the music - with songs about books, songs as books, raps about literature and Jennifer Egan's great rock and roll pauses. Headphones recommended., Australia is about to get its first cat cafe. In the US, bulletproof blankets have been invented to guard students against school shootings. A slavery ring is behind prawn supply to major global supermarkets. How Ronald Reagan made Bruce Springsteen come out of the political closet. And we share the Women in Writing Manifesto that grew out of this year’s Emerging Writers' Festival., In this week's Friday High Five, we delve into arguments against beautiful web journalism, check out the new Porn Studies academic journal, meet animals in military service, look at club culture's queer roots and find out what women want – on the dancefloor., **Paul Mitchell** wonders why we habitually ignore the second verse of our national anthem ... the one that promises to share our boundless plains with those who come across the seas. Maybe it's because we don't want to share these days? He calls for those of us who don't paint our faces with the Southern Cross to sing the whole song ... or refuse to sing it at all., Norwegian brothers Bard and Vegard Ylisaker - comedy duo Ylvis - have become international superstars thanks to their viral YouTube hit, What Does the Fox Say?. Now, they're children's book authors, as the song becomes a book in time for Christmas., Music criticism has changed hugely in the past decade: the demise of specialist music publications (and their professional rates for writers). The decline of the 'long-form takedown', in favour of positive press. The growing influence of public relations in a cash-strapped media landscape. At the Melbourne Writers Festival last month, three music critics talked about the changes they’ve seen and experienced during their working lives., Helen Garner & Elena Kats-Chernin, The Show of the Year, The Trans Body Politic and Woolf & Wilde: A Queer PartyMore

Take a trip down memory lane, with this guide to life, as collected from the Little Golden Book archives. Don't panic, kiss and choose your companions wisely ..., It's hard to make money selling books these days ... which means book merchandise is exploding as a market. We bring you some of the weirdest examples, from the Fifty Shades wine and lingerie ranges, to Twilight condoms, a Dave Eggers shower curtain and a Pride and Prejudice thong., If you're preparing a Melbourne Cup feast for tomorrow's festivities, why not give a thought to including some favourite food from literature? We have some book-themed inspiration and recipes for you, whether you want green eggs (and ham) to line your stomach tomorrow morning, or a bloody Game of Thrones cake pop to nibble with champagne., In this edition of Friday High Five, we take on the internet troll, question the (manly) voice of God, explore the benefits of being a loser, and hitch a ride through France's Mer de Glace region... on the back of an eagle., We share our perfect antidote for Mondayitis: five fab bookish videos to tickle your fancy - from a book trailer so bad that it just might be genius, to an exclusive video of Lloyd Jones reading from his latest book, the memoir A History of Silence. And of course, there's the obligatory cat., A 12-foot statue of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy is touring UK lakes. See ten brilliant cycling infrastructures from around the world. Why are poor Haitians wearing obnoxious American t-shirts? See the best of a New York Public Library Exhibition celebrating children's classic literature. And preview the best in books for the second half of 2013., An asteroid has just been named after Scottish writer Iain Banks. How would Star Wars would sound if it was written by Shakespeare? Meet Amazon's (human) robot workers. Find out how the Amish 'hack' technology for their purposes. And see if the 10 nerdiest jokes of all time make you laugh. and The Show of the YearMore

In this week's Friday High Five, we check out a startup that's brewing meat, meet an artist whose work is both science and fiction, delve into the current creativity fetish and take in some arguments about contemporary journalism., **Anthony Morris** looks at why so much of what we see in the newspapers (and worse, their online counterparts) these days is new versions of what we've already seen elsewhere. He measures the impact of clickbait, and its precise clocking of readership - and questions how we'll ever hear about the new, when our reading behaviour demands more of the old., Film and television journalist **Anthony Morris** looks at how the internet (and before that, the street press) has changed the landscape for writers - and asks whether we'd really want to turn back the clock. There may be less writing jobs these days, he says, but there are more working writers ... and there's more choice about what they write about., How do we achieve true diversity in the Australian media - and why is it important? **Fatima Measham** looks at the gap between the cultural make-up of Australia and of our media, and asks what we can do to close that gap, and make sure we have a wider variety of voices and experiences representing us., Indira Naidoo calls for a new conversation about refugees in Australia – one based on compassion, empathy and ethics, rather than fear. She speaks from experience, and looks at the politics and history of our current hardline (and hard-hearted) stance, and its roots in the original mass boat arrivals to Australia: The First Fleet., We chat with feminist writer Andie Fox about connecting with readers through your writing, why memoir-style writing is difficult to write well and safely, and why it's good to pursue writing as a second career - and not just for the obvious monetary reasons. and We speak to the ABC's South-East Asia correspondent Zoe Daniels about her career in journalism, writing for the pony club newsletter as a kid, and why empathy is a strength for a journalist, not a weakness. More

We chat with feminist writer Andie Fox about connecting with readers through your writing, why memoir-style writing is difficult to write well and safely, and why it's good to pursue writing as a second career - and not just for the obvious monetary reasons., Doris Lessing, Nobel Prize winner and reluctant feminist icon, has died, aged 94. Best known for the controversial bestseller The Golden Notebook, she was the author of over 50 books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction in her lifetime. We look back at her long career and unconventional life., What happens when we outsource our personal lives to paid workers? Can money buy love? And where do we draw the line between what we pay for, and what is too intimate to ask others to do? Arlie Hochschild has made these questions her life's work., In her controversial bestseller The End of Men, Hanna Rosin looks at the rise of women in education, work, and as household breadwinners - and asks whether our world now puts men at a disadvantage. But is the rise of the 'double shift' - women who are both breadwinners and household managers - progress? Is it equality? , Why did Julia Gillard and Anne Summers pack out the Melbourne Town Hall last night? What did audience members think of the event - and Gillard as prime minister? We were in the Town Hall lobby after the event, finding out the answers., Throughout history many – if not most – cultures have perpetuated the myth of the evil woman. In a recent Lunchbox/Soapbox address, Tara Moss discussed evil women, female criminals and the demonisation of the female gender: from Eve and Pandora to Elizabeth Bathory and Paula Broadwell. and Anna Goldsworthy was at the Wheeler Centre last Friday, talking about her very timely Quarterly Essay on feminism. She talked to Sophie Black about Julia Gillard, what the internet means for women, and why the pressure on public women to speak for us all, instead of for themselves, is dangerous.More

art

See the stunning artwork for five great (imaginary) literary film sequels: *Labyrinth 2*, *Willy Wonka and the Great Glass Elevator*, *Fight Club 2*, *Blade Runner 2054* and *Sleepy Hollow 2*. , In this week's Friday High Five, we check out a startup that's brewing meat, meet an artist whose work is both science and fiction, delve into the current creativity fetish and take in some arguments about contemporary journalism., **Angela Savage** looks at a unique form of storytelling, using objects found on the street. Melbourne artist Julie Shiels uses stencil art and photography to make poetry of everyday things, capturing the stories they tell about moments in our lives, big and small., Today, we're pleased to give you Children's Book Festival 2014 artist in residence Nicki Greenberg's sketches from the festival this past Sunday., On Sunday, 15,000 kids (and their adults) packed the lawns of the State Library for our annual Children's Book Festival. Observing them was the Festival's artist in residence, Oslo Davis. Today, he shares his illustrations., Middle age can make you a more savvy audience for art … but also a lazier one, as it must be squeezed into an ever-more time-poor life. Andie Fox realises that she’s become so risk averse when it comes to books and films that she’s missing out on the unexpected pleasures and new ideas art can offer., Hurricane Sandy has made 'climate change' less of a dirty phrase in US politics, as the consequences of a warming planet become all too palpable. We take a sneak peek at 'Hitchcock: The Movie', starring Anthony Hopkins as the legendary director. David Simon shares his thoughts on what Obama's win and his disparate supporter base mean for a changing America - including the end of the white man as the definition of 'normal'. And we look at wearable literary fashion and photography based on cereal sculptures. and Woolf & Wilde: A Queer PartyMore

When **Annabel Smith** embarked on creating her interactive digital ebook *The Ark*, she realised how wedded we still are to the old-fashioned p-book ... and the obstacles (in terms of technology, distribution platforms and publisher attitudes) that lie in the way of writers wanting to harness the possibilities of interactive digital media to tell their stories., Sydney poet **Brook Emery**, whose first three books of poetry were published by Five Islands Press, sat down to interview poet and former publisher Ron Pretty (founder of Five Mile Press) about his publishing and poetry careers - and his ideas on what makes a good poem, the place of poetry in Australian culture, and the pleasures and frustrations of poetry publishing., Crime writer **Andrew Nette** looks at the evolution of the true crime genre in Australia, from literary approaches by Helen Garner and Anna Krien, and serious works of journalism by Robin De Crespigny and Matthew Condon, to 'hit and run' books. What can a good true crime book explore, beyond the crime? And why is the genre suddenly so popular?, **Anthony Morris** looks at why so much of what we see in the newspapers (and worse, their online counterparts) these days is new versions of what we've already seen elsewhere. He measures the impact of clickbait, and its precise clocking of readership - and questions how we'll ever hear about the new, when our reading behaviour demands more of the old., On the 10th anniversary of *The Big Issue*’s fiction edition, the magazine’s associate editor, Melissa Cranenburgh, reflects on the challenges and rewards of making (and selling) the edition. And she tells why it's important that, unlike most short-story collections, it needs to sell copies in the thousands: because the magazine's reason for existence is to enable homeless and unemployed people to make a living., **Mel Campbell** published her first book, *Out of Shape*, last year. Since then, she's been struggling with ideas of what it is to be a successful author … along with most of the other authors published in Australia. Here, she reflects on what it means to be in the 'midlist' right now: financially, personally and professionally. and **David Donaldson** traces the rise of the author's identity in publishing, looking at the place of anonymity in literature, from Homer and Austen to J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith and political novels like *Primary Colors*More

During her time as a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, **Rebecca Harkins-Cross** worked on a cultural history of Australian cinema, looking at the unifying motif of terror in Australian cinema and how this fits into our larger national mythology. In this extract, she considers *Picnic at Hanging Rock*., See the stunning artwork for five great (imaginary) literary film sequels: *Labyrinth 2*, *Willy Wonka and the Great Glass Elevator*, *Fight Club 2*, *Blade Runner 2054* and *Sleepy Hollow 2*. , A peek at the HBO miniseries of *Olive Kitteridge*. The scientist who discovered Ebola tells his story. *Gone Girl*: book versus film. Why the mental health of astronauts matters. And inside the brain of a neuroscientist who accidentally discovered he's a clinical psychopath. , We share the latest news in book-to-film adaptations, from the inevitable acquiring of Donna Tartt's *The Goldfinch* to the more surprising news about Jack Black starring in a *Goosebumps* movie., We talk to film and television writer Anthony Morris about being horribly opinionated for a living, why there's no point worrying about whether your writing is good or bad once you've handed it in to be published, and why writers should ideally marry rich (or find someone willing to support them)., Evie Wyld has won this year's Miles Franklin - you can watch a video of our event with her online. A new David Sedaris essay is online at the *New Yorker*. How did the CIA use *Doctor Zhivago* as a weapon in the Cold War? Julian Assange has been invited to be a part of London's fashion week, due to his status as a 'good looking … popular hero'. And in Alaska, they're fighting foetal alcohol syndrome with free pregnancy tests in bars., Sam Twyford Moore defends the dole, and the safety net it provides young people as they dare to fail on their way to success. How John Green went from internet famous to just plain famous. Wes Anderson speaks to Stefan Zweig's biographer about how Zweig inspired The Grand Budapest Hotel. Happy tenth birthday Mean Girls. And A.M. Homes on motherhood. and Men on MenMore

We speak to Melbourne writer **Paul Mitchell** about why 'just keep writing' is bad advice, why you should never believe what your friends and relatives say about your work, and his son's lucky escape from being named 'Valjean'., We speak to *Archer Magazine*'s **Amy Middleton** about talking sex in the *Archer* office, building up the confidence/arrogance to start her own publication, and why human interaction is the best way to get anywhere., We talk to international bestselling author **Matthew Reilly** about how writing is born out of 'an unstoppable need to put words on a page', the laughs he gets from reading an unkind review aloud during speeches (on four continents), and what he'd talk about over dinner with Hannibal Lecter., We speak to arts writer and critic Chris Boyd about why dwelling on a 'shocker of a show' tends to amplify a negative opinion, why being paid for writing means you're talented (according to Stephen King), and being influenced by Andrea Dworkin's *Intercourse*., We speak to **Kate Richards**, author of *Madness: A Memoir* about why you should push your story further than you think you can, how literary theory can be taught but writing geniuses are born, and why you should read books that challenge you as a reader and challenge you as a writer., We speak to Nic Low, author of *Arms Race*, about about loving the undo button, talking writing with Alex Miller, raising our kids on a diet of stories, and accidentally writing activist literature. and We speak to **Simon Barnard**, author of *A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen's Land*, about writing making more time for cuddles with the dog, approval from Nick Cave, and what he'd be doing if he wasn't working with words … (thieving).More

We speak to Melbourne writer **Paul Mitchell** about why 'just keep writing' is bad advice, why you should never believe what your friends and relatives say about your work, and his son's lucky escape from being named 'Valjean'., Sydney poet **Brook Emery**, whose first three books of poetry were published by Five Islands Press, sat down to interview poet and former publisher Ron Pretty (founder of Five Mile Press) about his publishing and poetry careers - and his ideas on what makes a good poem, the place of poetry in Australian culture, and the pleasures and frustrations of poetry publishing., **Aurelia Guo**'s *The Weather Report* is a performance poetry series of found and self-authored fragments, taken from the internet, daily life and social interactions. Here are two of the poems she worked on during her time as a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow., Samuel Wagan Watson delivers a thoughtful and enlightening piece that answers our usual series of ten questions, and traces his development, inspiration and approach as a writer: being inspired by Marvel Comics, falling into poetry, weird critical responses, and his background as a working-class writer within a family of writers., We speak to Sarah Holland-Batt, new poetry editor of *Island*, about writing terrible poetry in high school (we've all been there, right?), why the freedom of thought universities represent is more important than ever in Australia right now, and the sense of discovery and novelty she feels about her new job at *Island*., In the lead-up to next Tuesday’s announcement of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry, we share our reviewers' responses to the shortlisted titles. Read reviews by Penni Russon, Luke Beesley and Jacinta Le Plastrier., We speak to poet and Hot Desk Fellow Luke Beesley about the 'hysterical popularity' of poetry, loving his publisher, and learning how to live off very little money., The Show of the Year, Woolf & Wilde: A Queer Party and December: Hot Desk Edition More

**S.A. Jones** ignored her creative writing teacher's advice to never write about mental illness in a novel ... but has spent a lot of time wrestling with the question of whether mental illness and the novel can do each other justice. And how do you write about a form of mental illness that defies the beginning, middle and end that the novel demands?, The finalists for the Walkley Awards for Excellent in Journalism have been announced. Gary Shteyngart's *Little Failure* book your diary. An autistic boy becomes BFFs with Siri. Trolls, stalkers and authors versus readers online. And why women with ADHD are massively underdiagnosed., **Josephine Rowe** describes the way a bone-chilling Montreal winter seeps into her soul, making her writing life more intensely insular. She reflects on seeking solace from greats like Mavis Gallant., There are practicing doctors around Australia who still oppose abortion and even refuse to prescribe contraception, citing 'conscience' as their explanation. Former Victorian health services commissioner Beth Wilson looks at where this type of so-called conscientious objection leaves women - and how the removal of choice can impact women’s health., Human sexual behaviour is constantly changing, evolving alongside broader social and cultural changes. These days, both men and women have more sexual partners over a lifetime than they did in the past. Researcher **Dyani Lewis** weighs the pros and cons of 21st-century promiscuity, and looks at why awareness of STIs has fallen so out of step with sexual mores and habits., At Deakin Edge last night, Lionel Shriver talked about her latest novel, Big Brother, our culture's obsession with food and weight, her feelings about being interviewed, and the fact that literary fame has been 'nice' rather than exciting. , Anna Spargo-Ryan asks whether awareness days designed to help mental health sufferers might have the potential to do the opposite, speaking from the point of view of someone with a long-term mental illness, who suffers from anxiety and depression. She explains why opening conversations you're not prepared, or equipped, to continue (for longer than a day) is something we should all think carefully about., The Future of Sex and Intersex Bodies and the Society that Shapes ThemMore

When former independent MP Rob Oakeshott spoke at Epic Fail recently, he shared what his time in federal parliament taught him about power, money, the influence of corporate interests and the benefit of hindsight., **Tony Birch** walks along the Yarra River, from Kew, after stopping in at Kew Cemetry, where his childhood friend Steven - who will be his companion on the walk - is buried. He reflects on the river's importance to the Wurundjeri people, and to him personally, as he goes., Indira Naidoo calls for a new conversation about refugees in Australia – one based on compassion, empathy and ethics, rather than fear. She speaks from experience, and looks at the politics and history of our current hardline (and hard-hearted) stance, and its roots in the original mass boat arrivals to Australia: The First Fleet., **Tony Birch** connects the lack of genuine remorse within Australia's colonial psyche with our regressive stance on climate change - and our lack of will to protect environment., The majority of Australians accept the science of climate change these days. But it seems to have made little difference to the way we behave. **Jane Rawson** is former environment and energy editor at *The Conversation* and author of the 'cli-fi' novel *A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists*. She's uniquely placed to ask the question: can climate change fiction make a difference, where scientific argument hasn't? Can it get help us to truly imagine the future - and act to change it?, **Tony Birch** visits his grandmother's grave and reflects on the lessons she taught him: that unless we provide our families and each other adequately with the basics of life – food, warmth and shelter – everything else is worthless. And that unless we provide the basics equally across society, we should be ashamed of ourselves. and Tony Birch on the throwaways of consumer culture, from casually discarded TVs to the goods given to the homeless, whether they want them or not. A tech start-up is set to make a fortune from a chemical mix that replaces food, called Soylent. Mindy Kaling interviews Billy Crystal about When Harry Met Sally. Connor Tomas O'Brien on smartphones, nostalgia and the ubiquity of the internet. And a growing worldwide resistance to antibiotics.More

Is water a human right? A fashion accessory? A taste sensation? And is bottled water a potential force for good, in the form of ethical bottled water companies that transfer first world spending habits to projects that supply drinking water to the developing world? Or is bottled water an environmental menace, no matter how you look at it? We look at the topic from all kinds of angles., Is our obsession with food culture out of control - or are we simply learning about the pleasures of good food? Is the time devoted to carefully weighing our eating decisions in terms of ethics and impact well spent? And is food the new 'universal language', as Blur bassist turned food writer Alex James says? We look at the arguments for and against our culture's obsession with food., Susan Neiman is an optimist; and a progressive. Hope is at the core of her quest to take back words like ‘moral clarity’ and ‘moral values’ from conservatives. She also believes that it's important not to demonise religion; that reverence (along with happiness, reason and hope) are crucial Enlightment values that are valuable for building a shared moral framework., If you missed our recent debate, Animals Should Be Off the Menu, you can get a taste of it with this report on some of the night's highlights. And if you were there, feel free to chime in with your comments on your thoughts and experiences., Lisa Dempster tried veganism five years ago as a 30-day trial – and hasn't looked back (or craved animal products) since. She talks to us about how Peter Singer sent her into a tailspin, why she's a vegan ('it’s hard to be a meat-eating environmentalist'), and how changing her diet wasn't as hard as she'd expected., Novelist Charlotte Wood is a passionate food-lover (and meat-lover), with her own food blog and a forthcoming non-fiction book on food. We spoke to her about food and ethics – and her recent experiments in cooking and eating offal, and going vegetarian for a month (her own version of FebFast). and For Cristy Clark, her journey from vegetarian, to vegan, to ecotarian began with a chicken – and ended with an egg. She shares her journey through ethical eating and the many minefields she navigated along the way.More

There are practicing doctors around Australia who still oppose abortion and even refuse to prescribe contraception, citing 'conscience' as their explanation. Former Victorian health services commissioner Beth Wilson looks at where this type of so-called conscientious objection leaves women - and how the removal of choice can impact women’s health., Throughout history many – if not most – cultures have perpetuated the myth of the evil woman. In a recent Lunchbox/Soapbox address, Tara Moss discussed evil women, female criminals and the demonisation of the female gender: from Eve and Pandora to Elizabeth Bathory and Paula Broadwell., The Women's Prize for Fiction has found a new sponsor - it no longer needs the Prince-like moniker of 'the prize formerly known as the Orange'. After more than 20 sponsors competed to take up the mantle, the board chose Baileys, who signed up for an initial three years., Shauna Bostock-Smith reflects on her family's past, and the way personal stories are shaped and interpreted - and the importance of acknowledging both the bad and the good in Aboriginal history. She asks: How can ancestral knowledge empower us in the present? And what are dangers do victimhood pose to collective Aboriginal self-esteem?, The first ever Stella Prize for a work by an Australian woman writer was awarded last night, to Carrie Tiffany for her novel Mateship with Birds. We report on her generous and surprising give-away of some of the prize money, Helen Garner's smash-hit speech, and Tiffany's reaction to winning - and words on why we need the Stella Prize., When Yvonne Ward began researching Queen Victoria's Letters, she found that key aspects of her life were deemed unsuitable for public consumption: her experience of motherhood, her struggle to combine the roles of ruler and wife, and her intimate friendships with other royal European women. In this edited version of her Lunchbox/Soapbox address last week, she unveils the details of her globetrotting historical detective work, as she filled in the gaps for herself., There’s an uproar on the internet right now about the recent makeover of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, featuring a glamorous woman applying make-up in a compact mirror. Why are 'women's' novels marketed using make-up, flowers and pastel colours? Does it insult our intelligence, or is it simply clever marketing? and Queer Writing UnconferenceMore

**Nick Earls** reflects on discovering classic Australian novel *The Delinquents* - Brisbane's *Last Exit to Brooklyn* - in 1989, as the film starring Kylie Minogue was made at a local hotel, and he hung around the edges of the set., Should non-Indigenous Australian authors write Indigenous characters? If so, how can they get it right - and avoid stereotyping? **Deanne Sheldon-Collins** gets the lowdown from **Anita Heiss** on how to research and write stories 'with believable, meaningful and (hopefully) empowering Indigenous characters'., **Peter Carey** speaks to **Michael Williams** about his new novel *Amnesia*, his school days at Geelong Grammar and Monash, the Australian character, and how he used Julian Assange as a springboard for creating his activist hacker, Gaby Baillieux., In the week after Gough Whitlam's death, **Peter Carey** spoke at length to **Michael Williams** about remembering the Dismissal, why he doesn't like the term 'conspiracy theory', and why America had an interest in the Whitlam government's demise - and might have been involved. , **Richard Flanagan** won the Man Booker Prize last night for his novel *The Narrow Road to the Deep North*, inspired by his father's experiences as a prisoner of war. In this edited extract from **Ramona Koval**'s 2013 interview at the Wheeler Centre, Flanagan explores that family inspiration and the link between growing up with his father's stories of his experiences as a prisoner of war and the creation of the novel. , **Melissa Cranenburgh** speaks to Favel Parrett about her latest novel, *When the Night Comes*, and how she wrote it, revisiting the 1980s Hobart of her childhood and resurrecting the well-loved Antarctic supply ship, *Nella Dan*., Today, there are close to a hundred literary festivals around Australia - many of them in regional and rural areas. **Andrew Nette** looks at what these literary festivals offer, why they're booming, and what the advantages and downsides might be for writers. and Thomas KeneallyMore

How unlikely is the world's first for-profit mission to colonise Mars? Very. Daniel Handler's racist joke mars the National Book Awards. Hanna Rosin confronts former best friend Stephen Glass about his famous fabrications. Farewell to Mike Nichols. And a look at how books get their names. , Has foodie culture gone too far? (A leading food critic thinks so.) Is gluten avoidance sensible, or a fad? Five Indigenous writers whose books are must-reads. Windowless planes are coming. And William Gibson predicts the future, again., The finalists for the Walkley Awards for Excellent in Journalism have been announced. Gary Shteyngart's *Little Failure* book your diary. An autistic boy becomes BFFs with Siri. Trolls, stalkers and authors versus readers online. And why women with ADHD are massively underdiagnosed., Why infection prevention research is crucial in stopping the spread of diseases like Ebola. David Lynch's LA (and our *Twin Peaks* tribute). A media editor goes undercover at Australian university journalism courses. Poland's mysterious crooked forest. And how asylum seekers in detention care for their mental health through poetry … and Facebook., In this week's Friday High Five, we check out a startup that's brewing meat, meet an artist whose work is both science and fiction, delve into the current creativity fetish and take in some arguments about contemporary journalism., Stephen King shares some terrific tips for teaching writing. An Austin professor has moved into a dumpster on the campus of his university. A 15-year-old student shows off the wedding dress she made from divorce papers. The iconic 'crying Indian' of the 1971 anti-pollution ad (and countless westerns) is actually Italian. And why tech giants like the late Steve Jobs restricted their kids' use of online gadgets. and We're set to colonise Mars: this century. Why is awkwardness so important? The next food trend: chefs ordering genetically engineered vegetables from seed producers. An author interviews her editors, agent and publicists. And homeless LGBT teens in the US.More

**Sam Vincent** takes an objective look at both sides of the whale wars - and at what humans, especially Australians, have invested in saving whales. He also traces our historical involvement with the whaling industry, which preceded 'the sheep's back' as the primary driver of our postcolonial economy., During her Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, **Bernadette Hince** worked on *The Grand Polar Dictionary*. Her project is an attempt to document the culture and practices of Arctic life, past and present, through its language – some of which is now fading or extinct. Today, we take a glimpse at her work in progress., The Australian government is committed to supporting the coal industry. Meanwhile, nations around the world are stepping up their support for renewable energy, and for the first time in history, Australia will need no new coal or gas power capacity in the next ten years. We look at the good and bad news about our renewable energy future. , **Tony Birch** reflects on the significance of Bunjil the Eagle, a story about country and custodianship - and what it says about contemporary Australians' botched custodianship of our environment. What legacy are we leaving our children with our inaction - and what kind of example are we setting?, When former independent MP Rob Oakeshott spoke at Epic Fail recently, he shared what his time in federal parliament taught him about power, money, the influence of corporate interests and the benefit of hindsight., Optimism is not something we commonly associate with a life in politics, but recently retired Greens leader Bob Brown is an exception in more ways than one. His biographer, **James Norman**, reflects on Brown's life and career - and his contribution to Australian life. and **Julian Cribb** warns of an environmental danger that looms larger than climate change in terms of its immediate threat to human health - the deluge of chemicals we are all now subject to, 24/7. Drawing on multiple international studies, he outlines the full extent of the problem and proposes solutions that will enable us to not only undo the damage, but lead to better health for us and our planetMore

Novelist **Jessie Cole** reflects on the surprising self-exposure of writing fiction, the way it brings the submerged to the surface, 'a little like posting a selfie that unwittingly reveals all your subconscious thoughts' - unlike memoir, where the writer consciously mines and reveals their own subtext., The Wheeler Centre's Jo Case speaks to **Maggie Mackellar**, author of *How to Get There* and *When it Rains*, about writing memoir, being in conversation with other books and writers, and why life writing is not cathartic., The illustrated *Heart of Darkness*. Jeanette Winterson on her love for Kate Bush. The dos and don'ts of workplace swearing. Emily Perkins on Robyn Davidson's *Tracks* and candour vs confession when it comes to memoirs. Lena Dunham's *New Yorker* essay on anxiety and therapy. , **Dan Bledwich** is a 29-year-old sex worker and writer who lives in Melbourne. During his Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, he worked on his memoir, which covers being a 'queer callboy', and growing up in regional Australia in an environment of abuse, neglect, and intense schoolyard bullying. We share an extract today., Is it okay for Facebook to conduct psychological experiments on us? What should women writers do to pitch better, and understand the process of being edited and published? Junot Diaz on the colour problem with MFA programs. Luke Ryan on comic writing., **Sian Prior**, author of the acclaimed memoir *Shy*, reflects on how shyness manifests in her body - and on writing a memoir to trace its effects. and We speak to Anna Goldsworthy about the craft of writing memoir – including how she crafted herself as a character, how she decided on a structure for her books, her approach to self-revelation (and revealing the lives of others) and writing about motherhood.More

Crime writer **Andrew Nette** looks at the evolution of the true crime genre in Australia, from literary approaches by Helen Garner and Anna Krien, and serious works of journalism by Robin De Crespigny and Matthew Condon, to 'hit and run' books. What can a good true crime book explore, beyond the crime? And why is the genre suddenly so popular?, We speak to crime writer, reviewer and lover of all things noir **Andrew Nette** about being paid for your literary labour, why the best advice for writers is to *just get your first draft done*, and why being a writer comes from deep down within a person - and you either have the hunger to do it, or you don't., We talk to YA crime thriller writer Ellie Marney about bringing her daydreams to life on the page, why being a writer is a bit like being a stand-up comedian or a tightrope-walker, and the value of Bum Glue., Shane Maloney has off-handedly outed himself as one of the *Saturday Paper* reviewers, on his website. 'Personally, I like the idea,' he says of anonymous reviews. 'It means I can take a cursory glance at a book, toss off a half-baked impression and collect my fee.', We spoke to Wendy about working in her pyjamas, writing to discover the new, and why she wouldn't mind a date with the protagonist of her work-in-progress., Angela Savage is the author of a series of crime novels featuring Thailand-based, ex-pat Australian PI Jayne Keeney. We spoke to her about getting away with murder as a ten-year-old birdwatcher, her writing advice from Christos Tsiolkas ('Just get the story down') and her fantasy of drinking in an all-night Bangkok bar with Philip Marlowe. and Adrian Hyland, author of the Emily Tempest novels, Diamond Dove and Gunshot Road, shares his top tips for crime writing.More

Children's and youth literature expert **Judith Ridge** has had enough of under-informed and 'insulting' critiques of children's and YA books. Responding to Helen Razer's recent controversial anti-YA argument in Crikey's *Daily Review*, she's come up with a list of top ten tips for writing about books for children and teenagers., In this edition of Working with Words, we spoke to author Kirsty Murray about the lives a book's characters take on, the value of critical reading for writers, and checking in with Balzac every decade or so., This year is the fiftieth anniversary of Roald Dahl’s *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*, one of the world’s most beloved children’s books. Celebrations include the posthumous publication of a 'lost' early chapter of the book, and a Modern Classics adult edition of the book, with a controversial 'creepy' cover. We look at the celebrations, our attitudes to children's books, the trend of posthumous publication of classic authors, and the wisdom (or not) of adult editions of children's books., **Ambelin Kwaymullina** is an Aboriginal writer and illustrator; she has published both picture books and a YA dystopian series, The Tribe. In this engrossing essay, which doubles as a call to arms, she describes what it's like to be an Indigenous writer, the importance of 'laughter-stories' even (or especially) about terrible things, and why writing for young people demands an 'impossibly high' standard., **Andrew McDonald** remembers an Australian children's classic worth celebrating - Robin Klein's fabulously funny, 'perfectly formed' comic novel of Australian primary school life, schoolyard class warfare and friendship: *Hating Alison Ashley*., Sally Rippin's series for primary school age children, *Billie B. Brown* and *Hey Jack!*, are bestsellers with young readers of all reading levels. So she's well equipped to give advice on helping instil a love of reading in reluctant readers. Here are some of her tips - and her story on the genesis of Billie and Jack. and Today, we're pleased to give you Children's Book Festival 2014 artist in residence Nicki Greenberg's sketches from the festival this past Sunday.More

This year's Vogel winner, **Christine Piper**, reflects on the moment she learned that her book, *After Darkness*, had won - at five am in New York - and what the prize win means to her., Melbourne bookseller Readings has just announced two new annual book awards, worth $4000 each. The aim? To give more attention and support to new and emerging Australian writers. Introducing the Readings New Australian Writing Prize and the Readings Children's Book Prize., Joan Collins announced the winner of the annual Bad Sex in Fiction Prize in London today, presenting the award to American-based Manil Suri for his third novel, The City of Devi., We congratulate the winners of the Prime Minister's Literary Awards: Michelle de Kretser, George Megalogenis, John Kinsella, Bruce Pascoe and Libby Gleeson., This week, Amy Espeseth was longlisted for the prestigious Warwick Prize for Writing (UK) for her debut novel, Sufficient Grace. We spoke to her about writing to make sense of her world, why writing always seems impossible, and what she learned from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath., MIchelle de Kretser has won this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award for her fourth novel, Questions of Travel (Allen & Unwin). We look at the judges' verdict and some of the reviews. and The Women's Prize for Fiction has found a new sponsor - it no longer needs the Prince-like moniker of 'the prize formerly known as the Orange'. After more than 20 sponsors competed to take up the mantle, the board chose Baileys, who signed up for an initial three years.More

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A favourite headline, in the 'quality' press and tabloids alike, concerns the evils of young people, technology and sex. With the easy availability of porn on the internet and the ability to share nude images with a swipe of the smartphone, new generations of young people are said to be exposed to sex too early and in too much detail. But **Sam George Allen**, an almost-digital-native and editor of *Scum*, believes that sex and the internet are a great combination for her generation. She defends - and celebrates - writing sex online., We speak to writer, sex worker and Hot Desk Fellow Dan Bledwich about the instability of both his careers (writing and sex work), being (badly) advised by a friend not to write anything queer or explicit, and why it's immensely helpful for new and emerging writers to keep track of what they've accomplished., Human sexual behaviour is constantly changing, evolving alongside broader social and cultural changes. These days, both men and women have more sexual partners over a lifetime than they did in the past. Researcher **Dyani Lewis** weighs the pros and cons of 21st-century promiscuity, and looks at why awareness of STIs has fallen so out of step with sexual mores and habits., Joan Collins announced the winner of the annual Bad Sex in Fiction Prize in London today, presenting the award to American-based Manil Suri for his third novel, The City of Devi., Beyoncé in Brunswick is now a Tumblr. Japan's young people are falling prey to 'celibacy syndrome'. Noel Gallagher says there's no point reading fiction, because it's not true. David Sedaris pays tribute to his dead sister, who didn't want to be written about, in writing. And why do people look like their dogs?, America's favourite advice columnist, Dan Savage, explains why sometimes, cheating isn’t just okay, it’s ‘absolutely, positively, and without question the right thing to do’., In the internet age, we're technically more connected than ever - but does the ease of connecting online make it harder to connect IRL (in real life)? How do we negotiate public and private space? What are teenagers doing online - and how can we make sure they're safe? Kirsten Krauth researched these issues for her first novel, just_a_girl., Men on Men, The Future of Sex, Intersex Bodies and the Society that Shapes Them, The Trans Body Politic, Queer Writing Unconference, Queering the Margins and Woolf & Wilde: A Queer PartyMore

In Jeff Sparrow's new book, Money Shot, he explores the relationship between porn and censorship, and what it reveals about our social values. Along the way, he journeys from the censor's office in Canberra to a porn cinema in Melbourne, interviews opinion-makers like Clive Hamilton and Melinda Tankard Reist, and visits gatherings as diverse as Sexpo and Planetshakers, the religious meet that attracts 'hip, young' Christians to 'make noise for Jesus' in the 'praise pit'. In this edited extract, Jeff takes us into the praise pit., Stanley Hauerwas, America's leading theologian, is highly critical of his country's relationship with faith and Christianity; from George W. Bush's holy war to the 'vague god' worshipped by so many., In western Europe, 'multiculturalism' and 'religion' have become dirty words. But many cities are expected to have a near 50% population of immigrant (mostly Muslim) citizens within a few decades. Tariq Modood tells why both multiculturalism and an acceptance of diverse religions (and thus their communities) are essential for the future of western Europe., Asma Barlas is a Muslim passionately critical of interpretations of the Qur'an that discriminate against women, but a devout believer in the text itself. She says the Qur'an contains a message of sexual equality that is being ignored by those who wilfully misinterpret it., Susan Neiman is an optimist; and a progressive. Hope is at the core of her quest to take back words like ‘moral clarity’ and ‘moral values’ from conservatives. She also believes that it's important not to demonise religion; that reverence (along with happiness, reason and hope) are crucial Enlightment values that are valuable for building a shared moral framework., Jeanette Winterson concluded our Ten series with an electrifying talk that covered memoir (she prefers the term 'cover version'), identity, the consolations of literature, and being the hero of your own life. and Father Bob to bow out in February.More

Should non-Indigenous Australian authors write Indigenous characters? If so, how can they get it right - and avoid stereotyping? **Deanne Sheldon-Collins** gets the lowdown from **Anita Heiss** on how to research and write stories 'with believable, meaningful and (hopefully) empowering Indigenous characters'., **Jo Case** reflects on the defining themes of Kylie Ladd's new novel, *Mothers and Daughters*: the complexities of female friendships, 21st-century adolescence, and the divide between black and white Australia. It's all set against the stark tropical beauty of Broome, where Kylie and her family lived for a year., We speak to **Melissa Lucashenko**, winner of the 2014 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing for *Mullumbimby*, about her first poem, influenced by Alan Marshall, the joy of not having to sit in a revolting office, the personality type that makes an artist, and how Keri Hulme's *Bone People* showed her that 'lives like the ones I knew belonged in literary fiction'., **Tony Birch** reflects on the significance of Bunjil the Eagle, a story about country and custodianship - and what it says about contemporary Australians' botched custodianship of our environment. What legacy are we leaving our children with our inaction - and what kind of example are we setting?, This Wednesday 3 September is Indigenous Literacy Day, an annual initiative of the Australian book industry that raises funds to provide books and literacy resources to remote Indigenous communities across Australia, through the Indigenous Literacy Foundation., **Ambelin Kwaymullina** is an Aboriginal writer and illustrator; she has published both picture books and a YA dystopian series, The Tribe. In this engrossing essay, which doubles as a call to arms, she describes what it's like to be an Indigenous writer, the importance of 'laughter-stories' even (or especially) about terrible things, and why writing for young people demands an 'impossibly high' standard. and **Tony Birch** connects the lack of genuine remorse within Australia's colonial psyche with our regressive stance on climate change - and our lack of will to protect environment.More

During her time as a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, **Rebecca Harkins-Cross** worked on a cultural history of Australian cinema, looking at the unifying motif of terror in Australian cinema and how this fits into our larger national mythology. In this extract, she considers *Picnic at Hanging Rock*., We speak to arts writer and critic Chris Boyd about why dwelling on a 'shocker of a show' tends to amplify a negative opinion, why being paid for writing means you're talented (according to Stephen King), and being influenced by Andrea Dworkin's *Intercourse*., We talk to film and television writer Anthony Morris about being horribly opinionated for a living, why there's no point worrying about whether your writing is good or bad once you've handed it in to be published, and why writers should ideally marry rich (or find someone willing to support them)., In this week's Friday High Five, Joshua Rothman asks - should literary criticism be an art or a science? Plus we look at the demographics of MOOCs, the eternal life of honey, anonymous social networking and updates to the science of everything., Kerryn Goldsworthy, freelance reviewer and current Pascall Critic of the Year, shares her opinion on the ingredients of a good review, the tell-tale components of a bad review, and the various groups a reviewer has a responsibility to when assessing a book, from the reader to 'the people who are paying you'., James Tierney responds to Robyn Annear's Monthly review of ten Australian literary magazines, weighing the evidence she gathers to support her view that these 'oddball miscellanies' mainly exist to grant publication to emerging writers - and opening out into a wider conversation about what a good review (with well-supported arguments) can do. and Music criticism has changed hugely in the past decade: the demise of specialist music publications (and their professional rates for writers). The decline of the 'long-form takedown', in favour of positive press. The growing influence of public relations in a cash-strapped media landscape. At the Melbourne Writers Festival last month, three music critics talked about the changes they’ve seen and experienced during their working lives.More

Find out what Frank Bascombe and Tony Soprano have in common. How do we make students less likely to decide they're not 'science smart'? Is neuroscience wildly popular, or irrelevant? And find out how books can influence a writer's work-in-progress., A peek at the HBO miniseries of *Olive Kitteridge*. The scientist who discovered Ebola tells his story. *Gone Girl*: book versus film. Why the mental health of astronauts matters. And inside the brain of a neuroscientist who accidentally discovered he's a clinical psychopath. , In this week's Friday High Five, we check out a startup that's brewing meat, meet an artist whose work is both science and fiction, delve into the current creativity fetish and take in some arguments about contemporary journalism., The Australian government is committed to supporting the coal industry. Meanwhile, nations around the world are stepping up their support for renewable energy, and for the first time in history, Australia will need no new coal or gas power capacity in the next ten years. We look at the good and bad news about our renewable energy future. , After a week in which too many good people died, **Bronwyn Meyrick** reflects on death, drawing on some very different books that debate the existence (and dubious comfort) of an afterlife, blending neuroscience and experience., The majority of Australians accept the science of climate change these days. But it seems to have made little difference to the way we behave. **Jane Rawson** is former environment and energy editor at *The Conversation* and author of the 'cli-fi' novel *A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists*. She's uniquely placed to ask the question: can climate change fiction make a difference, where scientific argument hasn't? Can it get help us to truly imagine the future - and act to change it? and The five writers involved in the Weather Stations project around storytelling and climate change have been travelling Australia, consulting with climate change experts and observing the effects of climate change in action. The Wheeler Centre’s Jo Case sat in on a session at University of Melbourne with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.More

A peek at the HBO miniseries of *Olive Kitteridge*. The scientist who discovered Ebola tells his story. *Gone Girl*: book versus film. Why the mental health of astronauts matters. And inside the brain of a neuroscientist who accidentally discovered he's a clinical psychopath. , We talk to film and television writer Anthony Morris about being horribly opinionated for a living, why there's no point worrying about whether your writing is good or bad once you've handed it in to be published, and why writers should ideally marry rich (or find someone willing to support them)., Tony Birch on the throwaways of consumer culture, from casually discarded TVs to the goods given to the homeless, whether they want them or not. A tech start-up is set to make a fortune from a chemical mix that replaces food, called Soylent. Mindy Kaling interviews Billy Crystal about When Harry Met Sally. Connor Tomas O'Brien on smartphones, nostalgia and the ubiquity of the internet. And a growing worldwide resistance to antibiotics., We talk to television critic and debut novelist Melinda Houston about watching lots of telly as a job, hating deadlines, and why you have to *make* your readers want to read your writing. , We interview one of the creators of *Australian Tumbleweeds*, an anonymous comedy blog run by a small team of writers who are passionate about televised comedy and brand themselves 'Australia's most opinionated blog about comedy'. We talked about the state of Australian comedy (and television writing), why being critical encourages good work, and the freedoms and responsibilities of anonymity., In perhaps our most anticipated event of 2013, Game of Thrones fans had the chance to meet creator George R.R. Martin and one of the actors who brought his fictional universe to life: Michelle Fairley (aka Catelyn Stark). We present the video of the event - and selected highlights from their talk., Anthony Morris explains why The Wire is the best television drama ever made - despite (or because of) breaking every convention about the crime genre and small-screen storytelling. There is no lead on The Wire: it's an ensemble show, and its central character is Baltimore itself; its central subject how the system is broken, across the police, the world of work, politics, schools and the media. and Men on MenMore

**Julia Gillard** reflects on the 'curious question of gender', how that affected her performance (and experience) as prime minister - and the lessons her experience might hold for how we treat and respond to female leaders in the future. This is an edited extract from her conversation with **Kate Langbroek** at the Regent Theatre in our event last week., A video parody of the Beastie Boys' hit 'Girls', encouraging girls to forgo princesses for toolkits, is at the centre of a copyright lawsuit - a pre-emptive one, brought by toy company GoldieBlox, makers of the ad, after they were contacted by the Beastie Boys' lawyers. The Beasties have issued an open letter saying that while they admire the ad's creativity and message, they have made a conscious decision not to allow their music or name to be used in product ads., In her controversial bestseller The End of Men, Hanna Rosin looks at the rise of women in education, work, and as household breadwinners - and asks whether our world now puts men at a disadvantage. But is the rise of the 'double shift' - women who are both breadwinners and household managers - progress? Is it equality? , Dion Kagan is an early career academic and arts writer who works on film, theatre, sex and popular culture. He spoke to us about why he loves sending and getting emails, why it's important to 'keep your patience' when writing, and how he would transform Isabel Archer's life if he was her Sassy Gay Best Friend., In this edition of Friday High Five, we take on the internet troll, question the (manly) voice of God, explore the benefits of being a loser, and hitch a ride through France's Mer de Glace region... on the back of an eagle., It's been the year of women on the Australian literary award scene, with the awarding of the first Stella Prize and the first ever all-women Miles Franklin shortlist. Paul Mitchell asks if it's time to turn our attention to men - not by creating an award for male writers, but one designed to attract male readers to literary fiction., Browse 30 beautiful abandoned places from around the world. Consider some arguments about paid maternity leave - Eva Cox defending Tony Abbott's scheme as 'feminist' and Zoe Dattner arguing that paid maternity leave is 'toxic'. The Believer interviews Rashida Jones. The New Yorker on Oprah's Book Club. And what happens when gender roles are reversed in advertising?, Men on Men, The Future of Sex, Intersex Bodies and the Society that Shapes Them, The Trans Body Politic, Queer Writing Unconference, Queering the Margins and Woolf & Wilde: A Queer PartyMore

Elmo Keep delivers a blistering five-point argument in defence of copyright - and against those who are devaluing quality content by declaring it should be free., It seems increasingly likely that the government may have to intervene and write a code on internet piracy into copyright law, after talks to negotiate a voluntary agreement to tackle piracy have effectively fallen apart. But new research from Monash University suggests current laws don't work. What should we do, then?, The editor of DSM-4 has called childhood bipolar a false epidemic, and regrets his role in giving it credence. Experts in bipolar, and in mania in children, are divided. Meanwhile, more children are diagnosed - and prescribed serious medications - each week. What is the truth about childhood bipolar? And what are the dangers of wrong diagnosis? , We asked Year Eleven student Billie Tumarkin to explore what Anzac Day means to her generation. She dabbled in some amateur psychology with friends and reflected on Anzac Days past. What did she find? Mixed messages about the day’s meaning, history lessons that bored rather than enlightened (‘like chewy meat’) – and the idea that if we want young people to engage with the past, we need to bring it to life in more imaginative and resonant ways. ‘You have to give us more than poppies and cookies.’, John Martinkus has been a war reporter for a decade, covering East Timor, Iraq (where he was abducted, and released) and Afghanistan. He defends the continued celebration of Anzac Day not as a way of celebrating war itself, but of 'remembering and understanding the shared experience of what Australia’s service men and women are asked to endure for what is perceived as the public interest'., Is our obsession with food culture out of control - or are we simply learning about the pleasures of good food? Is the time devoted to carefully weighing our eating decisions in terms of ethics and impact well spent? And is food the new 'universal language', as Blur bassist turned food writer Alex James says? We look at the arguments for and against our culture's obsession with food. and Reverend George Exoo has helped over 102 people to die. He’s the euthanasia activist people are referred to when the mainstream organisations won’t take their cases – many of his clients were not terminally ill, but were instead depressed or suffering from psychosomatic diseases. Jon Ronson profiled him for the Guardian, made a documentary film about him, and includes his story in his new book, 'Lost at Sea'.More

We interview one of the creators of *Australian Tumbleweeds*, an anonymous comedy blog run by a small team of writers who are passionate about televised comedy and brand themselves 'Australia's most opinionated blog about comedy'. We talked about the state of Australian comedy (and television writing), why being critical encourages good work, and the freedoms and responsibilities of anonymity., Norwegian brothers Bard and Vegard Ylisaker - comedy duo Ylvis - have become international superstars thanks to their viral YouTube hit, What Does the Fox Say?. Now, they're children's book authors, as the song becomes a book in time for Christmas., Jon Stewart is an internet hit in China - which seems to bode well for the future of satire. In a real-life Misery, Charlaine 'True Blood' Harris is receiving death threats from readers unhappy with the fate she's given her fictional heroine, Sookie Stackhouse. David Foster Wallace's This is Water is now a short film. The Guardian is unimpressed with the new New York Times Book Review editor. And we look at the wildly divergent reviews of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby., Graeme Simsion made headlines when his romantic comedy with a difference, The Rosie Project, was sold into over 30 countries for over a milliion dollars after winning the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished manuscript - and being snatched up by Text Publishing. We spoke to Graeme about the book's journey to publication, the evolution of Don Tillman's voice, the laws of comedy (and screenwriting), and writing a character who seems to have Asperger's Syndrome., Comedian Lawrence Leung shares his dirty little writing secret – his habit of filing away life moments for use in his work, even while he's living them. This hilarious extract from The Emerging Writer is a fascinating peek-behind-the-pages at the process of alchemising life into comedy., ... but he may win Not the Booker. and There's a bear in there, and a grumpy parent as well...More

In this week's Friday High Five, we delve into arguments against beautiful web journalism, check out the new Porn Studies academic journal, meet animals in military service, look at club culture's queer roots and find out what women want – on the dancefloor., In this edition of Friday High Five, we take on the internet troll, question the (manly) voice of God, explore the benefits of being a loser, and hitch a ride through France's Mer de Glace region... on the back of an eagle., Anthony Morris argues that an unlikely influence planted a vital seed for the golden age of television drama. A drama that was weird, violent, distinctively atmospheric and very much the work of one auteur-like creator; one with long-form narrative arcs and an overarching mystery. He looks back at David Lynch's Twin Peaks, and traces its lineage to the Sopranos, Mad Men and more., When music fan, part-time writer and Brooklyn barista Chris Ruen got to know some of his indie rock star customers (from bands like Vampire Weekend and TV on the Radio), he was shocked to realise how hard they were working, and for how little money. Suddenly, he became uneasy about the orgy of free downloading that had become the norm for his generation - and began to question how music piracy has evolved, how it's affecting the music business, and what can be done about it., It's International Women's Day - and we share some of the best articles that mark the occasion. We also celebrate the Stella Prize longlist, look at a series of articles on paying writers in the digital age ... and find out why George Lucas sold Star Wars., In this week's Friday High Five, we ask, along with Naomi Wolf, whether singer Katy Perry is producing military propaganda. We share links to a new David Sedaris, the revelations of a ghostwriter, Salman Rushdie's defence of freedom of speech and a review that breaks the rules (and wins). and The Show of the YearMore

We speak to **Simon Barnard**, author of *A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen's Land*, about writing making more time for cuddles with the dog, approval from Nick Cave, and what he'd be doing if he wasn't working with words … (thieving)., **Fatima Measham** was awarded one of last year's Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships to work on an essay in defence of her suburb, Werribee. She gives the history of the Western Treatment Plant (second only to Kakadu as one of the most biodiverse areas in Australia, and a mecca for birdwatchers - including Jonathan Franzen when he visited Melbourne in 2011) and explains the dangers of 'postcode superiority'., Indira Naidoo calls for a new conversation about refugees in Australia – one based on compassion, empathy and ethics, rather than fear. She speaks from experience, and looks at the politics and history of our current hardline (and hard-hearted) stance, and its roots in the original mass boat arrivals to Australia: The First Fleet., **Tony Birch** connects the lack of genuine remorse within Australia's colonial psyche with our regressive stance on climate change - and our lack of will to protect environment., The Australian War Memorial was first advised internally to acknowledge the frontier wars way back in 1979. Our military historians accept that colonial conflict is part of our military history, but the Memorial still holds out. Why? **Michael Green** investigates., Australia has always been a camping place, says Bill Garner. Our history of camping has its roots in necessity - but it's also a way of intimately connecting to place, and nurtures many of the values we hold dear, including egalitarianism and tolerance. Even our national song, Waltzing Matilda, is about a camper., Kelly-Lee Hickey grew up fascinated by Darwin's status as a 'gateway to Asia' - and the boats that once moved back and forth across the Arafura sea to Indonesia, following a centuries-old international trade route. Her new arts project, Vessels for Stories, aims to reconnect our severed ties with Indonesia through cultural exchange - and stories. and Thomas KeneallyMore

We speak to Melbourne writer **Paul Mitchell** about why 'just keep writing' is bad advice, why you should never believe what your friends and relatives say about your work, and his son's lucky escape from being named 'Valjean'., We speak to *Archer Magazine*'s **Amy Middleton** about talking sex in the *Archer* office, building up the confidence/arrogance to start her own publication, and why human interaction is the best way to get anywhere., We talk to international bestselling author **Matthew Reilly** about how writing is born out of 'an unstoppable need to put words on a page', the laughs he gets from reading an unkind review aloud during speeches (on four continents), and what he'd talk about over dinner with Hannibal Lecter., We speak to arts writer and critic Chris Boyd about why dwelling on a 'shocker of a show' tends to amplify a negative opinion, why being paid for writing means you're talented (according to Stephen King), and being influenced by Andrea Dworkin's *Intercourse*., We speak to **Kate Richards**, author of *Madness: A Memoir* about why you should push your story further than you think you can, how literary theory can be taught but writing geniuses are born, and why you should read books that challenge you as a reader and challenge you as a writer., The Wheeler Centre's Jo Case speaks to **Maggie Mackellar**, author of *How to Get There* and *When it Rains*, about writing memoir, being in conversation with other books and writers, and why life writing is not cathartic. and We speak to Nic Low, author of *Arms Race*, about about loving the undo button, talking writing with Alex Miller, raising our kids on a diet of stories, and accidentally writing activist literature.More

Has foodie culture gone too far? (A leading food critic thinks so.) Is gluten avoidance sensible, or a fad? Five Indigenous writers whose books are must-reads. Windowless planes are coming. And William Gibson predicts the future, again., Why the US government has published a guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse. Matthew Weiner on the art of screenwriting (and John Cheever's influence on *Mad Men*). What a librarian looks like. And Dave Eggers' 1996 review of *Infinite Jest* (an interesting contrast with his 2006 foreword to the tenth anniversary edition)., Is water a human right? A fashion accessory? A taste sensation? And is bottled water a potential force for good, in the form of ethical bottled water companies that transfer first world spending habits to projects that supply drinking water to the developing world? Or is bottled water an environmental menace, no matter how you look at it? We look at the topic from all kinds of angles., If you're preparing a Melbourne Cup feast for tomorrow's festivities, why not give a thought to including some favourite food from literature? We have some book-themed inspiration and recipes for you, whether you want green eggs (and ham) to line your stomach tomorrow morning, or a bloody Game of Thrones cake pop to nibble with champagne., The US government has been revealed as having worked with the big tech companies to spy on the public - tracking emails, photographs, video and other digital communication. Miranda July has launched a project where you can sign up to snoop on other people's emails. Clive James tells why the US literary scene is too nice - while in the UK, savaging books is a 'recognized blood sport'. Flavour Palace is serving up lime and cheese milkshakes, canned soup and an irreverent attitude towards food and eating. And we share some Anne of Green Gables love., Is our obsession with food culture out of control - or are we simply learning about the pleasures of good food? Is the time devoted to carefully weighing our eating decisions in terms of ethics and impact well spent? And is food the new 'universal language', as Blur bassist turned food writer Alex James says? We look at the arguments for and against our culture's obsession with food. and In this week's Friday High Five, we raise a collective eyebrow at the latest pop culture moment in the US presidential campaign, as Big Bird unwillingly takes the stage. We share some Banned Book Trading Cards, read an extract from a book skewering our culture's food obsession, watch an ad that turns 'First World Problems' on their head, and look at the afterlife of books.More

Dennis Altman looks back on forty years of work as a gay rights activist and author - and the 'extraordinary' changes that have been made to how we imagine sex and gender since the gay rights movement began in the early 1970s. He asks what those changes mean for homosexuals today: both his generation and new generations, who have grown up in a very different world., In the internet age, we're technically more connected than ever - but does the ease of connecting online make it harder to connect IRL (in real life)? How do we negotiate public and private space? What are teenagers doing online - and how can we make sure they're safe? Kirsten Krauth researched these issues for her first novel, just_a_girl., Michelle Smith looks at why girls’ bottoms are a major problem for the nation’s media and celebrity women, how today’s moral panics and prostitute-comparisons resemble those of the Victorian era – and what’s changed for girls living with today’s popular culture., In Jeff Sparrow's new book, Money Shot, he explores the relationship between porn and censorship, and what it reveals about our social values. Along the way, he journeys from the censor's office in Canberra to a porn cinema in Melbourne, interviews opinion-makers like Clive Hamilton and Melinda Tankard Reist, and visits gatherings as diverse as Sexpo and Planetshakers, the religious meet that attracts 'hip, young' Christians to 'make noise for Jesus' in the 'praise pit'. In this edited extract, Jeff takes us into the praise pit., Clementine Ford attended Bettina Arndt's Lunchbox/Soapbox on Why Sex Matters So Much to Men at the Wheeler Centre last Thursday. Clementine tells why she vehemently disagrees with Arndt's views on men, sex – and whether women should say 'yes' to their partners even when they're not in the mood., In the latest in our occasional series Working with Words, we talk to Alan Hollinghurst about writing, his book-buying habits and reading his own reviews., Michelle Griffin has issued a passionate defence of 'dirty books' for teens as a way for them to develop fantasy lives free of the 'shackles of banal commercialised sexuality'. We look at her reasons., Men on Men, The Future of Sex, Intersex Bodies and the Society that Shapes Them, The Trans Body Politic, Queer Writing Unconference, Queering the Margins and Woolf & Wilde: A Queer PartyMore

**Sophie Cunningham** attended Portland's XOXO Festival around independent digital culture last weekend, and she's reported on it for us - and reflected on the way that so many of the burning issues of digital culture also resonate for her as a writer., Lisa Dempster, director of the Melbourne Writers Festival, responds to an attack on the economics and values of contemporary literary festivals. She argues that it is 'frankly, old fashioned' to suggest that festivals should only showcase 'high literary forms' and that mounting a festival is an expensive undertaking, with little room for profit., On Sunday, 15,000 kids (and their adults) packed the lawns of the State Library for our annual Children's Book Festival. Observing them was the Festival's artist in residence, Oslo Davis. Today, he shares his illustrations., Lisa Dempster is the new director of the Melbourne Writers Festival. She's currently in Bali, working on the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival, as part of an Asialink Residency. Find out what the residency entails and what it's like to work on an international writers festival in Bali., Lisa Dempster, outgoing director of the Emerging Writers Festival, has been appointed director of the Melbourne Writers Festival. We spoke to her this afternoon to congratulate her on the news, and to hear about her plans for the future., Continuing our recent focus on Melbourne's arts festivals, we interview Brett Sheehy, artistic director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, finding out from the source what it’s like to put the programme together, what the highlights are – and what we can expect from literary highlights like a maverick interpretation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando and a dance performance inspired by The Slap. and Stephanie Honor Convery is one of the Melbourne Writers Festival's official bloggers. In a special guest post for us in the lead-up to MWF 2012, she reflects on the relationship between readers and writers – and the way in which festivals create spaces for the two to meet.More

Kate Larsen of Writers Victoria talks to Guardian Australia commentator Van Badham about the 'age of the internet troll' - and gets her seasoned advice about how to fend them off., It seems increasingly likely that the government may have to intervene and write a code on internet piracy into copyright law, after talks to negotiate a voluntary agreement to tackle piracy have effectively fallen apart. But new research from Monash University suggests current laws don't work. What should we do, then?, When music fan, part-time writer and Brooklyn barista Chris Ruen got to know some of his indie rock star customers (from bands like Vampire Weekend and TV on the Radio), he was shocked to realise how hard they were working, and for how little money. Suddenly, he became uneasy about the orgy of free downloading that had become the norm for his generation - and began to question how music piracy has evolved, how it's affecting the music business, and what can be done about it., In the internet age, we're technically more connected than ever - but does the ease of connecting online make it harder to connect IRL (in real life)? How do we negotiate public and private space? What are teenagers doing online - and how can we make sure they're safe? Kirsten Krauth researched these issues for her first novel, just_a_girl., Anna Goldsworthy was at the Wheeler Centre last Friday, talking about her very timely Quarterly Essay on feminism. She talked to Sophie Black about Julia Gillard, what the internet means for women, and why the pressure on public women to speak for us all, instead of for themselves, is dangerous., Writer and digital native George Dunford shares some tips for what to do when the internet keeps luring you away from your work ... and jamming your thoughts with kooky videos and streams of tweets. and How should authors and publishers navigate the brave new world of spruiking books online? Should you dip your toe into every form of social media, or immerse yourself in one? How often should you use social media to sell and promote, and how often to chat and share news? We asked a selection of authors and publishers, including Ben Law, Monica Dux, Text Publishing and MUP. Here's what we found out.More

This year's Vogel winner, **Christine Piper**, reflects on the moment she learned that her book, *After Darkness*, had won - at five am in New York - and what the prize win means to her., Melbourne bookseller Readings has just announced two new annual book awards, worth $4000 each. The aim? To give more attention and support to new and emerging Australian writers. Introducing the Readings New Australian Writing Prize and the Readings Children's Book Prize., Joan Collins announced the winner of the annual Bad Sex in Fiction Prize in London today, presenting the award to American-based Manil Suri for his third novel, The City of Devi., Eleanor Catton won the Man Booker Prize, becoming the youngest ever author to do so, with the longest book. Dinosaur erotica ... yep, it's a thing. Bret Easton Ellis attacks Alice Munro as 'overrated'. Look at the world's best Lego art. And American Christian schools ban gay teens., This week, Amy Espeseth was longlisted for the prestigious Warwick Prize for Writing (UK) for her debut novel, Sufficient Grace. We spoke to her about writing to make sense of her world, why writing always seems impossible, and what she learned from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath., MIchelle de Kretser has won this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award for her fourth novel, Questions of Travel (Allen & Unwin). We look at the judges' verdict and some of the reviews. and The Women's Prize for Fiction has found a new sponsor - it no longer needs the Prince-like moniker of 'the prize formerly known as the Orange'. After more than 20 sponsors competed to take up the mantle, the board chose Baileys, who signed up for an initial three years.More

In the week after Gough Whitlam's death, **Peter Carey** spoke at length to **Michael Williams** about remembering the Dismissal, why he doesn't like the term 'conspiracy theory', and why America had an interest in the Whitlam government's demise - and might have been involved. , Iconic American newspaper The Washington Post has been sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million. ‘The internet is transforming almost every element of the news business,' Bezos says. His fortune is estimated to be able to sustain the operating losses of the Post and associated newspapers for more than 182 years. , Nate Silver is the most famous and sought-after statistician since the real-life Moneyball's Paul DePodesta. Silver's New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight is currently attracting 20% of the NYT's traffic. He predicts, based on his own model, a nine-in-ten chance of an Obama victory. His critics argue that gut-level instincts and expert observation are more accurate than pure numbers. Who's right? And what's at stake?, With the US presidential elections finally held next week, we thought we'd share five of the funniest, smartest or just plain most entertaining celebrity endorsements - from Lena Dunham, Chuck Norris, Joss Whedon, Meat Loaf and Samuel L. Jackson., In this week's Fifth Estate, our crack team of political watchers talked about the role of race in the election, the new American definition of middle class, the role of Hurricane Sandy, the Tea Party effect - and of course, who will win., As we gear up for the final showdown between presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, in the form of the final debate, you might like to distract yourself with this less conventional (spoof) version: an epic rap battle. and During this week's presidential debate, Mitt Romney answered an audience question about creating opportunities for women in an unfortunate way. He claimed to have approached women's groups to help him find qualified women to appoint to his cabinet. They brought him 'whole binders full of women', he said, sparking an internet meme. We share five of our favourites.More

See the stunning artwork for five great (imaginary) literary film sequels: *Labyrinth 2*, *Willy Wonka and the Great Glass Elevator*, *Fight Club 2*, *Blade Runner 2054* and *Sleepy Hollow 2*. , We speak to Kirsten Alexander, editor of digital-only magazine Open Field, an Australian project that attracts contributors from around the world (who donate their services for free) and donates all the proceeds to charity organisation CARE Australia., It's always fun to see old classics imagined anew for the 21st-century reader. Two UK design prizes, both hosted by Penguin, have just announced their shortlists for new covers for Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows - and the results are well worth a browse., Chicago designer Jenny Volvoski has set herself a fascinating new project - she designs her own covers for the books she reads. They're documented on her blog, From Cover to Cover., Monday mornings can be tough. If you're suffering Mondayitis and could use a little pick-me-up, take time out to browse these particularly good-looking book covers we've sourced from around the internet. Some are bizarre, some are clever, and some are just plain gorgeous. Enjoy!, A new book from Phaidon gathers 500 of the best graphic designs created since mechanical reproduction began. The images span magazine covers, advertising logos and images, film graphics, book covers and more. Here are just a few of the eye-catching selections within. and Looking for a literary rest-stop on today's tour of the internet? Sit back and have a browse at these weird and wonderful libraries from around the world, from the Michaelangelo-designed Laurentian Library, to a home bathroom library, to Diane Keaton's personal reading room.More

As traditional jobs like those in the manufacturing sector decline, new kinds of jobs are on the rise. We hear from **Matt Wicking**, greenie in residence at Arts House (and an experienced sustainability consultant) about what his job entails, what his pathway was, what jobs of the future might look like … and how industry and universities can help young people be ready for jobs that haven’t been created yet., This Wednesday 3 September is Indigenous Literacy Day, an annual initiative of the Australian book industry that raises funds to provide books and literacy resources to remote Indigenous communities across Australia, through the Indigenous Literacy Foundation., In this week's Friday High Five, it's about the music - with songs about books, songs as books, raps about literature and Jennifer Egan's great rock and roll pauses. Headphones recommended., Last month, the federal government announced a review of the just-completed national curriculum, with a view to correcting what it sees as a skew to the left. **Rachel Power**, a journalist with the Australian Education Union, gives her view on what the review will mean - and why she believes its focus on values is a diversion from Australia's real education problem: equity., We asked Year Eleven student Billie Tumarkin to explore what Anzac Day means to her generation. She dabbled in some amateur psychology with friends and reflected on Anzac Days past. What did she find? Mixed messages about the day’s meaning, history lessons that bored rather than enlightened (‘like chewy meat’) – and the idea that if we want young people to engage with the past, we need to bring it to life in more imaginative and resonant ways. ‘You have to give us more than poppies and cookies.’, Following Christopher Bantick's article arguing that Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera is inappropriate for 'kids' due to an incident of sex with a minor, the VCE board is reviewing whether it should remain on the Year 12 English syllabus. Year 11 student Billie Tumarkin argues in defence of the book. 'The ideas that have led to this show a deep misunderstanding not only of teenagers, but of literature,' she says. and The former editor (and founder) of The Lifted Brow has also written for The Believer, Lucky Peach, Meanjin, ABC Radio and beyond - and is currently undertaking a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship. He shares his Inbox Zero technique and his reasons for aspiring to be a 'brogrammer'. And he tells us why Alanis Morrissette and David Foster Wallace aren't so dissimilar.More

Children's and youth literature expert **Judith Ridge** has had enough of under-informed and 'insulting' critiques of children's and YA books. Responding to Helen Razer's recent controversial anti-YA argument in Crikey's *Daily Review*, she's come up with a list of top ten tips for writing about books for children and teenagers., In this edition of Working with Words, we spoke to author Kirsty Murray about the lives a book's characters take on, the value of critical reading for writers, and checking in with Balzac every decade or so., We speak to Rebecca Lim, author of *The Astrologer's Daughter*, about 'channeling voices' when you write, creating 'strong, quick-witted female protagonists who aren’t necessarily nice, likeable, tractable or pretty', and why her best writing advice comes from Kate Bush., **Justine Larbalestier** is sick of reading reviews that assess books based on the 'likeability' of their characters. As someone who enjoys reading books about vile people she wouldn't actually want to spend time with in real life, she explains why 'likeability' is not a requirement for good fiction. , **Ambelin Kwaymullina** is an Aboriginal writer and illustrator; she has published both picture books and a YA dystopian series, The Tribe. In this engrossing essay, which doubles as a call to arms, she describes what it's like to be an Indigenous writer, the importance of 'laughter-stories' even (or especially) about terrible things, and why writing for young people demands an 'impossibly high' standard., We talk to YA crime thriller writer Ellie Marney about bringing her daydreams to life on the page, why being a writer is a bit like being a stand-up comedian or a tightrope-walker, and the value of Bum Glue. and Sam Twyford Moore defends the dole, and the safety net it provides young people as they dare to fail on their way to success. How John Green went from internet famous to just plain famous. Wes Anderson speaks to Stefan Zweig's biographer about how Zweig inspired The Grand Budapest Hotel. Happy tenth birthday Mean Girls. And A.M. Homes on motherhood.More

**Peter Carey** speaks to **Michael Williams** about his new novel *Amnesia*, his school days at Geelong Grammar and Monash, the Australian character, and how he used Julian Assange as a springboard for creating his activist hacker, Gaby Baillieux., The finalists for the Walkley Awards for Excellent in Journalism have been announced. Gary Shteyngart's *Little Failure* book your diary. An autistic boy becomes BFFs with Siri. Trolls, stalkers and authors versus readers online. And why women with ADHD are massively underdiagnosed., When **Annabel Smith** embarked on creating her interactive digital ebook *The Ark*, she realised how wedded we still are to the old-fashioned p-book ... and the obstacles (in terms of technology, distribution platforms and publisher attitudes) that lie in the way of writers wanting to harness the possibilities of interactive digital media to tell their stories., **Sophie Cunningham** attended Portland's XOXO Festival around independent digital culture last weekend, and she's reported on it for us - and reflected on the way that so many of the burning issues of digital culture also resonate for her as a writer., A favourite headline, in the 'quality' press and tabloids alike, concerns the evils of young people, technology and sex. With the easy availability of porn on the internet and the ability to share nude images with a swipe of the smartphone, new generations of young people are said to be exposed to sex too early and in too much detail. But **Sam George Allen**, an almost-digital-native and editor of *Scum*, believes that sex and the internet are a great combination for her generation. She defends - and celebrates - writing sex online., **Zoe Dattner** launched her own small publishing company, with Louise Swinn, 11 years ago. In her role at the Small Press Network, she was involved in small publishers partnering with digital reading platform Booki.sh and independent bookstores to provide a viable local e-reading alternative. And during the digital age, she's watched a lot of start-ups finish (including Booki.sh). She tells why the Australian book industry needs to invest in the digital technologies of our own sector … and why sometimes it sucks to be a pioneer. and Earlier this week, in a Digital Writers Festival Event, Sophie Cunningham spoke to four of the shortlisted writers of The Stella Prize about their work, the prize and raising the profile of women's writing. Here are some highlights.More

**S.A. Jones** ignored her creative writing teacher's advice to never write about mental illness in a novel ... but has spent a lot of time wrestling with the question of whether mental illness and the novel can do each other justice. And how do you write about a form of mental illness that defies the beginning, middle and end that the novel demands?, **Jo Case**, author of *Boomer and Me: A Memoir of Motherhood and Asperger's*, reflects on Jerry Seinfeld's 'coming out' as as being on the autism spectrum this week - and the conflicting responses from the autism community, which range from outrage to gratitude, The finalists for the Walkley Awards for Excellent in Journalism have been announced. Gary Shteyngart's *Little Failure* book your diary. An autistic boy becomes BFFs with Siri. Trolls, stalkers and authors versus readers online. And why women with ADHD are massively underdiagnosed., A peek at the HBO miniseries of *Olive Kitteridge*. The scientist who discovered Ebola tells his story. *Gone Girl*: book versus film. Why the mental health of astronauts matters. And inside the brain of a neuroscientist who accidentally discovered he's a clinical psychopath. , After a week in which too many good people died, **Bronwyn Meyrick** reflects on death, drawing on some very different books that debate the existence (and dubious comfort) of an afterlife, blending neuroscience and experience., **Adam Alter**, professor of marketing and psychology at NYU, reveals the world is full of such hidden forces that shape our every thought, feeling and behaviour, without us ever realising. Understanding these cues, Alter argues, is key to smarter decision-making, more effective marketing, and better outcomes for ourselves and society. and We speak to Adam Alter, author of *Drunk Tank Pink: The Subconscious Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel and Behave*, about loving academia, why it's powerful to get feedback from children on your work, and his advice for aspiring writers: write a letter or an email to 20 of your favourite writers, explaining your aspirations and asking for advice.More

2014 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow **Christa Jonathan**'s *The Long Way Home* is a short-story cycle with illustrations that will be published as a series of themed zines. The work will be primarily based on travel writing and her experience growing up as Chinese-Indonesian and living in Melbourne., During her time as a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, **Rebecca Harkins-Cross** worked on a cultural history of Australian cinema, looking at the unifying motif of terror in Australian cinema and how this fits into our larger national mythology. In this extract, she considers *Picnic at Hanging Rock*., Our third and final group of Hot Desk Fellows for 2014 begin their work at the Wheeler Centre today. As is customary, we've invited each of our six talented writers - Susie Anderson, Louis Bravos, Eli Glasman, André Dao, Emily Stewart and Claire Rosslyn Wilson - to share an introduction to the projects they'll be spending their time on., During her Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, **Bernadette Hince** worked on *The Grand Polar Dictionary*. Her project is an attempt to document the culture and practices of Arctic life, past and present, through its language – some of which is now fading or extinct. Today, we take a glimpse at her work in progress., **Aurelia Guo**'s *The Weather Report* is a performance poetry series of found and self-authored fragments, taken from the internet, daily life and social interactions. Here are two of the poems she worked on during her time as a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow., **Laura Woollett** is working on a proposed collection of short stories, *The Love of a Bad Man*, spotlighting the women who have stood by some of history’s most sinister men. Whether mistresses, accomplices, or victims themselves, these women have something in common: they have all felt the allure of evil. This is one of her stories, 'Eva'. and **Sebastian Fowler**'s *Bat the Raven* is an all-ages graphic novel about an unusual little raven named Bat Ravensson, who stands out from his siblings because of his sticky-uppy head feathers, which make him look a bit like a bat, and has a rough time at school. We share a selection of his work-in-progress.More

We asked **Cate Kennedy**, editor of *Australian Love Stories*, to share what makes a particularly Australian love story – and whether there were any common themes or subjects that stood out when she was going through submissions for the anthology. She also reflects on what makes a good love story – and why love is great material for dramatic storytelling., We speak to freelance writer and editor Tim Coronel, editor of *MetroWest* magazine, about about 'real real' deadlines, chasing payment as a freelancer and sharing his name with a Dutch racing-car driver., We talk to Melissa Cranenburgh, associate editor of *The Big Issue* Australia about the pleasures of editing, hanging out with *Big Issue* vendors and why writers should grab opportunities to hone their craft wherever they can., We chat with André Dao, fiction writer and editor-in-chief of *Right Now*, a human rights and media organisation, about why editing is like 'getting to be the perfect reader', why all writers are pretty insecure at heart (and how a grant helps soothe the insecurity), and why it’s a danger to think, ‘I want to be a writer’ and only then look for something to say., Geordie Williamson has just been appointed the new fiction editor of *Island* magazine. We spoke to him about his new appointment, his background as an editor for Duffy & Snellgrove, what he looks for in a story, and his approach to editing fiction … plus, tips for writers who might like to submit!, Dion Kagan is an early career academic and arts writer who works on film, theatre, sex and popular culture. He spoke to us about why he loves sending and getting emails, why it's important to 'keep your patience' when writing, and how he would transform Isabel Archer's life if he was her Sassy Gay Best Friend. and Research suggests literary fiction teaches empathy. What's it like to edit Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro? Bronte Coates, of Stilts, on why literary journals exist. Buzz Aldrin reviews Gravity. And how true are Malcolm Gladwell's universal truths?More

A favourite headline, in the 'quality' press and tabloids alike, concerns the evils of young people, technology and sex. With the easy availability of porn on the internet and the ability to share nude images with a swipe of the smartphone, new generations of young people are said to be exposed to sex too early and in too much detail. But **Sam George Allen**, an almost-digital-native and editor of *Scum*, believes that sex and the internet are a great combination for her generation. She defends - and celebrates - writing sex online., There are things you can do with radio that you could never do in music or writing alone. #discuss In the spirit of this week's #discuss campaign, we've asked three radio practitioners to tell us what radio has to offer over other forms of creative expression., Earlier this week, in a Digital Writers Festival Event, Sophie Cunningham spoke to four of the shortlisted writers of The Stella Prize about their work, the prize and raising the profile of women's writing. Here are some highlights., Phoebe Tay introduces us to the world of Deaf writers, their unique challenges and perspectives, and what Deaf and hearing writers have to offer each other. , Kelly-Lee Hickey has often felt insecure about her status as a regional writer, faced with urban-centric assumptions that the quality of regional work is less than that in Melbourne or Sydney. For her, success has meant taking advantage of opportunities to network with like-minded writers from around Australia (both on social media and in real life) - and, most importantly, being herself., We chat to Sam Twyford Moore, director of the Emerging Writers Festival, about the importance of mentors, how he misses having to fight for someone to hear you, and why he believes you should write to engage and defy., Graeme Simsion made headlines when his romantic comedy with a difference, The Rosie Project, was sold into over 30 countries for over a milliion dollars after winning the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished manuscript - and being snatched up by Text Publishing. We spoke to Graeme about the book's journey to publication, the evolution of Don Tillman's voice, the laws of comedy (and screenwriting), and writing a character who seems to have Asperger's Syndrome. and Queer Writing UnconferenceMore

A packed crowd gathered at the Wheeler Centre last night to listen to a charged meeting of minds – Helen Garner, Australia’s foremost writer of social reportage and Anna Krien, who seems to be her heir apparent. They were discussing Anna Krien’s new book, Night Games, on football culture and murky attitudes to women in this world of men, framed by a rape trial that posed its own questions about sex, power and the potential ‘grey area’ between rape and consent., Gideon Haigh has been a journalist for over 30 years and has been described as 'the greatest cricket writer alive'. His latest book, On Warne, looks at the career of one of Australia's most beloved sporting figures. We spoke to Gideon about being called vindictive by Barry Humphries, why journalism can't be taught and listening to Tristam Shandy. , In this week's Friday High Five, we share a Lego stop-motion animation of The Wire, the Bill Murray colouring-in book, 50 Shades of Parody (aka taking the mickey out of THAT book), one woman's attempt to knit the Olympics, some Caitlin Moran goodness., Despite the stereotypes about the arts and sports as fiercely warring tribes, there's a vast meeting ground in the middle. We draw on the wisdom of writers who love sports and the arts: Gideon Haigh, Malcolm Knox & William McInnes., The winner of the AFL's short story competition published in the 'Record'., "One hundred and fifty-seven departed, sixty return!", Stage one of the Tour de France, 1924 and The Show of the YearMore

While poring over cycling journals from the 1880s and 1890s, author **Greg Foyster** stumbled across some enlightening historical anecdotes about our city’s first ‘wheelmen’ and ‘wheelwomen’. Here, he shares how our cycling history should make us view the bicycle in a new light., **Tony Birch** walks along the Yarra River, from Kew, after stopping in at Kew Cemetry, where his childhood friend Steven - who will be his companion on the walk - is buried. He reflects on the river's importance to the Wurundjeri people, and to him personally, as he goes., **Fatima Measham** was awarded one of last year's Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships to work on an essay in defence of her suburb, Werribee. She gives the history of the Western Treatment Plant (second only to Kakadu as one of the most biodiverse areas in Australia, and a mecca for birdwatchers - including Jonathan Franzen when he visited Melbourne in 2011) and explains the dangers of 'postcode superiority'., Pepi Ronalds takes us on a tour of Melbourne's locally-made comic book scene - up alleyways, behind hidden doors and down in the tunnels below Flinders Street Station. And she shares some of her her finds with us., On Sunday, 15,000 kids (and their adults) packed the lawns of the State Library for our annual Children's Book Festival. Observing them was the Festival's artist in residence, Oslo Davis. Today, he shares his illustrations., How do we plan for a Melbourne that seems likely to be four degrees warmer by 2080? Unfortunately, Victoria - along with Brisbane and New South Wales - has weakened controls on planning for climate change, even in the face of recent fires and floods. 'If we don't prepare well, people will die,' writes Michael Green in this sobering report. 'At the moment, we are not planning well.' and Photographer Tony O'Loughlin was at the opening of the new Williamstown Library in Melbourne's inner Western suburbs. Here's what he found.More

Sydney poet **Brook Emery**, whose first three books of poetry were published by Five Islands Press, sat down to interview poet and former publisher Ron Pretty (founder of Five Mile Press) about his publishing and poetry careers - and his ideas on what makes a good poem, the place of poetry in Australian culture, and the pleasures and frustrations of poetry publishing., **David Donaldson** traces the rise of the author's identity in publishing, looking at the place of anonymity in literature, from Homer and Austen to J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith and political novels like *Primary Colors*, **Justine Larbalestier** is sick of reading reviews that assess books based on the 'likeability' of their characters. As someone who enjoys reading books about vile people she wouldn't actually want to spend time with in real life, she explains why 'likeability' is not a requirement for good fiction. , **Kate Larsen** reflects on the pleasures of rereading, especially during tough times, when literary favourites offer the comfort of time spent with dear old friends ... and a safe space to escape to., Sally Rippin's series for primary school age children, *Billie B. Brown* and *Hey Jack!*, are bestsellers with young readers of all reading levels. So she's well equipped to give advice on helping instil a love of reading in reluctant readers. Here are some of her tips - and her story on the genesis of Billie and Jack., Shakira Hussein reflects on a Queensland childhood frozen in time across several generations, under the era of Joh Bjelke-Petersen - so that David Malouf's reflections of his childhood in the 1930s and 40s evokes memories of her own in the 1970s and 80s. and Children's book expert **Judith Ridge** reflects on the characters who nurtured her childhood love of reading - and passionately argues that we need to recognise, reward and nurture great children's writing, as separate from great writing for young adults.More

Last month, we published an article on anonymous reviewing, in the context of the new *Saturday Paper*'s embrace of the format. Soon after, we were approached by a *Saturday Paper* reviewer offering to give an alternative view. The Wheeler Centre's Jo Case spoke to the reviewer about the 'creative potential' of anonymous reviewing as a form (and the wider possibilities of doing criticism differently), the need to give a new space for literary coverage a chance, and a look at the *Saturday Paper* so far., **Paul Donoghue** interviews bestselling philosophy advocate Alain de Botton on *The News*, his philosopher's look at the newspaper stories that so many of us read, but so few of us really study ... or question. Why we are so interested in stories about crime, celebrity and the like? What does it say about us, and how can we read the newspapers better?, Tim Dunlop, author of The New Front Page: New Media and the Rise of the Audience, argues we need to stop talking about new media versus old media and instead look at ways for them to work together in service of the citizens they purport to serve., We speak to former journalist Rachel Buchanan, author of Stop Press, about the benefits of a tough edit, sharing a meal (and getting feedback on her first book) with the Samoan head of state, and why she has thought of retraining as a paramedic or palliative care nurse., Iconic American newspaper The Washington Post has been sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million. ‘The internet is transforming almost every element of the news business,' Bezos says. His fortune is estimated to be able to sustain the operating losses of the Post and associated newspapers for more than 182 years. , It's nice to begin 2013 with some good news about jobs for journalists - the Guardian has confirmed it will launch an Australian edition, and will be hiring a small local team. and Ita Buttrose is once again a household name, thanks to the success of the ABC biopic Paper Giants. Her newly refreshed profile combines with an interest in the heyday of old media - a perfect time for her to have released a revised and updated version of her autobiography. She spoke candidly to Jon Faine today.More

Hear from **Julia Gillard** on on Kevin Rudd and the leadership, in an edited extract from our event with **Kate Langbroek** last week. Gillard talks about Rudd's strengths and weaknesses as a leader, the lessons for modern leadership in general, and how you 'never get to run the control test' in politics., **Julia Gillard** reflects on the 'curious question of gender', how that affected her performance (and experience) as prime minister - and the lessons her experience might hold for how we treat and respond to female leaders in the future. This is an edited extract from her conversation with **Kate Langbroek** at the Regent Theatre in our event last week., Why did Julia Gillard and Anne Summers pack out the Melbourne Town Hall last night? What did audience members think of the event - and Gillard as prime minister? We were in the Town Hall lobby after the event, finding out the answers., Julia Gillard has broken her silence on her loss of leadership and Labor's future in an essay in Saturday's Guardian. She argues that Labor needs to reclaim its purpose, and calls for the party to stand firm on carbon pricing, defend the legacy of her government's achievements, and to reclaim its purpose - and bring policy debate into the public arena., Anna Goldsworthy was at the Wheeler Centre last Friday, talking about her very timely Quarterly Essay on feminism. She talked to Sophie Black about Julia Gillard, what the internet means for women, and why the pressure on public women to speak for us all, instead of for themselves, is dangerous., This morning, we have woken to a new prime minister - again. Julia Gillard has announced she will resign from politics after Kevin Rudd won last night's leadership ballot. What does this mean for the coming election - and the future of Labor? We try to piece together what happened, and share some of the savviest political articles published in the last 24 hours. and We look at the aftermath of an extraordinary week in politics, talking to Ben Eltham, national affairs correspondent of New Matilda, Stephanie Convery of Overland, feminist writer Alison Croggon and philosopher Damon Young - and drawing on the week's news coverage.More

We speak to **Melissa Lucashenko**, winner of the 2014 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing for *Mullumbimby*, about her first poem, influenced by Alan Marshall, the joy of not having to sit in a revolting office, the personality type that makes an artist, and how Keri Hulme's *Bone People* showed her that 'lives like the ones I knew belonged in literary fiction'., This Wednesday 3 September is Indigenous Literacy Day, an annual initiative of the Australian book industry that raises funds to provide books and literacy resources to remote Indigenous communities across Australia, through the Indigenous Literacy Foundation., We speak to crime writer, reviewer and lover of all things noir **Andrew Nette** about being paid for your literary labour, why the best advice for writers is to *just get your first draft done*, and why being a writer comes from deep down within a person - and you either have the hunger to do it, or you don't., We spoke to Maxine Beneba Clarke about being a political writer, her increasing loss of anonymity, why moments of connection are more significant than seeing her book in store windows, and why she's never bought a book on Amazon., We speak to Emily Bitto, author of *The Strays*, about her love of *Peter Pan*, the self-loathing that comes when you haven't produced anything tangible after a bout of writing, and why a literature degree is just as good an education for a writer as a creative writing degree., In the lead-up to next Tuesday’s announcement of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama, we share our reviewers' responses to the shortlisted titles. Read reviews by Chris Boyd, Stephanie Convery and Thuy On. and In the lead-up to next Tuesday’s announcement of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults, we share our reviewers' responses to the shortlisted titles. Read reviews by Billie Tumarkin, Penni Russon and Thuy On.More

**Sam Vincent** takes an objective look at both sides of the whale wars - and at what humans, especially Australians, have invested in saving whales. He also traces our historical involvement with the whaling industry, which preceded 'the sheep's back' as the primary driver of our postcolonial economy., Beyoncé in Brunswick is now a Tumblr. Japan's young people are falling prey to 'celibacy syndrome'. Noel Gallagher says there's no point reading fiction, because it's not true. David Sedaris pays tribute to his dead sister, who didn't want to be written about, in writing. And why do people look like their dogs?, Last year, the Wheeler Centre offered a suite of creative fellowships at Melbourne Zoo to four very different writers: novelist, poet and short-story writer Cate Kennedy, blogger and critic Estelle Tang, children's author/illustrator Sally Rippin and cartoonist Judy Horacek. We're now publishing their responses on a dedicated section of our website. , In this week's Friday High Five, we look at the iPad generation, some covers of classic books so bad they're good, Lena Dunham's doggie loves, and how one writer tricked the New Yorker into rejecting itself. And there's the inaugural shortlist of The Stella Prize!, Can animals look like Homeland characters? Weirdly, yes. Is Orwell overrated? Steven Poole thinks so. Who really, really hates the Peter Jackson Tolkien movies? Christopher Tolkein. Where is printed book piracy thriving? Mumbai is one place. And how do you get the body you always wanted? The Hairpin advises you bring a shovel. The Friday High Five answers all your questions – via the internet, of course., Tim Flannery spoke to a passionate crowd at the Wheeler Centre last night about the crisis in biodiversity. He was urgent about the need for immediate, informed and ‘businesslike’ action on the issue of halting animal extinctions. ‘We should have a national policy that no species should go extinct. That’s not too difficult or expensive to do.’ and This week's Friday High Five is animal-themed. We include the amazing story of Hitchcock heroine Tippi Hedren and her pet lions (with jaw-dropping photos), a video look at the 50 plus cats roaming Hemingway's former home (he kept that many when he lived there), the true story of the woman raised by capuchin monkeys, and writing on animals by Delia Falconer and Helen Garner.More

Indira Naidoo calls for a new conversation about refugees in Australia – one based on compassion, empathy and ethics, rather than fear. She speaks from experience, and looks at the politics and history of our current hardline (and hard-hearted) stance, and its roots in the original mass boat arrivals to Australia: The First Fleet., From October 2012 to June 2013, **Mark Isaacs** worked for the Salvation Army performing support work and humanitarian aid for asylum seekers in the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. After resigning from his role in Nauru, he spoke out publicly against Australia’s offshore detention policy, and wrote about his experiences in *The Undesirables: Inside Nauru*., **Paul Mitchell** wonders why we habitually ignore the second verse of our national anthem ... the one that promises to share our boundless plains with those who come across the seas. Maybe it's because we don't want to share these days? He calls for those of us who don't paint our faces with the Southern Cross to sing the whole song ... or refuse to sing it at all., Andrew Wilkins frequently travels to PNG for business, and produces an annual business and investment guide to the country. We asked for his insight into why PNG – a developing country – might have signed up to Kevin Rudd's outsourcing of asylum seekers. He says that for PNG PM Peter O'Neill, the agreement may be 'a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to lift its country out of extreme poverty'., Whether it’s our treatment of asylum seekers or the current debate around free speech, we seem to be confused -about the notion of free rights for all. Australians care about human rights, but we're also dangerously complacent about the lack of protections that exist - and conflicted on the question of who deserves human rights protection. Looking back into our rights history to examine today’s issues, Hugh de Kretser outlines a vision for stronger, universal protection of rights in Australia. and What would happen if Raymond Carver wrote an internet dating profile - edited by Gordon Lish? How on earth are Coke and Pepsi claiming to have created healthy soft drinks? What does a real-life invisibility cloak look like, and how does it work? And who is in the running for the Bad Sex Awards 2012? These are some of the questions we'll answer in this week's Friday High Five.More

We hear from **Charles Brass**, chair of the Futures Foundation, about the future of jobs - and work - in Australia, in the age of the 'electronic revolution'. He says that responsibility for creating work and staying employed has shifted from the employer to the individual - and this affects the way we think about jobs and careers., We speak to writer, sex worker and Hot Desk Fellow Dan Bledwich about the instability of both his careers (writing and sex work), being (badly) advised by a friend not to write anything queer or explicit, and why it's immensely helpful for new and emerging writers to keep track of what they've accomplished., **Meg Mundell** tells how a weekend job as a fairy for hire gave her some valuable lessons for her writing career ... despite (or because of) working hungover, forgetting her wings and annoying parents by hyping up her small charges., What happens when we outsource our personal lives to paid workers? Can money buy love? And where do we draw the line between what we pay for, and what is too intimate to ask others to do? Arlie Hochschild has made these questions her life's work., In her controversial bestseller The End of Men, Hanna Rosin looks at the rise of women in education, work, and as household breadwinners - and asks whether our world now puts men at a disadvantage. But is the rise of the 'double shift' - women who are both breadwinners and household managers - progress? Is it equality? and Greg Foyster attended a Workaholics Anonymous meeting as part of the research for his book, [Changing Gears](http://www.affirmpress.com.au/changing-gears), which explores various ways of living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. There, the former adman turned freelance writer discovered more home truths than he expectedMore

We speak to Sarah Holland-Batt, new poetry editor of *Island*, about writing terrible poetry in high school (we've all been there, right?), why the freedom of thought universities represent is more important than ever in Australia right now, and the sense of discovery and novelty she feels about her new job at *Island*., Novelist **Charlotte Wood** started her own subscription-only digital literary magazine, The Writer's Room Interviews, last year. She reflects on what she's learned - and what she's gained - from the experience., James Tierney responds to Robyn Annear's Monthly review of ten Australian literary magazines, weighing the evidence she gathers to support her view that these 'oddball miscellanies' mainly exist to grant publication to emerging writers - and opening out into a wider conversation about what a good review (with well-supported arguments) can do., Shauna Bostock-Smith reflects on her family's past, and the way personal stories are shaped and interpreted - and the importance of acknowledging both the bad and the good in Aboriginal history. She asks: How can ancestral knowledge empower us in the present? And what are dangers do victimhood pose to collective Aboriginal self-esteem?, Matthew Lamb, the new editor of Island magazine, is also the editor and co-founder of the digital short-story publication Review of Australian Fiction. We spoke to him about the changes afoot at Island, his approach to editing a publication, the fact that submissions to literary magazines far outweigh subscribers ... and the fact that there's a lot of boring writing out there in Australia, Novelist Charlotte Wood launched a new publication this week, The Writer's Room Interviews, taking its inspiration from the famed Paris Review interviews with writers, by writers. We spoke to Charlotte about the hopes, goals and driving force behind it. and Pip Smith is currently the poet-in-residence at The Lifted Brow, where she publishes a poem a day this summer. We spoke to her about battling self doubt, being inspired by Shakespeare (especially Hamlet), and why the idea of turning your writing into a small business makes her vomit.More

When former independent MP Rob Oakeshott spoke at Epic Fail recently, he shared what his time in federal parliament taught him about power, money, the influence of corporate interests and the benefit of hindsight., **Zoe Dattner** launched her own small publishing company, with Louise Swinn, 11 years ago. In her role at the Small Press Network, she was involved in small publishers partnering with digital reading platform Booki.sh and independent bookstores to provide a viable local e-reading alternative. And during the digital age, she's watched a lot of start-ups finish (including Booki.sh). She tells why the Australian book industry needs to invest in the digital technologies of our own sector … and why sometimes it sucks to be a pioneer., Iconic American newspaper The Washington Post has been sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million. ‘The internet is transforming almost every element of the news business,' Bezos says. His fortune is estimated to be able to sustain the operating losses of the Post and associated newspapers for more than 182 years. , Andrew Wilkins frequently travels to PNG for business, and produces an annual business and investment guide to the country. We asked for his insight into why PNG – a developing country – might have signed up to Kevin Rudd's outsourcing of asylum seekers. He says that for PNG PM Peter O'Neill, the agreement may be 'a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to lift its country out of extreme poverty'. and Footage of women banging on the glass ceiling - metaphorically speakingMore

How do we plan for a Melbourne that seems likely to be four degrees warmer by 2080? Unfortunately, Victoria - along with Brisbane and New South Wales - has weakened controls on planning for climate change, even in the face of recent fires and floods. 'If we don't prepare well, people will die,' writes Michael Green in this sobering report. 'At the moment, we are not planning well.', Michael Green reports on the investigation into the death of a young Ethiopian man whose body was retrieved from the Maribyrnong River a year and a half ago, just over a day after being released from police custody. Though the assistant police commissioner and the homicide squad had declared the investigation 'very thorough' and 'first class' at the time, last week it was revealed it as woefully inadequate, at best., Alan Attwood has been editor of the Big Issue since 2006, and has had a long and varied career in journalism. We spoke to him about refusing to look at spreadsheets, the life of books, why your editor is NOT your enemy ... and his desire to dine with a woman from a Harold Robbins novel. and Two years ago, Michael Green began researching a story about homelessness for the Big Issue. He followed the fortunes of two people: Albert, who had been homeless most of his life; and Dee, who was on the brink of it, for the first time. He and Dee are still in contact. 'After the article was published, something extraordinary happened that involved us both, and a man named Rob, from Sydney, who happened to buy a copy of that edition.'More

2014 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow **Christa Jonathan**'s *The Long Way Home* is a short-story cycle with illustrations that will be published as a series of themed zines. The work will be primarily based on travel writing and her experience growing up as Chinese-Indonesian and living in Melbourne., Today, we're pleased to give you Children's Book Festival 2014 artist in residence Nicki Greenberg's sketches from the festival this past Sunday., **Pepi Ronalds** talks to Melbourne comic artist Sam Wallman on the eve of the launch of his new anthology of Australian history comics, *Fluid Prejudice*. Sam's online graphic novel, Serco Story, was recently published by the *Global Mail*., Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer prize-winning godfather of comics, gave a guided tour of the evolution of comics as an art form at Melbourne Town Hall last week. **Pepi Ronalds** was there, and reports back on the highlights of the evening., We share a sneak preview of the illustrated edition of Junot Diaz's This is How You Lose Her. Plus: our exclusive video of Diaz on the 'cruel distraction' of Australia's migration policy., Pepi Ronalds talks to graphic artist Bruce Mutard about the art of comics - and why it's his chosen medium. They talk combining words and images, rewriting and adaptation, and why comics gives readers more control over the storytelling experience than that other visual medium, film. and Karen Pickering demolishes 'Love Actually', the celebrity-packed Christmas film that spawned the awful holiday-ensemble genre. We share some arguments in the 'writing for free' debate. See the original storyboards for classic films, from 'Sound of Music' to 'Spartacus'. And watch NASA explain why the Mayan prophecy won't come true - and the largest iceberg calving ever filmed. More

What's it like to develop a big, one-off literary event, from scratch? What are the challenges and rewards of the process? And how exactly do you put on a literary pub crawl, with trams (and non-drinking elements), as part of a statewide literary festival? We talk to Vikki Woods, organiser of Lit Hop., Lisa Dempster, director of the Melbourne Writers Festival, responds to an attack on the economics and values of contemporary literary festivals. She argues that it is 'frankly, old fashioned' to suggest that festivals should only showcase 'high literary forms' and that mounting a festival is an expensive undertaking, with little room for profit., We share a sneak preview of the illustrated edition of Junot Diaz's This is How You Lose Her. Plus: our exclusive video of Diaz on the 'cruel distraction' of Australia's migration policy., Pepi Ronalds talks to graphic artist Bruce Mutard about the art of comics - and why it's his chosen medium. They talk combining words and images, rewriting and adaptation, and why comics gives readers more control over the storytelling experience than that other visual medium, film., Phoebe Tay introduces us to the world of Deaf writers, their unique challenges and perspectives, and what Deaf and hearing writers have to offer each other. , J.K. Rowling has been revealed as the secret author of a crime novel by 'Robert Galbraith'. What does this experiment - and the stratospheric boost in sales following her outing - show about contemporary publishing? Invisible, shark-repelling wetsuits have been invented and trialled in WA. The Melbourne Writers Festival programme for 2013 was launched today. And McDonalds have inadvertently illustrated how impossible it is to live on minimum wage in the US. and Lisa Dempster, outgoing director of the Emerging Writers Festival, has been appointed director of the Melbourne Writers Festival. We spoke to her this afternoon to congratulate her on the news, and to hear about her plans for the future.More

Anthony Morris explains why The Wire is the best television drama ever made - despite (or because of) breaking every convention about the crime genre and small-screen storytelling. There is no lead on The Wire: it's an ensemble show, and its central character is Baltimore itself; its central subject how the system is broken, across the police, the world of work, politics, schools and the media., What happens when we outsource our personal lives to paid workers? Can money buy love? And where do we draw the line between what we pay for, and what is too intimate to ask others to do? Arlie Hochschild has made these questions her life's work., In her controversial bestseller The End of Men, Hanna Rosin looks at the rise of women in education, work, and as household breadwinners - and asks whether our world now puts men at a disadvantage. But is the rise of the 'double shift' - women who are both breadwinners and household managers - progress? Is it equality? , America's favourite advice columnist, Dan Savage, explains why sometimes, cheating isn’t just okay, it’s ‘absolutely, positively, and without question the right thing to do’. and Anthony Morris argues that an unlikely influence planted a vital seed for the golden age of television drama. A drama that was weird, violent, distinctively atmospheric and very much the work of one auteur-like creator; one with long-form narrative arcs and an overarching mystery. He looks back at David Lynch's Twin Peaks, and traces its lineage to the Sopranos, Mad Men and more.More

Crime writer **Andrew Nette** looks at the evolution of the true crime genre in Australia, from literary approaches by Helen Garner and Anna Krien, and serious works of journalism by Robin De Crespigny and Matthew Condon, to 'hit and run' books. What can a good true crime book explore, beyond the crime? And why is the genre suddenly so popular?, A packed crowd gathered at the Wheeler Centre last night to listen to a charged meeting of minds – Helen Garner, Australia’s foremost writer of social reportage and Anna Krien, who seems to be her heir apparent. They were discussing Anna Krien’s new book, Night Games, on football culture and murky attitudes to women in this world of men, framed by a rape trial that posed its own questions about sex, power and the potential ‘grey area’ between rape and consent., The first ever Stella Prize for a work by an Australian woman writer was awarded last night, to Carrie Tiffany for her novel Mateship with Birds. We report on her generous and surprising give-away of some of the prize money, Helen Garner's smash-hit speech, and Tiffany's reaction to winning - and words on why we need the Stella Prize., A packed (and somewhat awed) crowd gathered at RMIT’s Storey Hall last week to hear Helen Garner deliver the keynote address of the NonFictioNow conference. She spoke generously about her struggles with her book-in-progress, the patience required to find the shape of a book, the ethics and erotics of interviewing, and the towering influence of Janet Malcolm on her work., The Stella Prize, Australia's first major prize for women's writing (fiction or non-fiction), will be launched in 2013. The prize will be $50,000 and the judging panel will be critic Kerryn Goldsworthy, writer Kate Grenville, actor Claudia Karvan and the ABC's Rafael Epstein. and Helen Garner & Elena Kats-CherninMore

When Marcus Westbury launched a Pozible campaign to crowdfund his book Creating Cities, he hoped he might raise $10,000 within 60 days. He reached his goal within 24 hours. At the end of the 60 days, he'd raised over $40,000 - and pre-sold around 900 books. We talked to Marcus about how his campaign worked, why he decided to crowdfund his book, and the possibilities the model might hold for other writers - particularly those with established communities around their work, or niche audiences that don't fit the bookshop distribution model., Caroline Jumpertz, Neighborhood Life & Features Editor for DNAinfo.com, a hyperlocal news website in New York City, talks about what hyperlocal means, why hyperlocal reporting is working in a city of nine million people, and how it could work in Australia, too., Feminist commentator Karen Pickering may seem an unlikely advocate for the CWA: young, urban and more concerned with social justice than mastering scones. But in her spirited and surprising Lunchbox/Soapbox last week, she convincingly argued why the CWA is a varied and valuable organisation - with a significant investment in the wider community, and improving the lot of women, in Australia and overseas. and Two years ago, Michael Green began researching a story about homelessness for the Big Issue. He followed the fortunes of two people: Albert, who had been homeless most of his life; and Dee, who was on the brink of it, for the first time. He and Dee are still in contact. 'After the article was published, something extraordinary happened that involved us both, and a man named Rob, from Sydney, who happened to buy a copy of that edition.'More

Why the US government has published a guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse. Matthew Weiner on the art of screenwriting (and John Cheever's influence on *Mad Men*). What a librarian looks like. And Dave Eggers' 1996 review of *Infinite Jest* (an interesting contrast with his 2006 foreword to the tenth anniversary edition)., Libraries are 'a vital hub for new migrants, students, job searchers and pensioners who would otherwise not have access to books, computers, the Internet and a printer'. We share Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow Fatima Measham's argument for libraries (in the *Guardian*) and some celebratory images of diverse libraries around America, from a new book., Libraries have changed beyond recognition in recent decades - they're no longer just places to borrow books. And in San Antonio, Texas, America's first bookless (digital-only) library has been launched, to resounding success. Here's the lowdown., In the lead-up to Melbourne Rare Book Week, Justine Hyde looks at the underground trade in rare books, investigating book crimes of the past and present., Photographer Tony O'Loughlin was at the opening of the new Williamstown Library in Melbourne's inner Western suburbs. Here's what he found., Looking for a literary rest-stop on today's tour of the internet? Sit back and have a browse at these weird and wonderful libraries from around the world, from the Michaelangelo-designed Laurentian Library, to a home bathroom library, to Diane Keaton's personal reading room. and We revisit yesterday's Children's Book Festival, with photos from the event plus reactions from the blogosphere.More

Melbourne bookseller Readings has just announced two new annual book awards, worth $4000 each. The aim? To give more attention and support to new and emerging Australian writers. Introducing the Readings New Australian Writing Prize and the Readings Children's Book Prize., Amazon opened an Australian online store last week - but Australians have been buying there for years already. How many Australians buy ebooks, and where do they buy them from? What are local booksellers doing to keep up with their customers - and what do customers really want? We take a look., Amazon has launched an Australian ebookstore today, just in time for Christmas. We look at what the shop looks like, and what it might mean for local booksellers., Bookshops (and retail) have not weathered the digital age well - so far. But many booksellers are continuing to thrive by playing to their strengths and adapting the way they do business. We speak to some of them, including Jon Page of Pages and Pages, Fiona Stager of Avid Reader, and Emily Harms of Readings. , An asteroid has just been named after Scottish writer Iain Banks. How would Star Wars would sound if it was written by Shakespeare? Meet Amazon's (human) robot workers. Find out how the Amish 'hack' technology for their purposes. And see if the 10 nerdiest jokes of all time make you laugh., We talk to Australian Bookseller fo the Year Martin Shaw about his twenty years in the book business, why he loves it - and the changes afoot. and We travel vicariously to some of the world's most unusual - and beautiful - bookshops, from a bookshop on a canal boat in the UK to rainbow-splashed journey of discovery in Beijing, to a converted thirteenth-century church in HollanMore

Remembering Robin Williams. Is creativity linked to mental illness, or is it a myth? Go behind the creation of a great book cover. James Franco's short stories are now a Coppola film. And a photo-essay on Europeans who've chosen to live away from mainstream society., **Angela Savage** looks at a unique form of storytelling, using objects found on the street. Melbourne artist Julie Shiels uses stencil art and photography to make poetry of everyday things, capturing the stories they tell about moments in our lives, big and small., Austrian artist Klaus Pichler has created a bizarre yet familiar photographic series, Just the Two of Us, photographing different kinds of people who habitually wear costumes, in their homes. The dissonance between the outlandish appearance of the subjects and their very ordinary surrounds is striking., Actor Anna Gunn ponders what the hatred of her character Skyler White says about our society's feelings about strong, non-submissive, ill-treated women. A new indie video game lets you play at being a novelist. Water, as you've never seen it before. David Simon pays tribute to Elmore Leonard. And Adam Gopnik defends the teaching of literature in universities., What do you get when you combine famous gloom merchants Morrissey and Charlie Brown? This Charming Charlie. Meet sword-maker to the stars Tony Swatton, the man behind many of the weapons we see on screen. Photographer Carl Warner makes landscapes out of food - and now, human bodies. Revisit the top ten fictional newsrooms, from Anchorman to Press Gang. And find out what famous writers like Carl Hiassen and Lydia Davis would write under their fantasy pen names., Meet Stephen King's family of writers. Find out how China is going to unusual (and uncomfortable) measures to survive a heat wave. How do the creators of TV's villains make us care about them? And we share some stunning photographs: winners of the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest and weird spiders from Singapore. and New research proves that psychopaths can be trained to feel empathy. Germany's power plants have been photographed in intimate detail, before they all close in 2022. Natalie Portman will make her directing debut with Amos Oz's memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness. A series of new photo-essays document American life in the 70s, by region. And Neil Gaiman has designed his first video game, Wayward Manor. More

When **Annabel Smith** embarked on creating her interactive digital ebook *The Ark*, she realised how wedded we still are to the old-fashioned p-book ... and the obstacles (in terms of technology, distribution platforms and publisher attitudes) that lie in the way of writers wanting to harness the possibilities of interactive digital media to tell their stories., We share our perfect antidote for Mondayitis: five fab bookish videos to tickle your fancy - from a book trailer so bad that it just might be genius, to an exclusive video of Lloyd Jones reading from his latest book, the memoir A History of Silence. And of course, there's the obligatory cat., In this week's Friday High Five, we visit David Simon's blog, share rejected New Yorker covers, watch a savvy Belgian attempt to stop teens from texting-and-driving, read Jason Epstein on why books have a future, and view art made out of schoolbooks., In yesterday's Guardian, Ewan Morrison warned of the coming fall-out for writers and publishers when the 'self-e-publishing bubble' inevitably bursts. Here in Australia, the bubble has barely floated into view. We look at Morrison's argument and how self-e-publishing is playing out in Australia - talking to Matthia Dempsey, Angela Meyer and Lisa Dempster. , Zoe Dattner discusses SPUNC's move into eBooks and new publishing models., 2011 was the year that digital publishing came into its own, and readers and retailers adapted accordingly. and The lowdown on getting started in publishing by a local indie publisher.More

A video parody of the Beastie Boys' hit 'Girls', encouraging girls to forgo princesses for toolkits, is at the centre of a copyright lawsuit - a pre-emptive one, brought by toy company GoldieBlox, makers of the ad, after they were contacted by the Beastie Boys' lawyers. The Beasties have issued an open letter saying that while they admire the ad's creativity and message, they have made a conscious decision not to allow their music or name to be used in product ads., Greg Foyster attended a Workaholics Anonymous meeting as part of the research for his book, [Changing Gears](http://www.affirmpress.com.au/changing-gears), which explores various ways of living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. There, the former adman turned freelance writer discovered more home truths than he expected, Browse 30 beautiful abandoned places from around the world. Consider some arguments about paid maternity leave - Eva Cox defending Tony Abbott's scheme as 'feminist' and Zoe Dattner arguing that paid maternity leave is 'toxic'. The Believer interviews Rashida Jones. The New Yorker on Oprah's Book Club. And what happens when gender roles are reversed in advertising?, Former advertising copywriter Greg Foyster tells how advertising promotes discontentment with what we have in order to sell us stuff we don’t need – and how the resulting waste is choking ecosystems and causing dangerous climate change., On the occasion of Victoria's public holiday in honour of gambling ... we mean, a horse race ... we thought it was timely to share an advertisement made for ABC1's *Gruen Planet* that aims to make Australians stop caring about the Melbourne Cup. It's also a pretty effective anti-gambling ad in general., Most people know that children's author Dr Seuss used a pseudonym: his real name was Theodor Geisel. But did you know that his day job was in advertising? In this week's Friday High Five, we share five examples of Dr Seuss's advertising work. and The ethics of spruikingMore

What exactly does a literary agent do? How has the role changed in tandem with the brave new (digital) world of publishing? And do Australian authors really need agents? (The answer: not necessarily, but there are advantages ... not all of them linked to advances.) **Angie Andrewes** investigates., Last month, we published an article on anonymous reviewing, in the context of the new *Saturday Paper*'s embrace of the format. Soon after, we were approached by a *Saturday Paper* reviewer offering to give an alternative view. The Wheeler Centre's Jo Case spoke to the reviewer about the 'creative potential' of anonymous reviewing as a form (and the wider possibilities of doing criticism differently), the need to give a new space for literary coverage a chance, and a look at the *Saturday Paper* so far., Jon Stewart is an internet hit in China - which seems to bode well for the future of satire. In a real-life Misery, Charlaine 'True Blood' Harris is receiving death threats from readers unhappy with the fate she's given her fictional heroine, Sookie Stackhouse. David Foster Wallace's This is Water is now a short film. The Guardian is unimpressed with the new New York Times Book Review editor. And we look at the wildly divergent reviews of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby., Comic literary novelist Gary Shteyngart is almost as well known for his prolific blurbing of his fellow authors' work as he is for his critically acclaimed books. In fact, his blurbing has now become an enormous literary in-joke. A new documentary looks at this strange and often awkward feature of the publishing world, through the acknowledged king of the blurbs. , The publishing industry is a tough arena, and never more so than now. Sam Cooney looks at the weird, annoying and sometimes puzzling things publishers (and writers) do to promote their books - from packaging them in mountains of styrofoam as if precious flowers, to shooting themselves for the press coverage., What would happen if Raymond Carver wrote an internet dating profile - edited by Gordon Lish? How on earth are Coke and Pepsi claiming to have created healthy soft drinks? What does a real-life invisibility cloak look like, and how does it work? And who is in the running for the Bad Sex Awards 2012? These are some of the questions we'll answer in this week's Friday High Five. and Hurricane Sandy has made 'climate change' less of a dirty phrase in US politics, as the consequences of a warming planet become all too palpable. We take a sneak peek at 'Hitchcock: The Movie', starring Anthony Hopkins as the legendary director. David Simon shares his thoughts on what Obama's win and his disparate supporter base mean for a changing America - including the end of the white man as the definition of 'normal'. And we look at wearable literary fashion and photography based on cereal sculptures.More

We speak to Nic Low, author of *Arms Race*, about about loving the undo button, talking writing with Alex Miller, raising our kids on a diet of stories, and accidentally writing activist literature., We asked **Cate Kennedy**, editor of *Australian Love Stories*, to share what makes a particularly Australian love story – and whether there were any common themes or subjects that stood out when she was going through submissions for the anthology. She also reflects on what makes a good love story – and why love is great material for dramatic storytelling., **Laura Woollett** is working on a proposed collection of short stories, *The Love of a Bad Man*, spotlighting the women who have stood by some of history’s most sinister men. Whether mistresses, accomplices, or victims themselves, these women have something in common: they have all felt the allure of evil. This is one of her stories, 'Eva'., On the 10th anniversary of *The Big Issue*’s fiction edition, the magazine’s associate editor, Melissa Cranenburgh, reflects on the challenges and rewards of making (and selling) the edition. And she tells why it's important that, unlike most short-story collections, it needs to sell copies in the thousands: because the magazine's reason for existence is to enable homeless and unemployed people to make a living., We share a slice of summer short fiction, by acclaimed New Zealand author Emily Perkins. A man's wayward grandson is sent to stay with him on his retirement haven of Waiheke Island, a place where people come to connect with something they have lost. The old man has a task for him - one that his neighbours are fiercely opposed to., Acclaimed micro-fiction writer Lydia Davis won the Man Booker International Prize yesterday. Estelle Tang shares an in-depth appreciation of Davis's career-branching volume The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. Read it and see what all the fuss is about. and For this week's Working with Words, we spoke to Brisbane writer Chris Somerville about unlucky animals, JD Salinger's Glass family and the funny/sad balancing act.More

**Tony Birch** reflects on the significance of Bunjil the Eagle, a story about country and custodianship - and what it says about contemporary Australians' botched custodianship of our environment. What legacy are we leaving our children with our inaction - and what kind of example are we setting?, **Tony Birch** walks along the Yarra River, from Kew, after stopping in at Kew Cemetry, where his childhood friend Steven - who will be his companion on the walk - is buried. He reflects on the river's importance to the Wurundjeri people, and to him personally, as he goes., **Tony Birch** visits his grandmother's grave and reflects on the lessons she taught him: that unless we provide our families and each other adequately with the basics of life – food, warmth and shelter – everything else is worthless. And that unless we provide the basics equally across society, we should be ashamed of ourselves., Tony Birch on the throwaways of consumer culture, from casually discarded TVs to the goods given to the homeless, whether they want them or not. A tech start-up is set to make a fortune from a chemical mix that replaces food, called Soylent. Mindy Kaling interviews Billy Crystal about When Harry Met Sally. Connor Tomas O'Brien on smartphones, nostalgia and the ubiquity of the internet. And a growing worldwide resistance to antibiotics. and The five writers involved in the Weather Stations project around storytelling and climate change have been travelling Australia, consulting with climate change experts and observing the effects of climate change in action. The Wheeler Centre’s Jo Case sat in on a session at University of Melbourne with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.More

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of Roald Dahl’s *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*, one of the world’s most beloved children’s books. Celebrations include the posthumous publication of a 'lost' early chapter of the book, and a Modern Classics adult edition of the book, with a controversial 'creepy' cover. We look at the celebrations, our attitudes to children's books, the trend of posthumous publication of classic authors, and the wisdom (or not) of adult editions of children's books., Remembering Robin Williams. Is creativity linked to mental illness, or is it a myth? Go behind the creation of a great book cover. James Franco's short stories are now a Coppola film. And a photo-essay on Europeans who've chosen to live away from mainstream society., It's Sex Week at the Wheeler Centre this week - and to set the mood, we've gathered some of the best bad romance covers we could find. , Text Publishing's W.H. Chong and freelance designer Anne-Marie Reeves open up to Thuy On about the art, the pitfalls and the pleasures of book cover design., It's always fun to see old classics imagined anew for the 21st-century reader. Two UK design prizes, both hosted by Penguin, have just announced their shortlists for new covers for Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows - and the results are well worth a browse., The US government has been revealed as having worked with the big tech companies to spy on the public - tracking emails, photographs, video and other digital communication. Miranda July has launched a project where you can sign up to snoop on other people's emails. Clive James tells why the US literary scene is too nice - while in the UK, savaging books is a 'recognized blood sport'. Flavour Palace is serving up lime and cheese milkshakes, canned soup and an irreverent attitude towards food and eating. And we share some Anne of Green Gables love. and Chicago designer Jenny Volvoski has set herself a fascinating new project - she designs her own covers for the books she reads. They're documented on her blog, From Cover to Cover.More

The finalists for the Walkley Awards for Excellent in Journalism have been announced. Gary Shteyngart's *Little Failure* book your diary. An autistic boy becomes BFFs with Siri. Trolls, stalkers and authors versus readers online. And why women with ADHD are massively underdiagnosed., In the internet age, we're technically more connected than ever - but does the ease of connecting online make it harder to connect IRL (in real life)? How do we negotiate public and private space? What are teenagers doing online - and how can we make sure they're safe? Kirsten Krauth researched these issues for her first novel, just_a_girl., We speak to Kirsten Alexander, editor of digital-only magazine Open Field, an Australian project that attracts contributors from around the world (who donate their services for free) and donates all the proceeds to charity organisation CARE Australia., We've been talking to tech-savvy writers and publishers this week, finding out how they navigate the brave new world of promoting books online. Today, we share some dos and don'ts for writers, from Benjamin Law, Text Publishing, Paddy O'Reilly, Hardie Grant Books and others. How do you use social media well? How do you avoid turning people off? And should you build an author website? (The answer: yes.), How should authors and publishers navigate the brave new world of spruiking books online? Should you dip your toe into every form of social media, or immerse yourself in one? How often should you use social media to sell and promote, and how often to chat and share news? We asked a selection of authors and publishers, including Ben Law, Monica Dux, Text Publishing and MUP. Here's what we found out., How are Australian publishers using the internet to sell books? What happens when a 1970s star director, a porn star, Bret Easton Ellis and a celebrity in meltdown combine on the set of a microbudget film? What's it like to have a publishing mega-hit on your CV? Why has Neil Gaiman teamed up with Blackberry? And what's the cold hard truth about writing and publishing? All these questions are answered in this week's Friday High Five. and What is ‘mummy blogging’? Why is it so popular? Is it infantilising to label grown women as ‘mummies’? We talk to Australian women who blog about motherhood, and to one of the childless, blogless 'mummy bloggers' from Julia Gillard's morning tea, to find out the answers.More

**Adam Alter**, professor of marketing and psychology at NYU, reveals the world is full of such hidden forces that shape our every thought, feeling and behaviour, without us ever realising. Understanding these cues, Alter argues, is key to smarter decision-making, more effective marketing, and better outcomes for ourselves and society., We've been talking to tech-savvy writers and publishers this week, finding out how they navigate the brave new world of promoting books online. Today, we share some dos and don'ts for writers, from Benjamin Law, Text Publishing, Paddy O'Reilly, Hardie Grant Books and others. How do you use social media well? How do you avoid turning people off? And should you build an author website? (The answer: yes.), How should authors and publishers navigate the brave new world of spruiking books online? Should you dip your toe into every form of social media, or immerse yourself in one? How often should you use social media to sell and promote, and how often to chat and share news? We asked a selection of authors and publishers, including Ben Law, Monica Dux, Text Publishing and MUP. Here's what we found out., How are Australian publishers using the internet to sell books? What happens when a 1970s star director, a porn star, Bret Easton Ellis and a celebrity in meltdown combine on the set of a microbudget film? What's it like to have a publishing mega-hit on your CV? Why has Neil Gaiman teamed up with Blackberry? And what's the cold hard truth about writing and publishing? All these questions are answered in this week's Friday High Five. and There’s an uproar on the internet right now about the recent makeover of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, featuring a glamorous woman applying make-up in a compact mirror. Why are 'women's' novels marketed using make-up, flowers and pastel colours? Does it insult our intelligence, or is it simply clever marketing?More

Earlier this week, in a Digital Writers Festival Event, Sophie Cunningham spoke to four of the shortlisted writers of The Stella Prize about their work, the prize and raising the profile of women's writing. Here are some highlights., It's been the year of women on the Australian literary award scene, with the awarding of the first Stella Prize and the first ever all-women Miles Franklin shortlist. Paul Mitchell asks if it's time to turn our attention to men - not by creating an award for male writers, but one designed to attract male readers to literary fiction., The Miles Franklin shortlist for 2013 has been announced - and it's the year of the women writers. In a reverse of the much-talked-about 'sausagefests' of 2009 and 2011, all five of the shortlisted authors are women. This is the first ever all-women shortlist. We spoke to the Stella Prize's Aviva Tuffield and Sophie Cunningham, reviewer Kerryn Goldsworthy, former Miles longlisted author Patrick Allington, and bookseller Martin Shaw, to get their thoughts. , The first ever Stella Prize for a work by an Australian woman writer was awarded last night, to Carrie Tiffany for her novel Mateship with Birds. We report on her generous and surprising give-away of some of the prize money, Helen Garner's smash-hit speech, and Tiffany's reaction to winning - and words on why we need the Stella Prize., Famed book editor Maxwell Perkins once said that an an 'editor does not add to a book. At best he serves as a handmaiden…' Melissa Cranenburgh talks to two Australian editors - Aviva Tuffield and Samantha Sainsbury - about their behind-the-scenes roles in the business of bringing a book to life., In this week's Friday High Five, we look at the iPad generation, some covers of classic books so bad they're good, Lena Dunham's doggie loves, and how one writer tricked the New Yorker into rejecting itself. And there's the inaugural shortlist of The Stella Prize! and The Stella Prize, Australia's first major prize for women's writing (fiction or non-fiction), will be launched in 2013. The prize will be $50,000 and the judging panel will be critic Kerryn Goldsworthy, writer Kate Grenville, actor Claudia Karvan and the ABC's Rafael Epstein.More

Shane Maloney has off-handedly outed himself as one of the *Saturday Paper* reviewers, on his website. 'Personally, I like the idea,' he says of anonymous reviews. 'It means I can take a cursory glance at a book, toss off a half-baked impression and collect my fee.', Kerryn Goldsworthy, freelance reviewer and current Pascall Critic of the Year, shares her opinion on the ingredients of a good review, the tell-tale components of a bad review, and the various groups a reviewer has a responsibility to when assessing a book, from the reader to 'the people who are paying you'., James Tierney responds to Robyn Annear's Monthly review of ten Australian literary magazines, weighing the evidence she gathers to support her view that these 'oddball miscellanies' mainly exist to grant publication to emerging writers - and opening out into a wider conversation about what a good review (with well-supported arguments) can do., Kylie Ladd reviews Richard Ford's eagerly awaited new novel, Canada, a rich, nuanced study of tipping points and transgressions. Her verdict? Ford examines 'the ways in which our lives are shaped; how we are moulded and created not just by what we’ve done, but also by what is done to us'., As we launch our new series of long-form reviews - The Long View - Wheeler Centre director Michael Williams discusses the lack of publication opportunities for extended arts criticism, and why we've decided to do something about it., On the eve of our first Debut Monday of 2012, Chris Flynn writes about the weirdness of becoming an author. Especially when you’ve been making your living as a reviewer – and now it’s your turn to be reviewed. and Rewriting the poetry canon is a fraught affair.More

Evie Wyld has won this year's Miles Franklin - you can watch a video of our event with her online. A new David Sedaris essay is online at the *New Yorker*. How did the CIA use *Doctor Zhivago* as a weapon in the Cold War? Julian Assange has been invited to be a part of London's fashion week, due to his status as a 'good looking … popular hero'. And in Alaska, they're fighting foetal alcohol syndrome with free pregnancy tests in bars., MIchelle de Kretser has won this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award for her fourth novel, Questions of Travel (Allen & Unwin). We look at the judges' verdict and some of the reviews., It's been the year of women on the Australian literary award scene, with the awarding of the first Stella Prize and the first ever all-women Miles Franklin shortlist. Paul Mitchell asks if it's time to turn our attention to men - not by creating an award for male writers, but one designed to attract male readers to literary fiction., There's been a lot of talk about 'sausage fests' over the past few weeks, with the first all-female Miles Franklin shortlist sparking memories of the all-male lists of the recent past - which were given the meaty nickname. Writer Paul Mitchell tells why the term is not just confronting and demeaning, but risks reinforcing the idea that men are just their genitals. ('Which many men think anyway.') So, should we rethink our language?, The Miles Franklin shortlist for 2013 has been announced - and it's the year of the women writers. In a reverse of the much-talked-about 'sausagefests' of 2009 and 2011, all five of the shortlisted authors are women. This is the first ever all-women shortlist. We spoke to the Stella Prize's Aviva Tuffield and Sophie Cunningham, reviewer Kerryn Goldsworthy, former Miles longlisted author Patrick Allington, and bookseller Martin Shaw, to get their thoughts. , This year's Miles Franklin longlist was announced in an unusual - but thoroughly contemporary - way. The covers of the nine longlisted books were revealed, one by one, on Twitter, in what Crikey literary blogger Bethanie Blanchard labeled 'a slow literary striptease'. We reveal the ten longlisted books - eight of them by women writers. and The Stella Prize, Australia's first major prize for women's writing (fiction or non-fiction), will be launched in 2013. The prize will be $50,000 and the judging panel will be critic Kerryn Goldsworthy, writer Kate Grenville, actor Claudia Karvan and the ABC's Rafael Epstein.More

Angela Savage is currently conducting research on commercial surrogacy for her PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University. Here, she draws on her reading to reflect on the case of baby Gammy, which has dominated news headlines in recent days., People with disabilities - and the everyday challenges they face - have been in the spotlight over the past week, as the national Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has dominated headlines and political coverage. For award-winning writer Joel Deane, the political is deeply personal: his daughter Sophie has Down Syndrome. Last week, he attended a public high school open day, looking for a high school for his daughter - and was sadly reminded that discrimination is alive and well in today's Australia., Mothers' groups attract strong feelings - they're either loved or loathed by their members, as strongholds of sisterhood and support, or arenas of judgement and one-upmanship. Why are they so significant? In this extract from her new book, Things I Didn't Expect (When I Was Expecting), Monica Dux explains how these groups are the places where the brand new identity of Mother is tried on for size., Last week, we had an impassioned response to Catherine Deveny's Lunchbox/Soapbox decrying 'helicopter parents' in favour of '70s parenting'. Jessie Cole examines why some mothers feel such an oppressive sense of responsibility for their children’s well-being. She asks: How – in the giant, multifaceted and complicated society we all inhabit – can everything still be the mother’s fault? and Catherine Deveny decries helicopter parents, attachment parenting, yummy mummies, kids in cafes and trampolines with fences around them - in favour of 1970s-style 'blimp parenting'. (Benevolent neglect, quality boredom, and independence as a result of parental indifference.) And she looks back on a childhood where kids were sent out to buy smokes for the grown-ups, advised to 'get some colour on you' (no sunscreen required) and given the independence to ride bikes, climb roofs and run barefoot down at the creek.More

As traditional jobs like those in the manufacturing sector decline, new kinds of jobs are on the rise. We hear from **Matt Wicking**, greenie in residence at Arts House (and an experienced sustainability consultant) about what his job entails, what his pathway was, what jobs of the future might look like … and how industry and universities can help young people be ready for jobs that haven’t been created yet., The Australian government is committed to supporting the coal industry. Meanwhile, nations around the world are stepping up their support for renewable energy, and for the first time in history, Australia will need no new coal or gas power capacity in the next ten years. We look at the good and bad news about our renewable energy future. , Optimism is not something we commonly associate with a life in politics, but recently retired Greens leader Bob Brown is an exception in more ways than one. His biographer, **James Norman**, reflects on Brown's life and career - and his contribution to Australian life., Is water a human right? A fashion accessory? A taste sensation? And is bottled water a potential force for good, in the form of ethical bottled water companies that transfer first world spending habits to projects that supply drinking water to the developing world? Or is bottled water an environmental menace, no matter how you look at it? We look at the topic from all kinds of angles., How do we plan for a Melbourne that seems likely to be four degrees warmer by 2080? Unfortunately, Victoria - along with Brisbane and New South Wales - has weakened controls on planning for climate change, even in the face of recent fires and floods. 'If we don't prepare well, people will die,' writes Michael Green in this sobering report. 'At the moment, we are not planning well.' and The Brotherhood of St Laurence has received over 45 tonnes of books over the past ten years. They've turned a problem (oversupply) into a business opportunity, with an online bookstore, Brotherhood Books, that keeps books out of landfill and raises money to support their social programs. Win-win!More

Wheeler Centre director Michael Williams shares his best books of 2013 ... and what a bumper list it is!, In the third instalment of our year-ending series, we share reading highlights of 2013 from around the Wheeler Centre office., Today, in Part Two of our Wheeler Centre Staff Best Books 2013, we hear picks from online manager Jon Tjhia, executive assistant Katherine Lynch, publicist Tamara Zimet and senior writer/editor Jo Case. Your summer reading solutions could be right here ... , Today, find out what head of programming Simon Abrahams, programming coordinator Donica Bettanin, project coordinator Lucy De Kretser and series producer Gemma Rayner have nominated as their Best Books of 2013. Feel free to add your own picks (or arguments) in the comments section!, We've asked some of the authors we've worked with this year to share their picks for their Best Books of 2013. See what Hannah Kent, Alex Miller, Malcolm Knox, Anna Goldsworthy and more chose as their favourite reads this year. , It's that time of year when passionate readers and published writers (and critics) alike put together their lists of their favourite books of the year. We've brought together some 'Best Books 2013' lists to set the scene, from sources as disparate as the New York Times and Melbourne's own Readings. and Paddy O'Reilly's latest novel, The Fine Colour of Rust, was chosen as a Wheeler Centre staff pick in our Best Books of 2012. We spoke to Paddy about being mistaken for a man (it's the name), the thrill of seeing her printed books on bookshop shelves, and why it's important to complete pieces of work if you want to be a writer.More

We speak to arts writer and critic Chris Boyd about why dwelling on a 'shocker of a show' tends to amplify a negative opinion, why being paid for writing means you're talented (according to Stephen King), and being influenced by Andrea Dworkin's *Intercourse*., We talk to film and television writer Anthony Morris about being horribly opinionated for a living, why there's no point worrying about whether your writing is good or bad once you've handed it in to be published, and why writers should ideally marry rich (or find someone willing to support them)., Shane Maloney has off-handedly outed himself as one of the *Saturday Paper* reviewers, on his website. 'Personally, I like the idea,' he says of anonymous reviews. 'It means I can take a cursory glance at a book, toss off a half-baked impression and collect my fee.', Last month, we published an article on anonymous reviewing, in the context of the new *Saturday Paper*'s embrace of the format. Soon after, we were approached by a *Saturday Paper* reviewer offering to give an alternative view. The Wheeler Centre's Jo Case spoke to the reviewer about the 'creative potential' of anonymous reviewing as a form (and the wider possibilities of doing criticism differently), the need to give a new space for literary coverage a chance, and a look at the *Saturday Paper* so far., We interview one of the creators of *Australian Tumbleweeds*, an anonymous comedy blog run by a small team of writers who are passionate about televised comedy and brand themselves 'Australia's most opinionated blog about comedy'. We talked about the state of Australian comedy (and television writing), why being critical encourages good work, and the freedoms and responsibilities of anonymity., Are anonymous book reviews a brave new enterprise or a dubious exercise? Is it possible to guard against score-settling when only the editor knows a reviewer's identity? What makes good criticism, and does anonymity help or hinder it? and James Ley is the editor of Australia's newest literary publication, the Sydney Review of Books, our (online-only) answer to the London Review of Books and New York Review of Books. We spoke to him about how the new publication came to life, its aims and operations, and his ideas about literary criticism and how social media has changed the literary community.More

The Australian War Memorial was first advised internally to acknowledge the frontier wars way back in 1979. Our military historians accept that colonial conflict is part of our military history, but the Memorial still holds out. Why? **Michael Green** investigates., One of the world’s fastest-growing social movements is calling for citizens and institutions to sell out of fossil fuels – but it’s not just a matter of morality. Hard-headed analysts say there’s a growing risk of a collapse in the value of fossil fuel investments. Taken together, these warnings present a new way to understand our climate crisis. Michael Green takes us inside the movement - starting in the offices of Goldman Sachs, listening to US climate activist Bill McKibben., Michael Green shares why he loves re-reading Breakfast at Tiffany's in Carlton, every autumn ... and why it surprises him every time. Quoting Norman Mailer, he says it is 'so extraordinary a work that it incites not writerly envy but pride'., Michael Green lifts the lid on the Victorian government's 'good news' approach to climate change. 'Gradual changes in temperature potentially enable industries to transition and develop,' says the new Climate Adaptation Plan. But studies show that climate change comes in abrupt steps, not a gradual shift. And that spells disaster ... which you'll know if you look for the fine print in the appendix to the plan. and How do we plan for a Melbourne that seems likely to be four degrees warmer by 2080? Unfortunately, Victoria - along with Brisbane and New South Wales - has weakened controls on planning for climate change, even in the face of recent fires and floods. 'If we don't prepare well, people will die,' writes Michael Green in this sobering report. 'At the moment, we are not planning well.'More

**Mel Campbell** published her first book, *Out of Shape*, last year. Since then, she's been struggling with ideas of what it is to be a successful author … along with most of the other authors published in Australia. Here, she reflects on what it means to be in the 'midlist' right now: financially, personally and professionally., While author and critic Mel Campbell can admit that her preoccupations are literary ones, her reading habits may beg to differ. She interrogates the feelings of guilt and embarrassment that have accompanied her binges on 'junk food fiction' – and finds good reasons to savour her encounters with the clunky or unselfconscious expression of books that are untroubled by a sense of their own importance., Mel Campbell reflects on makeover culture and the unrealistic expectations that come with it - that a sophisticated new look will deliver a new self (and life) to match. But even when it works, who does the social power of beauty serve? And why should the approval of strangers matter more than your own personal sense of style, and self? She takes us on a tour through popular culture, from Pretty in Pink to The Hunger Games, to Snog, Marry, Avoid. and The obesity debate is everywhere at the moment - along with an accompanying moral panic focused on overweight bodies. Karen Hitchcock takes a grim look at the issue in the current Monthly, from her perspective as a doctor in an obesity clinic. Author and commentator Mel Campbell is persuaded by Hitchcock's arguments, but disturbed by her 'patronising' tone. She calls for us to keep moral judgement out of the obesity conversation.More


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