Australian politics, society & culture


From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of Life of Pi comes a sprawling new novel, interweaving three families’ stories from across a century to explore the timeless quest for meaning. Discover The High Mountains of Portugal with bestselling storyteller Yann Martel. He is in conversation at the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016 with 774 ABC Melbourne’s Rafael Epstein. Melbourne, August 2016
Social injustice and socioeconomic status have direct impacts on health worldwide, but the discrepancy is not as simple as rich vs poor. In his groundbreaking book The Health Gap, World Medical Association president Sir Michael Marmot challenges existing paradigms around health and social advantage. What’s more, evidence points to the fact that we know how to lessen the health gap – so why aren’t we doing it? Marmot’s findings could radically change the way we think about health and society. In this session at the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016, he unpacks and explains these complexities, with a special focus on Indigenous Australian health, and suggests possible ways forward. With the Monthly’s Nick Feik. Melbourne, August 2016
How do books make you a better person? Can literature influence political judgement? At the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016, award-winning authors Anna Funder (All That I Am) and Yann Martel (Life of Pi) reveal the books that have shaped their lives and made them better readers, writers and human beings, through increasing empathy and insight. The writers also prescribe books they think world leaders should read in order to make better policy decisions, from tackling global issues to simply providing different points of view. With Sophie Black. Melbourne, August 2016
In the wake of the Third Reich, the legal world was transformed. How did the lives of the two Jewish men who coined the terms “genocide” and “crimes against humanity“ intersect? Personal meets political in Philippe Sands’ fascinating post-World War Two memoir East West Street. Join Sands in conversation with 774 ABC Melbourne’s Rafael Epstein at the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016. Melbourne, August 2016
From the makers of The Slap comes Barracuda, an affecting TV series based on Christos Tsiolkas’ novel. At the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016, Tsiolkas and producer Tony Ayres speak to Angela Savage about the process of taking the story from page to screen, as well as discussing its themes of failure, class and adolescence. Melbourne, September 2016
Steve Hely’s CV includes writing credits on American Dad! and The Office. Benjamin Law went from page to screen with the television adaptation of The Family Law. Step into the writers room and hear about making TV in both the US and Australia in this session from the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016. Chaired by Josh Kinal. Melbourne, September 2016
Molly Crabapple has been called “equal parts Hieronymus Bosch, William S Burroughs and Cirque du Soleil”. For over a decade, she’s chronicled our changing world – from Occupy Wall Street to ISIS to Guantanamo Bay – through her art, and now, in her memoir-manifesto Drawing Blood. Join her in conversation with Brodie Lancaster at the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016.   Melbourne, September 2016
At the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016, 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize winner Eimear McBride (A Girl is a Half-formed Thing) and 2016 Stella Prize winner Charlotte Wood (The Natural Way of Things) join Stella Prize executive director Aviva Tuffield to discuss their acclaimed novels, sources of inspiration, how gender informs their writing and the importance of literary prizes. Supported by the Stella Prize. Melbourne, August 2016
Cover of The Island Will Sink
The Lifted Brow; $29.99
By Michael Lucy
Cover of The Good People
Picador; $32.99
By Helen Elliott
Image of Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ bemuses but rewards
By Anwen Crawford
Image from The Get Down
Netflix’s hip-hop drama ‘The Get Down’ squanders its potential
By Luke Davies
Image of Joy Williams
Celebrated short-story practitioner Joy Williams turns to micro fiction in ‘Ninety-Nine Stories of God’
By Barry Hill
National anthems reflect all the complexities – and oddities – of the countries they represent
By Andrew Ford
‘Mike Parr: Foreign Looking’ brings the anti-institutional artist to the National Gallery of Australia
By Fiona McGregor
Six stories of 100 words
By Paul Connolly
Image of Force Majeure’s Never Did Me Any Harm
The arts funding cuts are just a symptom of a broader malaise in Australia
By Alison Croggon