Australian politics, society & culture


Can writing be taught? Or are writers born, not made?    Bill Manhire is the creative force behind the distinguished IIML creative writing program as well as a celebrated poet. Max Porter is an editor with Granta & Portobello Books who has recently seen one of his writers win the Man Booker Prize. He is also the author of the novel Grief Is a Thing With Feathers.    At Adelaide Writers’ Week 2016, Manhire and Porter join Delia Falconer to discuss the making of a writer.   Adelaide, February 2016
Adventurer, scholar and writer Simon Winchester follows his magisterial tome Atlantic with the aptly named Pacific: The Ocean of the Future. It covers silicon chips and surfboards, coral reefs and atom bombs, brutal dictators, fading empires, and the coming collision of the world’s superpowers. Only Winchester (whose other books include The Surgeon of Crowthorne and The Map that Changed the World) could pull off so ambitious a project with such an enthralling biography of the world’s largest ocean. He discusses the book with Peter Monteath at Adelaide Writers’ Week 2016. Adelaide, February 2016
In her new biography Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters, Laura Thompson takes us inside one of the 20th century’s most fascinating families. With Sheila: The Australian Beauty Who Bewitched British Society, Robert Wainwright tells the story of the vivacious Sheila Chisholm.   These two biographers join Michael Williams at Adelaide Writers’ Week 2016 to discuss writing the lives of extraordinary women.   Adelaide, February 2016
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Aged 17, she escaped to China. Twelve years later, she was reunited with her family.   She is the author of The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story, and she shares her story here with Rosemary Sayer at the Perth Writers Festival 2016.   Perth, February 2016
The Drones
Gareth Liddiard on The Drones’ ‘Feelin Kinda Free’
By Anwen Crawford
Still from Sherpa
The economics of Everest in Jennifer Peedom’s ‘Sherpa’
By Luke Davies
Helen Garner’s work collected in ‘Everywhere I Look’
By Anna Goldsworthy
Hunter Publishers; $39.95
By Michael Lucy
Hamish Hamilton; $32.99
By Brenda Walker
Artist Jan Senbergs prepares for his NGV retrospective
By Quentin Sprague
Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore has spent years studying the history of Russia, from the Romanov dynasty to Stalin. Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen has written extensively on Russian society and politics, including a critical biography of Vladimir Putin. At the Perth Writers Festival 2016, they share their insights with David Cohen.   Perth, February 2016
Kidnapped by Mark Tedeschi is the riveting account of Australia’s only known kidnapping of a child for ransom; A Murder Without Motive by Martin McKenzie-Murray examines the killing of Perth girl Rebecca Ryle.   At the Perth Writers Festival 2016, they talk to Bruce Russell about senseless crimes.   Perth, February 2016
Bloomsbury; $29.99
By Helen Elliott
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, until 1 May 2016
By Julie Ewington
Rihanna’s ‘ANTI’ and Future’s ‘EVOL’
By Anwen Crawford
Trumbo image
Doing the right thing in Jay Roach’s ‘Trumbo’ and László Nemes’ ‘Son of Saul’
By Luke Davies
Steven Avery
True crime and entertainment in Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’
By Anna Goldsworthy
Crown Sydney image
Why is Australia planning so many new casinos?
By David Neustein