books October 17, 2020


It’s been years now since Andrew O’Hagan established himself as an heir to Orwell in the way he can glide from fiction to nonfiction and back again with no loss of literary quality or indeed imaginative power. His latest novel, Mayflies – named for...

books October 17, 2020

In Search of the Woman Who Sailed the World

There had been an undercurrent of speculation aboard the Étoile about smooth-faced Jean Barret, the stoic and hard-working assistant and personal valet to the ship’s naturalist-doctor, Philibert Commerson. In April 1768, after the ship moored off...

books October 17, 2020

Song of the Crocodile

Yuwaalaraay author Nardi Simpson’s debut novel, Song of the Crocodile , begins with a vision of the sign welcoming visitors to the country town of Darnmoor, “the Gateway to Happiness”. “The sign taunts a fool into feeling some sense of achievement,...

music October 17, 2020

The Ascension

Sufjan Stevens’ new album reinvents his aesthetic as he confronts the psychic terror of contemporary America.

opera October 17, 2020

The Diary of One Who Disappeared

The Sydney Chamber Opera discovers a new intimacy in its filmed performance of Leoš Janáček’s feverish song cycle.

art October 17, 2020

José Roca, artistic director of the 23rd Sydney Biennale

In his first interview since his appointment, celebrated Colombian curator José Roca speaks about bringing a sense of radical urgency to his new role. “I intend to look for practices that are already under way and let the biennale be a catalyst for the process. One of my guiding principles is to build upon what is already built.”

fiction October 16, 2020


The woman’s head is at an odd angle, one side of her neck stretched tight like the rawhide of a drum. Carolyn’s skin turns clammy and her breathing shallows as she scans the woman’s body: the cracked, swollen feet; toenails like thick squares of...

fiction October 10, 2020

Three anecdotes

Beggar A Beggar who had only recently and reluctantly taken up begging after losing his job as an administration officer for a small insurance firm was one day noticed on the street by a, thankfully, employed company director on his way home from...

theatre October 10, 2020


The poetic vernacular of Angus Cerini’s Wonnangatta brings a dark comedy to its violent story.

games October 10, 2020

Tell Me Why

Initially the sensitive portrayal of trans characters in Tell Me Why comes as a relief, but it’s undermined by the game’s determined inoffensiveness.

theatre October 10, 2020

Children’s author Ted Prior

Four years ago, children’s author Ted Prior thought he had finished with his beloved character Grug. But with a new book and a theatre adaptation celebrating its 10th anniversary, it seems that he is far from done. “I just enjoy the way young children think and the way they do things – and I think there is a bit of the young child in all of us.”