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Turning Pages: Celebrating 40 years of Australian Book Review

Rose, a former publisher and a renowned poet, is the sixth editor, after Kerryn Goldsworthy, Louise ..

Rose, a former publisher and a renowned poet, is the sixth editor, after Kerryn Goldsworthy, Louise Adler, Rosemary Sorensen and the late Helen Daniel. When he took over in 2001, ABR was a small, respected but somewhat threatened monthly print magazine.

Now it's all over the shop. As well as the print magazine there's a digital version and a website, with plenty of free content. Recently it has branched out into arts reviewing with its online magazine ABR Arts. It offers three lucrative international prizes, for poetry, short stories and essays; regular fellowships; and curated cultural tours overseas.

Rose realised that in order to survive, the magazine would need to diversify, to become entrepreneurial and to access different markets. The combination of print and digital keeps the magazine vital and relevant, he says. A key goal has been the pursuit of patrons and sponsors, a philanthropic model of funding more often found in the performing arts world: "It explodes the deep-seated view that literature can't hope to enjoy the same kind of patronage."

While some of ABR's contributors are old-guard reviewers from academia and the mainstream media (disclosure: I am one), the magazine has a policy of finding and nurturing new reviewers and essayists. "Practically every day I'm approached by bright young things," Rose says. "They are every bit as passionate about literary culture as past generations were. They are the future."

Aspiring literary and arts writers work for notoriously bad pay, and sometimes no pay at all; in the past five years, Rose has trebled the magazine's pay rates, and hopes to go on increasing them.

With dwindling space in traditional outlets and a plethora of unreliable reviews on the internet, the magazine battles a continuing perception that literary and arts journalism is in crisis. But Rose finds that view an unconvincing cliche.

"If there is a crisis, it's because Australians are not being offered enough substantial edited curated knowledgeable arts journalism," he says. "That's why I decided to expand our coverage. We're not a Mickey Mouse country in terms of cultural activity and we deserve better arts journalism than we're being given."

ABR has long held ambitions to attract an international following, to become the kind of cultural beacon that draws readers to The London Review of Books or The Times Literary Supplement or The New York Review of Books.

But its core business is still books by Australians, which make up 75 per cent of the books reviewed. And for all the new, diversified forms, the bells and whistles, the aim remains the same: "to provide stylish, intelligent literary journalism". With arts journalism thrown in.

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So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.

Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.

Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn


Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

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Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.


"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)

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Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.

The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.

"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.

"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.


Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."

Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."

She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.

"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)

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