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y separately published work icon The Best Australian Essays 2017 anthology   essay  
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 The Best Australian Essays 2017
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The Best Australian Essays showcase the nation’s most eloquent, insightful and urgent non-fiction writing. In her first time as editor, award-winning author Anna Goldsworthy chooses brilliant pieces that provoke, unveil, engage and enlighten, and get to the heart of what’s really happening in Australia and the world.' (Publication summary)

Contents

* Contents derived from the Carlton, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,:Black Inc. , 2017 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Extravagant, Aggressive Birds Down Under, Tim Flannery , single work essay

'Toward the end of his highly enjoyable book Where Song Began, Tim Low informs us that “it might be said that the world has one hemisphere weighted towards mammals and one towards birds.” The hemisphere weighted toward mammals is the northern one. And Low makes a convincing case that, in the south, birds of a most extravagant type occur. But is the southern hemisphere truly weighted toward birds? One window into the question is through bird–human interactions. We humans are used to getting our way with nature, but in the Antipodes birds occasionally gain the upper hand.' (Introduction)

(p. 1-9)
Lessons from Camels, Robert Skinner , single work prose

'For reasons that are still unclear to me, I agreed to go on a ten-day camel trek with my parents. When they invited me my initial reaction was I ’ve got a whole LIFE going on here, I can’t just take off. I had a pile of junk mail to read and some pretty firm dinner plans. A few weeks later I was at a party where I didn’t think much of the people. Or, more accurately, I didn’t think the people thought much of me. So I wandered outside, thought, Phooey to you, city living, and texted my parents. “I’m in.”' (Introduction)

(p. 10-18)
Endlings, Harriet Riley , single work essay

'In 1996 a correspondence published in Nature coined the term ‘endling’ to refer to an animal that was the last of its species. It’s a fantastical word, like something out of a fairytale. An endling lives deep in a dark forest beneath distant mountains, and can only been seen at midnight once every hundred years.' (Introduction)

(p. 19-24)
Hello, Stranger, Sonya Hartnett , single work essay

'This place doesn't look the way I've expected it to. It's much flatter: in every direction, you can see for miles. It's as flat as a pan, and as dry. The paddocks are yellow and mostly empty, although there is the occasional herd of cows and some sheep. The open ground that hems the road is greener and more densely treed than I'd imagined, with massive silver-trunked eucalypts that have stood here a hundred years and more. The dirt they grow in is rocky, coloured ochre. The sky is huge, brilliantly blue, and uncrossed by birds. It is bakingly hot, and, at midday, shadowless. I don't see any roadkill on the rubbly verge. The train line snakes alongside the farm fences, a scalding, greasy, burgundy vein. The pale grass growing beside it stands as high as the paddock posts.' (Introduction)
 

(p. 25-34)
Commonplace, John Clarke , single work prose
' A while ago I received a letter from Susie. When we were very young and she was Susan, we were in the same class at primary school. I rang her at the gallery she was running in northern New South Wales, to thank her for the letter, to say hello and to ask her a question.' (Publication abstract)
(p. 35-40)
A Makarrata Declaration : A Declaration of Our Country, Stan Grant , single work essay

'Salman Rushdie — the great Indian writer — once said of the importance of stories: 'Those that do not have the power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to re-tell it, re-think it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts.' ' (41)
 

(p. 41-50)
Uluru Statement from the Heart, Referendum Council , single work criticism

'Statement on the First Nations National Constitutional Convention.'

'Coming from all points of the southern sky, over 250 Delegates gathered at the 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention and today made a historic statement from the heart in hopes of improving the lives of future generations.' (Introduction)

(p. 51-52)
The Tamarind Is Always Sour, Keane Shum , single work essay

'If you crouch and hug your knees to your chest, and feel the skin of a man’s arm peeling against your own, and the sweat collecting on your nose drips onto the back of another man hunched over in front of you; if slices of light sift through the wooden slats a foot above your head, and your stomach feels like it is grinding stones, your throat clenches against swallowing each waft of urine and vomit, and the sting from a gash torn through your thigh by a rubber gear belt swung at you like a mace burns like the entire limb is being ripped off, like the chilli powder a filthy hand ground into your eyes; if you and the hundreds in the hold with you have been like this for twenty days, the gentle but maddeningly off-beat rocking of the sea pierced only by the occasional screams of women above deck, and you don’t know when it will end, and even when it ends you don’t know how every day after that will end, if you will be in bed with your wife or in jail, as confined to a cell as you were to the village your grandparents built a thousand miles from here, where you had a house but no quarter, land but no country, time but no future; if you do not exist on paper, anywhere, if no one will take you in, and you are drifting, always, then you know what that means. You know the tamarind is always sour.' (53)

(p. 53-74)
Bonfire of the Narratives, Richard Cooke , single work essay (p. 75-92)
Killing Our Media, Nick Feik , single work essay (p. 93-112)
The Art of Dependency, Micheline Lee , single work essay

'When I was eighteen and my disability had progressed to the stage where I could longer push myself in a manual wheelchair, a man in a van brought me an electric wheelchair. Actually, it was more like a bulky three-wheeled scooter. He slapped a sticker with a serial number on the plastic orange bonnet that covered the front wheel. He told me that it was the property of the state and should only be driven on covered surfaces. ' (Introduction)
 

(p. 113-125)
In Defence of the Bad White Working Class, Shannon Burns , single work autobiography extract

'The middle class shields itself from the realities of life when you’re poor

'I spent much of my childhood in a northwestern suburb of Adelaide that was, for decades, predominantly white and working class. Waves of eastern European migrants formed the foundation of its settlement throughout the 1950s and 60s, before it underwent a significant transformation in the 80s when the new waves of ­migrants and refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and China settled there in large numbers. Mansfield Park also boasted an extensive collection of public housing that ensured underemployed Anglo-Australians, such as my parents, were well represented' (Introduction)

(p. 126-134)
People Power at the Ponderosa, Mandy Sayer , single work essay

'Take 24 single people from diverse backgrounds. Add poverty, disabilities and old age, then house them among drug dealers and creeping mould. A recipe for chaos? Not at all. Here's proof that life, in any circumstances, is what you make it.' (Source : SBS online)

(p. 135-147)
Bad Writer, Michael Mohammed Ahmad , single work essay

'Two years ago the British Centre for Literary Translation invited me to Anhui Province in China to participate as a guest author in their annual translation program. I was asked to facilitate a creative writing workshop with the English-speaking participants in the program which would follow on from a workshop run by Vietnamese-Australian author of The Boat, Nam Le. For two hours I watched patiently and quietly as Nam worked with twenty aspirational writers and translators who had come to China from all over the (Western) world, including Australia, the United States, Ireland, Scotland and England. Nam wrote six random words up on a chalkboard, ‘shoes’, ‘man’, ‘mountain’, ‘love’, ‘fear’ and ‘fingers’, and then he told the participants to each write a short story or poem using these six words. I was disappointed to hear the writers in the group read back the stories they wrote, which all followed the same thread: A man wandered a mountain in a pair of shoes, searching for love and afraid he would find it. It did not occur to even one of them that a mountain could be in love with a man or a shoe could be afraid of a finger, or more importantly, that the mountain, the man, the shoes and the finger could all have a specific identity. After all, we were in view of China’s Sacred Yellow Mountain and with so much diversity in the room, participants had dirt on their shoes and under their fingernails from places no one else in the group could have imagined. It was at this point that I realised the universality of bad writing: the bad writing that this international collective of writers produced was no different from the bad writing I had dealt with as a writer, editor, publisher and teacher in Western Sydney for over fifteen years.' (Introduction)

(p. 148-166)
A Short History of the Italian Language, Moreno Giovannoni , single work essay

'Morè. 

Morè.

'Only an Italian can say that properly and there’s only one person left who calls me that. The rest are dead.

'The first words I ever heard were Italian ones. The first word I ever spoke was an Italian word – papà. This was according to my poor mum who stopped speaking Italian when her vocal cords froze, together with the rest of her, in a nursing home bed, a few weeks before she died. We sat with her and exchanged the occasional Italian word. We spoke Italian words to her even though we didn’t know if she could understand.'  (Introduction)

(p. 167-172)
Up a Wombat’s Freckle, Barry Humphries , single work essay

'“I  hope there won’t be any colloquialisms in this fillum Barry”, said Tom Stubbings breathlessly. The senior Sydney accountant had bounded across the tarmac at Kingsford-Smith aerodrome to catch us before we boarded the flight to London to start filming The Adventures of Barry McKenzie. The director, Bruce Beresford, and I were co-authors of the screenplay, and Mr Stubbings was charged with administering the total production budget of $250,000 advanced to us by the ­Australian Film Corporation. He was nervous. Naturally I reassured him: “It’s a family film, Tom”, I said, lying through my teeth. When the film was released on October 12, 1972, and returned its total investment to the AFC in a matter of weeks, it was, notwithstanding, excoriated by every critic, journalist and disc jockey in Australia as a vulgar calumny, a cruel mis­representation of Australian refinement. The movie was a ceaseless stream of colloquialisms new, obsolete and invented. It was the filthiest Australian film of the year, the nadir of Australian cinema which had by then entered its soft-focus “idyllic” phase.'  (Introduction)

(p. 173-176)
How Not to Speak Polish, Janine Mikosza , single work essay

'Clipped off by infinity. Poet and essayist Joseph Brodsky is describing the ends of a bridge arching over the Canal Grande on a night trip around Venice. On my reading of Brodsky’s words to Janina, she speaks of her father: she is the bridge with no ends and her father is infinity.' (Introduction)

(p. 177-185)
Now No-One Here Is Alone : Two Days in the Court of Family Violence, Melissa Howard , single work autobiography

'Everyone here in the waiting area of the Family Violence Court Division of the Magistrates Court is playing a game. It's called Bad Guy or Victim? Women are curled on chairs, glassy-eyed and stunned, their family and friends dozing beside them, while men pace up and down in righteous indignation, or sit texting furiously.' (Introduction)

(p. 186-196)
Pluripotent, Amanda Niehaus , single work essay (p. 197-203)
House of Flowers, Jennifer Rutherford , single work essay (p. 204-214)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Carlton, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,: Black Inc. , 2017 .
      image of person or book cover 7987122448087282271.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 317p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 1 November 2017

      ISBN: 9781863959605, 9781925435924
      Series: y separately published work icon The Best Australian Essays Black Inc. (publisher), Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2000-2018 Z1731488 2000 series - publisher essay extract prose review

      The first of the three 'Best of' collections, Best Australian Essays was initiated in 1998 (then published by Bookman Press) under the guidance of executive chair Morry Schwartz and edited by Peter Craven. In March 2018, Black Inc, announced the cancellation of all three, replaced by the series Best Summer Stories.

      Number in series: 18

Works about this Work

New Worlds : A Varied Collection of Australian Essays Lucas Thompson , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 399 2018; (p. 24, 26)

'It takes only five months for a newt to regrow a lost limb. Skittles and Tic Tacs both made public statements denouncing Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential race. Psychologists have learned that whenever we believe that a problem – like addiction, domestic abuse, or climate change – is intractable, our brains appear programmed to ignore it. The world’s best freedivers reach depths of 200 metres on a single breath. Australia’s First Peoples are proportionally the most incarcerated on earth. Of Australian surgeons, 91.5 per cent are male. The kea, an alpine parrot from New Zealand, can kill and devour sheep. Australia’s relative average income for people with disabilities is lower than any other OECD nation.'  (Introduction)

Children at the Heart of Stirring Narratives Gretchen Shirm , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 9 December 2017; (p. 20)

— Review of The Best Australian Stories 2017 2017 anthology short story ; The Best Australian Essays 2017 2017 anthology essay

'Children are the focus of Maxine Beneba Clarke’s choices in The Best Australian Stories 2017: children who disappear, children who are taken, children who never were. This theme unites the anthology so the stories speak softly to each other like whispers passed along a line.' (Introduction)

Children at the Heart of Stirring Narratives Gretchen Shirm , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 9 December 2017; (p. 20)

— Review of The Best Australian Stories 2017 2017 anthology short story ; The Best Australian Essays 2017 2017 anthology essay

'Children are the focus of Maxine Beneba Clarke’s choices in The Best Australian Stories 2017: children who disappear, children who are taken, children who never were. This theme unites the anthology so the stories speak softly to each other like whispers passed along a line.' (Introduction)

New Worlds : A Varied Collection of Australian Essays Lucas Thompson , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 399 2018; (p. 24, 26)

'It takes only five months for a newt to regrow a lost limb. Skittles and Tic Tacs both made public statements denouncing Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential race. Psychologists have learned that whenever we believe that a problem – like addiction, domestic abuse, or climate change – is intractable, our brains appear programmed to ignore it. The world’s best freedivers reach depths of 200 metres on a single breath. Australia’s First Peoples are proportionally the most incarcerated on earth. Of Australian surgeons, 91.5 per cent are male. The kea, an alpine parrot from New Zealand, can kill and devour sheep. Australia’s relative average income for people with disabilities is lower than any other OECD nation.'  (Introduction)

Last amended 12 Apr 2018 11:10:41
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