'On 13 July 2019, in the middle of Canberra’s notoriously hard winter, Australia lost a literary treasure and lifelong activist whose work and writing was, in her own lifetime at least, largely unsung. Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert (1956 – 2019) was an Elder of the Wiradjuri nation whose journey in this life began on the banks of the Kalari river in Condobolin, central-western New South Wales, as the youngest of eight children in what she described as a ‘blended family, sixty years before the term became fashionable’. All eight children were raised by Mummy, Aunty Joyce Hutchings, who was the elder sister of Kerry’s father, the poet and activist Kevin Gilbert. Aunty Kerry’s memoir The Cherry Picker’s Daughter is above all a tribute to the home-front activism of Aboriginal women, which all too often goes unnoticed.' (Introduction)
'In the remarks that preface his 2003 Nobel Lecture, entitled ‘He and His Man’ (worth watching on YouTube for the dry comedy of the delivery alone), J. M. Coetzee speaks of reading The Strange and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe when he was ‘eight or nine’. Presumably this was an abridged children’s version of the kind many of us read at that age. He would not have been alone when he fell in love with this ‘desert island that became a kingdom’, or when Crusoe became ‘a figure in my imagination’. Less predictable, perhaps, was his bewilderment at the claim in his Children’s Encyclopaedia that the author of the book was someone called Daniel Defoe. ‘This made no sense,’ he continues, ‘because it said on the first page of Robinson Crusoe that Robinson Crusoe told the story himself.’(Introduction)'
'In 2016 Charlotte Wood took up a position as Writer in Residence at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, as part of a multidisciplinary initiative to explore ‘the complex issue of aging’. The product of that residence is The Weekend, Wood’s sixth novel, and it comes highly anticipated on the heels of her 2016 Stella Prize-winner The Natural Way of Things.' (Introduction)
'Josephine Rowe’s stories are about time. Time as it is lived and as it is recounted; the way it doesn’t just progress, but speeds and slows, persists and lingers. Her characters are sometimes aware of time passing, almost as if they stand outside it, sometimes aware that the moment they are in is one that they will return to, again and again, across their later lives. Or else they are narrating from a position that is simultaneously in the present and in the future, looking back: ‘I will never see anything like it again,’ narrates a boy, suddenly a man, describing wading out to an island through a sea full of bioluminescent phytoplankton in ‘Glisk’; the story ‘What Passes for Fun’ begins with the phrase ‘somewhere close to the end of things,’ an opening that’s also a foreshadowing of an ending, although of what and of which nature the reader is never privy. Memory, in Rowe’s stories, works in anterograde, as well as in reverse.'(Introduction)