'On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him.
'Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.
'Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life - to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be.' (From the publisher's website.)
'John Batman, ruthless, singleminded; four convicts, the youngest still only a stripling; Gould, a downtrodden farmhand; two free black trackers; and powerful, educated Black Bill, brought up from childhood as a white man. This is the roving party and their purpose is massacre. With promises of freedom, land grants and money, each is willing to risk his life for the prize.
'Passing over many miles of tortured country, the roving party searches for Aborigines, taking few prisoners and killing freely, Batman never abandoning the visceral intensity of his hunt. And all the while, Black Bill pursues his personal quarry, the much-feared warrior, Manalargena.
'A surprisingly beautiful evocation of horror and brutality, The Roving Party is a meditation on the intricacies of human nature at its most raw.' (From the publisher's website.)
'In her second major collection, Claire Gaskin explores the human condition, disengaging language from our assumptions in order to reassemble an emotional and intellectual integrity. In the best surrealist tradition, Paperweight plays the game of exquisite corpse - dismantling language to reveal how it imprisons experience within a system. Conversely, Gaskin then shows how imagery can liberate in moments of pure surprise and how the constraints of form such as the villanelle and the pantoum can force invention. Spare yet expressive, playful yet wise, Paperweight celebrates the visceral power of poetry and its connection to the body, personal history, and the immergence of the unconscious in us all.' (Publication summary)
'Tom and Jordy have been living with their gran since the day their mother, Loretta, left them on her doorstep and disappeared. Now Loretta's returned, and she wants her boys back.
'Tom and Jordy hit the road with Loretta in her beat-up car. The family of three journeys across the country, squabbling, bonding, searching and reconnecting. But Loretta isn't mother material. She's broke, unreliable, lost. And there's something else that's not quite right with this reunion.
'They reach the west coast and take refuge in a beachside caravan park. Their neighbour, a surly old man, warns the kids to stay away. But when Loretta disappears again the boys have no choice but to ask the old man for help, and now they face new threats and new fears.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Robert Manne turns his inquiring mind to collecting superb non-fiction writing for The Best Australian Essays 2013. These essays, whether they provoke arguments, tears or laughter, all give razor-sharp insight into Australian society and, more broadly, the human condition.' (Publisher's blurb)
'In The Best Australian Stories 2013, Kim Scott selects the year’s most outstanding short fiction. Featuring established favourites alongside exciting new voices, this diverse collection is a perfect companion for summer and an ideal introduction to Australia’s best contemporary writing.' (Publisher's blurb)
In this subject students study a number of recent Australian literary works selected from a range of genres. The emphasis is on contemporary work. The approach will include discussion of ways of reading, and production of creative responses to the selected texts. Students will read one significant work in preparation for each weekly class.
Essay of 2000 words 40% (due during semester), creative work 3000 words or equivalent 60% (due during the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed.