'Some of the best, most significant writing produced in Australia over more than two centuries is gathered in this landmark anthology. Covering all genres - from fiction, poetry and drama to diaries, letters, essays and speeches - the anthology maps the development of one of the great literatures in English in all its energy and variety.
'The writing reflects the diverse experiences of Australians in their encounter with their extraordinary environment and with themselves. This is literature of struggle, conflict and creative survival. It is literature of lives lived at the extremes, of frontiers between cultures, of new dimensions of experience, where imagination expands.
'This rich, informative and entertaining collection charts the formation of an Australian voice that draws inventively on Indigenous words, migrant speech and slang, with a cheeky, subversive humour always to the fore. For the first time, Aboriginal writings are interleaved with other English-language writings throughout - from Bennelong's 1796 letter to the contemporary flowering of Indigenous fiction and poetry - setting up an exchange that reveals Australian history in stark new ways.
'From vivid settler accounts to haunting gothic tales, from raw protest to feisty urban satire and playful literary experiment, from passionate love poetry to moving memoir, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature reflects the creative eloquence of a society.
'Chosen by a team of expert editors, who have provided illuminating essays about their selections, and with more than 500 works from over 300 authors, it is an authoritative survey and a rich world of reading to be enjoyed.' (Publisher's blurb)
Allen and Unwin have a YouTube channel with a number of useful videos on the Anthology.
'The frank and intimate journey of self-discovery by author, critic and arts commentator Robert Dessaix. Confronting, revealing and candid, the book traces his life from adoption towards the end of World War II, to a most unusual childhood on Sydney's North Shore, to his fascination with Russia and his time spent studying in Cold War Moscow, and to his years spent criss-crossing the globe from Kashmir to Peru on various study trips. But a life that might have been exciting to others, to Robert was empty at its core. Constantly haunting him was the realisation that there was a "shaft of silence" running through his being - the question of who his natural mother was and what his origins were. A story of coming to terms with a new identity.' (Publication summary)