Energy, environment & climate
Ian Rankin with Shane Maloney
'To me, the character of a detective is the same as the character of a writer … We’re trying to find the shape from something that seems quite chaotic.'
At Melbourne City Conference Centre, the king of tartan noir talks mystery, mythology and literary cities with Shane Maloney.
Edinburgh, like Melbourne, is a City of Literature and home to a disproportionate…
Ian Rankin with Shane Maloney
At Melbourne City Conference Centre, the king of tartan noir talks mystery, human nature and the dark side of cities with Shane Maloney.
'To me, the character of a detective is the same as the character of a writer … We’re trying to find the shape from something that seems quite chaotic.'Ian Rankin
Edinburgh, like Melbourne, is a City of Literature and home to a disproportionate number of brilliant writers – from Muriel Spark, Robert Louis Stevenson, Irvine Welsh, to best-selling crime writer Ian Rankin. Rankin’s most famous fictional creation, Inspector John Rebus, is woven into the city’s character and mythology. The cranky, dram-swilling Rebus has starred in a staggering 21 crime novels set in Edinburgh, written by Rankin over the course of 30 years; in recognition, Edinburgh is this year hosting a festival, RebusFest, to celebrate the anniversary.
But Rankin’s enormous creative output is by no means limited to one series. He has also written plays, graphic novels, featured in TV series and documentaries and even collaborated on an album. Across a huge body of work, Rankin has revealed a gift not just for telling cracking stories, but also for chronicling social shifts in modern-day Scotland.
'All crime fiction forever and a day is predicated on this one question: why do we keep doing terrible things to each other?' says Rankin. 'We can’t answer that question, but we can keep asking that question in different ways, and making you, the reader, think about it. Is it a natural thing about being a human, or living in a capitalist society, that human beings will keep doing things again and again?'
Shane Maloney and Ian Rankin — Photo: Jon TjhiaSee also Ian Rankin / Crime & pulp
With Ian Rankin
Kyle Wiens: Right to Repair
Join the world’s most influential maintenance man for a discussion of tech waste, consumption, economic opportunity and a new kind of DIY revolution with tech commentator and radio broadcaster Vanessa Toholka.
Kyle Wiens and volunteer Leo
‘When you fix something – just for a moment – entropy loses its iron grip on the universe,’ Kyle Wiens has written. ‘When you…
In previous Quarterly Essays, David Marr has turned his merciless pen to powerful men of the establishment: George Pell, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten. In his new biographical essay, however, Marr’s subject is a self-styled populist outlier and a woman: Pauline Hanson.
As Australian political figures go, they don’t come much more colourful than Hanson. Her divisive speeches and curious catchphrases are etched into the memories of many Australians, from the maiden speech to Parliament (‘we are in danger of being swamped by Asians’) to the famous response to the question of xenophobia on 60 Minutes (‘Please explain?’). Then there was the prison stint, the Dancing with the Stars stint, and the extraordinary recent comeback. The former fish-and-chips shop owner is both loved and loathed. And she’s a serious threat to both major parties, with climbing national approval figures.
Today, Hanson has much in common with other anti-immigration, protectionist and populist political figures gaining traction across the world. Join David Marr, one of the finest minds in Australian journalism, as he discusses Pauline Hanson and the uniquely Australian strain of the politics of resentment. Hosted by Sally Warhaft, and recorded live at Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
‘She felt herself choking and tore at her frilled lace collar. “Miranda!”’
Fainting spells, frilly collars, mystery, hysteria and a truly awesome backdrop – Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock might be 50 years old this year, but it remains a point of Australian cultural obsession. The book – written by Lindsay in just four weeks back in 1967 – has inspired a film, a radio play, stage adaptations, fashion spreads, music videos and a new miniseries coming out this year.
Why do we keep coming back to Lindsay’s eerie tale of a Valentine’s Day school picnic gone wrong? Perhaps it’s the ambiguity around fact and fiction; perhaps it’s the striking combinations of imagery or maybe it’s the maddening obscurity of the ending.
At this celebration of Joan Lindsay’s iconic novel (and its enduring myth), Helen Withycombe hosts a conversation between Lindsay's biographer Janelle McCulloch, theatremaker Tom Wright (who adapted the play for Malthouse Theatre in 2016) and Helen Morse, who played the French teacher in Peter Weir's film version of the story.
They discuss the true story (and the mysticism) that inspired Lindsay, the book's refractions of nature and time, the troubling history of Hanging Rock itself and why Lindsay’s tale continues to haunt and provoke Australian storytellers today.
Left to right: Helen Withycombe, Janelle McCulloch, Tom Wright and Helen Morse — Photo: Jon TjhiaYou may also enjoy Podcast episode Australian Literature 102: Joan Lindsay: Picnic at Hanging Rock / Australian stories Podcast episode Australian Literature 101: Patrick White: Voss / Australian stories Podcast episode Australian Literature 101: Christina Stead: The Man Who Loved Children / Australian stories
Dark Emu: Bruce Pascoe and Tony Birch in Conversation
In conversation with Tony Birch, Bruce Pascoe discusses the writing, research and reception of his groundbreaking, celebrated book Dark Emu – which won Book of the Year at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. What does challenging the past of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people mean for the present?
Tony Birch and Bruce Pascoe — Photo: Gemma Rayner
Myths about the lives of pre-colonial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have proven deeply entrenched. But in Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe struck a grievous blow to one of the most widely accepted assumptions of Australian pre-settlement history. He argued, and presented robust evidence drawn from the journals of European explorers, that Indigenous people were not hunter-gatherers at the time of colonisation.
‘The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing – behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag,’ he has said. The book also challenges existing narratives around housing construction, cooking and clothing prior to European settlement.
Presented in partnership with Yirramboi.
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