Internet, journalism, media & publishing
Books and Ideas at Montalto
One Hundred Years of Dirt – Rick Morton’s unflinching memoir – tells of growing up on a cattle station in Queensland: of witnessing a horrific accident befall his brother; his father’s alcoholism; his mother’s strength. It’s a story of poverty, drug addiction, cruelty, anger and tragedy; of love and endurance. The Age praised its ‘exquisite detail’; Christos Tsiolkas has described it as ‘honest and harsh and beautiful and loving’.
At the heart of the book is the question of social mobility – and it’s a question asked in a time of unfavourable odds. Wealth inequality in Australia is growing. The highest 20% of income earners make five times as much of those in the lowest 20%. In this lowest 20%, we’re most likely to see people who are unemployed, single parents, those aged over 65, migrants from non-English speaking countries, and those living in rural and regional Australia.
For many years, Morton was the social affairs writer for the Australian. One Hundred Years of Dirt blends Morton’s own story with reportage and social commentary on how these issues and stories play out every day across Australia. It is both a story of one man and one family, and a story of this country.
In this discussion with Elizabeth McCarthy at Montalto, Morton shares the process of living and writing his story. Tune in for a discussion about hope and celebrating survival; the lessons we can learn about Australia, and the work we could do to challenge and change inequality.
Presented in partnership with Montalto.
The Wheeler Centre
The Show of the Year 2019
Content note: This podcast episode contains some strong language, and mentions violence and child sexual abuse.
As the decade turns, The Show of the Year marks 2019 in style – with host Casey Bennetto and a glittering line-up of writers, comedians and musicians. Paul Kelly, Nath Valvo, Alice Bishop, Sista Zai Zanda, Margot Morales Tanjutco, Laura Jean, Alice Gorman, Evelyn Araluen, The Merindas, Brodie Lancaster, Louise Milligan and Bill Shorten share their thoughts on subjects as various as the decommissioning of the Opportunity Rover on Mars, the Tigers' premiership run, the death of Toni Morrison, The Masked Singer and the closure of Uluru to tourists.
Select an image to view in detail
Select an image to view in detail
What a year. Protests shook Hong Kong, the Amazon caught fire and children led a worldwide climate strike. Boris Johnson picked up the prime ministerial ball as it came loose from the back of the scrum, Scott Morrison baseball-capped his way back into government, and Trump impeachment talk turned to (some) action.
We said goodbye to towering figures in literature and politics, including Toni Morrison, Bob Hawke, Les Murray, Clive James and Mary Oliver. And we farewelled meowing figures of the internet. (R.I.P. Grumpy Cat.)
There were the mandatory Big Cultural Moments, too: someone (no spoilers) finally won the Game of Thrones, Fleabag stormed the Emmys, and a Sydney real estate video went viral. Beyoncé came home, Fyre Festival blew up (again) and Lil Nas X shot to stardom via TikTok. Ah yes, how could we forget: TikTok.
Goodbye 2019 … we hardly knew ye!
2019 Favourites: Wheeler Centre Staff
We wrap 2019 with the books, films, television, podcasts – and, really, anything that nourished Wheeler Centre staff during the past 12 months.
The Wheeler Centre
Writing in Exile: PEN International Day of the Imprisoned Writer
Sami Shah, Samah Sabawi, Mammad Aidani and Roza Germian at the Wheeler Centre
Writers and journalists are often among the first citizens targeted and punished by autocratic leaders. With creeping authoritarianism and instability in many regions around the world, it's an increasingly dangerous time for writers of all kinds.
On the eve of PEN International's Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we held a special panel event as part of our Writers in Exile series to discuss old and emerging threats to literary freedoms today.
Host Sami Shah welcomed back the three writers who have shared their personal stories of exile – journalist Roza Germian, playwright Samah Sabawi and playwright and poet Mammad Aidani – for the last conversation in the series. They discuss their own experiences and their knowledge of press and literary restriction in their respective home countries – as well as the role Australia can and should play on the international stage with regards to protecting and protesting the freedom of writers here and overseas.
Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne.
The Fifth Estate
Political Wrap 2019
For the final Fifth Estate of 2019, George Megalogenis returns to reflect with host Sally Warhaft on the year in Australian politics.
Sally Warhaft and George Megalogenis
They discuss the early manoeuvres of Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese, and the 46th federal parliament. They talk, too, about the stories that made domestic headlines – as well as how major international news events were felt here in Australia. What do these stories and controversies reveal about our country and our culture?
It’s been a wild ride of a decade in Australian politics, with seven prime ministers in 10 years. What does the next year – and the next decade – hold in store?
This is our final episode of The Fifth Estate for 2019; we'll be back early in 2020 with a new slate of conversations. Stay tuned!
The Wheeler Centre
The Next Big Thing: Most Underrated Book Award Edition 2019
Composite, left to right: Melissa Cranenburgh, Lenka Vanderboom, James Cristina and Ilka Tampke
What's small, nerdy, fiercely independent and sometimes noisy? The Small Press Network's Most Underrated Book Award. It's an anticipated annual tradition – always our last Next Big Thing event of the year – and it's the only peer-reviewed and proven preventative medicine for your chronic case of reader's FOMO.
Now in its seventh year, the Small Press Network’s Most Underrated Book Award celebrates independently published titles that deserve some extra attention. Previously, the award has gone to The Cook by Wayne Macauley, A Wrong Turn in the Office of Unmade Lists by Jane Rawson. Last year's winner was Living in Hope by the late Frank Byrne.
The 2019 shortlisted titles are Brontide by Sue McPherson (Magabala Books), Antidote to a Curse by James Cristina (Transit Lounge) and Songwoman by Ilka Tampke (Text Publishing), and the 2019 judging panel is Melissa Cranenburgh, Jane Rawson and Jackie Tang.
In this episode, we hear readings from the shortlisted works, and toast a great year in independent publishing, before revealing the 2019 MUBA winner. We're joined by each of the shortlisted authors (except Sue McPherson, who is represented by Magabala Books director Lenka Vanderboom). Melissa Cranenburgh hosts.
Presented in partnership with Small Press Network.
Anything and everything in Internet, journalism, media & publishing from across our archives.
Question Marks and Commas Make For Classic Cinema
Punctuation can tell you a lot about a person, but at Slate Nathan Heller has traced the rise and fall of film director Woody Allen all through his use of the humble comma.
"Bafflingly mispunctuated" poster from Woody Allen
Heller argues that Allen’s films were at their best when the titles used more punctuation, citing What’s New Pussycat?, What’s Up, Tiger Lily? and…
Crime Master’s Career has Chandleresque Origins
(Click to watch video.)
He’s written 24 novels and created two of crime and mystery fictions best-known contemporary heroes, Harry Bosch and Micky Haller. In Australia alone, as of early 2011, he’d sold 1.25 million books. His novels now sell an average of 85,000 copies. He’s Michael Connelly, a colossus of his - and indeed any - literary genre, and in this video he’s…
‘Cloudstreet’ Takes Pride of Place
Poster of a Coffs Harbour Amateur Theatrical Society adaptation of Cloudstreet
A Perth-based fan of the Tim Winton classic Cloudstreet believes she’s narrowed the location of Tim Winton’s much-loved novel to the inner-city suburb of West Leederville. Heidi Ciriello has identified West Leederville’s Kimberley Street as the most likely location of the flaking mansion shared for two decades by the Pickles and Lambs.
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