Strange Here: George Saunders
‘If we were going to try to write a novel about right now, what’s the equivalent of a god’s-eye-view of right now? I think it’s … every thought going on right now, presented simultaneously.’
American writer George Saunders is one of the world’s most surreal – and most empathic – eyewitnesses to modern life. But quixotic? Not so much. In his writing, he’s generous with his subjects: offering them dignity where consumerism and politics deny it. It’s absurd and heart-wrenching stuff; often farcical, with echoes of despair.
Best known until now for his short story collections (Tenth of December, Pastoralia) and collected essays (The Braindead Megaphone), Saunders has also written novellas, children’s books, and now, a novel – or something close to it, anyway. Lincoln in the Bardo defies comparison. Born from a kernel of history (Abraham Lincoln’s mourning for his dead son), the book hurls a giddy net of voices into the twilight between life and death, ruminating on love that – like all love – must end.
Having moved from field geophysicist to doorman, roofer and slaughterhouse worker before arriving at writing, Saunders himself is as shape-shifting as his writing. For the first time in Australia, he talks to Don Watson about his hyper-real prose, his simple, methodical approaches to writing, and his redoubled commitment to the profundity of art.
George Saunders speaks with Don Watson at Northcote Town Hall — Photo: Jon Tjhia
American Misadventure with Nathan Hill
Critics have likened him to John Irving; Irving has likened him to Charles Dickens; and Dickens, though very much dead, might have appreciated the humour, heart and panoramic scope of his work. Nathan Hill is the American writer of the moment.
His debut novel, The Nix, is a sprawling, postmodern social satire that skewers contemporary American politics, media and academia…
Griffith Review: Millennial Edition
What are millennials up against, and what do they bring to their challenges?
In Griffith Review’s Millennial Edition, guest editor Jerath Head has invited young writers to lend their sophisticated critiques to the culture they’ve grown into. They include Briohny Doyle, whose story addresses wistful dreams of real estate ownership despite her scant prospects; Yassmin Abdel-Magied, who writes of the contrast between her activism and that of her parents; and Timmah Ball, whose piece deals with racism, ‘corporate feminism’ and the inspiration of Indigenous women who’ve come before her.
In their essays, each writer deals with the question of how millennials can find their place in a time of massive change, and a fraught, difficult world. In this episode, they join us for a chat about writing and coming of age in the 21st Century.
Jerath Head, Briohny Doyle, Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Timmah BallYou might like 13 Jun 2017 Upcoming event Booking fast
Invasion of the Pod PeopleCan U Not? Featuring Megan Tan / Radio
With Megan Tan, Brodie Lancaster, and Kamna Muddagouni
Armando Iannucci in Conversation with Annabel Crabb
Armando Iannucci is the brilliant comedic mind behind Veep’s Selina Meyer, The Thick of It’s Malcolm Tucker and, in collaboration with Chris Morris on The Day Today, the irrepressible Alan Partridge. If you’re familiar with Iannucci’s work, you’ll know he’s also responsible for some of the most inventive swearing and bizarre black comedy ever broadcast in TV history.
The Fifth Estate: Mark Colvin
Mark Colvin was one of the most trusted and revered figures in Australian journalism. In this Fifth Estate discussion with Sally Warhaft, recorded at the Wheeler Centre in November 2016, he reflected on the release of his memoir, Light and Shadow, discussing the unlikely convergence of family and foreign affairs in his personal and professional lives, as well as…
Mark Colvin, 1952–2017
In this episode, we pay tribute to Mark Colvin, who died this morning. Colvin was one of the most trusted and revered figures in Australian journalism today.
We thought we'd share his recent Fifth Estate discussion with Sally Warhaft, recorded on 29 November 2016, in which he reflected on the release of his memoir, Light and Shadow, discussing the unlikely convergence of family and foreign affairs in his personal and professional lives, as well as four decades at the forefront of news reporting.
Colvin won the respect of generations of Australians through his work at the original Double J, his stint as the ABC’s correspondent in London and for his reporting on Australian politics and international conflicts. Today he’s known as the voice of ABC Radio’s current-affairs flagship PM and the darling of Australian Twitter.
Mark ColvinVideos GALAs 2015: On Five. A Gala Night of Storytelling. / Australian stories
With Mark Colvin, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Eddie Perfect and 9 othersIs the concept of a country obsolete? Questions in a refugee crisis / Migration
With Geraldine Brooks, Tom Elliott, Voranai Vanijaka and 1 otherTruth is stranger than fiction. Can fiction be stronger than truth? Geraldine Brooks and Mark Colvin / Books, reading & writing
With Geraldine Brooks and Mark ColvinWhat’s the ‘good’ in the good fight? Questions for ethical thinking in strange times / Ethics & morals
With Raimond Gaita, Alan Duffy, Gregory Phillips and 2 othersThe Fifth Estate: Mark Colvin / Biography & memoir
With Mark Colvin and Sally Warhaft
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