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Friday High Five: Creativity and Mental Illness, Living Off the Grid

Read Thursday, 14 Aug 2014

Remembering Robin Williams

We were all shocked this week to hear of Robin Williams’ death, aged just 63. This insightful Rolling Stone profile, written when Awakenings was released, is a lovely way to remember him. Or, you know, you can rewatch any one of his great performances. As a literary organisation, we of course have to recommend Dead Poet’s Society.

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Creativity and Mental Illness: A Neuroscientist on the Link

Are creative people more likely than the general population to suffer from mental illness, or is that a myth? A neuroscientist has been investigating with a large-scale study, where she’s scanned the brains of some of today’s most illustrious scientists, mathematicians, artists, and writers. She says the link is real, and that it’s linked to the fact that ‘creative people are better at recognizing relationships, making associations and connections, and seeing things in an original way – seeing things that others cannot see’.

James Franco’s short stories now a Coppola film

James Franco’s short-story collection, Palo Alto, has been adapted and filmed as the debut feature from Gia Coppola, niece of Sofia and granddaughter of Francis Ford, after Franco offered her the rights, saying he recognised a shared sensibility. One reviewer has said, ‘James Franco’s unintentionally-LOL-worthy collection of short stories has been condensed, refined, & infinitely bettered by writer-director Gia Coppola, who, as you can imagine from her stock, is more than capable of sorting the wheat from Franco’s chaff.’ The film is in Australian cinemas this week. You can watch the trailer below.

Behind the Book Cover: Forensic Songs

You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover … but of course, so many of us do, at least at first glance. Slate has published an interview with the designer of one innovative new book cover, talking about his process, what a good book cover should do, and how he came up with the concept for this particular book, Mike McCormack’s Forensic Songs.

Most of what needs to happen when a viewer sees a book cover happens in a few seconds. You either hold the eye or you don’t. And then if you hold the eye, you either have something interesting to give either in relation to the title, or a feeling, or some glimpse into the world of the book.


Photos from Off the Grid

Since 2012, French photographer Antoine Bruy has been travelling Europe and documenting the lives of people who’ve chosen to withdraw from mainstream society for his photo-essay, Scrublands. His subjects have created their own homes and communities, often using discarded found objects. Next, Bruy plans to continue his project in the US and Mexico.


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.