Explore the 2024 Program

Beyond the Bookshelf: Part 4

The latest literary news, analysis and writing

These past few weeks, much like those that preceded them, have provided us with ample reading material. We’re just over halfway through the year, and 2020 has already given us plenty to contend and grapple with. We recommend diving straight into The Decameron Project: Twenty-nine new short stories to help understand this moment. Carrie Tiffany tells us to read Elizabeth Jolley’s 1989 novel My Father’s Moon, and describes the experience of "reading a fine novel as akin to falling in love”; and Claire G. Coleman writes of Dorothy Porter, “You taught me; what words can do; what poetry/Is; can be.”

Would-be 2020 Festival guest Joshua Wong has tweeted that his books have started to disappear from Hong Kong libraries since Beijing introduced new legislation that “imposes a mainland-style censorship regime upon this international financial city”. It might be time to consider (or reconsider) whether we’re living in dystopian times, as Paul Holdengräber and Margaret Atwood discuss this proposition on the Quarantine Tapes podcast, a series that chronicles how writers are experiencing the shifting social paradigms of the pandemic.

Of the surge in Indigenous book sales in the wake of the Black Lives Matter and Aboriginal Lives Matter movements, Anita Heiss has said “Passion is needed, it is inspiring, it is helpful, and it gives hope. But it doesn’t come without a lot of extra work.” She points to BlackWords as “a one-stop shop for everything published by our mob,” which features a wealth of teaching and learning resources. Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy 28-day workbook has been designed for those with white privilege who may be asking, “What can I do personally to make a difference?”