There have been some sustained quakes of excitement amongst the type of people who count Discworld as one of their favourite holiday destinations. Yes, Terry Pratchett fans, I’m talking about you. Excitement can be tinged with anxiety when such a beloved book is adapted to the screen, whether big and silver or small (though have … Continue reading Pre-Reading

What a Novel Can Do

‘The Hamilton Case’ (2004), an early novel from the phenomenal Michelle de Kretser, is an extraordinary evocation of place. I came to it expecting a murder mystery – the one in the title – and instead went on a journey along the city streets and jungle paths of Ceylon. The first section is presented as … Continue reading What a Novel Can Do

Walking a Mile

Twenty years ago, did fiction writers worry about appropriation and exploitation when they approached their work? These have been issues much discussed more recently. Whose stories do we have the right to tell based on our identity and the identity of our characters? Whose voice can we legitimately adopt? Lionel Shriver’s opening address at the … Continue reading Walking a Mile

Pidgin English

I seem to have been reading a lot of English authors lately (my triumvirate of old favourites, David Mitchell, Kate Atkinson and Ian McEwan). There is a certain degree of comfort in their narratives, as an Australian with Anglo-Celtic heritage. I thought, rightly, that Stephen Kelman’s ‘Pigeon English’ (2011) would add a bit of diversity … Continue reading Pidgin English