Read Writers on Writers

Provocative, crisp and written from a practitioner’s perspective, the series starts a fresh conversation between past and present, and writer and reader. It sheds light on the craft of writing, and introduces some intriguing and talented authors and their work.

One of my recent finds on Audible was the Writers on Writers series, it involves one author writing about another author:

Writers on writers is a series of short books in which leading authors reflect on an Australian writer who has inspired and influenced them.

This was different from something like the Fontana Modern Masters series, which from my experience provided a structured ‘guide to intellectual currents’. Although like the Fontana series each book involves an engagement between the two authors, where this series differs is that each book is unique in voice and style. For example:

  • On John Marsden is Alice Pung’s letter of gratitude.
  • On David Malouf is as much a reflection on Nam Le’s writing and what it means to be an Australian writer as it is about Malouf.
  • On Patrick White is Christos Tsiolkas’ more methodical analysis about what made White’s writing so powerful.

What is interesting about these books is that knowledge of either writer is not essential as each book offers its own insight.

Liked ‘School shaming’ and the reactionary politics of neotrads by Benjamin Doxtdator (

Along with phrases appropriated directly from the so-called alt-right, a small group of neotraditionalist educators have invented the concept of ‘school shaming’ to make their reactionary politics seem, well, less reactionary. Criticize a school for how it treats students, and you’re ‘school shaming’. Talk about structural racism and curriculum, and you’re playing ‘identity politics’. Oppose calls to shore up the authority of teachers in the face of supposedly out-of-control youth, and you’re ‘virtue-signalling’.

Listened Radical Sacrifice: Terry Eagleton and Daniel Soar | Events from London Review Bookshop

Professor Terry Eagleton’s more than 40 books have explored, in consistently invigorating ways, the many and surprising intersections and confluences of literature, culture, ideology and belief. His latest book *[Radical Sacrifice][2]* (Yale) draws on the Bible, the *Aeneid*, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and Henry James in a brilliant meditation on the concept of sacrifice, fundamentally reconfiguring it as a radical force within modern life and thought. Professor Eagleton was in conversation about his latest work with Daniel Soar, senior editor at the London Review of Books.

Terry Eagleton talks about all things relating to sacrifice. It is an enthralling conversation that goes in many directions. One interesting idea that he discusses is Marx as prophet:


Eagleton explains that Marx’s work was not about creating a Utopia, but rather about fixing the present, for the future is created with the language of today. This reminds me of Audrey Watters’ talk The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Issue a Press Release:

I am not a futurist. I don’t make predictions. But I can look at the past and at the present in order to dissect stories about the future.

Bookmarked NAPLAN's writing test is 'bizarre' but here's how kids can get top marks (ABC News)

Last October, Dr Perelman was commissioned to conduct a review of ACARA’s planned automated essay-scoring known as “robot marking”.

His review was critical, sparked concern among education ministers, and finally led to the scrapping of the plan.

I love the addition of a guide how to game the test. I remember a friend doing something similar during VCE, where he intentionally focused on learning words to really refine his writing. Might have been different, but seems a long way from Orwell’s idea of the English language.