Category Uncategorized

What you find when you are looking for something else…

In the midst of a Stage 4 lockdown here in Victoria’s Covid-19 pandemic you can still be surprised and pleased by a chance discovery. Who needs to travel further than five kilometers when there’s something to be found right at your desk? Here’s a review of my By the Book: A reader’s Guide to Life […]

First review – A Letter to Layla: Travels to our deep past and near future

It’s always scary waiting for the first review of a book, especially when it’s taken five years to write. I am happy and very relieved to share this one, just published, from Books+Publishing (Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry). 19 August 2020   ‘Ramona Koval’s latest book is really a quest story: in […]

My conversation with Kate Grenville about her novel – A Room Made of Leaves.

While I am waiting for the publication day for A Letter to Layla: Travels to our Deep Past and Near Future (Text Publishing) on September 29th, 2020, I am enjoying events like this one above where I interviewed the excellent Australian writer Kate Grenville on her new novel A Room Made of Leaves (Text Publishing) […]

A Letter to Layla: Travels to Our Deep Past and Near Future

Here’s the advance notice for my new book, A Letter to Layla: Travels to our Deep Past and Near Future, due out with Text Publishing on 29th September, 2020. It’s been more than five years in the making, and I’m engaged in the final edits before printing. It’s very exciting to see it taking form […]

Robert Macfarlane, depths and landscapes.

My editor mentioned a book in his comments on one of the chapters of my new book (to be published next year) which I followed up greedily, as I knew the work of Robert Macfarlane. His book Underland: A Deep Time Journey indeed had important resonances for my own work and I encourage you to […]

Professor Deborah Lipstadt in conversation with me at the Sydney Opera House.

It was my pleasure to conduct a conversation at the Sydney Opera House with American writer and historian Deborah Lipstadt who is perhaps best known as the woman who was sued by Holocaust Denier David Irving, and who won the case after a legal struggle that stretched over six years. In Sydney for the Antidote […]

Harold Bloom, literary critic, dies at 89.

Harold Bloom, according to today’s New York Times, was frequently called the most notorious literary critic in America. Read this for a detailed account of his life and work. He thought Shakespeare was a god and that god was a literary invention written by an anonymous woman he referred to as “J”. I interviewed him in […]

A conversation with Toni Morrison

“The Nobel prize meant a lot to me. It was a huge surprise. Very pleasant. I never thought of it as … although I think I said things that were expected of me about how I felt about its being awarded to my work, which I thought was obviously deserving, and it represented America, it […]

Dubravka Ugrešić – remembering Baba Yaga

One of the great joys of aging is the way your mind becomes like a massive filing cabinet, much of the time simply a jumble of drawers and labels and yellowing manilla folders. But then, a miracle happens and you make a connection between an idea you are having and a perfectly apposite reference somewhere […]

Joseph Heller: Not today and not during this interview.

I see that there’s a remake TV series of Catch-22. Time, I think, to revisit my interview with its author, American novelist and memoirist Joseph Heller, conducted in New York in 1998, just a year before he died aged 76. Joseph Heller was a master of the absurd, so much so that the title of […]