Queensland figures in the Australian imagination as a frontier, a place of wild landscapes and wilder politics, but also as Australia’s playground, a soft tourist paradise of warm weather and golden beaches.
Based partly on real historical divergences from the rest of Australia, these contradictory images have been questioned and scrutinised in Queensland literature for 150 years, and writers today maintain that complicated imaginative relationship with the idea of Queensland as both different and paradoxical.
By the Book looks at Queensland literature in terms of its regional cultures, while also devoting chapters to Indigenous writing, writing for children and travel writing. In the process it rediscovers lost literary traditions and forgotten writers to stir the imagination. Re-evaluations of early writers like Rosa Praed and George Essex Evans set contemporary writers like David Malouf, Janette Turner Hospital and Venero Armanno in a new context.