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News: America in a time of Trump and Clinton

Don Watson was recorded in conversation with Paul Barclay at the Brisbane Powerhouse on September 25, 2016.

Their conversation is now available to listen to online.

News: Don Watson: Donald Trump's political rise hints at modern take on fascism

‘Millions of Americans feel they have been robbed of their birthright. The country's wealth, history and traditions have been subverted or gifted to others. The American future is not theirs. They were losing long before the Great Recession, and since it hit they've lost even more. The greatest country on earth is becoming someone else's: that's if it still is the greatest country. Hell, when did they last win a war? An actual shooting war? Grenada?’

Read an extract from Enemy Within by Don Watson in the Sydney Morning Herald.

News: 'No one to learn from' Ken Henry slams APS collective amnesia

‘Decades of government outsourcing and waves of senior redundancies have left much of the nation's public service unable to provide proper and effective advice to politicians and their voters, say two former Treasury bosses.’

Extract: Public servants ignored in favour of spin

‘The periodic mass axing of public service heads upon the arrival of incoming conservative governments has created a caution in the culture. The bureaucracy has been cowed both by the prospect of being sacked and by a reward system which punishes taking risks.’

Read an exclusive extract from Political Amnesia by Laura Tingle online at the Australian Financial Review.

Watch: David Marr and Sophie Black at the Wheeler Centre

David Marr and Sophie Black discuss Bill Shorten and David's latest Quarterly Essay Faction Man at the Wheeler Centre.

Also available to download as a podcast.

News: Shorten 'had no big role in Rudd return'

‘Journalist David Marr has uncovered new details about Mr Shorten's lesser role in the Rudd return in a Quarterly Essay published on Monday entitled Faction Man.’

News: The public doesn’t know what Bill Shorten stands for, or what he thinks

‘The Opposition Leader has had plenty of time to show he has what it takes to lead the nation, but has been found wanting.’

Bill Shorten just wants to be liked, and that's the problem

‘Most politicians have a deep and insatiable need to be loved, but even among those in his own party Bill Shorten's pursuit of affection can seem a little desperate.’

David Marr in The Drum on the problem with Bill Shorten.

News: 2015 Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism

Blood Year by David Kilcullen has been shortlisted for a 2015 Walkley Award.

Watch: The Rise of ISIS and Its Threat: David Kilcullen in conversation with Robert Manne

In this La Trobe University Ideas and Society session at the Wheeler Centre, David Kilcullen, author of the Quarterly EssayBlood Year: Terror and the Islamic State’, and La Trobe University emeritus professor Robert Manne discuss the rise of ISIS and the threat it poses (via The Monthly).

I see no alternative to a larger, more intense conventional war against Isis

‘There are no quick solutions to current global conflict. But we risk a regional conflagration in the Middle East if the west doesn’t do more to contain Isis now.’

Read an extract from Quarterly Essay 58 Blood Year online at the Guardian.

News: QE58 in the Saturday Paper

‘part history, part enlightened analysis, part commentary, part provocation and part mea culpa’ – The Saturday Paper reviews Blood Year by David Kilcullen.

News: State of fear outgrows insurgency label

“Simply put, the Islamic State is, or is on the verge of becoming, what it claims to be: a state.”

Read an extract from QE58: Blood Year by David Kilcullen online at the Sydney Morning Herald.

News: Karen Hitchcock's Quarterly Essay

Stephen Romei writes in the Australian that Dear Life by Karen Hitchcock “should be required reading for every Australian.”

News: That Sinking Feeling wins Walkley Award

Quarterly Essay congratulates Paul Toohey on winning the best long feature-writing prize at the Walkley Awards. His essay That Sinking Feeling: Asylum Seekers and the Search for the Indonesian Solution is a powerful and original work of reportage that reveals the lives of asylum seekers and the politics of Australia's response to them.

News: 2014 John Button Prize longlist

Quarterly Essay 50 Unfinished Business by Anna Goldsworthy and Quarterly Essay 53 That Sinking Feeling by Paul Toohey have been been longlisted for the 2014 John Button Prize.

News: 2013 John Button Prize longlist

Quarterly Essay 46 Great Expectations by Laura Tingle, Quarterly Essay 47 Political Animal by David Marr, Quarterly Essay 48 After the Future by Tim Flannery and Quarterly Essay 49 Not Dead Yet by Mark Latham have all been longlisted for the 2013 John Button Prize.

News: Political Animal shortlisted for 2013 John Button Prize

Quarterly Essay 47 Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott by David Marr has been shortlisted for the 2013 John Button Prize.


Sydney Ideas: American Politics in the Time of Trump

Author Don Watson in conversation with the United States Studies Centre's James Brown

Co-presented with the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

Join Don Watson and fellow Quarterly Essayist James Brown for a discussion of the strangest election campaign the US has ever seen. In Quarterly Essay 63 - Enemy Within, Don Watson takes a memorable journey into the heart of the United States in the year 2016.


Date: 6 October 2016
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 4002 (Messell), Sydney Nanoscience Hub, Physics Rd, The University of Sydney.
Tickets: This is a free event. Please book online.

In Conversation with Quarterly Essayist, Don Watson

The Perth USAsia Centre, the City of Perth Library and Boffins Books are delighted to invite you to attend a compelling public discussion featuring Don Watson, historian, author and public speaker.

With characteristic wit and acuity, Don Watson will speak about his essay in the upcoming Quarterley essay that takes us on a journey into the heart of the United States in the year 2016. Plunging into the apparent chaos of the presidential campaign and tracing America's recent past, he puts Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in a larger frame.


Date: 11 October 2016
Time: 6:15pm
Venue: University Club of Western Australia Auditorium, Cnr Stirling Hwy and Hackett Drive, Crawley, WA 6009.
Tickets: $30 / $25 / $12. Please book online.

Don Watson on the US Election

Almost a decade after his acclaimed American Journeys, author and historian Don Watson is revisiting the world's most powerful democracy in the lead up to the presidential elections. In Quarterly Essay 63, with his characteristic wit and acuity, he takes us on a journey into the heart of the United States in the year 2016 and looks at what American greatness means in the age of inequality and what this divisive election means for us, and them.


Date: 25 October 2016
Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Geelong Library, 51 Little Malop Street, Geelong, VIC 3220.
Tickets: This is a free event. Please book online.