Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Children’s literature sparks a conversation on dementia

When-I-see-Grandma-215x215

Witnessing the decline of a grandparent or elderly relative with dementia can be a confusing and confronting time for young children.

In response, a growing number of children’s authors and illustrators, often inspired by personal experience, are turning to the subject in their books for young readers.

To mark World Dementia Awareness Month in September, a group of Australian children’s authors are collaborating to showcase their stories and raise awareness of dementia and its impact on families.

Children’s literature can be a valuable starting point to discuss ageing and the transition to care.

 

“While many countries, including Australia, continue to refuse entry to those seeking humanitarian assistance…”

Pakistani migrants arrive on the beach in Kos, Greece, at dawn after making their way from Turkey Photo: Dan Kitwood

Pakistani migrants arrive on the beach in Kos, Greece, at dawn after making their way from Turkey Photo: Dan Kitwood

Dimitria Groutsis and Diane van den Broek write:

While many countries, including Australia, continue to refuse entry to those seeking humanitarian assistance, struggling countries such as Greece that can least afford it willingly assist. The vast gap in the standard of living between Australia and debt-ridden Greece, begs the question: why is a country that has so little to give, the one most likely to share?

Despite the popular stereotypes of migrants crossing seas in leaky boats as desperate, low-skilled and poorly educated, the truth is that many have considerable skills and qualifications that support their desire to find work, build lives and make a future for themselves and their families.

Recent evidence gathered by the UNHCR also points to a more varied migrant profile. This has helped challenge the common perception that all migrants are a drain on the economy and disrupt the country’s harmony and social life.

In 2015 there were 68,000 refugees who entered Greece by sea to find work and a new life; 57 per cent of those new arrivals were fleeing war in Syria. The UNHCR says more than 40 per cent of them were university educated, and another 46 per cent had secondary educations.

In April this year the UNHCR also conducted surveys to learn more about the challenges facing Syrian refugees in Greece. Preliminary results based on 670 of a planned 3500 interviews paint a picture of a people undergoing a deep and abiding struggle to survive, and who expect to face even further hardship as they continue on their journey.

It’s hard to understand why a country like Australia, which enjoys one of the best standards of living in the world, is not at the forefront of the humanitarian efforts. Why is it that a country that has not had a whiff of austerity or experienced the global financial crisis as acutely as many others did can remain so mean-spirited?

Christina Stead, Australian author, was born today in history: 17 July, 1902

Christina Stead

Christina Stead

Christina Stead (17 July 1902 – 31 March 1983) was an Australian novelist and short-story writer acclaimed for her satirical wit and penetrating psychological characterisations. She was born in the Sydney suburb of Rockdale, New South Wales, and died at Balmain Hospital, Sydney.

Writing in The New York Times, Margalit Fox states that Elizabeth Jolley “was ultimately beyond category”

Margalit Fox

Margalit Fox

Writing in The New York Times, Margalit Fox states that Elizabeth Jolley, the English-born Australian author who was born today in history, 04 June, 1923, “was ultimately beyond category”:

“An idiosyncratic stylist whose dark, delicately brooding novels of social dysfunction were sometimes described as Australian gothic, Ms. Jolley had the quality of an antipodean Shirley Jackson. But if the critics agreed on anything after trying and repeatedly failing to liken Ms. Jolley to other writers — the usual suspects were Barbara Pym, Evelyn Waugh, Flannery O’Connor and Edgar Allan Poe — it was that she was ultimately beyond category.”

Elizabeth Jolley, English-born Australian author, was born today in history: 04 June, 1923

Elizabeth Jolley

Elizabeth Jolley

Monica Elizabeth Jolley AO (4 June 1923 – 13 February 2007) was an English-born writer who settled in Western Australia in the late 1950s. She was 53 when her first book was published, and she went on to publish fifteen novels (including an autobiographical trilogy), four short story collections and three non-fiction books, publishing well into her 70s and achieving significant critical acclaim. She was also a pioneer of creative writing teaching in Australia, counting many well-known writers such as Tim Winton among her students at Curtin University.