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The Monthly December 2023 — January 2024 issue


Our annual bumper Summer Reading issue is here to see you through December and January in a wide variety of thoughtful, surprising and entertaining ways.

Wrapping up our understanding of the year that was, Sean Kelly offers his customarily astute take on 12 months in Australian politics and asks whether they leave us any better off than we were at the start of the year. It’s commentary that’s paired with Megan Davis’s analysis of the wash-up of the year’s biggest story – the failed referendum on the Voice to Parliament – and an attempt to make sense, without despair, of what eventuated.

But beyond analysis of the past year, Summer Reading is a time for juicy essays on subjects for everyone:

• Tim Winton considers the role of the writer in the fight against climate catastrophe, sharing his reading list, and his thoughts and fears about the challenge ahead;
• Jess Hill, perhaps sensitive to our need for hope as the end of the year approaches, gives us a good news story, about how a combination of research, advocacy and a lot of hard work led to the changing of a bad law, and good news for single parents;
• When it comes to greyhound racing, many of us are already aware of the seamy underbelly of the industry, of the stories about crooked trainers and horribly mistreated animals. But it’s only the start of the story. Katherine Wilson looks into the network of covert investigators working to save the dogs and stop the cruelty;
• Anthony Ham tells us about the history of Kakadu National Park, and how it’s likely to affect what comes next for its protection, and for the interests of its traditional owners;
• From Taiwan, Margaret Simons, accompanied by photographer Dave Tacon, takes in the story of indigenous Taiwanese identity, considering the ways in which it is recognised and denied, and what those faultlines mean for land rights, recognition and mainland China’s attitudes to the island.

Plus tennis, sea swimming, the NGV Triennial, the NGA Emily Kam Kngwarray retrospective, film, books, TV and so much more. Enough reading to see you through what we hope is a long, restful and indulgent summer.