Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 28, 2023

Heat Literary Journal, Series 3, No 8 (2023), edited by Alexandra Christie… and Henry Handel Richardson

Considering that Henry Handel Richardson is one of my all-time favourite authors, there is not nearly enough about her on this blog.  Apart from reviews of Maurice Guest (1908) and The Adventures of Cuffy Mahony and Other Stories (1979), there’s more about HHR than there is by her.  It’s because I read her magnum opus The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney back in my university days and re-read it twice before starting this blog.  In 2004, however, I wrote copious thoughts about Australia Felix (Book 1 of the trilogy) in my reading journal and will one day add it to my Reviews from the Archive.

I started reading Michael Ackland’s Henry Handel Richardson, A Life (2004) because I was a bit indignant about the representation of HHR in Brenda Niall’s Friends and Rivals (2020, see my review)… but I got distracted, and need to start again…

But in the meantime, I was surprised and delighted to find HHR within the pages of the latest edition of HEAT (Series 3, Vol 8.) And you are in luck, dear readers, because Cameron Hurst’s essay is available to read online.  Click the link in the blurb from the Giramondo website below.

Some things have nothing in common until you put them together, says artist and collector Patrick Pound about his series of found photographs in our latest issue. The writers in HEAT Series 3 Number 8 seem similarly drawn to overlooked meaning. In ‘Shopping’, a short story by Katerina Gibson, a young arts worker in Melbourne overcomes an obsession with designer clothing. The late Hong Kong writer Xi Xi, in a work of autobiographical fiction, processes a cancer diagnosis. Essayist Cameron Hurst finds herself attending a meeting of the Victorian Spiritualists’ Union after reading Henry Handel Richardson. And poets Judith Beveridge and Paul Muldoon transform unassuming animals, people and places into singular moments.


Xi Xi (trans. Jennifer Feeley) Mourning a Breast  prose
Judith Beveridge  Animal Poems  poetry
Patrick Pound  Air Heading Right  art
Cameron Hurst  Send Me a Sign?  prose
Katerina Gibson  Shopping  prose
Paul Muldoon  Three Poems  poetry

Frontispiece by Julie Rrap

Cameron Hurst is a writer and sessional academic who teaches art history at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.  Her essay is both wry and illuminating about HHR and the fad for spiritualism that was prevalent in HHR’s era.

There are other good things in this journal, particularly the poetry of Judith Beveridge with surprising insights about our Australian pest species — among which she includes the local toms fighting, a sound of wild hissing—as if bagpipes were asphyxiating (p.38):

  • Bluebottles… so many swimmers ran out of the sea, branded with welts / or wearing scarlet copies of the tentacles of a swarm of bluebottles (p.35)
  • The Cuttlefish … with its alarm of pigments (p.36)
  • The Leech… Gatherers, poor women, wading in bogs and swamps found you with their feet and legs (p.37);
  • Animals in Our Suburbs, 1960s … In our suburb no one had a lapdog.  Who’d ever heard of a lhasa apso, a shih tzu, or a bichon frisé? (p.38)
  • Listening to Cicadas … The aural equivalent of downing eight glasses of caffeinated alcohol (p.39)

You can subscribe to Heat here, or find individual issues in good bookstores.


  1. Funnily enough, I only discovered this journal via Instagram yesterday! I bookmarked the link to go back to. Giramondo do some very interesting things…


    • Indeed they do.
      Are you a fan of HHR? (It’s ok, *chuckle* it will not be the end of a beautiful friendship if you’re not.)


      • Well… I haven’t read her *ducks for cover* so don’t know! I do have a beautiful old secondhand hardback book of Australia Felix which I picked up in a charity shop about a decade ago but I’ve never got around to reading it. I think I started it and got distracted by other things happening in my life and just never went back to it. But maybe I’ll give it a go later in the year!


        • That sounds like a treasure!
          It so interesting to read my reading journal thoughts which are, as you’d expect, just about the story and the characterisation, and then to read contemporary criticism about it, which is about its place in OzLitHist, and its divergence from the 19th century Victorian novel etc etc etc.
          Needless to say, I do not remember a thing about how it was placed within my BA (English) which was all about the development of the novel from the C19th (Austen, Dickens et al) up to about the 1960s (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Catch 22, Cancer Ward, The Master and Margarita). I probably wrote an essay on it, but in those days we wrote on typewriters (and they hadn’t even invented Liquid Paper) and I turfed out my carbon copy in some cull or another, so *chuckle* it is lost to posterity.


  2. Is Heat the journal that was in abeyance for a while and has just been re-introduced? Or is that another one? Anyhow, I nearly bought a copy last month and then put it down, as I’ve been doing rather a lot lately. I need to get over this moving hump, and just see where I am.


  3. […] 8 has already landed (and been reviewed by Lisa at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog). The good things just keep […]


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