Books and literature

So you want to be a poet

She found fame as a teenage poet, but Grace Perry’s startling later work and her support for fellow poets are barely remembered.

Probate: a short story

Stan didn’t look good at all. I could see him in the garden, through a window. Hunched forward, sucking on a cigarette, mistaking it for a sign of life.

Mr Archimedes Moves In

The Library is the new home of award-winning children’s author and illustrator Pamela Allen’s extensive archive.

Peas: a short story

It’s just a bag of peas, she told herself. I can order more online. So why was she crying?

These strange days: writers, post COVID-19

As writers adapt to a vastly altered publishing landscape, how will they remake themselves in a post-pandemic world?

Working for the Weekend

Donald Horne’s unlikely editorship of the mass-market Weekend magazine was a crucial stage in the Lucky Country author’s development as a public intellectual.

The Magic Pudding

In October 1918 Angus & Robertson published what would become one of Australia’s best known children’s stories: The Magic Pudding.

World War I diaries

The Library's collection of World War I diaries offers a glimpse into the life of Australians at war. 

Miles Franklin

‘Heaven could be no more magical and mystical than unspoiled Australia' - the brilliant career of Miles Franklin.

A distant paradise for Dickens

Charles Dickens saw Australia as a utopia for the working class — and his wayward sons.

Mallarmé: ‘Pages’ and ‘A throw of the dice’

Rare first editions of two proto-modernist works by French poet Stéphane Mallarmé.

Andre Breton: early Surrealist publications

Between 1919 and 1930  Andre Breton published experimental texts that defined the Surrealist movement.

Shakespeare - his birthplace, home and grave

In 1864 the Reverend John M. Jephson published his book on the birthplace, home, and grave of Shakespeare. Nestled within the pages of text are a series of photographs of sites relating to Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-on-Avon.

The enjoyment of a good story: 19th-century children's books

From tales of colonial adventure to moralising educational tracts, children’s literature in nineteenth-century Australia played a significant role in educating children as the nation’s future citizens. 

Shakespeare at the Library

Discover the fascinating story behind Shakespeare's First Folio and other stories featuring Shakespeare in the Library.

Illuminated manuscripts

Illuminated manuscripts are some of the most beautiful written works ever produced.

Magna Carta

The Library holds a rare manuscript version of the 1297 statute of the Magna Carta that was signed by King John at Runnymede.

Dorothea Mackellar's My Country

"I love a sunburnt country": Learn the history of one of Australia's best loved poems.

Henry Lawson: poet of the people

A writer wrote of the hearts of men, and he followed their tracks afar;

For his was a spirit that forced his pen to write of the things that are.

Catching a cab

A surprise bestseller in 1886, Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab continues to intrigue.

Splendid Species

The Library is delighted to announce the complete digitisation of its renowned "pattern" set of 681 folio-sized plates for  'The Birds of Australia' by John Gould. 

Ethel Turner's Seven Little Australians

"We have decided to go to Lindfield. It will be like being buried alive to live in a quiet little country place after the bustle and excitement of town life."

The story of May Gibbs

May Gibbs, author, illustrator and cartoonist, has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of Australians with her lovable bush characters and fairytale landscapes.

Through Darwin's eyes

Australia played an important role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.