Best Australian Essays 2012 Review

Mark Dapin
United Kingdom
EducationUniversity of Warwick BA (hons), University of Technology Sydney (MA), Griffith University Queensland (BGS)
OccupationJournalist, author
Years active1988 – present
AgentDeborah Callaghan Literary Management

Mark Dapin (born 1963) is an award-winning Australianjournalist, author, historian and screenwriter. He is best known for his long-running column in Good Weekend magazine.

Early life[edit]

Mark Dapin was born in Britain and emigrated to Australia in 1989.


Dapin was the founding chief sub-editor of the Australian Financial Review Magazine in 1995.[1] From 1998 to 2002, he was editor and then editor-in-chief of Ralph magazine. He has written for a variety of publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, The Times, Penthouse and Good Weekend. He has a Bachelor of Social Science degree and a Masters in Journalism from UTS and has taught journalism courses at the University of Sydney and Macleay College.

In 2008, Dapin was thrown out of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s home when he was only minutes into a profile interview for Good Weekend magazine. The incident – and subsequent attempts by Ramsay’s publicists to control the story – formed the basis of Dapin’s feature ‘Nightmare on Ramsay Street’[2] and a later essay for the literary magazine Meanjin.[3] Dapin’s work on Ramsay was examined in two essays in The Profiling Handbook[4]: "What's the Point of a Profile? The Curious Cases of Mark Dapin on Gordon Ramsay and Jack Marx on Russell Crowe" by Fiona Giles, and "Double Vision: Profile of a Profile" by Gillian Rennie. Rennie, a lecturer at Rhodes University, South Africa, uses Dapin’s thoughts on the Ramsay interview as a prism for her own reflections on her famous profile of Epainette Mbeki. Giles, a professor at Sydney University, examines Dapin's work alongside that of his contemporary, Jack Marx. She writes: "both journalists are well-known, mid-career writers bringing a gonzo, rock 'n' roll sensibility to their work. Well-versed in the post-New Journalism style, they include themselves in their stories, and are entertainingly provocative. They enjoy a high status in Australia as award-winning writers, are known to court controversy, and have been sacked from Australia’s second largest print empire, Fairfax Media – occasions which attracted media coverage. They are both authors of book-length literary journalism in addition to feature-length profiles, and are admired for being independent thinkers with a quick wit."[4]

Dapin’s departure in 2012 from Fairfax Media (to which he subsequently returned as a contributor) and the loss of his Good Weekend column, were reported extensively in the Australian press.[1][2] In recent years, he has become more prominent as a novelist and historian. In July 2014 he was commissioned by the Centenary of Anzac Jewish Program to write a military history book Jewish Anzacs, published by the Sydney Jewish Museum.[5] In July 2017 he was named as one of the screenwriters on the second season of TV show Wolf Creek[6] – he is credited on two episodes of the show.[7]


  • The Sydney Morning Herald - "Mark Dapin, author of R&R, finds children and fiction are all that matters" by Susan Chenery[8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2010, Ned Kelly Awards, best first fiction, winner, King of the Cross[9]
  • 2012, Miles Franklin Award, longlist, Spirit House[10]
  • 2012, Age Book of the Year, shortlist, Spirit House[11]
  • 2014, Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, shortlist, Spirit House
  • 2015, 'The Nib': CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature — Alex Buzo Shortlist Prize, winner, The Nashos' War
  • 2015, 'The Nib': CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature — People's Choice Award, winner, The Nashos' War
  • 2016, New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards — Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction, shortlist, The Nashos' War
  • 2016, Ned Kelly Awards, best crime novel, shortlist, R&R[12]
  • 2017, Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award Military History Prize 2017, shortlisted, Jewish Anzacs[13]



Short Stories[edit]

  • Dapin, Mark (1993). "My Grandmother's House". Meanjin. 52 (3): 465–476. 
  • Dapin, Mark (1997). "Queer". Enter... : HQ/Flamingo Short Story Collection: 95–106. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2008). "The Face of 1970". Meanjin. 67 (3): 140–145. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2010). "Visitors' Day". The Best Australian Stories 2011: 148–155. 


  • Dapin, Mark (2008). "The Last Jews in Harehills". Meanjin. 67 (2): 46–89. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2012). "Confessions of a Columnist". Meanjin. 68 (1).[14]

Essays and reporting[edit]

  • Dapin, Mark (1998). "From Russia with Gloves". The Best Australian Sports Writing & Photography: 37–44. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2006). "1999 Betrayed (1999)". Best Foot Forward: 30 Years of Australian Travel Writing: 187–192. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2008). "Adventures in LA-Land". The Best Australian Humorous Writing: 69–80. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2009). "Good to see you. Let me see you out". Meanjin. 68 (2): 79–90. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2010). "Ten Myths of Australian Crime". The Best Australian Essays 2010: 43–54. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2012). "Travelling as a Journalist". Small World: Postcards and Intelligence from Everywhere. Griffith Review. 37 (Spring): 93–105. [15]
  • Dapin, Mark (2014). "Try getting out more". Backburn. Australian Author. 46 (1): 18–19. 
  • Dapin, Mark (2017). "'We too were Anzacs': Were Vietnam Veterans ever truly excluded from the Anzac tradition?". The Honest History Book: 77–91. 


  1. ^Dapin, Mark (2004). Sex & Money. Crows Nest NSW: Allen & Unwin. p. 89. ISBN 9781741143201. 
  2. ^Dapin, Mark (31 May 2008). "Nightmare on Ramsay Street". Good Weekend: 27–32. 
  3. ^Mark, Dapin (Winter 2009). "Good to See You: Let Me See You Out". Meanjin. 68: 78–90. 
  4. ^ abJoseph, Sue; Keeble, Richard Lance (2015). The Profiling Handbook. US: Abramis. ISBN 9781845496579. 
  5. ^"Dapin signs on for Jewish military history book - The Australian Jewish News". The Australian Jewish News. 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  6. ^"Cameras roll on more Wolf Creek". TV Tonight. 2017-07-03. Retrieved 2017-07-04. 
  7. ^"Wolf Creek (TV Series 2016– ) Full Cast & Crew". IMDB. 
  8. ^Chenery, Susan (2015-09-12). "Mark Dapin, author of R&R, finds children and fiction are all that matters". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-05-24. 
  9. ^"Ned Kelly Award Winners". Australian Crime Writers Association. Retrieved 2017-05-24. 
  10. ^"Miles Franklin Literary Award & Recipients". Perpetual. 
  11. ^"Words of Great Worth". 4 August 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  12. ^"2016 Shortlist". Australian Crime Writers Association. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  13. ^"Shortlists announced for this year's Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award and the Military History Prize". The Daily Telegraph. 
  14. ^Dapin, Mark (2012). "Confessions of a Columnist". Meanjin. 68. 
  15. ^"Travelling as a journalist - Griffith Review". Griffith Review. Retrieved 2017-05-24. 


Ashley’s essays and short stories have been commissioned by and included in a number of journals and anthologies. Details of these publications – and links to some – are listed here.
  • "A Reckoning", an introduction to the new Text Classics edition of Amy Witting's splendid novel, A Change in the Lighting. This essay was also extracted by Sydney Review of Books.

  • "Walking Towards the Future", a letter for the "Women of Letters" series ("To My Fork in the Road"), was included in Signed, Sealed, Delivered, the seventh collection of this beautiful correspondence edited by Michaela McGuire and Marieke Hardy. You can read a lovely review of this collection here

  • "What Happens Next", an extract from a new novel-in-progress, published in Griffith Review 52: Imagining the Future (2016)

  • "The Bus Stop", an essay accepted by Creative Nonfiction for their issue on The Weather (and runner-up for their essay competition for that issue), this piece was subsequently reprinted in Island magazine and selected by Geordie Williamson for Best Australian Essays 2016

  • "The Forest at the Edge of Time", the cover story for the annual environment issue of Australian Book Review - you can read the beginning of the essay here. This essay was written under the auspices of the Dahl Trust/ABR Fellowship - see here for more information about the Trust and its work. An edited version of this essay was later awarded the 2016 Bragg/UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing and selected for inclusion in this year's Best Australian Science Writing by Jo Chandler

  • "Mirror Rim: Lost and Found in the Abrolhos", reportage published in Griffith Review 47: Looking West (2015) - this piece was selected for inclusion in Best Australian Essays 2015

  • "Adaptation: A Work in Progress", an essay, published in Griffith Review 45: The Way We Work (2014)

  • "Dry Clean", a short story, published in Island 136 (2014)

  • "The Cat", a short story, published in the Review of Australian Fiction vol. 4, issue 6 (2013): “The Cat” was also included in Best Australian Short Stories 2013

  • "A Single Book: Poemas", an essay, published in Five Dials, no. 28 (2013: scroll down to p. 47)

  • "The Crow", a short story, published in Best Australian Short Stories 2012. This was an extract from an earlier version of A Hundred Small Lessons.

  • "Walking Underwater", a memoir, published in Griffith Review 35: Surviving (2012)

  • "Elsie's House", a short story, published in Griffith Review 34: Annual Fiction Edition (2011). This short story grew – slowly – into A Hundred Small Lessons.

  • "The Sun Rising", a short story, published in Griffith Reivew 30: Annual Fiction Edition (2010) - this was the first published extract from The Railwayman's Wife

  • “Gunpowder and Shooting Stars”, an essay, published in Island 120 (2010)

  • “The Singular Animal: On Being and Having”, an essay, published in Brothers & Sisters (edited by Charlotte Wood; Allen & Unwin, 2009)

  • “Eucalypts”, an essay, published in Australian Greats (edited by Peter Cochrane; Random House, 2008)

  • “Where the Wild Things Are”, an essay, published in Griffith Review 21: Hidden Queensland (2008)

  • “On the Edge”, an essay published in Where the Rivers Meet, a special Australian issue of Manoa: The Pacific Journal of International Writing (2007)

  • “The Photograph”, a short story, published in Confessions and Memoirs: Best Stories Under the Sun vol. iii (edited by Michael Wilding and David Myers; Central Queensland University Press, 2006)

  • “Every Colour of the Rainbow”, an essay, published in Heat: 12: Ten Years(2006)

  • “The Importance of the Snuffleupagus: Reading, Writing and Imaginary Friends”, an essay, published in When Books Die (edited by Julian Davies; Finlay Lloyd, 2006)

  • “Ultramarine” , an essay commissioned for A Place on Earth (edited by Mark Tredinnick; UNSW Press, 2003) and anthologised in The Writers’ Reader (edited by Susie Eisenhuth and Willa McDonald; Cambridge University Press, 2007) and The Best Australian Essays 2003   

  • “Killing Lord Byron”, a travel piece, published in In Transit (edited by Michael Duffy; Duffy & Snellgrove, 2001)

  • “Memory Palace” and “Rape Crisis”, two essays published in DIY Feminism (edited by Kathy Bail, Allen & Unwin, 1996)

  • “Firespell”, a short story, winner of the Banjo Paterson national fiction competition (1994)

  • “Angel to Zoo”, a short story, winner of the Sydney Morning Herald / Dymocks open fiction competition (1993)

  • “Blue and White Photography”, a short story, published in Southerly,  vol. 53, no. 3 (1993)


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