It’s an honour to announce the names of the recipients of the 2017 CA-SRB Emerging Critics Fellowships: Rita Horanyi (SA), Darius Sepehri (NSW) and Robert Wood (WA). Essays by the three fellowship recipients will be published on the Sydney Review of Books in late 2017 and early 2018. My thanks to judges Shannon Burns, Michelle Cahill, and Ben Etherington, and to the Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency for their support for the fellowships.
It has been a pleasure judging this year’s SRB Emerging Critics Fellowships. We met on two occasions: first to shortlist candidates and then to decide the winner. Both meetings were protracted owing to the quality and variety of pitches submitted. In our discussions we took the ‘emerging’ moniker seriously. We were drawn to candidates who made interesting and original pitches but who also made it clear how they would benefit from the process of critical development for which the fellowships were established. We were also drawn to pitches that showed an awareness of the character of the SRB and the critical possibilities and limits that come with a journal of its kind. There were many wonderful pitches that sounded more like the beginnings of academic articles, and others that seemed more appropriate for shortform periodicals or ones that favour a more spontaneous critical style. We were excited by pitches that promised to bring to the SRB subjects and areas which it does not routinely cover, whether it be a matter of less-discussed literary cultures and perspectives, aesthetic media beyond the conventional literary forms, or unusual historical angles. The nine pitches made by the three winners will take the SRB into new areas, introducing critics with distinctive styles, tastes, and critical philosophies.
Throughout our deliberations, all prior personal and professional relationships with candidates were declared and taken into account. Where there were relationships that might compromise, or be seen to compromise the integrity of the judging process, the judge in question recused themself from the discussion until such a time as it became clear that the other two judges felt the application in question merited inclusion among the contenders. In the latter stages of deliberation for such cases, the most objective criteria were applied where a prior relationship had been declared.
We encourage all applicants to submit pitches again next year. We would gladly have awarded many more fellowships than are available. Congratulations to the winners; we look forward to being involved in the process as their pitches become essays.
Shannon Burns, Michelle Cahill, and Ben Etherington
The SRB-CA Emerging Critics Fellowships are supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Read essays by the recipients of the 2016 CA-SRB Emerging Critics Fellowships, Ali Jane Smith, Ben Brooker and James Halford, here.