Writing NSW

In 2016 the Sydney Review of Books is publishing a series of 16 literary essays rooted in the geography, culture and social life of NSW. Authored by a diverse group of emerging and established NSW authors, Writing NSW maps a set of locations and proposes new formal frontiers for the essay. How, these writers ask, does place constitute culture – and how does culture shape our experiences of the places we live in, write in, and sometimes leave. Anchored in their authors’ experiences of place, the series invites discussion of the significance of locality to both Australian and international literature.

Essays by: Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Vanessa Berry, Luke Carman, Felicity Castagna, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Anwen Crawford, Peter Doyle, Tom Lee, Anthony Macris, Peter Minter, Mark Mordue, Suneeta Peres da Costa, Matt Thompson, Ellen Van Neerven, Alison Whittaker, Ed Wright, and Fiona Wright

We are grateful to Arts NSW for funding to commission and publish this series.


November 2016

Lebs and Punchbowl Prison

‘There were 1200 students at Punchbowl Boys High School in 1985. That year a brick was hurled at Mr Stratton’s head and a gradual process of expulsions began so that by the time I arrived at the school in 1998, there were only 299 students left.’

Dial-a-gun Daily Telegraph clipping
Luke Carman portrait
Penrith fencing


The Suspended Image

'I stood with my face almost touching a wall of glass, a sheer window looking out into an immense depth, a profound, almost unfathomable dark green chasm girded by sandstone precipices and a halo of mist and cloud. It had been raining all afternoon. In the diminishing light the distant wet cliffs looked dark orange, blood red, gold. A motionless wing of pure white cloud floated over the valley floor like an apparition on a billow of air.'

Joanna Logue 'Towards the gloaming' acrylic on paper

The Place of Terrorism in Australia

'I want to live my culture, my way of life within my country. Often this means a humble existence; a freedom that requires constant access to our traditional and natural world, always with an emphasis on family and cultural exchange.'

Brisbane River