Update: SRBEmerging Critics 2020

Callout: SRB Emerging Critics 2020

The Sydney Review of Books invites applications for the 2020 CA-SRB Emerging Critics Fellowships.

Applications close at 11:59pm on Sunday 23 February, 2019.

At the Sydney Review of Books we publish the best literary critics in Australia – and we are always on the lookout for new writers and new ways to think about our shared literary culture. That’s why, with the support of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, we established a fellowship program in 2016 to foster diverse, provocative and original critical voices and to set pathways for emerging critics to develop their practice.

This year, we are thrilled to relaunch the Emerging Critics Fellowship program for a further three years. We’re able to do so thanks to the ongoing generosity of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. From 2020, we will award five fellowships to the brightest emerging critics.

One each of our fellowships will be dedicated to a First Nations writer and a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) writer. Fellowships will also reflect regional diversity and be allocated to critics from a minimum of three states and territories.

What we are offering

Each Fellow will receive a stipend of $3000 to write three 2000-word essays on new Australian books over an eight-month period for publication in the Sydney Review of Books. Fellows will work closely with Sydney Review of Books editorial staff and receive mentoring, capacity building workshops, and editorial support as they write their essays.

Who can apply?

Applications are open to Australian residents and Australians abroad. First Nations critics and CALD critics are strongly encouraged to apply. The five fellowships will be awarded to applicants from at least three different states or territories.

Am I an emerging critic?

There are no age or experience limits to applying for the Emerging Critics Fellowship. That said, we are looking for applicants who are seeking to develop their portfolio and their critical practice. You may wish to detail in your cover letter the ways in which you envisage this fellowship will serve your professional development.

Applicants who are on an academic career path should explain their particular interest in writing for a general rather than an academic audience in their cover letter.

How to apply?

Apply via Submittable here.

Send us a one-page cover letter of up to 800 words and a writing sample of up to 1000 words. Your writing sample can be a link to a published or an unpublished piece of writing. In your cover letter, please introduce yourself as an emerging critic; tell us about your experience to date as a critic and what it is that shapes and informs your critical practice. Your cover letter should also explain how you will benefit from this fellowship and sketch out three brief prospective pitches for critical essays on Australian literature. Bear in mind that all essays written for the fellowship program will be review essays on a single new or forthcoming book. If you’d like to include a brief CV of up to 3 pages with links to previously published work, please do so.

We understand that many emerging critics juggle multiple assignments and deadlines in order to make ends meet. Fellowship recipients will be expected to work on essays slated for publication in June, August and September. Before you apply for this fellowship please consider whether these deadlines are a manageable addition to your workload.

The deadline for applications is 11:59pm on Sunday 23 February, 2020.

Who will judge the applications?

Judges for the 2020 CA-SRB Emerging Critics Fellowships are Alison Whittaker, Justin Clemens and Suneeta Peres da Costa.

Further Information

The names of the 2020 Emerging Critics Fellowship recipients will be announced on Monday 16 March.

Recipients of a SRB Emerging Critics Fellowship will meet with SRB editorial staff in person or via videoconference. In this meeting we will want to hear more about your interests as a critic so that we can allocate the right books for you to review. We will match fellows with books that line up with their interests, affinities and disciplinary formation.

Fellowship essays will be of 2000 words and contend with a single new work of Australian literature. This will foster the ability of fellowship recipients to approach new literary works and produce original critical responses to them. The editors will map out a firm timeline for drafts, edits, and publication dates. Fellows will be expected to write review essays for publication in the Sydney Review of Books in June, August and September 2020. The SRB editorial team will provide detailed editorial notes and copyedit work in progress.

We are interested in critical writing that examines, among other themes: decolonial futures, the Pacific, the political possibilities of the novel, the critical essay as a form, poetry and poetics, climate catastrophe, gender and sexuality, the novel as genre and commodity, the labour of writing, and much more. Applicants may hold to traditional models for their essays or extend the range and flexibility of the review essay form. We encourage creative and experimental approaches to criticism. In short, we champion critical writing in a range of modes and on a wide range of topics; we see the review essay as a space of great possibility.


Please direct any queries to the SRB editorial staff, Catriona Menzies-Pike and Andrew Brooks, via email: editor [at] sydneyreviewofbooks.com.

The CA-SRB Emerging Critics Fellowships are generously funded by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.