The SRB Podcast

A podcast about what writers do to make books, essays and poems – and what they do to make a living.

As 2020 comes to a close, we are absolutely chuffed to launch the Sydney Review of Books podcast!

As regular readers know, each week we publish criticism and essays by Australia’s best writers here at the Sydney Review of Books. We’ve now got a podcast to match.

Settle in for audio essays, conversations and documentary and make sure to subscribe to our feed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Complete show notes are below.

Blackfulla Book Club on Fire Front

On this episode Teela Reid and Merinda Dutton, the co-founders of Blackfulla Bookclub, talk about the online community they’ve built around First Nations storytelling and discuss their experiences of reading Fire Front, an anthology of poetry and essays curated by Alison Whittaker. It’s about seeing, and hearing, and reading the world through powerful First Nations perspectives. Listen up.

Please note that this episode contains names and references to deceased persons

You can find Blackfulla Bookclub on Instagram @blackfulla_bookclub. Merinda Dutton is on Twitter and Instagram @min_dutton and Teela Reid is on Twitter and Instagram @teelareid.

Fire Front: First Nations poetry And Power Today was curated by Alison Whittaker and published by UQP.

Bruce Pascoe’s essay ‘Bleat Beneath a Blanket’ from Fire Front was republished on the SRB in May 2020.

Pat Grant on getting The Grot to readers

In this episode, graphic novelist Pat Grant explains what happened during the seven years it took him to make his second book, The Grot. We’ll also hear about the challenge of getting hard copies of your own book in the midst of a global pandemic.

Pat’s website is where you can order a copy of The Grot.

You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @patgrantart.

Climbing the Hill – poet Eileen Chong on writing and place

This episode of the SRB podcast is an audio essay: ‘Climbing the Hill’ by Eileen Chong. We are fascinated by the ways the places we live shape the poems, books and essays we write. When poet Eileen Chong was invited take up this theme she wrote an essay with roots in three places: Singapore, where she was born, Sydney, where she now lives, and Scotland, the country her husband is from.

Read Eileen Chong’s essay ‘Climbing the Hill’ here and others on writing and place on the SRB.

Eileen’s website is and she’s on Twitter @eileenchongpoet.

An Introvert’s Guide To Surviving An Arab Family of Extroverts

‘It’s not a document that anyone can see or get hold of, rather, it’s the way I’ve broken things down to guide me and my anxiety along. The extroverts are a loud, 25-strong Lebanese clan – all of us living in three houses side-by-side on the same street in Punchbowl, south western Sydney, roaming freely onto each other’s properties, with detached fences and no clear borders.’

In this episode Rawah Arja presents an essay on family life at her home in Punchbowl, Western Sydney.

Read Rawah’s essay ‘An Introvert’s Guide to Surviving an Arab Family of Extroverts’ here on the SRB.

Find more of her work at her website: and follow her on Instagram @rawaharja.

Award Rate – Andrew Brooks and Laura Elizabeth Woollett on writing, money, work and prizes

In recent years there’s been a trend of writers publicly giving away prize money to charity or sharing it with other shortlisted writers.

But when novelist Laura Elizabeth Woollett was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, she was working in a call centre. The $80,000 prize would have utterly changed her life and bought her literally years of time to write. 

We’re suspicious of romantic notions about starving artists here at the SRB. We asked Andrew Brooks to talk to Laura about her essay ‘Award Rate’ and the complex relationship between writing, money, work, and prizes.

Read Laura’s essay ‘Award Rate’ and others from the Writers at Work series here on the SRB.

Laura’s website is and she’s on Instagram @lauraelizabethwoollett.

Andrew Brooks is one half of the critical art collective Snack Syndicate and part of the Rosa Press collective.

SRB Editor and podcast host: Catriona Menzies-Pike

Producer: Allison Chan

Production assistant: Alice Desmond

Sound design and mixing: Elina Godwin

The SRB is produced at the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University and this podcast was made possible by funding from the Create NSW Digitise Initiative.