Happy new year, SRB readers,
The Sydney Review of Books will hit the milestone of ten years online this month and we plan to celebrate all year long.
The journal was launched in 2013 with James Ley as editor, Ben Denham as production editor, Suzanne Gapps as manager – and the support of the members of the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University, especially Ivor Indyk, Anthony Uhlmann and Rachel Morley. It was the shrinking of space allocated to reviews in the national media that prompted the establishment of the Sydney Review of Books, a sense that significant new works of Australian literature weren’t being dignified by serious critical consideration. From the outset, the SRB has been guided by the conviction that a mature literary culture must comprise an independent and courageous community of critics, and must be able to pay those writers for the work they undertake.
The critical landscape, for want of a better term, has changed greatly since then. If the space accorded criticism and cultural journalism has continued to decline in what we used to call the papers, the national media landscape has been reorganised by the entrance of new digital players large and small. When I started at the SRB in 2015, correspondents still referred to the journal as a blog; that a journal devoted to serious literary criticism could exist online and online only was a challenging proposition. That’s changed and it’s online that a new generation of critics and publications are flourishing, finding their voices, their values and their audiences.
As we reflect on ten years online, we’re sharing a selection of critical essays from our first decade to kick off our 2023 program – and will commence publishing new work next week. This will be a year of transition and renewal for the SRB. We are seeking a new editor to lead the SRB team and to bring new ideas and energy to the journal. Applications are open now and close on 19 February. Find out more here.
Catriona and the SRB team.
Ben Etherington on Hannah Kent
Nicholas Jose on Sheng Keyi
Gig Ryan on Robert Adamson
Alys Moody on Jack Cox
James Ley on Michelle de Kretser
Jeff Sparrow on Behrouz Boochani
Mridula Nath Chakraborty on Samia Khatun
Jeanine Leane on Ellen van Neerven
Andre Dao on Viet Thanh Nguyen
Melinda Harvey on Susan Sontag