Catriona Menzies-Pike is the editor of the Sydney Review of Books.
All essays by Catriona Menzies-Pike
Blurb Your Enthusiasm
by Louise Willder
Published October 2022
The Most Important Job in the World
by Gina Rushton
Published 29 March 2022
Boy Swallows Universe
by Trent Dalton
Published March 2019
All Our Shimmering Skies
by Trent Dalton
Published September 2020
Critic Swallows Book
To call into question the literary value of Dalton’s fiction is not to disqualify the pleasure and imaginative release that hundreds of thousands of readers have found in his novels, especially Boy Swallows Universe; it is to take that popularity seriously.
An Uncertain Grace
by Krissy Kneen
Published February, 2017
A Fluctuating Charm: An Uncertain Grace
An Uncertain Grace is a strange, daring and clever novel and Kneen’s openness to connections that many other novelists never dream of making is exhilarating. Her characters wreck themselves with sex and science as they seek ways to live with extinctions, inundations and pollution – and yet Kneen is able to salvage optimism from the wreckage. ‘
by Julia Leigh
Published May, 2016
James Bradley: Fitting the Pieces Together
‘Although it looks like you write one book and then another and then another, the reality is much messier than that, and the books are really part of a larger process that’s surprisingly difficult to understand when you’re in the middle of it.’ James Bradley speaks with SRB editor Catriona Menzies-Pike about the shape of a writing career in progress.
A Note from the Editor
A community of free-thinking, intelligent critics, engaged with Australian and international literatures in their many forms, our office shelves groaning with new books for them to consider, more readers than ever – all flourishing in what’s generally agreed to be the most difficult funding environment in 40 years. We’re looking forward to watching the pendulum swing in the opposite direction so that we may continue to give expression to this flourishing in the years to come.
Being Geniuses Together
Why do critics line up to write about some books – and shy away from others? The current eddy of interest in a new, young experimental Australian writer, Jack Cox, presents an irresistible opportunity to comment on the reception of difficult literary fiction and the difficulty of separating a debut novel such as Dodge Rose from the buzz that precedes it.
Long Hot Summer
The year has ended on a sour note for the literary sector. The consequences of major cuts to the Australia Council’s funding pool are now becoming apparent – and there are no new funding lifelines in sight. The SRB will resume publication in February 2016. In the meantime, happy summer holidays to all SRB readers!
All Things To All Comers: SRB Survey Results
‚ÄòA mature critical culture isn‚Äôt monotheistic and it isn‚Äôt the role of a journal such as the SRB to massage consensus. Rather, we‚Äôre open to disruptions, to provocation, and to a diversity of critical perspectives. We expect our contributors to be courageous, ethical and independent in their criticism and we will defend them if their conclusions prove unpopular, as is not infrequently the case.‚Äô SRB editor Catriona Menzies-Pike on the results of our first ever reader survey and the year ahead at the SRB.
Reflections on the Stella Count
‘When we talk about the woman writer in 2015, how then do we situate the vital insights of intersectional and trans feminism at the centre of our discussions? This, to me, is the most pressing challenge posed by the Stella Count.’ SRB editor Catriona Menzies-Pike on gender, critical culture and the Stella Count
Writing, Editing: An Interview with Ellen van Neerven
‘I think Indigenous writers kind of need each other. I feel that more and more, that sense of camaraderie and community. We challenge each other to write better. It is sometimes hard when you’re perhaps the only black writer on a festival or you’re put into a situation where you have to represent a whole community. That’s why we take strength from each other.’ SRB editor Catriona Menzies-Pike speaks with Ellen van Neerven.
Little Things I Should Have Said And Done
The brief and painful Brandis era of arts policy was marked by the sector’s loss of confidence in the government’s consultation processes. If Mitch Fifield can provide more effective channels of communication than open letters, he will have a headstart on his predecessor.
Sofie Laguna: ‘There Is No Reader In The Room’
‘I am meant to be a writer– but it is the actor in me who writes. What I mean by that is that I joyfully inhabit the voice of a character as if I’m playing that character.’ Miles Franklin winner Sofie Laguna speaks to the SRB about her fiction and the forces that have shaped her as a writer.
‘Foul-Mouthed Tirade’: Mark Latham at the Melbourne Writers Festival
On the weekend Mark Latham broke the unspoken rule of writers festivals: play nice. His deviation from the conventions of ‘respectful conversation’ provoked furious reactions. Has the intemperate jeremiad had its day?
21 August 2015: Places beyond Earth
‘Perhaps the faraway can only really be reached through writing, and the faraway is just that which can be imagined, idealised, and never explained’ – Chinese novelist Sheng Keyi on the distances she negotiates through her writing. As the China-Australia Literary Forum approaches, the Sydney Review of Books considers the ways in which literature can bridge cultural and geographical distances.
Librarians’ Tea Party
Australian libraries are full of letters, diaries, drafts and handwritten recipes that can never be published thanks to our archaic copyright laws. While living authors struggle to protect their financial interest in their writing, unpublished works are stuck in the limbo of indefinite copyright – and it’s inhibiting the study of Australian literature and history.
7 August 2015: Critical Ecology
The interdependencies between criticism and a thriving literary culture are complex and multiple. The critical practice that flourishes at the Sydney Review of Books has been made possible in part thanks to generous funding from the Australia Council. The vitality of the magazine, however, ultimately relies not only on the stability of our own funding but also on a well-funded and diverse literary sector that exists as a part of a healthy arts ecology.