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Work experience



Island Magazine

Having worked as Fiction Editor of Island for the past three years - a role that culminated in the publication in parts (and latterly book form) of David Ireland's first published novel in eighteen years, The World Repair Video Game - I recently replaced Matthew Lamb as editor of the magazine - a position I share with a day-to-day Managing Editor based in Hobart.

My role is to write for the journal and to commission non-fiction from Tasmania, the Australian, mainland, and overseas.


Editor, Best Australian Essays

Black Inc.

My task is to commission the best new essays by Australian writers and to curate those appearing in antipodean and overseas publications for a yearly 'Best of' anthology. The 2016 edition will be published in October.


Chief Literary Critic

The Australian

The role of chief literary critic was granted in recognition of my industry, knowledge and growing constituency of readers as a reviewer and essayist. My task has been to foster - through writing, public appearances and broadcasting - interest in Australian literature and literature more broadly. I work closely with The Australian's literary editor in choosing titles to review and finding subjects for discussion, and to commission appropriate reviewers, interviewers, and essayists. I produce around seventy thousand words each year for the paper and regularly travel interstate to appear at writers' festivals and literary events on the paper's behalf.

Ancillary to my role at The Australian was a weekly slot on ABC Radio 702, where between 2009 and 2011 I spoke to a general audience about books and literary news, and devoted the final session of each month to a city-wide book club. I continue to be a regular voice on Radio National’s Books and Arts Daily.


Casual Academic

University of Sydney; UTS

I have worked at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Sydney and the University of Technology in Ultimo. I taught seminars and tutored on courses in the Department of English at the University of Sydney - mainly on British Romanticism, which has long been my research area. I taught non-fiction writing to postgraduates at the drawing on my experience as a practicing critic.



Bernard Quaritch; RA Gekoski

At Bernard Quaritch – one of London’s last multi-department booksellers – I established a modern English literature department and bought and sold rare books to private individuals and research libraries. During my time at the firm, I dealt with everything from a tranche of hitherto unknown James Joyce material (later sold to the National Library of Ireland) to the archives of London publishers John Murray (later sold to the National Library of Scotland for forty million pounds).

Dr Rick Gekoski is Britain’s best-known bookseller. He concentrates on modernist literature, small presses of the 1920s and 1930s, and modern first editions. For Rick I researched, catalogued and handled the sale of individual books, collections and author archives. During my time at R.A. Gekoski, I sold the archives of Iain Sinclair, Angela Carter and Peter Ackroyd, assembled collections of material relating to various members of the Bloomsbury group, and edited the correspondence between Kim Philby and Graham Greene.

Given Dr Gekoski’s wider role as publisher, broadcaster and Booker prize judge I was exposed to a wide cross-section of Anglo-American publishing and academia. I travelled widely in the US and throughout the UK at the behest of both firms, examining archives, purchasing libraries and attending Book Fairs.



Lesley McKay's Bookshop

At Lesley McKay's I worked as a bookseller, and later as buyer for literary fiction and non-fiction.


Publishing assistant

Duffy & Snellgrove

At Duffy & Snellgrove I worked as an indexer (Peter Robb's M), anthologist (A Return to Poetry) and an editor (various titles).



B.A./LL.B. (Hons)

University of Sydney

First class honours in English Literature.



Introduction: Best Australian Essays . Melbourne: Black Inc., 2015

'Swallows & Amazons'. The Simple Act of Reading. Sydney: Random House, 2015
A chapter from an anthology of childhood reading experiences.

Foreword. Death of a River Guide (21st-anniversary reissue) by Richard Flanagan. Sydney: Random House, 2015

Introduction. The Chantic Bird by David Ireland. Melbourne: Text, 2015

Introduction. Bring Larks and Heroes by Thomas Keneally. Melbourne: Text, 2013

Introduction. The Home Girls by Olga Masters. Melbourne: Text, 2012.
The Burning Library: Our Great Novelists Lost and Found. Melbourne, 2011

'Bright Treasures of Perception'. The Novels of Alex Miller: An Introduction (Ed. Robert Dixon). Sydney: Allan & Unwin, 2011.


  • Second Book Grant 2013 | Australia Council
  • Meryln Myer Biography Stipend 2012 | Myer Foundation
  • Pacall Prize for Criticism 2011 | Geraldine Pascall Foundation


  • Dean's Advisory Board, Faculty of Arts | UNSW | 2012
  • Editorial Advisor Australian Book Review |  2007 — 2010
  • Arts Editorial Board Prospect Magazine | 2004 — 2006