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Book Criticism


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Between the covers of our literary journals and weekend newspapers, reviewers shape what we read and buy. But as Gideon Haigh recently opined book reviewing is in trouble in Australia as reviewers “are the lowliest of contributors” at most media outlets. Our panel looks at how we can create a vibrant critical culture around literature that is both independent and professional.

This session will be chaired by Peter Mares.


Peter Craven

Peter Craven is one of Australia’s best-known literary critics. He edited Scripsi with Michael Heyward and was the founding editor of the Black Inc. Best Of annuals (Essays, Stories, Poems) and of Quarterly Essay. His work appears regularly in the Age, Australian, Sydney Morning Herald and Austral... Read more

Peter Mares

Peter Mares is lead moderator with The Cranlana Programme, an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to developing the ethical decision-making skills of Australia’s leaders. Peter is also contributing editor at Inside Story magazine and adjunct fellow at Swinburne University’s Centr... Read more

Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh has been a journalist 32 years, published 32 books and edited seven others.  His latest is book is Stroke of Genius: Victor Trumper and the Shot That Changed Cricket published in 2016 by Penguin Random House.

Hilary McPhee

Hilary McPhee was a founding director of McPhee Gribble Publishers and a Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts, the inaugural Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, and a founding director of New In recent years she has been living in the Middle East and Italy ... Read more

Rebecca Starford

Rebecca Starford is the associate publisher at Affirm Press and the co-founder and editor at Kill Your Darlings. She was deputy editor at Australian Book Review. She has been published in the Age, Weekend Australian, Overland and Big Issue. ... Read more


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