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Shane Maloney Outs Himself as Saturday Paper Reviewer

Read Sunday, 18 May 2014
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There’s been a lot of speculation about who the anonymous book reviewers are in the new Saturday Paper. Well, we can tell you one of them.

We noticed today that crime writer Shane Maloney off-handedly outed himself as one of the reviewers, in a blog entry on his website – and he even helpfully shared which book he’s reviewed. The book was Edward St Aubyn’s Lost for Words, a screwball satire about literary prize culture – by a writer who likely knows something about it, having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2006.

‘If you’re even halfway inclined to suspect there’s something dodgy about literary prizes, Lost for Words is just the book for you,’ Maloney writes, concluding, ‘Lost for Words won’t win any literary prizes. It fails a fundamental requirement. It’s very, very funny.’

Maloney practises what he preaches: his blog post about the experience of being a Saturday Paper reviewer is a sharp example of literary satire.

The Saturday Paper’s policy is to publish its book reviews pseudonymously. The editor thinks this is a good idea. He is 25 years old. This is what he looks like. The idea is that not publishing reviewers’ names will free up writers to have a red hot go at each other’s work. Apparently Australian writer’s can’t be trusted to not engage in flagrant log rolling whenever the opportunity presents itself.’

‘Personally, I like the idea. It means I can take a cursory glance at a book, toss off a half-baked impression and collect my fee. Money for old rope, as they say.’

But Maloney’s Saturday Paper review reads as if it’s been slow-cooked rather than half-baked; it’s well worth reading.

Shane Maloney will be in conversation with Mary Delahunty at Montalto on the Mornington Peninsula for the latest in our Good Conversation. Great Wine series. Join us this Friday at 7pm. Tickets $50 – includes dinner from the renowned Montalto kitchen.

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