Essay “All In That Space: On Asian Australian Writers” published by Sydney Review of Books (#Asian #Australian @SydReviewBooks #AWW2018)


I am glad to report that my commissioned essay “All In That Space: On Asian Australian Writers” was published by the Sydney Review of Books on April 27, 2018. Established by the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney, the Sydney Review of Books is devoted to “long-form literary criticism”, “in-depth analysis and robust critical discussion” of Australia’s literary culture. The online journal serves as “a venue in which Australian writers and critics can engage with books at length, a venue in which to rediscover the intimate connection between the art of criticism and the art of the essay”.

In July 2017, I applied for the CA-SRB Emerging Critics Fellowships that are jointly sponsored by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and the Sydney Review of Books. The application required three 300-word pitches for prospective critical essays, one of which must deal with Australian literature. Although my application was not successful, two of my pitches attracted some interest. SRB editor Catriona Menzies-Pike accepted my proposed essay on Asian Australian writers, while Michelle Cahill, one of the judges for the 2017 CA-SRB Emerging Critics Fellowships and editor of the Mascara Literary Review, commissioned my proposed review of Taiwanese novelist Wu Ming-Yi’s The Stolen Bicycle (translated by Darryl Sterk, Text Publishing, 2017).

The formation, standardisation and circulation of identity is my specialty area. In my essay “All In That Space: On Asian Australian Writers” I investigate the (self-)identification of several Asian Australian writers both in and outside of their writings. Three recently published titles are discussed to some length – Isabelle Li’s A Chinese Affair (Margaret River Press, 2016), Melanie Cheng’s Australia Day (Text Publishing, 2017), and Roanna Gonsalves’ The Permanent Resident (UWA Publishing, 2016). Also explored are Eileen Chong’s “The Common Table” (2017) and Shu-Ling Chua’s “Through the Looking Glass” (2018), both of which appeared in Meanjin as essays. Finally, I briefly mentioned four renowned authors with Chinese ancestry – Australia-based Brian Castro, Ouyang Yu and Sang Ye, and London-based Guo Xiaolu.

You can read my essay “All In That Space: On Asian Australian Writers” here. Thanks to Catriona for her editorial guidance.



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