Kim Pham at book launch for Second City: Essays from Western Sydney 2021. Image by Sally Tsoutas.

Writing and Society Research Centre members, postgraduate students and alumni are actively engaged with both literary and academic publishing. We are also behind a number of important publishing initiatives.

Browse staff publications

Browse student and alumni publications

Centre Publications

Critic Swallows Book Book cover  

Critic Swallows Book, edited by Catriona Menzies-Pike, Sydney Review of Books, 2023

In 2023 the Sydney Review of Books celebrates a decade online, and the publication of more than a thousand essays and longform reviews of Australian and international literature. Over these ten years the journal has created a unique space for serious reflection on literature and for critical thinking about our culture more broadly. The journal has been shaped by the diverse aesthetic, political and critical dispositions of our contributors, each of whom has different questions to ask of contemporary writing.

As they’ve asked these questions, they’ve guided a bold and independent public conversation about literature, and especially about the many forms of Australian literature. Critic Swallows Book brings together twenty-two essays that together demonstrate the eclecticism of the Sydney Review of Books. It includes arguments about decolonising Australian literature and revisiting the classics, blockbuster fiction and book-length poems, modernism in the Antipodes and reading during the pandemic. Essays on Susan Sontag and Rita Felski sit alongside critical considerations of the work of Murray Bail and Joan London, and of new books by Evelyn Araluen and Samia Khatun.

Twice as Many Stars book cover 

Twice as Many Stars, edited by Ellen O'Brien, Kate Fagan and Melinda Jewell, The Writing Zone, 2023

Twice as Many Stars is an anthology of work from the 2022 The Writing Zone cohort: Georgia Chapman, Victor Guan Yi Zhou, Robert Hoang, Sarah Carroll, H. May Oxley, Moontana Mohsin, J. Marahuyo, Rebecca Ward, Danny Yazdani,  Mary Stanley, Dania Roumieh, and Michelle Huynh.


Ghost Cities, edited by Christina Donoghue, Kate Fagan, Melinda Jewell and Catriona Menzies-Pike, The Writing Zone, 2022

Ghost Cities is an anthology of work from the 2021 The Writing Zone cohort: Laneikka Denne, James W. Goh, Harvey Liu, Bria McCarthy Benjamin D. Muir, Anith Mukherjee, Lucia Tưò’ng Vy Nguyễn, Grace Roodenrys,  Natasha Pontoh-Supit and Geneva Valek.


Open Secrets: Essays from the Writing Life, edited by Catriona Menzies-Pike, Sydney Review of Books, 2022

The lives of writers are a topic of perennial fascination to readers – and indeed to other writers. And yet the writer at work is often a mythologised figure, distant from the cares of the day. In Open Secrets, Australian writers reflect upon the material conditions that give rise to their writing practice. What is it that writers do with their days? These essays document writing lives defined as much by procrastination, distraction and economic precarity as by desire and imagination, by aesthetic and intellectual commitments. Labour is at the heart of this collection: creative labour, yes, but also the day jobs, side gigs, and care work that make space for writing. Bringing together an eclectic and distinctive set of writers, Open Secrets is a rich and provocative account of contemporary Australian literature.


The Wayward Sky, edited by Ilhan Abdi, Kate Fagan, Melinda Jewell and Catriona Menzies-Pike, The Writing Zone, 2021

The Wayward Sky gathers the work of storytellers, essayists, poets, novelists, screenwriters and journalists – twelve young writers from Western Sydney who forged a precious series of conversations in the virtual rooms of The Writing Zone. As participants in a new mentoring program run by the Writing and Society Research Centre and the Sydney Review of Books, they read each other’s work with respect and care while writing under different skies. Although their cultural stories are far-reaching and diverse, these authors share a common reality of living through seismic shifts and forging proximity despite the pressures of distancing. The Wayward Sky reimagines an array of places that are both sky-like and transformative: atmospheres and thresholds, movement between countries and suburbs, nightfall as it magically reinterprets everyday events, and weathering difficult times.


Hatch: An Anthology of WSU Undergraduate Creative Writing, edited by Helen Koukotsis, Writing and Society Research Centre, 2021

The inaugural edition of Hatch – an anthology of short fiction written by a group of talented undergraduates from Western Sydney University – features writing by Shobna Arumugam, Ashley Duke, Jerome Gardiner, Anastasia King, Geneva Valek, and Tristan Vidler. This anthology was ‘hatched’ up as part of an initiative of the Writers’ Group Project, and with the Writing and Society Research Centre it has grown wings and taken flight.


Second City: Essays from Western Sydney, edited by Luke Carman and Catriona Menzies-Pike, Sydney Review of Books, 2021

Second City presents the diverse literary talents that make Sydney’s western suburbs such a fertile region for writers. Beginning with Felicity Castagna’s warning about the dangers of cultural labelling, this collection of essays takes resistance against conformity and uncritical consensus as one of its central themes. From Aleesha Paz’s call to recognise the revolutionary act of public knitting, to Sheila Ngoc Pham on the importance of education in crossing social and ethnic boundaries, to May Ngo’s cosmopolitan take on the significance of the shopping mall, the collection offers complex and humane insights into the dynamic relationships between class, culture, family, and love.


Antipodean China, edited by Nicholas Jose and Benjamin Madden, Giramondo, 2021

Antipodean China is a collection of essays based on a series of encounters between Australian and Chinese writers, which took place in China and Australia over a ten-year period from 2011. In the current climate, this collection presents what may be seen, in retrospect, as an idyllic moment of communication and trust. As the writers spoke about the places important to them, their influences and their work, resemblances emerged, and their different perspectives contributed to a sense of common understanding, about literature and about the role of the writer in society. This is seen particularly in the encounters between Tibetan author Alai and Indigenous author Alexis Wright, and the two winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mo Yan and J.M. Coetzee.


The Australian Face: Essays from the Sydney Review of Books, edited by James Ley and Catriona Menzies-Pike, Sydney Review of Books, 2017

The Sydney Review of Books is Australia’s leading space for longform literary criticism. Now celebrating five years online, the SRB has published more than five hundred essays by almost two hundred writers. To mark this occasion, The Australian Face collects some of the best essays published in the SRB on Australian fiction, poetry and non-fiction. The essays in this anthology are contributions to the ongoing argument about the condition and purpose and evolving shape of Australian literature. They reflect the ways in which discussions about the state of the literary culture are constantly reaching beyond themselves to consider wider cultural and political issues.


We are very grateful to the following organisations for their funding and support: the Literature Board of Creative Australia (Giramondo, The Sydney Review of Books), Create NSW (The Sydney Review of Books, Western Sydney Writing Project) and The Copyright Agency (The Sydney Review of Books).