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Open Right

Sophie Cunningham

Author, Social Commentator

Sophie Cunningham worked in publishing for twenty years before becoming the Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council. She is well known for her work as the editor of Meanjin, and is the author of two novels, Geography (2004) and Bird (2008) as well as the non-fiction Melbourne.

Where have your works been published?

My journalism, fiction and interviews have been published by a range of papers and magazines over the years, including The Melbourne Times, Cinema Papers, New Society, New Editions, Vogue, The Eye, Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend (‘A Bush Burial’, Summer Fiction edition, 2011), Meanjin, Overland, The Bulletin, Crikey (‘Is Writing Evolving’, November 2010) – but most regularly in The Age (‘The way to react to a Potter pash’ December, 2010) — and then there are my books Geography (2004) and Bird (2008).

What themes are recurring in your work?

Locating those lines (geographical, metaphoric) where the old meets the new. That can mean travel writing and considering where older cultures confronting newer ones or it can mean considering changes in the publishing industry. Generational change. Change interests me. I also tend to write a lot (I realise) about weather and seasons – perhaps its that same interest in the tension between constant change (day to day vagaries of weather), and repetition and tradition. Spirituality, specifically Buddhism, interests me. Feminism. Animal rights. Travel.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Developing the list at McPhee Gribble in the early 90s, reimagining Meanjin, more recently. The publication of Geography in 2004.

What other jobs have you had?

Do The Right Thing Girl for an EPA anti-littering campaign, ironing lady, cleaner, waitress, bookseller, and editor.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You may well have heard me on radio (RRR, Radio National) and I’ve been on the tellie a few times – most recently on ADbc (SBS) and Tuesday Night Book Club (ABC).

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