Sunday, May 22, 2011

Geordie Williamson is 'Critic of the Year'

I'm very happy to announce that The Australian's Geordie Williamson is the winner of this year's Pascall Prize for criticism.

You can read James Bradley on the win here, and the Australian's books editor Stephen Romei here.

As one of the Pascall judges, I've already had a chance to say my piece.  I will only say that Williamson exemplifies my ideal of criticism, outlined in the Herald here.  Here is our full judges' report:
Geordie Williamson is this year’s winner of the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing. The judges noted the quality of his prose – often beautiful and striking – and his light touch with big ideas.
Williamson's well-deployed scholarship and illuminating attention to the writing itself exemplifies all the virtues he praises in literature. In this clarity, specificity and flair for language he gives us the impression each of the works he reviews really matter; and that there's something of value at stake.
If it's the critic's job to help readers see more, Geordie Williamson enlarges our thinking in every way. He also makes his reviews and essays accessible to readers who might not be familiar with his subject, and he invites them in very gently. 
In doing so his tone is subtle, deep, and emotionally coherent – displaying what is ultimately a larger vision for what he wants to say and do as a critic. This emerges in a pathfinding sensibility about the state of Australian literature across all the books he reviews, and indeed a larger view of criticism and literature itself. 
For Williamson it is not just as a matter of reviewing but something more profound and engaged with where we are headed as a culture.

1 comment:

kirkistan said...

I like this sentence from your 2009 article: "A good critic is not necessarily an expert or professional - it is someone who can communicate a love of what is worthwhile in life." Things get easily mixed up in a review, but when we tell why something is good, we've helped everyone.