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Susan Lever Susan Lever i(A11231 works by) (a.k.a. Susan Patricia Lever; S.P. McKernan)
Also writes as: Susan McKernan
Born: Established: 1950 ;
Gender: Female
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Works By

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1 The Individual in the Universe : A Panoramic Biography of Australian Performance Artist Philippa Cullen Susan Lever , 2021 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , December no. 438 2021; (p. 17, 19)

— Review of The Dancer : A Biography for Philippa Cullen Evelyn Juers , 2021 single work biography

'What meaning can be drawn from an individual life? Most of us will disappear without much trace, forgotten by all but friends and family. Writers may hope for more, leaving their art behind for posterity. Performance artists, though, live their art in the moment.' (Introduction)

1 Fully Documented Lives : A Daughter’s Fond and Intelligent Book on Her Literary Parents Susan Lever , 2021 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , July no. 433 2021; (p. 56-57)

— Review of A Paper Inheritance : The Passionate Literary Lives of Leslie Rees and Coralie Clarke Rees Dymphna Rees Peterson , 2021 single work biography

'Coralie Clarke Rees and Leslie Rees are not remembered among the glamour couples of twentieth-century Australian literary life. Unlike George Johnston and Charmian Clift, Vance and Nettie Palmer, or their friends Darcy Niland and Ruth Park, neither of them wrote novels and they both spread their work across a range of genres. Critics, journalists, travel writers, children’s writers, playwrights, they devoted themselves to supporting the broad artistic culture of Australia rather than claiming its attention. Their lives were spent in juggling their literary interests with the need to make a living at a time when Australian society was even less supportive of writers than it is now. They made compromises to suburban life and the need to care for their two daughters, without ever abandoning their determination to live by the pen.' (Introduction) 

1 Antonella Riem, A Gesture of Reconciliation : Partnership Studies in Australian Literature Susan Lever , 2021 single work review
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 21 no. 1 2021; JASAL , vol. 21 no. 2 2021;

— Review of A Gesture of Reconciliation : Partnership Studies in Australian Literature Antonella Riem Natale , 2017 multi chapter work criticism
'Antonella Riem is a professor of English Literature at the University of Udine, in the north-east of Italy close to its borders with Austria and Slovenia. She is an internationalist, interested in Anglophone literatures across the world, and the founder of the Partnership Studies Group at the University, an international network dedicated to promoting a more equitable and caring approach to human relations (partnership) in opposition to a hierarchical, authoritarian (dominator) model. The Group is inspired by the anthropological and cultural work of Riane Eisler, an American whose writings have been influential across a range of fields—law, economics, anthropology—around the world. Riem’s Group focuses on exploring the partnership/dominator dynamic in World Literatures in English, with Riem particularly interested in the literature of India, Canada and Australia. She studied at the University of Queensland in the 1980s and has visited Australia many times.' 


1 Australian Television and Literary Criticism Susan Lever , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Routledge Companion to Australian Literature 2020;
1 2 y separately published work icon Creating Australian Television Drama : A Screenwriting History Susan Lever , North Melbourne : Australian Scholarly Publishing , 2020 19524055 2020 single work multi chapter work criticism

'Television drama has been the dominant form of popular storytelling for more than sixty years, shaping the imaginations of millions of people. This book surveys the careers of the central creators of those stories for Australian television—the writers who learnt how to work in a new medium, adapting to its constraints and exploring its creative possibilities. Informed by interviews with many writers, it describes the establishment of Australian television drama production, observing the way writers grasped the creative and business opportunities that television presented. It examines the development of Australian versions of the major television genres—the sitcom, the police drama, the historical series, docudrama, and social drama— presenting a ‘canon’ of significant Australian television drama productions that deserve to be remembered. It offers an account of the emergence of work by Indigenous writers for television and it argues for the consideration of television drama alongside histories of Australian film and stage drama.'

(Source: publisher's blurb)

1 [Review] Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam Susan Lever , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 419 2020; (p. 60)

— Review of Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam Steve Rodgers , 2018 single work drama
1 'Tropes of Terror' Susan Lever , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , January / February no. 418 2020; (p. 42)

— Review of In Whom We Trust John Clanchy , 2019 single work novel

'The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has revealed systemic mistreatment of vulnerable children over decades. Though these crimes have not been the exclusive province of the Catholic Church, its education system has brought more children into intimate care by religious orders, and even those never abused have observed the tics of brutality in some of their teachers and mentors. In a note at the end of his new novel, In Whom We Trust, John Clanchy mentions James Joyce’s hell-fire sermon in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and the recurrence of these ‘tropes of terror’ in the rhetoric he heard as a Catholic schoolboy in 1960s Melbourne. The system has long-standing practices of psychological control.' (Introduction)

1 [Review] The Torrents Susan Lever , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 413 2019; (p. 66)

— Review of The Torrents Oriel Gray , 1955 single work drama

'Anyone with an interest in Australia’s drama history is likely to have some curiosity about Oriel Gray’s play The Torrents, joint winner of a Playwright Advisory Board prize in 1955 alongside Ray Lawler’s ground-breaking Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Unlike Lawler’s play, it was not performed at the time. According to the current producers, it has had only one other professional production before this current version by Black Swan Theatre in Perth, which has reached Sydney after seasons in Perth and Brisbane.' (Introduction)

1 Review of Half the Perfect World: Writers, Dreamers and Drifters on Hydra, 1955-1964, by Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell Susan Lever , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , December vol. 33 no. 4 2018;

— Review of Half the Perfect World : Writers, Dreamers and Drifters on Hydra, 1955–1964 Paul Genoni , Tanya Dalziell , 2018 multi chapter work biography
1 On Flanagan Susan Lever , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 403 2018; (p. 42-43)

— Review of Richard Flanagan : Critical Essays 2018 anthology criticism

'With The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2013), Richard Flanagan became Australia’s third winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction, leading many people to pick up his novels for the first time and to look for some critical support in reading them. After my own review of the novel in SRB, I was bailed up by friends – many of whom had read it in book groups – to report on lively disagreements (often with my review). Apart from reviews, there were a few articles scattered in academic journals but no easily accessible, book-length study. So this new collection of essays on his work, edited by Robert Dixon, is a welcome addition to the ongoing discussion of our latest literary superstar.' (Introduction)

1 Crusader Susan Lever , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 399 2018; (p. 37)

'With a regular stream of vulgar tweets from President Trump and a tsunami of sexual harassment charges against prominent men, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the nasty side of masculine privilege in our current world. The narcissistic man who manipulates others to satisfy his sense of power has become a recognised figure in public life. Craig Sherborne’s Off the Record is a satire that relies on reader outrage at such behaviour, but it is hard to avoid a sense that he has been unlucky with the timing of this novel. There are times when the large-scale absurdities of the real world can make a satire look tame. The fictional world Sherborne creates is a kind of petty provincial version of the masculine privilege and bullying behaviour we see in the daily news feed.'  (Introduction)

1 Elemental Mysteries : This Water : Five Tales by Beverley Farmer Susan Lever , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , June 2017;

'When she began publishing fiction in the 1980s, Beverley Farmer was part of a rising generation of women writers adding their voices to the record of Australian life. She was seen as a woman of modern multicultural Australia who had married one of the new Greek immigrants and experienced the contrast of cultures between Old Europe and modern Australia.' (Introduction)

1 [Review Essay] Muriel's Wedding: The Musical Susan Lever , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: ABR : Arts 2017; Australian Book Review , January–February no. 398 2018; (p. 63)

'On Monday night I attended a performance of the Australian Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty where the audience gasped in wonder as the curtains parted on the final act: three massive chandeliers were lit then raised above a cream and gold confection of a set which put Versailles to shame. On Thursday night, I was at Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical where the sets and costumes are bright and garish, adding a satiric commentary of their own to the show’s cheerfully vulgar view of contemporary Australia. Gabriela Tylesova designed the sets and costumes for both productions – from Aurora’s wedding to Muriel’s wedding – with equal flair. The talent has gathered around Muriel’s Wedding.'  (Introduction)

1 A Perfect Imperfection of Her Own Susan Lever , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: Inside Story , March 2017;

— Review of New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham 'Anna Wickham' , 2017 selected work poetry
1 Knocked Sideways by Luck Susan Lever , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: Inside Story , July 2017;

— Review of Press Escape Shaun Carney , 2016 single work autobiography ; Light and Shadow : Memoirs of a Spy's Son Mark Colvin , 2016 single work autobiography ; A Führer for a Father : The Domestic Face of Colonialism Jim Davidson , 2017 single work autobiography
1 Reaping What Was Sown Susan Lever , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: Inside Story , May 2017;

— Review of Like Nothing on This Earth : A Literary History of the Wheatbelt Tony Hughes-d'Aeth , 2017 multi chapter work criticism
1 Writers Writing about Writers and Writing Susan Lever , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: Inside Story , December 2017;

— Review of The Drover's Wife : A Celebration of a Great Australian Love Affair 2017 anthology short story criticism ; A Wife’s Heart : The Untold Story of Bertha and Henry Lawson Kerrie Davies , 2017 single work biography ; The Drover's Wife Leah Purcell , 2016 single work drama ; Alice Pung on John Marsden Alice Pung , 2017 single work essay ; Erik Jensen on Kate Jennings Erik Jensen , 2017 single work essay
1 From Vance Palmer's The Passage to Susan Johnson's The Landing Susan Lever , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , December vol. 24 no. 2 2017; (p. 191-201)

'This article compares Vance Palmer's classic novel, The Passage (1930), set in Caloundra, with Susan Johnson's The Landing (2015), a comic novel of manners set at the northern end of the contemporary Sunshine Coast. It considers the novels’ different perspectives on Australian society and changing values, including attitudes to nature, arguing that Palmer's novel now seems more idealistic than realist while Johnson's cynicism about Australian life shows some disturbing elements beneath the comedy.' (Abstract)

1 Poet in the Family Sylvia Martin , Susan Lever , 2016 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 383 2016; (p. 6)
1 8 y separately published work icon The Fiction of Thea Astley Susan Sheridan , Susan Lever (editor), Amherst : Cambria Press , 2016 9631871 2016 multi chapter work criticism

'Thea Astley is one of the outstanding Australian fiction writers of the twentieth century. Four of her novels, including her last, Drylands (1999), won the prestigious Miles Franklin prize, and she was awarded numerous literary and civic honors during her lifetime. Always a writer who avoided solemnity and undercut her characters' claims to heroism of any kind, she reveled in the new-found capacity to mock male pretension and assert female rebellion. Perhaps because of this, her late masterpieces have not yet had the proper recognition that is due to them. This book examines Astley's works and reinforces her standing as a major novelist. The main organizing principle in this study of Astley's fiction is her representation of place and power relations, and the innovative work of historicizing place. Continuing threads from chapter to chapter include the modes of irony, humor, and satire; her varying use of point of view; and her characteristic compression of language and narrative. Descriptive accounts of the novels are offered to raise broader issues of interpretation. Over the period 1986 to 1999 she produced six major works which amply demonstrate her capacity to bring together a critical exploration of patriarchal power relations and a postcolonial perspective on race relations. Also important in her later stories is her satire on the worship of unbridled 'development' which dominated Australian economic and social life in this period, especially in Queensland. The currency of such political and moral issues frames her work, yet her lively engagement with them was never merely topical, but grew out of that acute yet compassionate consciousness of human weakness, formed by her Catholic upbringing, and the darkly comic sensibility draws all these elements into relationship in Astley's art. This book, which is in the Cambria Australian Literature Series (general editor: Susan Lever; see http: // will encourage readers familiar with Astley's work to revisit it and reconsider her lifelong achievement, and it will also lead a whole new generation of readers to enter her imaginative world, to be moved and informed by it.' (Publication summary)