AustLit logo
Susan Sheridan Susan Sheridan i(A20554 works by) (a.k.a. Susan Higgins; Sue Sheridan)
Born: Established: 1944 Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

Works By

Preview all
1 Eve and Steve : Distinguishing Fiction from Biography Susan Sheridan , 2021 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 436 2021; (p. 52-53)

— Review of Eve Langley and 'The Pea Pickers' Helen Vines , 2021 single work biography

'In 1942, The Pea Pickers was published by Angus & Robertson in Sydney, garnering high praise for its freshness and poetic invention. A picaresque tale of two sisters who, dressed as boys, earn their living picking seasonal crops in Gippsland in the late 1920s, it impressed Douglas Stewart, literary editor of the Bulletin, with its ‘love of Australian earth and Australian people and skill in painting them’. The author, Eve Langley, was at that time incarcerated in the Auckland Mental Hospital, where she would remain for the next seven years, isolated from her estranged husband and three young children, and from her mother and sister, who were also in New Zealand.'  (Introduction)

1 The Secrets of Ethel : Reimagining the Catalyst of the Literary Hoax Susan Sheridan , 2021 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , July no. 433 2021; (p. 37)

— Review of Sincerely, Ethel Malley Stephen Orr , 2021 single work novel

'‘Ern Malley’ – a great literary creation and the occasion of a famous literary hoax – has continued to attract fascinated attention ever since he burst upon the Australian poetry scene more than seventy years ago. But his sister Ethel has attracted little notice, she who set off the whole saga by writing to Max Harris, the young editor of Angry Penguins, asking whether the poems left by her late brother were any good, and signing herself ‘sincerely, Ethel Malley’.' (Introduction)

1 ‘Objects of Readerly Desire’ : A Close Look at Australia's Consequential Book Editors Susan Sheridan , 2021 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 430 2021; (p. 36-37)

— Review of Literary Lion Tamers : Book Editors Who Made Publishing History Craig Munro , 2021 multi chapter work criticism

'Craig Munro’s latest book shines a spotlight on the work of some very different Australian book editors. It begins in the 1890s, when A.G. Stephens came into prominence as literary editor of The Bulletin’s famous Red Page. It continues through the trials and tribulations of P.R. (‘Inky’) Stephensen in publishing and radical politics in the interwar period and his internment during the war for his association with the Australia First Movement. Literary Lion Tamers then moves on to Beatrice Davis’s long career as a professional book editor with Angus & Robertson after World War II. It concludes with Rosanne Fitzgibbon, with whom Munro developed fiction and poetry lists at the University of Queensland Press.' (Introduction)

1 Miles among the Merkans : Miles Franklin in the Windy City Susan Sheridan , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 424 2020; (p. 46)

— Review of Fallen Among Reformers : Miles Franklin, Modernity, and the New Woman Janet Lee , 2020 multi chapter work criticism biography

'After My Brilliant Career appeared in 1901, Miles Franklin spent a few years living in Sydney, where she enjoyed being fêted as a new literary sensation. Her attempt to earn a living by writing fiction and journalism about women’s issues was less than successful; even the timely and witty suffrage novel, Some Everyday Folk and Dawn (1909), was knocked back at first. In 1906, at the age of twenty-six, she left Australia for the United States. She spent the next nine years living in Chicago and working for the Women’s Trade Union League, secretary to its wealthy patron, Margaret Dreier Robins, and editing its journal, Life and Labour, with her compatriot Alice Henry. The two Australians enjoyed recognition as enfranchised women, a status that American women were still fighting for.' (Introduction) 

1 More Than Stories : Reflections on Books and Writing Susan Sheridan , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , December no. 417 2019; (p. 57-58)

— Review of The Innocent Reader : Reflections on Reading and Writing Debra Adelaide , 2019 selected work essay ; Wild about Books : Essays on Books and Writing Michael Wilding , 2019 selected work essay
1 Kent and Cook Susan Sheridan , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 409 2019; (p. 29)

'Kenneth Cook (1929-87) was a prolific author best known for his first novel, Wake in Fright (1961), which was based on his experience as a young journalist in Broken Hill in the 1950s. In January 1972, as I sat in a London cinema watching the film made from this novel by director Ted Kotcheff, its nightmare vision of outback life seared itself into my brain. I was about to return home to Australia after two and a half years away, and I wondered why on earth I had made the fateful decision to go back to a place as violent and cruel as this. (Introduction)

1 Violence and Threat : A New Collection from A.S. Patrić Susan Sheridan , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , December no. 407 2018; (p. 37-38)

'In 2016 A.S. Patrić’s first novel, Black Rock, White City won the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Two years earlier (he told an interviewer) he couldn’t even get a rejection slip for it: not one of the big Australian publishers responded when he sent the manuscript. The independent company Transit Lounge took it on, and the rest is history. Or, rather, the rest of Patrić’s work comes into the light: Transit Lounge has since published his second novel, Atlantic Black (2017), and now this, his fourth collection of short fiction.'  (Introduction)

1 Talking to One Another Susan Sheridan , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 399 2018; (p. 53)

'The appearance in 2014 of In Certain Circles, a new novel from Elizabeth Harrower, was an important literary event. The author, who still lives in Sydney, had published nothing since 1966 and had repeatedly maintained that she had nothing more to say. In Certain Circles had been ready for publication in 1971, but Harrower withdrew it. In interviews over the intervening period, she gave a number of reasons for this decision but remained adamant that no one could read the manuscript. Fortunately, Michael Heyward at Text Publishing, who had recently reprinted her four earlier novels, persuaded her otherwise. Text published handsome hardback editions of In Certain Circles and A Few Days in the Country and other stories (2015), a collection of her short stories, more than half of which had appeared for the first time in that same year. With these two new books, and the republication of her small but powerful oeuvre, it is time to ask how we now understand Harrower’s achievement and, as a consequence, how we might reconfigure the picture of mid-century Australian fiction.' (Introduction)

1 Feminist Fables and Alexis Wright's Art of the Fabulous in 'The Swan Book' Susan Sheridan , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Hecate , vol. 43 no. 1/2 2017; (p. 197-214)

'Two recent award-winning Australian novels, both of a dystopian cast of mind, Alexis Wright's 'The Swan Book' (2013) and Charlotte Wood's 'The Natural Way of Things' (2015), employ fable to tell powerful contemporary stories. In both novels the issues explored are so violent and threatening to life itself that fable rather than realist narrative becomes the best vehicle for staging them. Here I begin by comparing these two novels briefly, considering the different meanings and uses that "fable" might have for a novelist dealing with such issues of violence (colonial, patriarchal, ecological). I go on to suggest some connections between the uses of fable made by these two novelists and some important feminist writers of the late twentieth century, most notably Angela Carter. The remainder of the essay is focussed on 'The Swan Book' and the way Wright uses the forms of fable to write a story geared to catastrophic times of climate change, representing country as a living entity and inventing a new fable of the black swan and the swan woman.'  (Publication abstract)

1 Among the Reeds : A Lost Novel of Women's Emancipation Susan Sheridan , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Claiming Space for Australian Women's Writing 2017; (p. 61-73)

'Set in Sydney in 1913 but not published until 1933, Among the Reeds is the sole novel written by Alice Muskett, a woman better known as a painter in the period of women’s emancipation in Australia. It was published under the pen-name “Jane Laker”, and takes the form of Jane’s journal, over the period of a year. This chapter reads the novel as a perceptive and optimistic account of the key moment of feminist and modernist transition – until the shadow of the Great War falls across that sunlit Sydney world. This historically significant novel has long been out of print and the chapter explores the way it dramatises women’s conflicts over marriage and career.'

Source: Abstract.

1 Nancy Cato at Noosa Susan Sheridan , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , December vol. 24 no. 2 2017; (p. 282-292)

'Nancy Cato (1917–2000) was born in Adelaide and lived there for the first half of her life. Moving to Noosa in 1967, she became known for environmental activism as well as her writing. Through research for her historical novels set in Tasmania and on the Murray River, as well as her travels in Central and Northern Australia, she developed a strong interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. She published poetry, stories, plays and journalism, as well as novels set in the Northern Territory, North Queensland, the Riverland and Tasmania. She had a painter's eye as well as a gift for lyrics and a lifelong interest in storytelling. With the emergence of eco-criticism, we can now see her diverse career as a writer as cohering around her love of the natural world and her curiosity about how human beings lived in it. This article considers her writing about her adopted country around Noosa.' (Abstract)

1 Verbal Play Susan Sheridan , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , November no. 396 2017; (p. 59)

— Review of Thea Astley : Selected Poems Thea Astley , 2017 selected work poetry

'Thea Astley had a way with words. Her novels are studded with arresting metaphors, atrocious puns, hilarious one-liners, arcane words, technical terms from music, geometry and logic, religious and literary allusions. Her verbal pyrotechnics can be dazzling and infuriating, in equal measure: as Helen Garner once wrote, it is a style that can drive you crazy. So it’s no surprise to learn that Astley served her writerly apprenticeship in poetry, in the arts of verbal play and condensation of meaning.' (Introduction)

1 1 'New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham' Edited by Nathanael O’Reilly Susan Sheridan , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 390 2017;
'This manifesto for free verse comes from a poet whose associates at the time included Harold Monro, Richard Aldington, and D.H. Lawrence in London, Harriet Monroe and Louis Untermeyer in New York, Natalie Clifford Barney in Paris. Anna Wickham (1883–1947) mixed with the modernist writers and artists of her time on both sides of the Atlantic and was widely admired for her early books, The Contemplative Quarry (1915), The Man with a Hammer (1916), and The Little Old House (1921).' (Introduction)
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: //www.cambriapress.com/Austlit-series) 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)

1 1 'True Stories and Tall' : Ernestine Hill in the Outback Susan Sheridan , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 380 2016; (p. 13-14)

— Review of Call of the Outback : The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Hill, Nomad, Adventurer and Trailblazer Marianne Van Velzen , 2016 single work biography
1 Misnomers of War : Beyond the Domestic Front Susan Sheridan , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , January-February no. 378 2016; (p. 48-49)

— Review of Australian Women War Reporters : Boer War to Vietnam Jeannine Baker , 2015 single work biography
1 Christina Stead : Portraits of the Author as a Young Woman Susan Sheridan , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature 2016; (p. 111-121)

'This essay discusses Stead's two most prominent novels, which are often reprinted and thus available to international readerships and teachers. One is set in Washington DC, the other in Sydney and London, but together they draw on and transfigure the key elements of her Australian childhood and youth.' (112)

1 Politics and Passion in Stead’s Late Novels Susan Sheridan , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 8 December vol. 31 no. 6 2016;

'This essay examines some recent attempts to devise a new critical approach to Stead’s fiction which can encompass both the socialism she endorsed and the feminism she rejected, and asks how these approaches attempt to account for the affective as well as the intellectual impact of politics in Stead’s novels, in particular Cotters’ England and I’m Dying Laughing.'

Source: Abstract.

1 Mothers and Daughters Susan Sheridan , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , November no. 376 2015; (p. 14)

— Review of The Women's Pages Debra Adelaide , 2015 single work novel
1 [Review] Shirley Hazzard : New Critical Essays Susan Sheridan , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 8 no. 1 2015;

— Review of Shirley Hazzard : New Critical Essays 2014 anthology criticism
X