Geordie Williamson, editor of The Best Australian Essays 2016

Geordie Williamson is the publisher of Pan Macmillan’s Picador imprint. He is the former chief literary critic of the Australian newspaper and his essays and reviews have been appearing in newspapers and magazines here and in the UK for over a decade. In 2011, he won the Pascall Prize for criticism, Australia’s only major national prize awarded for critical writing. He published The Burning Library, a collection of essays on neglected Australian writers, in 2012. He lives in the Blue Mountains with his family.

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'The editing process was complicated this year in a good way – by the sheer weight of submissions – evidence not only of the robustness of our journalism and literary magazines, but of the number of issues we feel bound to worry at and debate. That these are interesting times is borne out by essays on everything from climate emergency to Manus Island, indigenous affairs in Northern Australia to neoliberalism in North America. I've tried to dial through the full spectrum of issues and pick out the strongest signals from among the static. The essay that moved me most belonged to Behrouz Boochani. It is a virtue of this anthology that by the simple act of inclusion, the words of a Kurdish-Iranian may meet on equal terms with the broad Australian community of writers and thinkers.'