Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham
Sophie Cunningham has been a writer and publisher in Australia for thirty years. A former publisher and editor, she is the author of two novels, Geography (2004) and Bird (2008). For the City Series, she wrote Melbourne (2011). Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy, her most recent book, was published by Text Publishing in 2014 and was long-listed for both a Walkley Award and the Kibble Prize. She is a former Editor of Meanjin, and until recently was Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council. She is a founding and current board member of The Stella Prize, a prize for Australian women’s writing. She lived in Brooklyn, New York, in 2014 and is now based in San Francisco, California. She is currently writing a novel called This Devastating Fever, about Leonard Woolf’s time in Ceylon in the early 1900s, and a collection of linked essays, tentatively entitled 50.


Sophie Cunningham reviews 'On Robyn Davidson: Writers on Writers' by Richard Cooke

June–July 2020, no. 422 26 May 2020
Sophie Cunningham reviews 'On Robyn Davidson: Writers on Writers' by Richard Cooke
The women that Robyn Davidson had a powerful effect on, Richard Cooke tells us, include author Anna Krien, adventurer Esther Nunn, and his wife. ‘I watched as the power of this book and its author, their energy and weight, worked an entrainment across cultures and generations,’ writes Cooke. In some ways his essay charts his struggle with that power. How not to fall into the trap that others w ... (read more)

2015 Calibre Prize (Winner): 'Staying with the trouble'

May 2015, no. 371 22 April 2015
Percy Grainger walked to avoid self-flagellation. David Sedaris walked to placate his Fitbit. Virginia Woolf walked the streets of London, and later the South Downs, endlessly: because she loved it, because she was walking her dogs, because she needed to think clearly. For Henry Thoreau, every walk was a sort of ‘crusade’. Sarah Marquis, who walked 16,000 kilometres over three years, sought a ... (read more)

Sophie Cunningham reviews 'Sarah Thornhill' by Kate Grenville

October 2011, no. 335 27 September 2011
Sophie Cunningham reviews 'Sarah Thornhill' by Kate Grenville
Sarah Thornhill is the third book in Kate Grenville’s loose trilogy depicting life in the early days after Australia’s settlement. Like the previous novels, The Secret River (2005) and The Lieutenant (2008), Sarah Thornhill fictionalises actual stories of settlement. In the process, Grenville transforms our history into something immediate and tangible, which gives readers the chance to enter ... (read more)

Sophie Cunningham reviews 'Caleb's Crossing' by Geraldine Brooks

June 2011, no. 332 24 May 2011
Geraldine Brooks has an extraordinary radar for a good story, a curiosity that has carried her, and her readers, from Year of Wonders (2001), set during England’s plague of 1666; to March andthe American Civil War; to medieval Spain and the People of the Book (2008).Her latest novel, Caleb’s Crossing, is set closer to the place Brooks calls home – in the early settlement of Great Harbor on t ... (read more)