UNDER COVER | CRAIG MUNRO | BOOK REVIEW

Don’t know how I let this one get to the book reviewers, being the editor for Salty Popcorn and it’s nine lovely kernels this one should probably have made my booklist. Alas it slipped out to Kernel Kate, our newest book reading machine. Kate reviews Craig Munro’s UNDER COVER: ADVENTURES IN THE ART OF EDITING, a part memoir/ part book history look at his life editing in the Australian book industry and working with some of the biggest authors the country has seen. This book might not sound like much to most people but I have read nothing but praise for this book and more is to follow from Kate. Get into it! UNDER COVER: ADVENTURES IN THE ART OF EDITING releases tomorrow, Wednesday 26th August, in Australia from Scribe Publications and will be available from most book stores. For information have a squizz HERE. All the best…….JK.

BY KATE DAWES

If you’ve ever wondered how much work went into your favourite book, if you’ve got what it takes to be an author or how a typo you’ve spotted made it into your latest read in the first place Craig Munro’s UNDER COVER: ADVENTURES IN THE ART OF EDITING will prove an illuminating and intriguing look into the world of publishing.

Chronicling his career in editing from it’s beginnings as a newspaper subeditor to the end of his time with the University of Queensland Press, Munro gives us an inside look at life in a publishing house during the exciting period spanning the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s when many of our best known and loved Australian authors rose to national and international significance. While following Munro’s progression through his editing career this memoir also guides us through the history of the company and the development of Australian literature in the late 20th century. Providing us with some historical facts about the Australian publishing industry and personal anecdotes about his authors, editing hits and misses and proudest achievements, which many keen readers will find fascinating. Munro’s experience walks us through the publishing landscape giving us a look into the technical, critical and challenging task that is editing.

 

UNDER COVER: ADVENTURES IN THE ART OF EDITING BOOK COVER IMAGE
UNDER COVER: ADVENTURES IN THE ART OF EDITING | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | COVER AND AUTHOR IMAGE

 

Working with numerous Australian authors including Peter Carrey, Olga Masters and David Malouf on creatively and finically successful collaborations as well as playing a significant role in developing the Australian fiction landscape and helping to establish the University of Queensland’s Indigenous Publishing list while also being an award winning biographer should be impressive enough for this memoir to make an impression on most readers, but the real heart of his memoir is the many genuine friendships and lasting collaborative relationships formed with authors and colleagues throughout his career. Particularly that between himself and Peter Carrey which provides several of the books most humorous and character revealing anecdotes. Often funny, sometimes shocking and once or twice verging on scandalous Munro’s recollections of the characters that people the publishing landscape give us great insight into some of our best known authors and the people who surround them.

Muno’s (Ed Note: being an editor I do need to point out that an “r” should be added to the starting word in this paragraph haha) assertion that “all editors benefit from being ‘at large’ as often as possible” gives us the chance to explore writer’s festivals and events from Adelaide to San Fransisco and along the way meet some of the most talented and influential writers, film producers and critics in the Australian and international landscape. From writers weeks to press tours and film premieres we are led through the maze of engagements facing writers after publication.

Contrary to the stereotype, the publishing industry shown through this work isn’t all long lunches and shoulder rubbing at writer’s weeks. Though primarily focused on writing UNDER COVER also touches on politics, history and current affairs showing us that literature can’t exist in isolation and is influenced by the world of it’s creator while in turn influencing society. Munro highlights several issues including the recognition of indigenous people and Australia’s parallel importing laws where our authors have played an integral part in shaping not only the cultural land space but also the legal and political one.

Finally Munro touches on the technological advances pressing on the publishing industry, with e-reading and online self publishing much has been made of the demise of the publishing industry in recent years. I can’t help feeling that editors like Munro giving so much passion and contributing a personal relationship to their work with authors book publishing in a paper format has a long history in front of it as well as behind.

For avid readers and aspiring writers alike UNDER COVER: ADVENTURES IN THE ART OF EDITING provides a must read behind the scenes look at the publishing industry and the people who fill in.

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

Having always loved stories one of Kernel Kate’s most frequent childhood memories was her parents telling her in the early hours that it was way too late to still be reading and to go to sleep, but she would always sneak in the end of the chapter. Her love of stories led to a career in movies as well as remaining an avid reader of everything from novels to academic papers and junk mail. She makes a perfect reading machine fit to the Salty Cob.

 

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