UQP Critic's Corner: Jessie Tu – Journalist at Women's Agenda
Jessie Tu is a journalist with Women's Agenda, and writer based in Sydney. Her debut poetry collection, You should have told me we have nothing left, was published in 2018. Her debut novel, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, was published by Allen & Unwin in July 2020. She writes about race, gender, culture and sexuality.
What do you love (and loathe) about book reviewing?
I love reading books I wouldn’t usually pick myself. I loathe that there are only 24 hours a day.
What does an average day look like for you?
I write for Women’s Agenda in the morning, and then in the afternoon, I work on my other projects – my personal writing, my review job at The Age/SMH, and I always try to do a bit of exercise. Usually this is just a simple yoga class.
How do you choose what (and what not) to review?
I don’t. My editors choose for me. I can say no, but I haven’t yet. I’m open to reading anything.
What are you aiming to achieve with your reviews?
I want, first and foremost, to not be boring in my reviews. I want to make sure what I write is something that I’d read myself. Then my second priority is to make sure that what I write truly shows readers what I paid attention to in the book that I reviewed.
What is your advice for aspiring book reviewers?
Read a lot of reviews and figure out what you like about it and what you don’t like about it. Be fierce in cultivating your own taste.
Which reviewers do you like to read?
Jia Tolentino, or anyone else who has a sharp eye and funny writing.
What makes a book great?
Language. For me, it’s all about good language. I don’t care for storyline. I care for good sentences.
Who are some of your favourite Australian authors?
S.L Lim, Tiffany Tsao, Alice Pung. Helen Garner, Christos Tsiolkas, Bri Lee.
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
Patricia Lockwood and Deborah Levy and Mieko Kawakami.
Do you have any favourite UQP titles or authors?
How can we follow you online and where can we read your reviews?