UQP Critic's Corner: Juliet Rieden – Editor-at-Large of The Australian Women's Weekly
Juliet Rieden has been a journalist for more than 30 years, working between the UK and Australia for magazines and newspapers as a writer and editor. She is currently Editor-At-Large at The Australian Women's Weekly, where she also works as the Royal Correspondent and the Books Editor. Her first book, The Royals in Australia, was published in 2015. She is also the non-fiction author of the critically acclaimed The Writing on the Wall. Juliet regularly contributes to TV programmes as a royal commentator on BBC, ITV, ABC TV, Channel Nine, Channel Seven and Channel Ten. Juliet has also been a judge for the Australian Book Industry Awards and the Walkley Awards book category.
What do you love (and loathe) about book reviewing?
I consider it a privilege to review books and take the role very seriously. I enjoy immersing myself in a book and then being able to step back and analyse how it has been written, what it has to say and what we as readers can take from it.
What does an average day look like for you?
There is no average day for me – they are all different. I juggle a number of roles in my work. I am obviously a book reviewer, but also a journalist, an author myself and a podcaster. I guess if there is anything similar about my days it is that they are very busy and there are never enough hours. My dream would be to stop time each day just for a few hours…
How do you choose what (and what not) to review?
It is very tough because there are so many wonderful books that deserve attention. In The Australian Women’s Weekly book pages I try to ensure breadth of writing, styles and subjects. I see these reviews as recommended reads, so if I don’t think a book has merit it won’t be on the pages. But broadly what I am looking for is the same with any book – a good story, well told, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.
What are you aiming to achieve with your reviews?
I want to tell the readers what the book is about, characterise its style and give an idea of the power of the writing.
What is your advice for aspiring book reviewers?
Read as much as you can so you are an informed reviewer and know the audience for your reviews. I am constantly thinking, is this book something my readers will be interested in reading.
Which reviewers do you like to read?
I don’t have any favourites as such because it is the book I am interested in not the reviewer, but I do think authors make good reviewers because they understand the writing process.
What makes a book great?
The quality of the writing and the power of the ideas expressed.
Who are some of your favourite Australian authors?
Geraldine Brooks, Richard Flanagan, Favel Parrett, Tara June Winch, Peter Carey, Hannah Kent, the breathtaking poetry of Clive James.
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
The new Sally Rooney novel – Beautiful World, Where Are You. Barack Obama’s autobiography – it’s a doorstop of a tome and I started it a while back but suspect I won’t get back to it until the Christmas holiday. The new Hannah Kent novel Devotion, set in Australia.
Do you have any favourite UQP titles or authors?
Larissa Behrendt always has me gripped.
How can we follow you online and where can we read your reviews?
My reviews are in The Australian Women’s Weekly – especially my monthly Great Read pick. Online you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and see my work on my website julietrieden.com – when I have time to update it. Note to self….