On Writing—The Art of the Book Review: Academic and Beyond

Tuesday, September 28 at 11:00am to 12:30pm

This is a past event.
Virtual Event


For many academics, the book review can offer an opportunity to engage in public discourse, as well as a way to learn more about current state of thinking in one’s field. Successful book reviews, however, are different than academic criticism; they must function as lyrical essays in their own right while also presenting an assessment of the work at hand on a variety of levels: criticism and service journalism, as it were. It is a form in which there is no formal training; most reviewers figure it out as they go along. This event will seek to jump-start that process by gathering book review editors and practiced reviewers to address questions that include: What are the qualities of a successful book review? How does the book review in a specialized academic journal compare to a review in a general interest publication? What are the responsibilities of the reviewer in terms of dealing with lay readers? How are book reviews solicited or placed? Our invited guests will share remarks for the first half of the event and devote the remaining time to collaborative Q&A.


  • Colin Burrow
    Professor of English and Comparative Literature; Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College
    Contributor, London Review of Books 
  • Anita Felicelli
    Author and Contributor, Los Angeles Review of Books
  • Boris Kachka
    Books Editor, the Los Angeles Times
  • Danzy Senna
    Associate Professor of English, USC
  • James Yeh
    Reviews Editor, The Believer

Moderated by Emily Hodgson Anderson, Professor of English and College Dean of Undergraduate Education and David Ulin, Associate Professor of the Practice of English


Registration before the event is required. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Attendants outside of USC are welcome. 

This workshop is part of the Levan Institute for the Humanities' “On Writing” series. On Writing offers a set of discussions among academics, writers, editors, and others about the nature of writing — both within the academy and in the wider world. Attendants outside of USC are welcome. To see more events in this series, including recordings of past events, visit https://dornsife.usc.edu/levan-institute/writing/.

Questions? Contact the Levan Institute at usclevan@usc.edu


Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff

Campus Humanities, Levan Institute for the Humanities
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