Like a film narrator, he speaks directly to the reader, offering close-ups on particular works alongside panoramic views of the literary landscape. One can imagine the reader as part of an audience in a darkened cinema, absorbed in exciting action on the silver screen.
Born of an Australian mother and a French father, Jean-François Vernay grew up in New Caledonia’s multicultural community which shares some of Australia’s characteristics, including a convict heritage and a complex history of settlement. Using Peter Carey and Christopher Koch as a starting point, he has been researching Australian fiction for 20 years and has published widely in the field, both in French and in English. Dr Vernay is an energetic critic, editor, creative writer and cultural commentator. His fiction and nonfiction books have appeared in France, Australia and in the United States.
‘Vernay’s approach to the Australian novel has the intellectual playfulness associated with some of the best French critical writing … Panorama du roman australien [A Brief Take on the Australian Novel] is bold in its conception and promises to be influential in shaping the wider world’s appreciation and understanding of Australian literature.’ – Simon Caterson, Age