Ten top reviewing tips from Harry Ricketts
Harry Ricketts is a writer, poet, reviewer and co-editor of New Zealand Books Pukapuka Aotearoa.
- Merely describing the book’s/film’s/play’s contents is not nearly enough.
- Get off to a fast start and keep it moving.
- Place the work in an appropriate literary, cultural or intellectual context.
- Offering judgement on the relative quality and worth of the work is part of the reviewer’s task; try not to pull punches.
- Be bold, honest and fair.
- Reviewing is not part of the publishing marketing arm: don’t write a blurb.
- Be clear, coherent, even witty.
- Try to give the review an argument.
- Use examples from the work to back up the argument.
- Use paragraphs of at least four to five sentences in length.
Harry Ricketts’s favourite NZ book is Elizabeth Knox’s The High Jump: New Zealand Childhood trilogy (2000), because of its subtle and utterly compelling portrayal of adolescence.