When someone is clearly picking a fight, the temptation is just to ignore them. But after reading Peter Craven’s highly theatrical review of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (general editor Nicholas Jose) in the September issue of Australian Book Review, I’ve decided the fight needs to be had.

To say the review is -- and here I quote James Bradley -- "a bracing critique is an understatement; it reads more like the critical equivalent of a hand grenade, pointing out omissions, rubbishing the selection and questioning the logic of the anthology’s interaction with what Craven regards as the Australian canon."