Sam Cooney runs TLB, a not-for-profit publishing organisation with a large team who together produce the quarterly literary magazine The Lifted Brow, publish books under the Brow Books imprint, post new pieces of commentary and criticism online every week, stage events, award writing prizes, and do a whole lot more. He is most interested in acts of publishing that are artistically daring and culturally critical – especially works produced by those from the literary and/or demographic margins whose views and viewpoints can and do greatly add to the broader conversation.
Sam is the official 'publisher-in-residence' at RMIT University, and teaches creative writing and publishing subjects sessionally at RMIT and University of Melbourne. He has also taught subjects at Deakin University and Victoria University. He holds a bachelor's degree in writing from Deakin University, and a master's degree in creative writing and cultural practice from Western Sydney University.
He is a freelance writer and critic, with past work appearing in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Saturday Paper, Meanjin, Island, Going Down Swinging, Seizure, Australian Book Review, The Rumpus, a Sleepers Almanac, and as a founding member of the McSweeney’s Silent History geofiction project. He is a freelance editor, having commissioned and/or edited work for a variety of other publishing houses and publications in the past, including journals Overland and Griffith Review, and Australian publishers Giramondo, Sleepers Publishing and Momentum Books.
Sam sits on a couple of editorial advisory boards, chairs the RMIT Creative Writing Program Advisory Committee, undertook a residency with McSweeney's Publishing in San Francisco in 2014, and sometimes helps kids make literary magazines at 100 Story Building in Footscray. He has hosted events and chaired panels at the Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Emerging, National Young, and Ubud writers’ festivals, as well as at The Wheeler Centre and at various writers' centres around the country. He has been a judge of the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Prize, the Victorian Premier’s Non-Fiction Prize, the Walkey's Young Journalist of the Year Awards, and twice for the Lord Mayor’s Narrative Non-Fiction Prize, .
He is forever indebted to Voiceworks magazine for revealing to him a path, and loves that he gets to continue doing work with Express Media to this day. He's also beholden to others who gave him tremendous opportunities along the way, including Ronnie Scott (founder of The Lifted Brow), Kalinda Ashton at Overland (for allowing him to guest-edit fiction for an issue of the journal), Ivor Indyk at Giramondo, Louise Swinn and Zoe Dattner at Sleepers Publishing, among so so so many others.
In 2017 he took part in the Small Press Network’s inaugural mentorship program, presented at the NonfictioNow conference at Reykjavik, and spent the year immersed in the Australia Council's 'Future Leaders' professional development program.
In 2018 Sam is overseeing the publication of several more Brow Books titles, visiting India as part of the Australia Council's India Literature Exploratory Delegation, as well as undertaking a secondment at Graywolf Press in Minneapolis.