Clem Christesen

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Clem Christesen
Born 1911
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Died 28 June 2003(2003-06-28)
Templestowe, Victoria, Australia
Education University of Queensland
Occupation Literary editor
Spouse(s) Nina Mikhailovna Maximov (m. 1942–2001)
Parent(s) Patrick Christesen
Susan Byrne

Clement Byrne Christesen (1911–2003) was the founder of the Australian literary magazine Meanjin. He served as the magazine's editor from 1940 until 1974.


Early years[edit]

Clement Byrne Christesen was born and spent his early life in Townsville. His father, Patrick, was of mixed Irish and Danish descent, while his mother Susan Byrne, was mostly Irish. The family moved to Brisbane in 1917, where Clem later attended the University of Queensland.


After leaving university, Clem worked as a journalist at Brisbane's Courier-Mail and the Telegraph, as well as a publicity officer for the Queensland government.[1]

Meanjin Papers was first published in 1940, following Christesen's return from overseas travel.

With an offer of full-time salary and commercial support for the publication, the magazine and its editor moved to the University of Melbourne in 1945.

He retired as editor in 1974.


Christesen was granted several awards and state honours in recognition of his achievements:[1][2]

  • Officer of the Order of British Empire, 1 January 1962, In recognition of service to Australian literature[3]
  • Medal of the Order of Australia, 26 January 2000, for service to the development of Australian creative and critical writing as founder and editor of Meanjin Quarterly
  • Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, for service to Australian society and the humanities in writing and literature



  1. ^ a b Hergenhan 2003
  2. ^ See Australian Honours in References
  3. ^ "No. 42553". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1961. p. 37. 


  • Lee, Jenny (2004), "Clem Christesen and his Legacy", Australian Literary Studies, 21 (3), pp. 410–412 
  • Hergenhan, Laurie (2003), Bennett, Bruce, ed., "Clem Christesen (1911-2003)" (PDF), Proceedings of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Marrickville, NSW, Australia: Southwood Press, 28, pp. 45–46, ISBN 0-909897-54-9 
  • Brimfield, Emma (2003-06-11), "Clem Christesen", 150 Years: 150 Stories, retrieved 2007-05-29 
  • Australian Honours, retrieved 2007-05-29