You’ve probably heard by now that one of the first acts of the new QLD Premier Campbell Newman was to get rid of the state’s own literary awards. Of course, the literary community across Australia is pissed off, particularly because the awards have given many emerging and Indigenous writers their break, including Amy Barker, Karen Foxlee, Patrick Holland, Tara June Winch and Yvette Holt—and that’s just to name the winners of the awards, many authors have been published after being shortlisted, too. Let’s not forget that it’s also a boost to publishers. Booksellers around the country pay attention to award-winners, as do the media. We must look to our friends at the Brisbane bookshops (like Avid Reader), the Queensland Writers Centre, and the Brisbane Writers Festival for recommendations.
Ben Eltham has written a good article on the situation in Crikey. Here’s the story in the Courier Mail. Stephen Romei has weighed-in at A Pair of Ragged Claws. And you can act right now to try to get the awards reinstated by signing this petition.
The hashtag #QLDlitprize is also the top hashtag trending in Australia as I write. Let’s keep the heat on it.
If the QLD Prem’s Awards had an impact on your career, or perhaps your reading life, please do tell us about it in the comments.
Update, 5 April:
Kate Middleton’s article on how the WA Premier’s Award has shaped her life and career.
And I hear that Avid Reader, mentioned above, are going to carry on with the QLD Literary Awards as usual, just without the Premier and the cash! Wonderful. I don’t know much yet, but I’ll update again here in a day or two. Or follow Krissy Kneen on Twitter for more info.