Newman! The Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards axing

The reaction Newman inspires in many of us

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 MailStephen Romei has weighed-in at A Pair of Ragged ClawsAnd 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.

13 thoughts on “Newman! The Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards axing

  1. What will be next in Newman’s firing line? The small arts grants from Arts Queensland? These wonderful, individual grants assisting emergent and developing writers like myself to keep writing, to attend writing seminars and workshops, to learn from master writers, to keep going in our apprenticeships – lord knows, 7-10% royalties on our books earn piddling amounts.
    I guess it comes down to whether people regards the creation of books, music, film and art as important components in the growth of society.
    Obviously, Campbell Newman and his dull-eyed, money-fiddling supporters don’t.

    • Now that he’s cancelled the awards, let’s hope he stays away from the arts and those small grants remain safe!

  2. It’s a mystifying decision. The prize money is such a relatively small proportion of the state budget. Cutting it doesn’t provide much savings, but sends the message that the new government doesn’t care about literature.

    By the way, love the banner picture you’re using at the moment. Who is it?

    • Thanks, Gabriel. The current header is from a painting by my favourite artist Edvard Munch. I saw the original in Oslo. I particularly love the figure on the right. Seems she feels a bit of an outsider.

  3. I was gobsmacked when I heard it on Radio National this am … but, you know, they are going to save a whole $250,000 by doing this so how can we argue against that? Really? $250,000! That’s probably about one department head’s salary package. Surely there are better ways of saving money than a cut like this which costs the govt so little but which earns so much recognition and kudos, as well as doing great good.

  4. Australians were sold out long before this happened. Our universities have been sold to the highest bidder, All the best fish, livestock and produce gets sold overseas, over 80% of our mines are foreign owned, 60% of the sugar industry. Large government contracts are tendered to overseas companies because of a belief that somehow they are better. Currently chinese companies are quietly buying up prime farmlands. The list goes on and on. Australians by default have an easy going she’ll be right nature. Business people take advantage of that and when its all said and done a lot of our polititians haven’t displayed a high standard of statesmanship over the years.

  5. I’m appalled at Mr Newman’s decision, particularly with regard the identification of emerging talent. I love sport, but just how much money does the Queensland Govt pump into that? Talk about low-hanging fruit! I imagine there’d be a predictable uproar should any of those branches be lopped off due to budgetary constraints. I would love to say ‘It would never happen in NSW’, but, ahem, what is going on with my state’s own awards? Will Mr O’Farrell follow suit or will the NSW awards be returned to us refreshed? I’m crossing all my fingers and toes for good sense to prevail, but fear the worst. Sigh. John.

  6. Pingback: Bits & bobs: support the Queensland Literary Awards, MWF blogging | LiteraryMinded

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