Crazy mash-up post!
Strand one: I did a post on the Emerging Writers’ blog today about writing that has changed the way I think. I enjoyed writing it. Yeah, this internship is rad.
Strand two: news broke directly onto Twitter today. It was really strange, because I saw it on Twitter about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, before I could find any coverage on a reputable news source. I didn’t want to believe it. Remember cyclone Yasi? There was so many crazy rumours on Twitter then, and most of them were totally untrue. I was hoping today’s Twitter-news was too. Later in the afternoon though, Sydney Morning Herald ran an article confirming the rumours.
The news is that the new Queensland premier, Campbell Newman, has cancelled the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. When he was elected, he promised to change government spending and get Queensland back on track… Nobody realized that would mean scrapping the literary prize that’s given a huge leg-up and well-deserved kudos to Queensland writers (Anna Krien, Chloe Hooper, Inga Clendinnen, Markus Zusak, Nam Le, J.M Coetzee…the list goes on), and has let people all across Australia (probably all across the world?) what’s worth putting on their To-Be-Read lists. Prizes are exciting and essential. They help bring texts to the foreground that might be overshadowed. And writers don’t get paid anywhere near enough to write – prizes make writing a whole lot more possible. As mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald article, (quoting John Birmingham), “It makes a big difference to the people who are getting [the awards], obviously, but in terms of the state budget, there’s probably bigger tough cuts that he could make, but they’re much tougher to sell”.
I’m not a Queensland writer, and I’m pissed off. I can’t imagine how writers in Queensland are feeling – their state has lost a major prize that would potentially have recognized their hard work.
Chris Currie (@furioushorses) – who is a Queenslander – on Twitter dubbed Campbell Newman a “doucheweasel” – I have nothing more to add.
03/04/2012 at 2:02 pm
Arts always seem to be the first thing to cut, and then they go for everyone else. I’m guessing we’re not out of it in Victoria either. But if Newman was looking for a way to appeal to all the writers that will be talking about him, he’s done it the wrong way.
04/04/2012 at 3:43 am
This is what it all comes down to when you’re choosing a party at an election – who values the arts and education? It’s never been a Liberal priority so we probably shouldn’t be so surprised. I’m just amazed at how quickly it’s all happened.
I’m not a Queensland writer and I’m pissed off too. I just hope it doesn’t signal to all the other states that it’s acceptable.