In April 2014, at the conclusion of ‘An Evening with David Malouf’ in front of a capacity house at Deakin Edge, Melbourne, David Malouf was named as the inaugural ABR Laureate. He is of course one of our most distinguished authors, with an internationally renowned body of work in fiction, poetry, essays, libretti, and memoir. The Laureateship reflects the Editor’s and the Board’s high regard for David Malouf’s artistry, for his principled and eloquent advancement of literature, and for his generosity to readers and writers – and indeed to this magazine.
In creating the Laureateship (which we intend to offer from time to time), our intentions are twofold: to celebrate our finest writers, but also to advance the work of a younger writer admired by the Laureate. Accordingly, we invited the Laureate to nominate an ABR Laureate’s Fellow. Michael Aiken was the inaugural ABR Laureate's Fellow and he used his Fellowship to write an extended narrative poem in the epic tradition. Entitled 'Satan Repentant', this is a book-length poem about revenge, resentment, and remorse. ABR published a long extract from the poem in its August 2016 issue. The ABR Laureate's Fellowship is possible because of the generosity of ABR Patrons.
At the launch of the November 2016 Arts issue Robyn Archer was named as the second ABR Laureate. Robyn Archer – a performer and writer of many accomplishments – made her professional début in 1974 as Annie 1 in the Australian première of Brecht and Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins. She is an internationally renowned exponent of classic European cabaret. Audiences here and abroad have relished her inimitable voice, artistry, and superlative diction. Robyn Archer’s influence on the broader culture has been enormous. Few
Australian performers have made such a notable contribution. In addition to her writing and artistic work, she has directed numerous arts festivals, including Adelaide (1998 and 2000) and Melbourne (2002–05). Deputy Chair of the Australia Council from 2012 to August 2016, she is a ceaseless advocate for the arts and a respected mentor to new generations
of artists and artistic directors. Her many honours include an honorary doctorate from Flinders University; Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; and Officer of the Order of Australia.
As with David Malouf, we will invite Robyn to nominate an ABR Laureate’s Fellow. The Fellow will work closely with the Editor on a substantial work for publication. On this occasion, she or he will receive $7,500, courtesy of the ABR Patrons, who fund this program. We look forward to naming the new Fellow in coming months.