ABR Publishing Profile

Issue #1, June 1978Issue #1, June 1978Australian Book Review is one of the country’s leading cultural magazines. Founded in 1961 in Adelaide and revived in Melbourne in 1978, it is an independent, not-for-profit magazine committed to publishing critical and creative writing of the highest standard. Through its print and digital publishing, website, prizes, fellowships, events, and partnerships, ABR makes a major contribution to Australia’s culture of ideas. 

The magazine publishes in-depth literary and arts reviews as well as new poetry and fiction, essays, commentaries, and interviews. ABR also reviews films, television, music, theatre, opera, dance, festivals, and art exhibitions.

ABR is a strong advocate of proper support and remuneration for freelance reviewers. We pay for everything we publish – print and online – and we pay increasingly well.

ABR is a powerful generator of ideas and creative writing, and a key supporter of fresh talent. Few publications support writers and editors through such varied and lucrative programs.

 

Editors

ABR issue one 1961First issue, 1961 (series one)First Series

1961 to 1974 - Geoffrey Dutton, Max Harris, and Rosemary Wighton

Second series:

1978 to 1986 - John McLaren
1986 to 1987 - Kerryn Goldsworthy
1988 - Louise Adler
1989 to 1995 - Rosemary Sorensen
1995 to 2000 - Helen Daniel
2001 to present day - Peter Rose

 

Find out more about ABR Staff, the ABR Board and Editorial Advisory Board, the ABR Laureates, and contributors to the first and second series. A timeline of major events from ABR’s history can be found here and our annual reviews can be found here.

 

ABR Print Publishing

 

ABR publishes reviews, commentaries, interviews, essays, surveys, and creative writing. In general ABR publishes approximately 500 features in print each year by 300 contributors. Roughly 90 or 100 of these contributors will be new to the magazine. ABR is open to approaches from new contributors and you can find out more here. ABR publishes an annual index of our print content here (from 2017 we have also indexed our digital content). 

 

Interviews

We have published 118 interviews with a wide range of authors, critics, poets, and publishers including Tim Winton, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Geraldine Brooks, Hazel Rowley, Carmen Callil, and Sheila Fitzpatrick

 

Surveys

ABR regularly publishes surveys of groups of critics, publishers, and commentators on a range of subjects including the following: Books of the Year, Arts Highlights of the Year, and Publisher Picks

 

The ABR Favourite Australian Novel polls

Back in 2009, when we sought readers’ nominations for the ABR Favourite Australian Novel (any era, any genre), we anticipated goodly interest, ABR readers being a passionate and well-read bunch. But we hadn’t expected to be inundated with quite so many faxes and emails. In the end we received thousands of votes for some 290 Australian novels. Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, a perennial favourite since its publication in 1991, was the overwhelming favourite – by a margin of three to one to its nearest rival, Henry Handel Richardson’s The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, which was closely followed by Patrick White’s Voss and Winton’s most recent novel, Breath. Particularly heartening was the large number of nineteenth-century novels and those published before the remarkable expansion of fiction publishing in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The following feature, which appeared in the February 2010 issue, lists the top twenty Favourite Australian Novels. 

In 2019 we asked readers to nominate their Favourite Australian Novel published since 2000. Voting has now closed and results will be published in October.

 

Advocacy and engagement

ABR, though not politically aligned, is an engaged and responsive magazine. From time to time, we publish open letters on key social or political questions. These include an Open Letter on Marriage Equality and an Open Letter on the importance of saving the ABC. 

 

ABR Online Exclusives

Not all ABR’s publishing appears in the print magazine. We publish a wide range of online exclusives and previews including book and arts reviews, creative writing, essays and interviews, and podcasts. These appear online in ABR Arts, States of Poetry, Reading Australia, ABR Fiction, Book Talk, and ABR Online Exclusives.

 

Reading Australia

ABR commissioned and published twenty-six essays on major Australian writers as part of the Australia Council’s Reading Australia project. These essays are all available open access online.

 

States of Poetry

Between 2016 and 2018 ABR published nearly four hundred poems by eighty poets as part of States of Poetry, a federally arranged poetry anthology supported by Copyright Agency Limited that also included podcasts. Anthologies were published by poets from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the ACT. These anthologies are all open access. The poets and state editors are listed below.

 

ABR Print Edition Statistics and Gender Breakdown 

Below is a gender breakdown from the print edition between 2014 and 2018. (NB this table only includes information about items published in the print edition. It does not include our wider digital content.)  

Year

Features published in the print edition

Percentage of those features written by men

Percentage of those features written by women

Number of new contributors

2014

457

56%

44%

91

2015

536

60%

40%

103

2016

501

61%

39%

74

2017

501

57%

43%

88

2018

530

54%

46%

93

 

Prizes and Programs

ABR presents three prestigious international literary prizes (for poetry, essays and short stories), a vibrant Fellowship program, and a prestigious Laureate’s program. We also offer regular paid Editorial Internships.

 

Laureates

To recognise the work of distinguished Australian artists, ABR has to date named two ABR Laureates.

  • David Malouf (2014)
  • Robyn Archer (2016)

 

Fellows

Since 2011 ABR has awarded twenty Fellowships to twelve women and eight men. The Fellows are listed below under the year of publication. Find out more about the Published and current Fellows and read their essays.

 

ABR Editorial Internships

Since 2009 ABR has awarded eight paid Editorial Internships as part of our highly successful program. The current ABR Editorial Intern is Jack Callil. Find out more about past Editorial Interns.

 

ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize

Since 2010 ABR has awarded the Jolley Prize to eleven writers (the prize was shared in 2011). Thirty-five writers have been shortlisted for the prize. As with all our prizes the Jolley Prize is judged blind. Since 2010 ABR has shortlisted twenty-seven women and eight men. Since the prize was internationalised in 2014 we have shortlisted six writers from overseas. The winners and shortlisted authors are listed below. Find out more about the past winners of the Jolley Prize and read their stories via our Past Winners page.

 

Calibre Essay Prize

Since 2007 ABR has awarded the Calibre Essay Prize to seventeen writers (the prize was shared in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011). Calibre was internationalised in 2015 and as with all our prizes it is judged blind. Since 2010 the Calibre Prize has been won by nine men and eight women. The winning authors are listed below. In 2017 ABR introduced a second prize and this has been won by two women and one man. Find out more about the past winners of the Calibre Prize via our Past Winners page

 

Peter Porter Poetry Prize

Since 2005 ABR has awarded the Peter Porter Poetry Prize to eighteen writers (the prize was shared in 2011, 2017, and 2019). Eighty-one poems have been shortlisted for the prize. As with all our prizes the Porter Prize is judged blind. Since 2010 ABR has shortlisted forty-three poems by men and thirty-eight poems by women. Since the prize was internationalised in 2014 we have shortlisted six writers from overseas. The winners and shortlisted authors are listed below. Find out more about the past winners of the Porter Prize and read their poems via our Past Winners page.

 

From Prize to Publication

Many past ABR prize shortlisted entrants have gone on to publish full-length works (novels, short story collections, films etc) based on, or including, their shortlisted or winning works. We have listed some of these below.

 


Editorial note

The statistics listed above are correct as at September 2019. The information on this page will continue to be updated and expanded over time.