The Motorcycle Café
University of Queensland Press, $10.95 pb, 170 pp
All those years ago when the Literature Board was set up and given a moderate budget, taking over the excellent work of the Commonwealth Literature Fund, many sceptics expressed doubt that our small nation had enough spread of writing talent to warrant what they considered excessive expenditure on books and writers. The record stands for itself and, even if we consider only the established writers who have so far showered us with their works in the 1970s and 1980s, the scheme must be reckoned highly successful. The wonder is, however, that each year new writers spring up with works of high quality as though talent has bred talent or we have established a cultural climate which has allowed the muse ample room to breathe and take flight. Who had heard of Kate Grenville five years ago, Rod Jones or John Sligo three years ago, or Mark Henshaw before April of this year?