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Advances - March 2007

March 2007, no. 289

Advances - March 2007

March 2007, no. 289

A new prize for Miles Franklin

Miles Franklin turns fifty this year. Well, 128, to be strictly biographical. Three years after the death of Miles Franklin (1879–1954), the inaugural Miles Franklin Literary Award was inaugurated. This year, the judges have rather more money to present ($42,000) than they did in 1957, when Patrick White’s Voss won the Award.

The judging panel hasn’t changed this year, though there is a new State Librarian and Chief Executive of the State Library of New South Wales: Regina Sutton (the State Librarian always serves as a judge). The other four judges are Eve Abbey, Robert Dixon, Morag Fraser and Ian Hicks. Petrea Salter, of Cauzgroup, has told Advances that next year, and each year after that, one judge will retire, making way for a new one.

Some would say that the judges deserve danger money. Controversy often dogs the Miles Franklin Award – much of it facile and predictable, as Advances has been known to grumble. It’s like one of those tired annual media stories (the heat during the Australian Open, the Boxing Day sales). With the Miles Franklin longlist due to be announced on the Ides of March (the shortlist follows on April 19, the winner on June 21), it won’t be long before people start complaining about the terms of Miles’s will or the sadistic exclusion of works without any Australian characters, settings, or references.

ABR is fond of prizes (witness our Poetry Prize, whose shortlist we publish in this issue), so we are pleased to announce the creation of a new one: the Miles Franklin Beat-up Award. This will be awarded to the first reader who alerts us to a grumpy news story about the perfidy of Miles. Sadly, we can’t offer our sleuth $42,000, but she or he will receive a good bottle of red.


Vale Elizabeth Jolley (1923–2007) As we were going to print, we learned of the death of Elizabeth Jolley, who published her first novel when she was in her fifties, and whose many novels included The Well, winner of the Miles Franklin Award in 1986. Elizabeth Jolley, aged eighty-three, died in Perth on February 13. We will publish a tribute in the April issue.


Letters from the future

It’s on for young and old in our Letters pages this month, including a lively exchange between Anthony Elliott and Sean Scalmer, following Dr Scalmer’s review in the February issue of The New Individualism, co-authored by Professor Elliott and Charles Lemert, the Andrus Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University. Professor Lemert, who has been described as the pre-eminent social theorist working in the United States, will spend part of this month at Flinders University. On Wednesday, March 14, he will deliver a public lecture entitled ‘The Future of the World’. This lecture is free and open to the public. It will start at 6.30 p.m., and the venue is the Adelaide Hilton’s Balcony Room. To register, visit


A wardrobe of hats

ABR is pleased to be taking part in this year’s series of ‘Fridays at the Library’, at Flinders University, where our second office is located. On Friday, March 30, Peter Rose will be in conversation with Kerryn Goldsworthy, a former Editor of ABR and a regular contributor. Their topic is ‘A Wardrobe of Hats: Reading, Writing and Criticism in the Public Sphere’. This is a free event, with light refreshments, and everyone is welcome to attend (please notify Gillian Dooley on 08 8201 5238 if you wish to do so). The venue is the Noel Stockdale Room, Central Library, Flinders University. Short-term pay parking is available in Carpark 6, Registry Road.


Changes at ABR

We have four new board members: John Button, the author and former politician; Anne Edwards, the vice-chancellor of Flinders University; Craig Sherborne, poet, memoirist and journalist; and David de Vaus, the Dean of Humanities at La Trobe University. Bridget Griffen-Foley has resigned from the board because of her many other commitments, but has joined the editorial advisory board and will continue to write a bimonthly media column for us (see page 35).


New editorial position

ABR is seeking a junior editorial assistant. This is a one-year, part-time (0.8) position, ideal for someone intending to work in the publishing industry. The successful applicant will work closely with the editors. A serious interest in literary culture is a prerequisite. But be quick: applications close on March 12.


Breaking news!

ABR is in the process of formalising arrangements with its first corporate sponsor. We will publish details in the April issue.



Part of the pleasure of graffiti (that largely debased art) is its anonymity, but we took this too far in the February issue when we failed to name Lisa Gorton as the author of the splendid poem ‘Graffiti’. HEAT is published by the Giramondo Publishing Group for the Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney, not at the University of Sydney, as Lyn McCredden wrote in her review of HEAT 12 in the February issue.

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