Maria Takolander – a poet and academic at Deakin University – has won the 2010 ABR Short Story Competition, worth $2000. The judges, Chris Flynn and Peter Rose, were impressed, and amused, by her story ‘A Roānkin Philosophy of Poetry’, an artful take on academic intrigue and absurdism. It appears here.
All seven shortlisted stories appear here in their entirety. The winner of the readers’ choice award was named in our February 2011 issue. One lucky voter received a superb prize, courtesy of Penguin Books: a set of seventy-five Popular Penguins.
Almost one thousand writers entered this year’s competition. They and others will have even more reason to do so next year when we announce details of this much-expanded prize.
ABR’s fiction editor
Chris Flynn is ABR’s inaugural fiction editor. The former editor of Torpedo, he writes for a range of publications, including The Paris Review Daily. His fiction has appeared in many magazines. We invited Chris Flynn to comment on the recent competition and on his future intentions: ‘Maria Takolander’s winning story is a perfect blend of craftsmanship and imagination, from a writer who loves language and knows how to use it. It is original, witty, and beautifully structured; a story that lingers in the mind long after the final sentence is complete. As fiction editor of ABR, I will be looking to publish established and emerging writers who are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in only a few thousand words. I look forward to reading amazing stories filled with beauty, drama, humour, and imagination.’
PM’s Literary Awards
Early last month, Prime Minister Julia Gillard spoke at the announcement of the PM’s Literary Awards. This was warmly welcomed after some disquiet about the government’s commitment to these young awards. Ms Gillard, in her first cultural event as prime minister, said that, ‘despite some real concerns over the future of Australian publishing, we live in a golden age of Australian writing’. Eighty-four per cent of Australians are regular readers, she observed, ‘including one in five who read poetry’. This makes the absence of a discrete prize for poetry even more conspicuous. Ms Gillard, welcoming the new categories of children’s and young adult fiction, commented on the longevity of these genres. The school of Kenneth Slessor and Gwen Harwood and Francis Webb is not to be sneezed at, either. Surely, national recognition of its outstanding poets is deserved. And while we’re being picky, what about rewarding all the shortlisted authors, not just the winners? Given the money involved, a consolation prize of $5000 would surely be appropriate.
Fellows and Interns
The Sidney Myer Fund has become a welcome new supporter of the magazine. Because of its generosity, ABR will early next year seek applications for a fully paid, six-month editorial internship based on the model of the APA internships, one of which we hosted in 2009. Meanwhile, we are seeking proposals for the first of two ABR Sidney Myer Fund Fellowships, each worth $5000. We encourage writers with a significant publication record to apply. The closing date is 31 January 2011.
Thanking our Patrons
Last year we reported on the fiscal jolts that had made 2009 such a bracing year for arts organisations, literary magazines included. The response from private patrons has been magnificent. We began the year with twenty-four Patrons; now we have eighty, listed here. ABR Patrons’ support is enabling us to expand the magazine’s work and to undertake programs that would previously have been untenable. We are most grateful to them.
The summer issue is Peter Rose’s hundredth as Editor. He joined ABR in January 2001. Advances shared a cheese sandwich with the Editor just before the summer issue went to press. He was keen to acknowledge ABR’s brilliant staff and its cohort of generous volunteers, who bring so much to the magazine. He looks forward to many changes and innovations in ABR’s fiftieth birthday year. These will include an electronic edition to complement the existing print edition, several Patrons’ fellowships, a new editorial internship, themed issues, and a busy program of events.
Please join us at King’s College London on Wednesday, 15 December, when Peter Rose will be one of several speakers addressing the theme of ‘Cultures of Book Reviewing’. Will Eaves (Arts Editor of the Times Literary Supplement), who has a poem in this issue, will be among the other speakers. Dr Ian Henderson, who teaches at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, will chair the panel. The doors will open at 6 p.m.
Farewell to 2010
This year, 224 writers and reviewers contributed to ABR. We thank them all. This is one of two double issues we publish each year, so we’ll be back in February. The office will remain open for business all summer. Best wishes from everyone at ABR.
CONTENTS: DECEMBER 2010–JANUARY 2011