Hard times at the ABC
Why is it that the ABC – which can produce lavish and lamentable ‘entertainments’ such as Randling and Angry Boys – can’t find the money to maintain decently resourced radio drama or book readings. From January 2013, Radio National’s popular Book Reading – now in its sixty-fourth year – will disappear. The ABC has also announced significant cuts to radio drama, features, and the influential Breakfast program. What miserable priorities from our national broadcaster. Many writers, actors, and producers – but also armies of readers – will be the poorer because of this pusillanimous economy.
CPSU National President Michael Tull, who deplores this ‘appalling decision’, has commented: ‘Radio plays and book readings are a unique ABC tradition ... But they’re also part of the intellectual and cultural life of the country right now, providing a forum and audience for Australian artists and writers.’
Give a free gift subscription
Normally it is harried and uncaffeinated editors who patronise cafés – not the reverse – but this month we welcome our friends at KereKere as Realist Patrons. KereKere, a coffee vendor founded at the University of Melbourne and still based there, now has a café at Boyd. (KereKere is a Fijian concept for giving to the community without expectations.) Every time you buy a coffee, you can nominate a cause that interests you (Environmental, Cultural, Social, Health-related). Once a month KereKere donates money, not beans, to initiatives that ‘promote community well-being’. It’s a good example of your lattes at work!
The kindness of Patrons
Cultural philanthropy continues to underpin the magazine’s programs and is largely responsible for its growth and diversity. Without it ABR would be a different entity, and a rather circumscribed one. Private patronage supports Australian writers and readers through Patrons’ Fellowships, lucrative prizes, literary events, ABR Online Edition, and much more.
We look forward to greeting many of our supporters at a special function on 15 November. This will be the first Patrons’ event to be held at Boyd. Our special guest will be ABR Patron Mary Vallentine AO – CEO of the Melbourne Recital Centre and, before that, Managing Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for seventeen years.
‘Being your slave, what should I do but tend / Upon the hours and times ...’ of ABR’s first Sonnet-o-thon. Lovers of Shakespeare’s incomparable sonnets – lovers of suave poetry in general – should not miss our first Sonnet-o-thon, to be held at Boyd on Wednesday, 28 November (6 for a 6.15 p.m. start). Several writers and poets – Lisa Gorton, Ian Donaldson, Rachel Fensham, Peter Rose, among others – will read some (not all) of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, with comments on this heady, enigmatic suite. This will be the last of our 2012 events in Studio 2. Everyone is welcome (it’s a free event). Come along and celebrate fine poetry – and a memorable year for ABR.
The two Frank Thrings
Don’t forget our first collaborative event with Melbourne’s hugely popular City Library, on Flinders Lane. Peter Fitzpatrick – author of The Two Frank Thrings (reviewed warmly by Ian Britain in our previous issue) – will be in conversation with film historian and ABR regular Brian McFarlane. The date is Tuesday, 20 November (6 p.m.). This is a free event. Bookings, as always, are essential.
Wet Ink over and out
It is always disappointing to read of the closure of an enterprising literary magazine, especially one emanating from a state not overloaded with periodicals or quality newspapers. Wet Ink, based in Adelaide, is closing down after seven years and twenty-seven issues.
The editors, Phillip Edmonds and Dominique Wilson, blame this on a ‘skittish economy’ and a paucity of sales, advertising, and subscriptions. Magazines in extremis often dream of exclusively digital futures, but not Wet Ink’s editors: ‘Despite all of these problems we are not interested in only going digital, as it isn’t for us a meaningful alternative.’
Collected Works bookshop in Melbourne – Australia’s famous poetry bookshop – is holding another ‘Big Read’ on Thursday, 8 November, at 6.30 p.m. Fifty poets will be reading, for two minutes each (expect quite a few haiku). Readers will include Alex Skovron, Anne Carson, Susan Hawthorne, and Anthony Lynch. In lieu of an entry fee it is hoped that guests will support this remarkable institution by buying a book or two. Running a bookshop is never easy; keeping a specialty bookshop going is even harder. For more information call (03) 9654 8873.
CONTENTS: NOVEMBER 2012