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News from the Editor's Desk

November 2012, no. 346

News from the Editor's Desk

November 2012, no. 346

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

We’re feeling generous again! For the next two months those subscribers who renew their subscriptions will be eligible to give a free six-month subscription to a friend or colleague. Renew your current subscription at any stage (even before it lapses) to qualify for this special offer. Renew for two years and give away two free subs, etc. What a great way to introduce your friends to ABR. Just renew online and email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us know whether we should give your recipient a subscription to the print edition or ABR Online Edition, or contact us on (03) 9699 8822 (quoting your subscriber number, ideally). This special offer, perfect for Christmas, lapses on 31 December and is open only to print and online subscribers who renew before the end of the year.

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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.

Anyone wishing to become a Patron or wanting information about our philanthropy program should contact the Editor, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or the Philanthropy Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..





‘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.’


Montebello Viva

This month, courtesy of Penguin, ten prompt new subscribers will each receive a copy of Montebello: A Memoir by Robert Drewe (which Brian Matthews reviews in this issue). Subscribers who renew for two years or more may be eligible for tickets to Musica Viva performances in major cities around Australia between 1–17 November, thanks to Musica Viva. The concerts will feature renowned violinist Anthony Marwood and pianist Aleksandar Madžar playing works by Debussy, Beethoven, and Schubert. Don’t miss your chance to see these two ‘musical soul mates’, as they have been dubbed. Call us on (03) 9699 8822, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Collected poets

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.



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