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News from the Editor's Desk

August 2014, no. 363

News from the Editor's Desk

August 2014, no. 363

ABR Patrons’ Fellowship

Because of the kindness of our many Patrons, we are able to offer another ABR Patrons’ Fellowship, worth $5,000. We are seeking proposals for a major article on any subject. ABR Fellows work closely with Peter Rose, and interested writers are encouraged to speak to the Editor before applying. Applications close on 30 September.

Jolley Prize

Our indefatigable judges are in the process of finalising the shortlist for the 2014 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, which is worth a total of $8,000. The three nominated stories will appear in our September issue, which will be launched at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival on Saturday, 30 August (5.30 pm, The Cube). A special guest will name the overall winner, who will receive $5,000.

Events galore

ABR is involved in many events this month and next. Advances is particularly looking forward to the public forum on Thomas Piketty’s bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-first Century. Mark Triffitt, who reviews Capital for us in this issue, will be in conversation with Ross Garnaut, with Glyn Davis (another contributor this month) as moderator.

National Biography Award

It is a strikingly eclectic shortlist for this year’s National Biography Award, worth $25,000. Six biographies and memoirs have been shortlisted: Alison Alexander’s The Ambitions of Jane Franklin (Allen & Unwin), Janet Butler’s Kitty’s War (UQP), Steve Bisley’s Stillways: A Memoir (HarperCollins), John Cantwell and Greg Bearup’s Exit Wounds: One Australian’s War on Terror (MUP), Sheila Fitzpatrick’s A Spy in the Archives (MUP), and Gideon Haigh’s On Warne (Hamish Hamilton). This month, Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews another absorbing memoir: Biff Ward’s candid study of her ‘legendary’ father, historian Russel Ward, and her troubled mother.

Vale Liam Davison

Among the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was Australian novelist Liam Davison, whose books included The Velodrome (1988), Soundings (1993), and The Betrayal (2001). Between 1990 and 1998 we published nineteen of his reviews. Also killed on 17 July was his wife, veteran Melbourne schoolteacher Frankie Davison. Our sympathies go to the Davison family and to all the families of the victims of this appalling crime.


Sonneteers and Shakespearians enjoyed our first Sonnet--Thon back in 2012. To mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, we will repeat the Sonnet-A-Thon during the Melbourne Writers’ Festival (Saturday, 23 August, 4 pm, The Cube). Past Sonnet-A-Thoners Lisa Gorton and Peter Rose will be joined by Jakob Zigarus. They may not read all 154 sonnets, as actors Harriet Walter and Simon Russell Beale did in London recently, but they will include as many as possible.

Changes at APJ

Australian Poetry Journal has a new format, layout, and editor, as well as much new poetry. Michael Sharkey succeeds Bronwyn Lea, the founding editor. In the foreword to this the sixth issue (Vol. 4, no. 1), Sharkey signals his intention ‘to accord a place to Australian artists’ and photographers’ work’. Poets include Cassandra Atherton, Brook Emery, and Tony Page. Philip Salom has an essay on William Hart-Smith, and Andrew Taylor writes about translating Montale.

Pauline animadversions

Russell Marks must have had fun compiling The Book of Paul: The Wit and Wisdom of Paul Keating (Black Inc., $9.99 pb). The collection, minute though it is, packs a punch, as you might expect. It is full of characteristically temperate character assessments from the former PM. Try the first entry, on Alexander Downer: ‘The idiot son of the aristocracy.’ Or Stephen Smith: ‘He’s always between a shit and a shiver.’

New features on our website

Our new website offers many new features, and we’re delighted that so many of our print subscribers have added ABR Online to their subscriptions (free of charge). We’ve been having fun creating mini-anthologies of key features that appeared in ABR Online, and these new resources will grow in coming months. Check out the Editor’s Choices, Key Authors and Critics, the Art of Fiction, Poetry and Biography – and Open Page, where all these lively Q&As now appear on open access. Remember: ABR Online costs as little as $6 for thirty days’ access, or $25 for those who are twenty-five and under.

Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal

Lisa Gorton – author of two poetry collections, Press Release (2007) and Hotel Hyperion (2013), and Poetry Editor of ABR – is this year’s Philip Hodgins Memorial Medallist. The Medal, presented at the Mildura Writers’ Festival, commemorates the life and work of the great Australian poet Philip Hodgins, who died in 1995.

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