News from the Editor's Desk - December 2014

Performances of the year

We know how much our readers (not to mention nominated authors) enjoy our annual ‘Books of the Year’ feature. This year – to highlight ABR’s fast-expanding arts coverage (both in the magazine and in Arts Update on our website) and to celebrate outstanding film, theatre, dance, and music, we have invited key critics and professionals to nominate their favourite productions of the year. To find out what the likes of Robyn Archer, Christopher Lawrence, and Valerie Lawson most enjoyed this year, don’t miss the special Arts Update e-bulletin on Monday, 15 December.

If you don’t already receive our free Arts Update e-bulletins, please visit our website to subscribe.

ABR Voiceless Fellowship

We are delighted to call for proposals for the ABR Voiceless Fellowship, worth $5,000. Published writers, commentators, and journalists will have until 31 January 2015 to apply. We are seeking proposals for a long article on any aspect of animal protection. Full details about eligibility, how to apply, and what ABR is offering the chosen Fellow can be found on our website. ABR gratefully acknowledges the support of Voiceless, the animal protection institute.

Destroyer of worlds

Fresh from his Man Booker win for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan has been shortlisted for a Prime Minister’s Literary Award, which is worth $80,000. The other nominees are: Steven Carroll’s A World of Other People; Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest; Alex Miller’s Coal Creek; and Nicolas Rothwell’s Belomor.

Rather more dubious for Flanagan is his shortlisting for the deeply uncoveted Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, established by Auberon Waugh in 1993. Jonathan Beckman, Editor of the Literary Review, commented: ‘Flanagan swaddles the encounter in so many abstract nouns that the whole experience becomes very obscure and desexualised.’ Advances enjoyed this almost Wagnerian passage in the novel: ‘For Amy, love was the universe touching, exploding within one human being, and that person exploding into the universe. It was annihilation, the destroyer of worlds.’

Other nominees for ‘Britain’s most dreaded literary prize’ include Michael Cunningham, Haruki Murakami, and Ben Okri. The winner, who will be named on 3 December, receives nothing but the distinction.

Vale Viewpoint

Viewpoint: On Books for Young Adults will cease publication at the end of 2014. From its first issue (with Looking for Alibrandi on the cover), the journal’s contributors have written incisive and informed criticism of literature as writing for young adults has grown and flourished throughout the publishing world. Stella Lees and Pam Macintyre began the journal – the only Australian one solely dedicated to this age group – in 1992. It will be missed.

Give a free gift subscription

New and renewing subscribers have until 31 December to direct a six-month subscription to ABR (print or online) to a friend or colleague. Renew for two years and give away two free subs, etc. Why not introduce a young reader or writer to ABR?

All you have to do is fill in the back of the flysheet that accompanies this issue, call us on (03) 9699 8822 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (quoting your subscriber number, if you have one). We will contact the nominated recipient to establish which edition he/she wants: print or online (thus we will need their email address). Terms and conditions apply.

Farewell to 2014

It’s been a notable year for ABR, on many fronts. We’re delighted by the increase in our print and online readership. The renovation of our website earlier this year has made ABR Online nimbler, more attractive, and considerably more popular. ABR’s increased arts commentary is changing people’s sense of what this cultural magazine can deliver: thank you for your interest and commendations.

Prizes, writers’ fellowships, and editorial internships complemented ABR’s myriad programs. We held almost thirty events of different kinds around the country – none more popular than when we named David Malouf (much lauded in ‘Books of the Year’) as our inaugural ABR Laureate on 23 April.

We are grateful to our contributors. Of the 289 who wrote for us this year (a substantial new record for us), almost 100 of them were completely new to this magazine, another measure of our commitment to diversity and openness. More and more people want to write for ABR, possibly encouraged by the fact that our rates have doubled since January 2013 – a trend we hope to emulate in coming years.

Thanks also to our subscribers, partners, Patrons, and advertisers. Your support is greatly appreciated. Flinders University’s visionary sponsorship of the magazine is now in its tenth year.

This issue will be followed by a double one in January–February, the first of two double issues in 2015 (the second will follow in June–July).

Published in December 2014, no. 367

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