News from the Editor's Desk - March 2015

March 2015, no. 369

News from the Editor's Desk - March 2015

March 2015, no. 369

Reading Australia

ABR is delighted to be participating in the new round of Reading Australia essays on classic Australian titles. Reading Australia – an ambitious initiative of Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund – offers students, school teachers, and general readers insightful and accessible 2,000-word essays and supplementary resources. ABR will publish twenty of these features in coming months.

All of the essays will appear online; many will also feature in the print edition. Kerryn Goldsworthy, first up with Jessica Anderson’s great novel Tirra Lirra by the River , is lucid and inviting as ever.

Critical Matters

ABR is similarly pleased to be taking part in a major symposium on the ‘“hot button” issues in book reviewing today’. Critical Matters: Book Reviewing Now – hosted by Monash University’s Centre for the Book – will take place at the Wheeler Centre on Thursday, 9 April. In the morning there will be a series of closed roundtables, with short ‘provocations’ from editors and critics, including Peter Rose. Themed panels in the afternoon will be open to the public.

Editor’s Diary

Rashly perhaps, our Editor has allowed us to publish extracts from his personal diary, ones in the main that concern the workings of the magazine. Here is one example:

This classic dangling modifier in Dina Ross’s review of Steven Berkoff’s East nearly got past all of us: ‘Twenty-five years later, greying but no less charismatic, I saw Berkoff playing the role of Mum.’ Dina was amused when I told her.

Ah, the glamorous lives of literary editors, always fretting about split infinitives and misplaced modifiers. If you care about such quandaries and niceties, or if you wish to go behind the scenes at ABR, visit our website to read more extracts from Peter Rose’s 2014 diary.

States of poetry

At a time of unprecedented activity and diversity in Australian poetry, ABR has decided to complement its normal publishing (chosen by ABR Poetry Editor Lisa Gorton) with an annual series of state anthologies These are intended to offer a snapshot of contemporary poetry around the nation. Our state editors will select new work from half a dozen poets in each state. Their compilations will be freely available online (with podcasts, introductions, and teaching aids). Commissioning is now underway, with the following state editors appointed to date: Elizabeth Allen (NSW), Lucy Dougan (Western Australia), David McCooey (Victoria), Felicity Plunkett (Queensland), and Jen Webb (ACT).


For once, it was hard to disagree with Rupert Murdoch when he tweeted about Tony Abbott’s conferral of a knighthood on Prince Philip. Murdoch described it as a ‘joke and embarrassment’. He went on to say that it was ‘time to scrap all honours everywhere’. Does this mean that the Tweeter-in-Chief will be returning the AC he accepted in 1984?

Eucalypt talk

We welcome applications for the second Australian Book Review Dahl Trust Fellowship worth $5,000. This Fellowship – supported by the Bjarne K. Dahl Trust – is devoted to any aspect of eucalypts. The resultant article will appear in our 2015 Environment issue (October), which is being co-edited by Ruth A. Morgan, an academic at Monash University who has just published her first book, Running Out? Water in Western Australia (UWA Publishing). Those interested have until 31 March to apply.

From Adams to zines

Australian Scholarly Publishing, such an enterprising publisher, has released a major new Companion to the Australian Media. Bridget Griffen-Foley, the editor, has gathered entries from 300 contributors. Subjects range from A Current Affair and Phillip Adams to Wikileaks and (last up in this indispensable reference book) Zines.

Along the way there are many interesting details. Advances enjoyed this one in the entry on broadcaster Alan Jones, who, we learn, was born ‘on 13 April in either 1943, 1944 or 1945 (Jones has made contradictory claims, and it is likely that his real birth-date is earlier than 1943)’. Geoffrey Blainey reviews the Companionfor us here.

Film and television

What’s your favourite television drama series? Deadwood? Mad Men? True Detective? Perhaps you remember earlier masterpieces such as Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) and The Jewel in the Crown (1984). In our Film and Television issue next month, a group of noted film and television professionals and commentators will nominate their favourite drama series. Another highlight will be James McNamara’s long article on the age of HBO (James is our current ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellow).

Join us in the Assembly Hall at Boyd  in Southbank on Tuesday, 31 March (6 pm) when a special guest will launch the issue followed by a talk by James McNamara. This is a free event, but bookings are essential: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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