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Vogel Award

Alan Bennett once wrote of Franz Kafka: ‘One is nervous about presuming even to write his name, wanting to beg pardon for doing so, if only because Kafka was so reluctant to write his name himself.’ Even so, Bennett gave us Kafka’s Dick (1986), which – alongside a sputtering stream of demythologising critical interventions into Kafka studies ...

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Eleven Seasons is an impressive début novel from this year’s Vogel Prize winner, Paul D. Carter. A nimble and understatedcoming-of-age story, it takes its rhythm and structure from football, but encompasses so much more. Over the course of the eponymous eleven seasons, Carter follows Jason’s progress from a forlorn, yearning boy into an adult, while exploring issues of identity, belonging, friendship, love and the more sinister aspects of what loyalty to a teammate might involve. Written in the present tense, the narrative has a dreamlike quality. The prose is clear and powerful, with moments of brilliance and brutality. The occasional fumbles and unsatisfying moments are easily forgiven.

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The second Adelaide Festival of Ideas will happen in mid-July. Local participants will include Tim Flannery, Raimond Gaita, Marcia Langton, and Ronald Wilson, and, from overseas, John D. Barrow and Vandana Shiva. The advertised themes are water, population, reconciliation, addiction/intoxication, and cosmology – something for everyone.

The Australian/Vogel Literary Award, now in its twenty-first year, is on again. Entries must be lodged by the end of May. You don’t have to be twenty-one to enter – just under thirty-five. Winners are guaranteed publication by Allen & Unwin, and a cheque for $20,000.

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