On the road again
ABR readers and supporters seem just as keen to ‘get out of town’. The response to our first cultural tour for two years was prompt and enthusiastic. ABR Editor Peter Rose and Christopher Menz (former director of the Art Gallery of South Australia) will lead a nine-day tour of Adelaide during Writers’ Week and the Adelaide Festival (March 5–13). It filled up on day one, and we now have a waitlist.‘The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home,’ opined Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay ‘Self-Reliance’. A few years later, in a letter to Mrs Holland, Emily Dickinson chirruped, ‘To shut our eyes is Travel.’ Clearly, neither New Englander endured a Melbourne lockdown. All we can think about at ABR, looking up from our proofs and surveying the oppressively familiar tenemental skyline of Southbank, is ‘Travel, Travel, Travel’.
This emboldens us to plan more tours in 2022 as the eastern states emerge from successive lockdowns and as the arts community rallies after endless devastating closures. Stay tuned for news of more tours, always with literary programs and destinations as well as art museums, theatres, concert halls – and the odd restaurant. Early next month we will begin advertising an international tour planned for October 2022.
By the time the Peter Porter Poetry Prize closed in early October, we had received 1,329 entries – the same number as in 2020, rather creepily. Different poems, though. It was a bit of a deluge at the end, with 1,000 entries arriving in the last fortnight. Thirty-four different countries are represented in this year’s field. Judging is underway, and we look forward to publishing the five shortlisted poems in our January–February issue. Meanwhile, the sixteenth Calibre Essay Prize is underway, with total prize money of $7,500. Essayists have until 17 January 2022 to enter.
Book Talk, our new open-access online feature is intended as a kind of notice-board for writers, publishers, booksellers, and literary organisations with news to disseminate or something to get off their chest. We welcome suggestions from those interested in spreading the word among ABR readers here and overseas.
Recently, Della Rowley, Lynn Buchanan, and Irene Tomaszewski wrote about the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, which commemorates the life and work of Della’s late sister and supports the writing of quality biography. The Fellowship began in 2011, soon after Hazel Rowley’s death, with modest capital of $20,000. Because of continuing donations and ‘excellent funds management’, the 2022 Fellowship will be worth $20,000 – such a boon for memoirists and biographers.
Applications close on November 16. For more information or to apply, visit the Writers Victoria website.
Hedberg Writer in Residence
Mainlanders have not been notably welcome in Tasmania for some months, but this must change soon, surely. The end of lockdown coincides with a handsome new three-month residency, to be undertaken in the first half of 2022. Offered by the University of Tasmania, with support from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, the second Hedberg Writer-in-Residence program is worth $30,000. It is open to all established writers, in any field or genre, who are resident in Australia. You have until 8 November to apply.
Free gift subscription
We’re feeling generous again! New and renewing subscribers can now direct a free six-month digital subscription to a friend or colleague. Why not introduce a young reader or writer to ABR? You can qualify for this special offer by renewing your current ABR subscription – even before it is due to lapse. Renew for two years and give away two free subscriptions, etc.
Terms and conditions apply. Visit our website for more information about this special offer.
Books of the Year
Lockdown is good for at least two things: platitudinising and reading. We’ll spare you the Platitudes of the Year (we know them all by heart: ‘It is what it is’; ‘We’re all in this together’, etc., etc.). Books of the Year is another matter. Find out, in the December issue, what the ABR critics have most enjoyed reading during this cloistered year.