ABR News

March 2021, no. 429

ABR News

March 2021, no. 429


Cadetship position

Australian Book Review (ABR) is seeking an energetic and committed Editorial Cadet. The Cadetship (supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas) is a full-time twelve-month position, starting in April 2021. The total package is worth $45k to $50K pro rata (plus superannuation).

The Cadet will report to the Editor, Peter Rose, and will work in the ABR office in Southbank, Melbourne. Key responsibilities will be editing and proofreading, digital publishing, and writing for the magazine. There is much scope for making a diverse contribution to the magazine. Applicants must have proficiency in digital technology. Some experience in the publishing/magazine sector will be an advantage. Applicants must demonstrate familiarity with ABR (its content, style, and ethos). We also look for candidates with a broad general knowledge of literature and the arts. The successful candidate must have completed a university degree or diploma in at least one of these disciplines: Arts, Journalism, Creative Writing, Publishing & Editing.

Applications close at 5pm on Monday, March 22. 

For information on how to apply, click here.


Porter Prize

Sara M. Saleh was named the overall winner of the 2021 Peter Porter Poetry Prize for 'separate episode' at an online ceremony on January 27. As reported, the four other shortlisted poets were Danielle Blau (USA), Y.S. Lee (Canada), Jazz Money (NSW), and Raisa Tolchinsky (USA). The shortlisted poems were selected from 1,329 entries from thirty-three countries, and they appeared in the January–February issue.

In their report, the judges – Lachlan Brown, John Hawke, A. Frances Johnson, and John Kinsella – had this to say about Sara’s winning poem: ‘“The Poetics of Fo(u)rgetting” tells the story of a resettled Lebanese refugee family from a daughter’s point of view. The double shellshock of a family displaced by war is evoked with quiet pathos. But cultural observances mean one thing to the older generation and another to the next. These ruptures were sensitively observed across this lush, cinematic poem.’ The full judges’ report appears here.

On learning of her win, Sara M. Saleh commented: ‘I come from a community and history rich with art and culture; I am indebted to family and to teachers, to the artists and poets, to those who make space and elevate others. I may be the first Muslim and Arab Australian to win the Porter Prize, but this win is not mine alone. Thank you to everyone who sees us, really sees our poems – the 2021 shortlist is a testament to this. I hope we can keep building a movement where we are free to bring our whole selves.’

All five shortlisted poets read and introduce their poems on a recent episode of the ABR Podcast. In a separate episode you can listen to all the past winners of the Porter Prize, first awarded in 2005.


Writers’ Week

Right now, no one would envy festival programmers or impresarios, but Jo Dyer (director of Adelaide Writers’ Week) has put together a full and fascinating program for this great celebration of literature, which begins on February 27. Highlights include a series of panels and solos that can be streamed at home. Guests include Katharine Murphy, Laura Tingle, Sigrid Nunez, and Anne Applebaum.

There will be abundant sessions in the two tents at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens. Among the presenters are Don Watson, Durkhanai Ayubi, James Bradley, Jenny Hocking, Randa Abdel-Fattah – and two former PMs: Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull. Jacqueline Kent – our Critic of the Month – will deliver the Hazel Rowley Fellowship Address. Peter Rose will be in conversation with Robert Dessaix about his new book, The Time of Our Lives.


ABR Arts

ABR Arts is back in earnest! After such a difficult time for the arts sector, it’s heartening to be able to bring you so many reviews of theatre, opera, film, the visual arts and more. We publish all our arts reviews promptly online, and they remain open-access for about ten days. Then we bundle them up in the ABR Arts e-newsletter, which goes out every other Saturday.

We have much in store for arts lovers in March. Here are just a few highlights.

Michael Morley will review Neil Armfield’s production of Benjamin Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a highlight of the Adelaide Festival. (Paul Kildea, the conductor, writes about the pandemically tense preparations for the opera in his ‘Letter from Adelaide’.)

Elsewhere in Adelaide, Ben Brooker will review several productions, including Christopher Hampton’s A German Life, a ninety-minute solo starring Robyn Nevin, and the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam’s production of Medea, directed by the prodigiously gifted Australian director Simon Stone, whose earlier production of Seneca’s Thyestes, from the 2018 Adelaide Festival, lives in the memory. (Brian McFarlane recently reviewed Stone’s new film, the subtle Edwardian The Dig.) In a first, Medea will be screened live from Europe at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide.)

In early February, just before the new lockdown, Melbourne Opera launched its new Ring Cycle with a superb production of Das Rheingold. Now we can look forward to Wagner’s great tetralogy in coming years. Meanwhile, there’s more opera in Sydney. Malcolm Gillies, the eminent Bartókian now returned to Australia, will review Opera Australia’s new production of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, which opens in Sydney on March 1.

There are two strikingly different offerings at the National Gallery of Australia. Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London spans 450 years and includes sixty paintings by artists such as Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Velázquez, Goya, and Turner. Delayed last year because of Covid, this promises to be one of the richest assemblages of art ever brought to Australia. It comprises the largest group of works to travel outside the United Kingdom in the history of the National Gallery. Keren Hammerschlag is our reviewer. Then we have the celebrated Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell. Worlds of Colour (to be reviewed by Julie Ewington) will examine the final stage of Mitchell’s career with a selection of works on paper.

At the cinema, Felicity Chaplin will review several new releases at the 32nd Alliance Française French Film Festival.

Be sure to sign up for the arts newsletter here.


Jolley Prize

The ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, which opened on January 20, is already attracting much interest. Once again it is worth a total of $12,500, of which the overall winner will receive $6,000.

The judges on this occasion are Melinda Harvey, Elizabeth Tan, and Gregory Day, winner of the first Jolley Prize. Entries are open to writers all around the world, writing in English, until midnight 3 May 2021.


Calibre galore

When the Calibre Essay Prize closed in January we had received 638 entries – 45 more than last year’s record field. Thanks to everyone who entered the Prize.

Judging is underway, and we look forward to publishing the two winning essays in coming months.

From the New Issue

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