Paul D. Carter, a Melbourne secondary school teacher, is the winner of the 2012 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under thirty-five. Carter’s novel, Eleven Seasons, follows a schoolboy’s passions and secrets through successive seasons of Australian Rules football.
In a review of the novel published in the Australian, award judge and literary critic Geordie Williamson says that ‘while Eleven Seasons is a book about a young man obsessed with football, it is not a football novel. It is a story about the ways in which masculinity, as it is conceived by — and endorsed through — sport, can harden like a carapace around the individual, severing finer feelings or emotional connections, sometimes even permitting evil acts to be committed under the banner of esprit de corps.’ ('Intersecting Forces of Sport and Masculinity', 28 April 2012)
Carter receives $20,000 in prize money for his Vogel win and publication with Allen & Unwin. Under new arrangements (implemented in 2010), the winning title is now published simultaneously with the award announcement. For more information on Eleven Seasons and its availability, see Allen & Unwin’s website.
We begin with the following words from US scholar Nicholas Birns:
'With the passing of Bruce Bennett, all literary scholars of Australia have lost a friend, a helping hand and an esteemed, guiding sensibility. He was a commanding figure in the field, but even more he was simply a gracious and likable man...
'Bruce had the intellect and the breadth to be an intimidatingly erudite scholar but he added to that an availability, an affable if not necessarily matey graciousness, and a humility that has made him not only profoundly respected but also widely admired. The way he pursued his career exemplifies what an academic life can and should be: a vocation in which one’s daily conduct is in synch with the ideals of learning and scholarship that inspire so many to enter it...
'His passing leaves a huge gap in Australian literary study. He knew the field; encouraged the young, and called attention to the deserving. He was a teacher, reader, and colleague. He was liked and respected. I will miss him tremendously.'
Please click on 'Read More' (below) to read the full version of Nicholas Birns's message or to leave your own comment.
Emeritus Professor Bruce Bennett, AO, has died at his home in Canberra. A Rhodes Scholar, Professor Bennett was a graduate of the Universities of Western Australia, Oxford and London. He taught at the University of Western Australia from 1968 to 1992 and at the University of New South Wales, Canberra from 1993 until his retirement.
Professor Bennett wrote and edited numerous books and articles on Australian literature, culture and society. He was still working in the final weeks of his life. As his friend and colleague Professor Paul Eggert commented: ‘One remarkable thing is that he went out as a scholar, "with the ink still wet on the page"—as Mary Gilmore said of her mother’. In recent months, Professor Bennett, with Anne Pender, completed a book on Australian expatriate writers. Another title, ‘The Spying Game: An Australian Angle’ is also with the publisher.
Professor Bennett was a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Among his many professional roles, he chaired the Modern Language Association of America's Division 33 (Literatures in English Other Than British and American) and was Vice-Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies. In 2005-2006, he was the Group of Eight Chair at The Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC.
Professor Bennett was chair of the AustLit Board from its beginnings until 2004. AustLit’s Board, partners and contributors extend their deepest sympathy to Bruce’s wife, Trish, and to their family.
Members of Queensland’s literary and arts communities, under the guidance of writers Matthew Condon and Krissy Kneen, have banded together to ensure that literary awards will be offered in their home state in 2012.
The Queensland Literary Awards were established on 4 April in response to Premier Campbell Newman’s decision to not proceed with the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards in 2012. The new awards will ‘attempt to reward and recognise established and emerging writers across the 14 original categories which constituted previous Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards’.
Condon, Kneen and their supporters have set up a Queensland Literary Awards website. Submissions for the awards are now open and will be received until 6 May 2012. Guidelines and entry forms are available on the website. For further details, click here.
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has announced that the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the state’s History Awards are to be managed in future by the State Library of New South Wales. Winners of the 2012 awards will be announced in a ceremony at the Mitchell Library Reading Room in November. (In recent years, the Literature Awards have been part of the Sydney Writers' Festival, held in May.)
The premier had requested a review of the awards in 2011. In the wake of Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s decision to cancel his state’s 2012 awards, Mr O’Farrell released the plans for this year’s NSW awards, saying they have been ‘reinvigorated and strengthened’.
Mr O’Farrell says that his decision ‘is a clear demonstration of the importance that my Government places on re-establishing Sydney and NSW as the cultural capital of Australia’.
The premier’s full media release is available here.
New Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has decided not to proceed with the state’s literary awards in 2012. In a brief statement on 3 April, the website for the awards simply acknowledges ‘all the sponsors, judges, stakeholders, entrants and winners for their valued contribution to the program to date’.
A spokesperson for Mr Newman issued a statement on the afternoon of 4 April, saying that ‘cancelling the awards was part of the LNP Government's plan to control government spending and lower the cost of living for Queenslanders’. The decision will ‘save Queensland taxpayers $244, 475’ (News.com website).
Response to the announcement has been impassioned. Writers, members of the arts community and representatives of cultural organisations have spoken to media outlets, started a petition and established a facebook page. Stuart Glover, a University of Queensland academic and member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, posted his view on his blog: ‘These awards cost far less than nearly any other government program, but they deliver clear cultural and economic dividends... Economically, they signal that Queensland values cultural life and cultural appurtenances... Culture and economics go hand in hand’.
The Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards were first awarded in 1999. Asked about the future of the awards, Mr Newman told the Courier-Mail newspaper: ‘I hope we can restore funding in the future but I make no commitment today’ (Courier-Mail website, 4 April 2012).
Over recent years, AustLit users will have noticed new features provided by the Aus-e-Lit Project (2008-2011). A Federated Search that targets a number of external databases has been available since 2010. More recently, a Toolkit has provided an introduction to digital literary studies and access to LORE, an extension to the Firefox browser that supports the collection and sharing of Internet resources. And 'Resource Maps', created when using LORE, can be exported into a variety of formats, including documents, slideshows and trails.
The shortlists for this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards were announced on 3 April. Thirty-five books have been nominated across six categories.
No Bears by Meg McKinley and Leila Rudge is the only title with two nominations. It is shortlisted in both the Early Childhood and Picture Book sections. No Bears, which uses fairytale conventions and characters, is narrated by Ruby who is determined to banish bears entirely from her tale. Leila Rudge’s illustrations cleverly ensure that Ruby's plan is subverted.
Peter Carey is the recipient of the Bodleian Libraries’ 2012 Bodley Medal. The medal is awarded by the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford to ‘to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the worlds in which the Bodleian is active: literature, culture, science, and communication’.
Carey responded generously to news of the award, saying: ‘As we enter a warmer, darker, more turbulent age, the Bodleian Libraries will assume an importance far greater than anything we are yet prepared to imagine. I would be honoured to be even a footnote in the history of this great institution.’
For background information on the Bodley Medal, visit the Bodleian Libraries website.