Sophie Cunningham, the author of the novels Geography and Bird, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. In addition to her writing commitments, Cunningham sits on the Board of the Stella Prize and the 2011-12 Programming Committee for the Melbourne Writers Festival. She has her own website.
In the media release, the Arts Minister, Simon Crean, said 'Cunningham's extensive sector knowledge, and experience in both writing and publishing will provide industry insight to the Literature Board.'
Cunningham may inherit a somewhat different Board from her predecessors, since the Arts Council has recently undergone an independent review. According to Crean, the Review's 18 recommendations include the need 'to introduce a new grants assessment model that is focused on funding work of the greatest artistic excellence, regardless of artform ... made on the basis of peer assessment.' The full Review report is here.