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January 27th 2014 print

Roger Franklin

Australia Council: Blacklists Are Fine

Spite and politically motivated pettiness have been elevated to officially recognised art forms. That's one conclusion to be drawn from an arts wallah's response to Joe Dolce, banned from Overland for the sin of also publishing his verse in Quadrant

blacklistWhen Joe Dolce was banned from Overland for the sin of also appearing in Quadrant, he wrote to the Australia Council for guidance. As dispensers of taxpayer cash, surely the arts wallahs must object?

Below is the astonishing response (emphasis added):

To:  [email protected]
Jill Eddington
Nicola Evans

Dear Joe Dolce
Thank you for your email.
The Australia Council supports 19 Australian literary magazines to publish new writing by Australian writers, including Quadrant and Overland.

Both magazines are established, professional literary magazines with a long history of publishing Australian writing. Quadrant and Overland have received regular funding from the Australia Council to publish and support Australian writers to deliver high quality literary content in their publications.

The Australia Council does not interfere with the creative or administrative decisions of the organisations it supports. With regard to Australian literary magazines, editorial philosophy and decisions about who to publish rest with the individual organisations.

Yours sincerely
 
Jill Eddington
Director, Literature
Australia Council for the Arts

Just so everyone is clear on this: The Australia Council’s goal is to “support Australian writers” delivering “high quality literary content” via subsidised journals. But if a magazine chooses not to publish a writer and does so purely because the would-be contributor has the wrong friends, that’s just fine too.

If Senator George Brandis, who oversees the arts, needed further proof that funding needs to be reviewed, reformed and revamped, this letter is it.

 

Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online