Left right on Arts

The very Left (and usually very dull) website New Matilda has published an interesting article.

Good Riddance To The QLD Literary Award

by Mark Fletcher

Not a single tear should be shed for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award.

Founded in 1999 by the Beattie government, the Award came to a swift end shortly after the election of Campbell Newman. Axing the award — which covered about 15 categories including an award for an unpublished manuscript, a science writer award, an award for best film script, and the David Unaipon Award for best unpublished Indigenous writer — will save the Queensland Government about $250,000.

The literary world’s reaction to the news has been fierce. On Meanjin, Chad Parkhill wrote:

"The cost in terms of Queensland’s cultural reputation is impossible to calculate, yet already inevitable comparisons between Newman and Joh Bjelke-Petersen been aired."

Regarding the loss of the Unaipon Award, novelist Sam Watson told the ABC:

"In Queensland we have such a rich culture of storytelling. I don’t think Campbell Newman has got the mandate to close down the awards and to sever a very important artistic artery that will feed future generations of Australian and children globally with the richness of Queensland stories."

But the harshest criticism was vented by Overland editor Jeff Sparrow:

"The abolition of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards represents a harbinger of things to come. Not just in that state, though you’d have to say that Campell Newman’s decision to cut a major book award bang in the middle of the National Year of Reading does not bode well for arts funding in Australia’s north."

"No, one rather suspects that we’re also getting a preview of the priorities of Tony Abbott, Prime Minister."

Before we get out the sackcloth and rub ashes in our hair, are the wails of the eloquent doomsayers and pithy apocalyptists credible? All signs point to no.

Source: newmatilda.com

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