Wednesday, 4 April 2012

R.I.P Qld Premier's Literary Awards

I am adding my voice to the many in uproar today over Campbell Newman's decision to take an axe to the Queensland Premiere's Literary Awards.

This was not an election promise, just a first step in Newman's budget-preservation strategy, that also includes announcements of potential redundancies at certain government departments (heard on 612ABC Brisbane radio this morning).

Not that axing the awards is going to save a whole lot of moolah - a total of $250,000 in the year. In governmental terms, that's pocket-change. The sort of money they might spend on paperclips and staples per annum.

Even Federal Minister for the Arts Simon Crean came out on twitter, stating:

@SimonCrean_MP: Disappointed the @TheQldPremier has cut the Literary Awards, especially in the National Year of Reading. Short sighted! Reconsider Premier.

Despite the uproar that I have been aware of today, most of the State won't care, which is why the Premier can get away with it. Who cares now? The arts community, who probably didn't vote LNP anyway. He knows that and knows that this is an easy storm to weather. But it shouldn't be. Brisbane does not exactly have the most glowing reputation as a cultural destination and this is leap backwards. We voted in a Premier who doesn't care about writing, books or the promotion of literacy. Go Campbell.

Did I mention it is also the National Year of Reading?

I do not need to write a full blog post about this, because so many talented Brisbane writers have put fingers to keyboards today and turned their minds to the reasons and the stupidity.

Stuart Glover - founder of the Brisbane Writers Festival

Andrew Stafford, author of Pig City

Nick Earls, author of Zigzag Street

Josh Donellen – up and coming writer and Rave magazine’s music reviewer. 'Inaugural Premier's Obituary Award'

The Queensland Writers Centre’s official response on their facebook page (like them while you’re visiting).

Sign the official petition to reverse the decision.

Official website of the (former) Queensland Premiers Literary Awards.

The Courier Mail's wrap-up and their 'overwhelming' reader response as former arts MP Matt Foley calls the decision "a squalid, ugly start to the business of government".

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