Paul Daley, ‘The Guardian’, 17th October 2017

Albert Namatjira’s legacy as the foremost Indigenous painter of his generation has endured, despite the divided opinions of his contemporary critics.

His work has been acknowledged by British royalty, hung in the drawing rooms of the mega-rich and exhibited worldwide. His coveted, creviced landscapes of valleys, copses and bone-dry riverbeds, with their softened palettes of primary colours that defy caricature of the desert and its harsh light, sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars on the rare occasions they come under the auctioneer’s hammer.

The sidelines of associated merchandise – postcards, tea towels, biscuits tins, for example – are worth a fortune in themselves.

So it is shocking – perhaps astonishing to some – that Namatjira’s Arrernte family should, for several generations, have endured intense poverty because they did not own the copyright to his work. But it should not be at all surprising given the Commonwealth of Australia’s historic and ongoing treatment of its Indigenous people – even those it has regarded as appropriately assimilated or culturally “exceptional” by its own norms.

More at The Guardian



Five first-time nominees – including an author with a title inspired by the award’s founder – have been announced on the shortlist for the 2017 Miles Franklin literary award.

Australia’s most prestigious literary prize, established in 1957 by the estate of My Brilliant Career author Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, recognises a novel which reflects “Australian life in any of its phases”.

Ben Doherty, ‘The Guardian’,

More at Miles Franklin Award shortlists five first time nominees



Fiona McFarlane has won the £30,000 International Dylan Thomas prize for her “deliciously unsettling” short story collection, The High Places.

Flitting across continents, eras, and genres, McFarlane’s 13 stories examine the spectrum of emotional life, with moments of uneasy anticipation, domestic contentment and ominous desperation. Praised as “deliciously unsettling” by the Observer, The High Places includes stories as varied as a scientist living on a small island with only a colossal squid called Mabel and the ghost of Charles Darwin for company, a middle aged couple going on a disastrous holiday with friends in Greece, and an Australian farmer who turns to Old Testament methods to relieve a debilitating drought.

[By Sian Cain; more at The Guardian, 11th May 2017]


She talks about her creativity as something exhilarating and powerful, but also very fragile, liable to damage if she doesn’t handle it with care. “You work your whole life to build up integrity and you lose that in seconds if you allow yourself to do the done thing, or not listen to an instinct because someone in the industry has got an idea about who you might be for them. You’re defined by your choices so you have to be aware of that.”

[By Dorian Lynskey; more at The Guardian, 30th April, 2017]


Applications open online and close midnight 19 May 2017.

Now in its third year this creative partnership offers up to three writers developing exceptional new work the opportunity to work with the Affirm Press publishing team while in residence at Varuna in the Blue Mountains NSW.

The aim of the Mentorship is to help writers get their manuscript to a publishable standard and, if the process is successful, for Affirm to publish the work. By its very nature a development program like this cannot come with a guarantee of publication, but Affirm Press will choose each of the manuscripts because they believe it has the potential to become a work of literary value.

The program is that it will be done residentially at Varuna, the National Writers House. The residency week will be held from Monday 16 October until Sunday, 22 October 2017 and the prize includes full board and accommodation including own room and writing studio.

For further details including how to apply VISIT: WWW.VARUNA.COM.AU or

For any queries, contact:
Varuna – the National Writers House
141 Cascade St (PO Box 907)
Katoomba NSW 2780
Phone: (02) 4782 5674


Somewhere in trying to cross the cosmic divide that lay between being a six-year-old poet and a great writer, I stopped worrying about it. I accepted that I would never write like Faulkner or Eliot or Zola or Morrison or Murakami. I couldn’t write like Peter Carey or Helen Garner or Amy Witting or Thea Astley or Patrick White or Tim Winton.

I want nothing more than to continue to write, but nothing is more difficult for me than writing.

Once I received a royalty cheque for it for 57 cents. It came in a 60-cent envelope.

Winning this year’s Stella prize means I have been financially rewarded for my work. But even more than the incredible prize money is the sense of encouragement and acknowledgement that will stay with me all my days.

[Heather Rose, from her Stella Prize acceptance speech for the novel The Museum of Modern Love:, The Guardian, 19th April 2017]


[From the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre website, here: ‘Remembering Brett Martin’]

The team at the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre was shocked and hugely saddened to hear about the death of local writer and photographer Brett Martin last week.

Brett was a former member of the TWC Board, including a spell as chair in 2008 and deputy chair in 2009.

Before moving to Tasmanian and taking up a role as librarian with the State Library of Tasmania from 2003, Brett previously worked at Wagga Wagga City Library in NSW. He published two novels and was actively involved in the arts in Canberra, throughout regional NSW and in Tasmania. He also served on several editorial committees as well as tutoring at Charles Sturt University.

Brett’s best known book was Marion, which launched at the Hobart Bookshop in 2014. The book and accompanying website reflects on the life of Marion Oak Sticht. Marion was born in 1865, grew up in Colorado, was educated at Vassar and travelled widely in Europe. She married the American metallurgist Robert Sticht in 1895 and they set out almost immediately for a mine on the remote west coast of Tasmania.

Robert Sticht carved an international reputation and amassed a world-class collection of rare books and fine art prints, all housed in Penghana, their magnificent house on the hill in Queenstown. But a calamitous investment trapped the Stichts in debt and they were unable to return to the USA. After Robert died in 1922 Marion was forced to retreat to the ghost-town of Balfour, exchanging the grand house with its many staff, for a bare-walled wooden shack. The trajectory of her life is tragic and largely unknown. Marion is representative of a class of well-educated, middle-class women of those times, whose stories are usually lost in the shadows cast by their husbands. Brett’s novel based on her life seeks to bring her into the light.

In 2014, Brett was an adviser on the Looking for Marion exhibition, which took place at the 2014 Queenstown Heritage Arts Festival.

In addition to his writing and research, Brett was a talented photographer. and has had a number of photographic exhibitions across the State. You can see details of his most recent at the Devonport Gallery here, and of his 2011 exhibition at Ritche’s Mill here.

Brett Martin will be hugely missed, and the team at TWC wishes to send its deepest condolences to his family and close friends.

There will be a celebration of Brett’s life in Swansea later this month, please contact the Writers Centre if you’d like to be kept informed of the details.


The Hobart Bookshop, 5.30pm, Thursday April 6th

A Celebration of Tasmanian Poetry

With Australian Book Review, Hobart Bookshop offer a celebration of Tasmanian poetry and the Tasmanian States of Poetry anthology, selected by distinguished poet Sarah Day. This event will feature readings from poets featured in this year’s anthology, including Adrienne Eberhard, Graeme Hetherington, Karen Knight, Louise Oxley, and Tim Thorne. Sarah Day and ABR Editor and poet Peter Rose will also read favourite works by Tasmanian poets.

The ABR States of Poetry project highlights the quality and diversity of contemporary Australian poetry. Funded by Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, this is one of the first federally arranged poetry anthologies published in this country. All states and territories will be covered with separate anthologies, each of them edited by a senior poet living in, or closely associated with, that state. The state editors will choose six local poets actively publishing new work (up to five poems per poet). The state anthologies will appear on our website with introductions from the state editor, biographies and remarks from the individual poets, recordings, and other features.

This work was developed in a studio managed by the City of Melbourne’s Creative Spaces Program.

This is a free public event, all welcome.


Transportation Press, a publisher based out of Tasmania Australia, haS published two anthologies. The first collection featured writers & editors from London & Tasmania; the second a collaboration between Tasmanian, UK, and Iranian writers and editors.

The press has now launched an international microfiction competition.

“Smoke, international microfiction competition open to everyone. $800 AUD worth of prizes for work of up to 320 words. Entries close April 30, no theme, just your best work. $5AUD entry fee.

For more information:
Sponsored by Fullers Bookshop”

Transportation Press is a self funded and independent publisher with two international collaborations under its belt. Any proceeds from the competition will go towards their third book, featuring writers from Iran, India, Tasmania and Burma.


It was near enough to a decade ago that one Susan Fealy materialized on the Melbourne literary scene as if out of nowhere – or so it seems in retrospect, and so it appeared to me at the time. She had written a searching response to my then recently published novella, The Poet, and this led to an exchange of emails and our first meeting. We began to cross paths at poetry readings, and I soon discovered that Susan loved to write long but interesting emails packed with her musings and reflections on matters literary, artistic, or otherwise noteworthy. As time went on, these emails, and our conversations whenever we met up, gradually revealed to me a person who thought hard about language, art, ideas, the natural world; a serious, passionate reader who probed deeply into whatever text was before her or whatever notion was exercising her mind.

More from Alex Skovron, at Rochford Street Review, 21st March, 2017.