Maria Ressa’s conviction should matter to everyone who cares about democracy

By Peter Greste, ‘The Guardian’, 15th June 2020

On Monday morning a court in Manila found the pair guilty of “cyberlibel” for a story published in 2012 on the news website Rappler.com that Ressa founded and now leads. The judge released them on bail pending an appeal but, if they lose, they could spend up to seven years in prison.

To reach her verdict, the judge had to accept the prosecution’s breathtakingly thin arguments. First, that the website had violated the cyberlibel law, even though the story was published four months before the law even existed. The judge agreed that Rappler had “republished” the story, when it corrected a spelling error in 2014, thus making it subject to the law. The judge also accepted the prosecution’s theory of “continuous publication”, to get around the fact that the statute of limitations on libel in the Philippines is just one year.

More at The Guardian

Heather Rose: ‘When I get lost in my imagination I don’t feel the pain’

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, ‘The Guardian’, 7th October 2017

For her new novel, Bruny, Rose turns her attention to the Tasmanian island of the same name where she holidayed growing up and where she took her children camping and to the beach, just a short ferry ride from her home in Hobart.

“As a child it was always so captivating: you drive on, then you cross the channel and it always felt like going to another world,” she says. “And it was even more remote and even less populated. I think the silence down there really gets to me: there’s no traffic. You can almost hear the stars it’s so quiet.”

Bruny, however, is not a quiet novel; it is about explosions and warring political families and conflict. In it, America has an isolationist president; China has become a formidable world power; and Islamic State rules an expanding caliphate. What’s more, the Chinese and Tasmanian governments have invested in a new project, a $2bn bridge connecting Bruny Island to the mainland. The novel opens with a terrorist attack: the bridge has been blown up.

Cover image for Bruny by Heather Rose
 Photograph: Allen & Unwin

More at The Guardian

Questions with Tansy Rayner Roberts

What is your favourite thing about living and working in Tasmania?

I’ve never lived or worked anywhere else for more than a few months, so it’s a hard one to answer. Don’t tell them all how great it is here, Kate, they’ll all want to move here! I like the people and the pretty scenery. I like that our cities are small. It’s a lot easier to live here now you can order literally anything from any other country (missing out on TV or books that didn’t come here used to wear on me when I was younger). I love that I live somewhere that’s between a mountain and the ocean. I belong here.

More at Kate Gordon (blog)

2019 Hazel Rowley Fellowship shortlist announced

The shortlist for the 2019 Hazel Rowley Fellowship is:

Maggie Tonkin (South Australia) for a biography of renowned Australian choreographer Meryl Tankard
Brigitta Olubas (NSW) for a biography of writer Shirley Hazzard
Eleanor Hogan (Northern Territory) for her project on the friendship between Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates
Stephenie Cahalan (Tasmania) writing about artist Jean Belette, ‘The Modern Woman of Australian Modernism’
Gabrielle Carey (NSW) for a biography of Elizabeth von Arnim, who was Katherine Mansfield’s cousin and a writer herself, known for her novel Elizabeth and Her German Garden
James Boyce (Tasmania) for a new biography of Governor Lachlan Macquarie
James Mairata (NSW) for a biography about Australian film and television producer Hal McElroy
Diana James (NSW) for her proposal ‘Open Hearted Country: Nganyinytja’s Story’

More at Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship

Behrouz Boochani: detained asylum seeker wins Australia’s richest literary prize

Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian, 31st Jan 2019

The winner of Australia’s richest literary prize did not attend the ceremony.

His absence was not by choice.

Behrouz Boochani, whose debut book won both the $25,000 non-fiction prize at the Victorian premier’s literary awards and the $100,000 Victorian prize for literature on Thursday night, is not allowed into Australia.

The Kurdish Iranian writer is an asylum seeker who has been kept in purgatory on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for almost six years, first behind the wire of the Australian offshore detention centre, and then in alternative accommodation on the island.

Now his book No Friend But the Mountains – composed one text message at a time from within the detention centre – has been recognised by a government from the same country that denied him access and locked him up.

Read more at The Guardian

[A (condensed) version of Behrouz Boochani’s ‘A letter from Manus Island’ was performed in Hobart last year at MAC’s Concert for Refugees].

‘It’s uncanny’: acclaim at last for Gerald Murnane, lost genius of Australian letters

Gay Alcorn, 21st Sept 2018, ‘The Guardian’

“I have something to say first,” says Gerald Murnane, to around 250 people who have come to hear Australia’s difficult literary genius in a rare outing. “You people here tonight can count yourselves fortunate … because this is going to be my last public appearance.”

Everyone laughs, including Murnane, who at 79 has said that before and stopped writing for many years before resuming. He’s finished with it now, he says, and Border Districts, released last year, will be his final novel.

More from Gay Alcorn at The Guardian

Stories in September (a Tasmanian film and writing project)

ENTER A STORY

Have you made a film or documentary, produced an audio feature or written a story about Tasmanian people or places recently? If yes, ‘Stories in September’ would love to hear from you.

Enter your story now for a chance to be part of the ’30 Stories in 30 Days’ event. Your work could be 1 of 30 stories selected to be be screened at the State Cinema in Hobart on September 1, and featured online throughout the month.

There are also some great prizes including three, 3-month residencies at Parliament Coworking, a night’s accommodation at MACq 01 Storytelling Hotel in Hobart and free subscription to ‘Stories in September’ for 12 months.

Story entries are open until midnight on July 15, 2018.

WATCH AND LISTEN
Do you love stories about Tasmania and its people?

If yes, then you’ll love ’30 Stories in 30 Days’ event which celebrates Tasmanian storytellers and brings together the mediums of film, audio and print for the first time, teaming up with the State Cinema to offer four sessions on Saturday September 1, filled with film, audio and print stories from all over Tasmania. Pre-release tickets to these screenings are available for purchase now. Seats will be limited so book early to avoid missing out.

You can also subscribe to this website from September 1 for just $30. Only subscribers will have access to watch and listen to our 30 Stories in 30 Days storytellers, plus a whole range of additional diverse and amazing Tasmanian stories for 12 months.

Link for story: http://storiesinseptember.com/

Anne Hathaway makes television appeal to find Tassie book to give to Ellen DeGeneres

(By Ellen Coulter, ABC News)

A Tasmanian illustrator and writer has been inundated with messages and emails from the United States after receiving a Hollywood shout-out on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

During an interview on the program, Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway told host Ellen DeGeneres she wanted to give her a gift: Jennifer Cossins’ “beautiful” book, A Compendium of Collective Nouns.

More at ABC News, 8th June 2018