Western Australia Literary Awards

Back in October 2008 the first longlist for the newly created Australia-Asia Literary Award was unveiled.  This award was the region's largest and aimed to bridge the gap between books published in Australia and in the wider Asian area, presumably to raise public awareness of books rarely seen.  The idea was a good one, and, while that first longlist did appear a little too centred on Australian works, it was a start.

In November 2008, David Malouf's The Complete Stories was announced as the winner of that first award, and then things went a little quiet.  In February 2009 we were told that the award was being suspended and "was under review".  Another award was expected to be given in 2010.

But now it appears that whole thing has been cancelled.Western Australia's Culture and Arts Minister John Day, recenty announced that the Australia-Asia Literary Award was to be discontinued, and that $80,000 of the prize-money allocated for that award was to be allocated to the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards. 

In some ways this is a bit unsurprising.  While the nature of the award was a good one, the prize-money seemed rather high for just one category (fiction) and really wasn't given any amount of time to bed itself into the Australian, and Asian, literary landscapes. People can't assume that awards of this sort will automatically be accepted by the reading public purely because the prize-money is going to generate some level of publicity. 

Comments about the decision can be found at ABC News, and the Literary Saloon weblog.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 19, 2010 10:50 AM.

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