Reprint: Letter to the Editor: Books and Bookshops by Nettie Palmer

Sir, - Having been startled, not for the first time, by the gaps in Brisbane bookshops I must ask why this state of affairs is allowed to exist. If as I believe, a city is to be judged by what its people read, then Brisbane is not getting a chance. On this occasion the book I sent for was Katherine Prichard's "Working Bullocks." It proved to be unprocurable in Brisbane. This was not an obscure book, suited only to learned or exotic tastes, nor an old book, liable to be out of print. It was very favourably reviewed in Brisbane papers about two months ago. Further, it has been included in the monthly list of books recommended by Australasian booksellers. After this, it is hardly necessary to mention that the book has been reviewed by overseas papers like the "Times Literary Supplement," with conspicuous approval, and has attracted great attention in the chief Australian weeklies. Its absence from bookshops and libraries in Brisbane is not to be explained in the same way as my experience last year, when it was similarly impossible to get a copy of any of W. B. Yeats' poems, written during the last 20 years. Now Yeats is a poet of international fame, and a Nobel prize winner, yet for Brisbane he has ceased to exist. Katherine Prichard is a contemporary Australian writer, of admitted distinction, yet her latest book is "unprocurable in Brisbane." Do our booksellers really think that literature is a kind of drapery, and that we should not want anything except what is exposed for sale in the shop windows!  

I am, sir. &c.,  


Caloundra, March 25    

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 31 March 1927

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 11, 2010 8:55 AM.

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