Saturday, 26 August 2006

Australian Literary Review (ALR) is to be a new supplement to The Australian newspaper, appearing for the first time on 6 September. According to the broadsheet the review will "explore the work of the country's leading writers and thinkers and provide a chronicle of developments in literature, culture, politics, scholarship and the arts".

Following on the heels of the decision by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to launch The First Tuesday Book Club, this new periodical represents a welcome addition to cultural dialogue in this country.

The publication is a joint venture with The Australia Council (the federal arts body which provides funding for cultural activities), The University of Melbourne and Melbourne University Publishing (which The Australian erroneously refers to as Melbourne University Press). There is no information about ALR on the MUP Web site or on the Web site of The University of Melbourne. This oversight is puzzling, considering the exposure given to the venture by today's broadsheet.

In the initial issue readers will find contributions by Stella Clarke, Jacqueline Kent, Don Aitken, Aidan Davison and many others.

Other offerings include historian Peter Stanley gently sinking the slipper into Peter FitzSimons for his overblown and inaccurate Tobruk, Jaya Savige penning a long love poem to Brisbane and David Burchell reflecting on Australian politics.

No point in googling ALR — there's nothing online apart from the broadsheet's announcement.


Ron said...

Didn't they do something similar a few years back?

I seem to remember it was dropped because the arts body, or whatever, that was funding it dropped out.

Matthew da Silva said...

The independent press culture in Australia, as you probably know, is highly volatile. Little magazines get set up and go off the boil at a dizzying pace. But it's unusual for a major newspaper like The Australian to commit to a venture of this kind. This one looks like a stayer, but it is interesting that they didn't include any info about publishing frequency in their story. Maybe they can't commit to that yet.

The editor in chief said: "The Australian's readers are highly literate and well-educated and many occupy positions of great influence in public life and the private sector."

I'm not sure what that's got to do with a literary review. Influential people are more likely to be going to a football match than picking up the latest novel.

Ron said...

Where's the announcement, Dean, in the Weekend Australian? What section? I am having trouble finding it.

Matthew da Silva said...

Page seven of the front section, bottom left side.

Ron said...

Found it. Thanks, Dean.

Ron said...

There's an online link now.