Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Changes to Australia Council's funding in the world of literature

Last night I chatted with Chris Gallagher, the director of the Tasmanian Writers Centre (TWC), about the centre, how it came to exist, how it works, what it does, what she does. This was on my weekly Book Show, on Edge Radio 99.3fm - or streamable edgeradio.org.au
TWC was created in 1998 - a natural progression for what was already a strong and organised literary community. In fact, Tasmania has a serious concentration of writers and others involved in the literary arts. Is this blood soaked and beautiful state truly a muse? The centre offers writers residencies, workshops, seminars, resources, a library amongst other services.
Chris also talked about the changes that are happening to the way the Australia Council funds the art of literature and in particular, writers' centres, around the country - and what these changes mean, in particular for the Tasmanian Writers' Centre.
The Australia Council is the peak funding body for arts in Australia and has, for the last few years, been reviewing the way it provides grants to artists and arts bodies. When the council hit literature they suggested the 'centralisation' of state based Writers' Centres - which would have, most probably, seen the erosion of TWC.
There were other options that TWC explored and Chris expressed the outcome and new direction in a very positive manner. The centre remains, though not in its current form. It will, Chris hopes, become a national centre of 'Environmental Writing' - a genre more popularly known as Nature Writing.
Chris conveyed the change with a great deal of positivity and Nature Writing is a good thing (I am reading Mary Oliver's poems at the moment - so of course it is a good thing - ) - What this means for writers in other genres remains to be seen.

The Writers Centre has some great events coming up - the launch of 'Motherlode: Australian Women's Poetry 1989: 2008' at Fullers Bookshop, 131 Collins St, Hobart at 2.30 pm on Saturday 26th and on Tuesday 13th of October at the Lark Distillery in Hobart, Perth based author Amanda Curtain will be chatting with Tasmanian author Peter Kay and myself. This event will begin at 6pm and more information is available on the TWC website below.

Tasmania has an abundance of quality writers creating work to be read, savoured, admired. All power to TWC.

or further information:
http://www.tasmanianwriters.org/
http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/