bravo, stuart glover

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

These awards cost far less than nearly any other government program, but they deliver clear cultural and economic dividends. Culturally, they give permission to the work of local artists and writers. Additionally, they support writers from elsewhere come to the state—at the time of the Brisbane Writers Festival—to see Brisbane and Queensland in a new light: no longer a cultural backwater or the butt of jokes. Economically, they signal that Queensland values cultural life and cultural appurtenances. They help make Brisbane the kind of city where educated and skilled labour might choose to re-locate. Culture and economics go hand in hand.

Killing these literary awards is a worse outcome than never having had them at all—particularly for Queensland. In the context of Queensland history—one of cultural repression and censorship–Premier Newman’s act strikes a threatening note. Newman might not hate literature or writing, but he has immediately signalled that he has no appreciation for its usefulness. He has signalled that he doesn’t understand the way artists and writers help us make a civilized society, and the way they help us discuss and negotiate who we are. Newman may not like to read, but he is mistaken to think that we should not encourage others to do so. While the writing community roils today, the rest of arts community might well shiver. - Stuart Glover on the
axing of the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards

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