Gongs in the north
Nanjing Night Net

ON MONDAY, the shortlists will be announced for the new Queensland Literary Awards, which replace the premier’s awards that were scrapped by new Premier Campbell Newman in April. The literary community reacted with more speed than a Lee Childs thriller to establish the new prizes. A public appeal to raise $20,000 has brought in close to $30,000. The winners of the 15 categories will be announced on September 4. Committee chairman Stuart Glover, who was the founding director of the Brisbane Writers Festival, says the future of the awards beyond this year depends on community, corporate and government support. ”There is a sense that there is support potentially from all those sources,” he says, and adds that Arts Minister Ros Bates isn’t averse to the idea of Queensland literary awards. Everyone is waiting to see what will be in next month’s state budget to gauge the direction of the government’s arts funding policy.

The storm continues

MANY of you will remember Dave Eggers’ book Zeitoun, which told the bizarre and terrifying story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. He is the Syrian-born American builder and decorator who helped people by paddling his canoe through the flooded city. The book focused on Zeitoun’s wrongful arrest by the authorities, who not only kept him in detention for three weeks but also wouldn’t inform his family of his whereabouts and inflicted on him a fair amount of physical and mental abuse. This week, Zeitoun was behind bars again, charged with trying to have his former wife, Kathy, her son and an unnamed man murdered. It’s a sad fall from grace for a man who became a hero as a result of his behaviour in 2005 and subsequently set up a charitable foundation to which profits from the book go. Zeitoun and Kathy divorced last year. Last month, he was jailed for assaulting her and it is alleged he asked a fellow prisoner to commit the murders. An animated film based on Eggers’ book is due for release in 2014.

A false climax

IT SEEMS as though the crowning of Fifty Shades of Grey as Britain’s best-selling book ever has been a fraction premature. With e-books, it probably is, but Nielsen BookScan figures show that Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code remains – for a while, at least – top of the pile (and also the reject pile, according to Oxfam op shops), having sold 5.1 million copies. Fifty Shades of Grey has sold 3.8 million copies (in book form), with the other places in the top 10 consisting of seven Harry Potter titles and another Brown book. The other two erotic books by E.L. James have each sold more than 2 million copies. Writers such as Stieg Larsson and Stephenie Meyer also feature strongly in the top 20, with the only ”literary title”, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, featuring at No.19 with sales of slightly more than 2 million. The only Australian in the top 100 is Markus Zusak, whose The Book Thief has sold 800,000 copies since 2007.

Remembering Claire

IT WAS sad to hear that Claire Kearney died a couple of weeks ago at her home in Tewantin, Queensland. She was 79. Most people would know her from her many years at the Hill of Content bookshop. The formidable Kearney started there in 1966, became manager in the early ’80s and retired in 1995. She was instrumental in making the Hill of Content one of Melbourne’s finest bookshops.

When crime pays

THE next couple of weeks is awards season for Australia’s crime writers. The Ned Kellys will be dished out on August 29 and a few days later the Davitt Awards for women crime writers will be presented at the Celtic Club by Swedish crime writer Asa Larsson (no relation of Stieg, before you ask). The shortlists for the Davitts are, for fiction: Jaye Ford (Beyond Fear), Sulari Gentill (A Decline in Prophets), Carolyn Morwood (Death and the Spanish Lady), Jennifer Rowe (Love, Honour & O’Brien), Kim Westwood (The Courier’s New Bicycle) and Helene Young (Shattered Sky); children’s/young adult: Ursula Dubosarsky (The Golden Day), Nansi Kunze (Dangerously Placed) and Meg McKinlay (Surface Tension); true crime: Wendy Lewis (The Australian Book of Family Murders) and Liz Porter (Cold Case Files). sistersincrime南京夜网.au

Getting Ziggy with it

DAVID Bowie didn’t make it to the closing ceremony of the Olympics in London but he is coming to the Melbourne Writers Festival. Just kidding. He is, however, getting a tribute at Liner Notes, the annual session in which a motley crew of talent delivers spoken-word tributes to the tracks of a chosen album. Among the guests are former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery and Lebanese poet and journalist Joumana Haddad. This year, the album is Ziggy Stardust and will feature Five Years, Yana Alana; Soul Love, Omar Musa; Moonage Daydream, Sean M. Whelan; Starman, Flannery; It Ain’t Easy, First Dog on the Moon; Lady Stardust, Benjamin Law; Star, Alicia Sometimes; Hang on to Yourself, Ben Pobjie; Ziggy Stardust, Deborah Conway; Suffragette City, Haddad; and Rock’n’Roll Suicide, Emilie Zoey Baker. It’s at 8pm next Saturday at the Regal Ballroom. For bookings, see mwf南京夜网.au

The worst of times

POOR old Edward ”It was a dark and stormy night” Bulwer-Lytton. He gets an awful lot of flak about that opening to his novel Paul Clifford. The annual competition named after him is for the worst piece of writing. Here’s this year’s winner, by Cathy Bryant from Britain: ”As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids [sic] burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting.”

POETRY

Graphology Cambridge Psychedelia 3

How much space we can’t fit in,

Curlicue into Simenon terror,

Ennui of garden restaurants

And garden paths, an error

Of judgment deciduous as sin.

And in the name of the heaven- sent,

And the bravado of capital, refuse

To name the name on everyone’s lips.

Base stations styled into the ruse

Of old buildings, so intransigent.

Ice on the grass as everyone slips,

A gecko in the Mekong issues a warning:

Sparkling colours array an alert,

And play on our Mobius rambling.

The passion is a nativity of trips.

God bless!

John Kinsella

EVENTS

TODAY

TRUDI Canavan signs copies of The Traitor Queen. 1.30pm. Dymocks Knox, 425 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South.

JOHN Jenkins launches Karen Throssell’s Chain of Hearts. 2pm. Collected Works, Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street, city.

TODAY/ TOMORROW

CO-DIRECTOR of Dickens 2012, Adrian Wootton, discusses screen adaptations of Dickens’ novels. 4.30pm. Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library, 328 Swanston Street, city. Tomorrow: Dickens and crime. Bookings: wheelercentre南京夜网

TOMORROW

FILMMAKER Paul Cox discusses Tales from the Cancer Ward. 11.15am. Emerald Hill Library, 195 Bank Street, South Melbourne. Info: 0417 556 143.

TUESDAY

ANDY Griffiths unveils The 26-Storey Treehouse. 4.30pm. Sun Theatre, 8 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Bookings: 9689 0661

WEDNESDAY

BARRY Jones launches David Day’s Antarctica. 6.30pm. The Barn, Montsalvat, Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham. $10. Bookings: elthambook [email protected]南京夜网; 9439 8700

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