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The Monday.

The Aurealis Award piece is done now. Regular blogging to pick up.

The response is shaping up to be pretty much the same as last year, which I am sure will come as a shock. Some people like it, some people don't. There's a thread beginning on Ben Payne's (benpayne) blog about it, again. There are some differences, naturally. Personally, I find it interesting to note the divides in people who dig it, and don't, particularly along the lines of professional backgrounds and citizenship in the world and particular groupings within Australia. I should probably just stay out of the online conversations about it, and maybe I will from now on. Really, if you disagree with it, write a critical piece and argue on the basis of the authors and their work. Despite what people think, it's not about me, so getting upset about me does nothing interesting. The only thing that is of interest is what you can and cannot say about the work of authors.

On Saturday I was down at the Opera Quay with A and S and I was walking past the Writers Walk. The walk is basically a series of round plaques, rather like sewer lids, but bronze, and which follow the path down to the Opera House. For some reason I find them fascinating. I remember when J and A (and A and A) were out a while back, I pointed them out, and we stood around and asked what exactly Jack London, Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain had to do with Australian literature. It's not much, obviously. Twain wrote about Australia during one of his lecture tours, which is chronicled in Following the Equator, where he covered a lot of different countries down on this side of the world (if I remember right, a much smaller 'Australian' only version of the book has been released--it's just the two hundred pages ripped out of the aforementioned book, I think). Still, I find the inclusion of these authors, who never wrote about Australia, really, not in any way that isn't just a small pocket of their overall work--I find it fascinating that they were given a big bronze disk on the Writers Walk. It is almost as if the person in charge of it cannot find enough authors within the country to line a five minute walk. So he ends up going to internationally famous authors, the figures who fall into the cannon of English Literature, and the Writers Walk ends up as curious piece where a bunch of Australian authors are totally overshadowed by the figures such as Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling.

Nothing in it, I suppose, but it fascinates me so, as a truth about the local view.

Comments

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angriest
Jan. 15th, 2007 12:07 am (UTC)
There's an authors thing in Edinburgh that's very similar, where the floor of a courtyard outside the Robert Louis Stevenson museum has been filled with bronze plaques of significant Scottish authors.

Apparently significant. They include Scottish writers from the 16th century up to contemporary writers, yet elected to exclude Iain Banks and Irvine Welsh.
benpeek
Jan. 15th, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)
when was it put in though?
angriest
Jan. 15th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
It looked pretty recent to me - even if it was put in 10 years ago, both of them would have qualified for a plaque - Banks in particular.
benpeek
Jan. 15th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
yeah, weird. i can maybe see someone not putting irvine in there, on account of politics, but banks...
(Anonymous)
Jan. 17th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
There's one of these in Brisbane. It runs along Albert Street in the CBD and each one includes a quote from the author's work, usually something that is describing Brisbane or linking to the city in some way, with an attribution. There are 32 brass plaques in total. Most of them are by Brisbane authros from works set in or about Brisbane, like Johnno by David Malouf, or Firehead by Venero Armanno. But there are other authors as well where the link seems to be more tenuous.

Kate E.
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