I am shocked and appalled by Campbell Newman's decision to scrap the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards. It is the move of a small-minded man who cannot see the forest for the trees.
I was short-listed in the 'emerging author' category in 2010 and I am certain that my recently published book and the career that I have embarked upon would not have been possible (or at least made much harder) without the attention that shortlisting gave me. Noel Mengel won in my category and went on to publish a wonderful book 'RPM' which painted a beautiful story set in rural Queensland. My book recounts an age when Joe Bjelke Petersen was running Queensland like some mad Draconian despot and I fear we are heading into the same territory.
For years, Brisbane and Queensland in general, have had to fight the label given to them by the rest of the country 'backward'. We were the Tasmania of the mainland. And in the last few years I have seen Brisbane bloom into a contemporary and exciting city of the world, a place I am proud to call home, where once the thought of living in the nation's biggest country-town capital would have been unthinkable. Brisbane has glossed up nicely and important cultural advances, such as the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards were a fundamental part of that evolution. That piddly $244, 000 that you are saving, Newman, was a small investment in some cultural cred.
Campbell Newman has brought shame and embarrassment to Queenslanders and he's only had this new job for short time. Things do not look good for the future of the arts in my home state. I am so upset by this murder of an important cultural event that I am thinking about de-camping......maybe Sydney with her exorbitant rents and beautiful harbour or Melbourne with her sassy artistic flair.....Brisbane I fear is going to the dogs!!!!
Not happy, Newman (said in Jerry Seinfeld's voice).