Free subscriptions from Australian Book Review to celebrate special edition

July 31, 2019

One of the Copyright Agency’s stakeholders, Australian Book Review has created an Indigenous issue, which is out this month. To celebrate, ABR is providing Creative Licence readers with 100 free annual subscriptions to the digital edition. Catherine Ferrari asked the Editor and CEO of ABR, Peter Rose, about the special issue and the creation of a new $10,000 Indigenous Fellowship.

Why did you decide to develop this special First Nations issue of ABR?

Our aim was to celebrate Indigenous creativity, to contribute to the debate about key political questions such as constitutional recognition and the Treaty process, and to broaden the magazine’s Indigenous content and profile. We also feel that ABR readers are clearly looking for rich Indigenous content and engagement.

Do you often commission First Nation writers for the ABR?

Perhaps not as often as we should have, though ABR’s coverage of Indigenous subjects goes right back to 1961 when the magazine was founded. I note that Bruce Pascoe – who contributes our Review of the Month, examining two books by Stan Grant – first wrote for the magazine in 1979. This special issue, which will become an annual fixture, will transform our Indigenous content – right throughout the year. We look forward to regularly publishing more reviews and features by First Nations writers in the magazine.

 Who are the writers confirmed for this issue?

Indigenous contributors include Bruce Pascoe, Deborah Cheetham, Ellen van Neerven, Dale Wandin, Sandra R. Phillips, Charmaine Papertalk Green and Samuel Wagan Watson.

What are the reviews and writing covering?

There are reviews of books about Indigenous history, politics, archaeology, biography and memoirs. The issue also features commentaries and creative writing by Indigenous writers – including poems from Samuel Wagan Watson and Charmaine Papertalk Green – and interviews with author Bruce Pascoe and publisher Rachel Bin Salleh (Magabala Books) – plus an Epiphany from celebrated Australian singer-composer Deborah Cheetham. There is also a commentary on the treaty process by Sarah Maddison and Dale Wandin. Elsewhere, Bruce Pascoe reviews two books by Stan Grant, Sandra R. Phillips reviews Tony Birch’s new novel The White Girl, and Ellen van Neerven reviews Tara June Winch’s new novel The Yield.

How have you found the commissioning process for this issue?

Constructive and edifying. We’re very fortunate in having a terrific guest editor: Professor Lynette Russell, Director of the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre. For me, as editor, shaping the issue and working with individual writers is by the far the most enjoyable part of this job. Such was the success of this process that it has led to the creation of the ABR Indigenous Fellowship, worth $10,000, for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer, critic, or commentator. It’s open for applications until October 1. The Fellow will write a series of articles for ABR and be encouraged to play a significant role in future Indigenous issues.

Have you seen a shift in editors commissioning a more diverse range of writers in Australian publications?

I can’t speak for other magazines. ABR – which publishes 300 writers each year from around the country – is conscious of the need to reflect our diverse and dynamic literary culture. Check out the contents page in the August issue (especially Omid Tofighian’s passionate article about his friend and colleague Behrouz Boochani). This is a fast-changing and responsive magazine.

Does ABR publish special issues often?

Each year we publish Environment, Arts and Fiction issues.

Will an Indigenous issue be produced annually?

Emphatically, yes.

ABR free subscriptions

The Australian Book Review has been supporting and promoting Australian writers for over 40 years and are giving away 100 one-year free individual subscriptions to ABR Online, valued at $60 a year.

They are redeemable with the code ‘ABRCA2019’ when you subscribe online through the ABR website. Get in quick to receive a free subscription.

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