It's Friday, let's keep it simple. We've rounded-up some good stuff happening around Oz, some interesting stuff happening on the web, and chucked in a little doom'n'gloom for a little something different.
The Emerging Writers' Festival program is live and well on the interwebs and getting a lot of well-deserved attention. The Seizure team will be heading down to Melbs so if you're there, come say hi. We'll be announcing our Viva La Novella Winners at the Night of the Living Novellas event, and our own Alice Grundy will be talking submissions vs commissions at the Emerging Editors Workshop. Also check out the team from Sweatshop in their live-performance #Three Jerks, the return of festival favourite, The Pitch, and inspiring women talking about the women that inspire them, at Amazing Babes.
This week saw the announcement of a new short story prize in commemoration of the late South-Coast journalist, novelist and playwright, Olga Masters. The award is for the best 2000-5000 word short story dealing with aspects of family life in rural Australia. The main prize is for writers over the age of 21 ($1,500), but there's also an encouragement award for youngsters ($500).
Allen & Unwin announced the winner of the annual Australian/Vogel's Literary Award, and released unto the world Christine Piper's debut novel, After Darkness. Seizure ran an exclusive extract of the book on our website, which you can read here.
The list is out for the winners of the 2014 Best Australian Blogs Competition. A great source of inspiration for your own blog/new blogger blood for your RSS feed.
And, The Wheeler Centre has just released their second programme of events for the year. Think: Alexis Wright, Bob Carr, Anne Summers, Hannah Kent, A.M. Holmes. Browse the full list of events here.
Who said Round-Up had to be all sunshine, cake and new-smelling books? The arts world have taken a few hits this week, so we thought we'd round them up for a cheery change...
We had the announcement from Marni Cordell that independent news website, New Matilda, would be shutting up shop due to financial difficulties and the poaching of staff to bigger media outlets. It's been reported that there have been bids to takeover the publication, so we'll watch this space with interest (but possibly just sadness).
We've also had the Commission of Audit announce its recommendation to slash the funding of Screen Australia by half, and merge it with The Australia Council for the Arts, and cut $17.5 million of community-radio funding. We've also had Fairfax journalists on strike over cuts to 80 jobs at the Age and the SMH. And, over in Russia, Putin has announced a ban on swearing books, and Irvine Welsh thinks it's a bad idea.
Just to cap off the sad vibes, here's a collection of the most devastating moments in children's literature. Spoiler: Dobby dies... :'(
We've all had the conversation, perhaps over a copy of Helen Garner's The Spare Room, perhaps over a beer with your pals, debating the question 'Is it OK to mine real relationships for literary material?' Francine Prose and Leslie Jamison have tackled the issue in their recent article for the New York Times. And then there's this guy, who just wanted a sandwich and ended up live-tweeting a breakup/ writing heartbreaking short fiction.
What's wrong with Catch 22? Why are there books we just can't bring ourselves to finish. Goodreads recently conducted a bit of user research on the psychology of abandonment. They've got their top five most abandoned contemporary books (you'll rejoice to see Fifty Shades on there), and some classics (shun the Tolkein abandoners).
And I'll leave you with a thought. Bookshop bars. It's a real thing, it just hasn't hit yet...