There’s a lot of good stuff going on right now in the Australian reading/writing world. First came the Australian Women Writers space, created by Elizabeth Lhuede in 2012. Elizabeth blogs at Devoted Eclectic. The AWW have a 2013 reader challenge that you can sign up for, which follows the inaugural challenge last year. The AWW has received quite a bit of attention, here and overseas.
Next came the delicious The Writers Room series of interviews, brought to us by novelist Charlotte Wood. The first edition is out, and it’s a subscription-only set up where you receive it in PDF form. I’ve already posted about the first interview with Amanda Lohrey and how useful and interesting I found it.
And now I’ve found out about the Sydney Review of Books, again a new website and associated articles set up in response to the ‘dwindling space for literary criticism in Australian media’. Like Wood’s writer interviews, the articles are devoted to the longer form which in this age of bits and bobs, scraps of info gleaned through twitter and on some blogs which seem to be substance-free zones, it is a delight to know there are people out there who like the longer stuff, who want the detail and depth and who aren’t scared to go there. (Apologies for the appalling grammar in THAT sentence!) Not everyone is on a tight schedule, not everyone is trying to read articles in the backs of taxis on their phones. Some of us still crave the special kind of intimacy and complexity that you get with quality long-form pieces.
But the truly fabulous thing about these three gifts is that they are focused on Australian writers and writing, adding to what is a really vibrant, dynamic community. I feel lucky to be able to use the Internet to access all these gems, as well as paying my bills (my number one reason to give thanks to the Internet. Remember the post office queues?)