I’m a children’s author. My job is to tell stories to Australian children and beyond our shores. Stories that will stir them, make them laugh, take them into another world, stories that will make them think.
I don’t expect to win a literary prize any day soon, (although it would be very nice to) but I don’t begrudge those who do. It helps their careers in an industry where Australian authors earn 6-10% of a book’s price.
We children’s writers run school workshops to survive, but schools’ funding for arts exposure has diminished. A vicious circle forms. More outside work means less time and energy for authors to write, which equals less publications, lower earnings.
Government literary grants and awards for writers and artists are as valid to Australia’s development as a nation as sports funding or farm aid to those battlers on the land. That’s why we in the arts community, plus those Australians who believe in what we do, are so angry and dismayed at the new Queensland government’s action, under Premier Campbell Newman, to slash the State’s Literary Awards.
Many of us believe it’s the start of a pogrom against the arts in our beloved country.
When Winston Churchill was asked why didn’t he cut arts funding when money was needed in those darkest days of Britain’s battle against Nazi Germany, this great tactical leader replied, ‘Then what are we fighting for?’
Do you support funding the arts? Do you think it’s an essential part of our society?
Thank you to Fiona MacKenzie for the use of the Flickr image.