Australia Council drives discussion at National Writers’ Congress

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by anonymous on Thursday 17 October 2013.

The Australia Council for the Arts Director Literature Jill Eddington and Literature Strategy Panel Chair Sophie Cunningham will inform writers and publishers how the organisation’s recent changes can provide strategic funding support and build on peer assessment at this week’s National Writers’ Congress: Authorship 20/20 in Sydney.

The Australia Council is supporting the inaugural congress, which is being presented by the Australian Society of Authors at the Australian National Maritime Museum from Thursday 17 October to Saturday 19 October.

Ms Eddington said the recent increased funding to the Australia Council had seen more writers funded and a discussion she would chair on Saturday would explore how the organisation’s review and legislative changes could provide a more strategic approach to investment in literature.

The discussion, titled A National Cultural Policy or more Australian Content?, will feature as panelists Sophie Cunningham, Stuart Glover, former Australia Council Literature Board member and Meg Vann, CEO of the Queensland Writers’ Centre.
Ms Eddington said she was delighted to be part of the event and that the Australia Council was able to support it as well as provide funds for the directors of each state and territory’s writers’ centres to attend.

“This event is a great opportunity to bring together leaders in the literature sector, including publishers, writers’ organisations and authors,” Ms Eddington said.

“The digital age and the increased popularity of mobile devices, such as tablets, have created challenges for authors and publishers and forums such as these provide information on the latest trends in reading and publishing, writing practices and opportunities available in this technology-driven environment.”

Ms Eddington said she and Ms Cunningham would also use the congress to inform participants how the Australia Council could assist authors develop their craft and publish their work.

“The Australia Council offers several types of assistance to writers and publishers, including grants for new work, fellowships and overseas residencies,” Ms Eddington said.

“In 2011-12, $5.9 million was spent to support artists and organisations through these initiatives.”

The National Writers’ Congress coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Australian Society of Authors, which is a key organisation funded by the Australia Council.

Other speakers at the event include award-winning writer Anna Funder, children’s author Libby Gleeson and broadcaster and columnist Richard Glover.