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Petition against WA Premier’s Book Awards cuts

A petition against the WA government’s decision to cut funding and move the WA Premier’s Book Awards to a biennial format has been launched online.

The petition, which is addressed to Liberal premier Colin Barnett and arts minister John Day, was started by writer and Swanbourne Bookcaffe bookseller Emily Paull.

‘As a bookseller, I have seen the increased sales that a book can experience simply through being shortlisted for the award,’ writes Paull in a blog post. ‘[Campbell] Newman infamously scrapped the [QLD] State Literary Awards, and the community outcry is still being felt today. Perhaps this is a warning to Colin Barnett—threaten our arts, and we will fight you.’

More than 150 people have signed the petition since it went live on 27 February. Signatories include authors David Whish-Wilson, Julienne van Loon, James Foley and Angela Savage.

UWA Publishing director Terri-ann White, who has also signed the petition, said that ‘keeping these awards in an annual cycle is vital for writers, publishers and booksellers’ and that ‘so many good books will miss out on that extra attention’ if the awards are presented biennially.

The ABC has also reported that the State Library of Western WA (SLWA) is considering reducing its opening times as a way to meet government-mandated savings targets. As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the government’s decision to move the awards to a biennial format follows an internal review of the budget of the SLWA, which administers the awards.



Category: Local news