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Government releases Book Council terms of reference; Adler to chair

The federal government has announced the terms of reference for the Book Council of Australia and that Australian Publishers Association (APA) president and Melbourne University Publishing CEO Louise Adler will be the council’s inaugural chair.

The council was first announced in December 2014 and has been allocated $6m in funding over three years.

According to the terms of reference, the purpose of the council is to ‘provide advice to the Minister for the Arts on matters relating to Australian literature and writing’ and ‘will focus on promoting Australian writing nationally and internationally, developing and extending audience engagement with Australian literature, and nurturing a vibrant reading and writing culture’.

Within the council’s remit are ‘strategies to encourage a culture of reading’; ‘the accessibility of books and writing for all Australians’; ‘the breadth and diversity of Australian writing’; ‘support for and promotion of high quality Australian literature’; ‘the Australian publishing industry’s capacity to meet new technologies and competitive challenges’; ‘opportunities to build on successful programs as well as identifying opportunities for new initiatives’; and ‘available information, data and research on the Australian book sector’.

Fifteen people will sit on the council for a term of up to three years, and will be appointed by the arts minister. Representatives will be sought from the Australian Literary Agents’ Association, Australian Booksellers Association, Australian Library and Information Association, Australian Publishers Association, Australian Society of Authors, Australian Writers’ Guild, Children’s Book Council of Australia, Copyright Agency, National Library of Australia and Small Press Network. .

Also invited to join the council are academic and author David Throsby; Dymocks MD Steve Cox and Pages & Pages general manager and former ABA president Jon Page.

The council will meet four times a year and the chair will also report annually to the arts minister. The Minister’s department has indicated that the bulk of the $6m allocated to the Book Council will go to the funding and support of initiatives put forward by the Council, with some money to be used for administration costs.

Arts Minister George Brandis announced the release of the terms of reference at the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) National Congress in Sydney on 11 September.

The announcement follows the recent publication of a letter, signed by more than 40 literary organisations, calling for the government to consult with the literary community on planning for the Book Council of Australia.

Read the full terms of reference here.


Category: Local news