The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

IF you’ve been on the re­ceiv­ing end of a tick­ing- off from feisty David Row­botham, you’ll know about his famed spirit. ‘‘ Sin­gle­minded’’ is how he’s de­scribed by the com­mit­tee that yes­ter­day awarded the Bris­bane- based poet the $ 25,000 Pa­trick White Award, and that’s an un­der­state­ment. Stand in the way of his beloved po­etry and you’ll feel his wrath. Th­ese days, Row­botham’s health means he has to stick close to home, but he’s still writ­ing with the same pas­sion and com­mit­ment. A well- de­served award for a mas­ter poet. AND an­other one heads back north. Carol David­son, who moved from the Univer­sity of Queens­land Press in Bris­bane to Syd­ney six years ago, when she be­came sales and in­ter­na­tional pub­lish­ing di­rec­tor at Ran­dom House, is mov­ing back. She’ll be­come a Bris­bane- based pub­lisher from Fe­bru­ary next year, which sounds like a pretty good gig. Brett Os­mond, project di­rec­tor for the fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Books Alive cam­paign, is also on the move, head­ing to Ran­dom this month as mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor. The Aus­tralia Coun­cil is in the process of find­ing Os­mond’s re­place­ment. Books Alive is in its sev­enth year and Os­mond reck­ons it’s a bit like an arts fes­ti­val; good to have a fresh per­spec­tive ev­ery now and then. BEST not to think too much about the im­pli­ca­tions of the Dai­lyLit. That’s the web­site to which you can sign up to re­ceive five- minute in­stal­ments of books via email each day. Out- of- copy­right books such as Pride and Prej­u­dice and Moby Dick are avail­able free of charge, but you can also sign on for con­tem­po­rary books ( some of which, go­ing by ti­tles such as The Quotable Bitch , you wouldn’t want to spend five sec­onds with, let alone five min­utes). The idea is to ser­vice, if you’ll ex­cuse the ex­pres­sion, peo­ple who ‘‘ spend hours each day on email but can’t find the time to read a book’’. We can think of worse ways to use email, but the trou­ble is, emails ap­pear to in­vite sloppy read­ing habits not well suited to nov­els. It’s the blog at Aus­tralian Writ­ers Mar­ket­places that alerted us to Dai­lyLit: aw­mon­line. com. au. HARDLY dare to men­tion this, in case it gives some­one ideas . . . On the night Ni­co­las Sarkozy won the French pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, a cou­ple of jour­nal­ists at­tended his cel­e­bra­tion din­ner at a swank restau­rant on, mais bien sur , the Champs El­y­sees and took co­pi­ous notes. Who said what, who did what, to whom. The book is just out. TO­DAY at the Ken­dall School of Arts on NSW’s mid- north coast, friends and col­leagues of pro­lific writer Eric Rolls, who died on Oc­to­ber 31, aged 84, will gather to cel­e­brate his life. The great Ge­orge Sed­don, re­view­ing Rolls’s big, char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally am­bi­tious book Aus­tralia: A Bi­og­ra­phy in 2001, wrote about Rolls’s ‘‘ sense of won­der at the beauty and in­tri­cacy of the cre­ated world’’. Sed­don re­joiced in the magic of Rolls’s writ­ing. ‘‘ He seems to have been ev­ery­where, seen ev­ery­thing,’’ Sed­don wrote, ‘‘ so the book is deeply per­sonal and, in ef­fect, lyri­cal, al­though the prose is chaste.’’

over­flow@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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