The Weekend Australian - Review - - Cover Story -

THEY’VE called it Kin­dle, a lovely, soft, nur­tur­ing kind of word, de­lib­er­ately with­out hard edges. If you’ve gone to the Ama­zon web­site to see what it is, chances are you’ll be se­duced within a few min­utes. It re­ally is mag­i­cal, what you can do to ac­cess books, news­pa­pers and other bits and pieces, any­where, on a light­weight gad­get with a bat­tery that makes it ex­traor­di­nar­ily por­ta­ble. No, I don’t want to read screens all day and into the night too. But the de­sign of this ebook reader looks like it has gone a long way to­wards bridg­ing what we thought would be an un­pass­able chasm be­tween the book page and the screen page. Last week, when I took a be­grudg­ing look at the Kin­dle sales pitch, and fell head­long into its lure, there was a wait­ing list for this gad­get, de­spite its $ 450 tag. If it does be­come avail­able in Aus­tralia, I’m afraid to say I want one. THE 2007 win­ner of the long- run­ning and highly val­ued $ 11,000 New­cas­tle Po­etry Prize, an­nounced yes­ter­day, is Mark Tredin­nick from Bowral, NSW, for his poem Eclogues . Our po­etry ed­i­tor Barry Hill was highly com­mended for Desert Cal­ligra­phies , as was Andrew Slat­tery for The Bell and the Roar . Ade­laide poet Rob Walker and his son Matt, a graphic artist and web de­signer, were named win­ners of the new me­dia sec­tion for their col­lab­o­ra­tion Moon Anti- poem . BRI­TISH poet lau­re­ate John Bet­je­man cam­paigned staunchly to save St Pan­cras sta­tion in Lon­don from de­mo­li­tion, and there’s now a statue of him un­der the new roof of that build­ing to hon­our his com­mit­ment. Singer Patti Smith, ac­tor Stephen Fry and writer Ju­lian Barnes were all part of the cam­paign to save the Lon­don house Rim­baud and Ver­laine lived in in 1872. That too was suc­cess­ful, and the place has now be­come a cul­tural cen­tre. How about some kind of me­mo­rial to hon­our Tim Win­ton’s pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cacy of the cam­paign to save Nin­ga­loo Reef in West­ern Aus­tralia? Maybe a gi­ant bronze pig­tail. MELBOURNE school teacher Michael Chalk, in Cairns at a con­fer­ence, per­haps un­wisely headed into a pub. What hap­pened next de­pends on where you were stand­ing at the time. Chalk claimed, and it was re­ported in the lo­cal pa­per, that he was ejected from Shenannigan’s Pub, a pop­u­lar back­pack­ers base, be­cause he had with him a copy of Richard Flana­gan’s The Un­known Ter­ror­ist . While that may be an er­ror of taste, it’s not against the law, and the story of the school­teacher’s evic­tion was picked up by news­pa­pers around the world as ev­i­dence of para­noia in a north Queens­land town. Turns out that Chalk had been stand­ing stock still on the edge of the dance floor for a long time, with the wires of his iPod hang­ing out his pocket, in such a way as to dis­com­pose a num­ber of peo­ple in the room. Man­age­ment said they feared ebul­lient cus­tomers would take against the provoca­tive in­ter­loper and, to put it sim­ply, go the biff. So they asked him to leave. Quick as a flash, at least one colum­nist pon­tif­i­cated on how a book got an in­no­cent abroad into trou­ble.

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