THE OVERFLOW ROSEMARY SORENSEN
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.