The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - ROSE­MARY SORENSEN

RE­CENTLY launched in Can­berra was Mul­lion Park, named af­ter a line from David Camp­bell’s 1956 poem, The Mir­a­cle at Mul­lion Hill . While sit­ting on a bench or me­an­der­ing along a path, you can read lines of Camp­bell’s po­etry printed on var­i­ous sur­faces. There’s a lovely new bridge in Bris­bane, cross­ing the river at Dut­ton Park to link with the Univer­sity of Queens­land at St Lu­cia, where you can read ( very short) lines of po­etry by young lo­cal po­ets Luke Beesley and Sam Wa­gan Wat­son cut into the con­crete foot­path. It makes us won­der where else you can find ran­dom snatches of po­etry etched into the land­scape. A ‘‘ NUTTY tour de force’’ from a ‘‘ quirky as­sured Aus­tralian writer’’ is how the US Pub­lish­ers Weekly is de­scrib­ing Syd­ney screen­writer, Steve Toltz’s fat first novel, A Frac­tion of the Whole . So, it looks like the much dis­cussed de­ci­sion by Pen­guin’s young hot shot pub­lisher, Ben Ball, to sign up Toltz with one of those myth­i­cal ‘‘ six­fig­ure’’ ad­vances ( not even count­ing the ones af­ter the dec­i­mal point) is about to be proven wise. The book is due out early next year. JOHN Howard be warned. For­mer French pres­i­dent Jac­ques Chirac put out two books this year — with the pub­lisher so con­fi­dent his words would in­ter­est a wide read­er­ship it printed 100,000 copies of each — and sold less than 5000 of each. A BOOK with the clever ti­tle The Meat Game and the killer sub­ti­tle A His­tory of the Gepps Cross Abat­toirs and Live­stock Mar­kets, by Richard Mau­rovic, pub­lished by Wake­field Press in South Aus­tralia, has won the Aus­tralian di­vi­sion for best culi­nary his­tory book in the Gour­mand World Cook­book Awards. Why do we care? Well, let me tell you that The Over­flow ’ s scrib­bler once taught English and maths at a sec­ondary school just a sports field away from that very abat­toir. She still re­mem­bers, sort of fondly, the amaz­ing whiff of blood and bone that would drift in on lazy sum­mer af­ter­noons. So, good luck Richard, when the world win­ners are an­nounced in May. WELL done to Robert Hor­tle from Ho­bart, who was awarded the Dorothea Mackel­lar po­etry award in the se­nior sec­ondary school sec­tion for his poem The Old World , which judges Sue Gough and Prue Ma­son praised for its sim­ple strength and warm hu­mour. For all the win­ners of this prize, which at­tracts 15,000 en­tries from schools across Aus­tralia, go to www. dorothea. com. au. HOW clever of the Abu Dhabi Author­ity for Cul­ture and Her­itage to fi­nance the Kal­ima pub­lish­ing project, which will trans­late hun­dreds of books by writ­ers such as Stephen Hawk­ing, Na­dine Gordimer, Haruki Mu­rakami and even Jac­ques La­can into Ara­bic. An­other ex­cel­lent and en­cour­ag­ing project also re­cently an­nounced is the Uni­ver­sal Li­brary Project, which has scanned 1.5 mil­lion books in many lan­guages, and made them in­stantly ac­ces­si­ble to any­one who logs on to the site. Check­ing it out, I called up Be­owulf , and found the 1896 trans­la­tion by William Mor­ris. Ex­tra­or­di­nary to be able to read pages of such a book at home, any­time, im­me­di­ately. ■ over­flow@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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