The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - ROSE­MARY SORENSEN

BLACK Dog Books, the busy lit­tle pub­lisher based in, Fitzroy, Melbourne, has el­bowed its way into the lime­light with three books on this year’s short list for in­for­ma­tion books at the Chil­dren’s Book Coun­cil awards. For good mea­sure, it also has a book ( Ca­role Wilkin­son’s Dragon Moon) on the younger read­ers list. The in­for­ma­tion books it has pub­lished sug­gest how clev­erly and strate­gi­cally it is think­ing: Ned Kelly’s Jer­ilderie Let­ter , The Antarc­tica Book , and Kokoda Track . On the short list for early child­hood books we again find two vet­er­ans of Aus­tralian chil­dren’s writ­ing, Pamela Allen and Bob Gra­ham. There’s a long lead time for th­ese awards: the win­ners will be an­nounced in Au­gust dur­ing Book Week. YANN Mar­tel, the Booker Prize win­ner for Life of Pi , is con­tin­u­ing his cam­paign to in­vei­gle the Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter, Stephen Harper, into read­ing more books. The latest sug­ges­tion was The Cel­list of Sara­jevo by Steven Gal­loway, but so far ( and Mar­tel’s been com­pil­ing the list for a year) there’s been no word that Harper has taken the hint. Our PM, on the other hand, is set to read all 160 en­tries in his new lit­er­ary awards. At least, we as­sume he’s go­ing to take a few weeks off to do so, be­cause oth­er­wise how could he make the ‘‘ fi­nal de­ci­sion on a short list and award win­ners’’? The fact that six very ex­pe­ri­enced peo­ple were en­gaged as judges with­out ac­tu­ally be­ing told the PM was hav­ing the fi­nal say is ei­ther fool­ish or ar­ro­gant. AF­TER the hor­rid silli­ness of Peter Jack­son’s King Kong , are we feel­ing any­thing other than dread at the idea of a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Steven Spiel­berg on a planned tril­ogy of Tintin films? The ever- so- cute Thomas Sang­ster from the de­spi­ca­bly sac­cha­rine Love, Ac­tu­ally is slated to play the ti­tle role. Kevin Rudd will be dis­ap­pointed. THE last time we heard the term moral turpi­tude was pos­si­bly dur­ing that no­to­ri­ous trial of Syd­ney Sparkes Orr, ac­cused of such for al­leged se­duc­tion of a stu­dent in the 1950s ( and re­vis­ited by his­to­rian Cas­san­dra Py­bus in a book called Gross Moral Turpi­tude ). The term is still ac­tively used by US im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials, as Bri­tish writer Se­bas­tian Hors­ley has dis­cov­ered. He ap­par­ently spent eight hours at Ne­wark in­ter­na­tional air­port be­ing ques­tioned by Cus­toms of­fi­cials be­fore they barred him from en­ter­ing the US on the grounds of moral turpi­tude. The writer had been in­vited to the World Voices Fes­ti­val of In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­a­ture, to talk about his book, Dandy in the Un­der­world, a ‘‘ mem­oir of sex, drugs and flam­boy­ant fash­ion’’. PEN Amer­ica is fight­ing Hors­ley’s cause, say­ing he was sin­gled out for Cus­toms at­ten­tion be­cause he was wear­ing a top hat, long vel­vet coat and gloves. Dandy in­deed. THE good folk of Castle­maine, Vic­to­ria, are up in arms about our re­cent slur on their fine, po­etic town, threat­en­ing to mass in the grounds of the Old Castle­maine Gaol ( now a tourist hub) and burn ef­fi­gies, chant­ing ‘‘ down with Over­flow ’’ and other vig­or­ous slo­gans. Barry Hill, An­thony Lawrence, Jaya Sav­ige, Jayne Fenton Keane and Bob Adam­son will be there on the Anzac Day week­end for the Aus­tralian Po­etry Cen­tre’s first na­tional fes­ti­val. So will Sam Hamill from the US, who founded Po­ets Against War, and Lorna Crozier from Canada. Pro­gram in­for­ma­tion from the APC web­site or ( 03) 9527 4063.

over­flow@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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