The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - ROSE­MARY SORENSEN

‘‘ IT’S the best damn read I’ve had in a long time.’’ Thus spake Nigel Krauth, re­view­ing Junot Diaz’s The Brief Won­drous Life of Os­car Wao in th­ese pages a cou­ple of months ago. Give that man a Pulitzer: Diaz, not Krauth, al­though the lat­ter has writ­ten some damn fine books in his time, too ( search out The Bathing Ma­chine Called the Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury for ir­refutable proof of that). Any­way, Krauth clearly knew what he was talk­ing about be­cause Diaz was this month an­nounced win­ner of a Pulitzer prize for fiction. PUB­LISH­ING is a- chang­ing; in weird and won­der­ful ways. HarperCollins in the US has an­nounced a new ‘‘ stu­dio’’ that will pub­lish books in ‘‘ mul­ti­ple phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal for­mats in­clud­ing those as yet un­spec­i­fied’’ that will ‘‘ com­pen­sate’’ au­thors through a ‘‘ profit- shar­ing model as op­posed to a tra­di­tional roy­alty’’. Sorry about all the in­verted com­mas, but all of this is very mys­te­ri­ous. EX­CEL­LENT news from Syd­ney Univer­sity Press for those who be­lieve that the loss of our lit­er­ary his­tory is not just sad but fool­ish. Us­ing the ad­van­tage of print- on­de­mand tech­nol­ogy, SUP has brought back into print 22 ( with more to come) clas­sic Aus­tralian works, in­clud­ing au­thors such as Jes­sica An­der­son, Eleanor Dark, Kylie Ten­nant, Bruce Beaver and David Ire­land. In June, SUP’s Susan Murray- Smith tells us, it will start re­leas­ing new edi­tions of books such as An­der­son’s The Com­man­dant and Martin Boyd’s A Dif­fi­cult Young Man, with com­mis­sioned in­tro­duc­tions by schol­ars. MEAN­WHILE, Tracy Che­va­lier ( Girl with a Pearl Ear­ring ) has said the roy­alty sys­tem is a ‘‘ dam that’s crack­ing’’, warn­ing au­thors that at­tempts to pre­vent piracy on the in­ter­net are fail­ing. She is call­ing for a ‘‘ very dif­fer­ent pay sys­tem, pos­si­bly by mak­ing the con­tent avail­able free to all’’ and find­ing a way for au­thors to be paid sep­a­rately. NOW look here, Pen­guin Aus­tralia. It’s all very well putting out a call for sub­mis­sions for crime fiction, but it’s a bit rich call­ing it a com­pe­ti­tion, with the prize ( roll those drums) a pub­lish­ing con­tract. Isn’t pub­lish­ing what pub­lish­ers do, or am I miss­ing some­thing here? It’s a worry, too, that Pen­guin UK’s edi­to­rial di­rec­tor, Bev­er­ley Cousins, one of the judges for this com­pe­ti­tion, tells us she’s been in Aus­tralia for six months to im­merse her­self in Aus­tralian crime writ­ing, ‘‘ and in so do­ing, drink in such a tal­ented range of au­thors, orig­i­nal char­ac­ters and at­mo­spheric and ex­otic lo­ca­tions’’. Drink­ing in what you’re im­mersed in is not wise, Ms Cousins. The In­ter­na­tional IMPAC Dublin Lit­er­ary Award, worth al­most $ 170,000, re­lies on nom­i­na­tions from li­braries and amasses a huge long list be­fore be­ing whit­tled to a short list of eight. On that short list is Gail Jones for Dreams of Speak­ing . The win­ner will be an­nounced on June 12. The $ 20,000 Na­tional Bi­og­ra­phy Award was split be­tween Philip Dwyer’s Napoleon and Gra­ham Seal’s Th­ese Few Lines: The Lost Lives of Myra and William Sykes . And Caro­line Over­ing­ton won the $ 30,000 Blake Daw­son Prize for Busi­ness Lit­er­a­ture for her Kick­back: Inside the Aus­tralian Wheat Board Scan­dal .

over­flow@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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