IN one corner, the brilliant and rich J. K. Rowling defending her intellectual copyright. In the other, Steven Vander Ark, dorkish Harry Potter enthusiast being encouraged by a publisher to turn his online Potter encyclopedia into a book. Read some reports, and Rowling sounds mean. Read others, and Rowling sounds not just reasonable but also right. When she argues that people who bought the proposed lexicon would have little incentive to buy the original books, however, you have to wonder how many more Harry Potter books can possibly be sold after the zillions already in print? ALEXIS Wright’s 2007 Miles Franklin winner, Carpentaria , originally published by enterprising small publisher Giramondo, was recently published in Britain, and the writer interviewed. ‘‘ As an indigenous author,’’ Wright told The Guardian , ‘‘ I have to work terribly hard to get my work done and understood. We meet white resistance all the way.’’ Now you know why you didn’t get to the end of Carpentaria . GAIL Jones has to be close to the record for the number of times she’s been short- listed. In this year’s Miles Franklin, her work Sorry is up against Rodney Hall’s Love Without Hope , Steven Carroll’s The Time We Have Taken ( another often short- listed author), David Brooks’s The Fern Tattoo and Alex Miller ( who has already won the Miles twice) for Landscape of Farewell . IF you can’t beat them, US librarians are saying, then you may as well join them. Three out of four librarians said yes to a survey question asking whether they supported online activities, including gaming, as part of a library’s services. REMEMBER Richard Maurovic, who won Australian division for best culinary history book in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for The Meat Game, a history of the Gepps Cross abattoirs? Blow me down if he didn’t go on to take out bronze at the world finals in London. The Overflow was keenly interested in said history as she once worked a bull’s roar from the back door of the malodorous abattoirs. What clever Mr Maurovic didn’t tell us was that he too once worked at Gepps Cross, was previously a stockman, was injured as a young man in a fall from a horse, and now not only writes but also paints, and had his first show in Sydney last month. WE do call this column The Overflow , which is clearly being taken as a sign by some to let their febrile minds do just that. Otherwise, how to explain the missive received from Johanna Featherstone, creative director of the Red Room Company, ‘‘ Australia’s most cutting edge poetry organisation’’ ( what is it about poets that they must bait us like this) about the pigeon poetry championship to take place in August. Poems will be strapped to the legs of racing pigeons and the intrepid birds, supervised by NSW’s South Coast Pigeon Federation, will race the 20km from Stanwell Tops, just north of Wollongong, to Mt Ousley. The purpose of this flight of the poetic pigeons is to ‘‘ determine the country’s new bard’’. It’s a world first, they tell us. It would be.
overflow@ theaustralian. com. au