A Powerful Generator of Literary Ideas

Founded in 1961 in Adelaide by Max Harris and Rosemary Wighton, Australian Book Review (ABR) has long been a vital part of Australia’s cultural life. Over its ten print and digital editions each year, the magazine publishes in-depth literary criticism as well as new poetry, short stories, essays, commentaries and interviews with writers and literary critics. In addition, ABR’s website offers weekly reviews of films, plays and exhibitions, along with roving blogs from some of Australia’s liveliest cultural commentators.  ABR is proud of its longstanding commitment to the art of literary criticism. ABR sees literary criticism not as an extension of marketing, and not as a hobby, but as a creative form essential to our understanding of Australian writing and, by extension, Australian place and culture. ABR was founded to challenge a reviewing culture focused on the writing of other countries. Writers published in ABR include Randolph Stow, Judith Wright, Robert Hughes, Peter Porter, Dorothy Porter, David Malouf, Helen Garner, Clive James, Les Murray, Gail Jones, Kerryn Goldsworthy, and James Ley. For half a century, ABR has helped Australian writing to flourish. For half a century it has offered essential support to great Australian writers.  No other Australian magazine supports young writers and editors through such varied and lucrative programs. Of the 250 writers we publish each year, 75 to 100 are new to the magazine, many of them in their twenties and publishing for the first time. We offer young writers close editing and much encouragement – and we pay them properly. Each year ABR offers an Editorial Internship worth $45,000 and in this way trains and mentors Australian’s next generation of editors. When we name a new ABR Laureate we invite the Laureate to nominate a Fellow – a young writer who will receive $5,000 for a substantial literary work. Thus ABR contributes to the long-term health and renewal of our literary and editorial talent. ABR also supports Australian writers through a range of prizes, fellowships, masterclasses and events. The Calibre Prize for a long essay, the Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, and the Peter Porter Poetry Prize all reflect ABR’s support for major literary forms, undervalued in the current literary climate. ABR is an independent, not-for-profit magazine and all these prizes, fellowships, masterclasses and events depend on the support of private donors and foundations. The entirety of their donations goes to Australian writers and editors. This is one part of ABR’s commitment to lively cultural exchange. ABR is a powerful generator of new ideas and creative writing, and a key supporter of fresh literary and critical talent.

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