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Friday 18 March 2011

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Judy Horacek is a Melbourne cartoonist who recently launched her new cartoon collection If you can’t stand the heat.

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Recent Wheeler Centre guest Armistead Maupin has been subjected to the darker side of Australian hospitality. Maupin and his partner took some time out in central Australia following their visit to Melbourne, which included an appearance at the Wheeler Centre. While staying in Alice Springs, they visited the popular cowboy-themed Bojangles Saloon for some lunch. Both Maupin and his partner were subjected to homophobic derision when they asked a staff member for directions to the facilities. The couple objected immediately to the behaviour with the staff member involved and soon after lodged an official complaint at the tourism office.

In a later interview with local ABC radio’s Rohan Barwick, Maupin said he was gratified to receive an apology within 24 hours from the venue’s management via the tourism office. He added that otherwise he and his partner greatly enjoyed their visit to the centre. See here for a full report.

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18 March 2011

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Today is the National Day Against Bullying, the first of an annual event designed to raise awareness of behaviour that can ruin lives. Coincidentally, controversial video of an instance of school bullying that backfired has been doing the rounds of the web this week – we won’t link to it, but it’s easy enough to find. The violent video has gone viral and there’s a website to honour the boy who defended himself. Incidentally, that same child has been suspended by his school.

Yes, St Paddy’s Day was yesterday, but we found this great list of ten of Ireland’s best contemporary writers and we thought you might like it too. If you’re into lists as much as we are, and you’re a writer toiling away in obscurity, you might enjoy this list of writers who died in obscurity. Or you might just find it depressing.

According to this article, e-book sales are up 116% in January in the US, while book sales are down 31%. Of course, print books are still way ahead in dollar terms – around $800 million for the month, while e-book sales are less than a tenth of that at just under $70 million.

The National Play Festival finishes tomorrow night at the Parramatta Riverside Theatre in Sydney. The festival “showcases the best in new Australian playwriting to inspire playwrights, producers and audiences about new writing as a critical, living part of our story-telling culture”. Among the featured performers is upcoming Wheeler Centre guest Van Badham, who’s appearing in Drama Queens, a look at women in Australian theatre, next Thursday evening – a free Wheeler Centre event.

Earlier this week we reported on the joint winners of this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction – the top literary prize in the Arabic language. All prizes have their backroom politics (check out this piece on the gender politics of the UK’s Orange Prize). Here’s an interesting piece on the politics behind the prize dubbed the ‘Arabic Booker’.

We were saddened by the recent loss of Hazel Rowley. Here’s an obituary from the New York Times.

Do you have a favourite book cover? Some covers are truly works of art – only the artists that designed them remain anonymous. Here’s an essay from the Atlantic on cover designs and their designers, the unsung heroes of the book industry.

Hot on the heels of Egypt’s revolution comes a book with a difference. Tweets from Tahrir collects tweets from some of the key Twitter figures in the events that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak’s reign. Its publication is significant for lots of reasons – as a record of citizen journalism, as a milestone in the history of user-generated content, and as an instance of the way new media is challenging traditional notions of intellectual property.

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18 March 2011

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