Monday, 16 March 2009
an idle fancy
The Australian Labor government announced a short while back some new funding for writers, the Prime Minister’s Award. Unlike the awards administered by the Literature Board of the Australia Council up to now, the new award will not incur taxation. This is an important feature for writers since many are on low incomes and in the past the Australian Tax Office has not taken this into account, treating the sudden rise of income as though it were the prelude to an even bigger one and charging provisional tax to ensure the State gets a rake off before the entrepreneur finds an offshore haven. All this is a good thing for writers in general. But the new awards, as advertised, are for the categories of Fiction and Non-Fiction. It seems pretty certain that poetry isn’t going to get a look-in here even if these two categories seem like binaries. On the surface of things, everything that’s not ‘fiction’ has to be ‘non-fiction’. But for a while now I’ve had a little theory that poetry is neither (or both) of these things. If I had to tick a box I would have great difficulty in choosing one over the other to describe my activity. It’s ‘truth’ isn’t it? Even if I ‘made it up’?