With all the recent discussion about how grim things are in the publishing world and the uncertainty in the market with developing electronic formats, I thought it might be nice to say thanks.
Even though things are challenging, and governments do spend lots on vast sport stadiums, there are people in government at various levels who are working to support the arts. And publishers and editors who go beyond the call of duty for the sheer love of the written word.
I have plenty of writer friends who have received Federal and State government arts grants - either to travel to a conference, attend training or to support the completion of a particular project. I've always recognised this at a distance, and with a vague suspicion.
But earlier this week I attended the launch of the 2009 One Book Many Brisbanes anthology. This is a local Brisbane City Council (Brisbane is the capital of the state of Queensland) initiative that has been running for five years now. I was lucky enough to get a story in the 2009 anthology, and in the first OBMB anthology in 2005. This is how the BCC is supporting the development of local authors, and providing a way of recognising them.
I took the whole family to the launch - and the spread they provided put many a book launch to shame. My kids attacked like locusts and it was funny to see how many thrifty authors made the most of the free coffee, teas, cakes and savoury snacks.
The BCC is so behind this initiative that the Lord Mayor Campbell Newman came himself to launch the book and swan about with the local creative crop (our Lord Mayor has been short listed along with 25 others for the World's Best Mayor - bit of fun trivia).
Here is Campbell Newman, me and the kids (Sandra is taking the photo):
It was nice to actually feel like a valued author. At the time it really struck me how fantastic this whole program was - and how great that our local government was so committed to the development of creativity in Brisbane (BCC are looking to develop creativity across all areas -- science and technology as well).
This is the third time I have met Campbell Newman (one at the prior OBMB, the other at the launch of another Brisbane-based antho). He is a very personable fellow, and with our joint background in engineering (he was a Civil), we tend to gabble on quite easily.
My wife was highly amused to see us rabbiting on about the restoration of the old Brisbane town hall (as was his minder). See photo below:
So thanks BCC! You can read all the stories from the 2009 OBMB (Including Yours Truly's) on-line here:
So what other government programs have helped you? What publishers or editors have gone out of their way to give you a boost?