These awards are important as a way to recognise the importance of writing in Queensland, recognising the contribution writers make to culture. The recognition for writers is so important. We should be celebrating Queensland stories. Awards like this are also a way for writers to supplement their income as writers often get paid very little for their craft.
But there are others who can say it better than:
To quote John Birmingham: "The loss of an award with 14 categories that crossed the writing spectrum — poetry, short and long fiction, non-fiction, history, science, advancing public debate, children’s and young adult, scriptwriting for film, drama and television, for established, new and indigenous writers — is a devastating blow to creative practice and cultural enrichment in Queensland and Australia."
Kate Eltham, CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre, says the LNP promised during the recent election campaign to preserve the arts and culture.
She wants to know how the savings will be reinvested to support authors in other ways.
"Certainly during the election campaign, the shadow arts minister talked about no net loss to the arts in Queensland," she said.
"We've seen a cut to the Premier's Literary Awards. We would really like to see how the new government might be using that money to support emerging writers in other areas."
Author John Birmingham says that slashing arts budgets is seen by Mr Newman as a low-risk way to save.
He says Mr Newman has calculated the LNP is "not going to lose many, if any, votes out of getting rid of this prize and out of slashing the hell out of a lot of arts budgets".
"It (literary funding) makes a big difference to the people who are getting it, obviously, but in terms of the state budget, there's probably bigger tough cuts that he could make, but they're much tougher to sell," he said.
Playwright Sam Watson says the David Unapion category of the awards was the only recognition for Indigenous writers.
"If we lose these awards, if we lose the Unaipon award then our writers, our storytellers, our performers will all slip back into the darkness and they will never come forward again," he said.
Please sign this and send a clear message to the new Queensland Government that the Arts is important, our Queensland Culture is important and supporting and recognising our writers is important.