Milestone for SA literature

Writers SA has announced plans to launch a new national literary journal spearheaded by the organisation’s outgoing CEO, Jessica Alice.

The recruitment process has begun for an editor for the journal, which it says will feature  “the best in new fiction, non-fiction, poetry and literary criticism from Australian writers”.

“This new journal is Writers SA’s greatest ambition to date to support literary culture,” says Alice, who steps down as the organisation’s CEO this month after five and a half years in the role. “A visionary editor is key to this project to publish progressive literary works from around Australia and provide a vital space for literary criticism.”

The publication will be a partnership between Writers SA, Flinders University, UniSA and University of Adelaide, with funding support from Arts South Australia. It is intended that it will launch online in May.

Applications for the editor’s role are open until March 4 (details here). Meanwhile, Writers SA is expected to announce the appointment of its new CEO in the coming weeks.

The Hayward Nudes

Carrick Hill will bare all with a new exhibition set to open on Valentine’s Day that showcases artworks depicting the human body.

Matthew Smith, Nude with a Pearl Necklace, c. 1930. © Estate of Matthew Smith. Photo & design: Bit Scribbly

To Bare All: The Hayward Nudes, which will be in the historic house’s Wall Gallery until the end of June, will feature paintings, sculptures, glassworks and “novelty objects” from Carrick Hill’s extensive collection that are said to offer an insight into how the naked form was represented in the early to mid-20th century. Artists represented include Jacob Epstein, Alistair Smart, Curt Schlevogt and René Lalique.

“Built up over decades, this wonderful collection of nudes shows the individuality of Bill and Ursula Hayward’s taste and what artists and types of art Carrick Hill’s owners particularly liked,” says Carrick Hill director Susan McCormack.

“Usually displayed in different rooms in the mansion, they were the backdrop to the daily life of reading, sewing, playing music, eating, drinking and conversing.”

Carrick Hill will launch the exhibition with a twilight picnic event on Valentine’s Day.

MUD shortlist announced

The four books shortlisted for the 2024 MUD Literary Prize reveal the diversity of stories being told by writers across Australia, according to Adelaide Writers’ Week director Louise Adler.

Announced this week, the four finalists vying for the $10,000 prize for best debut literary novel by an Australian writer are: Thirst for Salt by Madeleine Lucas, Girl in a Pink Dress by Kylie Needham, Immaculate by Anna McGahan, and The Prize by Kim E Anderson.

“Readers will find fantastic variety and quality across these four novels, underlining that 2023 was a stellar year for debut offerings of Australian literary fiction,” says Adler, who is a member of the judging panel for the MUD Literary Prize.

Twenty-seven submissions were received for the prize, which is open to authors who published their debut in the previous year. The winner will be announced the week before this year’s Writers’ Week begins and will be presented with their prize at an award and interview session at the literary festival in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden at 3.45pm on Monday, March 4.

Wanted: One Young Elvis

Elvis: A Musical Revolution. Photo: Daniel Boud

The search is on for a budding performer to step into the blue suede shoes of a young Elvis Presley ahead of the rock ’n’ roll musical Elvis: A Musical Revolution arriving in Adelaide in April.

While stage and television star Rob Mallett plays the adult Elvis in the touring show, the “Young Elvis” performs song and dance numbers and has several dialogue scenes.

The producers are inviting male-identifying performers aged nine to 15 “with strong acting and singing skills” to audition for the role on Saturday, February 17, with a full casting brief and application form available here.

Final tickets for the Adelaide season of Elvis: A Musical Revolution will be released on February 16, and the show will open at Her Majesty’s Theatre on April 3.

The word is…

Wordfest is a new writing festival beginning this month in the City of Onkaparinga that will encompass a year-round program of workshops, author talks and competitions.

An initiative of Onkaparinga Libraries, the festival is said to be aimed at writers of all ages, as well as readers and book lovers more generally. Among events on the program from February to April (see here) are a poetry writing workshop at the Aldinga Library, a “Writing, Romance & Wine” evening with SA author Amy T Matthews at Noarlunga Library, and a “Walk with Words” event at Port Noarlunga that will include a beach stroll while listening to audiobooks.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Moira Were, who is a keen poet herself, says she is excited about the impact the festival could have in building up the area’s writing community, including through the Mayor’s Poetry and Writing Competition later this year: “Who knows, maybe Wordfest could help unearth Australia’s next big bestseller or major literary award winner?”

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

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