The Perth Writer’s Festival is always a good place to connect and network with other authors and illustrators. The hot topic at the Festival this year is the WA Government’s decision to cut back the Premier’s Book Awards from an annual to a bi-annual event. Shock, horror and stunned disbelief are the emotions that have ripped through the book creator’s community since the news of this short-sighted retrograde step was announced. following so closely on the heels of the decision to open up the competition to all comers, this is a kick in the teeth for hard working writers and illustrators who are already struggling to have their work noticed. Compared to the huge amounts of money spent on sporting facilities and events, the saving to be had by halving the number of Premier’s Awards is an absolute pittance.
West Australian authors and illustrators are world class. Given our small population we have always punched above our weight and have developed a reputation for producing top quality books which have been translated into all the major languages in the world. But it has always been a struggle. The Premier’s Book Awards are one small way in which the Government can, and in all conscience should, help.