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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)


New Zealand writers will be interested in the fact that the Australian Federal Government has decided to grant Commonwealth writers up to £6,500 a year. I have received advance details of the proposed scheme which will shortly come into force in a small way. The estimated financial costs are as follow.

Subsidies (to writers).—If ten books are subsidised at an average subsidy of, say, £125, £1,250; readers’ fees on books written, £100.

Publication (to publishers).—Seven subsidised books at £100, £700; advance royalties to authors, £200; two reprinted classics, say, £200; one book of poetry and plays, £50; one historical or economic work, £200.

Endowment for dramatic productions.—£200.

Administrative expenses.—Secretarial expenses, expenses to members of council, office and unforeseen expenses, £250.

Pensions.—Two pensions first class, £400; thirty pensions second class, £2,340.

The next step is the appointment of the proposed literary Council. The Fellowship of Australian Writers considers that certain qualifications are essential: (1) The Council should consist of creative writers, and they suggest Miss Flora Eldershaw and Mr. Frank Dalby Davidson, M.B.E., of Sydney, and Messrs. Vance Palmer and Frank Wilmot, of Melbourne. These writers are suggested because they have the necessary literary and other qualifications, Le., literary standing, administrative ability, and the responsibility of status in the community. The Fellowship is also of opinion that the secretary of the council should be a creative writer with constructive and administrative ability.

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“The Greatest Drama Ever Staged”—“The official creed of Christianity,” has been written by Dorothy L. Sayers, who is known to most people only as a writer of detective fiction. In this little book she engages in some new detective work. In short, she tells the story of the drama of Christ and what it means to mankind.

One of several artistic book plates designed by P. Watts Rule.

One of several artistic book plates designed by P. Watts Rule.

At the conclusion of the year several of our large colleges produce annuals recording the year's work and play, and containing also literary efforts of the pupils. It is pleasing to note the high quality of these publications.

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For one reason, perhaps the only reason, it is fortunate that “Art in New Zealand” is not a wealthy concern, for with money to spend the temptation might be to bulk out each issue; to give quantity instead of quality. With its limited resources the quarterly is forced to limit its illustrations and its letterpress, with the result that those artists and writers who find space in the magazine have to touch a fine standard. Even so, the quarterly found space in its last issue to feature the exhibition of children's art at the National Gallery. Supported by a critical and most helpful survey by Roland Hipkins, there are published several plates of children's work. Other articles, a story and two poems, complete the issue.

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