As many of you know, new Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has scrapped the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. In response, the private and charitable sector (as one would expect) has swung into action. Now, there are all sorts of arguments both for and against state-sponsored literary awards, some of which I canvassed in my post on this issue. However, there is everything to like about a private body using the law of trusts to achieve the same (or similar) aims.
The Queensland Literary Awards is the brainchild of Queensland writers Matthew Condon and Krissy Kneen. I don’t know Krissy, unfortunately, but I do know Matt and would vouch for anything that he organises. He is also a very good (and funny) writer and a decent character — you have my word that he won’t run off to the Cayman Islands with any money you donate!
The body is trying to ensure the awards go ahead this year, which means they have a lot on their plate.
Judging from their website and what I’ve heard on the grapevine, they have no trust deed, no money (or if they do, it is probably under someone’s mattress somewhere) and no formal sponsorship support. This can all be fixed by Queenslanders who care about literature and who are willing to put their money (and some time) into the pot.
As far as I can see, they will need a solicitor willing to act pro bono in the area of trusts law to constitute an appropriate charitable vehicle, and a strategy or marketing consultant willing to act pro bono to help them raise funds and generate publicity. The solicitor will need to be a Queenslander (hell, I would do it myself if I were still there), but the marketer/fundraiser could be from anywhere in Australia.
I realise it may not be possible to raise the full $244,000 in such a short time, but it will certainly be possible to raise a good whack of it, and generate a great deal of excellent publicity (which produces book sales, and as I know from my own experience book sales generally pay better than literary awards do) into the bargain. At present most of the group’s information is on their Facebook page, which I suggest you ‘like’. If you have money or skills to donate, you will be able to contact Matt or Krissy via that page.
Now, have at it!