Archive for February, 2020

February 18th, 2020


I wanted to take this opportunity to express how grateful and honoured I feel for my novel K. the Interpreter to be selected alongside my fellow short-listees for the 2020 Dorothy Hewett Award. I salute Terri-ann White and the UWAP, and the Copyright Agency, for making the award possible, and the three judges for taking the long time to engage all the entered works, and offer heartfelt congratulations to Angela, Caitlin, Robin, Kylie, and Karen, for the fruition of their literary labour. Let us never work in vain!

Unfortunately, I can’t be in Perth tonight on the 21st, as I haven’t travelled by air since 2011, and can’t afford to get to Perth, from Sydney, by train. Without wanting to hijack proceedings, I do want to briefly explain my absence. At the latter end of what has proved an unprecedented bushfire season in this country, it seems to me loud and clear that Australia, as elsewhere, is now faced with the fundamental challenge of securing existential security into the future.

Achieving that will and already does require the willingness to forego consumer convenience, to boycott existing fossil-fuel industries, and to make these substantial changes in one’s daily experience: to drive less, or not at all, and cease inessential air-travel which remains one of the major forms of CO2 emissions globally, and is growing worse. A very steep reduction of current emissions levels is now absolutely determinative: failing to achieve this will mean a collective failure to address the problem. Business as usual is over. We are moving into a radically new post-carbon age, or we are signing up for our own demise. Critical times call for critical measures—and they have to start now. Leaving it for tomorrow will be too late.

My thanks again to Terri-ann and the UWAP, the three judges, and my warmest congratulations to the winner of the 2020 Dorothy Hewett Award.

Thank you.

Martin Kovan

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