When the Australian Book Review advertised a “gender fellowship” last year, the news was greeted positively in the local literary scene. The gender fellowship had $7500 funding attached. Winners were promised the opportunity to write a long-form essay on the topic of “gender in contemporary Australian creative writing in all its forms". But after advertising for award and taking submissions, ABR announced this week that it would not give out the award.
Gender bias in Australian literature is nothing new. Like many other sections of society, Australian letters remains stubbornly male-dominated. According to the Stella Count of reviews of Australian books, conducted in 2015, the majority of reviews in 12 of 13 journals were by men.