What’s the worth of a writer?
In a world that calculates the price of everything, what is the value of literary creation? Of thoughts set to words?
Well, by what must amount to popular consensus, not much. On average, an Australian writer can expect to earn around $13,000 a year; as good an indicator as any that writing is a thing best done more for fulfillment rather than profit. It’s no way to make a living.
As Frank Moorhouse details in the Autumn edition of Meanjin, writing is an underfunded labour caught somewhere between compulsion and love. A thing of tremendous value, albeit one that attracts scandalously scant return.
Says Moorhouse: ‘After 50 years of writing I am going broke again.’
Frank has also complied a survey of selected winners of the Vogel Award … historically an indicator of a writer’s long-term promise.
How many Vogel winners went on with a writing career? What became of that early talent … and the conviction to write.
Read the survey responses:
- Tim Winton
- Kate Grenville
- Nigel Krauth
- Brian Castro
- Andrew O’Connor
- Julienne van Loon
- Nicholas Angel
- Ruth Balint
- Danielle Wood
- Christine Piper
- Murray Middleton
- Katherine Brabon
Meanjin: It’s Australian for fine writing