Nationalising the Author: The Celebrity of Peter Carey
The successful writer within Australia is, at least from time to time, as much a product of the promotional world of celebrity as of the review pages or of academic journals. In April 1988, Elle magazine, for instance, gave more space to an interview with Peter Carey (promoting Oscar and Lucinda) than did the Australian Book Review; the content was similar in both publications, foregrounding personal vision--the author as national voice--over problems of form or fictionality (Davidson 2-4, Ahearne 14-15). Publicity and promotion is part of the author's profession and the maintenance of commercial viability is at least as important as the establishment of a position in the canon. Consequently, successful authors will not only make regular appearances at universities or writers' festivals; they may also find themselves addressing the audience of Ray Martin's Midday Show.
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Published 1 October 1993 in Volume 16 No. 2. Subjects: Australian culture, Australian literary criticism, Australian literature - Marketing & promotion, Defining an Australian literature, Narrative structure, Writer's recognition & popularity, Peter Carey.