from the editor's desk

Response to the News of UWA Publishing Closure

On Thursday the 7th of November, we heard the news that UWA Publishing will be shut down, a decision which threatens the future of Western Australian publishing. Below is the copy of a media release (November 8, 2019) offering our response to this situation.

A petition calling for this decision to be reversed can be found here: . We urge you to sign, and to show your support for UWA Publishing in any way possible. We have also published an Open Letter in Support of UWAP. Read it here.

We at Westerly are shocked and dismayed by the announcement of the closure of UWA Publishing (UWAP). UWAP is a vital part of the Western Australian publishing sector and the literary life of Australia more broadly. Losing the press would come at great cost to Australian literature.

UWAP has made enormous contribution to the culture of Australian writing in its 85-year history. It has a rich heritage and an essential back-catalogue. As Publisher, Professor Terri-ann White has supported writers who articulate the many varied experiences of life, culture, and forms of writing. We have long applauded her work, and admire the vigour and integrity with which she has always supported Australian literature. 

Under Terri-ann, UWAP has displayed immense courage in its editorial direction, publishing a new generation of poets, Miles Franklin Award winners, and scholars from Western Australia and further afield. They have published a diverse and inclusive list, championing voices who might otherwise go unrecognised. As one example in many, we have long been in awe of UWAP’s commitment to supporting Indigenous cultures, shown in its partnership with the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project, and the promotion of many talented writers including amongst others Lisa Bellear and Kankawa Nagarra Olive Knight.

This legacy should not be compromised. The closure of UWA Publishing would represent the elimination of an important outlet for Western Australian and Australian writers. The short-sightedness of this decision is highly concerning. The University is effectively risking the futures of its own students in compromising the viability of Western Australia’s writing and publishing sector. 

We are deeply disappointed in the University’s decision, and we call on the University to reconsider its position on this matter. 

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  1. Nicole McKimmie says:

    As a former student and Western Australian I am appalled by this decision.

  2. As a writer and academic, I too am profoundly disturbed at the decision to close UWAP, particularly as – under Terri-ann White – it has become a nationally and internationally regarded publishing institution, is financially viable and has been responsible for underscoring the careers of many fine, diverse Western Australian writers. If the University of Western Australia is serious about ‘impact’ – which I know is the buzzword of the moment – it must take seriously the overwhelmingly compelling IMPACT that UWAP has had on the artistic and cultural landscape of this state, this country and our world. As creative artists, we simply cannot allow yet another cultural icon to become a victim of economic rationalism and the insidious abandonment of the Humanities by the tertiary sector.

  3. Graeme Bond says:

    We at Birdsong Press protest at the bloody-mindedness of the bean-counters bringing down the axe over UWA Press.
    A nation will never be any greater than its storytellers. We need more vision, not less.

  4. […] were dismayed to learn about the proposal to close UWA Publishing (UWAP). We remain committed to supporting UWAP, and as […]

  5. […] This year has, in many ways, been a difficult one for literature and the arts. Devastating news about the loss of Sydney University’s Chair of Australian Literature, the axing of the Federal Arts Department and, closer to home, the proposal to overhaul UWA Publishing’s (UWAP) offerings, have all been serious blows. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at UWAP, and we recognise the huge value of the work they publish every year. (See our formal response to the UWAP proposal here.) […]

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