Tasmanian Writers Centre may have to close because of lack of funding

Vogel Literary Award winner Rohan Wilson.
Vogel Literary Award winner Rohan Wilson.

Award-winning Tasmanian author Rohan Wilson says it is vital that the Tasmanian Writers Centre remains open.

The Tasmanian Writers Centre faces closure if it cannot secure funding to keep going for the rest of the year.

“It is the heartbeat of the Tasmanian writing community,” Mr Wilson said.

“It has been instrumental in helping many new writers.

“Unlike other artists we don’t have galleries to go to or concerts to perform at, so the centre is the place to listen to writers speak and to teachers.

“The centre does so much with so little.”

Professor Jeff Malpas of UTAS, who took over as the centre’s board chair last year, said a public fundraising campaign would be launched soon to try to raise $50,000 to help pay for the centre’s running costs.

“We need to renew, rebuild and reinvigorate and we are doing that but it is crunch time.

“It would be a huge loss if we have to close because literature and literacy is so important to the Tasmanian community.

“We have three part-time staff but we can’t appoint a full-time director because we don’t have funding.

“We have a vibrant director who we want to appoint but we can’t because we don’t know if we will have to close.”

The centre usually receives about $120,000 a year from Arts Tasmania but has only been able to receive a small interim funding allocation.

“We run a writers’ festival every second year but we can’t start planning for next year if we don’t know if we will have a centre to run it,” Professor Malpas said.

“I believe the Hobart City Council is considering nominating Hobart as a UNESCO global book capital and it will be ironic if that happens and we don’t have a writers centre here.”