No Book For You: UQ Press rejects Newman's literary hopes

Former Premier Campbell Newman
Former Premier Campbell Newman David Nielsen

IT APPEARS that what goes around, comes around.

One of the first acts as Queensland Premier by the newly-elected Campbell Newman was to scrap the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards.

Now the former state leader is facing a scrapping of his own by the literary community with University of Queensland Press rejecting any option to publish Mr Newman's book.

At the time, the awards were dumped to save $244,475.   It was described by the new government to show it was tough on spending and took the state's financial situation seriously.

Later in 2013, the then-Premier threatened to cut funding to UQP before reversing the decision.

The book is expected to be released later this year, penned by former MP and journalist Gavin King.

Mr King told Fairfax Radio on Thursday that UQP were among a group of publishers he spoke to about potentially publishing the book.

"They emailed me saying look thanks but because you cut the funding to the literary awards, we are not interested, it would be a betrayal," Mr King told Brisbane's 4BC.

Mr King said the publisher's decision showed political bias.

"If it's a crap book, read it first then reject it," he said.

UQP chief Greg Bain said he agreed with the publisher's decision, partly because he expected no "sustained interest" in the tell-all tome.

"Whilst we did not see sustained interest in such a book with a likely publication date one year out; far more importantly we stand by our colleagues in the writing and reading community who have supported us and were enraged and insulted by the axing of the Literary Awards," he told News Limited.

Former Labor Premier Peter Beattie even weighed in on the discussion, telling 4BC that when writing a book, Mr Newman ought to "tell the truth, don't be boring and don't be vindictive".

Topics:  campbell newman editors picks

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