Australian Book Review announces Robyn Archer as its new Laureate

Robyn Archer by Claudio RaschellaThe Australian Book Review (ABR) has announced Robyn Archer as its new Laureate. She joins David Malouf, who became the inaugural Laureate in 2014.

Robyn Archer – a performer and writer of many accomplishments, made her professional début in 1974 as Annie 1 in the Australian première of Brecht and Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins. She is an internationally renowned exponent of classic European cabaret. Audiences here and abroad have relished her inimitable voice, artistry, and superlative diction.

“Everyone at ABR admires this unique Australian artist,” said Peter Rose, Editor of ABR. “Her charismatic stage presence and inspiring commitment to artistic values make her a most fitting ABR Laureate.”

Archer’s influence on the broader culture has been enormous. Few Australian performers have made such a notable contribution. In addition to her writing and artistic work, she has directed numerous arts festivals, including Adelaide (1998 and 2000) and Melbourne (2002–05).

Deputy Chair of the Australia Council from 2012 to August 2016, she is a cease less advocate for the arts and a respected mentor to new generations of artists and artistic directors. Her many honours include an honorary doctorate from Flinders University; Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; and Officer of the Order of Australia.

“This is a wholly unexpected moment which acknowledges the breadth of field which the word “writing” covers,” said Archer. “It shows the intent of Australian Book Review to pay attention not only to our great novelists, poets and non-fiction writers, but also to playwrights, reviewers, librettists and songwriters in its unique coverage of the performing arts.”

“In that context, and as one who spends a lot of time trying to put words to their best possible use, I humbly accept the honour.”

In creating the ABR Laureateship, our purpose was twofold: to celebrate distinguished artists, and to advance the work and prospects of younger artists. Robyn Archer will nominate an ABR Laureate’s Fellow, who will work closely with the Editor on a substantial work for publication. The Fellow will receive $7,500, courtesy of the ABR Patrons.

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Robyn Archer – photo by Claudio Raschella