Dennis Haskell, English and Cultural Studies Professor, is the new Chair of the Australia Council Literature Board.
As such, he is in a powerful position to influence the direction of Australian literature.
"The Australia Council is the Australian Government's principal arts funding body and the Literature Board supports the Australian literature sector. So our funding decisions will affect how literature in Australia develops. Will we back a certain magazine or writers' centre; will we push electronic publishing; will we market Australian writers overseas and put money into translation?"
Professor Haskell said the Board met several times a year to decide on funding for writers, publishers, writers' centres, writers' festivals and promotion of books and reading.
An Australian literature specialist, Winthrop Professor Haskell was the poetry critic for the ABC Radio National's Books and Writing program for three years and was awarded the Western Australian Premier's Award for Poetry in 2007 for his collection All the Time in the World.
His research interests include poetry from the Medieval period to the present, creative writing, south-east Asian writing in English, literary modernism and post-colonial literature.
Professor Haskell, whose work has appeared in more than 17 books and dozens of journals, will replace Dr Imre Salusinszky as Chair for a three year term.
The Director of UWA's Cultural Precinct, Professor Ted Snell, is Chair of the Australia Council's Visual Arts Board.
"It's wonderful having two Council chairs at UWA," Professor Haskell said.