to the first 05 issue of eNews and a very Happy New Year.
off the year in fabulous style by announcing the results of
the 2005 IP Picks Awards. In addition to the Awards for Fiction
Poetry, we profile the inaugural winner and commendeds in the new
category of Creative Non-Fiction. Our
special report has
all the details including, judge's comments, samples from the manuscripts
and profiles of
the successful authors.
The Picks Awards are growing bigger and better every year. At least
five of the shortlisted manuscripts will be published by IP with a
further two in negotiation. The successful authors hail
from Queensland, ACT, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia,
confirming IP’s growing profile as a national publisher. Shortlisted
entries include established, emerging and little known authors alike,
demonstrating that IP still puts literary merit and
commercial viability ahead of the author’s reputation. Our warmest
congratulations to the winners
a big thank you to all of the entrants.
In our extended Editorial column, David also has some views on the
troubles at the University of Queensland Press (UQP), which is in the
process of a major
restructure to stem the tide of a growing debt and write-offs of unsold stock.
Also in this issue, we follow-up David’s controversial editorial on
the role of Creative Writing Degrees. We are pleased our editorials
have finally sparked some heated debate among stakeholders in the publishing
industry. David’s feature on “vanity
publishing” should continue to stoke the fires.
In Out and About, we feature the successful launches
of Joel Deane’s Another in
Melbourne and Nora Krouk’s Skin
for Comfort in Sydney. Both
launches were well attended, highly successful events and the authors
should be congratulated for their hard work in support of these titles.
With independent publishing, the success of a title depends on an effective
partnership between the author and publisher. Without the resources
publishing, it can’t be otherwise, so we are delighted when our authors
take a hand in their own success and are more than happy to share the
credit with them!
We announce some important changes to the staff here
at IP. Former Fiction Editor Morag Kobez-Halvorson, having graduated
in glory from
QUT, leaves us to pursue a full-time career in publishing.
It was great
to work with Morag
and I will personally miss her contribution.
In recognition of our expanding creative non-fiction list, Lauren
Daniels joins us in the new position of Prose Editor
Anne Marshall join
Lisa and Anne. You can read all about them in our New Staff feature,
as well as on our updated Staff page.
Finally and most importantly are Your Deals. I say most importantly,
because the survival of a publisher depends on you, the readers, actually
buying the product. So, before you go, visit our orders page and bag
yourself a title or two.
Sara Moss, Editor, IP eNews
the Director's Desk
of us here were deeply shocked and saddened by the tsunami tragedy,
and we do want to pay tribute to the many people who are working
so hard to help the people in those countries rebuild their lives.
It does give us pause about the relative importance of what we
do in our lives, and how quickly it can be swept away by a whim
of Nature. Above all, it restores faith in our capacity to respond
to a tragedy of this scale by putting our humanity ahead of nationalistic
In the more mundane world of business, as you'll see in this issue’s
Out & About we had a very successful series of launches for Joel
Deane’s novel Another in Melbourne and Nora Krouk’s Skin
for Comfort in Sydney.
I was delighted by the interest shown in IP
Picks this year, with
double the number of entries from the previous year. I was particularly
gratified to see the increase in entries from Western Australian
authors, who scooped Highly Commended awards in the Fiction and Creative
Non-Fiction categories. Obviously, my trip out there in October to
launch Wendy Evans’ The
Diggings are Silent brought us to the attention
of a new group of authors. The judges had their work cut out for
them, especially in the Fiction category, where eleven entries made
the long list. We will be publishing the winners in all three categories,
and most of the Highly Commended and Commended entries, pending negotiations
with the authors.
For more on the Picks winners and commended entries, check out the
staff summaries of
the judges’ reports.
I was gratified to learn that the Australia
Council will be supporting
one of our upcoming titles, On Reflection, by Sydney author David
Musgrave. This is the third year in a row that IP has been
funded by OzCo, confirming us as a publisher of importance
in an ever more competitive environment.
We’re planning an exciting Autumn list this year, which will
feature A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion, by Sydney author Geoffrey
winner of the IP Picks 2005 Best Fiction Award, On Reflection by
Sydney poet David Musgrave and a Text
+ Audio CD by performance poet
Jenni Nixon, also of Sydney, based on
Lest you think we're planning to shift Treetop Studio
to Circular Quay,
also be publishing at least two Queenslanders: Barbara
account of the
Movement—an Ultra Right group who cheered for the fascists
in the 30s and 40s—will
be released by Glass House Books, and Liam
Howl Before You Bury Me is also scheduled to have its Audio
+ Text CD release from IP Digital.
Much more on our Autumn Season list in the next issue. Cheers!!
Dr David Reiter
Ahead for the Flagship?
Over the past fortnight, The Courier-Mail has
covered, in several articles, major problems at Queensland largest
literary publisher, the University of Queensland Press (UQP). It
seems that, after years of losses amounting to $3.5 million and
million in unsold stock, the UQP Board has had enough.
General Manager Greg Bain has announced a restructure that will
see at least three senior staff, including two genre editors, departing
with redundancy packages, and second-in-command Madonna Duffy having
to apply for the new position of Publisher. The senior staff positions
will be placed with a Manager, Operations/IT.
Some of the senior staff have not gone gently into that good night
and have expressed more than passive concern about how the proposed
restructure will redirect resources away from editorial
staff with decision making
responsibility to the business side of the company without affecting
UQP’s commitment to literary publishing. This is of course
not a new development in an industry where marketing
increasingly wield greater power than editorial ones.
All of us have an interest in a vital publishing industry in Queensland,
and we must be deeply concerned when our flagship publisher
finds itself in cyclonic waters. Especially given the strong support
UQP has enjoyed from the Queensland Government, which has invested
millions of taxpayers’ dollars in direct grants and indirect
funding to keep the operation afloat.
This prompted me to write a Letter to the Editor of The Courier-Mail from
IP’s perspective, which we’ve reprinted more or less
Rosemary Sorenson's article on the shake-up
at the University of Queensland Press was drawn to my attention
recently. While I certainly
continue to wish UQP well, it is clear that the company is in crisis,
its debt is growing, despite millions of dollars of direct and
indirect public funding. Yet General Manager Greg Bain seems determined
to stay the course on the path of literary publishing. Will UQP
survive by maintaining its current mix, with dwindling profits
from its former cash-cow (the bookstore) and by resorting to "desk
editors" and operations/IT solutions rather than senior editors
with proven commercial judgment? How much additional public funding
will UQP require to stay afloat? Will these injections be a matter
of public record or even debate? Will the Queensland Government
through its agency Arts Queensland also stay the course in the
face of the very real prospect of that publisher declining further
or even going down? It's high time the Government reviewed its
current one-publisher policy and moved to ensure that Queensland,
now the second most populous State in Australia, has the healthy
and diversified publishing industry it deserves.
I think that says it all — for the moment.
Editorial Draws Fire from QUT Lecturers
Debate still rages following last issue’s rather
There’s been a great deal of heated discussion on whether
the rising number of creative writers currently struggling to earn
a living in our country outstrips demand. The debate stemmed from
a lively discussion generated by writers’ group Queensland
Writing, with IP receiving several emails regarding the apparent
absurdity of issues the editorial raised.
In the editorial, which centered on the findings of the recent
OZCO report “Don't Give Up Your Day Job: An Economic Study
of professional artists in Australia”, Dr. Reiter suggests
that there are too many
writers for the publishing industry to support and he proposes,
albeit tongue somewhat firmly in satirical cheek, that the universities
should establish more stringent entry requirements, and have fewer
places for their creative writing courses, rather than continuing
to exploit the “cash cow” that the discipline has become.
A QUT creative writing lecturer, Nike
these criticisms to heart, with an impassioned reply. While
Burke extols the virtues of creative writing courses in helping
aspiring writers to gain writing experience, networking opportunities,
and a greatly improved prospect for future publication, she denies
wholeheartedly that there is any proof that the university system
is responsible for the increasing number of writers, or indeed
that there has even been such a proliferation.
She also took umbrage at the claim that universities were not preparing
their creative writing graduates for the stark reality of their
future job prospects. Burke states that universities, such as QUT,
are indeed preparing their
students to work in different, and more
commercial, fields of writing, as well as offering opportunities
for ‘real world’ experience in the workforce.
In response to Dr. Reiter’s comments that the majority of
writers earn minimal amounts from their writing, and are often
forced to rely on minimum wage day jobs that often leave them languishing
below the poverty line, Burke states that ‘the
title of the OZCO report does not, to me, indicate a foreshadowing
of a downturn in writer's earning capacity, rather it reinforces
what is more probably a long tradition of a largely impoverished
class of artists…’ She adds further that writers,
being artists, might well value art for its own sake, rather than
seeking economic remuneration.
The ever-diplomatic Craig Boland, also from QUT, agreed with some
of Burke’s arguments,
replying with the thought that perhaps income is not the best means
of ‘…gauging the value (or lack thereof) of a creative
writing degree…’ He, like Burke, argues that income
potential was not always the driving motivation behind the decision
to study creative writing or become a writer. Boland queries the
validity of the OZCO report in comparing emerging writers’ incomes
against their more established counterparts. He also suggests that
income is a not the most important means of judging a writer’s
success, pointing out that Scarecrow outsold My Life
as a Fake by four to one last year.
Burke and Boland have since qualified their concerns, inviting
Dr. Reiter to join the email list of the Queensland Writing group,
and discuss some of his ideas with them at a future date. It remains
unclear whether writing lecturers from other universities, or writers
aspiring and established alike, will be drawn into the debate.
the channels of communication will remain open
on this significant issue, and the universities will seriously
consider implementing more realistic descriptions of outcomes their
creative writing graduates are likely to attain upon
[Dr. Reiter’s reply has been circulated on Queensland Writing’s
email list, and is reprinted here in full]:
Thank you for your thoughtful response to my recent editorial
in IP eNews.
I could have sub-titled the editorial “A[nother] Modest Proposal” in hopes that the reader would recall Swift's satire on the recycling
of impoverished children, but I thought that would be giving too
But, like all satires, this one is not to be dismissed as wholly
tongue-in-cheek. While the proposal itself is mostly absurd, there
are certainly grounds for a “wake-up call” for institutions
involved in the writing “industry”, as we term it these
days. Research does indicate that more and more institutions are
taking on and graduating more and more writers. The fact that people
who identify themselves as writers earn on average less than $4,000
per annum should be of concern to professional bodies and training
The serious point behind the article is that universities, ever
more desperate for increasing their revenue and through-puts, are
certainly exploiting this growth "industry", but I really
wonder whether WRITERS are deriving much benefit from the pursuit
of academic qualifications. As is the case with most traditional
academic disciplines, the paper qualification ante is being upped
to the point where having an MA is a ho-hum.
Whether this is of
benefit to the cultural fabric of the larger community has yet
to be researched, nor do we have research on where those grads
end up, and whether they feel they are better off artistically,
vocationally or even just personally as a result.
While it is true that some universities like QUT do have vocationally
related offerings that creative writing students can plug into,
I am unaware of programs that systematically integrate vocational
studies, internships and the like, with theoretical and practical
studies of the craft. I suspect it is more often the case that
universities like QUT have vocational offerings that writers can
take as electives. And I know of few universities that have internship
and work experience study as an integral part of their program
by which students receive credits and are assessed. “Having
the opportunity” to gain work experience is not the same as
having it as an integral part of one's program.
Several years on from the establishment of the first creative writing
programs in Australia, it would be interesting to see where those
are now, and how many still have aspirations to be professional
writers, as opposed to those who write for other than professional
A good research paper could be written on the question of whether
grads who fail to make the grade where it really counts — by being
published — feel frustrated, cheated, or even worse, for having
invested time and money in improving their paper qualifications.
Another good paper could be written on the success rate of grads
with commercial publishers as opposed to those writers who educate
themselves through life experience or other channels, e.g. writers
groups or practical writing experience in other vocations.
Regarding your point about publishers culling their slush piles
on the basis of university qualification, it is true that publishers
pay more attention to letters from agents and reputable assessors,
but perhaps universities would do better by their graduates by
assisting them in forming a portfolio of assessments received as
a part of their course work that could substitute for letters from
agents and assessors. As Director of one significant independent
publisher, I can tell you that I would welcome such information
as an aid to filtering the increasing volume of unsolicited material
that we receive. I would consider it more credible than some assessor
reports I receive at present.
As to your argument about university programs being only one means
by which authors come together to discuss their craft and be mentored,
I would advise against pushing this point too hard. If universities
fail to develop integrated programs of study that lead to better
employment prospects for their graduates, more prospective students
may wonder whether enrolling is worth the increasing fees if completing
a graduate degree in creative writing leaves them over-qualified
to work below the poverty line.
All is Vanity? Not Quite!
I can feel another workshop topic coming on. Here’s
the key question: if a publisher asks an author to contribute
financially to the production of
his or her book, will the arrangement amount to vanity publishing?
Maybe, maybe not. Which is why the topic probably demands a workshop, to air
the nuances and scenarios.
Historically, there have been royalty contracts where the publisher
pays all the costs to see a book into print and onto the shelves.
And there have been “vanity” operations
where a publisher of dubious repute publishes a book for money – no questions
In the minds of many in the writing community, you are either a royalty or
a vanity author, and if you pay anything toward the costs of producing your
book you are in danger of entering the Vanity Zone. The assumption behind this
is that any reputable publisher, having found a work of merit, will want to
pay the lot, regardless of the commercial risk.
The reality for publishers these days is that more and more projects
get turned down for commercial reasons rather than aesthetic ones.
This is especially
true for first-time authors, work in genres where sales are generally poor – e.g.
poetry and short fiction – and experimental work that booksellers found
it hard to classify.
In a few cases, funding agencies like the Australia Council come to the party
and the equation, of anticipated costs on the one side and expected revenue
on the other, works. More often these days, authors may be asked to share the
risks by investing in the project. The publisher may then offer to share the
profits in some arrangement that recognises the amount the author has put in.
IP’s partnership arrangements are a good example of how we
work with authors to get work of merit into print. As Director,
I have always made it
clear that IP must run as a business, and that merit is not the only criterion
for deciding to make an offer to publish. The other criteria are:
• will there be a sizable audience for the work?
• is the author able and willing to participate in the promotional campaign?
• is the subject matter likely to attract media attention?
• is the book likely to attract grant support and do well in major competitions?
Of course, publishers have only past experience to go on in answering
these questions, and they sometimes get it wrong. But for those
of us whose aesthetic
side wants to publish when the marketing side is saying no, it's too risky,
there IS an alternative. Call it partnership or subsidy publishing – or
any other name as distant from “vanity” as you like – but
the bottom line is that the author will very likely be asked to assist.
The essential factor that sets partnership publishing apart from
vanity publishing is quality. Vanity publishers are out to make
money; the quicker the better.
If your back pocket is deep enough, they will publish you – no questions
asked, and no refunds offered. This is not to say that vanity products have
to look cheap. To the contrary, when the author provides a blank cheque, he
or she can have a book that looks as good as a one whose quality is more than
The publishers you want to deal with will ALWAYS be prepared to take a risk
on a book they feel deserves to be published. Independent publishers like IP
may not be able to afford to shoulder the entire risk, but at least this kind
of publisher is prepared to put money on the table to see it into print. In
this, they are no different from publishers who offer traditional royalty contracts.
The problem is that the vanity publisher's commitment to the book
usually ends when the last cheque is cashed. The author ends up
with boxes of books and
nowhere to sell them. So, another true test of whether you’re dealing
with a partnership publisher or a vanity one is to consider what your contract
says about marketing and promotion. If the silence is deafening, you have every
right to hear warning bells.
Even if the publisher says they will promote and sell on your behalf, actions
speak louder. Ask for details. Interrogate the fine print. How will they promote?
What kind of marketing campaign do they expect to mount? Will they organise
a book launch?
IP gets submissions from disappointed authors with a printed book
in hand, asking if we can help. More often than not, we can’t.
These are authors who have been lured into the dark side of the
self-publishing dream, who have
paid to have a good looking book produced, without going through the necessary
It isn’t as simple as saying that if you get a royalty contract
you can be assured of getting good editorial support. Even mainstream
been known to cut corners on risky titles. Nor if you self-publish are you
condemned to relying on yourself or a empathetic partner to refine your project
before it goes to print. There IS a middle ground. You can partnership publish
with a company that offers and DELIVERS editorial services and a strategy for
selling worthwhile books.
There’s nothing wrong with investing your hard-earned cash
to help make it happen. If you can find a publisher with integrity
who believes enough in
your project to share the risk with you then go for it. You may just come up
with a winner.
[In this issue, Sue Nelson interviews
Alan Ferguson, the musician from Western Australia who composed
haunting musical CD based on Wendy Evan’s The
Diggings Are Silent. While Alan is a man of few words, we guarantee
that you will be impressed by his music. The book and CD are available
as a package at a substantial discount on our Orders page.]
SN: When did you start playing and composing in general and
this particular CD?
AF: When I was 19. I started work on this CD in 1980-81.
SN: What are your musical and dramatic influences?
AF: The many bands I have
played with. Also Ron Simms, formerly with the ABC, and the producer
of The Diggings CD.
SN: How many styles of music have you played in?
AF: Skiffle, R and R
.R and B. Celtic (mainly) Australian Bush Music. Country. General Folk.
SN: What are your other professional activities and interests?
AF: I manage
a pharmaceutical company in Western Australia and South Australia.
And I run beef cattle on my property in Chittering W.A. Now I’m
writing a book.
SN: How have other areas of your life spilled into your songs?
AF: Life’s experiences and my eagle eye for observation plus my
sensitivity to people.
SN: Can you give an example of that? Or an amusing anecdote?
AF: Yes, I constantly travel
the North-West Highway as we live 60 kms. out of Perth. One day I
happened to say to my wife that I felt I should
write a song about my travelling. So I did and named it “The
West Coast Highwayman” (the
name of the truck) trucking North-West Steers from the Fitzroy River
in the Noth-West to Fremantle. And for an anecdote, playing music
in Singapore I discovered the strict laws of chewing gum, and here
are some lyrics I wrote about that...
Well, Singapore’s a lonely place when
they throw you into jail.
For smuggling packs of chewing gum no bugger will go your bail
Ten strokes of The Rattan on your bum will make you think I’m
I’m a chewing gum smuggler from Western Oz.
I’m a true
blue chewing gum chewer.
Humpty Dumpty was a fine egg who had a terrible fall.
That shit called Jack Horner flew out of his corner and pushed him
off the wall.
Well, all the King’s men were at it again and drinking in the
If they had been chewing instead of Drambu-ing .
They could have patched him up with gum!
SN: How did you meet author Wendy Evans?
AF: When I was Entertainment Manager
at The Newman Club, in North-West W.A.
SN: How did you come to be collaborating on this project with her?
AF: Wendy asked me my opinion of her script, I was so impressed that I suggested
I put music to the poems.
SN: What is the main impression you want to leave
the listener with this CD?
AF: A sense of
and sensitivity to life, which comes and goes all too quickly.
SN: How do you draw inspiration for your music?
life’s experiences and challenges.
SN: What do you consider to be the strengths of your CD?
AF: Poetic incisiveness. And I hope that Wendy’s
words blended with the tenderness of the music enhance each other.
SN: What are your plans for the future?
AF: Re- establish my band in the New Year, continue working on my book. And
visit Scotland where I have been invited to play music.
In his most ambitious digital
project to date, Dr David Reiter has been working with a team of
in 3D animation, video and audio to produce the first phase of the My
David describes it as a “fictive memoir”, intended
to capture the shifting realities he experienced after being reunited
as an adult with his biological families from whom he was separated
The metaphor of the planets came from the relative notions of reality
a space traveller would experience gazing out on a night sky from each
of the planets in our solar system.
The work blends myth and astronomical details associated with the planets
with the reconstructed life stories of David’s adoptive and biological
families and more universal themes associated with adoption, abuse
and redefinition of identity. Music, which is always central to David’s
multimedia, is important here, with Holst’s symphonic poem The
Planets providing a backdrop for several locales.
Under David’s creative direction, the team at Brisbane’s
Arterial Group have produced a proof-of-concept, featuring interactive
content from three of the planets, which goes well beyond a teaser
agencies. The DVD-ROM contains extensive video and audio footage, including
text written by David.
Phase 1 of the project was generously supported by a major grant from
Arts Queensland, who will be approached along with the Australian Film
and the Australia Council for funding
to advance the project. The Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada has
expressed an interest in a joint venture to see the project into production.
In the meantime, if you are interested in exploring the themes or the
cutting edge practice of My Planets, you can order a copy of the DVD
very reasonable price of AU$16.50 (GST-inclusive), including postage.
It will work on computers with a recent copy of Quicktime. All proceeds
will go back into the project.
Together with his other multimedia works, the My
Planets project shows
the exciting possibilities for creative collaboration between writers
and artists working in other media. David has been offering workshops
on this subject across Australia and overseas and would be happy to
offer others as the Project progresses. Contact him directly to discuss
< title>IP eNews </title>
the highlights of our Spring Season 04 activities, with the launch
of Joel Deane’s novel Another in
Melbourne, followed by the launch of Skin
for Comfort by Nora Krouk in Melbourne.]
The Aura Lounge on Bourke Street is just a stone’s
throw from Victoria’s Parliament House, which made it a
convenient venue for the launch of Joel Deane’s IP Picks
2004 winning novel Another. For starters, we
had Rob Hulls, Attorney-General, Joel’s previous boss,
before Joel was appointed Chief Speechwriter for Premier Steve
Bracks, who launched the book more as a roasting of Joel — but
he certainly knew his audience and what would work. Other politicians
joined in the fray, including John Thwaites, Minister for the
Environment, but Joel held his own in his Right of Reply by relating
a few gems of his own.
Unfortunately, the Premier wasn’t able to attend, but we forgave him,
especially after he placed a large order so that he could give each member
of his staff a copy of Another for Christmas.
Mr Bracks actually had some ground to make up anyway. We had planned to launch
Another in October, along with Cate Kennedy’s Joyflight and the events
were already confirmed when the Premier informed Joel that he would be travelling
to China and Hong Kong and wanted his Chief Speechwriter close at hand. Far
be it from us to derail the business of State!
Mid-November saw David back in Sydney
to participate in the New South Wales Writers Centre Publishers’ Book
Fair and for the launch of Nora’s book.
The Book Fair continues to be a popular event, with lots of people coming through
the turnstiles to hear industry experts talk about publishing and getting published.
In the trade area, much of the space was taken up by self-publishers, which
is evidence of how many authors are taking this route to get into print. Several
people came by to ask how IP could assist their own self-publication, and doubtlessly
they had several independent publishers to shop amongst.
Joel Deane and I had a special event at the Centre to launch Another and
my novel Liars
and Lovers, following on from a reading at Ariel Books at Paddington earlier
in the week.
Nora’s launch was scheduled as the final event of the weekend, and over
100 people crammed into the sizable room, while others spilled out into the
halls or even gazed through the windows from the verandah. Irina Dunn, a loyal
supporter of IP for many years, remarked that the launch was the “best” the
Centre had ever hosted in her years as the Centre’s Director.
Poet Peter Boyle gave an impassioned introduction to Nora and her work, describing
gather[ing] a great stretch of the twentieth
century with its horrors, its wars, its violence, its lies.
and comparing her work to the great
Russian poet Anna Akhmatova:
Krouk like Akhmatova belongs to that deeply
serious, deeply humane tradition of poetry. It is also a tradition
that clings to the multiplicity of what we are, however difficult
it is to register that in poetry or in any writing.
We are grateful to jewishwriting.com
for providing us with the complete text of Peter’s speech,
which you can read on the site we devote to Skin
Of course, we also have to mention the
very witty launch speech by Sam Lipski, AM. Sam, who flew in especially
for the launch from Melbourne, is President of the State Library
of Victoria and CEO of the Pratt Foundation, well-known for its generous
support for the arts.
Sam confessed to not knowing who Nora was when he was initially approached
to launch her book. But then he read the book, from cover to cover, and just
as candidly remarked how impressed he was by the power of Nora’s writing.
Here’s a report from Merle Thornton
on her activities over the past few months, not all directly in support
of her book, After
Moonlight, but we'll take the exposure wherever we can!
is the centennary of Women’s Vote in Queensland. I’m
a little involved since the year of the centennary is being variously
marked by the Queensland Office for Women, including the publication
of a book profiling 20 women — I’m the only one still
Which is part of the reason for a radio interview by Fiona Thorpe for the ABC
breakfast session to be laid down tomorrow and broadcast shortly. It will give
some attention to After Moonlight since I’ve pointed out I am
after all still alive. I expect to be invited up for the release of that book
Pre-Christmas I worked hard at the Australian and International Feminisms Conference
which was in the end located at the Sydney University Women’s Union,
a good venue, well attended & successful Conference. I presented a paper “Feminism,
Consciousness and the Novel”, chaired another session and was a panellist
at the final Quo Vadis session. And renewed contact with a lot of friends and
talked to the friendly people from the Feminist Bookshop who stock After
Merle has since confirmed that she will be up in Brisbane for the book launch
on 8 March, and we were also delighted to help arrange another event for her
on 2 March, during International Women’s Week, tentatively to be held
at the Regatta Hotel. The event will be sponsored by Ernst & Young and
Westpac Bank and will feature a signing of her book in the Thornton Room.
More and more publishers
these days are refusing to even consider unsolicited manuscripts.
It costs money to review material, and these publishers prefer
to allocate their resources to authors they already know.
Recently, the University of Queensland Press (UQP) announced that they
halting [their] policy of accepting unsolicited manuscripts” and
requiring prose authors to submit via agents.
Given the current financial problems at UQP, don’t hold your breath
for the new policy to change.
Since our inception, IP has been open to unsolicited manuscripts,
but we too have to deploy our scarce resources as effectively
as we can. Rather than close
down the “slushpile”, or require authors to get an agent, IP will
now charge a reading fee of $165 (GST-inclusive) for the review of complete manuscripts.
This means you can still send us a query (see our guidelines for
further information what we require for this) for free, but if we invite
you to send a complete manuscript
the sample, you will be asked to include the reading fee with that submission.
If we then offer to publish you, your investment will have been repaid. If
we ultimately turn your project down, we’ll tell you why. Effectively, this
will amount to a short assessment of the work’s strengths and weaknesses,
so even then you will get something for your investment.
We’ve resisted imposing a reading fee for as long as we could,
but at least this will allow IP to continue accepting unsolicited manuscripts. And
it may slow the ever-increasing tide of unsolicited manuscripts that
we are receiving.
For those authors who cannot afford to pay this reading fee, another option
is for you to enter our annual IP Picks competition for unpublished fiction,
non-fiction and poetry. There is a modest entry fee, but you get a free IP
title of your choice. The competition closes 30 November each year, the winners
guaranteed full royalty publication and many of the commended entries are offered
publication, too. The downside is that only the winners and commended get feedback
on their entries.
Farewell Morag and Sue, Welcome
Lauren, Lisa and Anne!
As IP’s title list grows, so does the need for a talented and dedicated
mix of staff. So we’re pleased to announce the recent appointment of
Lauren Daniels, Lisa Reynolds and Anne Marshall.
Morag Kobez-Halvorson leaves us to
further pursue her career in publishing. Morag contributed a great
deal to the company in her two years here, particularly as Fiction
Editor in her second year. She will be missed but we wish her the
very best for the future. Sue Nelson also
leaves the company to return to her career in natural medicine;
we also thank Sue for her contribution.
I asked our new staff to tell us a little about themselves.
Lauren Elise Daniels, Prose Editor
Lauren joined IP in December ‘04. She also works as an independent
manuscript assessor, a freelance writer and a teacher of both creative and
corporate writing for the University of Queensland, TAFE and Stafford Adult
A veteran of the publishing industry, she spent seven of her formative years
working as Executive Assistant to the President of Ziff-Davis Publishing (USA)
after receiving her BA in Writing in ’92. In ’99 she completed
her thesis, Crossing Sakonnet, a thematic collection of memoirs, and
attained her Masters in Creative Writing at Emerson College in Boston.
Lauren’s published portfolio includes essays, poetry, reviews, fiction
and creative non-fiction for newspapers, magazines, digital media, literary
journals and commercial sources, with various samples appearing on her website.
She brings her editing skills and publishing experience in a supportive effort
to ensure IP authors attain the success that they deserve.
Lisa Reynolds, Assistant Editor
Lisa is a student at QUT University, and is about to start her final year of
a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Interdisciplinary). She has undertaken study
across several disciplines, with majors in Communication Design and Sound Studies,
and a minor in Creative Writing.
commenced work with IP as part of a Workplace Learning subject,
which sees students intern with an organization to gain ‘real
world’ experience in the competitive workplace. Lisa hopes
to gain valued industry skills whilst working for IP, and looks
forward to assisting in the many projects IP has in the works.
Lisa has developed skills in web design, graphic design, creative writing and
editing through her university studies. She hopes to build on these skills,
and gain many new ones in the field of publishing. Lisa has many interests
including writing creative non-fiction, singing and song writing as a member
of the band The Undesirables, designing web pages, drawing and graphic design,
as well as riding her horses Rupert [no relation to Murdoch] and Amhaal.
Anne Marshall, Assistant Editor
Anne Marshall is in the final year of an Arts degree at the University
of Queensland, majoring in Writing and Literary Studies. She plans to continue
her studies with a Master’s Degree in Editing and Publishing. She is
a member of the Queensland Writers’ Centre and last year was a volunteer
assistant to the volunteer coordinator at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival.
She judged last year’s Write Small competition.
Anne is interested in working with IP so she can learn about all the different
parts of the publishing industry, rather than just a specific area. She is
particularly keen to gain experience in IP’s digital publishing program,
especially the multimedia titles that IP produces.
We’re pleased to announce
below the winners and commended entries from this year’s
Picks competition. Our staff present the views of the judging panel:
Daniel; LR=Lisa Reynolds; DR=David Reiter; SM=Sara Moss.
The IP Picks Award for Fiction attracted
a diverse field of high quality entries. As Prose Editor, I thank
all the entrants to this year’s
awards and wish them well in the future.
Winner: Geoffrey Gates (Marsfield,
NSW) for his novel, A Ticket for Perpetual
is a sparkling example of tight-as-a-drum travel writing supported
by a fabulous premise.
What is a Perpetual Locomotion Ticket? “It is a ticket offering
unlimited access to all forms of transport, in all parts of the globe.
But the holders of the ticket must undertake to travel in a forward
direction only. This is the ultimate meaning of the perpetual journey.”
And that’s where things get interesting, and tricky, for the
cast of characters.
“Imagine unlimited access to all forms of transport, in every
last part of the earth! Picture yourself in the country with an Arabian
or standing in the desert sands with a camel signed over to you in
a moment’s notice! If you landed in the South Pole, a team of
explorer’s dogs would be obliged to break their journey and transport
you across the icy wastelands. All of this is outlined in a hundred
languages in the traveller’s manual, with a pictorial explanation
if all else fails. The book is rimmed with gold and as heavy as a family
Gates complex work is driven by the whirling subplots which all stream
together neatly for a climatic twist. When an author unleashes an imaginative
concept into reality trans-global adventures conspire, relatives are
thrown into tizzies, best friends turn detective, guarded secrets are
blown wide open, and lovers’ trails unfurl. This extraordinary
read dazzles the adventure-minded and armchair travellers alike.
The concept is very original; an innovative idea that has been well
thought out, with well-paced plot to maintain the reader’s interest.
The novel has a fabulous array of characters, who are quirky, well-rounded
and likeable. The setting and scenarios are cohesive and well-written.
The dialogue is realistic and natural. The use of an all seeing narrator
outside the action of the story, serves to hold the different perspectives
and characters together.There is a also a good balance between the
different character’s stories. The author regularly switches
between the central characters which keeps the plot ticking along at
a good pace.
About Geoffrey Gates
Sydney-based Geoffrey Gates returned to live in Australia at the end
of 2003 after spending nine years overseas.
Between 1994 and 2003,
he worked as an English teacher, first in an inner-city London school
and later at the International School of Hamburg. Whilst overseas he
travelled widely in Europe, the Middle East and Mexico, and experienced
something of the life of the journeyman described in his writing.
2003, Geoffrey’s short stories have appeared in Verandah,
Dotlit, Gangway, UQ Vanguard and Skive. Apart from fiction writing, he is interested
in music and has performed in pubs in various rock bands. He is currently
enrolled in a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Macquarie University
and is a teacher in a Sydney high school. A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion
is his first novel.
Highly Commended: Andrew Lansdown (Dianella,
WA) for his collection The
Dispossessed and Other Stories
Andrew Lansdown’s short fiction explores universal
struggles against the system, each other and ourselves. Satirical at
Dispossessed delves into
confrontational subject matter with a seamless potency, delivering
poetic justice and cheek to cloudy issues, relationships and bureaucracy
that sooner or later, touch many of our lives.
This collection investigates a myriad of themes including the awkwardness
of cross-cultural and social interaction; the skewed lens through which
individuals and family members perceive one another. There’s
an interior monologue navigating the psychic transformation induced
a firearm. With settings ranging from wartime to a women’s prison
to feral pig territory coupled with solid, memorable characters of
true depth and desire, these stories reach out to a wide audience with
the grace, wit and wisdom of an introspective storyteller.
“We’d only been at sea a few days
when I noticed this young woman on the games deck, playing quoits.
Talk about graceful! By heaven,
she moved lovely! Throwing, walking, bending. Fluid as mercury. Curved
like mercury, too. She set my mercury rising right enough!
By the time I found out she was German, it was too late. I was schmitten.
So after all the shells they fired, they finally got me with a skirt.
Cunning lot. Mind you, it’s been sweet, falling into enemy hands.”
These stories give a poignant portrait of past and present Australian
life. The first two stories in particular, on the theme of race relations,
are touching and thought provoking. A number of stories dealing with
the hardships of Australian life in period settings, are in my view,
among the best of the collection.
About Andrew Lansdown
Andrew Lansdown is the author of twelve books of poetry and fiction.
His poetry and short stories have been published in over 70 magazines
and newspapers, and are represented in over 60 anthologies. They
have also been read on ABC and BBC radio, and translated into several
Andrew’s fantasy novel, With My Knife (Omnibus Books)
was shortlisted in 1994 for both the National Children’s Book Award
and the Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Award. With
My Knife has been reprinted three times in Australia, and has been
by Scholastic in the United States (where it has sold over 38,000
copies) under the title Beyond the Open Door.
Dragonfox, a sequel, was published by Scholastic
(Sydney) in 1997. It, too, was shortlisted for the Western Australian
Readers’s Book Award.
Andrew’s sixth poetry collection, Between Glances (William
Heinemann Australia, 1993), won the prestigious
John Bray National Poetry Award in 1994. His most recent book is Fontanelle (Five
Islands) is a collection of poetry.
Commended: Jen Webb (Bruce,
ACT) for her novel, Ways of Getting By
Webb’s poetic novel records the deepest inner tickings of
a social worker as she reflects honestly on her counselling work
alongside the day
to day events of her own life. This lyrical novel paints the portraits
of a series of intricate characters immersed in the twists and turns
of a literary plot. Coloured with poetic language and occasional
splashes of masterfully delivered magic realism, the novel is supported
confident narrator who allows the audience to enter into her intimate
world, and to feel what she feels. A work that stays with readers
for quite some time, Ways of Getting By is an exceptional example
“I will stretch out on the beach and listen to its breath, pulsing to
the rhythm of my heartbeat. I will remove my blouse and bra, and
my body, encased in glass, will touch the heartbeat of the sea and we
will fibrillate together, quivering gently back and forth. Then I’ll
reach a fingernail to my throat, slide its polished point under the
skin, and carefully peel back the glass flesh, folding it away from
the bones, and there, among the shining organs, will be the huge
circle of my self, good and evil embraced, turning rhythmically,
me in a fragile balance as I pause there on the edge of the earth,
at the edge of the sea.”
Commended: Michael O’ Sullivan (Yass,
NSW) for Secret Writing
A physical journey mirroring the passage towards self-knowledge and
redemption, this compassionate work explores the raw power of art and
music to elicit healing and celebrates the fabric of the Australian
identity, spanning the spiritual and material landscapes cradling her
When an unexpected bond develops from a chance meeting between an
elderly woman and young man, a new beginning dawns upon the woman’s life.
She embarks on an arduous journey, awakening her from the life-long
slumber holding her captive. Inspired by Namatjira’s paintings
and shadowed by playful apparitions, she embarks on a quest to reclaim
what was lost.
“Pearl scanned the horizon. Purple mountains. They were normal here.
Everything else was red, even the trunk of the ghost gum to their
left. Sunburnt down one flank like a pale Briton who fell asleep on an Australian
beach. Beyond the tree, the ground gradually fell away into an old
riverbed, sweeping around the left and out of sight. A hill rose
of the bend, once a proud precipice but now decrepit, tired of standing
there all those millennia…. Pearl took an immediate liking
to the area. An anonymous place where everything is possible. She
herself on the edge of the ancient tower. The view went on into the
past, disdainful of the here and now. Looking down she gasped, rigid
with shock. A crowd passed nonchalantly over the landscape, hunters
with their spears, women and children with baskets, dogs nipping
at one another’s heels. No doubt existed in Pearl’s mind – this
was the place where Luis disappeared. She heard voices singing on
The themes of altered perceptions of reality, finding one’s
true identity and somewhere to belong, really resonate. The use of
characters from such different backgrounds, culturally and experientially,
encountering an outback that is alien to both of them, is very effective.
About Michael O’Sullivan
Michael O’Sullivan lives with his wife and three children in
a small town in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. During his working
life he’s held several occupations, including fencing contractor,
carpenter and builder, university tutor, librarian and archivist.
Finding himself unemployed six years ago, he decided to seriously
work at prose
fiction, Since then he has written three novels and lots of short
stories. Now and then he ventures into poetry.
Encouraged by the success of our previous Non-Fiction titles such
as Inge and Perfect
People, we decided to create a new annual
award in this category. Our creative non-fiction titles are published
under our Glass House Books imprint, and so the titles arising
out of Picks 05 will certainly be in good company.
Congratulations to the inaugural winner, Tilly Brasch, and to all
the short-listed entrants.
Winner:No Middle Name by Tilly
Brasch of West Chermside, Queensland.
In this sensitive depiction of the tragic events leading up to the
suicide of her son, Riley, Brasch shows a family under pressures
most of us can hardly imagine. However, in highlighting systemic
problems in our health and mental health systems, Brasch’s
story will resonate with anyone who has been victimized for being
let down by the institutions mandated to protect them. But No
Middle Name goes beyond blame-shifting to reflect on the mistakes
made by the parents involved and to consider the degree to which
such tragedies could be avoided with more timely and personalized
attention. Aside from the lessons it has for the general reader,
this book should be required reading for bureaucrats and politicians
who have responsibilities in the health and social welfare sectors.
Initially, I was not allowed to hold Riley
and could only look at him through a glass window, a tragic foreshadowing
which were repeated later in Riley’s life. Still, I had no
difficulty identifying my baby from all the other little ones. At
a quick glance, they all looked the same: tiny, frail, swathed in
bunny-rugs with just their little heads peeking through, but one
looked like a wizened little chimpanzee with Prince Charles ears.
This one was mine. He was endearing. And even though we were separated
by glass, my nose filled with the smell of his baby-soft skin.
About Tilly Brasch
her mothering was done, Tilly Brasch returned to the workforce as
an administrator at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.
Encouraged by the learning environment in which she worked, Tilly
took up study and completed her Senior Certificate in her forties.
Thirteen years later, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree
from the University of Queensland, majoring in English and History.
Since she retired in 2003, writing has become her passion. Tilly’s
first tentative step into the literary world was an unpublished children’s
book, Madison’s Story, telling of the struggle for survival
of an extremely premature baby. This was followed by No Middle
Name (originally titled Through the Glass Window:
the life of Riley).
Highly Commended:Taking Back Time by Karen
Throssell of Warrandyte,
Using her personal story as a premise as well as a case study, Throssell
navigates through a war-zone of feminist theory and practice to show
how difficult it is for women to “have it all”: profession,
intimate relationships and family. Torn between the expectations
she puts on herself, her desires and the practical demands of everyday
life, Throssell finds that the best solution for her is redefining
her priorities and achieving a balance by ‘down-shifting’ into
part-time community-based work.
What an irony, I thought. After 17 years as
a full-time working mum, I am suddenly in the other camp – the
cheer squad at sports carnivals, the baker of cakes for the Saturday
stalls and the selfless
chauffeur rescuing the neglected children of working parents.
I took myself back twenty years. How I resented those at home mothers,
dependent women ‘kept’ by their husbands-who had all day to do what
I had to squash into evenings after the baby finally went down and I finally
collapsed. I’d see them in the mornings still in their dressing gowns,
stumbling outside to collect the paper as I rushed to drop Katie at crèche
before I leapt on the tram for work. I imagined them having a long leisurely
read over a cup of coffee, while I rushed around attending meetings, missing
deadlines, generally being somewhere I didn’t want to be. But I was productive,
stimulated (sometimes) independent, and bringing home the bacon.
About Karen Throssell
Karen Throssell is a Melbourne writer. Her background in the trade
union movement, women’s studies and the community sector has
inspired her non-fiction writing for about 20 years, her subjects
ranging from the finance sector, the fast food industry, the inequities
of the taxation system, and as illustrated in this book — women’s
employment issues and home/work balance. Her book on Australian foreign
policy, The Pursuit of Happiness, was
published by Hyland House in 1988.
She started writing poetry about ten years ago and has been published
in Artstreams, Overland and The Warrandyte Diary.
She has two collections of poetry published by Gininnderra Press,
Her first collection was The
Old Kingand other poems (2003), and her second was
Remembering how to cry (2004).
She lives in the bush on the outskirts of Melbourne with her daughter.
When she isn’t writing she is Manager of the local (Warrandyte)
Commended:With Duty Nobly Done by Enid
of Palmyra, Western Australia
Russell celebrates the lives of two young solders through letters
they wrote back to Australia while fighting in the African
campaign in World War II and then while they were POWs in Italy then
Germany. Russell counterpoints the close-up achieved through the
letters with the wide-angle views of war that she so concisely provides.
This is not so much a tale of heroism under fire but the integrity
of ordinary soldiers doing the best they can, with a sense of fatalism
and more than a dose of good humour.
I s’pose you've seen our other letters,
so I won’t repeat all the palaver about our camp life, how
I became Private
WX6270 etc. We
had our second inoculation this afternoon so we’ve had the
afternoon off. You know, we’ve had a pretty fair time up to
date, but they’ve
issued us with a rifle and bayonets and harness (cartridge belts,
haversacks, etc) and they’re letting us know we are in the
Army now. They take us for the loveliest walks, 4 or 5 miles every
we take it easy for a couple hours with a bit of solid drilling,
oh my! it’s a great life this Army, it’s pension day
Thursday, you can’t call it pay-day.
About Enid Russell
Born and educated in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, since 1994 Enid
Russell has been an English teacher and worked in office administration
at private colleges
becoming Electorate Officer to the then
also served as
a Community Liaison Advisory Officer for the Attorney General and
as Electorate and Research Officer for a
senior Government Minister.
She’s now currently employed as
Administrative Assistant to the Leader of the Opposition in Western
Enid is a long time Associate member of the 2/28th Battalion and 24th
Anti Tank Company Association and is Assistant
Editor of their quarterly magazine. She received a presentation
the Rockingham (WA) Branch of the RSL for promoting and in recognition
of Lieutenant Alfred Gaby
VC (her great-uncle).
Enid is married (for the second time!!), and has two grown children
and three grandchildren.
The IP Picks Award for Poetry again attracted an outstanding field
of submissions. As IP’s Poetry Editor,
I thank all the entrants and wish them well in the future.
Winner:Subterranean Radio Songs by Joel Deane
In this collection, Joel Deane combines his storytelling skills
with a natural instinct for the rhythms, rhymes and finely tuned lines
of poetry. An earlier version of this manuscript was commended in the
competition last year.
This year, he wins the major prize in a very
strong field. His work owes a lot to
the tradition of the Beats and spoken word generally. The poetry is
natural, fluid and accessible but there is emotional complexity, and
a beating heart.
My father speaks
a foreign language –
same old questions
about the car.
When I was home
he never hit me
he never held me
(he never knew).
We just drove round
what we said.
My father is a model
one owner only
straight, simple lines
doors that Clunk
when they close.
This collection is more than a mere travelogue of the southern and
northern hemispheres, the poems speak directly to the restless
human spirit and hunger for experience. It made me long to grab
a backpack and hit the road.
Seven feet south of where it should be,
the sedan’s far nose strays into another lane.
And, once again, I am where I should be.
Driving the I-80.
Finding my way, carefully,
in a hired car. Fumbling with the radio
because the tape-deck won’t play.
Nothing is where it should be—
Traffic coming on from my left, not my right,
People turning, never stopping, at red lights,
Glove-boxes holding .38s instead of flashlights.
And I am thinking: So this is America.
Land of opportunity.
Pizza crusts stuffed with Pepperoni.
I pay a dollar to ride the Bay Bridge into San Francisco,
conjuring images of a younger, thinner Michael Douglas
— steely eyed—
standing beside Karl Malden.
And eternal car-chases, up
these whiplash streets.
A dollar does not afford a view,
just a peek of the Golden Gate’s towers
buried beneath a glacier of fog.
I check the mirror.
I check the speedo.
Try to indicate, but on flick the wipers.
Change lanes anyway.
Turn up the radio.
I am waiting for a song.
Something heavy, yet melodic.
A number from my internal soundtrack
— Down By the River, Cortez the Killer
or Cowgirl in the Sand—
As I slow, then steady;
take the tunnel
into Treasure Island.
About Joel Deane
Joel Deane was born in Melbourne in 1969. He spent his childhood
in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley before starting work as a copyboy
with the Sun News-Pictorial at 17. Since then, he has worked in Australia
and the United States as a newspaper reporter, editor, TV and Internet
producer, press secretary and speechwriter. He is currently speechwriter
for the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks.
Joel published his first
poem in 1990 when he came in third in the Henry Kendall Memorial
Poetry Prize. Since then, his poetry has featured in The Age,
Antipodes, Australian Book Review, Cordite, Famous Reporter, Imago,
Overland, Quadrant, Salt-lick, Spindrift, Studio, Stylus, Synaptic
Graffiti, Ulitarra, Vehicle, The Weekend Australian and Zadok
Joel has also performed at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival,
Melbourne’s La Mama Poetica, Intersection for the Arts in San
Francisco and the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco. Joel’s
first novel, Another, won the 2004 IP Picks Award for Fiction and
was published last October. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and
Highly Commended:A Shrine To Lata Mangeshkar by Kerry
These poems thoroughly engage the senses with all the sights, sounds, smells
and tastes of India. The western traveller in Asia is a familiar theme, but
it is tackled here with fresh insight and a welcome sensitivity. The spiritual
awakening (probably more accurately described as expansion) of the speaker
is genuine and believable. The rich detail in these poems is surprisingly counterbalanced
with their economy.
Night piece, Himachel Pradesh
All night, riverboom; water
roars out of ice, the high snow
where renunciate males
All night, on these terraced hills,
drums, torches’ flicker.
Indians are praying, singing
God into a village.
Next door a Canadian Sanskrit scholar
tries to sleep
in the lotus position;
his wife cries on my friend.
Downstairs, American collectivists
fight with their children.
This afternoon, they regarded us gravely:
two vain constructions, all angles & words.
Our Indian neighbour
is weaving a blanket to sell.
His wife suckles their youngest.
The stack of rushes she cut today
sped on her back
in a harness,
down hundreds of sure-footed metres –
a cliffside path –
The stack was twice her height,
three times her girth;
dried, it will go into quilts
against the cold.
Now summer candle wax pools
on a plank’s raw sun tracks.
No moon, but a remote
star-cluster is the Pleiades –
‘a swarm of fireflies
tangled in a silver braid’,
He’s far away.
Closer, in the forest, by the river,
late 20th century fireflies
swarm, & spin the darkness
like a raksha’s eyes.
Rough spirits guard this valley
where town lights,
networked close along the river,
form a yoni –
map a Goddess part
on Shiva’s inky carbon –
water roars, illusions burn.
About Kerry Leves
Kerry Leves’ poem “White veilers” was short-listed for the
2004 Broadway (NSW) Poetry Prize, and his poem “Abstract & personal” won
the 2000 Bauhinia (Central Queensland University) Poetry Prize.
Kerry is also
a journalist and a critic; he has reviewed poetry for Overland literary
journal since 1998 and has published poetry reviews also in the Australian
Book Review, Five Bells and Southerly. His poetry collections
are Green (SeaCruise,
1978); Territorial (AnT Studios, 1997) and the chapbook Water
roars, illusions burn (Vagabond, 2002). In 1985 Kerry was the only living
poet represented in Angus & Robertson's anthology of poems collected to
accompany Ida Rentoul Outhwaite’s paintings and drawings, The Little World
of Elves & Fairies.
Kerry has published poetry in a number of Australian journals, most recently
Meanjin (Spring 2004).
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