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From the Director’s Desk

Editorial: Filtered Coffee Anyone?

Focus: David Reiter, Bill Collopy, Andrew Leggett

Spring Season 06 Preview

Staff Changes

Writing a Killer Covering Letter


IP.Digital Buzz

Out & About

In Review

IP Picks 07 Preview

Google Rates Brisbane #1

Your Deal

Vol 8, No. 3— ISSN 1442-0023

Anne_MWelcome to eNews 31! This month we welcome two new members to the IP Team – Mary Trabucco and Erica Sontheimer. Read all about them below in Staff News.

David has a gritty review of Arts Queenslands latest attempt to review themselves in his Editorial, and some vital tips for aspiring authors on writing winning covering letter to publishers.

It’s been a very busy time for IP lately. Our authors have been participating in many different events as outlined in Out and About, including our successful Autumn 06 launches. Others have been receiving some wonderful reviews from various media outlets in Australia. You can read all about those in our In Review section.

Once again, IP has been chosen by the Australia Council to receive a grant to publish two works, and we’ve also had our first digital export sales with CD Baby. Read more about it in the Digital Buzz. We’ve also got interviews with three new authors, plus a fantastic deal on ordering short stories.

Curious to know when IP Picks 07 will be open for entries? Check out the sneak preview!

Part of the big news for IP is that Google has identified Brisbane as being the poetry capital of Australia, and Australia as the poetry capital of the world! For a publisher that started out as primarily poetry and continues to pave the way in that arena (we’re publishing six new poetry titles this year), this is great news!

So make good use of this cold winter weather – curl up with a warm drink and a great Australian book or three from IP!


Anne Marshall
Newsletter Editor

From the Director's Desk

DR_roofWith six new titles on the go, there’s no time to think about chilly nights in Brisbane!

While other publishers turn their collective backs on poetry, IP has demonstrated our dedication to the form by scheduling four new poetry titles for our Spring Season ’06, which brings us to six titles this year. Who said poetry is dead?

The best news of all is that our Brisbane subscribers will have a chance to meet all six of our new authors at not one but TWO events in early December, including our first ever soireé, which we expect to become an enduring tradition.

Our Spring Season 06 tour will be our most extensive yet, with events being planned in four States and both Territories. Hope to see you there!

I’m pleased to report that the Australia Council has awarded us grants in support of two of our new poetry titles: Andrew Leggett’s second book, Dark Husk of Beauty, and Libby Hart’s Fresh News from the Arctic. That’s the fifth year running that we’ve been successful with our Presentations Grant proposal. Unfortunately we didn’t get a grant in the export category, where I’d been hopeful since IP was one of a few publishers to be accepted into OzCo’s export mentorship scheme. I was disappointed to see that of the paltry $134,000 awarded for Market Development grants, over $25,000, or nearly 20%, went to needy publishers like HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan, Penguin, Random House and Scholastic! OzCo insists that the program is not intended to support publishers over an extended period, so why the hand-outs to multinational publishers who always go to the major book fairs anyway?

There’s lots of good news on the digital front, with CD Baby poised to upload our content to the iTunes stores and elsewhere, and progress getting the Hemingway in Spain DVD formatted for distribution in North America.

Farewell to Matthew Wilmett who returns to his university work after spending many dedicated hours working on our Terania Creek: Rainforest Wars title, and welcome to two new Assistant Editors, Erica Sontheimer and Mary Trabucco, who bring an excellent mix of experience to their new roles at IP.

Hope you enjoy the issue.


Dr David Reiter


Filtered Coffee, Anyone?

Another year, another review: that seems to be the way of life at Arts Queensland (AQ). Senior managers have been swept away, for the most part, and the new hands on deck feel an urge to consult — always a dangerous word — with the industry, better known to the rest of us as the artists.

One thing about artists: often short of a living wage, they convert hope into useful calories—until they find what they’re chewing on has little nutritional value. Still, getting the impression that someone who matters is listening is very important to them, so there were more than a few eager faces around the table at the latest navel-gazing exercise sponsored by Arts Queensland.

AQ must have expected that the consensus would be that they are doing more wrong than right. They’d brought a strategic planner to deflect any flack away from senior management, and, by the end of the two hours, the butcher paper was overflowing with issues and lists of things that need to be done sooner rather than later.

There’s the rub. Once the forum is no more than a faint memory of filtered coffee and chocolate muffins, will anything have changed? More than a few of the guests, including me, had their suspicions. I waxed on about IP’s efforts, especially in the area of digital publishing, but did any of that make it into the minutes? Nope.

What did appear was a point that Queensland might need an alternative to the University of Queensland Press (UQP) for aspiring authors, especially after their CEO made it clear that UQP could not be all things for all people, even if they brandish a Queensland passport. Surprise, surprise.

The other minuted points regarding the state of the publishing industry were very weak tea, indeed. I heard a strong push for AQ support of a Queensland portal to host podcasts, RSS feeds, newsletters and blogs, but these suggestions were relegated to the fine print. And we know how often senior bureaucrats get past the major conclusions and recommendations.

Another main point that I heard raised again and again was the inadequate funding AQ receives. Individual artists still vie with organisations for project funding, and the grants that artists get often bear no relation to the amount of work they put into their projects. It’s not unusual for an artist to have to make do with $10,000 or less to write a novel or a collection of poems. If it takes a year or more to write a publishable book, do the math and see how AQ encourages even its best artists to remain below the poverty line.

The bureaucrats can’t win on this point. If they cut back on the number of grants so they can increase the few they give out to more realistic levels they face criticism for not providing enough grants. So they silently encourage artists to ask for too little, knowing that they risk losing all if they ask for too much. It’s a despicable use of market forces.

A recent independent report bemoaned the absence of entrepreneurs in Queensland. AQ isn’t in the business of supporting entrepreneurs, despite opinion at the forum that strongly argued that they should. Apparently, AQ sees this as the mandate of Queensland Department of State Development, which does provide grants, on a dollar for dollar basis to worthy small businesses. That’s great—if you have $20,000 to invest on your business to get $20,000 in grants. All cashed-up arts organisations please hold up your hand now. State Development is waiting to hear from you, but apparently AQ isn’t.

As a result of Forum ’06, am I expecting a Brand New Day any time soon at AQ? No, but I have laid down my $22 to attend an Attracting Investments Workshop sponsored by State Development. I hear that morning tea and lunch will be great…


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[In this issue, we take a look at three of our authors, David Reiter, Bill Collopy and Andrew Leggett, intervewed by Anne Marshall (AM), Erica Sontheimer (ES) and Mary Trabucco (MT), respectively]

David Reiter is an award-winning writer and poet. His fourth book Hemingway in Spain, which is the source book for this DVD, was shortlisted in the 1998 Adelaide Festival Awards. Hemingway in Spain is his first DVD project, but a natural progression from his earlier digital works: The Gallery, Sharpened Knife and Paul and Vincent.

What made you decide to create a multimedia format of your poetry collection, Hemingway in Spain?

DR: During my first research trip to Spain, I shot extensive video footage and stills of locales and people along the way. Since much of my work is based on my travels, I use these resources as a kind of visual diary. Back home, I used this visual imagery as the starting point for the poems I wrote for the Hemingway volume. On my second trip to Spain I shot more footage from northern Spain and Catalonia that I wanted to use somehow, but since the book had already been published I had a problem. Should I write a Hemingway Redux or find another way to put these new resources to work? A new multimedia work seemed the ideal solution: I could incorporate the visuals with spoken word readings, and the elements could bounce off each other to create something larger than a revised text edition.HIS-DVD

AM: How did you decide what filmic aspects should be used to illustrate your poetry?

DR: I had to mediate between the text and visual resources. First, I earmarked the key texts that I wanted to put in and then looked for visual elements that would work with them. The film runs for 125 minutes, which required a lot of visual footage to complement the performed text. In some cases certain visuals recur in different contexts. In many other cases I obtained stills from sites like Wikipedia to work in with a particular theme. Once the elements had been placed in the storyboard and the timing established, I then added special effects like animation and cinematic filters. I was new to Apple’s Motion software, which can add dynamic features to stills and video, and I found the process of exploring and experimenting with the possibilities to be a creative process in itself.

AM: What made you decide to use stills as well as animation in the DVD?

DR: Perhaps I shouldn’t confess this, but I wouldn’t have had enough visuals with the DV footage alone to match the spoken word elements! And I had literally hundreds of stills from my trips to Spain just begging to be used. Stills are of course an accepted feature in documentary work, and often we view a slide show on screen while listening to a narrative about a person or an event, and these shows are smoothly interspersed with video footage. Stills also give the filmmaker the chance of focussing the viewer’s attention on a specific idea. Since Hemingway has a strong documentary component, it seemed appropriate for me to go in that direction here.

AM: Hemingway is one of several of your works that you have adapted from text to multimedia. Do you see text as the starting point for all of these projects, or would you consider creating a multimedia work from scratch?

DR: Perhaps I’m just a latent filmmaker! Seriously, though, I have always been interested in projects in which art forms cross over and interrelate. My Master’s thesis was on Literary Counterpoint in William Faulkner’s The Wild Palms, in which the author claimed to have applied musical counterpoint to the structure and plotting of the novel. I had to extend Faulkner’s flawed notion of counterpoint to his experiment in the novel, which actually worked quite well. I also wrote a research paper comparing how Mannerism affected music, poetry as well as the visual arts in the late Renaissance. Riveting stuff, eh?
DR Alcazar
So I guess I’ve always been interested in different forms of artistic expression and surprised that so few artists collaborate across art forms. Until recently. With the rise of digital platforms and user-friendly software, it’s now possible for text-based artists to try their hand at visual or musical expression, and vice-versa.

To answer the second part of your question, I have started a multimedia work from scratch: the My Planets project. I describe this as a fictive memoir that incorporates astronomy, myth and documentary with the subject of adoption and redefinition of identity. Again, documentary is the primary mode here, but it’s spiced up with fictional stuff to help “fill in the gaps” in those areas of personal history that elude factual examination because people you interview have different recollections of what actually happened.

AM: Although Hemingway in Spain is set in the time of the Spanish War, a lot of the images, particularly with regard to the still images, are from the present day. What made you decide to use current images rather than looking for images that are from the time you’re writing about?

DR: Well, I actually did both. There’s a considerable amount of doco material from the time of the Spanish Civil War, in which Hemingway served as a non-combatant. But I also use the work to time-shift back and forth to earlier and later zones to find material relevant to the themes being explored. It’s something of a post-modern enterprise, testing the notions of ‘absolute’ reality that history seems to be about, but also a device to draw our attention to correspondences that exist between then and now—or the various realities that exist within a single time zone.

The fun of it is that, in such a conditional world, Hemingway can just as easily meet a Moses Maimonides or a Clint Eastwood as a Franco. In the world of universal truths time-shifting is the best pathway to follow.

AM: You’ve written many other poems, short stories and novels. How and why did you choose Hemingway in Spain as the basis for your multimedia project?

DR: There’s been a lot written about Hemingway over the years, much of it negative press. He’s not exactly a darling of the feminists, and the qualities he supposedly stood for seem rather dated in an age where everything must be run under the nose of that update of the Inquisition: the Politically Correct Police. I believe Hemingway tried to live the myth and eventually fell victim to it. Try as he did to emulate others’ notions of the Hemingway Hero, the man behind the prose was far more complex than that.

I try to show that here. My Hemingway—or should I say my Hemingways—are troubled by contemporary life but are not content to live as a writer in solitude. He engages. He reflects. He scrutinises himself and realises his shortcomings. There’s a lesson in his struggle for us all. Several, in fact. That’s why I created the work: to redress the imbalance and continue the dialogue he started.

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Born and educated in Melbourne, where he lives with his wife and children, Bill Collopy has won many literary prizes and seen some two dozen of his stories published in Australia and overseas, including various short fiction anthologies, on-line magazines and print periodicals, such as Dublin Quarterly, Going Down Swinging, LinQ, Eclectica and Verandah. The House of Given is his first novel and it was the winner of IP Picks 2006 Award for Fiction.

ES: In your first novel, House of Given, the protagonist suffers from an unknown condition causing him seizures, and an ability to see other people’s memories and future events. How did you get into the mind of this character?

BC: I conceived the main character after undertaking research into the phenomenon of near-death experiences and the pathology of symptoms which survivors of such trauma claim to experience: altered perceptions and belief in paranormal ability. However, stepping into the shoes of my main character meant more than assembling a composite of case studies. Genealogical and familial influences played a significant role in his formation, especially the propensity for mysticism in both his Celtic and Romany cultural traditions, with portents, second sight and pagan superstitions. Also, the character is strongly drawn to the natural world. His sense of ‘bush soul’ and ancestor presence are reminiscent of traditions associated with indigenous Australia, so he belongs to the land in a way that his transplanted relatives do not.

ES: Throughout the novel, we find lyrics from songs and ballads, lines of poetry, allusions to mythical stories, and at times, excerpts from other books. What do these pieces contribute to your book?

BillCBC: The reader will find ‘song lines’ as a navigational undertone throughout, and this sense of song as map does manifest in lyrics, poetry, family lore, mathematical language, tongues other than English, cultural legends, war tales, myth and, above all, storytelling itself. The essence of my protagonist’s struggle with perception is his search to find a medium whereby he can incorporate the welter of influences about him. Only towards the novel’s denouement does he realize that the nexus he requires may lie within, and that he is the one who can bring cohesion to his tangle of narratives. His coming of age is, in many ways, a maturing ability to bring together the chaos into a unifying personal idiom where he, if no one else, can reconcile conflicting influences.

ES: A variety of immigrant experiences unfold in the House of Given. You have worked with immigrant and refugee communities; how has your professional experience influenced this novel?

BC: Although I have worked in a professional capacity for some years with refugees and migrants, it would be presumptuous of me to speak for victims of trauma and displacement, who number in the hundreds of thousands in this country, having arrived during successive diasporas. Yet I can’t pretend to remain unmoved by the stories I hear of horrifying ordeal and miraculous survival. In the modern era, Australia has provided many asylum opportunities for the global movement of refugees. These people flee not only war and persecution, but natural disaster and intolerable living conditions. They leave behind family, heritage, home, and a sense of national identity. It is to our shame that Australia has also operated as a jail for some, ever since the first Europeans settled.

ES: This story covers four generations of Australians, including World War II veterans, the counter-revolutionaries of the 60’s and 70’s, their Generation X and Y children, and newly-arrived, first-generation immigrants to Australia. How did you address each generation’s strengths and weaknesses as you formed the characters?

BC: Much as I dislike the fad for labelling generations, as if regional, cultural and ideological differences are uniform across an age range and subject to homogeneous influences, I do admit that groups with shared experiences help to form the national character. For example, even though Australia has been a migrant country since 1788, the increase in diversity during the 20th century has seen one characteristic common to every successive wave of migrants; namely a desire by the first generation to preserve traditions and cultural structures, and a desire by the second generation to integrate and often to assimilate with customs and manners of their adopted country.

In this novel, I draw on first-hand observation but I have also read extensively on the changing social mores and ideals in Australia since WW2. Across age groups, myriad variations exist in people’s values and expectations. These have been well documented elsewhere so I do not seek to generalise about class, socio-economic or generational attitudes. Rather I am interested in confounding reader expectations of type. People in an age range or cultural grouping may exemplify some ideology – Marxist, feminist, republican, conservative, Zionist, monetarist, pro-choice, pro-life etc. – and then suddenly surprise friends and family with an apparent reversal of opinion, as if recanting in response to one special issue. I try to incorporate examples of attitudinal diversity in members of the extended family in this novel to reflect each generation’s complexities, as individuals are multi-faceted, and far more than the sum of population surveys and mass movements.

ES: Finbar, the main character, eventually resolves his identity crisis, as he comes to accept a broader and more flexible definition of “family” by the end of the novel. Do you think Australians are faced with a similar predicament: do Australians today need to reformulate their individual and national sense of identity? What is the role of literature in forming this sense of identity?

BC: Though there must be Australians ready to reject theHGFCov notion that they face a predicament about national identity, I know many who feel torn by uncertainty as we move from a mainly Anglo-Celtic monoculture, with protected industries and a regulated economy, into the exposed glare of a new millennium, with its encroaching technology, sexual freedoms, panicky geo-politics, anxieties about fundamentalism, disease, famine, corporatised government services and a smorgasbord of faiths and customs. I wonder what connotations that grim insult ‘un-Australian’ might carry in such a global village.

As for whether or not literature can play a role in forming our national identity, we might well ask: what role does literature play now? Australians are reading in greater numbers than ever but are not turning to works of fiction or poetry. With a plethora of multimedia opportunities, from blogs and newsgroups to on-line journalism and TV spin-offs via fan fiction and web links, contemporary readers have more outlets than literature to divert and inform. Literary works are often regarded as something to be endured on the school syllabus and never again. In my novel, the main character is nineteen years old. He is no reader. Nor are his siblings, though their father is a poet and they were raised in a literary household. Yet each of them is computer literate. Is on-line writing the future for writing, and does this spell doom for literature as we have known it? I suspect that, if a role for literature does exist in helping Australians to form a sense of national identity; one answer may lie in the infusion of cultures from emerging communities. As ever, these arrivals struggle for acceptance. Schools continue the role of exerting influence on young people and attempting secondary influence on settler parents. I hope that these readers, at least, may learn to appreciate the power of literature as a voice for cultural expression, especially readers arriving from countries with a mainly oral tradition. I believe this constituency is yet to be fully explored by the Australian reading and writing community.

ES: The narrative uses a range of different techniques, including stream of consciousness - in the tradition of writers like Faulkner or Joyce - and even a transcript of a fictional email message. Do you think contemporary readers expect or demand more experimental methods of storytelling?

BC: I can’t speak for other readers, as we are not a single category of person and many of us have catholic tastes, with an appetite for various genres. I believe that most readers enjoy discovering a new writer, and what sets a work apart is usually a stylistic or imaginative freshness amounting to innovation, even originality. Yet it does not always equal experiment. Sometimes the freshness comes from revival of earlier forms: other times it is some new take on a classical theme. Experimentation is risky, and is never guaranteed to translate into sales, hence the importance of independent publishing houses in Australia, such as IP.

I have noted a trend of recent years where genres of popular writing – science fiction, crime, fantasy, thriller, horror – may successfully cross over into the literary mainstream. Though not always experimental, such hybrid works can infuse novelty into orthodox narrative. I have observed with interest the development of multimedia, with its power to expand our notions of storytelling, as it combines print, audio and visuals in new directions from the performing arts. Perhaps the advent of web publishing will have a revitalising effect on poetry and fiction, as the arrival of photography acted as a catalyst for experimentation in painting and the advent of cinema influenced new directions in theatre.

ES: Are you working on a new writing project now?

BC: Of course. I’ve began work on a second novel, also contemporary. It concerns another dysfunctional family, only this time in a closed religious community. The story deals with questions of meaning, faith, sexuality and art.

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[Andrew Leggett’s first poetry collection, Old Time Religion and Other Poems was released by IP in 1998, one of our first collections. Andrew has continued to write since then, and he’s very active in the Brisbane poetry scene as well as maintaining a busy psychiatric practise. His book was Commended in IP Picks 2006.]

AM: Do you think DHB is a departure from the styles/themes of your first poetry collection? If so, why have you moved in this new direction?

AL: Old Time Religion included poetry I’d written in my mid-teens. Likewise, Dark Husk of Beauty has developed gradually, with some of the poems arising out of fragments of much earlier work. So you could say that this collection has also been twenty years in the making, but most of it emerged while I was working on a Master’s dissertation in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland. The emphasis on interiority in the new work is greater than it was in OTR, as is the relational emphasis and that on appropriation and acknowledgement of my sources. Having reached mid-life, I’ve become aware that my husky cadaver is slowly decomposing, forcing my soul to a greater openness to the beauty that surrounds me. And my humour has become even darker than black.

AM: What similarities are there between the two collections?

AL: In Dark Husk of Beauty I continue my interest in a psychoanalytic stance. This involves adhering to a theme of interiority and relational appropriation, with emphasis on sex and death, love and mortality, creation and destruction, mourning and reparation, as well as a respect for the process of writing as analogous to dreaming. Both collections sit outside the dominant mode of Australian poetry – that of lyrical reflection on the natural world. In both, I use popular cultural representations from the visual arts and tend towards a cinematic use of imagery in my narration. While the rhythms of the language may be stronger and the forms may be more tightly conventional, even at their most playful, I continue to show my respect for poetry as a musical form with somatic power when used as incantation, whether to bless or curse, or simply to communicate affective intensity. Dark Husk of Beauty develops the life and afterlife of Chickenman, whose history began in OTR. Mythological references and settings are common in both books, as is the war in heaven between the old gods and the new.

AM: What do you go through when writing one of your poems?

AndrewLAL: This collection arose around a core of poems coming out the technique of meditative contemplation of an icon – a photograph or painting – to which I write associatively, then use stream-of-consciousness as a base for the poem. I first used this technique in my early twenties and it can be seen in a number of the poems in OTR including “Rollercoaster Goddess” and “Moana Pozzi Speaks”.

In Dark Husk of Beauty, “Blue Rose Case”, arose from a still shot of Sheryl Lee as the corpse of Laura Palmer from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. This dark husk of beauty reminded me of the eidetically fixed traumatic image of a dead child I attempted to resuscitate during my medical internship – she makes her appearance in “Blue Angel”, the lead poem of the new collection. The title poem came, as did a number of others, from a combination of a sublimely macabre found text – a sign outside the University of Queensland Information Centre advertising a service of thanksgiving for the donors, to be held at the Department of Anatomy – with a photographic image of Isabella Rossellini, from her book. This particular image, a black-and-white Peter Lindbergh photograph taken in New York in 1996, shows Isabella with her hair cut in a very severe bob, wearing a long black greatcoat and high leather boots, walking her little dog Macaroni down a Soho street, past a demolition site. She evoked in me the notion of a beautiful zombie on her way to an assignation. I saw her walking to meet me “at the temple of anatomy/to celebrate the donor/of the dark husk of beauty”.

Recently I became aware that Walter Benjamin makes a very similar use of Paul Klee’s painting Angelus Novus in his critical essay on the progress of history – the one that gave rise to his trademark concept of the Angel of History.

AM: There is a strong preoccupation with film in DHB – where does this spring from?

AL: This developed when I lived near the State Cinema at the DHBCovend of the 1980s – one of only two AFI cinemas in Australia. The State showed all the good foreign films that never made the more commercial cinema chains. My Sunday afternoons there awakened me to how much more there was in cinema beyond Hollywood, including the German language work of Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire and Far Away, So Close) and the Gothic magic realist work of Mexican director Alejandro Jodorowosky (Santa Sangré).

It wasn’t until I came back to Brisbane that I discovered the best of Hollywood in the cinematic work of David Lynch. I missed Twin Peaks when it first came to television, but then I discovered it on VHS at my local video store. I drove my wife nuts sitting up in bed in the early hours watching all 36 episodes. For me it was as though I had discovered some ancient religious text, the unravelling of which might provide all the ridiculous wisdom I needed to sustain me through life. I imagine this to have been the way Freud responded the first time he saw Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.

AM: Who were you imagining as the audience for this work?

AL: I write because I feel compelled to do so, often without an audience in mind. Rilke once warned an aspiring poet not to write other than that way, implying that there was very little else that could sustain the creative effort. When the work does find an audience, I’m very glad, but I don’t have a specific reader in mind as I write. This kind of authorial independence is something that I have fiercely defended in Dark Husk of Beauty. Just the same, I hope that it will be reprinted hundreds of times, translated into seventy different languages, replace the Bible as the book witnesses swear on in court, sell millions of copies and make me and my family fabulously wealthy. For this to happen, it will need to end up on the schools curriculum, the place that a kind writer in the New England Review had in mind for OTR. I do hope that Dark Husk of Beauty will appeal to older adolescents and young adults, and that an audience not restricted to poets and academics will read it

AM: Which poems do you like the best in DHB?

AL: I carry a fond attachments to poems in which Isabella Rossellini appears as a muse, especially “Hooks” and “Dark Husk of Beauty”, as well as to “Prophecy”, “Gift”, “Colonel Sanders in Purgatory” and my Rilke version “Far Away So Close”

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If the phone calls we’ve been getting over the past few weeks are any indication, quite a few of you are keen to know when IP Picks ’07 will be open for entries. The quick answer is 1 October.

We expect winners in four categories: Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Poetry and Best First Book. All winners are guaranteed royalty publication by one of IP’s imprints. Generally we offer publication to some of the Highly Commended and Commended entries, too. For example, in 2006, seven Picks authors accepted contracts with IP.

Winning or gaining a commended in IP Picks gives a boost to the authors concerned. Several Picks winners and commended have gone on to have their books endorsed by the Australia Council or to win other major awards. Sales figures for our Picks titles also average more than our other titles.

For further information on Picks ’07, including details on the past winners, check out the Picks page. The entry form is now available for download from that page.

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Welcome to Erica and Mary!

With a new publishing season virtually upon us, IP is pleased to welcome Erica Sontheimer and Mary Trabucco to the team.

EricaSErica joins IP with over ten years’ experience in creative and persuasive writing for a variety of markets and audiences. In San Francisco, she worked with a grant-writing and fundraising arts consultancy firm, and most recently with a not-for-profit media group (Talking Eyes Media), promoting two nation-wide campaigns to raise awareness about the plight of the elderly and the medically uninsured. She also volunteered for two years with the San Francisco Suicide Prevention hotline.

During the four years she lived in New York City, she masqueraded by day as a corporate recruiter while participating at night in writing workshops, classical guitar lessons, and yoga teacher training school.

She received a BA in Physics from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and spent a year studying French and Philosophy at the Sorbonne.

Here in Brisbane, she enjoys teaching yoga, and is honing her writing portfolio for applications to MFA programs in Creative Writing. She is excited to be working as an editor at IP and promoting new and established literary voices in Australia.

In 2005, Mary completed an Honours Degree in Literary Studies at the University of Queensland, where she worked as a poetry sub-editor for UQ Vanguard, and joined a poetry writers’ group that emerged out of her Poetics course. After graduating, she worked briefly as an admin assistant and telemarketer for Publishing Services Australia, which gave her valuable insight into the subscription and marketing side of publishing, and also began tutoring students on the mechanics of writing and structuring academic essays. She has also worked in the field of video editing for five years, three of which were spent as video editor and manager of Video Oz Productions. She’s had two films short listed for awards.

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As Assistant Editor at IP, Mary intends to draw on her MaryTexperience to help writers take their manuscripts to the highest possible level. She is particularly excited about working on a range of innovative projects for IP Digital, because of the possibility of publishing to an international audience, and the opportunity to draw on her audiovisual editing skills.

Mary hopes to work toward an MPhil in Literary Studies, to publish a novella, and to eventually become a book editor.

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Someone once said that a manuscript should be able to speak for itself on the editor’s desk. It should, but you have to ensure that the editor actually reads it.

There are two kinds of covering letter. The first, known as a query, actually gets there before the manuscript. Freelance journalists know all about the query. They get an idea, sketch it out with a few juicy lines, then email it off to a few editors to test the market.

The big advantage of a query is that it saves time. If no one is interested in the idea, there’s not much point in writing the full article. Wait, I hear you say, what if your query doesn’t capture the essence of what you plan to say? Then you’d better think some more about your idea and then write a better query.

For the creative writer, a query is your chance to not only present an idea to capture the editor’s attention but also show that you can bring off the project. This is not the time to waffle and brainstorm. You need to write with confidence and flair. You want to give the editor a reason to ask you to send the entire manuscript.

Needless to say, this is not a time for recycled paper and correction pens. Send it on clean paper, like a business letter, which it really is, because you’re trying to do business, aren’t you?

If you opt for email, paper stock and correction pens are not an issue, but style and voice are. It’s so much easier to trash an email than a letter, and you probably have up to 10 seconds not to be trashed along with the junk mail.

Think about what you want to say before you write it, then write it clearly and concisely then set it aside at least until after coffee break or better yet until the next day so you can refine it with a clear head.

How is a covering letter different from a query? In scope, for one thing. If the query captures the editor’s interest and gets your foot in the door, the covering letter gets you a filtered coffee and a nice biscuit. The covering letter identifies what’s in the submission package, i.e. a synopsis, sample chapters and perhaps your CV—if you have credentials to be proud of. It also shows the editor that you’ve been thinking about the market for your work. Perhaps you’ve browsed the bookshops for competing titles and want to point out how your book covers new ground, or the same ground in a better way (especially good when you’re selling non-fiction).

You need to come up with two or three good reasons why your book must be published to an audience that may not know they want it. Not an easy task, but at least the editor will know you have a clue about the business side of publishing and are trying to be helpful.

Tone is very important in a covering letter. If you’re not a name author, an editor will want to be persuaded that you can be worked with. It’s a delicate balance here: exuding confidence about your project without seeming set on this being its final incarnation. You want to project that you are open to criticism and revisions and are eager to work with the editor to produce the best possible book down the track.

Don’t forget those contact details. Everything the editor needs to get in contact with you should be in one place, in the header of your letter. Return address, including postal code, phone number, email address. Don’t have an email address yet? Get one. If you’re serious about getting published, you need an email account.

Common mistakes? You write the perfect covering letter, but address it to Dear Editor. Have a name, preferably the editor who will be reading your submission. Check out the publisher’s website or ring to get the name. Did the editor ask for a digital as well as a hard copy? If so, make sure you include both. Did you remember to include your self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE). It’s not mandatory these days—if you don’t want your manuscript back—but it makes it easier for the editor to respond to you.

And that’s the name of the game, isn’t it?

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[Snippets from full reviews that we’ve posted elsewhere (click through to read the full review)]

On The Dispossessed by Andrew Lansdown:

Lansdown has a fondness for West Australian landscape and history. Many stories are sprinkled with the names of little far-flung towns. In The New Chum he entertainingly evokes the migrant experience as an old-timer recalls the culture shock of his arrival in 1926. In the sweltering heat of Christmas the Englishman is still thinking of “snow and plum pudding”.

The voice, the mind, the writer behind these stories is filled with what amounts to a sense of robust compassion. There is enormous strength in the sensitivity and, above all, humility with which these tales are rendered

— Shane McAuley, The West Australian

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On Skin For Comfort by Nora Krouk

Nora Krouk’s poetry book Skin for Comfort was winner of the Interactive Press Picks for 2004. Given Krouk’s Russian-Jewish background, the title is especially poignant. Her private and family history, as revealed through the poems, is representative of a wide sweep of twentieth century inhumanity, including the Holocaust and Stalinist persecutions.

— Margaret Bradstock, Five Bells

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It seems that the word is getting out to the bookshops that they can now order our print titles directly from Tower Books. Since we don’t expect to make Oprah’s Top 10 very often, we’ve decided to let you know which of our titles are leading the pack at Tower, so you can order them in to see what you’re missing.

The most popular title by far was Another, Joel Deane’s IP Picks 2004 winner. The cover is arresting, and the contents are proving popular with Young Adult readers as well as older readers.

AFM_CovClose in second spot was Barbara Winter’s exposé of the Ultra Right in The Australia-First Movement. Interesting reading for those who assume Australia has always been a proxy for Old England and more recently a sheriff for George W.

Barbara also secured third place with her earlier non-fiction work, The Intrigue Master, which is a history of Australia’s naval intelligence activities during the second World War.

It’s early days yet for the rest of our Top Ten, but there were significant sales of Tilly Brasch’s No Middle Name, David Reiter’s Liars and Lovers, Michael O’Sullivan’s Secret Writing and Margaret Metz’s Live By the Bottle.

Our titles are being rolled out by Tower over several months, so bookshops may expect a delay in receiving some titles not already listed in Tower’s catalogue. When in doubt, check with IPS for info on immediate shipping.

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Our American digital distributor CD Baby now has a good selection of IP titles on board for viewing and sampling (and sale!)

The next step, now underway, is for CD Baby to upload our content to various online stores like iTunes where you’ll be able to sample every track and purchase by the track or album.

In the meantime, why not click onto the CD Baby site and have a look and listen to our content (and that of other artists that we distribute, too). It’s an ideal way for our friends overseas to get immediate gratification when they’re after some of the best that Australia has to offer—without a two week wait or freight charges. And soon everyone will have the chance to download IP Digital titles without darkening the aisles of a bookshop!

Want to check it out? Go to the CD Baby site <> and do a search on:
Jack Drake
Chris Mansell
Liam Guilar
Jenni Nixon
David Reiter
Jumbuktu (Paul Mitchell / Bill Buttler)
Alan Ferguson

Or browse them all at once: <>

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Now that our Hemingway in Spain DVD is up for sale in Australia, we’re pulling out the stops to create a version that will work on North American DVD players. For the Luddites out there, half the world, including Australia, uses the PAL standard, while almost everyone else is on the NTSC standard. Unless you have a DVD that plays both standards—and more and more models do—a PAL encoded DVD will not play properly on an NTSC player. If you’re lucky, you’ll get vision, but it’ll be in black and white. PAL material can be adapted to NTSC and vice-versa, but it’s not a trivial process.

We have a distributor all lined up for Hemingway, which should go like hot cakes in the USA especially, not to mention Spain, but they require us to prepare an NTSC master, which they’ll then repurpose for download in various forms. We’ve found a software package that promises to convert from PAL to NTSC with a minimum of pain, so we’re testing it now. We’ll keep you informed.

In the meantime, if you’re curious to see the DVD, try to catch David on our Spring Season tour, which will be happening in the Northern Territory in September, Melbourne, Tasmania and Canberra in October, and Brisbane and northern NSW in November. More details in Out & About.

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Geoffrey Gates has set up a blog for his IP novel A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion. As well GeoffGas interacting with his readers, Geoffrey has posted some of the reviews of A Ticket For Perpetual Locomotion there. A great read!

You have the chance to chat with Geoff about the book or anything else, so, go ahead, blog away!



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Our first sales with CD Baby have been completed, with Alan Ferguson receiving sales for both Freedom’s Sons Volume 1 and Volume 2, Chris Mansell for Fickle Brat and Jack Drake for Cattle Dog’s Revenge. Congratulations Alan, Chris and Jack!

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Our Autumn Season 06 events began in Sydney with the launch of Rosemary Huisman’s first poetry collection The Possibility of Winds.

A long time lecturer at Sydney University in Early English Literature and Semiotics, Rosemary was Commended in IP Picks 2006 after her husband badgered her into entering the competition. Thanks, Tony!

It was a rainy cold night in Sydney, but the crowd was entertained by the launch speech of High Court Justice Michael Kirby, who, in his opening remarks, noted that he was the ‘third most popular launcher of books in Australia, after Gough Whitlam and Dame Edna’! He certainly made himself popular with David when he noted that he had gone through Rosemary’s book with a fine comb and not found a single typo!

The next evening was a change of pace with the launch of Monique Choy’s delightful CD interactive romance The Last Laugh. We were at the NSW Writers Centre, which has graciously hosted many of our successful Sydney launches. There was music by The Side Project and a very cozy atmosphere.

After visits to some libraries over the next few days, David went to Melbourne to support the launch of Basil Eliades3rd i. This is Basil’s third book, and he demonstrated to the crowd at the Victorian Writers Centre that he has talents beyond the written word. To say that his readings were performances would be an understatement; Basil pulls out all the stops.

Next day we were at the Red Star Café in Hepburn Springs (near Daylesford). While many at the café may have more interested in the food than his dazzling performance, Basil certainly captured their attention!

Tilly Brasch has been asked to speak about her award-winning IP book No Middle Name at the General Meeting of the National Council of Women Group (Qld).

It is on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 6pm and will be held at Harris Terrace, 46 George Street, Brisbane.

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Lauren Elise Daniels, our Prose Editor, will be running a creative writing workshop with the Bribie Island U3A [University of the Third Age] Writing Group this winter.

LaurenDWith an enthusiastic collection of budding writers from Australia and from England, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa, the workshop will provide practical advice on how to fine-tune critiquing styles and polish consecutive drafts to 'bring the writing alive'. The genres of the memoir, fiction, historical fiction will be explored.

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David Reiter was recently poetry judge for the Sunshine Coast Writers’ Group latest competition.

David will also be reading at the Carindale Library from his junior novel, The Greenhouse Effect, during Library Week on 19 August from 10:30 a.m. Admission is free.

David will also read at Wordpool on 1 August @ Barsoma, 22 Constance St, Fortitude Valley. Here are the details from the QWC:

Brisneyland, Brisvegas, Bris ... no matter what you call this sunny city of ours, now is the time to celebrate its literary greatness!

Join rock culture illuminati, Andrew Stafford (Pig City); Liars_Loverseffervescent rock star David McCormack (Custard, The Titanics); local literati Mary-Rose MacColl (Killing Superman); 2005 David Unaipon Award-winner, Yvette Holt (Anonymous Premonition); author, poet and publisher David Reiter (Liars and Lovers); representing the One Book Many Brisbanes' winning stories Alison Lees; and MC Bris pop-celebrity Rebecca Sparrow (The Year Nick McGowan Came To Stay).

David’s reading will feature two of Brisvegas’ icons: Park Road and City Hall—before it fell victim to tunnel vision. Pay the toll and come along for the ride!

You can book online or by ringing the QWC on 3839 1243.

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The following items come from Jenni Nixon...

NoraKIP poets Nora Krouk and Michelle Cahill (currently in press) will read in the Poets Union‘s 5th Australian Poetry Festival: Between for Poetry Week, with The NSW Writers’ Centre, Wednesday September 6th at 6pm, at the Writers’ Centre in Rozelle, to celebrate Women of The World in song and poems, and it’s free!

The Bosnian Women’s Choir (Blue River Choir) conducted by Sladjana Hodzic, formerly of Sarajevo, will perform songs from their new CD. Libby Wong originally from China/Hong Kong shares with other bi-lingual poets Helen Turovic, initially from Croatia, Jutta Sieverding, Germany, Gorica Jovanovic, Serbia, Gabriella Mehedinteanu, Romania, Dang Lan, Vietnam, Nora Krouk, born in China of Russian descent, Maureen Ten from China / Singapore and Michelle Cahill, born in Africa of Indian descent, who has lived in England, and won IP 2006 Best First Book Award for The Accidental Cage to be launched later this year, share a night of exciting multiculturalism.

IP Digital published Jenni’s book Café Boogie in 2004 (and CBCovthe Text + Audio CD in 2005.) She’s also performing in Poetry Speaks! (also part of Poetry Week) on Sat 2 Sept., 12.30-2pm. at theRiverside Theatre at Parramatta (Rafferty’s Theatre). Poems in Conversation With Each Other features readings from Margaret Bradstock, joanne burns, Kerry Leves, David Musgrave, Louise Wakeling and Jenni. Hear what their poems have to say to each other as they range from sex & the city to beach culture, political satire & cultural crossings!

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In what will be our most ambitious Season tour to date, IP is planning launch events in the Northern Territory, Melbourne, Tasmania, Canberra, Brisbane, Lismore/Byron Bay and Sydney. There are quite a few events still being planned, but here’s what is confirmed so far.

TCFCovWe kick off the Season with the launch of Darwin-based Nigel Turvey’s Terania Creek: Rainforest Wars, the IP Picks 2006 winner for Best Creative Non-fiction. With the enthusiastic support of the NT Writers’ Centre, there’ll be events in Alice Springs on 22-23 Sept, in Katherine on 27th, and Darwin on 29-30. These will include Meet the Publisher sessions with David at Katherine and full day workshops in Alice Springs and Darwin on how to promote your book. The workshops are pitched at DIY authors but also at authors who want to be more active when their publishers don’t have a large budget for promotion (increasingly common these days). For further details, contact Sandra at the NT Writers’ Centre.

(If you’re in Sydney and interested in David’s promotion workshop, don’t despair: he’ll be offering it at the NSW Writers’ Centre on Friday 24 November.)

In October, David and Nigel continue the tour in Tasmania, with a launch at Fuller’s Bookshop in Launceston on 23 October; in Devonport on Tuesday the 24th at Adult Education, 19 William Street (contact Fay Forbes); in Hobart at the Hobart Bookshop on Thursday the 26th.

Then it’s on to Melbourne for a Terania launch featuring Tricia Caswell at the Victorian Writers’ Centre on Friday the 27th, and a joint launch of Terania and Bill Collopy’s IP Picks Best Fiction winner, House of Given, at Reader’s Feast on Saturday evening of the 28th. (Bill’s novel will have its own launch at the Victorian Writers’ Centre earlier that day.)

We finish up in Canberra, with another Terania event on the 30th of October, venue to be confirmed.

November will see us launching in Queensland and New South Wales, but we’ll give you all the details in our next IP eNews.

One highlight is certain to be the Brisbane Season launch, a gala featuring all six Spring Season authors (Nigel Turvey, Bill Collopy, Andrew Leggett, Libby Hart, Michelle Cahill and Paul Dawson) at the Performance Studio, 4MBS at Coorparoo on 5 November. With so many authors to showcase, we can promise the event will be long on readings and short on introductions!

The evening before that will be our first IP Soirée at the Corner Bistro, Seven Hills, where you’ll have the chance to meet all six authors up close and personal—or at least over a glass of champagne or across the dinner table. The soirée will be sponsored by the Queensland Writers’ Centre, and tickets will be scarce on the ground, so be quick when we open for bookings!

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Our spies (Chris Mansell, actually) tell us that Google sees Brisbane as the poetry centre of Australia, and Australia as the poetry capital of the world!

With all due modesty, IP claims some responsibility for this, given that our 2006 publishing list boasts six new poetry titles, certainly more than that other Queensland publisher.

Still have your doubts? Check out the links for yourself:

Here’s hoping that the Australia Council is taking notes!

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Deal 1: Keen to read some short stories? Order any of the following collections for a 20% discount.

You must order from the IP Shop via our orders page or by email to qualify.

Triangles by David Reiter
The Dispossessed by Andrew Lansdown
Terminal Velocity by Molly Guy

Do it before 15 August and and we’ll throw in free postage and handling (a flat $5.40 charge applies thereafter).

Quote YD:31_1 in the Comments field on the Orders page. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only.

Deal 2: Order an IP Six-pack for $66 + $6.

Your choice of any six IP titles published before 2004 for just $11 each, GST-inclusive, plus a flat $6 postage and handling.

uote YD:31_2 in the Comments field on the Orders page. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only.

FIPC members get a further 10% discount off the cost of either package plus free postage. Sign up now and get the benefits of Club membership today. (See Your Deal in Issue 15 for full details.)

Offers available only to individuals.