Dying in India
the newsletter of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)


Director's Welcome


Within days of IP announcing our new Digital Publishing Centre, Steve Jobs brought the world to a stop with the unveiling of the Apple iPad – good timing, Steve!

Seriously, we're really excited about the DPC and how it promises to ensure that Australians claim a stake in the emerging digital spaces. Pioneer along with us and be among the first to see your work on the Kindle and iPad! More on that in the IP DIgital Buzz.

The first issue of the year is when we announce the winners and commended from our annual IP Picks Competition and so the wait is over.

Anna Bartlett has been seriously busy with her IP Kidz list, with a strong slat coming up this year. We also announce the first translations of IP titles will be the picture books Real Guns, The Giggle Gum Tree, Zahara's Rose and the yet to be released Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time).

Lauren Daniels, our Prose Editor, is in the last six weeks of her first pregnancy, and she's just in the mood to provide some advice about DON'TS to people submitting manuscripts to us (and to others).

Finally, a warm welcome to our new interns Talya Arditi, a visiting student from Turkey, Cindy Ruch, a student from Germany, and Strahan Scobie, who isn't visiting from anywhere! All are keen to make their mark on the evolving enterprise that is IP, and we're very happy to have them along on our version of the Tardis!

We hope you enjoy your first issue of the new decade!





New Publishing for a New Century

There’s been a cloud of bull-dust stirred lately about digital publishing. Most recently, a senior manager at the Australia Council in an article “Writing for the digital age” in the latest Artery magazine found ‘an air of wait and see in Australian publishing’ that reflects a marketplace where she sees ‘more people on public transport reading books than...game-playing on their phones or laptops’.

Through various seminars OzCo is doing their best to raise awareness about the impact that digital technology is having on the publishing industry and the access of readers to texts, but is it leading the way to ensure that Australia is not left in the shadows of countries that are already seizing the opportunities the new age provides? No, it is not.

The Romance endures: OzCo still believes in the sanctity of the physical book. Innovative publishers like IP still can’t submit proposals for works that are to be first published in digital form. Or perhaps we can, but we know what the answer will be. OzCo has yet to come to grips with print on demand (POD) as a viable and even necessary publishing option. Publishers applying for OzCo grants must commit to minimum initial print runs of copies for prose works even though most literary novels sell on average only 500-600 copies. Publishers like IP who are seeking greener options of printing stock on demand have no chance with OzCo under this outmoded – and often wasteful – system.

OzCo must do more to ensure that Australia has a viable digital publishing industry, or we will be left to choke on the bull-dust. Three years ago, I gave a presentation on what IP was doing in the digital arena at an OzCo/CAL seminar entitled Publishing the Story of the Future. The audience was a Who’s Who of Australian publishing. There was talk afterwards of setting up a steering committee on digital publishing, and I was asked to serve on it. To my knowledge, the committee was never formed. There’s been more talk since then, and the odd guru flown in to let us know what’s happening elsewhere, but no concerted effort to focus the publishing industry’s energy into new publishing approaches.

The Artery article expresses concern for independent publishers who are “struggling” to keep up with digital innovations: “they do not have the necessary in-house expertise or the IT equipment capable of taking on this new level of sophistication”. Wrong again.

IP is at the forefront of digital publishing in Australia, while larger companies, confined by infrastructure, corporate culture and aversion to technological change, continue to sit on their hands. IP has state-of-the-art hardware and software, and the expertise to make an important contribution to what I term New Century Publishing. We are well-connected with major digital companies overseas and are actually making some money from it. IP may have been the first Australian publisher to create Kindle editions of its books, now available in standard size and large print via its partnership with ReadHowYouWant.com. All without a cent of support from OzCo.

The reality is that the driving force in digital publishing and distribution will come from the independent publishing sector in this country, not the multinationals. Those pioneers could do much, much more, if OzCo provided money at the coalface where it’s needed rather than flying in gurus to tell us what’s freely available to browse on the Internet.

Talkfest time is over. IP is not waiting for OzCo to change. We’ve just established the Digital Publishing Centre (DPC) to spur innovation and context creation in Oz.

In a nutshell, the DPC will be a hub for authors, companies and agencies wishing to engage the rapidly expanding digital markets. Authors will be encouraged to work with our assessors and editors to lift their work to publishable standard. Then the DPC will master the work for print via POD as well as eBooks in the emerging standards (pdf, ePub, mobi, etc) and then ensure the author or organisation has access to global markets via digital promotion campaigns.

The DPC will be at the centre of New Century Publishing. We will simplify the supply chain by going directly to retailers and consumers online. We will work as a green enterprise by editing, refining and mastering work digitally, with almost no paper involved (except for the occasional contract!) By relying more heavily on a digital workflow and POD, we will reduce the considerable waste from pulping so common in our industry. And we’ll increase our content creators’ access to global markets by making their work available in territories previously inaccessible to most authors.

We won’t be surprised if some of our first customers are the big publishers themselves!

For more information on the DPC, please go to: <http://ipoz.biz/DPC/DPC.htm>

We’ll see you in cyberspace!

<title>IP eNews/<title>

IP Picks 2010 Awards

The Big Picture

Maybe it was the worry about the Recession or just an off year for grapes but the judges were a bit disappointed by the overall quality of submissions to the competition this year. We hasten to add that this was NOT true for entries in the Poetry category, which are always strong, perhaps owing to IP's profile as a leading if not the leading, publisher of poetry in Australia, but we did feel that the submissions in the prose categories were not of as high a standard as in previous years.

The overall number of submissions were down from the high of 2009 for a total of 72. Entrants came from all States and Territories except for the Northern Territory, with the percentage breakdown being: New South Wales 35%, Queensland 25%, Victoria 21%, Western Australia 7%, Tasmania 5% and the ACT 3%. New Zealand entries comprised 3% of the total.

Victorian authors won in the Creative Non-fiction and First Book categories, with a Tasmanian taking out Best Poetry, and a New South Wales author winning Best Junior Prose. For High Commended and Commended entries, we had one from Western Australia, two from Queensland and Victoria, and one from New South Wales and New Zealand.

The judges remarked that a number of entries showed promise but would have benefitted from a professional assessment prior to entering the competition. There still seems to be a perception in the writing community that assessment is not a necessary part of the development of a manuscript. The judges noted that in other writing disciplines such as script, assessment is recognised as an essential step in the development of an effective manuscript.

The Results, by Category

Best Fiction

This year's Best Fiction entries smacked the judging panel with a historic first: No First Prize. Through the long and short-listing meetings, no winning manuscript emerged and repeatedly, judges were sent away to comb through the Picks pile with IP’s strict criteria in mind.

Judges seek a few key qualities in fiction: a tight narrative of polished prose, authentic characters and a clear, literary structure. Further, fiction needs an apparent audience, even when experimental or edgy in style.

Overall, the judging panel found many manuscripts with a solid premise but that fell over in form with a cross-hatch of grammatical errors, clichéd characters or tangents. Some manuscripts bore well crafted prose but lacked a strong, central premise. Often, dialogue served as the key plot propellant when it’s best used as just one of the tools in the literary toolshed.

So we have no first place fiction winner this year. After much deliberation, we’re making it part of the IP Picks announcement and offering hints for aspiring fiction writers for Picks 2011:

• Polish the prose, oust grammatical errors and learn dialogue punctuation

• Indent the paragraphs; gaps between paragraphs indicate change of scene in fiction or are reserved for business/web formats

• Sharpen a unique premise which acts as a thread through the story

• Show more than tell

• Conjure organic characters who differentiate themselves through their actions as well as with speech and thought

• Make every moment of dialogue enhance tension and support the premise

• Carve out a cohesive plot that forms a literary arch to the climax and resolution

Best Fiction | Highly Commended
Daniel King: Memento Mori

A strong entrant, Daniel King’s short story collection cycles through the shadowy landscapes of death, gnarled relationships, the slippery side of human nature, even the contemporary lure of cosmetic surgery pushed to a surprising extreme. Philosophically pointed with a surreal bite, the characters of these stories wrestle with existence and each other as profound questions scatter them.

‘I just wish I knew what Hell really meant,’ one character ponders while another answers: ‘It would be a state of almost absolute lack, with just enough of a trace of presence for you to be aware of that lack.’

Despite serious undercurrents, the prose is still playful in its reflective glint:

My footsteps follow the curve of the shore, diminishing, at the limit of my vision to a row of dots… an ellipsis.
Potentially also a writer’s collection for writers, the prose plays on multiple levels at once:

Above him the ceiling was like the page he had left in the typewriter. Compared with the white of the moonlight it was absolutely black; but compared with the darkness of the shadows it was quite pale, almost white.

Author bio: Daniel King, who also writes as "David King", was born inDanielK Western Australia and has lived there all his life. He holds degrees in Engineering and English, and a Doctorate in Philosophy. Daniel's first literary publication was in 1986, and since then he has had over fifty stories (and also, in recent years, poetry) published in various Australian and overseas journals.


Best Fiction | Commended
Fiona Sussman: Shifting Colours

Shifting Colours is a powerful story of family ties, secrets and love, This intriguing novel is foremost about the relationship between Celia and her daughter Miriam and all the struggles and turmoil that come between them. Separated by land and sea, Celia and Miriam’s story begins in South Africa’s violent landscape and then continues in calm, quiet England. As you turn the pages, you are magnetised by the surprises, great details and the captivating writing that takes you into the heart and mind of the characters.

Author bio: Fiona Sussman (nee Stewart) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and immigrated to New Zealand in 1989. A GP by profession, she started writing in earnest in 2005, and in 2009 completed a Masters in Creative Writing through AUT.

FionaSSeveral of her short stories have been broadcast by Radio New Zealand. Her stories have also received a number of awards in local writing competitions. Shifting Colours, her first novel, was borne out of a childhood growing up in apartheid South Africa. She is currently writing a second novel set in contemporary New Zealand.

She divides her time between writing, spending time with family, and in partnership with her husband, establishing Auckland’s first charity hospital.

Best Creative Non-Fiction | Winner
Olwyn Conrau: The Importance of Being Cool

In the Best Creative Non-Fiction category, Olwyn Conrau’s confronting, intelligent memoir, The Importance of Being Cool slid into the spotlight.

The honesty of Conrau’s memoir glows with a rare humility that is almost devoid of self-consciousness – a powerful attribute in this genre. As this approachable speaker lures readers along the labyrinth of her journey, which in various shades may be familiar to many, it is a tale marked by descent. At the start, the storyline is peaked by highs and substance-fuelled friendships but over time, the narrative is gradually underscored by trenches, hangovers and betrayals.

While the content may be familiar, the angle is presented in an original way. This Melbourne woman propels us through a galaxy of substances, a collage of self-indulgent, sometimes drug-addled men, and the ever-present need for cash, which in itself, reads like a knotted metaphor for survival. All while, this metaphor slowly tightens around the speaker herself.

Elements of the speaker’s world spark with contemporary, global issues, such as the posing of illegal drugs against prescription pills; and staging bomb threats alongside mistrust for the very forces which claim to protect us. Lucid, crisp and sometimes funny, the memoir covers slippery ground while maintaining a searing focus.

Quite often, the writing glistens. There are lyrical drug scenes constructed with a real joyeux d vivre but even these moments are soaked in the treacherous nature of an unleashed pursuit of the next high:

‘The heaviness trapped me. I wanted to move to my bed but my body felt frozen. What had this bastard given me? Then I flew. Felt myself soaring down steps, over acres of twisted bitumen. Stars shimmered then threw themselves at me, one by one until the sky became a thick black canvas.’

Author bio: Olwyn Conrau has worked as a journalist, public OlwynCrelations consultant, copywriter, go-go dancer, typist and fruit-picker. She holds a degree in literary studies and has been published in literary anthologies and mainstream print media. The Importance of Being Cool is her first book and she’s currently on the way to finishing her second.

Best Creative Non-Fiction | Commended
Anthony Bianco: ‘I Hope My God Makes Your Bus Crash and You’re the Only One Who Dies’

Anthony Bianco’s I Hope My God Makes Your Bus Crash and You’re the Only One Who Dies! is a globe-trotting and often irreverent travel memoir that instantly snagged the judges’ attention with its title.

Kicking off in Morocco, the memoir explores coveted destinations like Botswana, Argentina and Egypt, while simultaneously gathering data for ‘The Beer Index’, charting the volume and affordability of national brews.

Bianco, aka ‘The Travel Tart’, and his manuscript stirred up controversy among this judging panel with its abandonment of political correctness, dry humour and an Aussie bloke approach to the international experience.

Author bio: The Travel Tart (a.k.a. Anthony Bianco) is a self-proclaimed travel addict who will find any feeble excuse to travel. Anthony discovered he really enjoyed travelling the world when he was sent to a former war zone for work - Kosovo - as his first venture outside of Australiasia.AnthonyB

On the road, Anthony likes risking his life on barely road-worthy forms of transport such as African mini-buses, suicidal Cairo cabs and flatulent camels.

Anthony writes about the funny, offbeat and downright strange aspects of contemporary world travel which can be seen on The Travel Tart website: Offbeat Tales From A Travel Addict -- http://www.thetraveltart.com -- and in 'I Hope That My God Makes Your Bus Crash and You're the Only One Who Dies'.

Best Poetry | Winner
Lyn Reeves: Designs on the Body

As always the Poetry category was crowded with excellent entries, making the final decisions difficult for the judges.

Lyn Reeves' collection stood out as succinct, imagistic and suggestive as well as multi-layered. One of the judges commented: 'Sometimes the rich sensuality merging with spirit reminds me of Rumi but contemporary. Strong meeting of layered, resonating meaning and sensual imagery.'

The tanka sequence from "Irezumi's Lover" is typical of her sensual verse:

So cool to touch
this living canvas stitched
with needle fire.
Lie beneath me while I trace
my desires upon you.

Reeves is adept at getting into the mind of her charcters, even those from a distant culture, as she does in "Love Letters from a Zulu Girl": "

My eyes are red from weeping,
say the beads – a gift
to the one I yearn for. Oh, to be
a dove pecking food in the yard
of your kraal…

Author bio: Lyn Reeves is a Hobart-based poet, whose work has earned grants from Arts Tasmania and the Australia Council. She has LynRread at several writers' festivals around the country and been awarded residencies in Darwin, Varuna and St. Helens.

Lyn has collaborated with artists, musicians, photographers and scientists for various poetry events. She is an associate editor of the literary journal, Famous Reporter and managing director of Pardalote Press.

Best Poetry | Highly Commended
Leah Kaminsky: Stitching Things Together

A mix of historic and contemporary social commentary, this collection dares the reader to think about issues that matter. One of the judges commented: "I like the risks this author takes with language and the depth of social commentary. This is poetry with something to say. Unlike many poetry collections that live on the surface of things, here we can penetrate to the sub-text. Also good sense of the dramatic and use of closure."

Consider a Holocaust survivor's view of history, as depicted in the title piece:

we sacrifice everything for our children
father said as he sewed coats in Melbourne
looking from the window down onto Flinders Lane
as men loaded mannequins into trucks

while Europe blazed and swallowed up
his youth, his love, his life
he basted coat sleeves
and pad-stitched lapels

Author bio: Leah's father was a tailor who learned his craft as a 14 year old boy in Vilna before the outbreak of World War II. He escaped Europe and arrived in Melbourne in 1938. He sewed garments, while his family back in Poland disappeared. Leah was born fifteen years LeahKafter the end of the war and only learned to sew when she reached medical school - stitching people's injuries back together.

Her poetry grows from the healing of these wounds, the sewing together of the patchwork of both her parents’ and her patients' stories and her own awakening to the inheritance of their traumatised lives.

Best Poetry | First Commended
Sheryl Persson: Trespass of Shadows

This is a strong collection, notable for its interest in language and experimentation with form, as well as a wry sense of humour as we see in "Journey to the Centre of an Artist":

From a vantage point in your cerebrum
I am blinded by intellectual bling
escape through a labyrinth of lobes
your mind panting in pursuit

Author bio: Sheryl Persson’s poems have been published in Australia and abroad in journals, e-zines, anthologies and educational SherylPpublications. As a member of DiVerse, a group of poets who write ‘ekphrasis’ Sheryl reads regularly at galleries and museums. Scarcely Random, a collection of her poems was published in 2007. Sheryl is also the author of four commissioned non-fiction books. Smallpox, Syphilis and Salvation: Medical Breakthroughs that Changed the World was published by Exisle in 2009.

Best Poetry | Second Commended
Nicholas Eldridge: Coloured Paper

Well-crafted and accessible, this is poetry under compression where each word and line counts, as in "On the ship home"

on the ship home

after the war

the men were swapping

their equipment

guns and knives

now souvenirs

my Granddad

took all his gear

and threw it overboard

Author bio: Nicholas Eldridge was born in Melbourne where he NicholasEcurrently lives. A graduate of Holmesglen’s Professional Writing & Editing Program, in 2003 he self published the poetry collection Strawberry Pig.




We were very excited at the addition of a Junior Prose category this year, and while it didn’t receive a large number of entries we were pleased with the results overall. The judges saw some intriguing premises and good storytelling elements, despite some entries falling well short of publication standard.

Best Junior Prose | Winner
Juliet Blair: l Arlo and the Spindrift Connection

Arlo and the Spindrift Connection is a well-crafted, dynamic adventure story. When Arlo’s friend Kate notices a strange glow coming from the cliffs above the beach the two of them set out on a midnight expedition to discover more.

‘I couldn’t see anything at first,’ Arlo recounts. ‘Then I noticed the tiny gleams of light in the rock, winking on and off, at random, it seemed, like grains of mica catching the light, but brighter, livelier.’

But when they accidentally touch the rock Arlo and Kate are whisked through to another world, which they find inhabited by residents of their own home town who disappeared mysteriously during an earthquake 14 years before. What follows is their attempts to find a way back to their own world, while struggling with strange new laws and customs, trying to blend in in an insular society and battling a corrupt and controlling government.

In Arlo, Blair creates a complex and credible main character with a remarkably strong voice. He is a steady, likeable narrator and injects humour into the telling of the story.

‘I’m called after some folk singer from the sixties,’ he says. ‘Get used to it. I had to.’

Action scenes are tense and compelling, and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion. With polished, good quality writing, Arlo and the Spindrift Connection is an absorbing adventure boasting both depth and humour.

Author bio: Juliet Blair has seen many changes in her native Sydney. JulietB(Her school transport was a steam train.) A teacher by vocation, she has taught languages and ESL from Kindergarten to Year 12, while bringing up three boys. She continued to write for many years before seeking publication. Her credits to date include short stories in Woman’s Day and other mass market magazines. Now, in retirement, a new career beckons. It’s never too late!

Best Junior Prose | Commended
Janet Reid: l The Ruby Bottle

The Ruby Bottle is a gentle tale of a young girl who learns to deal with her problems through the help of a djinn she finds when cleaning a dusty old bottle. Amber is immediately established as a likeable main character and the djinn jumps from the page with his strong personality, in this unique take on the age-old genie myth.

‘I’m a djinn, not a genie,’ the djinn tells Amber. ‘That’s why I’m red and not green ... And just so you know, I’m a thinker. I help solve problems. And I don’t grant wishes.’

Through her relationship with the djinn Amber grows and matures, learning new skills and discovering new strengths. The reader feels for Amber as she struggles against adversity, and rejoices with her in her eventual triumphs.

With its engaging main character, evocative descriptions and elements of fantasy, this warm, celebratory tale is an enjoyable read that will appeal to young people.

Author bio: Janet Reid grew up on a dairy farm with hay sheds and pigsties, old abandoned farm machinery and lots of space. It was a haven for hours of story weaving with her sister between milking the cows and feeding the calves and pigs. JanetR

She went into teaching and taught in places from the cane fields in Central Queensland to Brisbane before retiring to concentrate on her writing. She lives on the northern outskirts of Brisbane with her husband, two teenage sons and one very 'human' cat called Kelsey. 

Best First Book | Winner
James Laidler: the taste of apple

The judges had no problem awarding Best First Book to this accomplished verse novel. The text is a memoir/history with strong political commentary. The author is a musician who is crossing over into text. The text is accompanied by a music CD with tracks to be played as the reader moves through the novel, and the music itself is varied in scope and of production standard – just the kind of cross-over project that IP is looking for. Mature in vision and evocative emotionally, this is page-turning verse that should find a wide audience.

The novel can be personal and reflective, as in "Breathe":

I think of Dad
living somewhere on a farm
near Colac
and pour my thoughts
into the big saucepan’s starlit frame
to simmer and steam.

Then to the east,
from behind a wispy cloud,
five stars appear
in perfect formation.

Or it can be socially aware of the atrocities in East Timor, as in "Another Place":

Up in front of us,
guitar in hand,
Johnny stands.
His eyes are on the audience,
but I can tell he’s staring right through us.

Johnny’s in another place.

Maybe he’s still standing
amongst the sounds of gunfire
and the screams
that reached him
from under the hall’s front door.

Or perhaps,
in his mind,
he’s back in East Timor,
crouched beside his mother’s grave.

Wherever he is
I’II never know,
but by the way Johnny sings
I know it’s a place of infinite sadness;

a place of vast

and unfathomable


Author bio: James Laidler is an emerging writer, poet and spoken word performer from country Victoria. His first verse novel, The taste of apple, comes with a studio-produced CD of spoken word tracks and songs that trace the novel’s main narrative thread. The first chapter of James’ verse novel was accepted for the Australian Poetry Centre’s JamesLMonologues Series for 2010 and will be adapted for and performed on stage this year. James’ work has been featured on Writer’s Radio Adelaide, Radio National’s 360 program, Melbourne’s RRR, Cordite Poetry Review and Indie feed, as well as in the literary journals Going Down Swinging and Peril. In 2009, James' short story, The memory of Christmas, placed second in the FAW Shoalhaven literary awards, while his poem, "A Doctor's work", was highly commended  in the 2009 CJ Dennis literary Awards. As a performance poet, James also made the Victorian State Final of the Australian Poetry Slam for 2009.

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Best First Book | Commended
Ben Conquest: From Father to Son: A Choreographed Manuscript from the Archives of the Theatre of Trust

A hybrid of script and memoir, this concerns a relationship between a father and son that is shaded with resentment and anger. Bold and organic in content, this book won Commended due to its freshness and sincerity. The author has an experimental but always moving writing style with the power to turn the strange into familiar. Yet, the darkness that lives between the lines ignites a sepia-toned melancholy that is apprehended but, surprisingly, welcomed. 

Author bio: Ben Conquest was born in Sydney, Australia in 1980. He is a writer, teacher and father to his son, Tyler. Ben graduated with BenCHonours in Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2009. Previous to his studies, Ben trained as a dancer with the Australian Ballet School before joining the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2000. Ben danced as a principal with the company to critical acclaim. He left his dancing career in 2005 to pursue his passion for writing. Ben believes he was born to create innovative contemporary fiction that fuses his theatrical experience with current real life issues.

<title>IP eNews/<title>

Focus: Hazel Edwards

[Anna Bartlett interviews Hazel Edwards on the verge of the release of her first IP Kidz title, Plato the PlatypusPlumber (part-time)]

AB: Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time) is the story of a young boy called Zanzibar and his imaginary friend, Plato the Platypus, who helps solve problems around Zanzibar’s house, teaching him useful skills along the way. Where did the idea for a platypus plumber first come from, and how long ago did you think of it?

HE: Platypus have always fascinated me because they seem to be made from left-over shapes. They’re amphibious, and yet have a duck bill. Their proper name is ornithorhynchus, and that sounds mysterious too. My grandmother, who taught me to read, always used the proper name for the ornithorhynchus. I always had trouble remembering how to spell it, but could say the word.HazelBook

A plumber has to fix watery problems. I noticed one plumber with a van called Tap Doctor and put that label in my ideas notebook. And since platypus were starting to come back into the urban waterways of Melbourne, I imagined a creek, with ferals on the bike path and old houses needing lots of plumbing help. Something like the real trails beside Melbourne’s Yarra River with the old, rambling houses.

But what if the toolkit contained tools for fixing grumpy people as well as water problems? ‘What if?’ is a great way to create a story with two things which don’t usually go together.

I’m not good on dates, but the first draft of this story was about 13 years ago. Originally it was an idea for a TV series, so Zanzibar’s family had to be worked out in more detail, as a cast. Each of the family had dreams: Mum wanted to travel, Dad was a muso-renovator and Gran had bonsai plants and TV soapies. Zanzibar had his imaginary friend Plato, the Platypus Plumber who could fix all problems.

AB: Plato and Zanzibar have lots of adventures together, but one important aspect of the story is the way it talks about issues like drought and water conservation. What made you think of including these issues, and why did you think it was important to do so?

HE: As an author I’m often invited to rural areas, and drought is a reality in country towns. Water tanks are also being put up in city school yards. I don’t want to ‘teach’ in my stories. I just want readers to see things from someone else’s point of view.

AB: The story also touches on some of the threats to native animals like Plato: feral animals, litter and pollution, for example. Is this a topic that interests you personally?

HE: As a family we have always orienteered in the bush. So we’ve been aware of native animals like wombats, kangaroos and platypus. But orienteers also respect the bush, and leave nothing behind except footprints. Polluting the water causes problems for those who come after you.

Also having been an Antarctic expeditioner, I’m aware of the impact of pollution on the icy environment.PlatoCov

AB: Throughout the story, and with Plato’s help, Zanzibar develops problem-solving skills and resourcefulness. Why do you think it’s important to show children that they can learn to solve problems and work things out for themselves?

HE: Being willing to try new ways of solving problems, even if you get it wrong occasionally, is the only way we learn. It’s ok to do things differently.

AB: Your most well-known book, There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake, is also about a child with an imaginary friend. What do you think particularly appeals to kids about stories with imaginary friends in them?

HE: Imaginary friends provide reassurance because they have all the answers. Or you imagine they may have.

AB: Plato is socially relevant, but also fun, and has great potential for use in a classroom, as a starting point for discussing and exploring different environmental issues. What are some ways you imagine it being used in a classroom setting?

HE: The tool kit is an excellent starting place. Invite children to design or make their own tool kits, including the tools. Often their reasons for including the tools show how problems might be tackled.

Some people are tactile, and learn better when they can feel or make things. Others enjoy designing on paper. Children could map the local creek, and indicate the water levels at different times. They could find out about Platypus Watch and micro-tags, or make platypus prints which lead into the library and up to the shelf with the ‘Plato the Platypus Plumber’ book.

Children could research the real Plato, make platypus and feral puppets, map and create a model of the book’s setting or create a wall chart with Platypus words (like monotreme) and their meanings. They could write part of Plato’s diary or Work Log, or else imagine they are a film-maker creating a TV series based on Plato, and think of some of the water emergencies to which he might be called.

Check out my website www.hazeledwards.com for news of what others are doing with this book.

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Hazel Edwards becomes the first IP author to launch in Indonesia. Her book Plato the Platypus Plumber, illustrated by John Petropoulos, is due for release in early March!
read more >


Libby Hathorn's second IP Kidz title, I Love You Book, will be illustrated by Heath McKenzie. Libby recently scooped three awards from the NSW Society of Women Writers competition.
read more >

New Zealand poet Melior Simms has had her Voyagers poem nominated for the Rhysling Award, the NZ equivalent of the Hugo Awards.
read more >


Our doco film about Dale Kentwell and her book Mum: speaking Latin with a singlet tan. is now in release, just in time for Dale's exhibition in Albury.
read more >

When she isn't up to her ears in her medical studies, 2009 IP Picks Best First Book winner, Jess Webster is getting excited about the launch of her YA fantasy novel.
read more >

Former Olympian Nadine Neumann's memoir, Wobbles: An Olympic Story
is proving to be a hit at swimming events in and around Sydney. We're donating a portion of the proceeds to the MS Society.
read more >

In what may become IP's most controversial title to date, the Marquise de Sade has whipped up fresh interest in a cult classic with her erotic novel Enter the Queen.
read more >

Harry Potter lives on in Harry Potter Power! Psychologist Dr JA Sykley shows how lessons from this popular series can be applied to every day life.
read more >






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A Lesson in Conflict of Interest?

We'd hate to say that former NSW Premier Bob Carr is a poor loser, but he seems to find it hard to take NO for an answer on the issue of Parallel Importation. The ex-Premier strained to find a connection between the recent preview of the iPad and the need of major book chains to have access to supposedly cheaper versions of Australian books being printed overseas. As if the availability of cheaper paperbacks would stem the tide of eBooks about to sweep over Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald acknowledged that Carr sits on the board of Dymocks, one of Australia's largest chain stores, but they failed to discover that Dymocks and other chains such as Angus & Robertson and Borders already import cheap editions via international wholesalers such as Ingrams.

How do we know this is happening? Quite by accident. Anecdotal evidence came to our attention that Borders had ordered in several copies of one of our new releases, A Beginner's Guide to Dying in India. Yet our distributor had logged no such orders. Cross checking to our POD partner Lightning Source, based in the USA and UK, we found several orders placed for the title. Some might have been shipped to American bookshops and libraries but more likely than not, we had found the source for the Borders stock. Lighning Source confirmed that some IP stock had been shipped to Australia via Ingrams International, who have an office in Sydney, though they did not specifically name that title.

Doth Bob Carr protest too much? We think so. And we wonder if this practice is legal, given the Government's decision on Parallel Importation.

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Focus: John Petropoulos, Illustrator

[We've heard from Hazel Edwards about her views as author of Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time), but here's another perspective from the point of view of the book's illustrator.]

AB: Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time) is your first picture book. How did you find the whole process? Were there any surprises?

JP: Loved it! Discussing the script with Hazel over coffees was great fun and brought back memories of working together with Mark Sexton waaay back in the day when we used to produce Bug & Stump (our award-winning comic which ran for 9 issues in the mid 90s).

I also enjoyed being able to share the experience with my daughters, Cassandra and Stephanie, both of whom got quite a thrill out of seeing a book being created from scratch.

AB: What was most challenging about illustrating Plato? What was most rewarding?

JohnPJP: Finding time to work on the book was quite a struggle. I work full-time as a graphic designer at Advertising Australia, and coupling this with freelance work for Sydney Comedy Festival and Antipodes Lonsdale St Festival, and add for good measure the demands of being a dad…well let’s just say that there were many nights I hit the sack to the sound of the local magpies’ morning chorus.

Interesting aside: Hazel and I had first met 10 years earlier, and Plato was already more than just a concept even then. I made some preliminary sketches of the character then, but the project did not progress past that for the time.

Fast forward to last year. One of our main clients at AA is Intimo Lingerie, where Kim Edwards is our liaison. Kim is Hazel’s daughter, and through this connection the association between Hazel and me was revived, allowing her to call me when she was ready to revisit Plato. Kizmet?

AB: Where do you like to work when you’re illustrating? How much do you work with pencils and paint, and how much do you do digitally?

JP: I’m a big fan of pencils. I draw rather than paint. I found an old wooden box with a sliding lid in which I would keep drawing equipment and pages currently being worked on, and lug it about with me wherever I went. A spare five minutes would find me drawing on top of the box, balanced upon my lap. Lunch breaks at work were spent at local parks or at a café, equipment and papers scattered on my table.

Having roughed out the layout, I’ll scan them and cut and paste until the composition is almost right. Then I change everything to light blue, print it all out, then pencil over that. I repeat this process again and again, each time tightening the pencils and shading until I have a black and white drawing that is ready for colouring.

I then scan in, adjust levels and contrast, and begin colouring using Adobe Photoshop. I wanted a textural feel to this book, so I created a natural texture, which I overlayed onto the coloured art. I also used textures from photos I took around Scotchman’s Creek in Mt Waverley whilst researching creeks and waterways.

AB: The illustrations in Plato have lots of colour and movement to appeal to children. What made you decide on this style?

JP: Finding a style that both Hazel and I were happy with was quite difficult. As mentioned earlier, initial sketches had been done ten years ago. More recently, there were many attempts and trials at creating a look we felt captured the playful, lyrical feel and subject of the story.

Once decided upon, the style was a natural fit for me. The textures helped a great deal to tie the whole book together and the tertiary colours tending to yellows give the book a natural, earthy feel that I think suits it quite well too.

AB: You created the font used in Plato – a child’s handwriting font – specially for the book. Tell us about how you did this. What did it involve?

JP: I initially tried setting the type in existing typefaces, but I felt that the text was an intruder on the page. The illustrations have no clear boundaries, and each blends into the other, so I thought that the type should blend into the art better.

Then it occurred to me that the whole book is written from Plato’s Plato_p1perspective, as a journal basically. And given this, I thought his handwriting should look like that of a child. Luckily I had one handy, so I asked Cassandra – aged 7 – to write out the text for each page.

What began as unbridled enthusiasm quickly turned to horror and despair at the thought of writing so much text. I didn’t want the process to be difficult and negative for her, so I asked her to write some examples of each letter, number, punctuation, etc. Using this, I found a website (yourfont.com) which allowed me to generate an actual font!

Now Cassandra proudly boasts to her friends that she made a book! And I guess in a way, she did. Of course, this does mean that I’m forced to do at least one more book, so that my other daughter Stephanie can make her font.

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Focus: Jess Webster

[Jess Webster was the 2009 IP Picks Best First Book Award winner for her Young Adult fantasy novel The Secret Stealer.]

AB: The Secret Stealer is the story of nine-year-old James and his assorted friends, and their quest to right (at least a few of) the injustices of the world after James’s deepest secret is stolen from him and he finds himself under a magical curse. It’s also your first novel. Was the publishing process what you expected, or not? What surprised you most about it?

JW: In truth I knew very little about the publishing or editing process, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first it was disappointing to see small bits and pieces that I liked trimmed off and thrown into the metaphorical green-waste bin, but the way I see it, the product was a lot neater in the end – a bit like a well-kept hedge! Maybe even a hedge sculpture. But let’s not take the metaphor too far.

To be honest, what surprised me most was the discovery that I have a far worse grasp of English grammar than I’d originally thought. Don’t get me wrong, I was a fairly nerdy kid at school, but I don’t believe I heard the phrase ‘non-restrictive clause’ once in those 13 years. Thankfully, however, my editor has a fantastic grasp of grammar.

AB: This manuscript won Best First Book last year in IP Picks, and the judges commented that the plot, themes and characters were very well-realised. How long had you spent writing and working on the story before you entered it in IP Picks?

JessWJW: The Secret Stealer came about as a blending of two completely separate, unfinished short stories I had begun writing as a teenager. The first was about an idiotic magician (Louis d’Arlend) who could do only one thing: steal secrets. The second was about a sweet nine-year-old boy living at a Sydney boarding school (James Winchester IV), who was always getting himself into scrapes due to his tendency to jump to wrong conclusions and (with the very best of intentions) attempt to fix that which had never even been broken.

A couple of years later, whilst I happened to have both stories open on my computer screen, I decided it could be interesting to somehow weave the two concepts together. And The Secret Stealer was born! It took me the better part of 2008 to write it from concept to finish.

AB: What made you decide to enter it in the competition?

JW: All I knew was that I had written a story that had entertained at least four people so far, and I was curious to see if an impartial panel of judges would deem it as good as my friends told me it was. (That, and also I would get a free book called Blood and Guts by Gloria Burley for entering. A very entertaining read!)

AB: The story has a very creative premise – involving magic curses, dark secrets, invisibility and special powers – and the plot is well-crafted. Was it difficult to come up with the different aspects of the story, or did the ideas just fall into place?

JW: Often when I have nothing to do – waiting for traffic lights or standing in an elevator – I find myself wondering: what if? Then I try to come up with a logical answer to an impossible and/or bizarre presenting scenario. This is how most of my stories begin.

I also like to have a very clear picture of my characters and how they’d respond to different situations (even situations that are not in the story), because, the way I see it, if you know your characters well enough, the story basically writes itself. And, providing you’ve come up with some fun, humanly flawed characters, the resulting story should be pretty entertaining.Secret Stealer

AB: The Secret Stealer is a fun story, with quirky humour, but at the same time it touches on more serious themes in places, and shows the challenges James faces in dealing with the adult world. Did you find it difficult to balance the humour with the more serious parts of the book?

JW: To be honest, I had not consciously thought about balancing humour with the more serious parts, seeing as how life seems to throw both at us at seemingly random times. What is more important, I think, is how the characters (or we, in life), respond to those situations. Even whilst we suffer our various tragedies, it’s important we keep enough perspective to be able to laugh, even if it’s just at small things, or at ourselves. Humour and tragedy are two things that every life will encounter, and I feel it’s important that stories, as altered representations of life and reality, have elements of both. When James is faced with both challenges and tragedy, it affects him, of course, but he doesn’t let it ruin him. Life throws a spanner in the works, and James does his best to overcome.

AB: The Secret Stealer would appeal to a very wide age group: anyone from about 14 and up. Did it surprise you when you found this out, or were you originally writing it for a wide audience?

JW: Yes, I was quite surprised! Mostly because I write for my own enjoyment; and I was always under the impression that my humour can be a little odd sometimes… I was happy to discover that it appealed at least to my mother and a few close friends, but sometimes I’d find myself wondering if they were just being nice… And even since winning IP Picks, I occasionally still doubt myself, thinking: maybe I just got lucky. But considering that these friends and my mother tend to give honest opinions and very ‘constructive’ criticism, and the fact that I (more often than not) lose at card and board games, I’m not so sure it’s luck after all.

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My Top Ten Submission Tips

[IP Prose Editor Lauren Daniels gets a few things off her chest about submissions good and bad, so pay attention!]

Yep, we've seen the lot at IP. Children's picture book manuscripts scrawled in crayon. Title pages with no contact details. Typo-filled query letters that never mention the title of the manuscript they're trying to convince us to love... but do address the movie, which will be bigger than Ben Hur, that will follow it.

So here are ten tips on what makes a professional submission. We’d love to see more of these and fewer purple yarn-bound ones in Forte fonts.

1. Read the submission guidelines found on ipoz.biz/guide.htm

2. Use 12 point font, Times New Roman (TNR), double or 1.5 spaced for prose, single for poetry. If accepted, a manuscript in TNR is easier to pull through the various software used in book production. Create a title page using size 12 TNR with your contact details in the bottom right hand corner.

3. Learn grammar, punctuation and dialogue format to control the finesse and subtlety of your work. Editors want to talk about the issues that will keep your readers riveted and critics raving rather than play the scolding school teacher.

4. For the love of all that is holy, prose writers, indent the first line of your paragraphs! Indented paragraphs are professional standard. While gaps between non-indented paragraphs are suited for business or web content, a line space between two paragraphs in prose indicates a change of scene.

5. For email submissions, send your whole poetry, fiction or non-fiction manuscript in one MS Word .doc file. We can also read files created and saved in Pages and Open/Neo Office (.odt). Getting 15 files for 15 chapters or 35 files for 35 poems makes any editor weave a tapestry of obscenities. The query letter and a synopsis can go together in a separate file. The beauty of email submissions is they come with an email address we can reply to, saving trees!

6. For postal submissions, include a SASE if you want the manuscript returned. That’s an acronym for professional courtesy. Self-Addressed Stamped Envelopes tells us you want your hardcopy back. Also, skip binding, stapling or weaving purple yarn through the work – just send it with a clip or unbound.

7. Write a snappy synopsis that summarises the plot, theme and character development of the manuscript. If you’re not sure what one is, find out! The best ones are short – one page!

8. Write a one page query letter. Tell us where you’ve published, not that you’re a passionate writer. Everyone’s a passionate writer. Tell us about your career or study, if it lends credibility to your manuscript. Specify your title, genre, intended audience and word count.

9. Tell us how you’ll help sell the book. What are your networks? Can you propose launch venues where people know you? Are there conventions where your book would fit? Are you a member of any writers centres here or internationally? Do you have a website? Use Facebook? Twitter?

10. Write local, Think global. A digital pioneer, IP is one of Australia’s premier digital publishers. Linked to international distributors like Amazon and channels like Kindle and print-on-demand, your future book will be accessible across the globe within hours of us listing it with our global partners. That means we want books that meet people everywhere. Yes, we love Australian memoirs, novels based in Brisbane, bush poetry and children's books starring gum trees and a platypus. Don't water the story down but do make insider knowledge accessible.

Why does all this matter so much? Sometimes the arts are treated as hobbies, even by those trying to crack into them. Using these approaches in publishing, however, will help you get noticed as a pro!

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IP Kidz Update

We're eagerly awaiting the arrival in port of two new kids titles, including our second YA novel. Hazel Edwards and John Petropoulos picture book Plato, the Platypus Plumber (part-time) has already stirred a great deal of interest, with the phone running hot with pre-orders. In our first ever launch in Indonesia, Hazel attended Pasir Ridge, International School,
East Kalimantan for an interactive launch where the children got deeply involved.

Plato_BasirMeg Baxter, the Early Childhood teacher and her enthusiastic staff had organised a special ‘mud’ cake iced with a replica of the cover as well as ‘muddy’ chocolate milk. SFX of water noises. Charts of platypus facts, and even an story house, surrounded by recycled branches (in the spirit of the story) with an author chair for the ‘first’ reading. To the side was a ‘creek’ with platypus shapes.

The children had all created their own plumber tool kits in mini cases. Teachers had prepared the children well, making invitations. For the launch, platypus prints led into the room and up to the pile of Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time) books.

For more information on this IP Kidz first, check out the Reading Stack article on the Indonesian launch.

Plato joins a host of IP Kidz books with an environment theme, including:

The Greenhouse Effect and Global Cooling (Project Earth-mend Series) by David P Reiter

Lame Duck Protest by Goldie Alexander & Michele Gaudion

The Giggle Gum Tree by Juliet Williams & ELizabeth Botté

Zahara's Rose by Libby Hathorn & Doris Unger

Plato is already available for order in North America and Europe in the paperback edition.

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Also about to land in Australia is The Secret Stealer by Jess Webster. Published under our Glass House Books imprint, it is a creative and well-crafted fantasy story for young adults, which takes the reader on an entertaining ride as it looks at curses, good and evil, and the challenges of dealing with the adult world when you're still a kid. An exceptionally well-written, engrossing, compelling and easy to read novel, with characters that are believeable and fully developed.Secret Stealer

When she isn't writing, in her spare time Jess Webster is a medical student at the University of Wollongong. The Secret Stealer was the 2009 IP Picks Best First Book Award winner.

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Coming up later this year we have two titles by Edel Wignell; Christine's Matilda, being illustrated by Elizabeth Botté, who also illustrated The Giggle Gum Tree, as well as Long Live Us! a fractured fairy tale being illustrated by Peter Alert; a new Mark Carthew / Mike Spoor picture book, Witches Britches, Itches & Twitches; About Face by Robert Moore, a picture book being illustrated by MonkeyStack to complement their animated version; and Lyli Meets the Stone-Muncher by first-time author/illustrator Celine Eimann, who pitched her work to David and Anna at last year's CYA Conference in Brisbane.

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The other big news for Kidz is that we are working on translations of some of our picture books. Initially these will be Spanish and German translations of Real Guns, The Giggle Gum Tree, Zahara's Rose and Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time). Our Spanish translator is Guadalupe Roseales-Martinez from Translations Linking Services and our German translator is Cindy Ruch, a visiting student from Germany studying at the University of Queensland and also interning at IP. John Petropoulos, illustrator of Plato, has even offered to help prepare a Greek edition of that book!

The plan is to make the translated editions available soon via our print on demand partners Lightning Source and CreateSpace, but also keep an eye open for Spanish and German publishers who might want to publish their own editions of the books.

IP Digital Buzz

The recent announcement of the iPad has sent a tidal wave through the publishing world. Rupert Murdock loves the iPad, Stephen Frye wants one, and it's already being billed as a "Kindle-killer", and Bob Carr thinks publishers should be afraid, very afraid.

Do we look worried?

Days before Steve Jobs announced the iPad, IP launched our Digital Publishing Centre. In brief, the DPC will give authors, publishers and companies quick access to digital publication. This can mean:

• sending digital masters to our POD (print on demand) partners to enable short print runs of physical books

• uploading files to Amazon or Apple for their Kindle and iPad

• converting digital files to ePub, mobi or pdf formats for a variety of eBook Readers

The beauty of the DPC model is that quality will not have to be sacrificed. Titles published by the DPC will still have access to IP's full editorial and design services to ensure the highest quality standards are maintained. Once published, DPC titles will be available 24/7 on dozens of sites around the world.

For complete details on the DPC and how you or your organisation can claim your stake in the digital publishing world, check out the DPC site.

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IP Sales Scoop

Our Summer Tour proved to be our best ever. Sold-out events on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane kicked off the Season, followed by sessions in Dubbo, Ballarat, Melbourne, Bairnsdale, Wollongong and Sydney. For more details, check out Out & About.

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In a bold new move, IP Sales is expanding its operations to cover all aspects of distribution for our imprints as well as distribution for select titles published outside IP. There's an old saying that if you want something done right, you'd better do it yourself, and this seems to apply to book distribution. Our experience with external distributors has been less than satisfactory. Our titles were not getting the exposure and promotion they deserved. We are determined that they will, henceforth.

This will require rethinking and updating our methods and strategies for distribution. If Old Century methods aren't working, why shouldn't we try something different?

Like other aspects of the book trade, distribution channels are changing. Fewer and fewer libraries want to meet with individual booksellers, and even bookshops have less and less time to meet with reps. When IP releases a title, within days it becomes accessible to people around the world via dozens of online sites offering it for sale. There are now more efficient ways of spreading the word about our new titles than relying on reps who know little about them. We can promote to Amazon, Google and other sites with enriched promotional detail that gives prospective buyers of our titles immediate access to complete and accurate information.

This new wave approach to distribution will see much more done online, with information being available 24/7 to physical and virtual booksellers and individuals globally.

The expanding market for eBooks will see more direct contact between buyers, authors and publishers, simplifying the supply chain and making books more affordable and accessible than ever before.

New Century Distribution will complement New Century Publishing, and IP Sales will be riding high on that wave.

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We are stepping up our efforts to sign deals with foreign publishers that would see editions of our titles in other territories. With the help of Hemingway in SpainTrade Queensland, we are talking to several publishers in India about our children's and adult's list. We have also commissioned Spanish and German editions of some of our picture books, as well as a Spanish edition of David Reiter's Hemingway in Spain, a poetry book now in its second edition with IP. Finally we are about to sign an agreement with an agent that would see us represented in China and Taiwan. Exciting times, indeed!

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New Releases from IPS

IPS has been distributing publications by the Australian Society of Friends (Quakers) for some time, and we now have the latest from their James FindVoiceBackhouse Lecture Series, Finding Our Voice: Our truth, community and journey as Australian Young Friends. It's a compendium of views from members of the Young Quakers, defining themselves as a special spiritual community within the larger Quaker movement. PB, 64pp, ISBN 9780980325867; AU$15.95

Also a familiar face – or should we say voice – on the IP list is Bush Poet Extraordinaire Jack Drake. We've been selling his original bush poetry CDs Bush Poetry Classicsfor some time – here and overseas via CD Baby. But now he's decided to compile a CD called Australian Bush Poetry Classics on which he performs the work of some of the traditional names like Banjo Patterson, CJ Dennis and Henry Lawson. His idea is to sell them into schools , complete with a teacher's guide, and we think he's onto something. CD-R, 65min, ISBN 9780957847767, AU$25.

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Do you have a new book to promote? Did you know that IP Sales has developed an extensive network of libraries, bookshops and suppliers to schools and libraries? Have a look at the IPS Page to see if we can help.

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Out & About

Our Summer Season kicked off with a very scenic launch of Tracy Woolley's Inspire Your Day : A Little Book of Inspiration at the Mooloolaba Surf Club. The views over the twilight beach were fitting since Tracy's book is a melding of her terrific photography of Australian landscapes juxtaposed with inspirational sayings from some of the world's great thinkers.

Our Summer Gala Weekend in Brisbane kicked off with a two course dinner at the Punjabi Palace in West End, also a fitting setting since one of the Dying in Indiabooks we were launching was Josh Donellan's A Beginner's Guide to Dying in India. Just before the first course arrived, we had readings from Josh and Rebecca Bloomer (Willow Farrington Bites Back) and Tracy talked about her photographs.

We then returned to more familiar turf at the Performance Studio at 4MBS for the Gala Performance, where the other readers were joined by Nadine Neumann (Wobbles: An Olympic Story). Nadine had already mounted launches of her own down in New South Wales at swimming events, and we delighted to have her join us, especially since she's expecting her second child!

David then hit the road for Dubbo, where he gave a talk and served on a panel about publishing sponsored by Orana Arts and MacQuarie Regional Library.

Then it was off to Ballarat for the launch of Lorraine McGuigan's IP Picks 2009 winning poetry collection Wings of the Same Bird. In the audience wereWings of Same Bird EA Gleeson (in between the dancing) and Bruce Oakman, whose collection In Defence of Hawaiian Shirts will be published in our next Season. Ballarat continues to live up to its reputation of being a hotbed of poetry!

In Melbourne, we had two more successful events. The first was a multi-author event at Ross House, where Lorraine was joined by Tracy, Josh, Rebecca and Ashley Capes (Stepping Over Seasons) before an audience of more than 70 people. The following day, Lorraine and Ashley read at Collected Works Bookshop, with the kind support of our friend Kris Hemensley and the best-ever turn-out we've had there.

Stepping Over SeasonsOur next gig was at Bairnsdale Library, where David read from Primary Instinct to the facination of Ashley's teaching colleagues after launchingStepping Over Seasons to an enthusiastic reception.

After a meeting at Bega Library that might result in a future exhibition of Dale Kentwell's artwork from Mum: speaking Latin with a singlet tan, David gave a talk and a reading from Primary Instinct at Wollongong Library. The audience may have been a bit small, but the pastries were delicious!

The Tour ended on a high with another multi-author launch at the NSW Zahara's RoseWriters' Centre, following David's digital workshops that weekend. Nadine, Tracy, Josh and Rebecca were joined by Libby Hathorn, who introduced her latest picture book, Zahara's Rose, and had some very kind things to say about IP Kidz. Thanks, Libby!

Congratulations to Libby for her awards in the YA category of the Society of Women Authors NSW Biennial Awards for Georgina (first place) and Fire Song and Letters to a Princess (commended).

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VoyagersWhile we're in congratulatory mode, congratulations too to Melior Simms, whose poem from our Voyagers: Science Fiction from New Zealand anthology has been nominated for an international poetry award, the Rhysling Award. Coverage of Melior's achievement in the Waikato Times continues the good press we've had for this fine book.

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HedgeburnersGoldie Alexander has been out there actively promoting her latest IP Kidz title, Hedgeburners: an A~Z Mystery. As well as appearing on the ABC's Crime Couch recently, she was stage centre in an article in the Sunday Age about how seniors are getting into Facebook, not only to keep in contact with the grandkids but also to promote their own work. Oldies Rule! Goldie also reports that she won first prize in the Gilgamesh Fables Short Story Competition – well-done!

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Nadine Neumann is flexing her Olympic muscle on the promotional trail for her memoir Wobbles, single-handedly selling 300 copies of the book to an Wobblesalumni event at MacQuarie University and at swimming carnival events. Good on you, Nadine! IP joined in the spirit by donating a percentage of the proceeds to the MS Society.

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In Review

[These are snippets from full reviews. Click on the link to view the complete review for each title.]

On David Gilbey's Death and the Motorway

DeathMotorway“Gilbey is able to let plain detail do its work and so come up with a moving poem. Robert Lowell set the standard for this kind of writing fifty years ago in Life Studies — and it's not nearly as easy as it may seem.”

- Geoff Page, Canberra Times

On Josh Donellan's A Beginner's Guide to Dying in India

Dying in India“This debut novel from local boy J. M. Donellan is freaking hilarious. It's got all indicators of a great novel, including the ones that shouldn't be. Anecdotal and strange, he uses a language of an American comedian with a sort of British wit.”

- Sarah Werkmeister, FourThousand

On Libby Hathorn's Zahara's Rose:

“What I loved about Zahara's Rose was the reminder that, something now so common to us, must have seemed exquisite when first discovered. Libby describes the perfume as the perfume of paradise, honey, musk, cinnamon. Only sweeter. The Flower of Heaven. And yet, now we take this flower for granted. Let's hope, that when our children of today hear Zahara's story, they will remember to stop and smell the roses.Zahara's Rose

– Jackie Hosking, Pass It On

"The setting for this beautifully illustrated book is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon that overlook the Euphrates River, created by King Nebuchadnezzar for his new bride, Queen Amyritis, to alleviate any longing for her homeland, Persia. This delicate story on the birth of beauty is illustrated in both soft and vibrant watercolour, with pages and cover framed in attractive borders."

– Anastasia Gonis, The Reading Stack

"The warm relationship between grandchild and grandparent provides as welcome an anchor for young readers visiting an unknown land and culture as it does for Zahara."

– Sharon Greenaway, Magpies

On Di Bates Aussie Kid Heroes:

Aussie Kid HeroesThis is a rich, informative collection of modern and older stories that will interest, inspire and move readers deeply about children, known and unknown, who left their mark in some extraordinary and individual way on the world. Full of interesting facts, not a word is wasted within the 118 pages. This is a priceless addition to any bookshelf.

– Anastasia Gonis, The Reading Stack

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Your Chaser Deal

The Almost January Clearance...

Has your credit card recovered from helping the country out of recession? We think you deserve a bargain for showing good old Aussie Spirit, so we're offering a 2 for 1 special this issue. That's right, dear readers, 2 FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!

Simply pick one title from the first list and we'll send you your choice from the second list ABSOLUTELY FREE. Well. not absolutely – you'll still have to pay a flat $5 for the postage. Order TWO, get TWO more for free – you know how it works, you watch the ABC, right?

Supplies strictly limited (has anyone ever heard of a company that had unlimited stock??) SO GET ON WITH IT!!

Orders must be sent to sales@ipoz.biz, and please only individuals need apply – no library suppliers in disguise!

IMPORTANT: Make your Email Subject YOUR CHASER DEAL or someone here will find a way to charge you full price!

One more thing: you need to place your order by 28 Feb, OK?

LIST ONE (you buy these)

Zahara's Rose, $26.95

Inspire Your Day, $32.95

The Hitchers of Oz, $32.95

The World Cup Baby, $32.95

Primary Instinct, $30

LIST TWO (you get these for free)

Lame Duck Protest (worth $24.95, even on eBay)

Another (worth $28, or at least $27.95)

Aussie Kid Heroes (worth $24.95 - what price heroism?)

Blood and Guts (worth $30; more if you're scheduled for elective surgery!)

Vocal Enrichment: Path to Enlightenment (worth $25 at half the price)

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