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Contents

From the Director’s Desk

Editorial: RIP for e-books?

A Change of ABN!


Focus: Spring Season 2004 Authors!

IP Picks 2005

Staff News

Bestlinks

Out & About

Your Deal

Vol 6, No. 3— ISSN 1442-0023

SaraWelcome to eNews and the launch of our Autumn 2004 publishing season.

In this issue,

Sara Moss, Editor, IP eNews


From the Director's Desk

DR_roofEven those of you who have been following IP's rapid development over the past seven years may be surprised by the range and diversity of titles in our upcoming Spring 2004 Season. Eight new titles will soon be out there, and the scattering of our new authors from Brisbane to Perth reinforcess IP’s position as a significant national publisher.

In order of launch events (not importance!), in early October, we’ll have Wendy Evan’s The Diggings Are Silent an intriguing collection of short fiction that was high rated in the 2004 IP Picks competition. Wendy’s a WA author, and several years ago she teamed up with musician Alan Ferguson, who put the title story to music. We’ll be releasing Alan’s CD at the same time as Wendy’s book.

Later that month, I'll travel to Victoria for events in Melbourne and Benalla in support of Joel Deane’s novel Another and Cate Kennedy’s second poetry collection, Joyflight. Both were 2004 IP Picks winners in their respective categories. Joel has already had some impressive pre-publication publicity for his IP Picks 2004 winning novel Another, owing only partly to the book. He’s just been appointed chief speechwriter for Victorian Premier Steve Brachs, and the media expect to see a literary flair in the Premier’s speeches from now on—doubtlessly a welcome change! Cate Kennedy
’s first book was shortlisted in the Victorian Premier’s Awards last year, so we have high hopes for Joyflight.

In November, the IP Season travels to New South Wales for the launch of Nora Krouk’s Skin for Comfort, joint IP Picks 2004 winner with Joyflight. Nora was one of many Jews who fled persecution in Russia decades ago, living for a number of years in China. Her book travels between those historical locales but also makes many stops in contemporary Australia and Israel to reflect on current issues. Nora’s book will be launched as the final event of the NSW Writers’s Centre Independent Publishers’ Bookfair. I’m also expecting to help launch the latest Glass House Books title, a page-turning crime novel by Central Coast based Margaret Metz. Live By the Bottle was also highly regarded by the IP Picks judging panel this year.

Last but not least is my latest multimedia work, Paul and Vincent, which will be released by IP Digital. The play had its dramatic debut in 4MBS’ summer festival and has since been recorded in their studio for production on CD, including images of the key paintings of Gauguin and van Gogh and suitable period music and sound effects.

Watch for a progress report on My Planets, my multimedia fictive memoir, coming soon to a DVD screen near you. Currently a team from IP, the Arterial Group and QUT’s Cultural Industries faculty are bringing together the multimedia elements, with post-production scheduled to begin later this year.

Never a dull moment on board the IP juggernaut!


Cheers!!

Dr David Reiter

RIP for the e-book?

I was pleased to be invited to serve on a panel at the recent Byron Bay Writerss Festival where our subject was to decide the fate of online publishing. You could call it payback time by the faithful supporters of the Physical Book, who knew all along that publishers would eventually come to their senses and realise that the market really isnt interested in e-books, and never was.

While IP is not an online publisher in the strict meaning of the term, i.e. a digitiser of complete text, we certainly have enough experience in the production and marketing of e-books, which I define to be text online or on portable media, to venture an opinion on the state of play in the industry.

My view has always been that simply putting text online and waiting for the marketplace to deluge you with orders was never going to be a replacement for the vehicle of first-choice, the physical book. After a flurry of interest in our initial text on CD e-books, the market has essentially dried up.

But the point I argued on the panel has always been IPs view: for digital publishing to be accepted: publishers must find ways to take advantage of what the technology has to offer beyond the digitising of text. Hence our line of literary multimedia—The Gallery, Sharpened Knife, and the upcoming Paul and Vincent and My Planets—but also our innovative Text + Audio Series, which includes Chris Mansells The Fickle Brat and Hannaford/Wallers Swelter. These titles have etched themselves a place in the market. The Gallery was our most popular title in 2001, outselling even our print titles, and the multmedia murder mystery Sharpened Knife has also proved to be attractive to buyers.

There is no turning back the clock to the Pre-digital Age. As digital forms continue to converge, there will be increasing demand for content that can play or be viewed on pay-as-you-view TV, laptops, on DVD players and on the new generation of PDAs and mobile phones. Literary practitioners ignore this handwriting at their peril. There are so many new avenues emerging for creative expression, and artists should embrace, not feel threatened by, them.

The other panelists had a similar view, so the hoped-for bun fight never really eventuated. I thought one of the most telling examples was from the perspective of the person at Pan-McMillan in charge of promoting Matthew Reilly, a best-selling print author. Research had shown that Reillys market was heavily slanted toward teen-age boys, so the author decided to try a modified Stephen King by putting a new work online in instalments. Contrary to King who tested the market by asking people to pay for each installment, Reilly was determined to give away his new work as a thank-you to his many fans. Was the site popular? It was. Were there any concerns about reading unbroken blocks of text on the screen? Apparently not.

This many have had more to do with the price being right than anything else. But it does prove that people are willing to read text online if the incentive is there. My point is that we can provide an even greater incentive, that might even motivate people to get out their credit cards, if we give them content adapted to our rapidly evolving screen culture.

To breathe new life into Mark Twains witty retort about the premature reports of his death, the pronouncements of the death of the e-book are doubtlessly exaggerated, so long as publishers and artists realise that the form must continue to adapt along with the emerging technology, and that they can play a pivotal role in creating content for the Digital Age.

DR

<title>IP eNews</title>

Last issue we thrilled you with the news of our new EFT details; this time we announce that IP has a new ABN:

39 091 060 945

These details are also on our Orders page, and will doubtlessly serve ascompelling reading for people eager to pay us for our titles or services.

For those of you who pay by cheque or money order, it goes without saying—but it seems that some people do need to be reminded—that all such forms should be made out to Interactive Publications Pty Ltd, but under our new ABN you can also make them out to IP, our trading name.

Common errors include cheques made out to Treetop Studio, which is where we work, or to Interactive Press or Glass House Books (imprints, rather than the company). Some people even make them out to David Reiter, which sends our bank manager into meltdown.

Why does IP have a new ABN? Its a long story, and if you want the full sordid details itll cost you at least one new title, so dont ask!

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[In this issue, we focus on three new authors: Cate Kennedy, Joel Deane and Wendy Evans. I asked each of them to explain what inspires their writing. Their responses are as diverse and unique as the titles we’re releasing this season.]

Cate Kennedy: Joyflight

Cate’s poetry collection was the joint winner of the IP Picks 2004 Award for Poetry and is forthcoming in IP’s Spring Season 2004. Her first collection, Signs of Other Fires (Five Islands Press, 2001) was Highly Commended in the Victorian Premier’s Awards, and won the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize in 2002. Cate is also an award winning author of fiction. She teaches creative writing and lives on a farm on the Broken River in northeast Victoria.

I interviewed Cate about the inspirations for her writing, asking her about the importance to her of `capturing the moment’ and paying attention to the finer details of nature in Joyflight.

SM: When did you start writing poetry and why?

Cate_KennedyCK: I was always drawn to poetry as a child and keen to work out how different poets controlled the effect they had on readers so precisely. I never had an aptitude for numbers but even now I can recall and recite rhyming poetry and song lyrics I learned as a child–something about their rhythm and “fit” really appealed to me. Things like particular turns of phrase stay with me, or writers reaching to show something familiar in a completely fresh way.

SM: Who, if anyone, has influenced your poetry and why?

CK: Great poets, obviously like Seamus Heaney and Pablo Neruda have influenced my writing–the pleasure in reading something passionately felt and clearly expressed is a big inspiration. It doesn’t have to be a poet, either, who makes me feel I’m learning something about language–the writer Ray Bradbury influenced me a lot as a teenager, his writing seemed so lyrical and multi-layered. When I’m feeling out of ideas I read Gwen Harwood, who I’ve always loved, to get myself back on track.

SM: What are some of the things that inspire you to write poetry?

CK: The other day in the Guardian I read a poetry review where the author called nature “that most hackneyed of inspirations”. I gulped! The natural world continues to be the thing that gets me to the desk to write–or, maybe more accurately, observing how humans interact with the natural world, and what that provokes to the surface, which is always worth exploring. I live on a farm, so it follows that I’m not going to be writing about urban landscapes or city images. Like everyone, I write to process crises, or emotional upheavals, just to make sense of them. I try to have my antennae out to watch the details more carefully, and to question my own responses.

SM: Do you feel that writing poetry comes naturally to you or do you have to work at it?

CK: I think I have to work at it. I find I fall between two aims: to find a naturalistic, accessible tone and to really locate the distillation of the idea. Sometimes my poems seem too prosaic to me, and I need to push harder to shape those ideas poetically.

SM:
You are also an accomplished author of fiction. Are there differences in the inspiration for these genres? A different purpose to your writing for one or the other? Do you favour one over the other?

CK: I think, fundamentally, my inspiration is the same–I want to give you the jolt the experience or observation gave me. It’s really satisfying to write dialogue that rings true and good, revealing action in prose, but obviously you can do a great deal more with imagery in poetry, and play with structure a lot more to provoke a desired effect. Either way, I think I’m a “narrative” thinker. I like story, so crafting good prose that explores dense and complex characters is always going to be something I’m interested in. Maybe this is an adolescent overhang from Ray Bradbury days, but I’m wondering if there isn’t some form which finds a middle ground between prose and poetry – something driven by the narrative structure of prose but which opens up the metaphorical, lyrical potential of language the way poetry does. I’d say that’s what I’m learning to do.

SM: Your book cover features a photograph of three children standing with a small plane and this Joy Flight is also the subject of the title poem and the book’s title. Why was this story so important to you?

CK: My Dad had a long career in the Airforce, and I like the idea that this was the first day of setting that decision in motion. The moment we hardly recognise which takes us somewhere we can never predict.

SM: Why did you choose to write about it?

CK: It happened just like it says in the poem–we were talkingJoyflight after the death of my uncles about the time they went on that flight. I’d never heard the story till then, yet Dad actually kept this old photo someone had taken to commemorate the Tiger Moth arriving in that little town. Maybe it was that idea of death cutting us off, so we lose all those stories unless they’re told and passed on. I do see stories as talismans, something precious and potent we carry with us. And I do think now that we’re looking to fiction to tell us those truths. I think we’re trusting the “news media” less and less, and people’s stories–their flawed but sincerely-felt versions of the truth–more and more. As what’s “real” becomes more and more contested we go back to story, the things that feel meaningful. I guess the poem’s exploring the sense of responsibility of this, what it’s asking of us.

SM: And is this idea important to the book as a whole?

CK: Maybe in the sense that we “capture the moment” but in fact the moment captures us.

That’s how the natural world works too–we’re struggling to impose significance on it but it goes on implacably–relentlessly, almost–showing us that we’re incidental, impermanent, and that the impression we actually make is the moment we would never expect.

SM: You show an incredible attention to detail in your poetry. This is particularly evidenced when writing about the natural world and how it intersects with our human experience. It seems to me many of us travel through our lives missing these finer details.

CK: Couldn’t agree with you more.

SM: In your opinion, why are they so important?

CK: Whatever insight we’re going to have, it’s going to be when we are paying attention to those fleeting moments, when we escape into the present, rather than being fixated on the past or the future. Rather than living in a state of delayed gratification, I wish we would savour that gratification now–give away our ludicrous attempts to control outcomes. I feel very lucky to have lived for a few years in Mexico, where it’s possible to experience this constant, flexing, sinuous present. In my first book Signs of Other Fires, which is pretty much all about being swamped with that realisation, I wrote a poem called “There Is This Moment”, which talks about the sense of being taken up by the day like a thread; it says: “I am being used / to make something”. I love the sense of being encompassed into the moment, swept up and knitted together into something, if I can only pay attention and see what’s being shown to me.

SM: Why should we pay attention?

CK: I love what Kafka says about this: “Be quite still and solitary. / The world will freely offer itself to you. / To be unmasked, it has no choice. / It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
If we want that, we have to shut up and be ready to pay attention.

SM: How important is your connection with the natural world, the environment you are living in, to your writing?

CK: Very important. I feel like over a period of years I’ve weaned myself off over-stimulus! I’m not addicted to constant entertainment any more–I’m actually becoming a bit of a recluse. Maybe it’s been shaped by living in Mexico, but one thing I don’t think will ever leave me now is my sense of privilege–being able to read, having thousands of books, a computer, a safe, clean, beautiful place to live, and hours of time to dedicate to doing something I love.

SM: In 2002 you won the Vincent Buckley Award and travelled to Ireland. There are several poems in the second half of your collection that were written during this trip, including the incredibly powerful “The Poor Commissioners”. In this poem, and many others there is a strong sense of history, in a personal and family sense and a wider social sense. Do you see this as an important element of your poetry?

CK: It worries me that schools are phasing out teaching history, because I feel that most of the context in which I make sense of things is to do with the past. In fact, it’s the only context. I teach senior students creative writing and they always have the same question when they’re asked to write a story or creative response: “But what am I going to write mine ABOUT?” It’s as if we’re removing all context and meaning from their experiences then expecting them to discuss them in an insightful, enlightened way–in fact, we punish teenagers for not respecting the “lessons of the past”, accusing them of being totally self-centred, when we’ve coached them all their lives in ignoring anything outside their own frame of reference (and to take their meaning, instead, from the accumulation of status objects.)

History works like the ultimate “reality check” for me; a jumping-off point to consider the whole sweep of human behaviour and my own identity within it. We repeat history, and that always seems richly ironic.

SM: You teach creative writing. If you could only give one piece of important advice to authors, particularly beginners, what would it be?

CK: I would say forget about syntax, meter, technicalities while you’re learning–just focus on making an emotional connection. If I had to express that as a metaphor, I’d say craft a mirror you can see yourself in, then take it outside and see who else can see themselves in it–when other people look and recognise themselves, you’ll know you’ve written something good.

SM: What would you most like your readers to take away from their experience of Joyflight?

CK: Barbara Kingsolver says the purpose of writing is to “probe the tender spots of an imperfect world.”
I would love readers to recognise a few of those tender spots from this book.

<title>IP eNews </title>

Joel Deane: another

Joel Deane’s first novel won the 2004 IP Picks Award for Fiction and will also be released in our Spring Season. Joel is a journalist, producer, editor, speechwriter, media advisor, novelist and poet. His latest incarnation is as speechwriter for Victorian Premier, Steve Brachs.

another is set in the urban fringes of what could be any Australian city. It explores the life of the Purcells, a family haunted by the shadows of their violent past and clinging precariously to their existence in another, a desolate housing estate.

I asked Joel about the inspirations for his writing generally and what prompted him to write this story in particular.

SM: Joel when did you start writing fiction and why?

Joel_DeaneJD: I guess I’ve always been a storyteller. I wrote and performed two plays when I was in primary school and was a chronic bullshit artist as a child–but it wasn’t until I hit sixteen that I started to write seriously. By seriously, I mean for survival.

At that time, I was struggling. Reading and writing poetry literally saved me. I started cranking out poems rather than essays and started failing school. At least one of my teachers thought I was on drugs.

I also started writing a very autobiographical novel around that time, but abandoned it. When I was 20 I wrote a novella, which I shelved. I wrote a screenplay, but threw it away. I then started writing short stories, but stopped after Overland published one of my pieces when I was 26. That convinced me that I was ready to write a decent novel. So I started work on another.

SM: Who do you think has most influenced your writing?

JD: Poems and poets have had the most influence on my writing. Neruda, Paz, Ginsberg, Auden, Blake, Wright, Plath, Hughes, Wordsworth, Yeats, Dickinson, Matthews, Crane, Donne, Patterson, Slessor, Frost, Jarrell, and a bunch of others all heavily influenced me as a young writer. Right now, I’m taken by John Kinsella, trying to catch up to MTC Cronin and connecting the dots with Michael Farrell. I also saw a terrific reading by David Prater in Melbourne the other night and love Paul Mitchell’s stuff.

I have also been influenced by a lot of books–such as Wuthering Heights, Beloved, The English Patient, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Power Without Glory, The Heart of Darkness, Ironweed, Captivity Captive, The True History of the Kelly Gang, Cloud Street, A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia and Other Stories, Love in a Time of Cholera, Lolita, Les Miserables, War and Peace, Ulysses, The Great Gatsby, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Catcher in the Rye.

SM: You write both poetry and fiction. Are there differences in the inspiration for these genres? A different purpose to your writing in one or the other? Do you favour one over the other?

JD: My poems are, effectively, my internal cartography. My fiction is more about how I see the external world. Quite often, the core idea for a piece comes from a poem, but, once I’ve finished, it is at least 40,000 words away from that impetus. I don’t favour one form over the other. To me they are like two brothers–with poetry the introvert, fiction the extrovert.

SM: You also write professionally as a journalist and speechwriter. Do you think this experience strengthens your creative writing?

JD: I effectively grew up in a newsroom–starting work at The Sun in Melbourne when I was 17. I wanted to experience the wider world. I also wanted to get out of home fast and support myself. Newspapers were the exit strategy. That was more than 17 years ago. Since then, journalism and politics have educated me (I didn’t go to university), taught me how the world works, and introduced me to a wide array of people.

That being said, I’d have to say my personal life–family in particular–has had a much greater impact on my creative work. I come from an arty-farty family. My Mum’s a nurse and my Dad’s a taxi driver, but they’ve sired two musicians, a painter, a film aficionado, and me. There’s always been peer group pressure within my family to be creative. If I’m not writing, my brother and three sisters want to know why.

SM: Do you think your skills as a creative writer bring a certain individual flair to your speechwriting and journalism?

JD: Creatively, journalism and speechwriting are relatively easy–compared to fiction and poetry–but they are trades with their own requirements and disciplines. I enjoy plying those trades, realize I’m lucky to be earning money from writing-related endeavours, and enjoy cranking out a good speech or article. Whether it’s a poem or a speech, I enjoy playing with the sounds words make when you bang them together.
The form constraints of journalism and speechwriting also tend to drive me towards more creative pursuits. I need an outlet. An antidote.

SM: Can you give us an example of where your creativity has led to a humorous or surprising outcome? Do you have any anecdotes you would like to share with us?

JD: When I was living in San Francisco I landed a reading at a Beat exhibition in the M.H. de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. It was a big deal at the time. They had Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript of On the Road on display–a roll of typing paper taped together so that Kerouac, who was allegedly hopped up on pills, could crank out his opus in one long jam. It looked like one of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Another relic they rolled out was Allen Ginsberg. This was not long before Ginsberg’s death, but he gave a ripsnorter of a reading–he only wanted to read new stuff and even grabbed an accordion and squeezed out a few poems-as-song. It was like he was trying to channel William Blake. I was very impressed–and honoured to perform on the same stage.

SM: Your novel is set on the urban fringes in a very alienating landscape with characters who live on the margins of society. Is this purely a work of imaginative fiction for you or was it also inspired by personal observations/experiences?

JD: another is based on things I’ve done, things I’ve seen, anotherthings I’ve heard and things I’ve made up. It’s not autobiographical, but I am in there. For instance, I identify very strongly with Toby’s inarticulate alienation. As for Suzie, I didn’t realize when I was writing her, but she is largely based on someone I know and love. Also, the feeling of another, the place, the sense of isolation and dislocation, of being trapped, is exactly how I felt when I started writing seriously as a teenager.



SM:
another could be seen as a powerfully political novel, a critique of Australian society. The characters are representative of a growing underclass of the socially and economically disenfranchised. It certainly seems to challenge the popular myth of Australia as the “fair go” society?

JD: I didn’t set out to write a political novel. My only intention was to tell Suzie and Toby’s story in the most direct, unvarnished fashion–bristling with strong voices and vivid images. What fired me was my affection for the main characters and anger at the situation they found themselves in.
Regarding our “fair go” society, it doesn’t exist. If people are self-satisfied enough to think this a “fair go” society they must also believe the Earth’s flat. As a society, we must keep striving for social justice.

SM: Was there a political motivation of which you were aware while writing this novel? Were you consciously drawing people’s attention to the realities of life on the fringes?

JD: I wasn’t consciously trying to make a political statement, but I am very political and many of the stories I am interested in have a connection to social justice issues. For instance, I’d love to write something with the punch of Frank Hardy’s Power Without Glory and the poise of Victor Pelevin’s The Clay Machine-Gun.

SM: What impressions would you most like the reader to take from this?

JD: I’d like the reader to wonder whether another sits on the perimeter of their city. I’d also hope they cared about Toby and Suzie.

SM: another also depicts a “cycle” of family violence and shows us the ordinariness and every day nature of violence. Even when the characters we grow close to throughout the novel commit criminally violent acts, we do not lose our human connection with them.

JD: Violence is like Vegemite. It’s in everyone’s cupboard–and the taste for it is quite often handed down from generation to generation. It’s a mistake to think that violence is out of the ordinary. People who commit violent acts are just like me–but they’ve found themselves in a set of circumstances they couldn’t cope with. Ultimately, circumstances teach us who we are. And the lessons can be ugly.

SM: Do you see this depiction/exploration of violence as an important element of another? If so, what motivated you to explore this in the manner you did?

JD: When I started another I wanted to discover Toby. I saw him as someone who could have been me–with the same rage and alienation I felt, but could never adequately express. I wrote to unearth Toby.
Suzie was the first major discovery I made during the writing–and she took over the book to a degree. After that, the circumstances unfolded. The violence just happened.

SM: You have created realistic and individual characters in another. Do you create your characters on the basis of people you know?

JD: Some characters are partly based on people I know. And some of the circumstances–such as Brendan’s naked drive on the hood of his car, Danny in the hospital, Suzie’s self-harm, and hanging around the airport with nowhere to go–are based on things I know and things I’ve done.

SM: Did it ever get difficult to live with Toby, Suzy et. al while writing the novel or are you able to successfully compartmentalise the different aspects of your professional writing career?

JD: No. In the rereading, though, parts of the book disturb me.

SM: Did you ever find them intruding on other areas of your life? I can imagine it would be difficult to write an uplifting speech or promotional media with Suzie in your ear, for example?

JD: Suzie and Toby are still with me. As are all the poems I’ve ever written. For better or worse, they are pieces of me. They help make the rest of my life bearable.

SM: One of the great strengths of another is your atmospheric depiction of place and strong imagery. Has your work as a poet strengthened this aspect of your fiction writing?

JD: When I wrote another I thought of it as a poem–a 45,000 word narrative poem. I wanted it to be evocative and visual–and felt that the country, which is so much wiser than us, should be the bedrock of the story.

SM: How long did it take you to write another?

JD: The first draft took five months. The final version seven years. Between the first draft and the final version I lost two or three years. Maybe more. There were a series of domestic catastrophes that forced me to stop writing altogether to care for my wife, Kirsten. I nearly lost her; very nearly lost myself. It was a time in my life that was beyond words, and I’m still dealing with the consequences of that period. I was a very angry man. My rage knew no bounds. It changed me.

Kirsten and I also have two children, Sophie and Noah. Our eldest, Sophie, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome in utero. Sophie is a very healthy, happy little girl now, turning four in December, but the five months waiting for her to be born, not knowing the extent of her disabilities, were unspeakable.

To get back to your question, writing in all forms has had to fit around my private dramas for the past seven years. There was a time, early in 2003, when I thought myself a spent force, but, with help, started to get working again, slowly but surely. Late last year I redrafted another for the umpteenth time and wrote my first significant poem, “Romeo y Julieta”, in years. It was like coming up for air. I’m now keen to refloat an unfinished American novel that’s 40,000 words underwater.


[Joel’s been enjoying some excellent press coverage in Victoria, due in part to his recent appointment as the Premier’s speechwriter. In a recent article for The Age, Dan Silkstone notes “He will bring to the position a flair for the written word seldom seen in the corridors of Parliament House.”

In closing, Silkstone speculated that if Joel were to enter and win the Victorian Premier’s Award with
another, “he would be in the unprecedented position of writing both the Premier's speech in making the award and his own acceptance words. Not to mention, of course, the prizewinning book.”

Now that would be a very welcome precedent!
]

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up

Wendy Evans: The Diggings Are Silent and Other Australian Stories

[Also forthcoming in October is this collection of stories by Wendy Evans, which was commended in IP Picks 2004. The book will be launched in Perth in October with a CD based on the title story by musician and composer Alan Ferguson.

This is just a brief intro to Wendy. Our next issue will feature a full story on the book and her collaboration with Alan.
]

Wendy_EvansIf you crossed Dylan Thomas with Henry Lawson, Ben Elton, Fay Weldon and Colleen McCullough, you’d get a creative bundle like Wendy J Evans. Unless you believe David Price, one time international president of the National Speakers’ Association, who once introduced her to a conference audience as “the biggest bulldust artist in Australia!”

The former English, Art and Drama teacher, with a B.Sc, worked briefly as a geologist in the Pilbara iron-ore mines in the 70s, before deciding that, while rocks might tell the story of the earth, they were rotten conversationalists! During 14 years in the North-West she wrote, produced and acted in plays, off-beat pantomimes, revues such as Wendy on Whaleback, poetry, short stories and lyrics for folk songs.

‘My voice is like agricultural machinery,’ she says of her performance skills, ‘but I could make people laugh. When I started writing songs which made people cry I left the vocals to those with ability! That’s when I wrote two musicals for State and National Folk Festivals.’

After a stint as a full time landscape artist, she became an entertainments manager, bringing international stars to the Outback, before turning to journalism as a career.

‘I was making news. Others were being paid to write about it. I thought, ‘Stuff that for a deal,’ and started doing my own press,” she explains. ‘I was free-lancing to five papers at one time.’

Though she had written for the West Australian for eight years, she made her mark in Community Newspapers, wanting to stay close to people and their concerns. She won many awards from 1985 to 1999, editor of several mastheads, trained the company’s journalists, wrote a witty weekly column and was appointed political reporter for the group.

After “retiring” to learn how to write novels, she was head-hunted by the State Government as principal policy adviser on community relations to the Ministers for Planning, Heritage, Finance, Lands, Electoral Reform and Fair Trading. She is now a PR Officer at Fremantle Hospital, where she sees the cutting edge of medical developments and the face of human suffering.

‘All experience is research,’ she says. ‘I weave what I learn into my novels and short stories. The art of story-telling is, at heart, the ability to listen to people and to translate real life into fiction, through use of the imagination.’

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Our writing competition is certainly on the national calendar.

We had enquiries throughout the year. When will it be open again for submissions? Would we consider new categories?

The answer to the first question is NOW, and the second, YES! For conditions and an entry form, simply send us an email with Picks as your Subject, or post us an SASE addressed to IP Picks 2005, IP, Treetop Studio, 90 Kuhler Court, Carindale 4152.

Now in its fourth year, Picks opened for submissions from 1 August and will close, as usual, on 30 November. For the first time, we are offering publication to the winner of a new category, Creative Non-fiction.

One of the reasons for the expansion has been the success of two recent Glass House Books titles: Perfect People by Dianne Cleary and Inge by John Veron. The first is essentially a how-to about how the rich and famous think of success, while Inge is a biography of a North Queensland island resident. Both have creative flair, and thats what were looking for in entries in the new category.

While we guarantee royalty publication to the winners in each category, we sometimes also offer commended entries a contract, so you dont necessarily have to win to become an IP author!

Some people hesitate when they see there is no cash prize for the winning entries, but Picks is entirely funded by IP at this stage. We hope that wont always be the case, and were on the lookout for potential sponsors, so, if you have any ideas, please let us know!

In the meantime, consider entering a ms yourself, or feel free to pass on the word!

We had successful launches across the board of our Autumn 2004 titles in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

History was both revisited and created anew when Merle Thornton returned to the landmark Regatta Hotel in Brisbane to launch her IP title After Moonlight.

The Regatta was of course the site of Merle’s famous protest in the 60s, when she and Ro Bogner chained themselves to the public bar of the Regatta to protest against the exclusion of women. This incident had much wider and more important ramifications. The exclusion was representative of society’s exclusion of women generally. The protest was a loud and symbolic “enough’s enough”. When Merle went on to campaign successfully to end the discriminatory policy barring married women from employment in the public service, the two actions became known as “the two bars”.

After_Moonlight_CovPeace was made on both sides on April 21, when the Regatta, fresh from a recent multi-million dollar refurbishment hosted the event in the aptly named Merle Thornton Room. It is not every day an internationally renowned actress and celebrity launches one of our titles but Sigrid Thornton did the honours for her mother. She also gave an inspiring reading from the text and then engaged Merle in a Question/Answer session on the book. This gave the packed house of 150 guests some interesting insights into the novel and Merle’s writing process.

Your newsletter editor had a somewhat obscured view of the event from the book table—which did brisk business all evening—much to our Director’s delight!

After Moonlight continues to attract attention in all the right places. A two page spread appeared in the Age newspaper on 18 July, which we encourage you to link to for more information on Merle and her book.

The Brisbane launch was followed a month later by an equally successful event at ScreenSound Australia in South Melbourne. Sigrid was joined in her support of the book by her husband film-maker Tom Burstall and members of the local Thornton and Burstall clans.



Sigrid gave an even better performance of selections from the book, which inspired our Director to have a chat with her about recording the entire book for our Audio + Text Series. Discussions are ongoing, so watch this space!

After an event at Readings Bookshop in Melbourne, Merle returned to Brisbane in July to appear as a featured guest of the Queensland Writers Centres Wordpool readings series. She made the most of her time here, with an interview on ABC Queensland with Hilary Beaton, who will soon be retiring as Director of the Writers Centre and also with the Arts Editor Sandra Maclean for an upcoming feature in the Courier-Mail.

The following week, Director David Reiter shuttled Merle to readings at West Logan City Library and two Gold Coast Libraries to an enthusiastic reception. Merle weathered all the travelling to and fro like a trooper. Shes been doing it since the 60s and shows no signs of letting up: Remember the Regatta!

<title>IP eNews</title>

A launch of a very different sort took place in mid-April at Sydneys Westmead Childrens Hospital. Perfect People is a new Glass House Books release by SydneyPerfect_People_Cov management consultant Dianne Cleary. In it, Dianne goes behind the spin doctors and publicity machines to track down over 100 of Australia’s most successful and famous people, and, through candid interviews, reveals some of their dreams, fears, imperfections, blunders and gaffs—all in the name of giving us advice on what comprises “success” in contemporary society.

The hospital hosted the event, which was attended by several of the VIPs included in the book, and, in the true spirit of Mothers Day, members of the audience came up to the signing table with armfulls of books. This was a delight of course to our Director, but also to Dr David Bennett, who will be accepting a donation for research at the Hospital from Diannes proceeds from the book.

Since then, Dianne has been very active in promoting her book via the national and local media. Even Peter Gooch of 4QR in Brisbane hopped on the bandwagon recently by suggesting that Perfect People should have been on the list for this year’s One Book, One Brisbane promotion. (This had nothing to do with the fact that he was one of the celebrities interviewed!)

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Cafe_Boogie[Jenni Nixon’s poetry collection, Café Boogie, was launched in Sydney’s Gleebooks on the 6th of June. Poet joanne burns launched the title for Jenni in front of an enthusiastic crowd. An abridged version of joanne’s speech follows.]

Many of you will have been impressed by Jenni Nixon’s distinctive, robust performances of her poetry over quite a number of years, so it’s very pleasing to be here together today for the launch of her first book of poetry, Café Boogie published by Interactive Press. You will now be able to read a whole collection of her poems, rather than to catch them through the air for a minute or two at a reading performance, or to read them one or two at a time in a journal, magazine or anthology.

While there are some entertainments in Café Boogie, as the title might suggest, Café Boogie is a confronting collection, a collection that speaks of, that acknowledges the tough, the grim, the troubled, in the lives of the persons and personas that inhabit the pages of this book. As Jenni says in “earthly delights”:
I’m no writer of pretty garden views blooming roses autumnal hues / I see aphids and rust.

The unflinching voice of her poems makes us the readers and listeners pay attention to her words, and this attentiveness is reinforced by the measure, the beat of her phrasing, through the series of the short/truncated phrases she so often uses. The epigraph from the writings of the late Vicki Viidikas at the front of the book:
‘words like swordfish through rain a kind of essential salvage’ well describe what Jenni Nixon has set out to do in this collection…

JN_Launch1This sense of ‘salvaging’ to which I referred also involves a sense of ‘change’ and there are other moments in Café Boogie of release from the tough times. In “sounds of flight” the persona finds comfort in the singing of Jeannie Lewis, e.g. till time brings change, Nixon writes and in my empty sky I hear her sing/ life is for living.’

In the poem “abundance” almost a voice play, studded with lines of conversation, the persona, pissed off at the endless anger and resentment of her various neighbours consults astro advice from the net. There is a shift of attitude… resentment / tightens the lips gets in the way of abundant living.

Jenni Nixon’s use of spoken word fragments from various characters and from bureaucratise, e.g. centrelink, throughout her poems creates a crackling and vital presence. This effect no doubt emanates from her years as an actor and as a performer of her own writings. In fact the names of characters that appear in her poems have a ring of the stage about them: Butch, Junky Jo, Smack Sally, The Dealer, Poet, Pus, Angel, Butch Balladeer, Tugboat Johnny...

There is levity in some of the poems as well. For example in “pasture city” she has a lot of fun with a series of portraits/reflections on the cow sculptures that grazed/graced the city of Sydney several years back—especially in the Circular Quay area. Here she is playful, fanciful—and political. It’s a bright piece of work.

JN_Launch2A suggestion of Jenni Nixon’s development as a writer and performer of her own words can be found in “postcards from Gallipoli” where she writes of her grandfather and his legacy: a habit of collecting seed…./making notes in a journal…/tasting words on the tongue ‘hippeastrum’ / germinating words into poems. And this sense of heritage is more strongly suggested in one of the final poems “Gulgong Heritage Festival”, where at this Henry Lawson town, the poet persona is a finalist for the poetry performance prize, which includes a statuette of Henry. She reflects on her connections with Lawson in terms of past difficulties. But in this poem she has success, laughter and applause welcome my words. And I do know she has won this prize, and also been runner up, and is again a finalist for next weekend’s festival.

To conclude I’d like to leave you with some images of the poet Jenni Nixon from “xpression/digression”. The poet is fried up after recently experiencing the poet-rappers Def Poetry jam at the Metro:
i want to yell at Cardinal Pell
not polite words of regret
published in the paper
what the hell? George Pell
i’m no abomination.


This is a strong confident poem of artistic / political purpose where adversity becomes transformative: a walking stick my metronome / measures out the rhythm and finally this restorative, expansive statement:
I’m doing fine getting the rhyme
creating music of mayhem making it mine.


Congratulations on your book, Def Jam Jenni!

— joanne burns 6/06/04

[A Note to our Sydney readers that Jenni Nixon will be appearing at the Feminist Bookshop in Lilyfield on Saturday the 14th of August at 4pm. She will be performing poetry from Café Boogie and will be available for book signings. RSVP to the Feminist Bookshop: Phone: (02) 9810 2666 or by email.]

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Were sorry to report that Louise Waller and Kristin Hannaford were unsuccessful in their grant application to Arts Queensland in the most recent round. Far from being dissuaded from conducting their Central Queensland tour, Louise and Kristin are determined to proceed, which is a credit to them and their commitment to developing an artistic spirit in the regions!

We applaud Louise and Kristin, and hope that our readers up there will join them at every opportunity.

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At short notice, David managed to take a weekend off to appear at the Byron Bay Writers Festival at the end of July. He noted that the ever-popular event was actually sold out on the Saturday. His session was a panel on the question of whether or not theres a future for online publishing. For more details, see this issues Editorial.

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Just before we went to print with this issue, David headed south again, this time as a featured writer at the University of Wollongongs Centre for Canadian and Australian Literature. Donning a hat that he rarely wears these days, David was billed as one of three Canadian authors. Never mind the fact that hes lived in Australia since 1986—the accent is still a give-away.

He and the Centres Director Dr Gerry Turcotte agreed on an experience both had when they first moved here. Though both were migrants, they felt invisible, since many of the more settled Australians they met didnt regard them as true immigrants because English was their first language. This actually wasnt true in Gerrys case. He grew up in largely French-speaking Quebec province, though he recounts a certain irony in having his French “accent” corrected into more acceptable English by speech specialists at a time when speaking French was regarded as a disadvantage by Quebecois who wanted to get ahead.

The event at the Canadian Writers Night also featured Yoko , who spoke about her research into the experiences of Japanese-Canadian women, and Andy Quan, a Vancouver-born poet, who now calls Sydney home. Gerry Turcottes latest book, Borderlines, a hybrid of photos and poetry, which discusses his immgrant experience, was launched by the Canadian Consul-General Richard. David read from his sequence of poems about the Inuit as well as poems set in the historical mining town of Kaslo, British Columbia, which can be found in his Selected and New, Kiss and Tell.

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[We have recently welcomed a new staff member here at IP. Sue Nelson has joined us as Assistant Editor. We are into our busiest publishing season ever, and Sue has already been thrown in the deep end with extensive copy editing and promotional writing duties. She is already a valued member of the team and we look forward to a long and happy working relationship.

I asked Sue to introduce herself and tell us a little about her background. Sue is a real surprise package—an unexpected mix of natural therapist and professional editor!
]

I lived all over Queensland as a child because my father was a DPI Stock Inspector and was transferred every 3-4 years (my homes included Warwick, Julia Creek, Bundaberg, Atherton, Charleville, Mackay, and Townsville).

Books were my refuge in a constantly changing world and I leaned heavily on the big family I belong toI'm the second oldest of 7 children.

Sue_NI went to college at Toowoomba, formerly the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, now the University of Southern Queensland, and completed a BA in Literature, History and Journalism. I loved the Literature side of it. I had Bruce Dawe as my poetry lecturer and I thank him for scaring me into delving deeper into the poems! Anyone who has had tutorials with Bruce will understand what I mean!

In the following years, I developed an all-consuming interest in learning natural therapies, prompted by the relief I experienced from acupuncture during my own health crisis. I took a 4-year Acupuncture course at the Brisbane College of Traditional Acupuncture and managed to conquer my initial (but understandable) reluctance to ‘put those needles in’.

I moved from Brisbane to Gympie and proudly opened up my first Acupuncture clinic. It was very busy and, after four years, I suffered a 'burn-out' (I believe it's something that all practitioners must address at some time in their careers).

I went overseas to Sweden for a complete break from treating patients. I stayed on a beautiful dairy farm in the traditional area of Dalarna, 2 hours north-east of Stockholm with my college friend, Julie. While I was there, Julie got a magnificent university job teaching English and Literature.

This inspired me to seek a teaching job when I returned to Australia, one year later. I then spent 4 years teaching at two Brisbane natural therapy colleges which I greatly enjoyed. I taught a variety of Acupuncture subjects including philosophy, diagnostic techniques, point location and chinese massage.

By this time, I was back in the Gympie area but a little further south, in a charming village-like town called Cooran belonging to the Noosa hinterland. After a brief, but disastrous, attempt at managing a health food shop in Pomona, I joined another clinic in nearby Cooroy which has evolved into Picture of Health, a one-stop natural therapy centre with many different therapists.
Although happily employed as a part-time Acupuncturist in this idyllic hinterland area with no intention of “burning out”, my lifelong interest in literature and writing has reawakened with a vengeance.

I have now enthusiastically completed a 2-year distance education course with the University of Southern Queensland—a Graduate Diploma of Editing and Publishing. The course emphasised the emergence of digital publishing and its potential for a global reach.

While studying, I had a small job writing resort profiles for a Noosa-based magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed this and felt that it was initiating me back into the media and publishing world. I have also produced newsletters for the clinic and contributed articles to the local paper.

I support local industries in general but I very much admire independent publishing companies such as IP because they are ready to explore the exciting possibilities of electronic publishing. I am thrilled to be on the team at IP and I look forward to working with all forms of writing mediums.

Thylazine

http://www.thylazine.org

After I directed a friend to the Thylazine web site recently, they asked “what is Thylazine—I’ve clicked the link a few times and still can't quite figure it out.” I thought about this and decided what was needed was an unofficial tour of this extensive online resource. The official description is: Thylazine Foundation: Arts, Ethics and Literature and this serves as a very general purpose. I asked Thylazine’s founder and director, Dr Coral Hull what she considers Thylazine to be and she offered the more intriguing ‘perhaps something that defies extinction/making the invisible— visible.’

For the uninitiated, Thylazine is an online magazine featuring art and literature; a charitable foundation raising money for various causes related to animal and people rights; a directory of Australian poets; an online collection of poetry for peace from over 131 poets and counting—this project was initiated after the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001; Thylazine is also a place where the idea of free culture is promoted and where Director, Coral Hull showcases her own groundbreaking work on multiplicity—more on that later.

The best place to start is the beginning. I wouldn’t advise that web surfer rush their Thylazine experience. Grab a herbal tea and warm the mouse for a good hour or more of reading. The content here is all high quality and well worth spending the time.

thylazine.org will take you to the current issue of the biannual Thylazine Magazine. Issue 9 was still a work-in-progress at the time of writing. Two poets are “featured” in each issue. This issue, they are Francis Webb and Aileen Kelly. A further 10 poets are published in the Australian Poets Series selected by Coral Hull. In addition to poetry there are also interviews, book reviews, articles and featured artwork.

This issue, Coral Hull features her own work on “multiplicity”. This series of images, with context provided by the artist, will challenge all your previous notions of what is commonly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder. If you click the link to Artesian Productions in the menu, you will find more on this subject.

Perhaps you will come away from this work as I did, ready to drop the automatic psychiatric lingo and consider there are other ways of “being” in the world we might not fully understand. It works as art in the most fundamental sense by challenging our preconceptions of “reality”.

Authors should check the Submission Guidelines thoroughly before sending any work; the Featured Poets and Australian Poets Series are already closed for 2004.

The Australian Poets for Peace
could be your next stop. It features the work of over 131 peace loving authors. This may motivate you to visit the For Charity pages: current projects include the 100 bush hats for kids in the Northern Territory which aims to provide hats and sunscreen to the homeless. A more desperate plight is difficult to imagine and this is a simple but effective way to provide practical help. There are also efforts to raise money for xmas gift hampers for needy families and hampers for new babies in the NT.

Animal Rights are also a key focus here and there is another page dedicated to pictures and stories on this issue.

The Foundation needs donations to keep going. It’s hard to fathom that this substantial site is largely the work of one woman. Coral has had to make some difficult decisions recently, the magazine is no longer subscriber-based and until sufficient funds are raised, Issue 10 will be delayed.

Without sufficient funding Thylazine, like its namesake, could disappear. If we, as a community of artists, value this wonderful publication, we need to dip into our own pockets to ensure its survival.

<title>IP eNews </title>


Deal 1: Order any IP poetry title and get a second one for 50% off.

Buy any two titles from the IP Shop via our order page to qualify. Do it before 1 September and and we’ll throw in free postage and handling (a flat $5 charge applies thereafter.

Quote YD:23_1. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only. Credit card orders, add $2 per title.


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

Your choice of any six IP titles published before 2003 for just $11 each, GST-inclusive, plus a flat $6 postage and handling

Q
uoting YD:23_2. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only. Credit card orders, add $3.

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.

Offers available only to individuals.

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