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Contents

From the Director’s Desk

Editorial: A Literary Growth Industry

Focus: IP Picks Winners and Commendeds

To Whom It May Concern

IP Joins the APA

Our New Distributor

Staff News

Meet the Publisher

IP.Digital Buzz

IP Picks 06 Results

Out & About

In Review

Your Deal

Vol 8, No. 1— ISSN 1442-0023

From the Director's Desk

DR_roofWelcome to our first issue of 2006 — and what an exciting issue it is!

Many of you will be keen to see the results of IP Picks 2006, but please hang in there for a few moments to see what other news is on offer.

Now in our ninth year of business, IP is gearing up for our tenth anniversary in 2007, and we’re looking for ideas on how to celebrate. Read about what we’ve come up with so far, and let us know if you have a better idea!

Up till now, IP has been a fiercely independent distributor of our own titles, but our rapid growth and the continuing challenge of getting access to as many resellers as possible, has led us to sign on with Tower Books, who will now distribute our print titles to bookshops.

I’m also pleased to announce that IP has joined the Australian Publishers Association as its seventy-first member. The APA offers far more than networking opportunities, as you’ll see below. And I suspect, as a leading player in digital publishing, the benefits won’t be flowing in just one direction.

The end of last year saw a changing of the guard in IP staffing. We sadly bid farewell to Sara Moss, our Poetry Editor and your Newsletter Editor for several years. Sara will be travelling for a while and thereafter devoting herself to her own work (lucky her!) Assistant Editor Lisa Reynolds graduated from QUT and has shifted up to the Sunshine Coast, but she may well slip in to IP now and then to help with our digital projects. Lauren Daniels soldiers on as Prose Editor, and Anne Marshall will be our Newsletter Editor once she returns from Europe (LUCKY HER!!) We have two new staff members: Michelle Yan and Matthew Wilmett, from QUT and UQ, respectively, will be our new Assistant Editors. Welcome to Michelle and Matt!

The IP.Digital Buzz gives you the latest on IP’s plans to distribute some of our digital titles on the iTunes Store and online elsewhere. Will IP be the first Australian publisher to sell digital content in this way?

Out and About shows me renewing contacts in North America and making new ones in New Zealand, addressing a Meet the Publisher seminar at the Queensland Writers Centre, as well as updating you on the activities of some of our author
s like Tilly Brasch and Michael O’Sullivan.

In my feature on Writing Tips I cover initial and follow-up contact with publishers — at least for those, like IP, who still talk to authors they haven’t yet agreed to publish.

In Review covers commentary on Barbara Winter’s The Australia-First Movement, Geoff Gates’ A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion and Joel Deane’s Subterranean Radio Songs.

OK, you’ve been patient enough: you have permission to look at the Winners and Commended in IP Picks :). We’ll have a bumper crop of new titles arising from the list over the next 18 months, so keep your ear to the ground for a launch or tour coming your way!

Cheers!!

Dr David Reiter

 

A Literary Growth Industry

New authors dream about being invited to read from their book at a host of literary festivals. Most don’t make it onto The Circuit, but is it such a big deal if they don’t?

Once upon a time, literary festivals were local, casual, even friendly gatherings of those genuinely interested in writing. The main purpose was to read and be listened to, or, in just listening, to be inspired by the work of others.

The festival organisers were volunteers whose only reward was to see authors and those who love literature getting together in an event that gave writers an excuse to escape however briefly from their solitary existence. The event was run on a shoe-string in a bowling club hall after hours, and the only refreshments you could hope for was cask wine or lukewarm beer, stale crackers and cubes of cheese that had lost all memory of refrigeration.

But you went for the love of writing and that made up for the thin crowds, modest venues and the headaches the night after.

Is this a fairy tale view of the way festivals used to be? Not entirely.

The goal now is the bigger the better. Festivals are bankrolled by Federal and State governments, and the piper must be paid. State premiers try to outdo each other in the prestige game to see which literary awards will be the richest. Professional artistic directors are hired to deliver the most ‘bang for the buck’ for corporate sponsors, which is why many need to flit around the world to find the best talent, and the key performance indicator used to measure the success of the festival is numbers, how many bums on seats were delivered this year as opposed to last year?

If you doubt this, try to recall the last time you saw a review of the quality of a particular festival in the media or in the literary magazines?

Festivals are big businesses and have to conduct themselves as such. There’s no question you need big bucks to attract international stars, and it’s generally accepted that the crowds won’t attend unless the big names appear. The merit of particular authors has something to do with who is invited to come, all expenses paid, of course. But what you don’t hear about is how many larger publishers get an inside track at every festival through their sponsorship, i.e. dollars paid to get their authors on the program.

It’s all part of pushing the product.

Big festivals are the literary version of the advertorial. And they recur across Australia and overseas. No wonder we see the same names popping up on the circuit. True, some of them are first-time authors, but most of these look VERY good in the publicity photos and the arts columns of the papers. Next stop New Idea.

IP got a taste of how the industry works a couple of years ago when we were invited by the Melbourne Writers Festival to sponsor one of our new authors. We would pay a certain amount to reserve a time to launch her book, then pay all the other expenses connected with holding a launch, and then the festival committee would consider whether she was significant enough to invite on the program. It was all a bit rich for us at the time but it gave me an insight into how the program decisions are made, at least in Melbourne.

But at least Melbourne offered to put one of our authors on. The same cannot be said for other State festivals. We have never had anyone on at Sydney, Adelaide or Perth, and the only IP authors who have been invited to the Brisbane Writers Festival in recent years have either served on the festival committee or otherwise made such a nuisance of themselves that it was easier to let them on the program than say no.

The point of all this is to say that, when you attend your local State literary festival, you’re more than likely to see what the marketing department of the major publishers think you should be reading. So much the better if she looks like Nicole Kidman — or whomever Nicole is dating this week. Authors from independent publishing houses seldom get on the program — unless they know the right people.

As Chef Rick Stein says, if you throw enough money at an event it turns into show-biz.

Maybe we need to get back to basics and start up some festivals that are literary, rather than mass marketing, exercises. There are a few around that still are, though most specialise in poetry. Pass me the cask, mate!

DR

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The judges have voted. We have the envelope here. So who are the winning and commended entrants in IP Picks 2006?

A bit more tension and suspense is called for. First here’s what the judges had to say about the overall calibre of entries:

The overall number of entries in this year’s competition was slightly down from 2005, despite a record number of enquiries prior to the closing date. We were very pleased by the standard in the Best Poetry category. Some fine entries had to be overlooked due to the stiffness of the competition.

The standard in the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories was more uneven, with only a few entries receiving an award. There were several promising entries into the new Best First Book category, with three of them winning a placement.

Remarkably, the winners in all four categories were first-time authors in their chosen genre. This says something about the competition’s attraction to emerging talent.

There were a number of entries in the speculative fiction area, but none of these came sufficiently close to publishable standard. Acknowledging the market, the judges encourage writers in this area to consider Picks in future years.


IP has already offered contracts to nine of the winners and commended entries, and will be announcing the results soon.

IP thanks all of the entrants to Picks this year and wishes them well with their future writing projects.

And now to the heraldic trumpets and those envelopes…

IP 2006 Award for Best Fiction

Winner: House of Given by Bill Collopy, Nunawading, VIC
Highly Commended: Easter at Tobruk by Michael O'Sullivan, Yass, NSW

IP 2006 Award for Best Creative Non-Fiction

Winner: Terania Creek: Rainforest Wars by Nigel Turvey, Darwin NT

IP 2006 Award for Best Poetry

Winner: Imagining Winter by Paul Dawson, Sydney, NSW
Highly Commended: Fresh News from the Arctic by Libby Hart, Brentford Square, VIC
Commended: The Possibility of Winds by Rosemary Huisman, Wollstonecraft, NSW
Commended: Dark Husk of Beauty by Andrew Leggett, Coorparoo, Qld

IP 2006 Award for Best First Book

Winner: The Accidental Cage by Michelle Cahill, Wahroonga, NSW
Highly Commended: Musket by Harry Jones, Ballajura, WA
Commended: Inflations by Jan Dean, Cardiff, NSW

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[In this issue, we have a closer look at the winning and commended entries in IP Picks 2006]

IP 2006 Award for Best Creative Non-Fiction: Terania Creek: Rainforest Wars by Nigel Turvey

Picks-RGBTerania Creek: Rainforest Wars strikes a brilliant balance between artful story-telling and objectively woven historical fact. Nigel Turvey’s winner of IP’s Best Creative Non Fiction category is a successful crafting of literary journalism’s tried and true methods of total immersion and scene sculpting, with echoes of beloved Bruce Chatwin and Truman Capote’s juicy, creative non-fiction narrative style.

And like all of the best works of literary journalism, the ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ are not apparent. That’s not the point anyway. The real issues are far more complex and Turvey arranges opposing views with care.

The author’s timely angle of one Australian rainforest’s “spiritual landscape - the living archaeology of Gondwana,” reflects the contemporary struggle and surrounding political climate of many. Terania Creek stands as a model for forests everywhere, and Turvey explores this representation skillfully with a work supported by a rich, thoroughly researched perspective. The historical montage begins 45 million years ago with a glance at a primal volcanic era, reflecting on a system that has evolved to survive drought and fire for eons before the emergence of humanity’s political climate:

The womb-like basin of Terania Creek with its narrow cervix of an entrance faces south. In its cool embrace is a rainforest little-changed for more than 45 million years. On the eastern-most part of Australia, it survived the drifting continent’s climatic shifts and 150 years of timber-getting. In 1979 some claimed it was the last un-logged rainforest and should be saved, but for the foresters and sawmillers it was the last rainforest they would plan to log. This story is about the people who fought over the rainforest, but the enduring player in the story is the rainforest itself.   

We glimpse James Cook and Joseph Banks as we vault over 150 years before Turvey sets us down in 1979, when “a war broke out in this most peaceful of landscapes; it was the Rainforest War. It started with a battle over the rainforests of Terania Creek, the forests just across the Nicholsons’ boundary, and it spread to rainforests across the whole State of New South Wales.”

With the rainforest of Terania Creek’s as his main character, Turvey asks us to think and to observe for a moment, to plumb our current understanding of environmental issues, despite deeply polarised political pulls, labels and arguments. Terania Creek asks the audience to work a little harder on an inner level than most non-fiction books, but it’s worth it. The result of our efforts can foster a broader consciousness actively regarding the larger forces at work within our world:

Now, a generation later, the Rainforest War is close enough to today to display its pertinence, but far enough in the past for an objective autopsy. At the broadest perspective the story is about the forest and timber industry under siege from growing environmental activism. At a middle view it is about slow-moving institutions outmanoeuvred by small, flexible and proactive groups who managed the media and the message with alacrity. And close-up it is about individuals who were devoted to their cause and believed implicitly in the justness of their actions; be they conservationist, forester, sawmiller, bush worker or policeman.

Lauren Daniels


This story of the Forestry Commission, the sawmillers, and the ‘build-up of hippies’ who defied them, is as even-handed as it is engrossing. The logging industry and the self-appointed defenders of the forest are profiled, examined and critiqued, revealing good intentions, flaws and hubris on both sides. It is a story of the changing of the guard, when the people who had prided themselves on a long history of economic forest management fell from favour before the rise of environmental activism.

Exploring grassroots, commercial and legal efforts to resolve the conflict, investigating the role of the media in distorting and simplifying the true complexity of the issue, and identifying the deep spiritual significance which the image of the rainforest holds for the human imagination, Terania Creek is a fascinating tale of conservation and change.

— Matthew Willmett


About the Author:


As an environmental scientist and professional forester for more than thirty-five years, Dr Nigel Turvey has done research in tropical rainforests, taught forest soil science and good forest practices, and developed forest plantation and biotechnology businesses in Australia and Asia.

NigelT Nigel is currently involved in a Queensland-based business promoting employment of indigenous people in the expanding forest plantation industry.

Nigel’s first book Terania Creek: Rainforest Wars was stimulated by his passion to find out what happened to the once noble reputation of the forestry profession.

Nigel and his wife Monica currently live in the Northern Territory, and have two adult children.

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IP 2006 Award for Best Fiction: House of Given by Bill Collopy

Picks-RGBBill Collopy captured the judges’ attention with his powerful style and playful, innovative prose echoes of dear old Faulkner and is, in a word, daring.

The novel begins with the question of perception. Considering his uncertain place in the world as well as within that of his family, the young, reclusive protagonist Finbar is revealed as one whose own sanity teeters a fine, unfettered line:

At the dining table Finbar refused to talk. Taking meals underneath, he gazed no longer at faces, only boots and sandals. He spoke to ankles, answered questions from legs. After meals he scampered back up the tree to sharpen pencils. His shavings curled like a summoning finger.


Through his gifts of acute memory and sensitivity, Finbar steps tentatively into the role of central witness to the Given family’s unfolding as he treads the shifting sand of this poetic narrative. The protagonist’s interior evolution effectively mirrors the instability and gradual maturation of our own perceptions of what is truly real within the collective thoughts, feelings and memory of our own families.

As the story progresses and more hints are given regarding the tangled nature of communal history, the question of an individual’s sanity evolves into a sympathetic vision of how families are also quite simply “a comical mad chain of fools” where, according to Finbar’s Gran, “Enduring isn’t everything. But I grant you that some people are better at looking after others than themselves.”

House of Given
reflects on the gentle insistence of love with a sparkling lyricism. Despite the strains and impositions people place upon it, especially within the close confines of family—despite secrets, guilt, sorrow and silence—Collopy’s novel illustrates a belief that love’s essential nature beckons revelation. And sometimes revelations emerge through the very notion that, “Families have a way of scratching each other’s sores.” Lineage and living collide, offering sacrifice, reconciliation and truth as an answer to the question of identity within family:

Then they came.
Running towards him, pouring from doorways: old and young, wearing sandals and headscarves and shawls, their ears and fingers ringed, limbs painted, wrists bangled, spears in hands; with clubs, knives, tinkers and gypsies and black men and horsemen, whipping the air, and crying out his name. Each one had a story and he met them all at once, tales layered as no music could be, springing from a grave in reverse births, from a time before the oldest of tongues, Pict and Celt and Persian, eyes bloody with greed, voices offering to take him to their bosom.
“ Slán abhaile, they shouted. Cad is ainm duit.”


The characters of House of Given reveal a story of family as we all know it to one extent or another, and of life, the fragile kind in which we all sooner or later, find ourselves.

Lauren Daniels

About the Author

Born and educated in Melbourne, where he lives with BillChis wife and children, Bill Collopy fights a losing battle with time; trying to squeeze in family, friends, books and music while writing, and making a living from managing welfare programs. Recently he has been teaching creative writing to adults.

He has won many literary prizes and seen some two dozen of his stories published in Australia and overseas, including various short fiction anthologies, on-line magazines and print periodicals, such as Dublin Quarterly, Going Down Swinging, LinQ, Eclectica and Verandah. This is his first novel.

IP 2006 Award for Best Fiction (Highly Commended): Easter at Tobruk by Michael O’Sullivan

An enticing work peppered with a glistening sense of magic realism, O’Sullivan’s prose paints lush, dimensional scenes with literary brushstrokes:

The beaches to his left and right were deserted at this early hour at the end of summer. Even the seagulls ignored him. The light was clear and gentle, the lazy sun slowly hoisting itself over a liquid horizon. And that too was a kind of freedom. He had the world to himself - well, nearly. Down below, hidden in the rocks, two teenagers were screwing where they imagined no one noticed. They thought they were free in their nakedness, but Rob knew it didn’t compare to his lightness of heart.

Living, breathing characters crafted by archetypal essences of poet, priest, good mother and old soldier propel a storyline supported by the strong themes of war, freedom, mateship and a kind of reconciliation that transcends time and place. Easter in Tobruk quite literally bends the passage of time.

The sea drew him in an endless repetitive pattern. Early in the mornings, at sunset or late into the night he might be there, staring into the horizon. Often he’d see that place Tobruk out there, and was content to squat in a hole with uncouth fighting men, passing around the tobacco tin and reciting the soldier’s psalm.

— Lauren Daniels

Two Easters fifty years apart become one in Easter at Tobruk as family, religion and wartime memory intertwine.

Rob, a young lawyer, emerges from a road accident utterly changed in personality. As his mother and the local priest attempt to counsel him, they begin to realise that all is not as it seems. The story he relates to them – of a man who appears on Rob’s doorstep claiming to be his grandfather, and of another Easter, at Tobruk in North Africa during the Second World War – reveals the truth to be something far stranger, traumatic, and perhaps miraculous.

Michael O’Sullivan’s novel blends elements of the fantastical and mundane to create a powerful exploration of mateship, war, Christianity, and Australian values past and present.

— Matthew Willmett

 

About the Author:

MichaelOSMichael O’Sullivan lives with his wife and three children in a small town in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Before becoming a full-time writer he held several occupations, including fencing contractor, carpenter and builder, university tutor, librarian and archivist.

He has written three novels and numerous short stories and is currently working on two new novels.

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IP 2006 Award for Best Poetry: Imagining Winter by Paul Dawson

Picks-RGBDawson’s work has tremendous scope and agility. In the title poem, in a single breath he ranges from the Renaissance to postmodern sunsets in trying to imagine a metaphor for winter:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Stars squint and yawn, unfolding, the moon bleeds dry
Why try to describe it?


In every imaginable context, the poems dare to drive readers out of their comfort zone, questioning the value of things we take for granted like the benefits of the Internet:

Post all of your work on the greatest democratising
Medium of ephemeral pulp in history and
See if anyone cares, see if it survives,
See if it makes a difference...


Dawson juxtaposes the unlikely in depicting the insecurities of our time. The chaos of the health system held for ransom by the multinational drug companies is compared to the ever-present threat of a terrorist attack:

that soft focus surreality of a silent film migraine
   tunnelling down aisle three
     like the damaged underbelly of a descending plane
spin-drying your vision, terror alerts pulsing at the back of your eyeballs


This is intense but rewarding work that tests the boundaries at every turn.

— David Reiter


Harsh. Cutting. Uncomfortably touching. This poetry collection delves into the darkness of the modern world.

Whether addressing issues such as racism, homophobia and terrorism, or turning a wickedly scathing eye on the failings of writers and other misfits, Paul Dawson’s poems are angry and unforgettable.

He explores the bleakness of city landscapes, seeks meaning in the heat of eroticism, and lays bare the things people will not admit to thinking, even to themselves.

— Matthew Willmett

About the Author

PaulDPaul Dawson was born in Sydney in 1972 and has been writing poetry for the last fifteen years. This is his first collection. Paul’s poetry and fiction have previously been published in a range of literary journals and newspapers, including Slope (US), Southerly, Blue Dog: Australian Poetry, Meanjin, Island, Imago: New Writing, and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is also the author of Creative Writing and the New Humanities (London/New York: Routledge, 2005).

Paul is a lecturer in the School of English at the University of New South Wales, where he teaches Creative Writing and literary studies.

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IP 2006 Award for Best Poetry (Highly Commended): Fresh News from the Arctic by Libby Hart

Dramatic, minimalist and lyrical, Libby Hart’s poetry invites the reader in to her intimate view of place, myth and memory, deftly modulating from the immediacy of the physical to the mystery of emotions and memory:

I whispered: Arctos
and felt the ground beneath me fall.
I observed the swelling of the earth.

I was leaving the known, the traceable.
Heading out to climb the goal
to swing and hitch the rope.

She juxtaposes surprising elements, for example, in her examination of a relationship under stress compared to cloud formations:

She: like a bird hiding itself in cloud
He: like soft, patient rain

this, being the ocean of air in which they live

No subject is beyond scrutiny. In “Darwin’s Walk” she compares the enduring quality of genius in a time when there was time to “traipse” for inspiration as opposed more contemporary theories such as Einstein’s, which is “doomed for revision”.

— David Reiter

About the Author:

LibbyHLibby Hart was a recipient of a D J O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship (2003) at The Australian Centre, University of Melbourne.

Her suite of poems, Fresh News from the Arctic, won the Somerset National Poetry Prize (2005). She has also won the Greater Dandenong National Writing Awards (2002) and received commendations for the Broadway Poetry Prize (2001) and the Daffodil Day Arts Awards (2004).

Libby’s poems have appeared widely in such publications as The Sydney Morning Herald, Eureka Street and sunweight: 2005 Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology. Her poems have been broadcast on ABC Radio National and Radio NAG.

IP 2006 Award for Best Poetry (Commended): The possibility of winds by Rosemary Huisman

About the Author:

Rosemary Huisman (née Lowe) was born in 1941 at Casino in RosemaryHNorthern New South Wales, where the (now defunct) Richmond River Express printed her childish verses. In 1970 she was awarded a prize for poetry (under 30 section) in the Captain Cook Bi-Centenary Awards. She has published poems in Southerly, the Bulletin, the Sydney Morning Herald but—a familiar story—home and work (as an academic in English at the University of Sydney) consumed much of her time till her 2003 retirement. Poems were written but not submitted. She now thanks her husband, Tony Blackshield, for urging her to assemble the present collection.

IP 2006 Award for Best Poetry (Commended): Dark Husk of Beauty by Andrew Leggett

Andrew Leggett’s collection is stark, bare and unforgettable. In these interconnecting poems, by equal measure serious and darkly comic, the ugly is united with the beautiful to produce a unique aesthetic.

Popular culture provides the surreal framework for meditations on death, loss and loneliness, creating a moving overture to playfully grim explorations into religion and the afterlife.

— Matthew Willmett

About the Author:

AndrewLAndrew Leggett is a Brisbane poet who works as a psychiatrist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. His work has been widely published in magazines, professional journals, newspapers and anthologies here and overseas.

His first collection, Old Time Religion and Other Poems, was published by IP in 1998. The manuscript of Dark Husk of Beauty, was short-listed in the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Award in 2005.

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IP 2006 Award for Best First Book: The Accidental Cage by Michelle Cahill

Picks-RGBCahill creates a stunning world of images and personas in her first collection of poems. In the title poem, the speaker transforms suburban living beings into objet d’art:

Butterflies with mechanical lips balanced on weeds.
   The windsock was a gesture of excess
and giant cockroaches glistened, waving wands.
   Here the mosquitoes had been bred by dentists.

As is the case with many younger writers, Cahill finds inspiration in exotic places like India where she traces her roots back to her grandfather:

How he’d smoke his pipe on the sun-licked verandah, his toothless grin,
   the gleam in his eyes as he read the Times of India
I followed him on his daily walk along the back roads to the fishing village
   with its rows of desiccating skins

But she has a maturity of vision that maintains tight control over dangerous ground like the erotic lyric, avoiding clichè:

When I touch you it rains desire
Cats walking the streets at night
Your scent petals yield like broken
wisteria scattering their promise.

— David Reiter

About the Author

Michelle Cahill’s poems and reviews have appeared in journals MichelleClike Cordite, Urthona (UK), Blue Dog, Verandah, Ulitarra, Imago, 4W, Poetrix, Vernacular, Meusepress. More are forthcoming in Callaloo (USA), Divan, JAS & Going Down Swinging.

With a Creative Writing Arts Major from Macquarie University(1998), Michelle attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont and the Catskill Poetry Conference in New York in 2004. One of three poets selected to tour southern NSW for the 2005 Poets On Wheels, she was also the recipient of a scholarship from the Poetry Australia Foundation for its 2006 Poetry Workshop.

She works as a part-time GP in Sydney where she lives with her husband, David, and daughter, Tegan.

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IP 2006 Award for Best First Book (Highly Commended): Musket by Harry Jones

An elaborate work of fiction set in the tumultuous times of the early 1800s, the novel spans from the Ngapuhi territory of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands to the shipyards of Connecticut and whaling industry of Nantucket Island, and sets sail back down the Atlantic, round the “Cape of Good Hope… across the Indian Ocean towards the Australian Bight.”

Awash with crisp, historical language and an array of cultural detail, perspectives are shared by multiple characters as English, American and Maori lives entwine throughout this journey. The layers of plot draw individual motives coupled with the themes of whaling, conquest, religion and tribal identity together in a time marked by struggle, violence and uncertainty.

Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, but at the dawn of the nineteenth century the Maori people had yet to hear it. To them vengeance had nothing to do with any God; utu, retribution, was a duty incumbent upon men, upon any man of honour.

Lauren Daniels

About the Author

HJonesHarry Jones was born in New Zealand in 1925, receiving his early education in a small school with many Maori fellow students. He is married with three adult children, each an uninhibited critic of his fiction. He joined the Public Service in 1940, saw war service, training with the RNZAF as a bomber pilot. He returned to the Public Service until 1970, enjoyed a year in Antarctica and thereafter held engineering administrative positions. Throughout this time he spent holidays and weekends deerstalking and pig hunting in the central North Island. He retired to sail a ketch in the Hauraki Gulf.

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IP 2006 Award for Best First Book (Commended): Inflations by Jan Dean

About the Author

Jan Dean, a former visual arts teacher, believes the six- JanDmonths as an exchange-English teacher in Japan, prior to her retirement, was instrumental in her reconnecting with poetry in 1996. Since then, she was runner-up in the 2002 Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award, and has won several poetry competitions.

Jan spent six years as President/Publicity Officer of Poetry at the Pub (Newcastle) Inc. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Blue Dog, Hecate, sunweight (the 2005 Newcastle Poetry Prize anthology), The Best Australian Poems 2005 (Black Inc.), The Best Australian Poetry 2004 (UQP) and The Weekend Australian Review.

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If you find yourself addressing your covering letter to publishers like this, THINK AGAIN.

We get many letters of enquiry, as well as emails, from authors with a proposal or manuscript to offer, and some invariably go the wrong way to impress.

Youre unlikely to get there by addressing the correspondence “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Publisher”, or, if youre inclined to use an American turn of phrase: “Hey There!”

Going generic in your manner of address is the first clue to an editor that you haven’t done your homework on the publishing house. If you dont address the letter to the proper person, a couple of things may happen, both of which will end up bad for you. The reader will conclude that you dont know who the editor concerned is and cant be bothered to find out.

This is not mere vanity on the part of the publisher, its mostly just good business sense. If we get a generic letter like that, were entitled to think that you know nothing about IP and the type of material we publish. Worse, we usually conclude that this has been sent to every publisher under the sun that you know about.

The vanity comes in when we decide not to read the submission because we think that, even if we like it, we could be competing with the likes of Harper-Collins and Penguin — if they get past the To Whom It May Concern. Since their pockets are much deeper than ours, we would be wasting our time reading it. And if the manuscript is weak, we would be wasting our time anyway. Either way, you lose.

The first Commandment should be KNOW THY PROSPECTIVE PUBLISHER! If you cant afford a recent copy of the The Writers Marketplace get on the phone and ring the publisher and ask for the name of the prose or poetry editor (match your book to the editor).

Some authors have the confidence to take the direct approach by ringing the publisher to discuss the project. This can be a dangerous strategy, too. It suggests that you think that editors have nothing better to do than to wait for calls from authors theyve never met. A sort of literary blind date.

If the editor is too polite to hold up her hand to stop the traffic, shell soon be grid-locked into a long narrative of plots, undeniably endearing characters and a marketing plan thats already been run by a PR specialist shes never heard of.

If you ring IP, our editors will refer you to our Guidelines page, which has everything you need to know about putting together a good submissions package. Our Contacts page has the names of editors to whom you can address your letter. Its OK to call and introduce yourself, but keep your pitch short.

In your letter or email never ASK if the publisher is interested in childrens books or fantasy fiction. You should know their areas of interest BEFORE you write to them. Better yet if you can refer to one or two books in your genre by the publisher that you admire it will show that youve done your research and are a reader as well as a writer. An amazingly large number of novice writers think that there is no relationship between having a solid ground in reading and understanding what works or doesnt work as a writer.

By far the most impressive thing you can do is to show that you know the market for your book. What other books are out there on the same subject? What does your book do that the others don’t? If there aren’t any books to compete with yours, it could be that other publishers have already concluded that there’s no market for your subject. You’ll have to convince her otherwise.

Publishers prefer authors who show either that they write to the market or know how to create a demand for something that hasn’t yet appeared

Its only a small first step toward being seriously read by an editor, but a good covering letter will put you streets ahead of wannabes who write in a vacuum, churn out form letters by the dozen and then hope for the best.

<title>IP eNews</title>

The thing about being an independent publisher is that you believe in making your own way, sometimes against the current of the way things have always been done in the industry.

But IP has now reached a stage of growth where it makes sense to be talking to others. For one thing, we think libraries and bookshops need to pay more attention to titles coming out in digital form, and it’s also high time that agencies like ELR, PLR and CAL found a way to compensate us and our authors for use of our digital titles in the schools and libraries.

Advice coming from a single publisher is easy to ignore, but if it comes from the APA it will carry more weight.

The APA actively promotes the efforts of its members to increase their export activities, and that’s a high priority for IP as we head into our ninth year. We hope to use our membership to access seminars on export opportunities and to begin making our presence known at international book fairs and so on.

The APA recently set up TitlePage, an online database that booksellers can search to find titles. TitlePage claims to list 75% of all available titles in Australia today. Joining the APA will give us access to TitlePage through our new distributor, Tower Books (see story below).

So we recently signed on the dotted line and fully expect to become the APA’s seventy-first member by the end of February.

<title>IP eNews</title>

Effective immediately, Tower Books in Sydney will be distributing IP print titles to bookshops across Australia. Dr David Reiter, Director, IP, and Tower Books Director Michael Rakusin signed the agreement in January.

“We are happy with the job our distribution section, IP.Sales has been doing with individuals and libraries,” David commented, “but some bookshops are reluctant to deal with independent publishers who dont work through an established distributor. Im thinking particularly of chain stores such as Collins and Borders, but also those shops away from the capital cities, who tend not to respond to our email circulars and the like.”

The agreement between IP and Tower is specific to bookshops and non-exclusive to libraries. So libraries can choose to order either through IP.Sales or Tower Books.

And Tower Books will be distributing only our print titles at this stage. These will be listed for sale on TitlePage, the APAs new database of available titles in Australia, to which all bookshops have free access.

We urge all bookshops to have a close look at the IP list when your Tower Books rep comes by.

<title>IP eNews</title>

Sara Moss was something of an institution in her own right at IP, being the longest serving staff member next to Director David Reiter. Her contact with IP began as an author of the first poetry book in our fledging Emerging Authors Series, A Deep Fear of Trains, which in turn became one of IP.Digitals first e-books. Sara was always there for David in the early days of IP, encouraging, offering mid-flight corrections, and he almost always accepted her advice — or so he says!

Sara and her partner Shane — whose design expertise we have toSaraM thank for IPs spinning logo — have put the furniture in storage and are thinking of travelling for a while. Sara hopes to return with a new sense of purpose and energy for her own work.

We join the numerous poets who have benefited from Saras advice as our Poetry Editor in thanking her for her years of excellent service and wishing her well in her renewal, and we look forward to seeing her new work when it comes out.

Sara will be succeeded in her role as your newsletter editor by Anne Marshall, who is, even as this is written, busing her way around the snowy hills of Italy! A Brisbane girl, Anne hadnt seen snow before this tour of Europe, and she now reports that shes “definitely over the whole concept” (we assume she means snow, rather than travel in general!)

IP continues to rely on student interns as our Assistant Editors, and our incoming crop are very well qualified to hit the ground running — or whatever one does at an editors desk!

Well let them speak for themselves.

Matthew Willmett is about to begin a Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing at the University of Queensland. Anticipating a large amount of theory coming his way, Matthew feels that undertaking work experience with IP will give him crucial real-world knowledge of the publishing industry to complement his studies, and vice versa.

He completed a Bachelor of Arts at UQ in mid-2004, majoring in MattW English Literature and History, with electives including diverse science and cultural studies courses. He recently spent a year in Japan, writing fiction, teaching English and learning as much about the nitty-gritty of grammar and communication in two languages as about Japanese culture itself.

Matthew has been known to swear whenever he finds a typographical error in a junk-mail pamphlet or on the back of a cereal packet. He hopes to further develop his editing and proofreading skills while at IP. He finds himself constantly tormented by the need to turn mediocre writing into good and good writing into great. Working at IP will hopefully give him the chance to make that happen.

Matthew is a member of the Queensland Writers’ Centre and fears for his sanity whenever he can’t find the time to write.

Michelle Yan is a Brisbane based writer and editor who has previously worked behind-the-scenes at New Matilda, as an editor of Vibewire.net’s print projects portfolio, sub-editor of Plasma Rag Magazine, and a staff member of the 2005 National Young Writers’ Festival.

MichelleYMichelle is currently a journalist for Citigold Corporation and editorial assistant of Lip Magazine. Her writing, which covers a range of genres including profiles, social commentary, reviews and lifestyle pieces, features regularly in a range of publications including Lip Magazine, Frank Magazine, Graduate Life and the Queensland Writers’ Centre’s publication, Writing Queensland. Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree with studies in communications and cultural studies, and is currently undertaking a Master of Journalism.

In her role with IP, Michelle hopes to bring widely acclaimed recognition to IP’s authors and associates.

<title>IP eNews</title>

It was billed as your chance to get “insider information from the crème-de-la-crème of Australian publishing heavyweights” for anyone ready to submit their work for publication. So of course IP had to be there!

On the 9 February, our indefatigable Director joined up with Sue Hines (Allen & Unwin), Stuart Neal (ABC Books), and Anna Crago (UQP) at the Queensland Writers Centre to enlighten authors about the current state of play in the publishing industry. A crowd of 70 people attended.

David gathered these impressions from his hot seat on the panel.

Allen & Unwin is certainly one of the major players on the Australian publishing scene. Sue made no apologies — nor should she — for their commercial orientation. She made light of it by relating the tale of how her daughter, when asked what her mother did for a living, replied that she was a bookmaker. Commercial publishing is like that, Sue remarked. You use your best judgement about whether or not a book will succeed, and after that it’s a gamble. She confessed that large publishers are often driven by their sales and marketing departments, and that she, as Publishing Director, has to know what the market for a particular book is before she can direct her editing staff on how to go about assisting with the revisions. While Allen & Unwin increasingly relies on “agented” authors, and accepts on average only one unsolicited manuscript per year from the thousand or more unsolicited submissions they receive, she hopes that there is still room for them to discover talent from the slushpile.

Stuart Neal is a prose editor at ABC Books, and he spent some time disspelling misconceptions about ABC Books’ list and what they are interested in. In the 160 titles they produce annually, ABC Books now goes well beyond material that has a direct ABC connection, though they do look for material consistent with their charter as the national broadcaster, especially topics dealing with regional areas, where their market share is larger than that of the commercial networks. While ABC Books recently announced its interest in compiling a strong fiction list, with its new national fiction award, their slant is still very strongly on the non-fiction side and slanted toward mass market sales. Stuart pointed to True Crime as one of the publisher’s priority areas for expansion. Interestingly enough, ABC Books distributes through Allen & Unwin.

Anna Crago has been with UQP for only six months, but she comes with a strong track record from the UK publishing industry and had much to say about the differences between the industries there and here. For one thing, UK publishers can rely on a stable export trade for most of their titles, including books that are shipped to Australia, whereas Australian publishers like UQP have to put in the hard yards finding overseas sales for their titles. UQP is under pressure from several angles: having to serve the interests of faculty, since they are still seen, at least on the UQ campus as a university publisher; wanting to publish titles that they “love” sometimes, despite their dubious commercial potential; and the imperative to survive, which faces all publishers. UQP’s publishing program is already filled through 2008 in most areas.

I saw my role as representing the viewpoint of small independent publishers as well as IP’s niche in the digital publishing area. Few people there seemed to understand the potential of the emerging technologies for reshaping the face of publishing, the nature of the book and the place of the writer in the scheme of things. When the inevitable question was asked about the future of the book, the other three panelists gave the pat answer that the book will still be around 20 years from now. I didn’t disagree, but I suggested that the channels for publishing content will dramatically increase, and that we will see repurposing of content from the physical book into digital forms, including multimedia. This will be good news for publishers and authors prepared to adapt to the new environment, and especially for those wanting easier access to global markets.

This is of course only a few highlights from what was a very stimulating session, and we congratulate the QWC for sponsoring it and ensuring, in Kate Eltham’s capable hands as Chair, that all ran smoothly. The session was recorded, and the QWC is thinking of making the audio available for download from their website, which will be good news for people who were unable to attend this conclave of the “heavyweights” of the publishing industry.

<title>IP eNews</title>

New IP.Digital titles will be up there with the print ones for our Autumn Season 06 releases. Here’s a preview.

First up, we’ll have the eagerly awaited DVD of Hemingway in Spain, a multimedia adaptation of David Reiter’s poetry book of the same title, which was runner-up for the John Bray Award at the 1998 Adelaide Festival.

The poetry book features a sequence on Hemingway brought HISCovback to life where he finds instant attraction to Maria, a receptionist at the Hotel Florida in Madrid, who reminds him of a character from For Whom the Bell Tolls. The attraction is mutual and instant and the two go on to meet people from Hem’s past, as well as people from the distant past and future who the author actually never met in real life.

But this is not just a tale of love. It becomes a quest for the killer of Maria’s boyfriend whom she suspects is a reborn fascist. Hemingway is searching for answers from his dead father and the antagonist of the piece, Franco, the ultimate fascist.

Hemingway and Maria pursue their elusive goal through the cities and towns of Spain, ending up in the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Dead) a huge monument to the Civil War that Franco had blasted out of a mountain, for the final confrontation.

The DVD will feature spoken word performances, music, visuals and video clips from David’s two trips to Spain authored in Final Cut Pro Studio.

<title>IP eNews</title>

Second up will be The Last Laugh, which could well be the first example of chick lit in hypertext. The author, Monique Choy, describes it as follows:

It has a light-hearted, upbeat tone and quirky characters, set in a village-like street in Brunswick, Melbourne.
 
Mary-anne, my heroine, has a strange ability to make the people around her laugh. She is annoyed by this talent at first, but gradually comes to enjoy tickling the fancy of others. However, her attractive but moody neighbour, Stanley, thinks she's selling out. Will Mary-anne see things Stanley's way, and the promise of romance that this might bring? Or will she ignore his advice and risk losing him forever? That's up to the reader to decide.
 
Poking a bit of postmodern fun at the conventions of romance writing, I nevertheless stick to the genre rules, including a strict three-act structure, because I wanted to try something I haven't seen in interactive short stories elsewhere. I wanted the reader to have some investment in the choices made while navigating through the story. Unlike most interactive fictions, the narrrative builds momentum up to the final turning point and many readers have found this final decision-point quite confronting, as it can reveal a great deal about the reader when they're not quite expecting it.

The Last Laugh will be available on CD and possibly by download. We
’ll keep you posted.

<title>IP eNews</title>

Tilly Brasch, author of No Middle Name, has been speaking at conferences and specialist groups about the issues surrounding youth suicide and reform to our mental health system. Here’s what she has to say about her upcoming address to the Royal Flying Doctors’ conference:

As a response to my book, the Royal Flying Doctor Service has invited me to address fourteen doctors who provide medical care to people in remote areas of Queensland.

TillyBI have adopted two themes for my presentation, the first being the tyranny of distance, likening the geographical distance of RFDS mental health patients from services and resources available in urban areas to that of Australia’s geographical distance from Mother England in our colonial history.

My second theme refers to Mother Teresa’s quote that “loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty”. In the context of mental illness, inherent loneliness and isolation, and feelings of being unwanted and worthless can so easily lead a mentally ill person to suicide.

Although I cannot offer answers and solutions to the problems of mental illness and the tragedy of suicide, I hope that my insights will assist the medical officers in providing compassionate assistance to those in need.

<title>IP eNews</title>

Michael O’Sullivan opened the 16th annual Boorowa BalladeersMichaelOS festival on Australia Day, January 26. The festival regularly attracts an audience of around one hundred to hear ballads and yarns, priding itself as being “the sound of the real Australia”. Michael spoke on the role of ballads in contemporary Australia, and read a brief extract from his novel Secret Writing.

His story “The Puzzler” was Highly Commended in the Marjorie Graber-McInnes/ACT Writers Centre 2005 Short Story Award. Well done, Michael!

< title>IP eNews </title>

BarbaraWBarbara Winter’s book The Australia-First Movement has raised considerable interest in Western Australia where much of the political intrigue takes place. Rod Moran, Literary Editor of the West Australian, referring to his feature article on the book calls it an “important book” on the Ultra-Right movement in Australia.

Barbara has been interviewed on ABC Radio National’s Perspective program by Mark Finnane, Professor of History at Griffith University, and just recently was interviewed on Perth’s radio station 6PR.

IP.Sales is now distributing her earlier book, The Intrigue Master, which is a page-turning exposé of Australia’s role in the Pacific campaign during World War II. Email us for a fact sheet on the book, which retails for $35 in hard cover.

Barbara tells us that she’s all but completed her PhD, which was based on her research for The Australia-First Movement. We’re sure that will be a relief!

<title>IP eNews</title>

David headed overseas to visit relations in Canada and the USA turkeyand renew contact with the ubiquitous Thanksgiving turkey, but he also had a reading at Cleveland Heights Library and visited a number of libraries in the Cleveland area where he was raised.

The libraries were quite receptive to our quality Australian content, and one librarian remarked about how hard it was to find good material from overseas. At least as hard, he replied, as getting the word out from overseas to the US market!

By the way, the turkey in the photo is a wild one that had the good sense to stay under cover in the ravine behind David’s mother’s house until Thanksgiving and Leftovers Day were past. Watch your neck next year though, mate!

Alex_MaoriOnly a few weeks later, during IP’s annual holiday period, he took the family off to New Zealand, but couldn’t resist meeting up with librarians on the North Island to spread the good word about IP. He had an extended chat with the staff at Total Library Solutions, New Zealand’s largest library supplier, and they are keen to show IP titles around to their member libraries.

David’s son Alexander took it upon himself to lobby some of the local booksellers at Rotorua about what they were missing by not stocking IP authors!

<title>IP eNews</title>

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

On Subterranean Radio Songs by Joel Deane:

Deane’s book is an autobiography in two parts, with the first section (‘South’) taking us breezily through his childhood, to his first marriage and tragic loss of a child, then a traumatic break-up. ‘South’ concludes with the brilliantly energetic ‘Under Westgate’. In this virtuosic ‘poem in motion’, the hard, jerky, foot-down rhythms and kinaesthetic imagery convey a visceral experience of driving under the site of the famous bridge disaster, while everything spins emotionally out of control.

— John Jenkins, The Australian Book Review

On A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion by Geoffrey Gates:

Finding the words Perpetual Locomotion engraved on the back of his girlfriend, he inches his way into the perpetual locomotion movement. Perpetual locomotion is an image of travel as a form of imprisonment.

— Michael McGirr, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

On The Australia-First Movement by Barbara Winter

At a time when our freedoms are again being curtailed in the name of national security, and Australia has returned to the detention of “undesirables” on the basis of the flimsiest of evidence, an examination of past conflicts between freedom of the individual and the rights and requirements of the nation state such as Winter’s prodigious work are an essential tool in learning from, and avoiding, our past mistakes.

— Emma Dawson, JAS Review

<title>IP eNews</title>

Deal 1: Get back to poetry! Choose any two of the following titles to receive a 10% discount.

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

Popular Mechanics
On Reflection
Café Boogie
Ill Howl Before You Bury Me

Do it before 1 March and and we’ll throw in free postage and handling (a flat $5.40 charge applies thereafter).

Quote YD:29_1 in the Comments field on the Orders page. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only.

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

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

Q
uote YD:29_2 in the Comments field on the Orders page. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only.

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

Offers available only to individuals.

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