IP eNews 49
the newsletter of Interactive Publications Pty Ltd
I'm writing this as the clean-up continues from what has been described as the worst natural disaster ever to hit Queensland. Over 20 people were killed in the Lockyer Valley, and flooding resulted in billions of dollars of damage in Brisbane and the neighbouring areas.
Major flooding and losses have also taken place in regional Victoria and Western Australia.
It's a time when politicians call a brief time out from the usual petty squabbles to climb to a higher moral ground, but the truce won't last for long. The government has imposed a levy, which the Opposition decries as another "big new tax", and maverick Bob Katter, MP for Kennedy in Far North Queensland, threatens to block the enabling legislation for the levy as pay back for the South indifference during the North's own flooding trauma not so long ago.
Meanwhile not one, but two cyclones, are headed for Far North Queensland, reminding us that the wet season has several weeks to run yet.
I was disappointed to see how quickly the government has decided to save money in the budget by significant cutbacks to alternative energy initiatives. Scientists have been warning us for years that one consequences of our inaction in addressing climate change would be more extreme weather episodes: extended droughts lasting years, which we've already experienced, and cataclysmic storm system, which have occurred more recently. Cutting back on initiatives that could lessen global warming is very short sighted.
These have been described as once in a hundred or even once in two hundred year events – only because they haven't been seen before. How will they be described if they strike again this year or next? We will need to rewrite our vocabulary for talking about how nature behaves.
Fortunately for IP, our Studio is located high above the flood plain, so we avoided any direct damage. But we deeply appreciated the expressions of concern that we received from all over the world, hoping that we had not be caught in the flood. One of our Brisbane authors had his house inundated and is facing temporary accommodation for months. A medical specialist described how he and his family watched in horror from their high rise apartment as the tragedy played out below them.
You didn't have to be IN it to be affected by it. All of us were touched by the losses here, and I would hope that we will react with more sympathy to the next disaster that hits our northern neighbours – as it may very soon.
Writers and writing organisations have been at the forefront of initiatives to raise funds for flood victims, which is no less than I would expect. When a country is hurt, its artists bleed in sympathy. As they always have, and always will.
There's an Australian spirit that's come to the fore, but we should recognise that empathy has no national boundaries. It's human nature to come to the aid of others in such circumstances. Similar scenarios were played out recently in Brazil and previously across Asia when the tsunami struck. It's good to know, after all, that we are not alone. [DR]
IP Picks 2011 Awards
The Big Picture
Overall, entry numbers were down this year across all categories, which was a bit disappointing but meant the judges had an easier reading load. Perhaps people were being a bit cautious in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis?
Submissions from Queensland comprised 28% of the total, followed by New South Wales (23%), Victoria (18%), Tasmania and New Zealand (10%), South Australia (5%), and Western Australia and the ACT (3%).
We were pleased to see entrants from Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand holding their own in gaining placements against the competition from the more populous states.
Winners by category were:
Lois Shepheard (VIC): Best Creative Non-fiction
For further details on the winners and commended entrants, please read on.
The judges would like to thank all entrants for their submissions this year and wish those who did not secure a place this time all the best with their future writing projects. We encourage you to enter again. There have been several cases of second time lucky for dedicated authors who submit new work. [DR]
IP Picks Poetry Overview - From the Director
The judges were pleased yet again by the very high caliber of entries into the Poetry and Best First Book categories (poetry entries placed as Winner and Highly Commended in Best First Book).
This clearly shows that Picks has become THE competition for unpublished poetry in Australia today, and perhaps it will soon be the case for New Zealand as well. Entrants recognise the value of publishing with IP, given our high profile on the poetry scene.
As usual, the judges were hard pressed to find a clear winner. They felt that at least five or six of the shortlisted entries were publishable or very close to being publishable.
Lessons to be learned from this year's comp? Ensure that EVERY poem in the collection is polished and needs to be there. It's better to cull weak and marginal poems before submitting since these poems will weaken your chances of being selected. Also ensure that you don't include poems that cover the same ground as others. A common mistake that poets make is to include every poem that has been published during the process of writing the collection. Certain poems WILL get published in isolation from the collection because they are not being read together with poems that occupy the same territory.
In your revisions, ask yourself what makes each poem exceptional? Competent poems will impress the judges, but only exceptional poems exhibiting originality and the finest crafting will win over the judges. Test each and every poem for its overall quality. Revise or cull those that seem ordinary.
Finally, think about the structure of your collection. It should start with your finest poem and end with your next to finest. Open with three or four ordinary poems and you lessen the chances of gaining the judges' full attention. While it's true that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the parts can detract from the whole.
Spotlight on Prose – A Word from the Prose Editor about IP Picks
Thank you to all of the writers who sent their work into IP Picks. It takes guts to enter and we loved seeing your efforts.
At this time, we're often asked what the judges' impressions were, so let's do the hard part first. Here's what didn't work in prose:
For fiction and nonfiction:
For fiction specifically:
For nonfiction specifically:
What the judges loved seeing in fiction:
A bulleted list makes it sound so simple but it takes time, feedback and revision to make your work shine. Keep at it and maybe we'll see you in next year's winner's circle! [LD]
Spotlight on Junior and Yound Adult Fiction - Some comments from the Editor
Our Junior Prose category was short on entrants again this year, so we decided to combine the young adult and children's entries into a joint Junior/Young Adult Prose category. The judges saw some strong writing, original concepts and compelling storytelling, and we are confident that this category will attract more entries in the future. [AB]
The Results, by Category
Best Fiction | Winner
Will the Last Librarian Out Please Turn off the Lights?
One of the ABC's better comedy series of late has been The Librarians, which recently played out its second series. The script writers had a real challenge, making a hit from an occupation that most people regard as boring, but they pulled it off.
Like most satire, The Librarians had a serious side, showing how publicly funded institutions are considered soft targets in times of recession. Few people would take to the barricades to defend their local library.
Perhaps this has something to do with the general downturn in the amount of time we are devoting to reading for pleasure. Perhaps we think that libraries will inevitably give way to institutions better adapted to the digital era.
Some libraries are trying to adapt by rebranding themselves as information access centres, offering free or modestly priced internet services, to keep their clients coming in. Recent consolidation of councils in states like Queensland has introduced efficiencies into library systems that will placate the bean counters – for now.
But have library services improved? Probably not. The trend is toward centralised ordering and minimal holding of all but proven best sellers. This is not good news for Australian independent publishers, who still depend on library purchases as a major portion of their income. It's now virtually impossible for individual publishers to get an audience with the Collections team at the larger libraries. Staff cuts have led to libraries having to contract out their ordering services to suppliers that are better attuned to the list of multinational publishers with big marketing budgets. Few of these library suppliers actively promote Australian titles except for those written by literary luminaries like John Howard. They take the easy route of supporting popular titles that will be checked out more frequently.
It seems that every librarian's worst nightmare is to have the accountants pouring through the borrowing rate of the libraries' poetry holdings – if they still have any poetry other than Banjo Paterson and Lord Byron. Is it any wonder that some librarians keep a supply of paper bags at the ready to counter panic attacks?
Can we as borrowers do much to counter the downward trend of libraries that will see them resemble video shops in the near future, offering overnight checkout for popular crime, horror, romance novels and self-indulgent political memoirs. Probably not. It could be our nostalgia for what has been lost that prompts us to read - if not write - such escapist tomes.
Political memoir writing workshop, anyone? [DR]
Interview 1: Libby Hathorn
[Libby Hathorn is author to more than 50 books for children and young people. Her children's title I Love You Book , illustrated by Heath McKenzie, will be published by IP in February.]
CP: In the author's note of I Love You Book, you mention that the inspiration for this book came from a visit to Papua New Guinea, where parents and students expressed their love of reading to you. Why did that experience resonate with you?
LH: It was actually three of the parents- three women- who expressed the very wonder of being able to decode lines and squiggles on a page and experience the thrill of reading for the first time in their lives, whilst their sons (it was a boys' school) had been able to do this all their lives. Their drama presentation which they called simply I Love You Book, brought home to me the power of reading itself, as it opens you up to the world; and the power of the written word and literacy to open minds and hearts through books being placed in someone's hands.
CP: I Love You Book is a tribute to the physical book. Why do you think the experience of reading a physical book is as important for parents, families and children?
LH: The physical book has its own weight and shape and size and that's part of the familiarity of a book. Obviously the impact of the story or the poem is one thing, but the book as object is quite another. Books have texture- a range of different ones- smooth or slightly rough, slippery or grainy, page edges can deckled, smooth or even cutting; books have a certain smell too, especially new one, of paper, glue, ink and so on. But the physical book is an experience which combines all these things as well as the look of the book and the power of the words in it. It's lovely that to share a book you have to closely sit side by side. What a wonderful way to begin or end a day with family. And it does not depend on any power source but the power of the mind to respond.
CP: I Love You Book is distributed by Interactive Publications in digital formats as well as a physical book. What are your feelings about this development?
LH: Digital formats provide another way of books getting out there. I don't see a problem in meeting the market where some children and their families will only read the digital form of the book. I want the content widely distributed, its words and gorgeous artwork being enjoyed. And I think that reading digitally has its own pleasure, of course. But I have this sneaking hope that in doing so, the message will lure at least some of them to the pleasures of physical book.
CP: Why did you choose this time in your writing career to write I Love You Book?
LH: It's a time of great change and much excitement as our reading habits indeed our ways of learning continue to change as we become more technically sophisticated. The so- called 'digital native' is here to stay. I can see the demand for the physical book is changing as more people turn to digital alternatives but I firmly believe the book as object will survive. Perhaps it will be more competitive and we will have higher quality physical books. I believe there will always be the joy of holding different size and weight books and loving even the shape of the book that tells the tale, as well being able to use our senses in quite different ways to react to the story. I thought it was high time to pay homage to the book and draw attention to its many virtues, and the way it can continue to be enjoyed alongside the exciting digital developments.
CP: In I Love You Book, one of the important aspects of the physical book that you identify is the ability to share books. Can you envisage digital books as a shared reading experience?
LH: Yes, people and especially readers will adapt to any way shape of form a good story or poem is presented to them (on papyrus to vellum to bark to paper to screen). So in terms of the family read, we will gather round the Kindle or the screen, if there is no alternative. What I'd hope is that it is not an either or but both forms the physical and the digital will continue to develop and delight us in their unique ways. As yet, the physical book still wins out in the cuddle-up-and- hold –and- read-together stakes.
Interview 2: Anne Morgan
[Anne Morgan's children's book The Sky Dreamerinnovatively and honestly deals with the subjects of death, loss and grief from the perspective of a child. The picture book is illustrated by Céline Eimann.]
CP: The Sky Dreamer is a powerful and fearless book about the experience of death from the viewpoint of a child. Did you have any reservations in representing this theme in a children's book?
AM: The Sky Dreamer is, paradoxically, the story I had to write and the story I wish I never had to write, for I could never have written the text if my teenage daughter, Miranda, had not died in a road accident in October 2006. But while my personal grief provided the wellspring of inspiration for The Sky Dreamer I tried to distance myself from the text by creating a story with mythical resonances, a tale of magical realism which has as its core a quest for emotional healing amidst the quintessential mysteries of life and death in this vast and beautiful universe.
CP: What lessons do you believe parents and children should take from The Sky Dreamer?
AM: I hope that this picture story will hold up a multi-coloured lantern to grieving children, helping them perceive colour, joy and wonder in a world without their loved one. And since The Sky Dreamer is about a child moving from a state of helplessness towards an emotional reawakening, the story may also help children who are suffering a depression which is not associated with death.
I also hope that this book can work at another level, assisting adults to accompany children, empathetically and unobtrusively, through a journey of grief.
When somebody we adore dies, it is natural to grasp at the hope that the dead person lives on in some spiritual plane where they can watch over us and intervene in our daily lives. The Sky Dreamer, however, offers no easy answers to any existential dilemmas, only a way of framing up the experience of grief. When Cassie takes Liam on a surrealistic voyage through the Milky Way, Liam begs his sister to help him steer the boat through hazard after hazard. He eventually comes to understand that he can no longer rely on Cassie to help him – from now on he must do that himself – and this is the turning point of the story. But Cassie helps Liam in a more abstract sense by giving him a rainbow cloak to wear, an invisible cloak to remind him of her love and of the beauties of the world around him.
AM: After Miranda died, my world turned black and then grey. I spent long hours alone, walking a remote beach in Tasmania, experiencing intense emotions of anger and desolation. Eventually I found grief to be so exhausting in mind and body that I knew could not continue in this emotional state.
Since I could not have my adored daughter back, I decided I should try to spend the rest of my life honouring Miranda's happy, generous and loving spirit by seeing her in the things she loved – family, friends, animals, mountains, rivers, streams, forests, beaches, rainbows, sunrises, sunsets and other beauties of the natural world. This emotional progression is essentially Liam's journey towards healing in The Sky Dreamer.
But it is important for readers to realise, however, that the concept of 'a rainbow cloak' is not some magical, metaphysical cure-all – the pain of losing somebody very close to us remains with us, and any joys experienced thereafter are tinged with a bitter sweetness which Céline so aptly captures in Liam's expression in the last illustration of The Sky Dreamer.
CP: Why do you think that some writers and publishers shy away from themes of loss and grief in children's writing?
AM: Death drives a fault line of intense emotions through the lives of surviving family and friends, and for this reason, I suppose, it is the ultimate taboo inour restrained and sanitised society. Many people – myself included before I lost Miranda – are grief cowards who would rather walk away from grief than be sucked down into the mire of another person's grief.
Writers, publishers and teachers can be grief cowards too. Knowing that the topic of death may unleash strong emotions, they tend to tiptoe around it, often invoking euphemisms such as a person 'passed away' when they mean a person died. And yet children are very interested in death, and most, before they leave primary school, will have experienced the death of someone or something they love, whether it be a pet, an acquaintance, or someone much closer. For this reason I think it is a good idea for children to be exposed to fiction and nonfiction books about death and grieving.
CP: Do you think that the new honesty represented in your book will encourage other themes to be explored in children's books?
AM: I hope so. Children are as much a part of the fabric of humanity as adults, and I do not think they should be shielded from knowledge of the tougher issues confronting our species – but adults also need to nurture children by providing them with positive conceptual and emotional frameworks, so a great need of thought, sensitivity and creativity should be put into interpreting hard issues in books which children will relate to, in language they will understand.
CP: Colour and shade play an important part in the overall theme of the book. What messages did you hope the artwork would convey?
The grey monotone at the start of the book represents Liam's emotional paralysis after Cassie has died. As Liam starts to take charge of The Sky Dreamer by steering the boat through various hazards in space, colour slowly returns to his life and to the illustrations. I love Céline's use of colour and shade to portray Liam's emotional reawakening to the point where he can feel the love of his sister around him, keeping him warm and safe and brightening his world.
Interview 3: Barry Levy
[Shades of Exodus revolves around the true story of a South African family who flee the violence of South Africa only to fall victim to a vicious and bloody crime in Australia. Levy has been a recipient of the Australian Human Rights Award for Journalism. His previous novel with IP was As If!]
BL: I think to begin with, it should be said, unless it be misconstrued by the sense of the question, that Australia is no way as violent a society as South Africa. The point in the story of depicting this bloody episode (in this case taken from real life), is mainly to display the irony of the choices we make. The point being that sometimes, as much as we try to escape circumstances, it is just a matter of luck what happens to us.
For me, personally, the reason for leaving South Africa was plain and simply because of apartheid. I left ten years before its end. It was a system I loathed and as a journalist wrote against. Unfortunately I was also coming to believe it was a system that wouldn't end for another hundred years.
Beneath that was always the question, was I prepared to bear arms against apartheid, because like many in the anti-apartheid movement, I believed violence was the only way to bring about apartheid's demise. But the answer to that question for me, despite some moments of bravado, was no. An irony in this was that at a moment's notice the South African Army, which I was in effect doing a bunk from, could call me up to bear arms to help maintain apartheid! Although I served an initial nine months compulsory training in the army just after finishing high school, I could not bear the idea of this as an older adult. So, having an Australian wife and two small children who I believed should not have to be subjugated to growing up in such a nefarious, racially institutionalised system, I made the decision to leave.
CP: In the opening chapters of Shades of Exodus you write about the decision to leave South Africa being influenced by your concern for your children's futures. Do you feel that your children benefited from your migration?
BL: Good question. Difficult to answer. Truth is, the answer falls both ways. Not growing up in South Africa probably meant they led much safer, much more secure lives – especially with parents so unashamedly anti-apartheid and therefore in danger of arrest, etc.
CP: How much of Shades of Exodus is fiction, and how much has relied on your skills as a journalist in representing the truth despite the consequences?
BL: Much of what happens in Shades of Exodus is based in factuality and, like most fiction, definitely reality. However, it should be said that the characters, with the exception perhaps of David Levinrad - the main character who wants to leave Australia - are composites. That is, although their talk, their stories, their backgrounds, and their reasoning is based on actual people, real conversations, arguments, feelings, and etc, the characters in the book are not based on any one person. They are drawn from strands of lots of different people I have met from South Africa and who now live in Australia or elsewhere. David Levinrad, on the other hand, although not everything he does in the book is factual, does, I have to admit, resemble the author to a great degree.
As to the consequences of some of the assertions and positions posed by the book, I lived through most of the apartheid years, I think I can handle these too. For me, as a writer and a former journalist, far more important to try to get to the essence of thoughts, emotions and logic of the people involved, and then allow others to make up their own mind.
CP: Do you believe that the migration experience for South Africans in Australia differs from other migrants?
BL: Definitely, there is a sameness in the experience for all migrants to other countries. The sense of loss, of fragmentation, of having to start all over again, are all there. The difference with South Africans, generally, and I guess this is one of the controversial themes of the book, is their denial that they are worse off or that they have even experienced any sense of loss or fragmentation. Although they do not always fit, or at first fit, it is not something South Africans easily admit to, except maybe in deep conversation with friends. Also, unlike many migrants who have a longing for their home countries, many South Africans spend a lot of time denigrating where they come from. They do not like to see good news coming out of South Africa because this undermines their argument for coming here. And they do it despite the fact the country once gave them so many privileges in life.
The reality, unlike many other migrant groups to Australia, is that most of them have come from quite well off backgrounds, have a good education or professional qualifications, and because of the standard of living for middle class South Africans in South Africa, they have this deeply engrained knowledge of once being much better off than the majority of middle class Australians. Hence, unlike many other migrants, they have to actually swallow a drop in living standards. This can be quite debilitating, made worse by the fact that many even lose money when they first arrive.
CP: Early in the book you write about migrants from South Africa saying that the end of apartheid meant the end of the country. What do you see for the future of South Africa?
BL: At present, despite all the negatives that white South Africans see and that is portrayed in the media generally, there is no reason to believe South Africa does not have a healthy future. A burgeoning economy and growing middle class will probably see to that. A good sign - one for all the world to see - was the way South Africa handled the World Football Cup in 2010. Another good sign is the way the country's financiers pulled the South African economy out of the red in a short time after the end of apartheid. The country too, like Australia, emerged relatively unscathed from the global financial crisis.
But of course there are a lot of dangers there which will continue to have whites leaving the country: criminal violence is still appallingly bloody and high (although mostly restricted, as in the days of apartheid, to black ghetto areas); AIDS is still huge; and there is still, given the rapidly expanding middle class, a disgusting amount of poverty in the country (although, on the positive side, people do not any longer die of starvation-related diseases as they did in the apartheid years). The country also has to deal with two million migrants from Zimbabwe as well as another one and a half million migrants from other parts of Africa.
But already, even under the much denigrated Zuma presidency (and there is a lot to denigrate the bloke about, remember, he's the one who had a shower after a sexual tryst to prevent HIV contamination), there is an opening up of black-white dialogue, something that was stymied under the Africanist approach of the last president, Thabo Mbeki. There is also now talk from the president of re-looking at the country's policy of black economic advancement. If this policy is 'liberalised' and made to be more user-friendly to South Africa's very industrious whites, it will definitely keep them rooted there. It is after all a tremendous county!
We've been fine-tuning our workflow to convert titles to ePub and xhtml versions to ensure they look as close to the original as possible. Our work has been eased somewhat by our upgrade to Creative Suite 5, which is certainly more sophisticated in its ability to produce reasonably polished files to start with. All our converted files are now validated with special software before we submit them to our online partners.
We're now sending Overdrive ePub as well as pdf versions of our titles, which has had a positive effect on sales. In addition to Overdrive, Amazon and Apple, we're now sending ePub versions to Kobo and For-side, a company that focuses on sales to mobile users. We're also talking to Barnes & Noble about sending them content for their bookshop and Nook Reader.
We were pleased to see Apple finally launch its Australian iBookstore recently, making our titles available here as well as in the USA, Canada, the UK, France and Germany, the only territories Apple is selling in at present.
Readings, an independent chain in Melbourne, has partnered with SPUNC, an alliance of independent publishers, and Inventive Labs, which has created an ecommerce site to support cloud-based eBook sales. We have had preliminary discussions with Readings about listing our content with them. It's early days yet; their site has only 150 titles at present, compared to the millions listed by Amazon, Kobo and Apple, but you have to start somewhere, and we have been arguing some time for a dedicated Australian portal, so this is good news.
As a part of our work to redesign the IP website, we're now listing eBook versions of our new titles as they come on stream, so people can order them online directly from us. We encourage those of you who have eBook Readers to give our titles a try. And remember that you don't have to have a separate device to view ePub and xhtml files. You can install the free Kindle for PC software or simply download titles from the iBookstore for viewing on your PC.
You can have a look at the new design for our stores here: http://ipoz.biz/Store/NewReleases/Spring11.htm
[The reviews that follow are snippets from the full reviews, which you can find by clicking on the thumbnail for the title.]
James Laidler - The Taste of Apple
The Taste of Apple is more than domestic drama. It scrutinises questions of identity, the pain of abandonment, and the search for belonging, and follows Pedro's involvement with the East Timor Freedom Movement.
– Deb Matthews - Zott
Hazel Edwards - Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time)
Plato The Platypus Plumber is just calling out to be shared with kids. The book is multilayered - a delightful fantasy about a friendly platypus, interwoven with opportunities for kids to learn about taking care of the environment.
- Susan Stephenson - The Book Chook
In Defence of Hawaiian Shirts - B N Oakman
– Valerie Krips, Arena Magazine
IP Kidz Update
We have a busy time ahead at IP Kidz, with six new children's titles about to be released.
Five of these are picture books: Edel Wignell's two titles Long Live Us! (a humorous fractured fairytale, illustrated by Peter Allert) and Christina's Matilda (a non-fiction work on the origins of the tune of 'Waltzing Matilda', illustrated by Elizabeth Botté); Libby Hathorn's I Love You Book (a celebration of the book, illustrated by Heath McKenzie); Céline Eimann's gentle fantasy Lyli Meets the Stone-Muncher; and Anne Morgan's powerful work The Sky Dreamer (the story of a boy's journey through grief, illustrated by Céline Eimann). For 8-12 year olds, there's also Anna Bartlett's historical children's novel A Penny in Time.
Our following season of titles will also include two Kidz books, which are currently at design stage: Robert Moore's lively picture book About Face, illustrated by animation company Monkeystack, and Mark Carthew's Witches' Britches, Itches and Twitches, a fun book of rhymes and riddles, accompanied by Mike Spoor's humorous illustrations.
With all these new Kidz titles coming out, we're going to be kept busy with a variety of launches and events. If any of these events will be taking place near you, make sure you check them out!
Out & About
Our Spring Season tour had several stops, firstly at Readings, St Kilda where we had a Gala event featuring Olwyn Conrau's The Importance of Being Cool, James Laidler and Don Stewart's verse novel and enhanced CD, The Taste of Apple, Juliet Blair's junior novel Arlo and the Vortex Voyage, Leah Kaminsky's poetry collection Stitching Things Together, Lyn Reeves' poetry collection Designs on the Body and David Reiter's Tiger Tames the Min Min, the third sci-fi environmental novel in the Project Earth-mend Series. More than 90 people attended.
It was then on to Warrnambool for a special event for The Taste of Apple for local heroes James and Don. Don's band provided warm-up entertainment hosted by the Warrnambool Art Gallery. Another 90 people attended.
David then flew to Sydney and took the train down to Wollongong for a reading by him and Julie Waugh, author of towards a grammar of being. Julie hadn't had a properly launch for her poetry book up till then since she'd been in Ireland during the release of her book in mid-2009, so this was a good excuse to call together her friends for an event at Wollongong Library, the site of several past successful IP events.
To finish the tour, we had an event at Berkelouw's Leichhardt, with readers Roberta Lowing (Ruin), Juliet Blair, Glenise Clelland (Love Falls in Love with Love and On Loving and Sensualities). Leah Kaminsky had been planning to attend but had to cancel due to an unexpected work commitment.
Hazel Edwards and co-author Christine Anketell launched the DuckStar series at Kardinia International College in Geelong to a rapturous reception from students and parents.
Coming up in February is IP's Summer Season Tour of Tasmania, our Gala Weekend in Brisbane, and launches of Chris Mansell's Schadenvale Road short story collection in Sydney and on the South Coast.
David will give his digital workshops on concurrent Saturdays for the Tasmanian Writers Centre on the 19th and 26th of February. He'll be joined between the workshops by Lyn Reeves and Anne Morgan (The Sky Dreamer) for events at The Freight Train Bookshop at Margate (Sunday, 20th), Readings and book chats with the Sheffield Writers' Group (Monday 21st), an event at Devonport Regional Gallery on Tuesday the 22nd, a reading and panel discussion at The Lark in Hobart on Wednesday the 23rd, a lunchtime reading at the Bellerive Arts Centre on Friday the 25th. Check out the updates on our Facebook or Twitter sites or contact the Writers' Centre for further details.
We've confirmed Friday, 4 March from 6pm at the Kookaburra Café in Paddington for our Summer Soirée to kick off the Gala Weekend. You'll mingle with authors and illustrators including Libby Hathorn, Peter Allert, Barry Levy, Chris Mansell, Anna Bartlett and David Reiter. $30/head gets you gourmet finger foods and a welcome drink, with an open bar thereafter. Brief taster readings. Books available for purchase and signing.
The Gala Launch will be at The Performance Studio, 4MBS Classic-FM, 384 Old Cleveland Road, from 2pm on Sunday, 6 March. Free event, with refreshments. If you've attended one of our Galas before, you know the slant is on performance rather than formal speeches, so you can count on it being an enjoyable afternoon.
RSVPs are essential for both events (past Gala launches have been booked out!). RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, phone/fax to 07 3324 9319. Or you can RSVP on our Facebook site. If you don't already follow us, search for "IP" on Facebook.
You can check out the full list of titles to be launched here.
If you can't make it but would like to order one or more of the new titles, email us BEFORE 4 March with Gala Order as your Subject, and we'll ship your choice(s) of title to you free.
Our Gala event at Readings, St Kilda, proved to be the highlight of our Spring Season tour, followed closely by the Warrnambool launch of James Laidler and Don Stewart's The Taste of Apple, which has a enhanced CD as well as a paperback version.
We're working hard to improve on the successes of our IP Kidz imprint with more detailed sales kits and regular e-circulars being sent to library and school suppliers and to the schools themselves. It's a very competitive market, with just a few publishers dominating. But we continue to attract name authors to our community of authors and illustrators and look forward to building on our successes to date.
Another priority area for us is international sales and distribution. We are currently in discussions with an international agency that is interested in selling rights on our behalf, and we hope to have an announcement on that front soon.
Deal 1: Pre-order Libby Hathorn's I Love You Book for $26 and receive her previous IP Kidz picture book Zahara's Rose for 50% off ($13.95). Free postage. Order by 28 February from email@example.com with IYD Special 1 as your subject. Include your postal address and whether you want to pay by EFT or PayPal.
Deal 2: Pre-order Barry Levy's Shades of Exodus for $33 and receive his previous IP novel As If for 50% off ($15.95) Free postage. Order by 28 February from firstname.lastname@example.org with IYD Special 2 as your subject. Include your postal address and whether you want to pay by EFT or PayPal.
Deal 3: Project Earth-mend for the kids! Get all three novels in the Series for those sci-fi young readers (8-12 years) in your family for only $40, including the new release Tiger Tames the Min Min ($48 regular price). Order from email@example.com with Project Earth-mend Bundle as your subject. Include your postal address and whether you want to pay by EFT or PayPal.