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From the Director’s Desk

Editorial: Bad Weather Ahead for UQP?

Focus: Alan Ferguson!

All is Vanity [Publishing]?

IP Picks 2005 Results

My Planets Project Update

Out & About

Staff Changes

New Submission Policy

Your Deal

Vol 7, No. 1— ISSN 1442-0023

SaraWelcome to the first 05 issue of eNews and a very Happy New Year.

We kick off the year in fabulous style by announcing the results of the 2005 IP Picks Awards. In addition to the Awards for Fiction and Poetry, we profile the inaugural winner and commendeds in the new category of Creative Non-Fiction. Our special report has all the details including, judge's comments, samples from the manuscripts and profiles of the successful authors.

The Picks Awards are growing bigger and better every year. At least five of the shortlisted manuscripts will be published by IP with a further two in negotiation. The successful authors hail from Queensland, ACT, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, confirming IP’s growing profile as a national publisher. Shortlisted entries include established, emerging and little known authors alike, demonstrating that IP still puts literary merit and commercial viability ahead of the author’s reputation. Our warmest congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all of the entrants.

In our extended Editorial column, David also has some views on the troubles at the University of Queensland Press (UQP), which is in the process of a major restructure to stem the tide of a growing debt and write-offs of unsold stock.

Also in this issue, we follow-up David’s controversial editorial on the role of Creative Writing Degrees. We are pleased our editorials have finally sparked some heated debate among stakeholders in the publishing industry. David’s feature on “vanity publishing” should continue to stoke the fires.

In Out and About, we feature the successful launches of Joel Deane’s Another in Melbourne and Nora Krouk’s Skin for Comfort in Sydney. Both launches were well attended, highly successful events and the authors should be congratulated for their hard work in support of these titles. With independent publishing, the success of a title depends on an effective partnership between the author and publisher. Without the resources of corporate publishing, it can’t be otherwise, so we are delighted when our authors take a hand in their own success and are more than happy to share the credit with them!

We announce some important changes to the staff here at IP. Former Fiction Editor Morag Kobez-Halvorson, having graduated in glory from QUT, leaves us to pursue a full-time career in publishing. It was great to work with Morag and I will personally miss her contribution.

In recognition of our expanding creative non-fiction list, Lauren Daniels joins us in the new position of Prose Editor and Lisa Reynolds and Anne Marshall join us as Assistant Editors. A warm welcome to Lauren, Lisa and Anne. You can read all about them in our New Staff feature, as well as on our updated Staff page.

Finally and most importantly are Your Deals. I say most importantly, because the survival of a publisher depends on you, the readers, actually buying the product. So, before you go, visit our orders page and bag yourself a title or two.

Happy Reading!

Sara Moss, Editor, IP eNews

From the Director's Desk

DR_roofAll of us here were deeply shocked and saddened by the tsunami tragedy, and we do want to pay tribute to the many people who are working so hard to help the people in those countries rebuild their lives.

It does give us pause about the relative importance of what we do in our lives, and how quickly it can be swept away by a whim of Nature. Above all, it restores faith in our capacity to respond to a tragedy of this scale by putting our humanity ahead of nationalistic concerns.

In the more mundane world of business, as you'll see in this issue’s Out & About we had a very successful series of launches for Joel Deane’s novel Another in Melbourne and Nora Krouk’s Skin for Comfort in Sydney.

I was delighted by the interest shown in IP Picks this year, with double the number of entries from the previous year. I was particularly gratified to see the increase in entries from Western Australian authors, who scooped Highly Commended awards in the Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction categories. Obviously, my trip out there in October to launch Wendy Evans’ The Diggings are Silent brought us to the attention of a new group of authors. The judges had their work cut out for them, especially in the Fiction category, where eleven entries made the long list. We will be publishing the winners in all three categories, and most of the Highly Commended and Commended entries, pending negotiations with the authors.

For more on the Picks winners and commended entries, check out the staff summaries of the judges’ reports.

I was gratified to learn that the Australia Council will be supporting one of our upcoming titles, On Reflection, by Sydney author David Musgrave. This is the third year in a row that IP has been funded by OzCo, confirming us as a publisher of importance in an ever more competitive environment.

We’re planning an exciting Autumn list this year, which will feature A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion, by Sydney author Geoffrey Gates, winner of the IP Picks 2005 Best Fiction Award, On Reflection by Sydney poet David Musgrave and a Text + Audio CD by performance poet Jenni Nixon, also of Sydney, based on her Café Boogie.

Lest you think we're planning to shift Treetop Studio to Circular Quay, we’ll also be publishing at least two Queenslanders: Barbara Winters’ intriguing account of the Australia-First Movement—an Ultra Right group who cheered for the fascists in the 30s and 40s—will be released by Glass House Books, and Liam Guilar’s I'll Howl Before You Bury Me is also scheduled to have its Audio + Text CD release from IP Digital.

Much more on our Autumn Season list in the next issue.


Dr David Reiter

Bad Weather Ahead for the Flagship?

Over the past fortnight, The Courier-Mail has covered, in several articles, major problems at Queensland largest literary publisher, the University of Queensland Press (UQP). It seems that, after years of losses amounting to $3.5 million and write-offs of $1.5 million in unsold stock, the UQP Board has had enough.

General Manager Greg Bain has announced a restructure that will see at least three senior staff, including two genre editors, departing with redundancy packages, and second-in-command Madonna Duffy having to apply for the new position of Publisher. The senior staff positions will be placed with a Manager, Operations/IT.

Some of the senior staff have not gone gently into that good night and have expressed more than passive concern about how the proposed restructure will redirect resources away from editorial staff with decision making responsibility to the business side of the company without affecting UQP’s commitment to literary publishing. This is of course not a new development in an industry where marketing chiefs increasingly wield greater power than editorial ones.

All of us have an interest in a vital publishing industry in Queensland, and we must be deeply concerned when our flagship publisher finds itself in cyclonic waters. Especially given the strong support UQP has enjoyed from the Queensland Government, which has invested millions of taxpayers’ dollars in direct grants and indirect funding to keep the operation afloat.

This prompted me to write a Letter to the Editor of The Courier-Mail from IP’s perspective, which we’ve reprinted more or less intact here:

Rosemary Sorenson's article on the shake-up at the University of Queensland Press was drawn to my attention recently. While I certainly continue to wish UQP well, it is clear that the company is in crisis, its debt is growing, despite millions of dollars of direct and indirect public funding. Yet General Manager Greg Bain seems determined to stay the course on the path of literary publishing. Will UQP survive by maintaining its current mix, with dwindling profits from its former cash-cow (the bookstore) and by resorting to "desk editors" and operations/IT solutions rather than senior editors with proven commercial judgment? How much additional public funding will UQP require to stay afloat? Will these injections be a matter of public record or even debate? Will the Queensland Government through its agency Arts Queensland also stay the course in the face of the very real prospect of that publisher declining further or even going down? It's high time the Government reviewed its current one-publisher policy and moved to ensure that Queensland, now the second most populous State in Australia, has the healthy and diversified publishing industry it deserves.

I think that says it all for the moment.

<title>IP eNews</title>


Editorial Draws Fire from QUT Lecturers

Debate still rages following last issue’s rather controversial editorial.

There’s been a great deal of heated discussion on whether the rising number of creative writers currently struggling to earn a living in our country outstrips demand. The debate stemmed from a lively discussion generated by writers’ group Queensland Writing, with IP receiving several emails regarding the apparent absurdity of issues the editorial raised.

In the editorial, which centered on the findings of the recent OZCO report “Don't Give Up Your Day Job: An Economic Study of professional artists in Australia”, Dr. Reiter suggests that there are too many writers for the publishing industry to support and he proposes, albeit tongue somewhat firmly in satirical cheek, that the universities should establish more stringent entry requirements, and have fewer places for their creative writing courses, rather than continuing to exploit the “cash cow” that the discipline has become.

A QUT creative writing lecturer, Nike Burke, took these criticisms to heart, with an impassioned reply. While Burke extols the virtues of creative writing courses in helping aspiring writers to gain writing experience, networking opportunities, and a greatly improved prospect for future publication, she denies wholeheartedly that there is any proof that the university system is responsible for the increasing number of writers, or indeed that there has even been such a proliferation.

She also took umbrage at the claim that universities were not preparing their creative writing graduates for the stark reality of their future job prospects. Burke states that universities, such as QUT, are indeed preparing their students to work in different, and more commercial, fields of writing, as well as offering opportunities for ‘real world’ experience in the workforce.

In response to Dr. Reiter’s comments that the majority of writers earn minimal amounts from their writing, and are often forced to rely on minimum wage day jobs that often leave them languishing below the poverty line, Burke states that ‘the title of the OZCO report does not, to me, indicate a foreshadowing of a downturn in writer's earning capacity, rather it reinforces what is more probably a long tradition of a largely impoverished class of artists…’ She adds further that writers, being artists, might well value art for its own sake, rather than seeking economic remuneration.

The ever-diplomatic Craig Boland, also from QUT, agreed with some of Burke’s arguments, replying with the thought that perhaps income is not the best means of ‘…gauging the value (or lack thereof) of a creative writing degree…’ He, like Burke, argues that income potential was not always the driving motivation behind the decision to study creative writing or become a writer. Boland queries the validity of the OZCO report in comparing emerging writers’ incomes against their more established counterparts. He also suggests that income is a not the most important means of judging a writer’s success, pointing out that Scarecrow outsold My Life as a Fake by four to one last year.

Burke and Boland have since qualified their concerns, inviting Dr. Reiter to join the email list of the Queensland Writing group, and discuss some of his ideas with them at a future date. It remains unclear whether writing lecturers from other universities, or writers aspiring and established alike, will be drawn into the debate.

We hope the channels of communication will remain open on this significant issue, and the universities will seriously consider implementing more realistic descriptions of outcomes their creative writing graduates are likely to attain upon graduation.

[Dr. Reiter’s reply has been circulated on Queensland Writing’s email list, and is reprinted here in full]:

Thank you for your thoughtful response to my recent editorial in IP eNews.

I could have sub-titled the editorial “A[nother] Modest Proposal” in hopes that the reader would recall Swift's satire on the recycling of impoverished children, but I thought that would be giving too much away.

But, like all satires, this one is not to be dismissed as wholly tongue-in-cheek. While the proposal itself is mostly absurd, there are certainly grounds for a “wake-up call” for institutions involved in the writing “industry”, as we term it these days. Research does indicate that more and more institutions are taking on and graduating more and more writers. The fact that people who identify themselves as writers earn on average less than $4,000 per annum should be of concern to professional bodies and training institutions alike.

The serious point behind the article is that universities, ever more desperate for increasing their revenue and through-puts, are certainly exploiting this growth "industry", but I really wonder whether WRITERS are deriving much benefit from the pursuit of academic qualifications. As is the case with most traditional academic disciplines, the paper qualification ante is being upped to the point where having an MA is a ho-hum.

Whether this is of benefit to the cultural fabric of the larger community has yet to be researched, nor do we have research on where those grads end up, and whether they feel they are better off artistically, vocationally or even just personally as a result.

While it is true that some universities like QUT do have vocationally related offerings that creative writing students can plug into, I am unaware of programs that systematically integrate vocational studies, internships and the like, with theoretical and practical studies of the craft. I suspect it is more often the case that universities like QUT have vocational offerings that writers can take as electives. And I know of few universities that have internship and work experience study as an integral part of their program by which students receive credits and are assessed. “Having the opportunity” to gain work experience is not the same as having it as an integral part of one's program.

Several years on from the establishment of the first creative writing programs in Australia, it would be interesting to see where those university graduates are now, and how many still have aspirations to be professional writers, as opposed to those who write for other than professional reasons.

A good research paper could be written on the question of whether grads who fail to make the grade where it really counts — by being published — feel frustrated, cheated, or even worse, for having invested time and money in improving their paper qualifications.

Another good paper could be written on the success rate of grads with commercial publishers as opposed to those writers who educate themselves through life experience or other channels, e.g. writers groups or practical writing experience in other vocations.

Regarding your point about publishers culling their slush piles on the basis of university qualification, it is true that publishers pay more attention to letters from agents and reputable assessors, but perhaps universities would do better by their graduates by assisting them in forming a portfolio of assessments received as a part of their course work that could substitute for letters from agents and assessors. As Director of one significant independent publisher, I can tell you that I would welcome such information as an aid to filtering the increasing volume of unsolicited material that we receive. I would consider it more credible than some assessor reports I receive at present.

As to your argument about university programs being only one means by which authors come together to discuss their craft and be mentored, I would advise against pushing this point too hard. If universities fail to develop integrated programs of study that lead to better employment prospects for their graduates, more prospective students may wonder whether enrolling is worth the increasing fees if completing a graduate degree in creative writing leaves them over-qualified to work below the poverty line.

— LR

<title>IP eNews</title>

All is Vanity? Not Quite!

I can feel another workshop topic coming on. Here’s the key question: if a publisher asks an author to contribute financially to the production of his or her book, will the arrangement amount to vanity publishing?

Maybe, maybe not. Which is why the topic probably demands a workshop, to air the nuances and scenarios.

Historically, there have been royalty contracts where the publisher pays all the costs to see a book into print and onto the shelves. And there have been “vanity” operations where a publisher of dubious repute publishes a book for money – no questions asked.

In the minds of many in the writing community, you are either a royalty or a vanity author, and if you pay anything toward the costs of producing your book you are in danger of entering the Vanity Zone. The assumption behind this is that any reputable publisher, having found a work of merit, will want to pay the lot, regardless of the commercial risk.

The reality for publishers these days is that more and more projects get turned down for commercial reasons rather than aesthetic ones. This is especially true for first-time authors, work in genres where sales are generally poor – e.g. poetry and short fiction – and experimental work that booksellers found it hard to classify.

In a few cases, funding agencies like the Australia Council come to the party and the equation, of anticipated costs on the one side and expected revenue on the other, works. More often these days, authors may be asked to share the risks by investing in the project. The publisher may then offer to share the profits in some arrangement that recognises the amount the author has put in.

IP’s partnership arrangements are a good example of how we work with authors to get work of merit into print. As Director, I have always made it clear that IP must run as a business, and that merit is not the only criterion for deciding to make an offer to publish. The other criteria are:

• will there be a sizable audience for the work?
• is the author able and willing to participate in the promotional campaign?
• is the subject matter likely to attract media attention?
• is the book likely to attract grant support and do well in major competitions?

Of course, publishers have only past experience to go on in answering these questions, and they sometimes get it wrong. But for those of us whose aesthetic side wants to publish when the marketing side is saying no, it's too risky, there IS an alternative. Call it partnership or subsidy publishing – or any other name as distant from “vanity” as you like – but the bottom line is that the author will very likely be asked to assist.

The essential factor that sets partnership publishing apart from vanity publishing is quality. Vanity publishers are out to make money; the quicker the better. If your back pocket is deep enough, they will publish you – no questions asked, and no refunds offered. This is not to say that vanity products have to look cheap. To the contrary, when the author provides a blank cheque, he or she can have a book that looks as good as a one whose quality is more than skin-deep.

The publishers you want to deal with will ALWAYS be prepared to take a risk on a book they feel deserves to be published. Independent publishers like IP may not be able to afford to shoulder the entire risk, but at least this kind of publisher is prepared to put money on the table to see it into print. In this, they are no different from publishers who offer traditional royalty contracts.

The problem is that the vanity publisher's commitment to the book usually ends when the last cheque is cashed. The author ends up with boxes of books and nowhere to sell them. So, another true test of whether you’re dealing with a partnership publisher or a vanity one is to consider what your contract says about marketing and promotion. If the silence is deafening, you have every right to hear warning bells.

Even if the publisher says they will promote and sell on your behalf, actions speak louder. Ask for details. Interrogate the fine print. How will they promote? What kind of marketing campaign do they expect to mount? Will they organise a book launch?

IP gets submissions from disappointed authors with a printed book in hand, asking if we can help. More often than not, we can’t. These are authors who have been lured into the dark side of the self-publishing dream, who have paid to have a good looking book produced, without going through the necessary editorial loops.

It isn’t as simple as saying that if you get a royalty contract you can be assured of getting good editorial support. Even mainstream publishers have been known to cut corners on risky titles. Nor if you self-publish are you condemned to relying on yourself or a empathetic partner to refine your project before it goes to print. There IS a middle ground. You can partnership publish with a company that offers and DELIVERS editorial services and a strategy for selling worthwhile books.

There’s nothing wrong with investing your hard-earned cash to help make it happen. If you can find a publisher with integrity who believes enough in your project to share the risk with you then go for it. You may just come up with a winner.

<title>IP eNews </title>

[In this issue, Sue Nelson interviews Alan Ferguson, the musician from Western Australia who composed the haunting musical CD based on Wendy Evan’s The Diggings Are Silent. While Alan is a man of few words, we guarantee that you will be impressed by his music. The book and CD are available as a package at a substantial discount on our Orders page.]

SN: When did you start playing and composing in general and this particular CD?

AF: When I was 19. I started work on this CD in 1980-81.

SN: What are your musical and dramatic influences?

AF: The many bands I have played with. Also Ron Simms, formerly with the ABC, and the producer of The Diggings CD.

SN: How many styles of music have you played in?

Alan_FAF: Skiffle, R and R .R and B. Celtic (mainly) Australian Bush Music. Country. General Folk.

SN: What are your other professional activities and interests?

AF: I manage a pharmaceutical company in Western Australia and South Australia. And I run beef cattle on my property in Chittering W.A. Now I’m writing a book.

SN: How have other areas of your life spilled into your songs?

AF: Life’s experiences and my eagle eye for observation plus my sensitivity to people.

SN: Can you give an example of that? Or an amusing anecdote?

AF: Yes, I constantly travel the North-West Highway as we live 60 kms. out of Perth. One day I happened to say to my wife that I felt I should write a song about my travelling. So I did and named it “The West Coast Highwayman” (the name of the truck) trucking North-West Steers from the Fitzroy River in the Noth-West to Fremantle. And for an anecdote, playing music in Singapore I discovered the strict laws of chewing gum, and here are some lyrics I wrote about that...

Well, Singapore’s a lonely place when they throw you into jail.
For smuggling packs of chewing gum no bugger will go your bail
Ten strokes of The Rattan on your bum will make you think I’m sure.
I’m a chewing gum smuggler from Western Oz.
I’m a true blue chewing gum chewer.

Humpty Dumpty was a fine egg who had a terrible fall.
That shit called Jack Horner flew out of his corner and pushed him off the wall.
Well, all the King’s men were at it again and drinking in the sun.
If they had been chewing instead of Drambu-ing .
They could have patched him up with gum!

SN: How did you meet author Wendy Evans?

AF: When I was Entertainment Manager at The Newman Club, in North-West W.A.

SN: How did you come to be collaborating on this project with her? Diggings_Cov

AF: Wendy asked me my opinion of her script, I was so impressed that I suggested I put music to the poems.

SN: What is the main impression you want to leave the listener with this CD?

A sense of reality and sensitivity to life, which comes and goes all too quickly.

How do you draw inspiration for your music?

AF: Through life’s experiences and challenges.

SN: What do you consider to be the strengths of your CD?

AF: Poetic incisiveness. And I hope that Wendy’s words blended with the tenderness of the music enhance each other.

SN: What are your plans for the future?

AF: Re- establish my band in the New Year, continue working on my book. And visit Scotland where I have been invited to play music.

< title>IP eNews </title>

In his most ambitious digital project to date, Dr David Reiter has been working with a team of creative specialists in 3D animation, video and audio to produce the first phase of the My Planets project.

David describes it as a “fictive memoir”, intended to capture the shifting realities he experienced after being reunited as an adult with his biological families from whom he was separated at birth.

The metaphor of the planets came from the relative notions of reality a space traveller would experience gazing out on a night sky from each of the planets in our solar system.

The work blends myth and astronomical details associated with the planets with the reconstructed life stories of David’s adoptive and biological families and more universal themes associated with adoption, abuse and redefinition of identity. Music, which is always central to David’s multimedia, is important here, with Holst’s symphonic poem The Planets providing a backdrop for several locales.

Planets_CovUnder David’s creative direction, the team at Brisbane’s Arterial Group have produced a proof-of-concept, featuring interactive content from three of the planets, which goes well beyond a teaser for funding agencies. The DVD-ROM contains extensive video and audio footage, including text written by David.

Phase 1 of the project was generously supported by a major grant from Arts Queensland, who will be approached along with the Australian Film Commission, and the Australia Council for funding to advance the project. The Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada has expressed an interest in a joint venture to see the project into production.

In the meantime, if you are interested in exploring the themes or the cutting edge practice of My Planets, you can order a copy of the DVD for the very reasonable price of AU$16.50 (GST-inclusive), including postage. It will work on computers with a recent copy of Quicktime. All proceeds will go back into the project.

Together with his other multimedia works, the My Planets project shows the exciting possibilities for creative collaboration between writers and artists working in other media. David has been offering workshops on this subject across Australia and overseas and would be happy to offer others as the Project progresses. Contact him directly to discuss the details.

< title>IP eNews </title>

[This continues the highlights of our Spring Season 04 activities, with the launch of Joel Deane’s novel Another in Melbourne, followed by the launch of Skin for Comfort by Nora Krouk in Melbourne.]

The Aura Lounge on Bourke Street is just a stone’s throw from Victoria’s Parliament House, which made it a convenient venue for the launch of Joel Deane’s IP Picks 2004 winning novel Another. For starters, we had Rob Hulls, Attorney-General, Joel’s previous boss, before Joel was appointed Chief Speechwriter for Premier Steve Bracks, who launched the book more as a roasting of Joel — but he certainly knew his audience and what would work. Other politicians joined in the fray, including John Thwaites, Minister for the Environment, but Joel held his own in his Right of Reply by relating a few gems of his own.

AnotherUnfortunately, the Premier wasn’t able to attend, but we forgave him, especially after he placed a large order so that he could give each member of his staff a copy of Another for Christmas.

Mr Bracks actually had some ground to make up anyway. We had planned to launch Another in October, along with Cate Kennedy’s Joyflight and the events were already confirmed when the Premier informed Joel that he would be travelling to China and Hong Kong and wanted his Chief Speechwriter close at hand. Far be it from us to derail the business of State!

< title>IP eNews</title>

Mid-November saw David back in Sydney to participate in the New South Wales Writers Centre Publishers’ Book Fair and for the launch of Nora’s book.

The Book Fair continues to be a popular event, with lots of Liars_Loverspeople coming through the turnstiles to hear industry experts talk about publishing and getting published. In the trade area, much of the space was taken up by self-publishers, which is evidence of how many authors are taking this route to get into print. Several people came by to ask how IP could assist their own self-publication, and doubtlessly they had several independent publishers to shop amongst.

Joel Deane and I had a special event at the Centre to launch Another and my novel Liars and Lovers, following on from a reading at Ariel Books at Paddington earlier in the week.

Nora’s launch was scheduled as the final event of the weekend, and over 100 people crammed into the sizable room, while others spilled out into the halls or even gazed through the windows from the verandah. Irina Dunn, a loyal supporter of IP for many years, remarked that the launch was the “best” the Centre had ever hosted in her years as the Centre’s Director.

Poet Peter Boyle gave an impassioned introduction to Nora and her work, describing it as

gather[ing] a great stretch of the twentieth century with its horrors, its wars, its violence, its lies.

and comparing her work to the great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova:

SFC_CovKrouk like Akhmatova belongs to that deeply serious, deeply humane tradition of poetry. It is also a tradition that clings to the multiplicity of what we are, however difficult it is to register that in poetry or in any writing.

We are grateful to for providing us with the complete text of Peter’s speech, which you can read on the site we devote to Skin for Comfort.

Of course, we also have to mention the very witty launch speech by Sam Lipski, AM. Sam, who flew in especially for the launch from Melbourne, is President of the State Library of Victoria and CEO of the Pratt Foundation, well-known for its generous support for the arts.

Sam confessed to not knowing who Nora was when he was initially approached to launch her book. But then he read the book, from cover to cover, and just as candidly remarked how impressed he was by the power of Nora’s writing.

< title>IP eNews</title>

Here’s a report from Merle Thornton on her activities over the past few months, not all directly in support of her book, After Moonlight, but we'll take the exposure wherever we can!

MerleTToday is the centennary of Women’s Vote in Queensland. I’m a little involved since the year of the centennary is being variously marked by the Queensland Office for Women, including the publication of a book profiling 20 women — I’m the only one still living!

Which is part of the reason for a radio interview by Fiona Thorpe for the ABC breakfast session to be laid down tomorrow and broadcast shortly. It will give some attention to After Moonlight since I’ve pointed out I am after all still alive. I expect to be invited up for the release of that book in May.

Pre-Christmas I worked hard at the Australian and International Feminisms Conference which was in the end located at the Sydney University Women’s Union, a good venue, well attended & successful Conference. I presented a paper “Feminism, Consciousness and the Novel”, chaired another session and was a panellist at the final Quo Vadis session. And renewed contact with a lot of friends and talked to the friendly people from the Feminist Bookshop who stock After Moonlight.

Merle has since confirmed that she will be up in Brisbane for the book launch on 8 March, and we were also delighted to help arrange another event for her on 2 March, during International Women’s Week, tentatively to be held at the Regatta Hotel. The event will be sponsored by Ernst & Young and Westpac Bank and will feature a signing of her book in the Thornton Room.

< title>IP eNews </title>

More and more publishers these days are refusing to even consider unsolicited manuscripts. It costs money to review material, and these publishers prefer to allocate their resources to authors they already know.

Recently, the University of Queensland Press (UQP) announced that they were “temporarily halting [their] policy of accepting unsolicited manuscripts” and requiring prose authors to submit via agents.

Given the current financial problems at UQP, don’t hold your breath for the new policy to change.

Since our inception, IP has been open to unsolicited manuscripts, but we too have to deploy our scarce resources as effectively as we can. Rather than close down the “slushpile”, or require authors to get an agent, IP will now charge a reading fee of $165 (GST-inclusive) for the review of complete manuscripts.

This means you can still send us a query (see our guidelines for further information what we require for this) for free, but if we invite you to send a complete manuscript based on the sample, you will be asked to include the reading fee with that submission.

If we then offer to publish you, your investment will have been repaid. If we ultimately turn your project down, we’ll tell you why. Effectively, this will amount to a short assessment of the work’s strengths and weaknesses, so even then you will get something for your investment.

We’ve resisted imposing a reading fee for as long as we could, but at least this will allow IP to continue accepting unsolicited manuscripts. And it may slow the ever-increasing tide of unsolicited manuscripts that we are receiving.

For those authors who cannot afford to pay this reading fee, another option is for you to enter our annual IP Picks competition for unpublished fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. There is a modest entry fee, but you get a free IP title of your choice. The competition closes 30 November each year, the winners are guaranteed full royalty publication and many of the commended entries are offered publication, too. The downside is that only the winners and commended get feedback on their entries.


Farewell Morag and Sue, Welcome Lauren, Lisa and Anne!

As IP’s title list grows, so does the need for a talented and dedicated mix of staff. So we’re pleased to announce the recent appointment of Lauren Daniels, Lisa Reynolds and Anne Marshall.

Morag Kobez-Halvorson leaves us to further pursue her career in publishing. Morag contributed a great deal to the company in her two years here, particularly as Fiction Editor in her second year. She will be missed but we wish her the very best for the future. Sue Nelson also leaves the company to return to her career in natural medicine; we also thank Sue for her contribution.

I asked our new staff to tell us a little about themselves.

Lauren Elise Daniels, Prose Editor

Lauren joined IP in December ‘04. She also works as an Lauren_Dindependent manuscript assessor, a freelance writer and a teacher of both creative and corporate writing for the University of Queensland, TAFE and Stafford Adult Education.

A veteran of the publishing industry, she spent seven of her formative years working as Executive Assistant to the President of Ziff-Davis Publishing (USA) after receiving her BA in Writing in ’92. In ’99 she completed her thesis, Crossing Sakonnet, a thematic collection of memoirs, and attained her Masters in Creative Writing at Emerson College in Boston.

Lauren’s published portfolio includes essays, poetry, reviews, fiction and creative non-fiction for newspapers, magazines, digital media, literary journals and commercial sources, with various samples appearing on her website. She brings her editing skills and publishing experience in a supportive effort to ensure IP authors attain the success that they deserve.

Lisa Reynolds, Assistant Editor

Lisa is a student at QUT University, and is about to start her final year of a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Interdisciplinary). She has undertaken study across several disciplines, with majors in Communication Design and Sound Studies, and a minor in Creative Writing.

Lisa_RLisa commenced work with IP as part of a Workplace Learning subject, which sees students intern with an organization to gain ‘real world’ experience in the competitive workplace. Lisa hopes to gain valued industry skills whilst working for IP, and looks forward to assisting in the many projects IP has in the works.

Lisa has developed skills in web design, graphic design, creative writing and editing through her university studies. She hopes to build on these skills, and gain many new ones in the field of publishing. Lisa has many interests including writing creative non-fiction, singing and song writing as a member of the band The Undesirables, designing web pages, drawing and graphic design, as well as riding her horses Rupert [no relation to Murdoch] and Amhaal.

Anne Marshall, Assistant Editor

Anne Marshall is in the final year of an Arts degree at the Anne_MUniversity of Queensland, majoring in Writing and Literary Studies. She plans to continue her studies with a Master’s Degree in Editing and Publishing. She is a member of the Queensland Writers’ Centre and last year was a volunteer assistant to the volunteer coordinator at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival. She judged last year’s Write Small competition.

Anne is interested in working with IP so she can learn about all the different parts of the publishing industry, rather than just a specific area. She is particularly keen to gain experience in IP’s digital publishing program, especially the multimedia titles that IP produces.

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We’re pleased to announce below the winners and commended entries from this year’s Picks competition. Our staff present the views of the judging panel: LD=Lauren Daniel; LR=Lisa Reynolds; DR=David Reiter; SM=Sara Moss.

The IP Picks Award for Fiction
attracted a diverse field of high quality entries. As Prose Editor, I thank all the entrants to this year’s awards and wish them well in the future.

Winner: Geoffrey Gates (Marsfield, NSW) for his novel, A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion

Gates’ novel is a sparkling example of tight-as-a-drum travel writing supported by a fabulous premise.

What is a Perpetual Locomotion Ticket? “It is a ticket offering unlimited access to all forms of transport, in all parts of the globe. But the holders of the ticket must undertake to travel in a forward direction only. This is the ultimate meaning of the perpetual journey.”

And that’s where things get interesting, and tricky, for the cast of characters.

“Imagine unlimited access to all forms of transport, in every last part of the earth! Picture yourself in the country with an Arabian horse, or standing in the desert sands with a camel signed over to you in a moment’s notice! If you landed in the South Pole, a team of explorer’s dogs would be obliged to break their journey and transport you across the icy wastelands. All of this is outlined in a hundred languages in the traveller’s manual, with a pictorial explanation if all else fails. The book is rimmed with gold and as heavy as a family bible.”

Gates complex work is driven by the whirling subplots which all stream together neatly for a climatic twist. When an author unleashes an imaginative concept into reality trans-global adventures conspire, relatives are thrown into tizzies, best friends turn detective, guarded secrets are blown wide open, and lovers’ trails unfurl. This extraordinary read dazzles the adventure-minded and armchair travellers alike.


The concept is very original; an innovative idea that has been well thought out, with well-paced plot to maintain the reader’s interest. The novel has a fabulous array of characters, who are quirky, well-rounded and likeable. The setting and scenarios are cohesive and well-written. The dialogue is realistic and natural. The use of an all seeing narrator outside the action of the story, serves to hold the different perspectives and characters together.There is a also a good balance between the different character’s stories. The author regularly switches between the central characters which keeps the plot ticking along at a good pace.


About Geoffrey Gates

Sydney-based Geoffrey Gates returned to live in Australia at the end of 2003 after spending nine years overseas.

Geoffrey_GBetween 1994 and 2003, he worked as an English teacher, first in an inner-city London school and later at the International School of Hamburg. Whilst overseas he travelled widely in Europe, the Middle East and Mexico, and experienced something of the life of the journeyman described in his writing.

Since 2003, Geoffrey’s short stories have appeared in Verandah, Dotlit, Gangway, UQ Vanguard and Skive. Apart from fiction writing, he is interested in music and has performed in pubs in various rock bands. He is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Macquarie University and is a teacher in a Sydney high school. A Ticket for Perpetual Locomotion is his first novel.

Highly Commended: Andrew Lansdown (Dianella, WA) for his collection The Dispossessed and Other Stories

Andrew Lansdown’s short fiction explores universal struggles against the system, each other and ourselves. Satirical at times, The Dispossessed delves into confrontational subject matter with a seamless potency, delivering poetic justice and cheek to cloudy issues, relationships and bureaucracy that sooner or later, touch many of our lives.

This collection investigates a myriad of themes including the awkwardness of cross-cultural and social interaction; the skewed lens through which individuals and family members perceive one another. There’s even an interior monologue navigating the psychic transformation induced by cradling a firearm. With settings ranging from wartime to a women’s prison to feral pig territory coupled with solid, memorable characters of true depth and desire, these stories reach out to a wide audience with the grace, wit and wisdom of an introspective storyteller.


“We’d only been at sea a few days when I noticed this young woman on the games deck, playing quoits. Talk about graceful! By heaven, she moved lovely! Throwing, walking, bending. Fluid as mercury. Curved like mercury, too. She set my mercury rising right enough!

By the time I found out she was German, it was too late. I was schmitten.

So after all the shells they fired, they finally got me with a skirt. Cunning lot. Mind you, it’s been sweet, falling into enemy hands.”

These stories give a poignant portrait of past and present Australian life. The first two stories in particular, on the theme of race relations, are touching and thought provoking. A number of stories dealing with the hardships of Australian life in period settings, are in my view, among the best of the collection.


About Andrew Lansdown

Andrew Lansdown is the author of twelve books of poetry and fiction. His poetry and short stories have been published in over 70 magazines and newspapers, and are represented in over 60 anthologies. They have also been read on ABC and BBC radio, and translated into several languages.

Andrew’s fantasy novel, With My Knife (Omnibus Books) wasAndrew_L shortlisted in 1994 for both the National Children’s Book Award and the Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Award. With My Knife has been reprinted three times in Australia, and has been published by Scholastic in the United States (where it has sold over 38,000 copies) under the title Beyond the Open Door.

Dragonfox, a sequel, was published by Scholastic (Sydney) in 1997. It, too, was shortlisted for the Western Australian Young Readers’s Book Award.

Andrew’s sixth poetry collection, Between Glances (William Heinemann Australia, 1993), won the prestigious John Bray National Poetry Award in 1994. His most recent book is Fontanelle (Five Islands) is a collection of poetry.

Commended: Jen Webb (Bruce, ACT) for her novel, Ways of Getting By

Webb’s poetic novel records the deepest inner tickings of a social worker as she reflects honestly on her counselling work alongside the day to day events of her own life. This lyrical novel paints the portraits of a series of intricate characters immersed in the twists and turns of a literary plot. Coloured with poetic language and occasional splashes of masterfully delivered magic realism, the novel is supported by a confident narrator who allows the audience to enter into her intimate world, and to feel what she feels. A work that stays with readers for quite some time, Ways of Getting By is an exceptional example of organic, soulful writing.

“I will stretch out on the beach and listen to its breath, pulsing to the rhythm of my heartbeat. I will remove my blouse and bra, and my body, encased in glass, will touch the heartbeat of the sea and we will fibrillate together, quivering gently back and forth. Then I’ll reach a fingernail to my throat, slide its polished point under the skin, and carefully peel back the glass flesh, folding it away from the bones, and there, among the shining organs, will be the huge circle of my self, good and evil embraced, turning rhythmically, and holding me in a fragile balance as I pause there on the edge of the earth, at the edge of the sea.”


Commended: Michael O’ Sullivan (Yass, NSW) for Secret Writing

A physical journey mirroring the passage towards self-knowledge and redemption, this compassionate work explores the raw power of art and music to elicit healing and celebrates the fabric of the Australian identity, spanning the spiritual and material landscapes cradling her inhabitants.

When an unexpected bond develops from a chance meeting between an elderly woman and young man, a new beginning dawns upon the woman’s life. She embarks on an arduous journey, awakening her from the life-long slumber holding her captive. Inspired by Namatjira’s paintings and shadowed by playful apparitions, she embarks on a quest to reclaim what was lost.


“Pearl scanned the horizon. Purple mountains. They were normal here. Everything else was red, even the trunk of the ghost gum to their left. Sunburnt down one flank like a pale Briton who fell asleep on an Australian beach. Beyond the tree, the ground gradually fell away into an old riverbed, sweeping around the left and out of sight. A hill rose out of the bend, once a proud precipice but now decrepit, tired of standing there all those millennia…. Pearl took an immediate liking to the area. An anonymous place where everything is possible. She imagined herself on the edge of the ancient tower. The view went on into the past, disdainful of the here and now. Looking down she gasped, rigid with shock. A crowd passed nonchalantly over the landscape, hunters with their spears, women and children with baskets, dogs nipping at one another’s heels. No doubt existed in Pearl’s mind – this was the place where Luis disappeared. She heard voices singing on the breeze.”

The themes of altered perceptions of reality, finding one’s true identity and somewhere to belong, really resonate. The use of two central characters from such different backgrounds, culturally and experientially, encountering an outback that is alien to both of them, is very effective.


About Michael O’Sullivan

Michael O’Sullivan lives with his wife and three children in a Michael_OSsmall town in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. During his working life he’s held several occupations, including fencing contractor, carpenter and builder, university tutor, librarian and archivist. Finding himself unemployed six years ago, he decided to seriously work at prose fiction, Since then he has written three novels and lots of short stories. Now and then he ventures into poetry.

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Creative Non-Fiction

Encouraged by the success of our previous Non-Fiction titles such as Inge and Perfect People, we decided to create a new annual award in this category. Our creative non-fiction titles are published under our Glass House Books imprint, and so the titles arising out of Picks 05 will certainly be in good company.

Congratulations to the inaugural winner, Tilly Brasch, and to all the short-listed entrants.

Winner: No Middle Name by Tilly Brasch of West Chermside, Queensland.

In this sensitive depiction of the tragic events leading up to the suicide of her son, Riley, Brasch shows a family under pressures most of us can hardly imagine. However, in highlighting systemic problems in our health and mental health systems, Brasch’s story will resonate with anyone who has been victimized for being “different” and let down by the institutions mandated to protect them. But No Middle Name goes beyond blame-shifting to reflect on the mistakes made by the parents involved and to consider the degree to which such tragedies could be avoided with more timely and personalized attention. Aside from the lessons it has for the general reader, this book should be required reading for bureaucrats and politicians who have responsibilities in the health and social welfare sectors.

Initially, I was not allowed to hold Riley and could only look at him through a glass window, a tragic foreshadowing of situations which were repeated later in Riley’s life. Still, I had no difficulty identifying my baby from all the other little ones. At a quick glance, they all looked the same: tiny, frail, swathed in bunny-rugs with just their little heads peeking through, but one looked like a wizened little chimpanzee with Prince Charles ears. This one was mine. He was endearing. And even though we were separated by glass, my nose filled with the smell of his baby-soft skin.

About Tilly Brasch

Tilly_BWhen her mothering was done, Tilly Brasch returned to the workforce as an administrator at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. Encouraged by the learning environment in which she worked, Tilly took up study and completed her Senior Certificate in her forties. Thirteen years later, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Queensland, majoring in English and History.

Since she retired in 2003, writing has become her passion. Tilly’s first tentative step into the literary world was an unpublished children’s book, Madison’s Story, telling of the struggle for survival of an extremely premature baby. This was followed by No Middle Name (originally titled Through the Glass Window: the life of Riley).

Highly Commended: Taking Back Time by Karen Throssell of Warrandyte, Victoria.

Using her personal story as a premise as well as a case study, Throssell navigates through a war-zone of feminist theory and practice to show how difficult it is for women to “have it all”: profession, intimate relationships and family. Torn between the expectations she puts on herself, her desires and the practical demands of everyday life, Throssell finds that the best solution for her is redefining her priorities and achieving a balance by ‘down-shifting’ into part-time community-based work.

What an irony, I thought. After 17 years as a full-time working mum, I am suddenly in the other camp – the cheer squad at sports carnivals, the baker of cakes for the Saturday stalls and the selfless chauffeur rescuing the neglected children of working parents.

I took myself back twenty years. How I resented those at home mothers, those dependent women ‘kept’ by their husbands-who had all day to do what I had to squash into evenings after the baby finally went down and I finally collapsed. I’d see them in the mornings still in their dressing gowns, stumbling outside to collect the paper as I rushed to drop Katie at crèche before I leapt on the tram for work. I imagined them having a long leisurely read over a cup of coffee, while I rushed around attending meetings, missing deadlines, generally being somewhere I didn’t want to be. But I was productive, stimulated (sometimes) independent, and bringing home the bacon.

About Karen Throssell

Karen Throssell is a Melbourne writer. Her background in the trade union movement, women’s studies and the community sector has inspired her non-fiction writing for about 20 years, her subjects ranging from the finance sector, the fast food industry, the inequities of the taxation system, and as illustrated in this book — women’s employment issues and home/work balance. Her book on Australian foreign policy, The Pursuit of Happiness, was published by Hyland House in 1988.Karen_T

She started writing poetry about ten years ago and has been published in Artstreams, Overland and The Warrandyte Diary. She has two collections of poetry published by Gininnderra Press, Her first collection was The Old King and other poems (2003), and her second was Remembering how to cry (2004).

She lives in the bush on the outskirts of Melbourne with her daughter. When she isn’t writing she is Manager of the local (Warrandyte) Neighbourhood House.

With Duty Nobly Done by Enid Russell of Palmyra, Western Australia

Russell celebrates the lives of two young solders through letters they wrote back to Australia while fighting in the African campaign in World War II and then while they were POWs in Italy then Germany. Russell counterpoints the close-up achieved through the letters with the wide-angle views of war that she so concisely provides. This is not so much a tale of heroism under fire but the integrity of ordinary soldiers doing the best they can, with a sense of fatalism and more than a dose of good humour.

I s’pose you've seen our other letters, so I won’t repeat all the palaver about our camp life, how I became Private WX6270 etc. We had our second inoculation this afternoon so we’ve had the afternoon off. You know, we’ve had a pretty fair time up to date, but they’ve issued us with a rifle and bayonets and harness (cartridge belts, haversacks, etc) and they’re letting us know we are in the Army now. They take us for the loveliest walks, 4 or 5 miles every day, then we take it easy for a couple hours with a bit of solid drilling, oh my! it’s a great life this Army, it’s pension day Thursday, you can’t call it pay-day.

About Enid Russell

Born and educated in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, since 1994 Enid Russell has been an English teacher and worked in office administration and accounting at private colleges before becoming Electorate Officer to the then Premier.

Enid_RShe also served as a Community Liaison Advisory Officer for the Attorney General and as Electorate and Research Officer for a senior Government Minister.

Shes now currently employed as Administrative Assistant to the Leader of the Opposition in Western Australia.

Enid is a long time Associate member of the 2/28th Battalion and 24th Anti Tank Company Association and is Assistant Editor of their quarterly magazine. She received a presentation from the Rockingham (WA) Branch of the RSL for promoting and in recognition of Lieutenant Alfred Gaby VC (her great-uncle).

Enid is married (for the second time!!), and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

— DR

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The IP Picks Award for Poetry again attracted an outstanding field of submissions. As IP’s Poetry Editor, I thank all the entrants and wish them well in the future.

Winner: Subterranean Radio Songs by Joel Deane

In this collection, Joel Deane combines his storytelling skills with a natural instinct for the rhythms, rhymes and finely tuned lines of poetry. An earlier version of this manuscript was commended in the competition last year.

This year, he wins the major prize in a very strong field. His work owes a lot to the tradition of the Beats and spoken word generally. The poetry is natural, fluid and accessible but there is emotional complexity, and a beating heart.

My Father

My father speaks
a foreign language –
shadow meanings
sawn-off statements
same old questions
about the car.
When I was home
he never hit me
he never held me
(he never knew).

We just drove round
never touching
always watching
what we said.
My father is a model
discontinued –
one owner only
straight, simple lines
doors that Clunk
when they close.

This collection is more than a mere travelogue of the southern and northern hemispheres, the poems speak directly to the restless human spirit and hunger for experience. It made me long to grab a backpack and hit the road.

Left-hand drive

Seven feet south of where it should be,
the sedan’s far nose strays into another lane.
A horn.
A swerve.
And, once again, I am where I should be.
Driving the I-80.
Finding my way, carefully,
in a hired car. Fumbling with the radio
because the tape-deck won’t play.
Nothing is where it should be—

Traffic coming on from my left, not my right,
People turning, never stopping, at red lights,
Glove-boxes holding .38s instead of flashlights.
And I am thinking: So this is America.
Land of opportunity.
Pizza crusts stuffed with Pepperoni.
I pay a dollar to ride the Bay Bridge into San Francisco,
conjuring images of a younger, thinner Michael Douglas
— steely eyed—
standing beside Karl Malden.
And eternal car-chases, up
and down
these whiplash streets.
A dollar does not afford a view,
just a peek of the Golden Gate’s towers
buried beneath a glacier of fog.
I check the mirror.
I check the speedo.
Try to indicate, but on flick the wipers.
Change lanes anyway.
Turn up the radio.
I am waiting for a song.
Something heavy, yet melodic.
A number from my internal soundtrack
— Down By the River, Cortez the Killer
or Cowgirl in the Sand—
As I slow, then steady;
take the tunnel
into Treasure Island.

— SM

About Joel Deane

Joel_DJoel Deane was born in Melbourne in 1969. He spent his childhood in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley before starting work as a copyboy with the Sun News-Pictorial at 17. Since then, he has worked in Australia and the United States as a newspaper reporter, editor, TV and Internet producer, press secretary and speechwriter. He is currently speechwriter for the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks.

Joel published his first poem in 1990 when he came in third in the Henry Kendall Memorial Poetry Prize. Since then, his poetry has featured in The Age, Antipodes, Australian Book Review, Cordite, Famous Reporter, Imago, Navigations, Overland, Quadrant, Salt-lick, Spindrift, Studio, Stylus, Synaptic Graffiti, Ulitarra, Vehicle, The Weekend Australian and Zadok Perspectives. Joel has also performed at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, Melbourne’s La Mama Poetica, Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco and the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco. Joel’s first novel, Another, won the 2004 IP Picks Award for Fiction and was published last October. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and two children.

Highly Commended: A Shrine To Lata Mangeshkar by Kerry Leves

These poems thoroughly engage the senses with all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of India. The western traveller in Asia is a familiar theme, but it is tackled here with fresh insight and a welcome sensitivity. The spiritual
awakening (probably more accurately described as expansion) of the speaker is genuine and believable. The rich detail in these poems is surprisingly counterbalanced with their economy.

— SM

Night piece, Himachel Pradesh
All night, riverboom; water
roars out of ice, the high snow
where renunciate males
observe breathing.
All night, on these terraced hills,
drums, torches’ flicker.
Indians are praying, singing
God into a village.
Next door a Canadian Sanskrit scholar
tries to sleep
in the lotus position;
his wife cries on my friend.
Downstairs, American collectivists
fight with their children.
This afternoon, they regarded us gravely:
two vain constructions, all angles & words.

Our Indian neighbour
is weaving a blanket to sell.
His wife suckles their youngest.
The stack of rushes she cut today
sped on her back
in a harness,
down hundreds of sure-footed metres –
a cliffside path –
The stack was twice her height,
three times her girth;
dried, it will go into quilts
against the cold.
Now summer candle wax pools
on a plank’s raw sun tracks.
No moon, but a remote
star-cluster is the Pleiades –
‘a swarm of fireflies
tangled in a silver braid’,
Tennyson wrote.
He’s far away.
Closer, in the forest, by the river,
late 20th century fireflies
swarm, & spin the darkness
like a raksha’s eyes.
Rough spirits guard this valley
where town lights,
networked close along the river,
form a yoni –
map a Goddess part
on Shiva’s inky carbon –
water roars, illusions burn.

About Kerry Leves

Kerry Leves’ poem “White veilers” was short-listed for the 2004 Broadway (NSW) Poetry Prize, and his poem “Abstract & personal” won the 2000 Bauhinia (Central Queensland University) Poetry Prize.

Kerry is also a journalist and a critic; he has reviewed poetry Kerry_Lfor Overland literary journal since 1998 and has published poetry reviews also in the Australian Book Review, Five Bells and Southerly. His poetry collections are Green (SeaCruise, 1978); Territorial (AnT Studios, 1997) and the chapbook Water roars, illusions burn (Vagabond, 2002). In 1985 Kerry was the only living poet represented in Angus & Robertson's anthology of poems collected to accompany Ida Rentoul Outhwaite’s paintings and drawings, The Little World of Elves & Fairies. Kerry has published poetry in a number of Australian journals, most recently Meanjin (Spring 2004).

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