to eNews 31! This month we welcome two new members to the IP Team – Mary
Trabucco and Erica Sontheimer. Read all about them below in Staff
David has a gritty review of Arts Queensland’s
latest attempt to review themselves in his Editorial, and some vital
tips for aspiring authors on writing winning covering letter to
It’s been a very busy time for
IP lately. Our authors have been participating in many different
events as outlined in Out
and About, including our successful Autumn ’06
have been receiving some wonderful reviews from various media outlets
in Australia. You can
in our In
Once again, IP has been chosen by the Australia Council to receive
a grant to publish two works, and we’ve also had our first
digital export sales with CD Baby. Read more about it in the Digital
also got interviews with three
new authors, plus a fantastic deal on
ordering short stories.
Curious to know when IP Picks
’07 will be open for entries? Check
out the sneak preview!
Part of the big news for IP is that Google has identified Brisbane
as being the poetry capital of Australia, and Australia as the poetry
capital of the world! For a publisher that started out as primarily
poetry and continues to pave the way in that arena (we’re publishing six
new poetry titles this year), this is great news!
So make good use of this cold winter weather – curl up with
a warm drink and a great Australian book or three from IP!
the Director's Desk
six new titles on the go, there’s no time to think about
chilly nights in Brisbane!
While other publishers turn their collective
backs on poetry, IP has demonstrated our dedication to the form by
scheduling four new poetry titles for our Spring Season ’06,
which brings us to six titles this year. Who said poetry is dead?
news of all is that our Brisbane subscribers will have a chance to
meet all six of our new authors at not one but TWO events in early
December, including our first ever soireé, which we expect to become
an enduring tradition.
Our Spring Season ’06
tour will be our most extensive yet, with events
being planned in four States and both Territories. Hope to see you
I’m pleased to report that the Australia Council has awarded
us grants in support of two of our new poetry titles: Andrew Leggett’s
second book, Dark Husk of Beauty, and Libby Hart’s Fresh
News from the Arctic. That’s the fifth year running that
been successful with our Presentations Grant proposal. Unfortunately
we didn’t get a grant in the export category, where I’d
been hopeful since IP was one of a few publishers to be accepted
into OzCo’s export mentorship scheme. I was disappointed
to see that of the paltry $134,000 awarded for Market Development
grants, over $25,000, or nearly 20%, went to needy publishers like
HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan, Penguin, Random House and Scholastic!
OzCo insists that the
program is not intended to support publishers over an extended period,
so why the hand-outs to multinational publishers who always go
to the major book fairs anyway?
There’s lots of good news on the digital front, with CD
Baby poised to upload our content to the iTunes stores
and elsewhere, and progress getting the Hemingway
in Spain DVD formatted
in North America.
Farewell to Matthew Wilmett who returns to his university work after
spending many dedicated hours working on our Terania Creek: Rainforest
Wars title, and welcome to two new Assistant Editors, Erica
Sontheimer and Mary Trabucco, who bring an excellent mix of experience to their
new roles at IP.
Hope you enjoy the issue.
Dr David Reiter
Another year, another review: that seems to be the way of
life at Arts Queensland (AQ). Senior managers have been swept away, for the
most part, and the new hands on deck feel an urge to consult — always
a dangerous word — with the industry, better known to the rest
of us as the artists.
One thing about artists: often short of a living wage, they convert
hope into useful calories—until they find what they’re
chewing on has little nutritional value. Still, getting the impression
that someone who matters is listening is very important to them,
so there were more than a few eager faces around the table at the
latest navel-gazing exercise sponsored by Arts Queensland.
AQ must have expected that the consensus would be that they are doing
more wrong than right. They’d brought a strategic planner to
deflect any flack away from senior management, and, by the end of
the two hours, the butcher paper was overflowing with issues and
lists of things that need to be done sooner rather than later.
There’s the rub. Once the forum is no more than a faint memory
of filtered coffee and chocolate muffins, will anything have changed?
More than a few of the guests, including me, had their suspicions.
I waxed on about IP’s efforts, especially in the area of digital
publishing, but did any of that make it into the minutes? Nope.
What did appear was a point that Queensland might need an alternative
to the University of Queensland Press (UQP) for aspiring authors,
especially after their CEO made it clear that UQP could not be all
things for all people, even if they brandish a Queensland passport.
The other minuted points regarding the state of the publishing industry
were very weak tea, indeed. I heard a strong push for AQ support
of a Queensland portal to host podcasts, RSS feeds, newsletters and
blogs, but these suggestions were relegated to the fine print. And
we know how often senior bureaucrats get past the major conclusions
Another main point that I heard raised again and again was the inadequate
funding AQ receives. Individual artists still vie with organisations
for project funding, and the grants that artists get often bear no
relation to the amount of work they put into their projects. It’s
not unusual for an artist to have to make do with $10,000 or less
to write a novel or a collection of poems. If it takes a year or
more to write a publishable book, do the math and see how AQ encourages
even its best artists to remain below the poverty line.
The bureaucrats can’t win on this point. If they cut back on
the number of grants so they can increase the few they give out to
more realistic levels they face criticism for not providing enough
grants. So they silently encourage artists to ask for too little,
knowing that they risk losing all if they ask for too much. It’s
a despicable use of market forces.
A recent independent report bemoaned the absence of entrepreneurs
in Queensland. AQ isn’t in the business of supporting entrepreneurs,
despite opinion at the forum that strongly argued that they should.
Apparently, AQ sees this as the mandate of Queensland Department
of State Development, which does provide grants, on a dollar for
dollar basis to worthy small businesses. That’s great—if
you have $20,000 to invest on your business to get $20,000 in grants.
All cashed-up arts organisations please hold up your hand now. State
Development is waiting to hear from you, but apparently AQ isn’t.
As a result of Forum ’06, am I expecting a Brand New Day any
time soon at AQ? No, but I have laid down my $22 to attend an Attracting
Investments Workshop sponsored by State Development. I hear that
morning tea and lunch will be great…
[In this issue, we
take a look at three of our authors, David Reiter, Bill Collopy and Andrew
Leggett, intervewed by Anne Marshall (AM), Erica Sontheimer (ES) and Mary
Trabucco (MT), respectively]
David Reiter is an award-winning writer and poet. His fourth book
Hemingway in Spain, which is the source book for this DVD, was shortlisted
the 1998 Adelaide Festival Awards. Hemingway in Spain is his
first DVD project, but a natural progression from his earlier digital works:
The Gallery, Sharpened
Knife and Paul and Vincent.
AM: What made you decide to create a multimedia format of your poetry
collection, Hemingway in Spain?
During my first research trip to Spain, I shot extensive video footage
and stills of locales and people along the way. Since much of my work
is based on my travels, I use these resources as a kind of visual diary.
home, I used this visual imagery as the starting point for the poems
I wrote for the Hemingway volume. On my second trip to Spain I shot more
footage from northern Spain and Catalonia that I wanted to use somehow,
but since the book had already been published I had a problem. Should
write a Hemingway Redux or find another way to put these new resources
to work? A new multimedia work seemed the ideal solution: I could incorporate
the visuals with spoken word readings, and the elements could bounce
off each other to create something larger than a revised text edition.
AM: How did you decide what filmic aspects should be
used to illustrate your poetry?
DR: I had to mediate between the text and visual resources.
First, I earmarked the key texts that I wanted to put in and then looked
for visual elements
that would work with them. The film runs for 125 minutes, which required
a lot of visual footage to complement the performed text. In some cases
certain visuals recur in different contexts. In many other cases I obtained
stills from sites like Wikipedia to work in with a particular theme.
Once the elements had been placed in the storyboard and the timing established,
I then added special effects like animation and cinematic filters. I
new to Apple’s Motion software, which can add dynamic features
to stills and video, and I found the process of exploring and experimenting
with the possibilities to be a creative process in itself.
AM: What made you decide to use stills as well as animation
in the DVD?
DR: Perhaps I shouldn’t confess this, but I wouldn’t
have had enough visuals with the DV footage alone to match the spoken
word elements! And
I had literally hundreds of stills from my trips to Spain just begging
to be used. Stills are of course an accepted feature in documentary work,
and often we view a slide show on screen while listening to a narrative
about a person or an event, and these shows are smoothly interspersed
video footage. Stills also give the filmmaker the chance of focussing
the viewer’s attention on a specific idea. Since Hemingway has
a strong documentary component, it seemed appropriate for me to go in
AM:Hemingway is one of several of your works that you
have adapted from text to multimedia. Do you see text as the starting
point for all of
these projects, or would you consider creating a multimedia work from
DR: Perhaps I’m just a latent filmmaker! Seriously,
though, I have always been interested in projects in which art forms
cross over and interrelate.
My Master’s thesis was on Literary Counterpoint in William Faulkner’s
The Wild Palms, in which the author claimed to have applied musical counterpoint
to the structure and plotting of the novel. I had to extend Faulkner’s
flawed notion of counterpoint to his experiment in the novel, which actually
worked quite well. I also wrote a research paper comparing how Mannerism
affected music, poetry as well as the visual arts in the late Renaissance.
Riveting stuff, eh?
So I guess I’ve always been interested in different forms of artistic
expression and surprised that so few artists collaborate across art forms.
Until recently. With the rise of digital platforms and user-friendly software,
it’s now possible for text-based artists to try their hand at visual
or musical expression, and vice-versa.
To answer the second part of your question, I have started a multimedia
work from scratch: the My Planets project. I describe this as a fictive
memoir that incorporates astronomy, myth and documentary with the subject
of adoption and redefinition of identity. Again, documentary is the primary
mode here, but it’s spiced up with fictional stuff to help “fill
in the gaps” in those areas of personal history that elude factual
examination because people you interview have different recollections
of what actually happened.
AM: Although Hemingway in Spain is set in the time of
the Spanish War, a lot of the images, particularly with regard to the
still images, are
the present day. What made you decide to use current images rather than
looking for images that are from the time you’re writing about?
DR: Well, I actually did both. There’s a considerable
amount of doco material from the time of the Spanish Civil War, in which
as a non-combatant. But I also use the work to time-shift back and forth
to earlier and later zones to find material relevant to the themes being
explored. It’s something of a post-modern enterprise, testing the
notions of ‘absolute’ reality that history seems to be about,
but also a device to draw our attention to correspondences that exist
between then and now—or the various realities that exist within
a single time zone.
The fun of it is that, in such a conditional world, Hemingway can just
as easily meet a Moses Maimonides or a Clint Eastwood as a Franco. In the
world of universal truths time-shifting is the best pathway to follow.
AM: You’ve written many other poems, short stories
and novels. How and why did you choose Hemingway in Spain as the basis
for your multimedia
DR: There’s been a lot written about Hemingway
over the years, much of it negative press. He’s not exactly a darling
of the feminists, and the qualities he supposedly stood for seem rather
dated in an age where
everything must be run under the nose of that update of the Inquisition:
the Politically Correct Police. I believe Hemingway tried to live the
myth and eventually fell victim to it. Try as he did to emulate others’ notions
of the Hemingway Hero, the man behind the prose was far more complex
I try to show that here. My Hemingway—or should I say my Hemingways—are
troubled by contemporary life but are not content to live as a writer
in solitude. He engages. He reflects. He scrutinises
himself and realises his shortcomings. There’s a lesson in his
struggle for us all. Several, in fact. That’s why I created the
work: to redress the imbalance and continue the dialogue he started.
Born and educated in Melbourne, where
he lives with his wife and children, Bill Collopy has won many literary
prizes and seen some two dozen of his stories published in Australia and
various short fiction anthologies,
on-line magazines and print periodicals, such as Dublin Quarterly, Going
Down Swinging, LinQ, Eclectica and Verandah. The
House of Given is his first novel
and it was the winner of IP Picks 2006 Award for Fiction.
ES: In your first novel, House of Given, the protagonist
suffers from an unknown condition causing him seizures, and an ability
other people’s memories and future events. How did you get
into the mind of this character?
BC: I conceived the main character after undertaking
research into the phenomenon of near-death experiences and the pathology
which survivors of such trauma claim to experience: altered perceptions
and belief in paranormal ability. However, stepping into the shoes
of my main character meant more than assembling a composite of case
studies. Genealogical and familial influences played a significant
role in his formation, especially the propensity for mysticism in
both his Celtic and Romany cultural traditions, with portents, second
sight and pagan superstitions. Also, the character is strongly drawn
to the natural world. His sense of ‘bush soul’ and ancestor
presence are reminiscent of traditions associated with indigenous
Australia, so he belongs to the land in a way that his transplanted
relatives do not.
ES: Throughout the novel, we find lyrics from songs
and ballads, lines of poetry, allusions to mythical stories, and
at times, excerpts
from other books. What do these pieces contribute to your book?
BC: The reader will find ‘song lines’ as
a navigational undertone throughout, and this sense of song as map
does manifest in lyrics,
poetry, family lore, mathematical language, tongues other than English,
cultural legends, war tales, myth and, above all, storytelling itself.
The essence of my protagonist’s struggle with perception is
his search to find a medium whereby he can incorporate the welter
of influences about him. Only towards the novel’s denouement
does he realize that the nexus he requires may lie within, and that
he is the one who can bring cohesion to his tangle of narratives.
His coming of age is, in many ways, a maturing ability to bring together
the chaos into a unifying personal idiom where he, if no one else,
can reconcile conflicting influences.
ES: A variety of immigrant experiences unfold in
the House of Given. You have worked with immigrant and refugee communities;
how has your
professional experience influenced this novel?
BC: Although I have worked in a professional capacity
for some years with refugees and migrants, it would be presumptuous
of me to speak
for victims of trauma and displacement, who number in the hundreds
of thousands in this country, having arrived during successive diasporas.
Yet I can’t pretend to remain unmoved by the stories I hear
of horrifying ordeal and miraculous survival. In the modern era,
Australia has provided many asylum opportunities for the global movement
of refugees. These people flee not only war and persecution, but
natural disaster and intolerable living conditions. They leave behind
family, heritage, home, and a sense of national identity. It is to
our shame that Australia has also operated as a jail for some, ever
since the first Europeans settled.
ES: This story covers four generations of Australians,
including World War II veterans, the counter-revolutionaries of the
70’s, their Generation X and Y children, and newly-arrived,
first-generation immigrants to Australia. How did you address each
generation’s strengths and weaknesses as you formed the characters?
BC: Much as I dislike the fad for labelling generations,
as if regional, cultural and ideological differences are uniform
across an age range
and subject to homogeneous influences, I do admit that groups with
shared experiences help to form the national character. For example,
even though Australia has been a migrant country since 1788, the
increase in diversity during the 20th century has seen one characteristic
common to every successive wave of migrants; namely a desire by the
first generation to preserve traditions and cultural structures,
and a desire by the second generation to integrate and often to assimilate
with customs and manners of their adopted country.
In this novel,
I draw on first-hand observation but I have also read extensively
on the changing social mores and ideals in Australia since WW2. Across
age groups, myriad variations exist in people’s values and
expectations. These have been well documented elsewhere so I do not
seek to generalise about class, socio-economic or generational attitudes.
Rather I am interested in confounding reader expectations of type.
People in an age range or cultural grouping may exemplify some ideology – Marxist,
feminist, republican, conservative, Zionist, monetarist, pro-choice,
pro-life etc. – and then suddenly surprise friends and family
with an apparent reversal of opinion, as if recanting in response
to one special issue. I try to incorporate examples of attitudinal
diversity in members of the extended family in this novel to reflect
each generation’s complexities, as individuals are multi-faceted,
and far more than the sum of population surveys and mass movements.
ES: Finbar, the main character, eventually resolves
his identity crisis, as he comes to accept a broader and more flexible
definition of “family” by
the end of the novel. Do you think Australians are faced with a similar
predicament: do Australians today need to reformulate their individual
and national sense of identity? What is the role of literature in
forming this sense of identity?
BC: Though there must be Australians ready to reject
the notion that they face a predicament about national identity,
I know many who
feel torn by uncertainty as we move from a mainly Anglo-Celtic monoculture,
with protected industries and a regulated economy, into the exposed
glare of a new millennium, with its encroaching technology, sexual
freedoms, panicky geo-politics, anxieties about fundamentalism, disease,
famine, corporatised government services and a smorgasbord of faiths
and customs. I wonder what connotations that grim insult ‘un-Australian’ might
carry in such a global village.
As for whether or not literature can play a role in forming our national
identity, we might well ask: what role does literature play now?
Australians are reading in greater numbers than ever but are not
turning to works of fiction or poetry. With a plethora of multimedia
opportunities, from blogs and newsgroups to on-line journalism and
TV spin-offs via fan fiction and web links, contemporary readers
have more outlets than literature to divert and inform. Literary
works are often regarded as something to be endured on the school
syllabus and never again. In my novel, the main character is nineteen
years old. He is no reader. Nor are his siblings, though their father
is a poet and they were raised in a literary household. Yet each
of them is computer literate. Is on-line writing the future for writing,
and does this spell doom for literature as we have known it? I suspect
that, if a role for literature does exist in helping Australians
to form a sense of national identity; one answer may lie in the infusion
of cultures from emerging communities. As ever, these arrivals struggle
for acceptance. Schools continue the role of exerting influence on
young people and attempting secondary influence on settler parents.
I hope that these readers, at least, may learn to appreciate the
power of literature as a voice for cultural expression, especially
readers arriving from countries with a mainly oral tradition. I believe
this constituency is yet to be fully explored by the Australian reading
and writing community.
ES: The narrative uses a range of different techniques,
including stream of consciousness - in the tradition of writers like
Faulkner or Joyce
- and even a transcript of a fictional email message. Do you think
contemporary readers expect or demand more experimental methods of
BC: I can’t speak for other readers, as we
are not a single category of person and many of us have catholic
with an appetite for
various genres. I believe that most readers enjoy discovering a new
writer, and what sets a work apart is usually a stylistic or imaginative
freshness amounting to innovation, even originality. Yet it does
not always equal experiment. Sometimes the freshness comes from revival
of earlier forms: other times it is some new take on a classical
theme. Experimentation is risky, and is never guaranteed to translate
into sales, hence the importance of independent publishing houses
in Australia, such as IP.
I have noted a trend of recent years where genres of popular writing – science
fiction, crime, fantasy, thriller, horror – may successfully
cross over into the literary mainstream. Though not always experimental,
such hybrid works can infuse novelty into orthodox narrative. I have
observed with interest the development of multimedia, with its power
to expand our notions of storytelling, as it combines print, audio
and visuals in new directions from the performing arts. Perhaps the
advent of web publishing will have a revitalising effect on poetry
and fiction, as the arrival of photography acted as a catalyst for
experimentation in painting and the advent of cinema influenced new
directions in theatre.
ES: Are you working on a new writing project now?
Of course. I’ve began work on a second novel, also contemporary.
It concerns another dysfunctional family, only this time in a closed
religious community. The story deals with questions of meaning, faith,
sexuality and art.
[Andrew Leggett’s first poetry collection, Old Time Religion and Other Poems was
released by IP in 1998, one of our first collections. Andrew has continued
to write since then, and
he’s very active in the Brisbane poetry scene as well as maintaining
a busy psychiatric practise. His book was Commended in IP Picks 2006.]
AM: Do you think DHB is a departure from the styles/themes of your first poetry
collection? If so, why have you moved in this new direction?
AL:Old Time Religion included
poetry I’d written in my mid-teens. Likewise, Dark Husk of Beauty has
developed gradually, with some of the poems arising out of fragments of much
earlier work. So you could say that this collection has also been twenty
years in the making, but most of it emerged while I was working on a Master’s
dissertation in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland. The emphasis
on interiority in the new work is greater than it was in OTR, as
is the relational emphasis and that on appropriation and acknowledgement
of my sources. Having
reached mid-life, I’ve become aware that my husky cadaver is slowly
decomposing, forcing my soul to a greater openness to the beauty that surrounds
me. And my humour has become even darker than black.
AM: What similarities are there between the two collections?
AL: In Dark Husk of
Beauty I continue my interest in a psychoanalytic stance. This involves adhering
to a theme of interiority and relational appropriation, with emphasis on sex
and death, love and mortality, creation and destruction, mourning and reparation,
as well as a respect for the process of writing as analogous to dreaming. Both
collections sit outside the dominant mode of Australian poetry – that
of lyrical reflection on the natural world. In both, I use popular cultural
representations from the visual arts and tend towards a cinematic use of imagery
in my narration. While the rhythms of the language may be stronger and the
forms may be more tightly conventional, even at their most playful, I continue
to show my respect for poetry as a musical form with somatic power when used
as incantation, whether to bless or curse, or simply to communicate affective
intensity. Dark Husk of Beauty develops the life and afterlife of Chickenman,
whose history began in OTR. Mythological references and settings are common
in both books, as is the war in heaven between the old gods and the new.
AM: What do you go through when writing one of your poems?
collection arose around a core of poems coming out the technique of meditative
contemplation of an icon – a photograph or painting – to which
I write associatively, then use stream-of-consciousness as a base for the
poem. I first used this technique in my early twenties and it can be seen
in a number
of the poems in OTR including “Rollercoaster Goddess” and “Moana
In Dark Husk of Beauty, “Blue Rose Case”,
arose from a still shot of Sheryl Lee as the corpse of Laura Palmer from
David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. This dark husk of beauty reminded me of the
eidetically fixed traumatic image of a dead child I attempted to resuscitate
medical internship – she makes her appearance in “Blue Angel”,
the lead poem of the new collection. The title poem came, as did a number
of others, from a combination of a sublimely macabre found text – a
sign outside the University of Queensland Information Centre advertising
of thanksgiving for the donors, to be held at the Department of Anatomy – with
a photographic image of Isabella Rossellini, from her book. This particular
image, a black-and-white Peter Lindbergh photograph taken in New York in
1996, shows Isabella with her hair cut in a very severe bob, wearing a long
greatcoat and high leather boots, walking her little dog Macaroni down a
Soho street, past a demolition site. She evoked in me the notion of a beautiful
zombie on her way to an assignation. I saw her walking to meet me “at
the temple of anatomy/to celebrate the donor/of the dark husk of beauty”.
Recently I became aware that Walter Benjamin makes a very similar use of
Paul Klee’s painting Angelus Novus in his critical essay on the progress
of history – the one that gave rise to his trademark concept of the
Angel of History.
AM: There is a strong preoccupation with film in DHB – where does this
AL: This developed when I lived near the State
Cinema at the end of the 1980s – one of only two AFI cinemas in Australia.
The State showed all the good foreign films that never made the more commercial
cinema chains. My Sunday afternoons there awakened me to how much more
was in cinema beyond Hollywood, including the German language work of Wim
Wenders (Wings of Desire and Far Away, So Close) and the Gothic magic realist
of Mexican director Alejandro Jodorowosky (Santa Sangré).
until I came back to Brisbane that I discovered the best of Hollywood in
the cinematic work of David Lynch. I missed Twin Peaks when it first came
but then I discovered it on VHS at my local video store. I drove my wife
nuts sitting up in bed in the early hours watching all 36 episodes. For
me it was
as though I had discovered some ancient religious text, the unravelling
of which might provide all the ridiculous wisdom I needed to sustain me
life. I imagine this to have been the way Freud responded the first time
he saw Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.
AM: Who were you imagining as the audience for this work?
AL: I write because I feel compelled to do so, often without an audience in
mind. Rilke once
an aspiring poet not to write other than that way, implying that there
was very little else that could sustain the creative effort. When the work
find an audience, I’m very glad, but I don’t have a specific
reader in mind as I write. This kind of authorial independence is something
have fiercely defended in Dark Husk of Beauty. Just the same,
I hope that it will be reprinted hundreds of times, translated into seventy
replace the Bible as the book witnesses swear on in court, sell millions
of copies and make me and my family fabulously wealthy. For this to happen,
will need to end up on the schools curriculum, the place that a kind writer
in the New England Review had in mind for OTR. I do hope
Dark Husk of Beauty will appeal to older adolescents and young
adults, and that
restricted to poets and academics will read it
AM: Which poems do you like the best in DHB?
AL: I carry a fond attachments
to poems in which Isabella Rossellini appears as a muse, especially “Hooks” and “Dark
Husk of Beauty”, as well as to “Prophecy”, “Gift”, “Colonel
Sanders in Purgatory” and my Rilke version “Far Away So Close”
If the phone calls we’ve been getting
over the past few weeks are any indication, quite a few of you are keen to
know when IP Picks ’07 will be open for entries. The quick
answer is 1 October.
We expect winners in four categories: Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Poetry
and Best First Book. All winners are guaranteed royalty publication by one
of IP’s imprints. Generally we offer publication to some of the Highly
Commended and Commended entries, too. For example, in 2006, seven Picks authors
accepted contracts with IP.
Winning or gaining a commended in IP Picks gives a boost to the authors concerned.
Several Picks winners and commended have gone on to have their books endorsed
by the Australia Council or to win other major awards. Sales figures for our
Picks titles also average more than our other titles.
For further information on Picks ’07, including details on the past winners,
check out the Picks page. The entry form is now available for download from
Welcome to Erica and Mary!
With a new publishing
season virtually upon us, IP is pleased to welcome Erica Sontheimer
and Mary Trabucco to the team.
Erica joins IP with over ten years’ experience in creative
and persuasive writing for a variety of markets and audiences. In
San Francisco, she worked with a grant-writing and fundraising arts
consultancy firm, and most recently with a not-for-profit media group
(Talking Eyes Media), promoting
two nation-wide campaigns to raise awareness about the plight of
the elderly and the medically uninsured. She also volunteered for
two years with the San Francisco Suicide Prevention hotline.
During the four years she lived in New York City, she masqueraded
by day as a corporate recruiter while participating at night in writing
workshops, classical guitar lessons, and yoga teacher training school.
She received a BA in Physics from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts,
and spent a year studying French and Philosophy at the Sorbonne.
Here in Brisbane, she enjoys teaching yoga, and is honing her writing
portfolio for applications to MFA programs in Creative Writing. She
is excited to be working as an editor at IP and promoting new and
established literary voices in Australia.
In 2005, Mary completed an Honours Degree in Literary Studies at the
University of Queensland, where she worked as a poetry sub-editor for
UQ Vanguard, and joined a poetry writers’ group that emerged
out of her Poetics course. After graduating, she worked briefly as
an admin assistant and telemarketer for Publishing Services Australia,
which gave her valuable insight into the subscription and marketing
side of publishing, and also began tutoring students on the mechanics
of writing and structuring academic essays. She has also worked in
the field of video editing for five years, three of which were spent
as video editor and manager of Video Oz Productions. She’s had
two films short listed for awards.
As Assistant Editor at IP, Mary intends
to draw on her experience
to help writers take their manuscripts to the highest possible
She is particularly excited about working on a range of innovative
projects for IP Digital, because of the possibility of publishing
to an international audience, and the opportunity to draw on
Mary hopes to work toward an MPhil in Literary Studies, to publish
a novella, and to eventually become a book editor.
said that a manuscript should be able to speak for itself on the
editor’s desk. It should, but you have to ensure that the
editor actually reads it.
There are two kinds of covering letter. The first, known
as a query, actually gets there before the manuscript. Freelance
know all about the query. They get an idea, sketch it out with a
few juicy lines, then email it off to a few editors to test the market.
The big advantage of a query is that it saves time. If no one is
interested in the idea, there’s not much point in writing the
full article. Wait, I hear you say, what if your query doesn’t
capture the essence of what you plan to say? Then you’d better
think some more about your idea and then write a better query.
For the creative writer, a query is your chance to not only present
an idea to capture the editor’s attention but also show that
you can bring off the project. This is not the time to waffle and
brainstorm. You need to write with confidence and flair. You want
to give the editor a reason to ask you to send the entire manuscript.
Needless to say, this is not a time for recycled paper and correction
pens. Send it on clean paper, like a business letter, which it really
is, because you’re trying to do business, aren’t you?
If you opt for email, paper stock and correction pens are not an
issue, but style and voice are. It’s so much easier to trash
an email than a letter, and you probably have up to 10 seconds not
to be trashed along with the junk mail.
Think about what you want
to say before you write it, then write it clearly and concisely then
set it aside at least until after coffee break or better yet until
the next day so you can refine it with a clear head.
How is a covering letter different from a query? In scope, for one
thing. If the query captures the editor’s interest and gets
your foot in the door, the covering letter gets you a filtered coffee
and a nice biscuit. The covering letter identifies what’s in
the submission package, i.e. a synopsis, sample chapters and perhaps
your CV—if you have credentials to be proud of. It also shows
the editor that you’ve been thinking about the market for your
work. Perhaps you’ve browsed the bookshops for competing titles
and want to point out how your book covers new ground, or the same
ground in a better way (especially good when you’re selling
You need to come up with two or three good reasons why your book
must be published to an audience that may not know they want it.
Not an easy task, but at least the editor will know you have a clue
about the business side of publishing and are trying to be helpful.
Tone is very important in a covering letter. If you’re not
a name author, an editor will want to be persuaded that you can be
worked with. It’s a delicate balance here: exuding confidence
about your project without seeming set on this being its final incarnation.
You want to project that you are open to criticism and revisions
and are eager to work with the editor to produce the best possible
book down the track.
Don’t forget those contact details. Everything the editor needs
to get in contact with you should be in one place, in the header
of your letter. Return address, including postal code, phone number,
email address. Don’t have an email address yet? Get one. If
you’re serious about getting published, you need an email account.
Common mistakes? You write the perfect covering letter, but address
it to Dear Editor. Have a name, preferably the editor who will be
reading your submission. Check out the publisher’s website
or ring to get the name. Did the editor ask for a digital as well
as a hard copy? If so, make sure you include both. Did you remember
to include your self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE). It’s
not mandatory these days—if you don’t want your manuscript
back—but it makes it easier for the editor to respond to you.
that’s the name of the game, isn’t it?
[Snippets from full reviews that
we’ve posted elsewhere (click through to read the full review)]
Lansdown has a fondness for West Australian landscape and history.
Many stories are sprinkled with the names of little far-flung towns.
In The New Chum he entertainingly evokes the migrant experience as
an old-timer recalls the culture shock of his arrival in 1926. In
the sweltering heat of Christmas the Englishman is still thinking
of “snow and plum pudding”.
The voice, the mind, the writer behind these stories is filled with what amounts
to a sense of robust compassion. There is enormous strength in the sensitivity
and, above all, humility with which these tales are rendered
Nora Krouk’s poetry book Skin for Comfort was
winner of the Interactive Press Picks for 2004. Given Krouk’s
Russian-Jewish background, the title is especially poignant. Her
private and family history, as revealed through the poems, is representative
of a wide sweep of twentieth century inhumanity, including the Holocaust
and Stalinist persecutions.
— Margaret Bradstock, Five Bells
It seems that the word is getting
out to the bookshops that they can now order our print titles directly
from Tower Books. Since we don’t expect to make
Oprah’s Top 10 very often, we’ve decided to let you
know which of our titles are leading the pack at Tower, so you
can order them in to see what you’re missing.
The most popular title by far was Another,
Joel Deane’s IP Picks 2004 winner. The cover is arresting,
and the contents are proving popular with Young Adult readers as
well as older readers.
Close in second spot was Barbara Winter’s exposé of the Ultra
Right in The Australia-First Movement. Interesting reading for those
who assume Australia has always been a proxy for Old England and more
recently a sheriff for George W.
Barbara also secured third place with her earlier non-fiction work,
The Intrigue Master, which is a history of Australia’s naval
intelligence activities during the second World War.
Our titles are being rolled out by Tower over several months, so bookshops
may expect a delay in receiving some titles not already listed in Tower’s
catalogue. When in doubt, check with IPS for info on immediate shipping.
American digital distributor CD Baby now has a good selection of
IP titles on board for viewing and sampling (and sale!)
The next step, now underway, is for CD Baby
to upload our content to various online stores like iTunes where
you’ll be able to sample every track and purchase by the track
In the meantime, why not click onto the CD Baby site and have a look
and listen to our content (and that of other artists that we distribute,
too). It’s an ideal way for our friends overseas to get immediate
gratification when they’re after some of the best that Australia
has to offer—without a two week wait or freight charges. And
soon everyone will have the chance to download IP Digital titles
without darkening the aisles of a bookshop!
Want to check it out? Go to the CD Baby site < http://cdbaby.com/search> and
do a search on:
Jumbuktu (Paul Mitchell / Bill Buttler)
that our Hemingway in Spain DVD is up for sale in Australia, we’re
pulling out the stops to create a version that will work on North
American DVD players. For the Luddites out there, half the
world, including Australia, uses the PAL standard, while almost everyone
else is on the NTSC standard. Unless you have a DVD that plays both
standards—and more and more models do—a PAL encoded DVD
will not play properly on an NTSC player. If you’re lucky,
you’ll get vision, but it’ll be in black and white. PAL
material can be adapted to NTSC and vice-versa, but it’s not
a trivial process.
We have a distributor all lined up for Hemingway, which should go
like hot cakes in the USA especially, not to mention Spain, but they
require us to prepare an NTSC master, which they’ll then repurpose
for download in various forms. We’ve found a software package
that promises to convert from PAL to NTSC with a minimum of pain,
so we’re testing it now. We’ll keep you informed.
In the meantime, if you’re curious to see the DVD, try to catch
David on our Spring Season tour, which will be happening in the Northern
Territory in September, Melbourne, Tasmania and Canberra in October,
and Brisbane and northern NSW in November. More details in Out & About.
Geoffrey Gates has set up a blog for
his IP novel A Ticket
interacting with his readers, Geoffrey has posted some of the
reviews of A
Ticket For Perpetual Locomotion there. A great read!
You have the chance to chat with Geoff about the book or anything
else, so, go ahead, blog away!
Our Autumn Season 06 events
began in Sydney with the launch of Rosemary Huisman’s first poetry collection
The Possibility of Winds.
A long time lecturer at Sydney University
in Early English Literature and Semiotics, Rosemary was Commended
in IP Picks 2006 after her husband badgered her into entering the
competition. Thanks, Tony!
It was a rainy cold night in Sydney, but the crowd was entertained
by the launch speech of High Court Justice
Michael Kirby, who, in
his opening remarks, noted that he was the ‘third most popular
launcher of books in Australia, after Gough Whitlam and Dame Edna’!
He certainly made himself popular with David when he noted that he
had gone through Rosemary’s book with a fine comb and not found
a single typo!
The next evening was a change of pace with the launch of Monique
Choy’s delightful CD interactive romance The
Last Laugh. We
were at the NSW Writers Centre, which has graciously hosted many
of our successful Sydney launches. There was music by The Side Project
and a very cozy atmosphere.
After visits to some libraries over the next few days, David went
to Melbourne to support the launch of Basil
Eliades’ 3rd i.
This is Basil’s third book, and he demonstrated to the crowd at the
Victorian Writers Centre that he has talents beyond the written word.
To say that his readings were performances would be an understatement;
Basil pulls out all the stops.
Next day we were at the Red Star
Café in Hepburn Springs (near Daylesford). While many at the
café may have more interested in the food than his dazzling
performance, Basil certainly captured their attention!
Tilly Brasch has been asked
to speak about her award-winning IP book No
Middle Name at the
General Meeting of the National Council of Women Group (Qld).
It is on Thursday November 23, 2006 at 6pm and will be held at Harris
Terrace, 46 George Street, Brisbane.
Lauren Elise Daniels, our Prose
Editor, will be running a creative writing workshop with
the Bribie Island
U3A [University of the Third Age] Writing Group this winter.
an enthusiastic collection of budding writers from Australia and
from England, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa, the workshop
will provide practical advice on how to fine-tune critiquing styles
and polish consecutive drafts to 'bring the writing alive'. The genres
of the memoir, fiction, historical fiction will be explored.
David Reiter was recently poetry
judge for the Sunshine Coast Writers’ Group latest competition.
David will also be reading at the Carindale Library from his
junior novel, The Greenhouse Effect, during Library Week on 19 August
from 10:30 a.m. Admission is free.
David will also read at Wordpool on
1 August @ Barsoma, 22 Constance St, Fortitude Valley. Here are the
details from the QWC:
Bris ... no matter what you call this sunny city of ours, now is
the time to celebrate its literary greatness!
Join rock culture illuminati, Andrew Stafford (Pig City); effervescent
rock star David McCormack (Custard, The Titanics); local literati
Mary-Rose MacColl (Killing Superman); 2005 David Unaipon Award-winner,
Yvette Holt (Anonymous Premonition); author, poet and publisher David
Reiter (Liars and Lovers); representing the One Book Many Brisbanes'
winning stories Alison Lees; and MC Bris pop-celebrity Rebecca Sparrow
(The Year Nick McGowan Came To Stay).
David’s reading will feature two
of Brisvegas’ icons: Park Road and City Hall—before it
fell victim to tunnel vision. Pay the toll and come along for the
You can book online or
by ringing the QWC on 3839 1243.
The following items come from
IP poets Nora
Krouk and Michelle Cahill (currently in
press) will read in the Poets Union‘s
5th Australian Poetry Festival: Between for Poetry Week, with The
Writers’ Centre, Wednesday September 6th at 6pm, at the Writers’ Centre
in Rozelle, to celebrate Women of The World in song and poems, and
The Bosnian Women’s Choir (Blue River Choir)
conducted by Sladjana Hodzic, formerly of Sarajevo, will perform
songs from their new CD. Libby Wong originally from China/Hong Kong
with other bi-lingual poets Helen Turovic, initially from Croatia,
Jutta Sieverding, Germany, Gorica Jovanovic, Serbia, Gabriella Mehedinteanu,
Romania, Dang Lan, Vietnam, Nora Krouk,
born in China of Russian descent, Maureen Ten from China / Singapore
born in Africa of Indian descent, who has lived in England, and won
IP 2006 Best First Book Award for The Accidental
be launched later this year, share a night of exciting multiculturalism.
IP Digital published Jenni’s book Café Boogie in
2004 (and the Text + Audio CD in 2005.) She’s also performing
in Poetry Speaks! (also part of Poetry Week) on Sat 2 Sept., 12.30-2pm.
Theatre at Parramatta (Rafferty’s Theatre). Poems
in Conversation With Each Other features readings from Margaret
Bradstock, joanne burns, Kerry Leves, David
Musgrave, Louise Wakeling
their poems have to say to each other as they range from sex & the
city to beach culture, political satire & cultural crossings!
In what will be our most ambitious
Season tour to date, IP is planning launch events in the Northern
Melbourne, Tasmania, Canberra, Brisbane, Lismore/Byron Bay and Sydney. There
are quite a few events still being planned, but here’s what
is confirmed so far.
kick off the Season with the launch of Darwin-based Nigel Turvey’s Terania
Creek: Rainforest Wars, the IP Picks 2006 winner
for Best Creative Non-fiction. With the enthusiastic support of the
NT Writers’ Centre, there’ll be events in Alice
Springs on 22-23 Sept, in Katherine on
27th, and Darwin on 29-30. These will
include Meet the Publisher sessions with
David at Katherine and full day workshops in Alice Springs and Darwin
on how to promote your book. The workshops are pitched at DIY authors
but also at authors who want to be more active when their publishers
don’t have a large budget for
promotion (increasingly common these days). For
further details, contact Sandra at the NT
(If you’re in Sydney and interested in David’s promotion
workshop, don’t despair: he’ll be offering it at the NSW
Writers’ Centre on Friday 24 November.)
In October, David and Nigel continue the tour in Tasmania, with a launch
Bookshop in Launceston on 23 October; in Devonport on Tuesday the
24th at Adult Education, 19 William Street (contact Fay
Forbes); in Hobart at the Hobart
Bookshop on Thursday the 26th.
Then it’s on to Melbourne for
a Terania launch featuring Tricia Caswell at the Victorian Writers’ Centre
on Friday the 27th, and a joint launch of Terania and Bill Collopy’s
IP Picks Best Fiction winner, House of
Given, at Reader’s
Feast on Saturday evening of
the 28th. (Bill’s novel will have its own launch at the Victorian
Writers’ Centre earlier that day.)
We finish up in Canberra, with another Terania event on the 30th of
October, venue to be confirmed.
November will see us launching in Queensland and New South Wales,
but we’ll give you all the details in our next IP eNews.
One highlight is certain to be the Brisbane Season
launch, a gala featuring
all six Spring Season authors (Nigel Turvey, Bill Collopy, Andrew Leggett,
Libby Hart, Michelle Cahill and Paul Dawson) at the Performance
Studio, 4MBS at Coorparoo
on 5 November. With so many authors to showcase, we can promise the
event will be long on readings and short on introductions!
The evening before that will be our first IP
Soirée at the Corner
Bistro, Seven Hills,
where you’ll have the chance to meet all six authors up close
and personal—or at least over a glass of champagne or across
the dinner table. The soirée will be sponsored by the Queensland Writers’ Centre,
and tickets will be scarce on the ground, so be quick when we open
Our spies (Chris
tell us that Google sees Brisbane as the poetry centre of Australia,
and Australia as the poetry capital of the world!
With all due modesty,
IP claims some responsibility for this, given that our 2006 publishing
list boasts six new poetry titles, certainly more than that other
Still have your doubts? Check out the links for yourself: