the newsletter of Interactive Publications Pty Ltd


Director's Welcome


Welcome to our first issue of 2011. IP eNews is now into its 13th year of production, and with each issue we add new readers. We see the newsletter as more than a means of letting you know what's happening at IP. It's a way of fostering our community of authors, which is now established across Australia and taking hold now in New Zealand.

In the first issue of each year, we announce the winners and commended entries from our IP Picks competition, and this issue is no exception. I was pleased to see places claimed by entrants from every State this year, including a Commended from South Australia, that State's first award. Our Best First Book was won by a poet from New Zealand, which will certainly raise the competition's profile across the ditch.

We had an active Spring Season over Nov-Dec, and Out & About gives you the highlights from our touring events in Sydney, Melbourne and Wollongong, as well as previewing our Tasmanian tour starting 18 Feb and the Brisbane Gala Weekend coming up the first week of March (see the details at the end of Out & About).

Our Summer Season list is heavily weighted toward IP Kidz titles to coincide with the new school year, and we're pleased to be releasing new work by established authors like Libby Hathorn, Anne Morgan and Edel Wignell, but also emerging talents like Céline Eimann, Peter Allert and our own Anna Bartlett. You'll find interviews with Libby and Edel in our Focus section, as well as one with Barry Levy about his new IP title Shades of Exodus.

Speaking of Anna, I'm sure you'll want to join me in congratulating her in promotion from Assistant to full Editor, Children's and YA Titles. Anna has worked very hard the past two years, earning the respect of several established authors in our list, and she very much deserves this.

Early in the New Year, we generally have a turn-over of interns and volunteers, so I'd like to thank Emanuele Gelsi and Dan O'Regan for the very substantial contribution they made during the year. Recently we welcomed a new intern, Candice Poole, to the fold, and she's already made her mark in a few short weeks with her drive and sparkling personality. Anyone who drives from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane to intern here has GOT to be motivated!

The digital revolution continues to provide opportunities for IP to extend our horizons for the benefit of our authors. In IP Digital Buzz, I discuss progress with our new partners Kobo and For-side as well as my soon to be launched Your eBook Survival Kit, which I hope will be downloaded in vast quantities! I've designed it to be the perfect companion to the digital workshops I offer, as well as a standalone guide, which I plan to update with feedback from readers visiting me at my Wordpress site.

To close, I must acknowledge the tragic floods that hit Queensland recently and thank the many people who wrote in concern about our welfare. Treetop Studio was never in any danger, but it was nice to receive your wishes. We encourage people to give generously to the various relief funds for flood victims and join all of you in hoping this event will indeed be only a one in two hundred year event.



I'm writing this as the clean-up continues from what has been described as the worst natural disaster ever to hit Queensland. Over 20 people were killed in the Lockyer Valley, and flooding resulted in billions of dollars of damage in Brisbane and the neighbouring areas.

Major flooding and losses have also taken place in regional Victoria and Western Australia.

It's a time when politicians call a brief time out from the usual petty squabbles to climb to a higher moral ground, but the truce won't last for long. The government has imposed a levy, which the Opposition decries as another "big new tax", and maverick Bob Katter, MP for Kennedy in Far North Queensland, threatens to block the enabling legislation for the levy as pay back for the South indifference during the North's own flooding trauma not so long ago.

Meanwhile not one, but two cyclones, are headed for Far North Queensland, reminding us that the wet season has several weeks to run yet.

I was disappointed to see how quickly the government has decided to save money in the budget by significant cutbacks to alternative energy initiatives. Scientists have been warning us for years that one consequences of our inaction in addressing climate change would be more extreme weather episodes: extended droughts lasting years, which we've already experienced, and cataclysmic storm system, which have occurred more recently. Cutting back on initiatives that could lessen global warming is very short sighted.

These have been described as once in a hundred or even once in two hundred year events – only because they haven't been seen before. How will they be described if they strike again this year or next? We will need to rewrite our vocabulary for talking about how nature behaves.

Fortunately for IP, our Studio is located high above the flood plain, so we avoided any direct damage. But we deeply appreciated the expressions of concern that we received from all over the world, hoping that we had not be caught in the flood. One of our Brisbane authors had his house inundated and is facing temporary accommodation for months. A medical specialist described how he and his family watched in horror from their high rise apartment as the tragedy played out below them.

You didn't have to be IN it to be affected by it. All of us were touched by the losses here, and I would hope that we will react with more sympathy to the next disaster that hits our northern neighbours – as it may very soon.

Writers and writing organisations have been at the forefront of initiatives to raise funds for flood victims, which is no less than I would expect. When a country is hurt, its artists bleed in sympathy. As they always have, and always will.

There's an Australian spirit that's come to the fore, but we should recognise that empathy has no national boundaries. It's human nature to come to the aid of others in such circumstances. Similar scenarios were played out recently in Brazil and previously across Asia when the tsunami struck. It's good to know, after all, that we are not alone. [DR]

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IP Picks 2011 Awards

The Big Picture

Overall, entry numbers were down this year across all categories, which was a bit disappointing but meant the judges had an easier reading load. Perhaps people were being a bit cautious in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis?

Submissions from Queensland comprised 28% of the total, followed by New South Wales (23%), Victoria (18%), Tasmania and New Zealand (10%), South Australia (5%), and Western Australia and the ACT (3%).

We were pleased to see entrants from Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand holding their own in gaining placements against the competition from the more populous states.

Winners by category were:

Lois Shepheard (VIC): Best Creative Non-fiction
Keith Westwater (NZ): Best First Book
Laura Jan Shore (NSW): Best Poetry
Guy Salvidge (WA): Best Fiction
Janet Reid (QLD): Best Junior Prose / YA

For further details on the winners and commended entrants, please read on.

The judges would like to thank all entrants for their submissions this year and wish those who did not secure a place this time all the best with their future writing projects. We encourage you to enter again. There have been several cases of second time lucky for dedicated authors who submit new work. [DR]

IP Picks Poetry Overview - From the Director

The judges were pleased yet again by the very high caliber of entries into the Poetry and Best First Book categories (poetry entries placed as Winner and Highly Commended in Best First Book).

This clearly shows that Picks has become THE competition for unpublished poetry in Australia today, and perhaps it will soon be the case for New Zealand as well. Entrants recognise the value of publishing with IP, given our high profile on the poetry scene.

As usual, the judges were hard pressed to find a clear winner. They felt that at least five or six of the shortlisted entries were publishable or very close to being publishable.

Lessons to be learned from this year's comp? Ensure that EVERY poem in the collection is polished and needs to be there. It's better to cull weak and marginal poems before submitting since these poems will weaken your chances of being selected. Also ensure that you don't include poems that cover the same ground as others. A common mistake that poets make is to include every poem that has been published during the process of writing the collection. Certain poems WILL get published in isolation from the collection because they are not being read together with poems that occupy the same territory.

In your revisions, ask yourself what makes each poem exceptional? Competent poems will impress the judges, but only exceptional poems exhibiting originality and the finest crafting will win over the judges. Test each and every poem for its overall quality. Revise or cull those that seem ordinary.

Finally, think about the structure of your collection. It should start with your finest poem and end with your next to finest. Open with three or four ordinary poems and you lessen the chances of gaining the judges' full attention. While it's true that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the parts can detract from the whole.

Spotlight on Prose – A Word from the Prose Editor about IP Picks

Thank you to all of the writers who sent their work into IP Picks. It takes guts to enter and we loved seeing your efforts.

At this time, we're often asked what the judges' impressions were, so let's do the hard part first. Here's what didn't work in prose:

For fiction and nonfiction:
Clichés – Your words are better.
Wordiness – Less is more.
Rocks in its pants – The story takes 'a dog's age' [here's a cliché] to get going.
Dry – The writers forgot that the audience needs to be earned.
Tells more than shows – Connected to 'dry'. More scenes and character development needed.

For fiction specifically:
Gratuitous violence – Put a gun on the wall in Act I and it had better go off by Act III, to paraphrase Anton Chekhov… and, I'd like to add, make it shoot somebody important to the story.
Flat plots littered with clichéd characters – Populate curvaceous stories with unique but troubled individuals.
A large cast – When the story slows down, don't just chuck in a new face with a 'square jaw', 'pouting lips' or an 'ample bosom' [to name a few character clichés].

For nonfiction specifically:
Avoid talking down to readers – Strive to say something new. Cut the obvious.
A narrow focus – Efforts to capture themes, wisdom and universal truths have more stamina than any one person's perspective or list of details. Strive for the wider view.

What the judges loved seeing in fiction:
• A start with a bang, a whoosh, a sensory grappling hook of some kind.
• The ability to craft, sustain and transition between scenes.
• Moments of dialogue which propel the plot and hint at the deeper conflict.
• Strong characters who offer some level of intimacy to readers.
• A definitive plot that leads to a climactic apex.

In nonfiction:
• An idea taken into original territory.
• A string of cohesive elements holding the work together from start to finish.
• The use of literary devices found in fiction to enhance delivery.
• Artful insertion of facts and details for a more literary feel.
• Awareness of the international market.

A bulleted list makes it sound so simple but it takes time, feedback and revision to make your work shine. Keep at it and maybe we'll see you in next year's winner's circle! [LD]


Spotlight on Junior and Yound Adult Fiction - Some comments from the Editor

Our Junior Prose category was short on entrants again this year, so we decided to combine the young adult and children's entries into a joint Junior/Young Adult Prose category. The judges saw some strong writing, original concepts and compelling storytelling, and we are confident that this category will attract more entries in the future. [AB]

The Results, by Category

Best Fiction | Winner
Guy Salvidge: Yellowcake Springs

Welcome to Yellowcake Springs; a pristine, friendly, secure community of citizens involved in the maintenance of one of Western Australia's CIQ Sinocorp nuclear reactor facilities. You have nothing to fear inside the heavily-guarded community, nestled in the quiet streets between the radiation Red Zone and the razor-wired fences. Raise a family. Go to the park. Watch the sun set between the cooling towers. Lament the desperate lives of the lost ones living in the darklands outside the community, where overpopulation and starvation have created a lawless world. Feel lucky. You belong to CIQ Sinocorp now.

Author Guy Salvidge leads the reader through a time where an unchecked global population has created a slow, painful apocalypse for all but the elite. Inside Yellowcake Springs, the protection of CIQ Sinocorp provides security, employment and endless leisure in the constructed worlds of Controlled Dream State, where citizens using avatars can abandon their inhibitions and responsibilities. Inside the amber zone, Sylvia enjoys a carefree if mundane existence as an advertising consultant with her husband David, whose radical environmentalist interests provide endless gossip for her co-workers. In the Controlled Dream State she meets Ryan, a stranger from beyond the gates.

Outside Yellowcake Springs, Ryan wanders a wasteland gripped by disease, famine and crime. His only chance to escape the darklands is through an affair with Sylvia, a woman from the inside. As he heads toward Yellowcake Springs, Ryan unwittingly becomes tangled in the sordid plans of the Misanthropos; an environmental terrorist group whose plan to lower the earth's population and destabilise CIQ Sinocorp will cost many innocent lives.

At the heart of the facility, Jung Wei begins his training in the Controlled Waking State, the brainchild of Sinocorp employee Yang Po. Wei finds himself helpless to the whims of Yang Po's experiments, which see Wei's body and mind enslaved to the control of the corporation.
As Wei, Sylvia and Ryan's lives converge in Yellowcake Springs, Salvidge's novel promises devastation and terror against the backdrop of a frighteningly plausible Australian future. [CP]

Author Bio:

Guy Salvidge was born in England in 1981 and moved to Western Australia in 1990, where he GuyShas lived ever since. As a teenager he won the Roy Grace English Scholarship for his short fiction, which motivated him to pursue a career in writing.  Married with two small children, he teaches high school English in WA's Wheatbelt region.

Guy's short fiction has appeared on Vibewire, Fiction on Demand and most recently in the pages of Kurungabaa. Yellowcake Springs is his second novel. His first, The Kingdom of Four Rivers, was published in 2009. Visit him online at his official site at or his blog at


Best Fiction | 1st Commended
Margaret Berkman: When the Birds Stop Singing

Louise's father raised her with the wisdom that "worry is weakness, poise is power" and it is her poise, resilience and good nature that makes her first days at Creswell in the harsh Queensland outback bearable. There to begin a new life with her husband John, Louise encounters a range of strange and wonderful characters from the motherly and protective Moira to the darkly complicated Murdo.

Set against the abuse of Aboriginal land rights and the estrangement of Aboriginals from their native culture by white colonists, the novel paints an intricate picture of the complex, varied and damaging relationship between white Australians and Aboriginals at the time. The characters etch their lives into the shared space, as much a slave to the ravaging drought, climate and landscape as they are to fate, love and conflict. [CP]

Author bio:

Margaret 'Midge' Berkman was born in far North Queensland and grew up during the Great Depression and the second World War.

It was her father, a Scottish immigrant, who gave her the nick-name Midge, preferring it to her MidgeBchristened name, Margaret. When he was captured by the Japanese and forced to work as a prisoner on the Changi railway, Midge and her family never knew if he'd survive. It was a life-shaping experience.

After the war, Midge married young and had four children, like so many women of her generation. But when her youngest were at school, she took up study herself, achieving a Bachelor of Arts from Queensland University and later, a Master of Arts in Religious Studies.

Midge Berkman lives on the Gold Coast near one of her daughters and three of her nine grandchildren. She writes magazine articles, and likes long walks. This is her first novel.


Best Fiction | 2nd Commended
Mirian Sved: After the Game

In Miriam Sved's After the Game, Jem struggles with the upheaval of her relationship, home life, career and mental stability following her failure to help a boy who begs for her help and is later killed in a race-related bashing. The interruption to Jem's world brings into focus her grandmother's battle against war criminals, her dark past with her destructive brother, and her fragile relationship with her girlfriend Ruth.

Jem begins to follow the legal proceedings surrounding the boy's bashing only to find that this trail of inquiry leads her through the rabbit hole and into unpredictable and dangerous territory. [CP]

Author Bio:

MiriamSMiriam Sved's work has appeared in journals including Overland, Meanjin and TEXT. She has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Melbourne, and is currently working on a series of short stories about AFL football. She lives in Melbourne and works as an editor.

Best Non - Fiction | Winner
Lois Shepheard: The Rag Boiler's Daughter

Lois Shepheard's entry The Rag Boiler's Daughter claims first place in the Non-Fiction division of this year's IP Picks. A sweeping account of Irish and Scottish families, the work is a sparkling illustration of survival, highlighted by courageous themes that will resonate with many Australians.

Spanning the religious conflict of early 20th century Northern Ireland, the War of Independence, two World Wars and a family's migration to Australia, the story closely follows Maggie Gilliland from her birth in Denny, Scotland in 1865. The daughter of a rag boiler and an iron miner, Maggie was the mother of seventeen children – nearly half of whom she buried. Touched by a string of losses and blessings, she always strove towards the hope of giving her children a better life as she gave them the very best of herself.

Maggie's story is a timeless one. It traces the determination of the working class to improve their conditions, starting with Maggie's mother ensuring that her daughter be taught to read.
Laced with cultural and historical details gracefully woven into the narrative, the work enticed the judges with such insights as: 'Toward the end of the 13th century, Queen Margaret of Scotland decreed that not only could a woman propose marriage to a man on Leap Day, the 29th of February, he would be fined if he refused the offer'.

Succinct history lessons and poignant scenes draw a map around a cast of characters, giving the work an approachable context as well as an intimate framework through which to reawaken and glimpse, for many, their common roots as the children of determined migrants.

As one of the judges raved: 'By the end of the story, I am in love with this family, their curious and complex relationships and their unabated hope'. [LD]

Author Bio:

Lois Shepheard of Melbourne is a violinist, and viola player, a graduate of the Conservatorium of Music, NSW and the Talent Education School of Music, Japan. She has performed and taught throughout Australia, the US, Japan and Europe. As a musician, her writing was previously restricted to her numerous articles on music education.

Interest in her own Scottish background led Lois to a fascination with Scottish history. Her first LoisSattempt at creative writing, based on things Scottish, was placed 'runner-up' in the 2007 competition for the Ena Taylor Awards (The Peter Cowan Writers Centre Inc. WA). Lois was encouraged to continue writing in the same vein, her latest production being The Rag Boiler's Daughter.


Best Non - Fiction | 1st Commended
Robyn Ressom: Not Just a Nude on the Wall

Psychologist Robyn Ressom's fearless work Not Just a Nude on the Wall explores the layers of the contemporary feminine, right through to its shadowy depths.

Tackling difficult subject matter from the start, the work is a detailed journey through the mixed-media of prose, poetry and painting, into what it means to be female, especially now that the furore of the feminist movement has bled back into the seams of society.

With persistent strength, Ressom's piece explores the areas where today's feminine is left wanting and restrained and how this has called the archetype to express herself in darker, more sublime ways. [LD]

Author Bio:

Art as an expressive and therapeutic medium has been a pervasive and compelling theme RRessomrunning through Robyn Ressom's life. Robyn has worked in many art-based disciplines, including photography, sculpture, ceramics, fashion design, silk, oil and acrylic painting. In her current work, Not Just a Nude On The Wall, she presents a post-feminist view based on her own life story through art, poetry and prose as therapy. Robyn works as an art therapist, artist and writer in Queensland.


Best Non - Fiction | 2nd Commended
Torquil Canning: Tabula Rasa: Memories from a Big Fire

At a time when climate change, drought, fires and floods dominate the media, Tabula Rasa: Memories from a Big Fire by Torquil Canning has earned a mention in IP Picks 2011. The work is a meticulously researched, articulate account of the events surrounding the 1967 Fern Tree bushfires and an analysis of the forces behind such phenomena.

Propelled by a dramatic narrative tracing the Fern Tree events, Tabula Rasa examines weather patterns and events which contribute to natural disasters. This ambitious combination of recorded detail and a crafted storyline give the piece a relevant and wide context for today's audiences. [LD]

Author Bio:

Torquil lives where he was raised at Fern Tree outside Hobart. Having a childhood in the wake CanningTof the 1967 Black Tuesday Bushfires provided the perfect subject for his first non-fiction manuscript Tabula Rasa. Torquil works in the fields of house and garden design and has completed a fiction manuscript, Love Child, set in 1960s Tasmania.


Best First Book | Winner
Keith Westwater: Tongues of Ash

Tongues of Ash is Keith Westwater's collection of travel poetry which reflects beautiful on time and place and its effect on the human spirit. Westwater's focus is travel through New Zealand, taking in the breathtaking scenery and the unique inhabitants with a strong, authoritative poetic voice. Tongues of Ash is unique in its use of imagery to situate characters and explore their personalities through their surroundings and their actions.

Memory, emotion, weather and landscape work in an interconnected web in Westwater's poetry, each reliant on the other to draw the reader into snapshots from a life on the move. Like all travelers, Westwater takes the reader not only on a journey away from home and back again, but through layers of time - childhoods remembered and futures planned. Languages blend to contrast cultures as the poet explores the deepest regions of New Zealand.

The joy of reading Westwater's poetry is his obvious skill as a manipulator of language, delving into the reverent, the morose, the gleeful and the humorous without falter. He is fearless in his subject matter and confident in his use of words. The poetry is a true escape from the reader's present world, a tour in the realms of the imagination, facilitated by an experienced leader. [CP]

Author Bio:

Keith Westwater began writing poetry in 2003. Since then his work has appeared in Landfall, KeithWJAAM, Snorkel, Idiom 23 and other publications and has received or been short-listed for awards in New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland. In 2009, he completed a Master of Letters in creative writing through Central Queensland University. Keith lives in Lower Hutt, New Zealand.


Best First Book | Highly Commended
Stuart Cooke: Coast

It is clear to the reader of Stewart Cooke's Coast from the very first lines that the poet has spent years perfecting his craft. The reader is acutely aware of Cooke's careful selection of words, lines, concepts like a wanderer on a beach collecting precious stones and shells, which leaves an impression that nothing can be ignored.

The poems deal with the interplay between human nature and the landscape, man and nature, and how each effects the other both positively and negatively. Australia's menagerie of unique and beautiful flora and fauna feature as a backdrop for many of the poems, providing the reader with recognizable scenario's of love, loss and adventure. [CP]

Author Bio:

Stuart was born in 1980 and grew up in Sydney StuartCand in Hobart. His poetry, translations, fiction and essays are published widely in Australia, and in the USA and UK. In 2010, Vagabond Press published a chapbook of his poems entitled Corrosions. At present he is completing a PhD on Indigenous Australian and Chilean poetics.


Best First Book | 1st Commended
Susan Austin: Undertow of Resilience

Susan Austin's An Undertow of Resilience is a collection of poetry covering a wide variety of themes, from birth to terminal illness, relationships to the plight of refugees. The author breaks these poems into three categories: People, Relationships and Travel.

Stylistically, the author's strong use of imagery and the involvement of the reader through the 2nd person perspective are skilful and engaging. The author's comfortable manipulation of language and her familiarity with the conventions of poetry are clear. Austin's poetic style is uniquely escapist and heartfelt - she invites the reader into her private memories, reflections and regrets. A truly unmissable collection. [CP]

Author Bio:

Susan Austin published her poetry with Semper, Heretical, Famous Reporter, Blue Giraffe and Poetry Matters; with Fraser Coast Chronicle, SusanAGreen Left Weekly and The Tasmanian Times. Anthology publications include a Tasmanian young writer's initiative, The Brew, TAFE's Poems from the Dig, and the Tasmanian Fellowship of Writers' Net of Hands and Poets' Republic.

Susan was commended in the FAW Norma and Colin Knight Poetry Award 2007 and won equal first prize in the Terri and Hal Moore Poetry Award 2007. She won second prize and a commendation in the FAW Norma and Colin Knight Poetry Award 2009. She has settled in Hobart where she writes poetry in between work as an occupational therapist and a social justice activist.


Best First Book | 2nd Commended
Chris Baine: The Beast Without

On any given night, in any city in the world, someone's going to die before sunrise, and most of them will die alone. I'm not talking peaceful, 'tucked up in bed' deaths here. I'm talking deaths you may not hear about. Deaths the cops may not hear about…

Chris Baines' speculative fiction thriller, The Beast Without, narrated by a gay vampire with more zest than Lestat or any of the other pasty night stalkers, has earned a mention in Best First Book. Well crafted and energetically paced, Baines' bloodletting thriller gave judges a bit of sexy, gothic fun in the supernatural underworld of Sydney. [LD]

Author Bio:

Originally from Queensland, Christian Baines is a freelance arts journalist, ticketing agent, theatre critic, actor and all-round culture geek, a career path that has inspired him to write about blood sucking monsters – plus the occasional vampire. He completed his Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Technology, Sydney in 2010, and enjoys writing dark, layered stories, particularly on non-traditional family or LGBT themes. One of his urban fantasy short stories, "The Entropist" was published by Gay E-books in 2010.


Best Poetry | Winner
Laura Jan Shore: Water Over Stone

Laura Shore's collection of poetry , Water Over Stone, invites the reader to be surprised and unexpectant at the beginning of each new poem, as the poet skilfully imagines herself a 60s child, a companion to death, a rabbit, a woman in love, a man observing his wife and child. As one reader raved, Water Over Stone is:

Powerful, intimate, highly polished and charged poetry that conjures stillness and receptivity in this reader. Succinct phrases and collages of imagery are arranged skilfully. The engaging subject matter seems to come from a sharp, perceptive mind and an open soul. [LD] [CP]

Author Bio:

Author of YA novel, The Sacred Moon Tree (Bradbury Press, 1986) Laura's poetry has LauraSappeared in literary magazines in the US, Italy and Australia. In 1996, she immigrated to the Byron shire. She initiated the 'Dangerously Poetic' reading series and community press.  Her collection, Breathworks, was launched at the Byron Writers Festival in 2002 by Dorothy Porter.  She won the 2009 FAW John Shaw Nielson Award and the 2006 CJ Dennis Open Poetry Literary Award.


Best Poetry | Highly Commended
E. A. Gleeson: Above the Sugar Gums

Gleeson's Above the Sugar Gums tackles a number of themes, including motherhood, death, loss, childhood and art. There is a sense of the author in these works, as the poems carry the theme of a woman reflecting on her son, her father, her family. The poems are written in an almost narrative style; they are wordy, linear and descriptive of snap-shotted moments in life, taking in scenery and the actions of others, sometimes with dialogue.

Gleeson's manipulation of language is subtle, easy; the sentences whole and clear of ambiguity. The poems have a romantic feel, a feel of reflection and of stasis as the poet moves about each situation. Particularly lovely is the reminiscent quality of the poems, inherent those which centre on childhood and give romantic importance to otherwise ordinary objects. [CP]

Author Bio:

E.A. Gleeson was born at Coleraine and lived the first six months of her life in her grandmother's home at Wootong Vale. The rest GleesonEAof her childhood was spent on a Soldier Settlement farm near Camperdown in Victoria's Western District. Since then, she has travelled widely. She has lived in urban and rural Australian communities, and, in Tonga, as an Australian Volunteer International.

In the mid 1990s, Anne began writing poetry and quickly established her reputation with a quick succession of prizes and publications. She features regularly at Victoria's premier poetry venues and, occasionally, in other places when she travels.

Anne currently lives in Ballarat, Victoria, where she works as a writer, educator and funeral director. Her previous IP title is In Between the Dancing.


Best Poetry | 1st Commended
Amelia Walker: Sound and Bundy

It was Walker's unique premise in writing Sound and Bundy that won her a place in this year's IP Picks: Walker is one poet pretending to be three poets pretending to be one poet. Each poet has a recognizable voice (Lind's earthy, working-class free-verse about sex and poverty; Shannon's closed-form traditional pieces about rebellion; Angie's misspelt and computerized snaps about wild youth.)

The poetry emerges from and reflects an Australian working class culture, the daily concerns of ordinary people. A hilarious, heartwarming and truly 'different' collection. [CP]

Author Bio:

Amelia Walker began writing and performing AmeliaWpoetry in her teens. Now twenty seven, she has performed at festivals and other events around Australia, as well as the 2008 World Poetry Festival in Kolkata, India. Sound and Bundy was composed as the artefact component of her Honours thesis at the University of South Australia.  


Best Poetry | 2nd Commended
Duncan Richardson: Ultra Soundings

Richardson's collection of poems, Ultra Soundings accepts the challenge of multiple subject matters and does so with ease. Richardson tackles the intimacy of family relationships, yet is comfortable in writing about politics, tragedy and African narratives.

The poetry is beautifully woven with an understated, unforced sort of authority. Walker engages in an uncomplicated style which is flowing and adaptive to his wide-ranging subject matter. A true pleasure for the lover of poetry without boundaries or narrowed focus. [CP]

Author Bio:

Duncan Richardson writes prose and poetry for children and adults. His previous IP title was DuncanRJason Chen and the Time Banana.
His verse play The Grammar of Deception was broadcast on ABC Radio National in 2008.

He lives in Brisbane where he conducts writing workshops.
Previous children's books include Wennabees and Yum-worms and Revenge.


Best Junior Prose / Young Adult Winner
Janet Reid: The Ruby Bottle

The Ruby Bottle is a junior fantasy story about Amber, a girl who discovers a djinn in a dusty old bottle while she's looking through her neighbour's shed.

'The shed was a mess,' we are told. 'In one corner, stacked against the wall, were garden tools, lengths of timber and an old wooden ladder. There was an old cot full of bags, pieces of wire and buckets with no handles. An ancient mower, a broken chainsaw and something that might have once been a bike were dumped together on the floor.'

Amber is a likeable, engaging main character, and through her relationship with the djinn she is transformed from a shy, hesitant girl into a capable heroine. The manuscript makes good use of tension, as Amber finds herself in challenging situations and has to learn to trust in her own abilities.

'You'll find it,' the djinn tells Amber when she's lost a piece of his bottle and is despairing of being able to locate it again. 'I have faith in you, Amber.'

The description throughout the manuscript is tight and evocative, and characters and relationships are credible. The story is written with imagination, and fantasy elements are skilfully interwoven with more everyday concerns like friendships and schoolwork. Amber's heroic actions and increased confidence bring the story to a satisfying conclusion.

This is a gentle, celebratory tale of magic, friendship and adventure that will find a ready audience with young girls. [AB]

Author Bio:

Janet Reid grew up on a dairy farm with hay sheds and pigsties, old abandoned farm machinery and lots of space. It was a haven for hours of story weaving with her sister between milking the cows and the feeding the calves and pigs. After becoming a teacher, she taught in places from the cane fields in Central Queensland to Brisbane. Now retired, she lives in Brisbane with her husband, two teenage sons, and a very 'human' cat called Kelsey. 


Best Junior Prose / Young Adult Commended

Vanessa Grant: Taonga

Taonga is young adult historical fiction, the story of fifteen-year-old Maggie, an English orphan who in 1863 has just arrived in New Zealand with relatives. When Maggie decides to run away from her bitter, abusive uncle, and stows aboard a ship she hopes will take her back to Sussex, she is pitched into an adventure she never expected.

'Another wave buffeted her instantly, and she was washed under again, scraping the sand, scrambling for a foot-hold. Then, to her utter surprise, she felt a strong pair of hands gripping her arms, dragging her out of the surf, onto her feet. She stared through her dripping hair, into the face of her rescuer. A foot from her face were the fierce, dark eyes of a tattooed savage: a Maori warrior.'

Taonga is a fascinating look at different cultures and lifestyles in New Zealand during the time of the Maori wars. The multicultural aspect of the story is handled with sensitivity as Maggie grows to understand and love the Maori way of life.

This is a well-researched, engaging story of conflict, love and courage. [AB]

Author Bio:

Vanessa Grant is a Kiwi living in Tasmania who combines being Mum to a loud family of growing VanessaGchildren with writing.   
Her interests lie in history, culture, the environment and the hero's journey; strands of which all appear in her writing.   
Although she has written for pleasure all her life, it has only been recently that she has begun to write novel length work aiming for publication.

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Libby Hathorn

I Love You Book


Anne Morgan

The Sky Dreamer


Barry Levy

Shades of Exodus


Edel Wignell

Chistina's Matilda


Celine Eimann

The Sky Dreamer


David P Reiter

Tiger Tames the Min Min


James Laidler

The Taste of Apple





Will the Last Librarian Out Please Turn off the Lights?

One of the ABC's better comedy series of late has been The Librarians, which recently played out its second series. The script writers had a real challenge, making a hit from an occupation that most people regard as boring, but they pulled it off.

Like most satire, The Librarians had a serious side, showing how publicly funded institutions are considered soft targets in times of recession. Few people would take to the barricades to defend their local library.

Perhaps this has something to do with the general downturn in the amount of time we are devoting to reading for pleasure. Perhaps we think that libraries will inevitably give way to institutions better adapted to the digital era.

Some libraries are trying to adapt by rebranding themselves as information access centres, offering free or modestly priced internet services, to keep their clients coming in. Recent consolidation of councils in states like Queensland has introduced efficiencies into library systems that will placate the bean counters – for now.

But have library services improved? Probably not. The trend is toward centralised ordering and minimal holding of all but proven best sellers. This is not good news for Australian independent publishers, who still depend on library purchases as a major portion of their income. It's now virtually impossible for individual publishers to get an audience with the Collections team at the larger libraries. Staff cuts have led to libraries having to contract out their ordering services to suppliers that are better attuned to the list of multinational publishers with big marketing budgets. Few of these library suppliers actively promote Australian titles except for those written by literary luminaries like John Howard. They take the easy route of supporting popular titles that will be checked out more frequently.

It seems that every librarian's worst nightmare is to have the accountants pouring through the borrowing rate of the libraries' poetry holdings – if they still have any poetry other than Banjo Paterson and Lord Byron. Is it any wonder that some librarians keep a supply of paper bags at the ready to counter panic attacks?

Can we as borrowers do much to counter the downward trend of libraries that will see them resemble video shops in the near future, offering overnight checkout for popular crime, horror, romance novels and self-indulgent political memoirs. Probably not. It could be our nostalgia for what has been lost that prompts us to read - if not write - such escapist tomes.

Political memoir writing workshop, anyone? [DR]


Interview 1: Libby Hathorn

[Libby Hathorn is author to more than 50 books for children and young people. Her children's title I Love You Book , illustrated by Heath McKenzie, will be published by IP in February.]

CP: In the author's note of I Love You Book, you mention that the inspiration for this book came from a visit to Papua New Guinea, where parents and students expressed their love of reading to you. Why did that experience resonate with you?

LH: It was actually three of the parents- three women- who expressed the very wonder of being able to decode lines and squiggles on a page and experience the thrill of reading for the first time in their lives, whilst their sons (it was a boys' school) had been able to do this all their lives. Their drama presentation which they called simply I Love You Book, brought home to me the power of reading itself, as it opens you up to the world; and the power of the written word and literacy to open minds and hearts through books being placed in someone's hands.

CP: I Love You Book is a tribute to the physical book. Why do you think the experience of reading a physical book is as important for parents, families and children?

LH: The physical book has its own weight and shape and size and that's part of the familiarity of a book. Obviously the impact of the story or the poem is one thing, but the book as object is quite another. Books have texture- a range of different ones- smooth or slightly rough, LibbyHslippery or grainy, page edges can deckled, smooth or even cutting; books have a certain smell too, especially new one, of paper, glue, ink and so on. But the physical book is an experience which combines all these things as well as the look of the book and the power of the words in it. It's lovely that to share a book you have to closely sit side by side. What a wonderful way to begin or end a day with family. And it does not depend on any power source but the power of the mind to respond.

CP: I Love You Book is distributed by Interactive Publications in digital formats as well as a physical book. What are your feelings about this development?  

LH: Digital formats provide another way of books getting out there. I don't see a problem in meeting the market where some children and their families will only read the digital form of the book. I want the content widely distributed, its words and gorgeous artwork being enjoyed. And I think that reading digitally has its own pleasure, of course. But I have this sneaking hope that in doing so, the message will lure at least some of them to the pleasures of physical book.

CP: Why did you choose this time in your writing career to write I Love You Book

LH: It's a time of great change and much excitement as our reading habits indeed our ways of learning continue to change as we become more technically sophisticated. The so- called 'digital native' is here to stay. I can see LoveYouBookthe demand for the physical book is changing as more people turn to digital alternatives but I firmly believe the book as object will survive. Perhaps it will be more competitive and we will have higher quality physical books. I believe there will always be the joy of holding different size and weight books and loving even the shape of the book that tells the tale, as well being able to use our senses in quite different ways to react to the story. I thought it was high time to pay homage to the book and draw attention to its many virtues, and the way it can continue to be enjoyed alongside the exciting digital developments.

CP: In I Love You Book, one of the important aspects of the physical book that you identify is the ability to share books. Can you envisage digital books as a shared reading experience?

LH: Yes, people and especially readers will adapt to any way shape of form a good story or poem is presented to them (on papyrus to vellum to bark to paper to screen). So in terms of the family read, we will gather round the Kindle or the screen, if there is no alternative. What I'd hope is that it is not an either or but both forms the physical and the digital will continue to develop and delight us in their unique ways. As yet, the physical book still wins out in the cuddle-up-and- hold –and- read-together stakes.

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Interview 2: Anne Morgan

[Anne Morgan's children's book The Sky Dreamerinnovatively and honestly deals with the subjects of death, loss and grief from the perspective of a child. The picture book is illustrated by Céline Eimann.]

CP: The Sky Dreamer is a powerful and fearless book about the experience of death from the viewpoint of a child. Did you have any reservations in representing this theme in a children's book?

AM: The Sky Dreamer is, paradoxically, the story I had to write and the story I wish I never had to write, for I could never have written the text if my teenage daughter, Miranda, had not died in a road accident in October 2006. But while my personal grief provided the wellspring of inspiration for The Sky Dreamer I tried to distance myself from the text by creating a story with mythical resonances, a tale of magical realism which has as its core a quest for emotional healing amidst the quintessential mysteries of life and death in this vast and beautiful universe.

The only reservation I had in submitting this story for publication was my desire to respect AnneMthe private grief of others who loved Miranda and are also grieving for her. So I wrote the story of Cassie and Liam, who are much younger than my own children. And rather than dying in on the road, one of Céline Eimann's illustrations suggests that Cassie died of a childhood cancer.

CP: What lessons do you believe parents and children should take from The Sky Dreamer?

AM: I hope that this picture story will hold up a multi-coloured lantern to grieving children, helping them perceive colour, joy and wonder in a world without their loved one. And since The Sky Dreamer is about a child moving from a state of helplessness towards an emotional reawakening, the story may also help children who are suffering a depression which is not associated with death.

I also hope that this book can work at another level, assisting adults to accompany children, empathetically and unobtrusively, through a journey of grief.

When somebody we adore dies, it is natural to grasp at the hope that the dead person lives on in some spiritual plane where they can watch over us and intervene in our daily lives. The Sky Dreamer, however, offers no easy answers to any existential dilemmas, only a way of framing up the experience of grief. When Cassie takes Liam on a surrealistic voyage through the Milky Way, Liam begs his sister to help him steer the boat through hazard after hazard. He eventually comes to understand that he can no longer rely on Cassie to help him – from now on he must do that himself – and this is the turning point of the story. But Cassie helps Liam in a more abstract sense by giving him a rainbow cloak to wear, an invisible cloak to remind him of her love and of the beauties of the world around him.

CP: How has your own experience of grief influenced your writing of the book?

AM: After Miranda died, my world turned black and then grey. I spent long hours alone, walking a remote beach in Tasmania, experiencing intense emotions of anger and desolation. Eventually I found grief to be so exhausting in mind and body that I knew could not continue in this emotional state.

Since I could not have my adored daughter back, I decided I should try to spend the rest of my life honouring Miranda's happy, generous and loving spirit by seeing her in the things she loved – family, friends, animals, mountains, rivers, streams, forests, beaches, rainbows, sunrises, sunsets and other beauties of the natural world. This emotional progression is essentially Liam's journey towards healing in The Sky Dreamer.

But it is important for readers to realise, however, that the concept of 'a rainbow cloak' is not some magical, metaphysical cure-all – the pain of losing somebody very close to us remains with us, and any joys experienced thereafter are tinged with a bitter sweetness which Céline so aptly captures in Liam's expression in the last illustration of The Sky Dreamer.

CP: Why do you think that some writers and publishers shy away from themes of loss and grief in children's writing? 

AM: Death drives a fault line of intense emotions through the lives of surviving family and friends, and for this reason, I suppose, it is the ultimate taboo inour restrained and sanitised society. Many people – myself included before I lost Miranda – are grief cowards who would rather walk away from grief than be sucked down into the mire of another person's grief.

Writers, publishers and teachers can be grief cowards too. Knowing that the topic of death may unleash strong emotions, they tend to tiptoe around it, often invoking euphemisms such as a person 'passed away' when they mean a person died. And yet children are very interested in death, and most, before they leave primary school, will have experienced the death of someone or something they love, whether it be a pet, an acquaintance, or someone much closer. For this reason I think it is a good idea for children to be exposed to fiction and nonfiction books about death and grieving.

CP: Do you think that the new honesty represented in your book will encourage other themes to be explored in children's books? 

AM: I hope so. Children are as much a part of the fabric of humanity as adults, and I do not think they should be shielded from knowledge of the tougher issues confronting our species – but adults also need to nurture children by providing them with positive conceptual and emotional frameworks, so a great need of thought, sensitivity and creativity should be put into interpreting hard issues in books which children will relate to, in language they will understand.

CP: Colour and shade play an important part in the overall theme of the book. What messages did you hope the artwork would convey?

The grey monotone at the start of the book represents Liam's emotional paralysis after Cassie has died. As Liam starts to take charge of The Sky Dreamer by steering the boat through various hazards in space, colour slowly returns to his life and to the illustrations. I love Céline's use of colour and shade to portray Liam's emotional reawakening to the point where he can feel the love of his sister around him, keeping him warm and safe and brightening his world.

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Interview 3: Barry Levy

[Shades of Exodus revolves around the true story of a South African family who flee the violence of South Africa only to fall victim to a vicious and bloody crime in Australia. Levy has been a recipient of the Australian Human Rights Award for Journalism. His previous novel with IP was As If!]

CP: How much of your decision to migrate to Australia was your own, and how much was it forced by circumstance?

BL: I think to begin with, it should be said, unless it be misconstrued by the sense of the question, that Australia is no way as violent a society as South Africa. The point in the story of depicting this bloody episode (in this case taken from real life), is mainly to display the irony of the choices we make. The point being that sometimes, as much as we try to escape circumstances, it is just a matter of luck what happens to us.

The subliminal question contained in the book is that there may be other reasons, beneath the violence, that have pushed people to flee South Africa, eg the fact of a black government, the fact of feeling that there is no future in the country for whites, the fact of feeling disempowered and suddenly living on the fringes of a majority society. Because it is so visible, and immediately appalling, it is easier to put one's motivations down to the criminal violence.

For me, personally, the reason for leaving South Africa was plain and simply because of apartheid. I left ten years before its end. It was a system I loathed and as a journalist wrote against. Unfortunately I was also coming to believe it was a system that wouldn't end for another hundred years.

Beneath that was always the question, was I prepared to bear arms against apartheid, because like many in the anti-apartheid movement, I believed violence was the only way to bring about apartheid's demise. But the Shades of Exodusanswer to that question for me, despite some moments of bravado, was no. An irony in this was that at a moment's notice the South African Army, which I was in effect doing a bunk from, could call me up to bear arms to help maintain apartheid! Although I served an initial nine months compulsory training in the army just after finishing high school, I could not bear the idea of this as an older adult. So, having an Australian wife and two small children who I believed should not have to be subjugated to growing up in such a nefarious, racially institutionalised system, I made the decision to leave.

CP: In the opening chapters of Shades of Exodus you write about the decision to leave South Africa being influenced by your concern for your children's futures. Do you feel that your children benefited from your migration?

BL: Good question. Difficult to answer. Truth is, the answer falls both ways. Not growing up in South Africa probably meant they led much safer, much more secure lives – especially with parents so unashamedly anti-apartheid and therefore in danger of arrest, etc.

On the other hand, they probably grew up without the political and more worldly view on life fighting against a certain political system can give to. They probably also grew up without that intensity in life that says democratic justice and equality for your fellow human being is the most important thing you can attain to. Interestingly, my son spent his gap year after school in South Africa, which was post apartheid 1996, and it helped give him a much broader sense of life. So I am grateful for that. It also showed him that despite its negatives, South Africa is a wonderful country. For a while, it seemed, he wanted to go back to live there, but things didn't work out that way.

CP: How much of Shades of Exodus is fiction, and how much has relied on your skills as a journalist in representing the truth despite the consequences?

BL: Much of what happens in Shades of Exodus is based in factuality and, like most fiction, definitely reality. However, it should be said that the characters, with the exception perhaps of BarryL2David Levinrad - the main character who wants to leave Australia - are composites. That is, although their talk, their stories, their backgrounds, and their reasoning is based on actual people, real conversations, arguments, feelings, and etc, the characters in the book are not based on any one person. They are drawn from strands of lots of different people I have met from South Africa and who now live in Australia or elsewhere. David Levinrad, on the other hand, although not everything he does in the book is factual, does, I have to admit, resemble the author to a great degree.

As to the consequences of some of the assertions and positions posed by the book, I lived through most of the apartheid years, I think I can handle these too. For me, as a writer and a former journalist, far more important to try to get to the essence of thoughts, emotions and logic of the people involved, and then allow others to make up their own mind.

CP: Do you believe that the migration experience for South Africans in Australia differs from other migrants?

BL: Definitely, there is a sameness in the experience for all migrants to other countries. The sense of loss, of fragmentation, of having to start all over again, are all there. The difference with South Africans, generally, and I guess this is one of the controversial themes of the book, is their denial that they are worse off or that they have even experienced any sense of loss or fragmentation. Although they do not always fit, or at first fit, it is not something South Africans easily admit to, except maybe in deep conversation with friends. Also, unlike many migrants who have a longing for their home countries, many South Africans spend a lot of time denigrating where they come from. They do not like to see good news coming out of South Africa because this undermines their argument for coming here. And they do it despite the fact the country once gave them so many privileges in life.

The reality, unlike many other migrant groups to Australia, is that most of them have come from quite well off backgrounds, have a good education or professional qualifications, and because of the standard of living for middle class South Africans in South Africa, they have this deeply engrained knowledge of once being much better off than the majority of middle class Australians. Hence, unlike many other migrants, they have to actually swallow a drop in living standards. This can be quite debilitating, made worse by the fact that many even lose money when they first arrive.

CP: Early in the book you write about migrants from South Africa saying that the end of apartheid meant the end of the country. What do you see for the future of South Africa?

BL: At present, despite all the negatives that white South Africans see and that is portrayed in the media generally, there is no reason to believe South Africa does not have a healthy future. A burgeoning economy and growing middle class will probably see to that. A good sign - one for all the world to see - was the way South Africa handled the World Football Cup in 2010. Another good sign is the way the country's financiers pulled the South African economy out of the red in a short time after the end of apartheid. The country too, like Australia, emerged relatively unscathed from the global financial crisis.

But of course there are a lot of dangers there which will continue to have whites leaving the country: criminal violence is still appallingly bloody and high (although mostly restricted, as in the days of apartheid, to black ghetto areas); AIDS is still huge; and there is still, given the rapidly expanding middle class, a disgusting amount of poverty in the country (although, on the positive side, people do not any longer die of starvation-related diseases as they did in the apartheid years). The country also has to deal with two million migrants from Zimbabwe as well as another one and a half million migrants from other parts of Africa.

But already, even under the much denigrated Zuma presidency (and there is a lot to denigrate the bloke about, remember, he's the one who had a shower after a sexual tryst to prevent HIV contamination), there is an opening up of black-white dialogue, something that was stymied under the Africanist approach of the last president, Thabo Mbeki. There is also now talk from the president of re-looking at the country's policy of black economic advancement. If this policy is 'liberalised' and made to be more user-friendly to South Africa's very industrious whites, it will definitely keep them rooted there. It is after all a tremendous county!

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IP Digital Buzz

We've been fine-tuning our workflow to convert titles to ePub and xhtml versions to ensure they look as close to the original as possible. Our work has been eased somewhat by our upgrade to Creative Suite 5, which is certainly more sophisticated in its ability to produce reasonably polished files to start with. All our converted files are now validated with special software before we submit them to our online partners.

We're now sending Overdrive ePub as well as pdf versions of our titles, which has had a positive effect on sales. In addition to Overdrive, Amazon and Apple, we're now sending ePub versions to Kobo and For-side, a company that focuses on sales to mobile users. We're also talking to Barnes & Noble about sending them content for their bookshop and Nook Reader.

We were pleased to see Apple finally launch its Australian iBookstore recently, making our titles available here as well as in the USA, Canada, the UK, France and Germany, the only territories Apple is selling in at present.

Readings, an independent chain in Melbourne, has partnered with SPUNC, an alliance of independent publishers, and Inventive Labs, which has created an ecommerce site to support cloud-based eBook sales. We have had preliminary discussions with Readings about listing our content with them. It's early days yet; their site has only 150 titles at present, compared to the millions listed by Amazon, Kobo and Apple, but you have to start somewhere, and we have been arguing some time for a dedicated Australian portal, so this is good news.

As a part of our work to redesign the IP website, we're now listing eBook versions of our new titles as they come on stream, so people can order them online directly from us. We encourage those of you who have eBook Readers to give our titles a try. And remember that you don't have to have a separate device to view ePub and xhtml files. You can install the free Kindle for PC software or simply download titles from the iBookstore for viewing on your PC.

You can have a look at the new design for our stores here:


In Review

[The reviews that follow are snippets from the full reviews, which you can find by clicking on the thumbnail for the title.]

James Laidler - The Taste of Apple

TasteOfAppleThe Taste of Apple is more than domestic drama. It scrutinises questions of identity, the pain of abandonment, and the search for belonging, and follows Pedro's involvement with the East Timor Freedom Movement.

– Deb Matthews - Zott

Hazel Edwards - Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time)

Plato The Platypus Plumber is just calling out to be shared with kids. The book is multilayered - a delightful fantasy about a friendly platypus, interwoven with opportunities for kids to learn about taking care of the environment.

- Susan Stephenson - The Book Chook

In Defence of Hawaiian Shirts - B N Oakman

Oakman writes of the known world with compassion, humour and intelligence, making the familiar new, and the forgotten remembered.  These are poems to think with, to carry with you, and to draw upon.

– Valerie Krips, Arena Magazine

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IP Kidz Update

We have a busy time ahead at IP Kidz, with six new children's titles about to be released.

Five of these are picture books: Edel Wignell's two titles Long Live Us! (a humorous fractured fairytale, illustrated by Peter Allert) and Christina's Matilda (a non-fiction work on the origins of the tune of 'Waltzing Matilda', illustrated by Elizabeth Botté); Libby Hathorn's I Love You Book (a celebration of the book, illustrated by Heath McKenzie); Céline Eimann's gentle fantasy Lyli Meets the Stone-Muncher; and Anne Morgan's powerful work The Sky Dreamer (the story of a boy's journey through grief, illustrated by Céline Eimann). For 8-12 year olds, there's also Anna Bartlett's historical children's novel A Penny in Time.

Our following season of titles will also include two Kidz books, which are currently at design stage: Robert Moore's lively picture book About Face, illustrated by animation company Monkeystack, and Mark Carthew's Witches' Britches, Itches and Twitches, a fun book of rhymes and riddles, accompanied by Mike Spoor's humorous illustrations.

With all these new Kidz titles coming out, we're going to be kept busy with a variety of launches and events. If any of these events will be taking place near you, make sure you check them out!

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Out & About

Our Spring Season tour had several stops, firstly at Readings, St Kilda where we had a Gala event featuring Olwyn Conrau's The Importance of Being Cool, James Laidler and Don Stewart's verse novel and enhanced CD, The Taste of Apple, Juliet Blair's junior novel Arlo and the Vortex Voyage, Leah Kaminsky's poetry collection Stitching Things Together, Lyn Reeves' poetry collection Designs on the Body and David Reiter's Tiger Tames the Min Min, the third sci-fi environmental novel in the Project Earth-mend Series. More than 90 people attended.

It was then on to Warrnambool for a special event for The Taste of Apple for local heroes James and Don. Don's band provided warm-up entertainment hosted by the Warrnambool Art Gallery. Another 90 people attended.

David then flew to Sydney and took the train down to Wollongong for a reading by him and Julie Waugh, author of towards a grammar of being. Julie hadn't had a properly launch for her poetry book up till then since she'd been in Ireland during the release of her book in mid-2009, so this was a good excuse to call together her friends for an event at Wollongong Library, the site of several past successful IP events.

To finish the tour, we had an event at Berkelouw's Leichhardt, with readers Roberta Lowing (Ruin), Juliet Blair, Glenise Clelland (Love Falls in Love with Love and On Loving and Sensualities). Leah Kaminsky had been planning to attend but had to cancel due to an unexpected work commitment.

Hazel Edwards and co-author Christine Anketell EdwardsAnketelllaunched the DuckStar series at Kardinia International College in Geelong to a rapturous reception from students and parents.

The four books, illustrated by Mini Goss, were the first IP Kidz titles produced initially by POD (print on demand) here and overseas, as well as in eBook form.

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Coming up in February is IP's Summer Season Tour of Tasmania, our Gala Weekend in Brisbane, and launches of Chris Mansell's Schadenvale Road short story collection in Sydney and on the South Coast.

David will give his digital workshops on concurrent Saturdays for the Tasmanian Writers Centre on the 19th and 26th of February. He'll be joined between the workshops by Lyn Reeves and Anne Morgan (The Sky Dreamer) for events at The Freight Train Bookshop at Margate (Sunday, 20th), Readings and book chats with the Sheffield Writers' Group (Monday 21st), an event at Devonport Regional Gallery on Tuesday the 22nd, a reading and panel discussion at The Lark in Hobart on Wednesday the 23rd, a lunchtime reading at the Bellerive Arts Centre on Friday the 25th. Check out the updates on our Facebook or Twitter sites or contact the Writers' Centre for further details.

We've confirmed Friday, 4 March from 6pm at the Kookaburra Café in Paddington for our Summer Soirée to kick off the Gala Weekend. You'll mingle with authors and illustrators including Libby Hathorn, Peter Allert, Barry Levy, Chris Mansell, Anna Bartlett and David Reiter. $30/head gets you gourmet finger foods and a welcome drink, with an open bar thereafter. Brief taster readings. Books available for purchase and signing.

The Gala Launch will be at The Performance Studio, 4MBS Classic-FM, 384 Old Cleveland Road, from 2pm on Sunday, 6 March. Free event, with refreshments. If you've attended one of our Galas before, you know the slant is on performance rather than formal speeches, so you can count on it being an enjoyable afternoon.

RSVPs are essential for both events (past Gala launches have been booked out!). RSVP by email to, phone/fax to 07 3324 9319. Or you can RSVP on our Facebook site. If you don't already follow us, search for "IP" on Facebook.

You can check out the full list of titles to be launched here.

If you can't make it but would like to order one or more of the new titles, email us BEFORE 4 March with Gala Order as your Subject, and we'll ship your choice(s) of title to you free.

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IP Sales

We're continuing to expand our digital program to meet the increased demand for print on demand and eBook versions of our titles. Digital sales now account for more than 25% of our total sales, a dramatic increase over last year. This is in part due to a larger number of our titles now being converted to ePub format, which is suitable to most of the key reading devices in the market at the moment.

Our Gala event at Readings, St Kilda, proved to be the highlight of our Spring Season tour, followed closely by the Warrnambool launch of James Laidler and Don Stewart's The Taste of Apple, which has a enhanced CD as well as a paperback version.

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We're working hard to improve on the successes of our IP Kidz imprint with more detailed sales kits and regular e-circulars being sent to library and school suppliers and to the schools themselves. It's a very competitive market, with just a few publishers dominating. But we continue to attract name authors to our community of authors and illustrators and look forward to building on our successes to date.

Another priority area for us is international sales and distribution. We are currently in discussions with an international agency that is interested in selling rights on our behalf, and we hope to have an announcement on that front soon.

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Your Deal

Deal 1: Pre-order Libby Hathorn's I Love You Book for $26 and receive her previous IP Kidz picture book Zahara's Rose for 50% off ($13.95). Free postage. Order by 28 February from with IYD Special 1 as your subject. Include your postal address and whether you want to pay by EFT or PayPal.

Deal 2: Pre-order Barry Levy's Shades of Exodus for $33 and receive his previous IP novel As If for 50% off ($15.95) Free postage. Order by 28 February from with IYD Special 2 as your subject. Include your postal address and whether you want to pay by EFT or PayPal.

Deal 3: Project Earth-mend for the kids! Get all three novels in the Series for those sci-fi young readers (8-12 years) in your family for only $40, including the new release Tiger Tames the Min Min ($48 regular price). Order from with Project Earth-mend Bundle as your subject. Include your postal address and whether you want to pay by EFT or PayPal.

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