- Adelaide Writers’ Week (2-7 March) Richard King, Richard Denniss and John Lyons
- Manly Writers’ Festival (14-16 March): Kim Cornish, Maggie Kirkman, Tracey Kirkland and Gavin Fang, Lachlan Strahan
- Clunes Booktown (23-24 March): Sandra Goldbloom Zurbo with Jeff Sparrow and Boris Frankel
- Sorrento Writers’ Festival 2024 (26-29 April): confirmed authors: Richard King, Lucinda Holdforth, Dave Witty, Inala Cooper, John Lyons, Michael Gawenda
- Brisbane Writers’ Festival (30 May-2 June): Richard King, Ian Lowe, Lucinda Holdforth, Dave Witty, Satyajit Das
- Words in Winter (29 June): Sandra GoldBloom Zurbo
We are thrilled that Lockdown by Chip Le Grand has been longlisted for the 2023 Australian Political Book of the Year Award.
The longlist has been decided by the Award’s distinguished judging panel Laura Tingle, and John Warhurst AO, and new judge, Barrie Cassidy. The longlist are those books published during the 2022–23 financial year that the judges believe provide the most compelling contribution to understanding Australian political events and debates.
The following books have made the 2023 longlist:
- Bulldozed by Nikki Savva, published by Scribe Publications
- Crossing the Line by Nick McKenzie, published by Hachette Australia
- Dreamers and Schemers by Frank Bongiorno, published by La Trobe University Press
- Black Lives, White Laws by Russell Marks, published by La Trobe University Press
- Australia’s China Odyssey by James Curran, published by NewSouth Publishing
- Political Lives by Chris Wallace, published by NewSouth Publishing
- The Queen is Dead by Stan Grant, published by Harper Collins
- The Passion of Private White by Don Watson, published by Simon and Schuster
- Trump’s Australia by Bruce Wolpe, published by Allen & Unwin
- Lockdown by Chip Le Grand, published by Monash University Publishing
The Australian Political Book of the Year Award judges said the longlist is extraordinary for the breadth and variety it brings to political discourse.
‘Not only does it include in depth historical context, but it covers the recent federal election, the politics of the pandemic, war crimes and issues like foreign policy, indigenous affairs and the monarchy,’ said the judges.
The shortlist will be announced in Melbourne on Thursday 12 October, where each author to have their book shortlisted will receive $1000.
The winner will be announced by the Treasurer of Australia, the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP, on Wednesday 25 October at the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra.
It is with great sadness that we farewell Tim McNamara (1949–2023), who passed away on Friday 15 September at the Bethlehem Hospital in Melbourne.
Tim had a highly successful international career in applied linguistics and was a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne, where he established the Melbourne Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics in 1987 and the Language Testing Research Centre in 1990, the latter emerging over the course of thirty years as the world’s leading independent research centre in this field. From 2017 to 2018 Tim served as president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics, before retiring in 2018. In 2021 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service. His work on language and identity over the course of his esteemed career culminated in his landmark book Language and Subjectivity (2019).
In addition to his academic achievements, Tim engaged with many colleagues and friends in a very personal way and opened possibilities for a fuller understanding of people’s different cultures and individuality. Sadly, he did not live to hold a copy of his last achievement, his upcoming book, Paul and Paula, which we are honoured to be publishing in December 2023, but he has left us all with this legacy.
Image courtesy of Patricia A. Haim
Paul and PaulaTim McNamara
I’m pleased to have an opportunity to speak at the launch of this welcome new publication from Monash University Publishing.
Australian Book Review is a partner of Monash University through its Faculty of Arts. It’s a partnership that has grown since its creation in 2016 – and one we take seriously – through publication of Monash staff and students (some included in this anthology), through talks and publishing masterclasses, and through an active internship program. So we’re attuned to what’s going on at Monash, and we follow publications from its press with interest.
I understand this is the seventeenth edition of Verge. That’s an impressive history for any publication. So Verge has been verging, as it were, for almost two decades. I’m all for verging and indeed divergence. Anything that showcases emerging and established artists is to be welcomed. Verge does this well. It’s somewhat unusual among publications of this type because of its integration of work by current students and of those with established publication records. That’s a journal and an anthology’s responsibility – to spotlight the established, the assured, but also to nurture the young, the emerging, the innovators.
This policy of integration a good thing. We know what a fillip it is for young writers to appear in journals and compilations along with writers they admire.
My poetry first appeared in 1985 in a magazine called Scripsi – conceived just around the corner at Ormond College. What a buzz it was to see my callow poems appearing alongside works by laurelled poets such as John Ashbery, Peter Porter, Laurie Duggan, August Kleinzahler (they were nearly all blokes in those days).
That buzz never really goes away whenever work appears in print, however many poems or books one has published. Last week I received my copy of the new Meanjin, which carries another of my Catullan satires. I felt the same kind of frisson I experienced back in 1985. I don’t think I’m alone. Publication in permanent print form has a unique cachet.
There’s a sense of connection – gratification that the work formerly so private, so vested, so precious yet so ambiguous and elusive, is finally making its own way, beyond one’s own fretting and possessiveness. Text transcends the author, as it should.
I indulge in this slightly confessional mode merely to highlight what I see as the primary role of this kind of publication – which is one of connection and inclusiveness. Authors are not necessarily very trusting or inclusive people. Publication may be the auction of the mind (as Emily Dickinson wrote) but it also bridges the gap between author and reader.
How vital these publications are in 2023 – and how laudable it is that Monash University Publishing goes on investing in and promulgating this ensemble publishing.
Works of this kind – like journals and magazines – are indispensable components of what we are sometimes encouraged to think of as the literary ecology. Right now – during the age of Covid and at a time when recession threatens – journals, like artists in general, are doing it particularly tough. We know how grim the past three years have been for writers and artists. The data about incomes and security are bleak – shaming too for such a wealthy and educated country.
This makes the federal government’s newly released national cultural policy even more critical. All eyes are on Revive, and I am sure we wish the federal government and the Australia Council as it seeks to shape the new Writers Australia. Much will depend on how much money is restored to the pitifully underfunded federal arts budget – one that actively discriminates against literature. I don’t need to remind this audience that Australia Council of literature has been bogged at $5 million dollars for three decades. Three decades! At the risk sounding like Gilbert and Sullivan – it would be hilarious if it weren’t so deleterious.
Now, government has a chance to redress this historical neglect. And here – to my mind – not just publishers and gatekeepers (if that’s what we are) – we all have an opportunity and a responsibility to lobby government and the Australia Council to ensure that past neglect of literature is overturned and that the journals and publishers that nurture young writers and pay them fairly are supported.
But we’re here of course to talk about Verge – not governments and financial exigencies.
Verge is edited by Samuel Bernard, Thomas Rock and Vera Yingzhi Gu. In their introduction they note:
Defiance is too often associated with rebellion, insurrection or revolution, though the act is exquisitely heterogeneous. For Verge’s 2023 issue, we challenged writers to ponder this timely and universal concept.
The results are promisingly multifarious. The contributors – all 31 of them – write about forms of resistance and defiance – from the domestic to the planetary. There are stories and poems about domestic challenges, gender issues, the perils of identity, and what Cameron Semmens in his poem ‘Exiting the Forest’ calls ‘the crawling fear of environmental apocalypse’.
But defiance takes many forms – some active, political – others moral, instinctual, epistemological.
While I have written in other forms (fiction, memoir, criticism), I have devoted much of the past forty years to poetry – without ever really stopping to consider why I actually write the stuff; what it is that motivates me; what it is I am trying to effect. Here, I am rather like Thom Gunn, who once wrote: ‘I am interested in individual poems, not in poetics.’
Only lately have I begun to reflect on the properties and dispensations of poetry.
Each poem, each donnée, each poetic state surely represents a kind of refusal – a retreat from conventional ways of perceiving life, family, nature, relationships, society, mortality.
What are we doing as poets when we succumb to a poem but seeking unique metaphors for reality – ones never shared, never conceived before, too weird for public circulation.
‘Étonné-moi’, the impresario Diaghilev famously exhorted Jean Cocteau – and that was a good century ago. Surely it’s the artist’s duty to astonish us – not to echo, not to reinforce, not to concur. There is far too much yea-saying in this country. This is such a conformist age, when politicians and admen and social media zealots and corporate masters exhort us to think and act in certain ways, not to rock the boat, to express ourselves along certain lines. What a betrayal of intellectual freedom and the artistic life.
I am in total agreement with W.H. Auden, who declared: ‘Alienation from the Collective is always a duty.’
Albert Camus once said, ‘The real passion of the twentieth century is servitude’. Sometimes I fear that even worse forms of subservience and intimidation are loose in the twenty-first century.
Another quote (I am very quotatious tonight!) – from Wallace Stevens, one of the great poets of the twentieth century. It comes from his collection of epigrams called Adagia – indispensable reading for any poet: ‘The imagination wishes to be indulged.’
So let’s indulge it – and celebrate it.
Angela Jones has a poem in Verge and it contains a wonderful refrain – ‘Oh, the places you won’t go’, she repeats. I suppose my small point is that there are no places where writers shouldn’t venture – however private, subversive, imaginary.
I will end with a quote from James Baldwin – boldest of social critics – most eloquent of twentieth-century American writers. He wrote:
‘All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story, to vomit the anguish up.’
Telling the whole story, yes, vomiting it up – not just half of it either, and certainly not the savoury or orthodox bits – is a writers’ responsibility. It’s the promise of such that admirable publications like Verge enable writers and thus readers to explore.
I wish it every success, and I congratulate everyone associated with this edition.
Readings, Carlton, 21 March 2023
Verge 2023Samuel Bernard, Thomas Rock and Vera Yingzhi Gu
This International Women’s Day we’re offering a limited-time 20% off on our website when you order two or more books PLUS free shipping within Australia.
Simply enter the coupon code INTWD24 in the checkout. Offer lasts 1–10 March.
*Offer does not apply to pre-orders.
Winning for WomenIola Mathews
The Shelf Life of Zora CrossCathy Perkins
Towards Reproductive JusticeRonli Sifris
Time of Our LivesMaggie Kirkman
Taking to the FieldJane Carey
Turning PointsMary Ryllis Clark
Cathy Goes to CanberraCathy McGowan
IntrépideClem Gorman and Therese Gorman
Eve Langley and The Pea PickersHelen Vines
21st-Century VirtuesLucinda Holdforth
The Monash University Publishing team has been shortlisted for Small Publisher of the Year in the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs). This is the first time the press has been nominated for this award, which recognises the strength of a publisher’s list, the growth in sales and marketing and the degree of editorial care. The judging panel noted of the shortlist, ‘We were impressed by the commitment to diversity, environmental issues and promotion of Australian storytelling alongside innovative approaches to reaching new audiences and finding new voices.’
This wonderful news come in addition to Sam van der Plank being nominated for ABIA’s Rising Star of the Year.
Monash University Publishing is thrilled to announce that Publishing Officer Sam van der Plank has been shortlisted for the 2022 ABIA Rising Star award. The Rising Star award recognises emerging talent in the Australian book industry whose record reflects ongoing excellence and growth in contribution to their profession. They must be currently working in the Australian book industry, and have been part of the industry for no more than 10 years.
Sam occupies a broad but pivotal role within the Publishing team, working across sales, marketing, operations, production and acquisitions. He was recently the driving force behind Monash University Publishing’s onboarding onto BooksoniX, a title management and ONIX dissemination system.
The winner of the Rising Star award will be announced at the 2022 Australian Book Industry Awards night gala event in Sydney on Thursday 9 June.
‘While those with a talent for operations often remain behind the scenes, Sam is the very definition of a team player, and his intelligence, ingenuity and commitment to improve Monash Publishing is truly exceptional,’ says publisher Julia Carlomagno, who nominated van der Plank for the Rising Star Award.
Read Sam’s full interview courtesy of Books+Publishing.
What key things do you wish you’d known when you were starting out?
I wish I’d known when I first started that there was more to publishing than editorial and commissioning! Like many, I entered the publishing industry thinking that I might become an editor. By chance, my first entry-level role was focused more on the sales side of things. Since then this is the area I’ve progressed in, and now I love all things sales, stock and data.
What has been your biggest achievement/proudest professional moment?
Setting up Monash University Publishing’s entire backlist on a title management system was a big and rewarding project – don’t worry, bulk uploads were involved! Hitting send on our automated ONIX feeds for the first time was a great feeling.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned on the job?
It’s been hugely valuable to gain insights into how the ‘business’ of publishing works through my roles. Learning about the money side of the industry and my employers has been fascinating. Be it running costings on new titles, assessing a potential reprint, or analysing our sales data, I really appreciate the opportunities I’ve had to see what makes a particular book – and a company’s operations – financially viable.
What do you think this industry could do better?
Data! I think that historically many of us have shied away from looking too closely at metadata or thinking about what an ONIX file is, exactly. But these aspects of communicating our books to retailers and other partners are only going to become more important moving forward. Those publishers who recognise the importance of good metadata and ONIX practices – and who resource these areas accordingly – are likely to reap the rewards.
Where would you like to be in five (or 10, or 20) years’ time? And what do you hope the industry will look like then?
In a few years I would love to be in a role related to one or some of the areas that I’m currently involved in: sales, stock and data. Perhaps I would have greater responsibilities and have become more specialised in a particular direction.
For the industry, I would love it if it turns out in many years’ time that print books are still flourishing and that independent, physical bookshops continue to play a central role in our bookish culture. It would also be a wonderful development if in this future scenario we have an even greater multitude of successful Australian publishers, publishing a more diverse range of authors and employing a more diverse array of publishing people – who, as we all know, are the best people!
IN NOVEMBER 1949, the passenger ship the Continental arrived at the docks in Port Melbourne. Among the 200 or so passengers on board, most of them Jews from the displaced persons (DP) camps in Austria and Germany, was my family. My mother, my father, my three older sisters and me. I was born in a DP camp in Linz, Austria, and lived there with my family for almost the first three years of my life.
Given my age when I was carried off the Continental by my oldest sister, who by then was married and pregnant with her first child, I have no memory of the moment I first touched the ground in Australia. Nor do I recall who was there to greet these Jews, most of them refugees and Holocaust survivors.
But my father and my sisters told me when I was old enough to listen, that some lovely Jewish people had been there on the dock to greet us. They did not, as far as I can recall, say that Mina or Leo Fink were among them.
But having now read Margaret Taft’s book, Leo and Mina Fink: For the Greater Good, having read about the way Leo and Mina had been there for virtually every ship arrival carrying Jewish refugees—how they had worked so tirelessly to get the Australian government to accept these Holocaust survivors, how they had been key players in establishing the refugee and welfare organisations that helped bring thousands of these broken traumatised people to Australia, I was pretty sure that either Leo or Mina Fink, or both of them, were there on the dock to greet us.
Leo and Mina FinkMargaret Taft
For this year’s Adelaide Writers Festival, head to the Gardens every day at 12pm for Writers’ Week’s In the National Interest series. We are delighted to partner with Monash University Publishing on their series of the same name to present some of Australia’s most incisive thinkers exploring the critical issues facing Australia today.
Writers’ Week speakers include Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, Rachel Doyle, Michael Bradley, Saxon Mullins, Martin Parkinson, Mark Willacy, Samantha Crompvoets and Fiona McLeod on topics ranging from Leadership, Courage, Accountability, Law Reform and Military Culture. Drawing on experiences from their working and personal lives, our contributors interrogate current realities and propose pathways to a better future.
In the National Interest Program
Sat 5 Mar, 12pm / East Stage
How Fast Things Fall with Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull
Sun 6 Mar, 12pm / East Stage
Our Nation’s Shame with Samantha Crompvoets and Mark Willacy
Mon 7 Mar, 12pm / East Stage
Compounding Damage with Michael Bradley, Rachel Doyle and Saxon Mullins
Tue 8 Mar, 12pm / East Stage
Good International Citizenship: The Case For Decency with Gareth Evans
Wed 9 Mar, 12pm / West Stage
Policy Drift with John Daley and Martin Parkinson
Thu 10 Mar, 12pm / East Stage
Grift, Lies and Influence with Fiona McLeod and Michael West
The Case for CourageKevin Rudd
Blood Lust, Trust & BlameSamantha Crompvoets
System FailureMichael Bradley
Good International CitizenshipGareth Evans
A Decade of DriftMartin Parkinson
Easy Lies & InfluenceFiona McLeod