Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Australians set sights on the US

Welcome back to the first issue of the Think Australian newsletter for 2018.

This year will see the Australia Council send a publishing delegation of six Australian rights sellers, literary agents and publishers to New York City for a five-day program of industry meetings, marketing briefings and networking opportunities.

Executive director of strategic development and advocacy at the Australia Council Wendy Were said she sees ‘great potential’ in North America when it comes to Australian literature, citing an increasing number of Australian authors who have been picked up by US publishers in recent years: Jane Harper, Emily Bitto, Charlotte Wood and last year’s Stella Prize winner Heather Rose (most recently, Allen & Unwin sold US rights to Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love to Algonquin).

The recent sale of North American rights to debut speculative-fiction novel Terra Nullius by Noongar writer Claire G Coleman (see below) suggests that even very Australian content can make it into that market. Hachette rights and publishing manager Sarah Brooks, who negotiated the sale, told us she is excited to have found a US publisher for a novel ‘so deeply rooted in Australian history’. ‘The US has always been a tricky market to place books into,’ she said. ‘Taking into account the profusion of home-grown US authors—not to mention the steady stream of books coming in from the UK—there’s never a lack of competition.’

Australian publishers will also have the chance to pitch to US publishers locally in May as part of the Australia Council’s annual Visiting International Publishers (VIPs) program, held alongside the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Kirsty Melville of Andrews McMeel Publishing and Daniella Wexler, editor at Atria Books, are among the 12 international publishers, editors, agents and scouts participating in this year’s program, which will mark the initiative’s 20th anniversary.

Since its inception, the VIPs program has welcomed 250 international guests to Australia, from 28 countries, with more than 300 Australian titles sold into overseas markets through the program. Click here for more details about this year’s participants, and for more information about the program, contact Karen Le Roy at

Matthia Dempsey
Think Australian


Category: Think Australian newsletter Editorial