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The University of Western Australia to close UWA Publishing

The University of Western Australia has decided to close UWA Publishing (UWAP) after almost 85 years of operation, reports the Australian.

An internal memo from deputy vice-chancellor Tayyeb Shah said UWAP would undergo ‘a progressive close down of operations’, with director Terri-ann White and four staff understood to be losing their jobs.

The memo said the decision was part of a move to switch to open access publishing, with ‘open and digitised access to information and knowledge’.

White told Books+Publishing: ‘I’ve been overwhelmed with the messages of support and affirmation of people who have our back. It’s a tough time for literary and cultural matters in Australia and we are in a fight for our lives.’

UWAP is one of the largest publishers of poetry in Australia, and published Josephine Wilson’s 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award-winning novel Extinctions. There are currently 35 UWAP books scheduled to publish in 2020.

In a statement, the Small Press Network (SPN) said it was ‘dismayed at the decision by the University of Western Australia to close down UWAP after 85 years’.

‘UWAP has played a crucial role in Australian publishing for decades, and publishes a wide range of award-winning titles across many genres,’ said SPN general manager Tim Coronel.

‘Under the leadership of Terri-Anne White UWAP has published important titles in fiction, poetry and Indigenous writing, as well as general nonfiction titles, that between them reach a much broader readership than open access academic works ever will. The Small Press Network calls on the University to reverse this short-sighted decision.’

An online petition to reinstate UWAP has launched and has over 700 signatures at the time of writing.

The decision to close UWAP comes after then Melbourne University Publishing (MUP) CEO Louise Adler and four independent directors of the MUP board resigned in January, after the university proposed a new focus on scholarly publishing for the press.


Category: Local news