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Publish or postpone? Which titles are being delayed due to Covid-19

With Covid-19 disrupting book launches, author events, festivals and the retail sector as a whole, Australian publishers are weighing up which titles should be postponed, which go ahead regardless, and in some cases are dropping in timely new titles in response to the current crisis.

‘Pantera has some incredibly strong nonfiction titles scheduled that not only stand up to this current moment, they actively respond to it,’ Pantera Press head of publicity and communications Léa Antigny told Books+Publishing. However, Antigny confirmed some of the publisher’s fiction titles ‘have been delayed to ensure they are given enough space and distance to maximise media coverage while receiving the kind of amazing hand-selling support that our indies and chains do so well. There’s also the immeasurable value of having in-store events and festivals support a title’s launch.’

Pantera Press confirmed Ondine Sherman’s young adult novel Star will now be published early next year, along with crime novel The Reach (Michael Radburn), which was moved from September this year. Moved to September this year is Sherman’s guide to veganism Vegan Living, while Erina Reddan’s crime thriller The Serpent’s Skin has been delayed until March 2021.

A spokesperson for HarperCollins told Books+Publishing, ‘We had to move titles where live author events played a large role in our strategy as it became clear that live events were not going to be possible for the next few months.’

HarperCollins notified booksellers of a number of changes to its April–July publication schedule, including pushing June releases All Our Shimmering Skies (Trent Dalton) and The Hunted (Gabriel Bergmoser) to October and August respectively.

Most of NewSouth’s forthcoming releases are on hold for the moment as the publisher is choosing to focus on ‘publishing books that are relevant right now’, according to publisher Elspeth Menzies. ‘Everything else is a moveable feast involving ongoing discussions with authors and our sales team.’

Menzies said, ‘We are grateful to our incredible authors for being so adaptable! We’ve moved Ketan Joshi’s Windfall to September. Fingers crossed it helps supercharge discussions about making renewable energy integral to rebuilding post-Covid-19. Eating with My Mouth Open, Sam van Zweden’s incredible debut—and winner of the 2019 Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award—is planned for early 2021 and a world where we hope bookshops have their doors open and we can all celebrate in person.’

In the meantime, two NewSouth titles that aren’t being postponed are Sacha Molitorisz’s Net Privacy, ‘out just in time for the rollout of the COVIDSafe app’ and Plastic Free by Joanna Atherfold Finn and Plastic Free July founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz ‘to coincide with this year’s global campaign’.

A spokesperson for Allen & Unwin confirmed that the forthcoming memoir Fury (Kathryn Heyman), which was initially slated for July 2020 release, will now be published in 2021. ‘Any changes to our publishing schedule are being made on a case-by-case basis,’ the spokesperson said.

Australian books being postponed

While many publishers are still in the process of deciding whether or not to postpone publication dates, below is a selection of titles initially scheduled for mid-2020 that Books+Publishing can confirmed now have revised release dates:

Allen & Unwin

  • Fury (Kathryn Heyman, now 2021)


  • Tiger and Cat (Allira Tee, now August)

Black Inc.

  • Car Crash: A memoir (Lech Blaine, now April 2021)
  • Factory 19 (Dennis Glover, now November 2020)
  • Shanghai Acrobat (Jingjing Xue, now August 2021)

Europa Editions

  • The Lying Life of Adults (Elena Ferrante, now September 2020)


  • The F Team (Rawah Arja, now September 2020)


  • All Our Shimmering Skies (Trent Dalton, now October 2020)
  • The Hunted (Gabriel Bergmoser, now August 2020)
  • Dr Karl’s Little Book of Climate Change Science (Karl Kruszelnicki, now March 2021)
  • Lawyer X (Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon, now August 2020)
  • Pea and Nut Go for Gold (Matt Stanton, now August 2020)
  • Sam Bloom: Heartache & Birdsong (Samantha Bloom, Cameron Bloom & Bradley Trevor Greive, now August 2020)
  • Sorrow and Bliss (Meg Mason, now September 2020)
  • Honey Blood: A memoir (Kirsty Everett, moved from July 2020 to March 2021)


  • Amnesia Road (Luke Stegemann, March 2021)
  • Eating with My Mouth Open (Sam van Zweden, February 2021)
  • Fire: A brief history 2nd edition (Stephen Pyne, August 2020)
  • How to Win an Election (Chris Wallace, September 2020)
  • Hysteria (Katerina Bryant, September 2020)
  • Living with the Anthropocene (ed by Cameron MuirJennifer NewellKirsten Wehner, October 2020)
  • The Missing Among Us (Erin Stewart, March 2021)
  • Wild Nature (John Blay, August 2020)

Pan Macmillan

Moved from May:

  • The CSIRO Low-carb Diabetes Diet & Lifestyle Solution (Grant Brinkworth & Pennie Taylor, now September)
  • The Inner Self (Hugh Mackay, now August)
  • Killing Sydney (Elizabeth Farrelly, now 2021)
  • The Question of Love (Hugh Mackay, now August)
  • Rising Heart (Aminata Conteh-Biger with Juliet Rieden, now October)
  • A Year of Simple Family Food (Julia Busuttil Nishimura, now September)

Moved from June:

  • Confidence in the Kitchen (Emmylou MacCarthy, now November)
  • A Gay Guy’s Guide to Life Love Food  (Khanh Ong, now July)
  • Tricky Nick (Nicholas J Johnson, now September)

Moved from August:

  • Lucky’s (Andrew Pippos, now November 2020)

Pantera Press

  • Vegan Living (Ondine Sherman, now September)
  • Star (Ondine Sherman, now 2021)
  • The Reach (Michael Radburn, now 2021)
  • The Serpent’s Skin (Erina Reddan, now March 2021)

Penguin Random House Australia

  • Like Mother (Cassandra Austin, now July 2021)
  • Oh Happy Day (Carmen Callil, now November 2020)


  • Supercars (Luke West, from July to August 2021)


  • The Doctor Who Fooled the World (Brian Deer, September 2020)
  • Howl (Kat Patrick & Evie Barrow, Scribble, now September 2020)

Simon & Schuster

  • Body Count (Paddy Manning, moved from May to August 2020)
  • Reprehensible (Mikey Robbins, moved from July to August 2020)
  • The Good Food New Classics (moved from May to September 2020)
  • Good Food Guide 2020 (scheduled for October, now cancelled for 2020)


  • White Throat (Sarah Thornton, moved from July 2020 to January 2021
  • Between Me and Myself (Sandra Willson, moved from August 2020 to February 2021)
  • The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen (Krissy Kneen, moved from September 2020 to May 2021)

Thames & Hudson

  • This Small Blue Dot (Zeno Sworder, September 2020)

Transit Lounge

  • Broken Rules and Other Stories (Barry Lee Thompson, now September 2020)
  • Revenge (S L Lim, now September 2020)

The University of Queensland Press

  • The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn (Kate Gordon, now September 2020)
  • Just Money (Royce Kurmelovs, moved from August to September 2020)
  • Ordinary Matter (Laura Elvery, moved from August to September 2020)

Ventura Press

  • As Swallows Fly (L P McMahon, now November 2020)
  • Poly (Paul Dalgarno, now September 2020)

Australian books coming in May, June and July

In the meantime, there are of course still many forthcoming May–July 2020 releases that are being published as planned. Here’s a selection of the books we have to look forward to from Australian authors in coming months. (Look out for Books+Publishing‘s pre-publication reviews of some of these forthcoming titles in the Weekly Book Newsletter each week.)

May adult

  • The Drop-Off (Fiona Harris & Mike McLeish, Echo)
  • Fathoms: The world in the whale (Rebecca Giggs, Scribe)
  • Ghost Species (James Bradley, Hamish Hamilton)
  • Mammoth (Chris Flynn, UQP)
  • Night Lessons in Little Jerusalem (Rick Held, Hachette)
  • Torched  (Kimberley Starr, Pantera Press)
  • Untethered (Hayley Katzen, Ventura Press)

May children’s and YA

  • Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal (Anna Whateley, A&U)
  • Please Don’t Hug Me (Kay Kerr, Text)
  • Respect (Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson, illus by Lisa Kennedy, Magabala)
  • Rocky and Louie (Phil Walleystack & Raewyn Casey, illus by Dub Leffler, Puffin)
  • Sometimes Cake (Edwina Wyatt & Tamsin Ainslie, Walker)
  • When it Drops (Alex Dyson, Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • The Year the Maps Changed (Danielle Binks, Lothian)

June adult

  • Father of the Lost Boys  (Yuot A Alaak, Fremantle Press)
  • The Rain Heron (Robbie Arnott, Text)
  • Smart Ovens for Lonely People (Elizabeth Tan, Brio)
  • The Spill (Imbi Neeme, Viking)
  • Sticks and Stones (Katherine Firkin, Bantam)
  • The Trials of Portnoy (Patrick Mullins, Scribe)

June children’s and YA

  • Change Starts With Us (Sophie Beer, Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • The Dark Tide (Alicia Jasinska, Penguin)
  • Eloise and the Bucket Full of Stars (Janeen Brian, Walker)
  • The End of the World is Bigger Than Love (Davina Bell, Text)
  • The Friendly Games (Kaye Baillie & Fiona Burrows, MidnightSun)
  • Henry Turnip (Chloe Jasmine Harris, Walker)
  • What Zola Did on Monday (Melina Marchetta, Puffin)

July adult

  • At the Edge of the Solid World (Daniel Davis Green, Brio)
  • A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing (Jessie Tu, A&U)
  • The Details: On love, death and reading (Tegan Bennett Daylight, S&S)
  • The Fogging (Luke Horton, Scribe)
  • Living on Stolen Land (Ambelin Kwaymullina, Magabala)
  • A Room Made of Leaves (Kate Grenville, Text)
  • I Shot the Devil (Ruth McIver, Hachette)
  • Money for Something (Mia Walsch, Echo)

July children’s and YA

  • Littlelight (Kelly Canby, Fremantle Press)
  • The Lost Soul Atlas (Zana Fraillon, Lothian)
  • Matthew Flinders: Adventures on leaky ships (Carole Wilkinson & Prue Pittock, Wild Dog Books)
  • Metal Fish, Falling Snow (Cath Moore, Text)
  • The Secret Library of Hummingbird House (Julianne Negri, Affirm Press)
  • The Snowman’s Wish (Sophie Masson, Dirt Lane Press)
  • Stars Like Us (Frances Chapman, Hardie Grant Egmont)

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