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Inside the Australian book industry

Zadie Smith, Curtis Sittenfeld to appear at new Australian feminist festival

A new feminist ideas festival will be held in Melbourne later this year. Broadside festival, which runs from 9–10 November, has an all-star line-up that includes Zadie Smith, Curtis Sittenfeld, New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino, Fatima Bhutto and Monica Lewinsky, among other international and local guests.

In other festival news, Australian authors Melissa Lucashenko and Clare Wright will be among the 25 speakers at the inaugural Neilson Hays Bangkok Literature Festival, which runs from 16–17 November; while the Jaipur Literature Festival has announced it will return to Adelaide for a second time (1–3 November), to celebrate Asia’s stories and culture as well as Australia’s place in the region.

With less than a week to go until the Frankfurt Book Fair, don’t forget to download your copy of the Australian rights catalogue for 2019, with information on all the latest titles on offer from participating Australian publishers.

Andrea Hanke
Think Australian

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‘The Yield’ sells to US, France

Penguin Random House Australia has sold world English-language rights (ex ANZ) to Tara June Winch’s novel The Yield to HarperCollins US imprint HarperVia, and French-language rights to Actes Sud. President and publisher of the HarperOne Group Judith Curr said of the acquisition: ‘Reading Tara June Winch’s The Yield, a story set in the stark, achingly beautiful red plains of Australia where the Wiradjuri people have resided for centuries, I knew I wanted to be the publisher who shepherded it to American readers. It brings to light one of the lesser known stories about Australia and its people, speaking to its history and, more importantly, its future.’

PRH Australia has also sold North American rights to Rachel Givney’s forthcoming novel Jane in Love to HarperCollins US imprint William Morrow. Pitched as a ‘charming, romantic, cinematic, feminist, Jane Austen time-traveling love story’, Jane in Love follows a 28-year-old Jane Austen who accidentally time-travels to modern-day Bath, England, landing on the set of one of her own film adaptations.

Black Inc. has sold UK and Commonwealth rights (ex ANZ) to Dennis Glover’s novel The Last Man in Europe—about the writing of George Orwell’s 1984—to Edinburgh-based independent publisher Polygon, after it was previously distributed in the UK by Ingram Publisher Services. Black Inc. international director Sophy Williams said the rights deal came about after a Scottish bookseller recommended the novel to Polygon, describing it as ‘the best book to be published on Orwell in many years’. ‘It’s unusual to place a title for rights after an edition has already been in the UK market, so we feel doubly chuffed,’ said Williams.

Martin Shaw of Alex Adsett Publishing Services has sold UK and Commonwealth rights to Favel Parrett’s third novel There Was Still Love (Hachette) to Hodder & Stoughton’s literary imprint Sceptre. Parrett’s first two novels—Past the Shallows and When the Night Comes (both Hachette)—were also published by the UK house. Sceptre editor Francine Toon said: ‘I’m hugely excited to be publishing Favel’s latest work, such a tender and moving portrayal of family ties that reach across space and time, written in her inimitable style.’

Text Publishing has sold Chinese-language rights to Toni Jordan’s literary mystery The Fragments—which travels between 1980s Brisbane and 1930s New York—to Beijing Fonghong.


Simon & Schuster (S&S) Australia has acquired ANZ rights at auction to Kate Mildenhall’s ‘genre-busting’ second novel The Mother Fault in a two-book deal. S&S publishing director Fiona Henderson said The Mother Fault takes the next step in imagining a not-too-distant future that is terrifyingly real through the eyes of a mother pushed to extremes to save her family. Mildenhall’s debut novel Skylarking was published by Black Inc. in 2016.

Ventura Press has acquired world rights to Paul Dalgarno’s debut romantic comedy thriller Poly, pitched as ‘a deliciously frank account of the highs and lows of a married couple’s exploration of a polyamorous lifestyle’.

NewSouth Publishing has acquired world rights to Katerina Bryant’s hybrid memoir Hysteria, which explores chronic mental illness, belonging in the history of hysteria and women’s mental health throughout history. NewSouth Publishing commissioning editor Harriet McInerney said: ‘I have long admired Katerina Bryant’s courageous and clever writing, so it’s no surprise that Hysteria is a brilliant debut announcing a major new writer of literary memoir and nonfiction.’

Allen & Unwin has acquired ANZ rights to the nonfiction book Larrimah: An outback town, a missing man and 11 people, who mostly hate each other­ by journalists Kylie Stevenson and Caroline Graham for a six-figure sum. The publisher described Larrimah as ‘a story that has everything: a murder (or a few), a ghost town, a crocodile with no eyes, a drug lord, a long-running civil war, a comparatively short World War, and a great-grandmother with a penchant for yelling f-bombs at tourists who complain about the price of her camel pies’.

For the latest Australian rights sales and acquisitions news, click here.


‘Too Much Lip’ shortlisted for PM and Qld literary awards

The shortlists for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the Queensland Literary Awards have been announced, with Melissa Lucashenko’s Miles Franklin Award-winning novel Too Much Lip in the running for both.

Also shortlisted for both awards is You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians who won the vote and inspired the world by historian Clare Wright (Text), Blakwork by Gomeroi poet Alison Whittaker (Magabala) and middle-grade novel Lenny’s Book of Everything (Karen Foxlee, A&U).

In addition to being shortlisted for a Prime Minister’s Literary Award, The Bible in Australia: A cultural history (Meredith Lake, NewSouth) has also been shortlisted for the Australia Book Prize, administered by the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS). The book has previously been awarded a 2019 New South Wales Premier’s History Award and was named 2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year.


‘Boy Swallows Universe’ and ‘The Barefoot Investor’ top Australian charts

Christian White’s debut mystery-thriller The Nowhere Child is back in the Australian fiction bestsellers chart following the release of his second book The Wife and the Widow in late September (all eyes are on the November chart for that one). It’s joined by several other new entries in the top 10: Diane Armstrong’s World War II mystery, The Collaborator; Fiona Palmer’s modern, rural Australian reimagining of Pride and Prejudice, Matters of the Heart; and Sonia Henry’s Going Under, a ‘darkly funny and sexy novel’ that follows the life of a trainee female doctor.

In nonfiction, the diverse list of new entries includes Annabel Crabb’s investigation of male parental leave, Men at Work; Indigenous elder, actor and activist Jack Charles’ memoir Born-again Blakfella; Tyson Yunkaporta’s Sand Talk: How Indigenous thinking can save the world; and three new cookbooks, The Global Vegan, Week Light and The Whole Fish Cookbook.

Australian fiction bestsellers: September

  1. Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton, Fourth Estate)
  2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris, Echo Publishing)
  3. Good Girl, Bad Girl (Michael Robotham, Hachette)
  4. White Horses (Rachael Treasure, HarperCollins)
  5. Too Much Lip (Melissa Lucashenko, UQP)
  6. Nine Perfect Strangers (Liane Moriarty, Macmillan)
  7. The Collaborator (Diane Armstrong, Harlequin)
  8. Matters of the Heart (Fiona Palmer, Hachette)
  9. Going Under (Sonia Henry, Allen & Unwin)
  10. The Nowhere Child (Christian White, Affirm Press)

Australian nonfiction bestsellers: September

  1. The Barefoot Investor (Scott Pape, John Wiley)
  2. Dark Emu (Bruce Pascoe, Magabala Books)
  3. 4 Ingredients Keto (Kim McCosker, 4 Ingredients)
  4. Easy Keto (Pete Evans, Plum)
  5. Men at Work: Quarterly Essay (Annabel Crabb, Black Inc.)
  6. Jack Charles: Born-again Blakfella (Jack Charles, Viking)
  7. Sand Talk (Tyson Yunkaporta, Text)
  8. The Global Vegan (Ellie Bullen, Plum)
  9. Week Light (Donna Hay, Fourth Estate)
  10. The Whole Fish Cookbook (Josh Niland, Hardie Grant Books)

© Nielsen BookScan 2019
Period covered: 1–28 September 2019
Data supplied by Nielsen BookScan’s book sales monitoring system from 1000 retailers nationwide




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