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Inside the Australian book industry

Berbay to expand publishing program

Melbourne-based children’s publisher Berbay Books has announced it will double its publishing list from eight to 16 titles in 2020. After a few years of ‘significant’ sales growth of its illustrated titles, Berbay’s list will expand to include junior fiction, children’s nonfiction and a graphic novel, alongside its picture books and middle grade titles. ‘I feel there is a real gap in the market for well written chapter and junior fiction, and this seems a natural extension of what we already do quite well,’ said managing director Alexandra Yatomi-Clarke.

Yatomi-Clarke said Berbay was seeing strong growth in international markets. ‘In the first eight years of Berbay’s existence we didn’t have any foreign sales except selling to direct foreign customers,’ she said. ‘However, in recent times Berbay has achieved increasing international recognition that has generated incredible momentum, resulting in 19 foreign licence deals with large and prestigious international publishers in the last two years alone, with many pending negotiations currently ongoing.’

Another small press kicking goals overseas is Scribe’s children’s imprint Scribble. Since winning the Bologna Prize for children’s publishing, Scribble’s publisher Miriam Rosenbloom has been awarded a Shanghai Visiting International Publishers fellowship to attend a specialist program alongside the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair in November this year. Scribble has previously sold simplified Chinese-language rights for a number of its picture books, including All the Ways to be Smart and The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade (both Davina Bell & Allison Colpoys) and Daniel Gray-Barnett’s Grandma Z.

Andrea Hanke
Think Australian

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Wakefield sells debut YA novel to US 

Wakefield Press has sold world rights (ex ANZ) to Poppy Nwosu’s debut YA novel Making Friends with Alice Dyson to Walker Books US for a five-figure sum. The first book from Wakefield’s newly established YA list, Making Friends with Alice Dyson is ‘a romantic story about rumours, friendship, and discovering who you really are’. The deal came about after the two publishers met at the Visiting International Publishers program earlier this year.

Scholastic Australia has sold US and Canadian rights to We Are All Equal by P Crumble and Jonathan Bentley, an animal-themed picture book that ‘celebrates the richness in our differences and the joy that we are all equal’.


Allen & Unwin has acquired a three-book junior fiction series by bestselling author Emily Rodda. The Monty’s Island series (illus by Lucinda Gifford), aimed at children aged six to eight, is set on an island in a magical sea, where a cast of human and animal characters work together to ‘keep their island safe and happy’.

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


CBCA winners announced

The winners of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards have been announced. The winning titles are:

  • Older readers: Between Us (Clare Atkins, Black Inc.)
  • Younger readers: His Name Was Walter (Emily Rodda, HarperCollins)
  • Early childhood: Tricky’s Bad Day (Alison Lester, Affirm Press)
  • Picture books: Cicada (Shaun Tan, Lothian)
  • Information books: Sorry Day (Coral Vass, illus by Dub Leffler, NLA)
  • Debut illustrator: Daniel Gray-Barnett for Grandma Z (Scribble).

The CBCA’s Nan Chauncy Award for outstanding contribution to Australian children’s literature was also presented to children’s author James Moloney.

Eleni Hale has won the Readings Young Adult Book Prize for her YA novel Stone Girl (Penguin), about a young girl who becomes a ward of the state after the death of her mother.

Kelly Canby’s picture book The Hole Story (Fremantle Press) has won the WA Premier’s Prize for writing for children.

Five Australian YA novels are in the running for the Gold Inky Award, selected by a panel of eight teen judges from around Australia. They are: Hive (A J Betts, Pan), A Thousand Perfect Notes (C G Drews, Orchard Books), Amelia Westlake (Erin Gough, Hardie Grant Egmont), Whisper (Lynette Noni, Pantera) and After the Lights Go Out (Lili Wilkinson, Allen & Unwin).

The shortlists have also been announced for the Environment Award for Children’s Literature, presented annually to fiction and nonfiction books that ‘foster a love of wild places and wildlife in young Australians’ and ‘encourage a sense of responsibility for our natural world’.


‘The Secret Runners of New York’ tops Australian YA bestsellers chart

Matthew Reilly’s dystopian time-travel thriller The Secret Runners of New York leads the Australian YA bestsellers chart for July, unseating the film tie-in edition of Colin Thiele’s classic children’s book Storm Boy, which has dropped to third place. Jay Kristoff has two new titles in the chart: Aurora Rising: The Aurora Cycle 1, the first book in a new sci-fi series written with ‘Illuminae Files’ writing partner Amie Kaufman; and Dev1at3: Lifel1k3 2. Heather Morris makes her debut in the YA chart with a young adult edition of her bestselling novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Australian YA bestsellers: July

  1. The Secret Runners of New York (Matthew Reilly, Macmillan)
  2. Aurora Rising: The Aurora Cycle 1 (Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff, Allen & Unwin)
  3. Storm Boy (Colin Thiele, New Holland Publishers)
  4. The Tattooist of Auschwitz YA Edition (Heather Morris, Echo Publishing)
  5. Dev1at3: Lifel1k3 2 (Jay Kristoff, Allen & Unwin)
  6. Akarnae (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  7. Vardaesia (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  8. Four Dead Queens (Astrid Scholte, Allen & Unwin)
  9. Whisper (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  10. Raelia (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)

© Nielsen BookScan 2019
Period covered: 30 June to 27 July 2019
Data supplied by Nielsen BookScan’s book sales monitoring system from 1000 retailers nationwide




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