Weekly Book Newsletter (end March 2022)
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5 February 2020

VPLA winners, Williams resigns from Wheeler Centre, Pascoe withdraws from festivals and more

Last week, S Shakthidharan and Eamon Flack were named winners of Australia’s most valuable literary award—the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature—for their play Counting and Cracking. Other writers honoured at the VPLAs included Christos Tsiolkas, Christina Thompson, Charmaine Papertalk Green, Helena Fox and Chloe Higgins.

The Wheeler Centre, meanwhile, is looking for a new director, with the news that Michael Williams will be leaving the organisation after 10 years as its head.

Also making awards news this week were the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlists, a new $15,000 short story prize and the inaugural winner of Booktopia’s Favourite Australian Book award. Speaking of Booktopia, the online retailer announced it has bought various assets of the Co-op bookshops, with the campus bookseller’s outlets to be closed over the next two months.

Bruce Pascoe has withdrawn from scheduled appearances at Perth Festival and Adelaide Writers’ Week, while writer and teacher Nicolas Brasch is the new director of Melbourne Jewish Book Week.

Overseas, Macmillan has responded to the American Dirt controversy with a promise to increase Latinx representation; Macmillan employees have been banned from attending Digital Book World over the company’s library ebook embargo; and organisers of the Taipei book fair have postponed the event due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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‘Changes start small’: Behind the union push at PRH

Elena Gomez was part of a core team of editorial and publicity staff at Penguin Random House Australia (PRH) who initiated collective bargaining with their... Read more


Rights round-up x

Sales Fiction Spinifex Press has sold the film option to Symphony for the Man (Sarah Brill, March) to Sparkplug Films (see news). Text has sold... Read more
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Bestsellers: ‘Not a Diet Book’ makes huge debut x

Bluey continues her chart-topping run on the Australian bestsellers chart, with Bluey: Time to Play! (Puffin) sitting at number one for the fourth consecutive week.... Read more


Almost a Mirror (Kirsten Krauth, Transit Lounge) x

Kirsten Krauth’s Almost a Mirror is about the relationship between music and memory, and the unexpected directions that family and romantic life can take. Mona... Read more
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Grappling with diversity and working conditions in the book industry

‘A discussion that meaningfully grapples with diversity within the industry itself would have to involve an honest reckoning with the conditions that most of us have accepted for so long, and that would require a fundamental shift in how we conceive of the work we do and why we do it (hint, it’s not only for love or exposure),’—Editor and writer Elena Gomez on the link between working conditions and diversity in the publishing industry.



Publishers Weekly x

Books+Publishing is partnering with US trade news magazine Publishers Weekly to provide our subscribers with exclusive access to the weekly digital edition of PW magazine for a limited time. This... Read more

Voss Literary Prize 2020 nominations open

The Australian University Heads of English (AUHE) and the estate of Vivian Robert de Vaux Voss are pleased to call for nominations to the 17th annual Voss Literary Prize.

The prize, for the best novel published in Australia in 2019, carries a cash prize and will be presented at the AUHE AGM in November 2020.

A nomination form and details of entry can be found at vossliteraryprize.com. Entries must be received by COB, 6 March 2020.


Book industry farewell to Renée Senogles

Please join us for a celebration of the life of Renée Senogles, who passed away from uveal melanoma on 19 December 2019, hosted by her many friends in books and publishing.

Renée was a well-known and much-loved true ‘book person’ who worked in our industry for two decades including as publicity manager at A&U, programming coordinator at SWF and most recently heading up marketing and publicity for Hardie Grant in San Francisco, where she lived for the last six years.

Renée was known for her intelligence, her legendary work ethic, her organisation and her passion for and commitment to supporting authors achieve success—qualities surpassed only by her joie de vivre, fabulous sense of humour and her ability to connect with anyone and everyone and make friends for life. She was an intrepid traveller, strong and independent and a lover of good food, fine wine and music—and, of course, she loved a good book. She worked hard but always made time for the best things in life and the people she cared about.

Those of us who knew, respected, experienced the generosity of, laughed with and loved Renée want to get together to give her the kind of send-off she would have liked to come to.

Please join us to pay tribute to our colleague and friend at The Elephant Bar at the Royal Hotel in Paddington on Wednesday 19 February 2020. Some of us will say a few words about Renée on the night, and anyone who wishes to speak is welcome to. But mainly this is a chance for us to get together to share stories, remember the good times and farewell the gorgeous Renée in style.

Date: Wednesday, 19 February 2020, 6pm to 9pm
Venue: The Elephant Bar, The Royal Hotel, 237 Glenmore Road, Paddington, NSW
RSVP by Thursday, 13 February on Facebook or by emailing Kelly or Emma.




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Please note that all editorial staff at Books+Publishing work part-time.

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Brad Jefferies

Managing editor, publications
Matthia Dempsey

Angela Glindemann

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Andrew Wrathall

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