Saturday, December 27, 2008

net pricing? I don't think so.

Where would we be without RRP? Here's an extract from an emailed ad from a prominent bookselling chain:

* Offer ends 31st December 2008. Percentage off Publisher's Recommended Retail price. Excludes already reduced titles, educational text books, DVDs, CDs, videos, online digital and audible products, online purchases, gift cards and special orders.

Without RRP, as an industry, we have no baseline, and because as an industry we have so many products coming out each month, there needs to a measure of value for the consumer. That seems to be one of the over-riding features of our industry - a lot of fresh "product" monthly. It's why the discount department stores like books - fresh new "product" to bring in the shoppers. It's a lottery, a gamble, a horse-race (which is part of the excitement) but a few of those books will be winners.

The arguments for net pricing all seem to be part of the same general argument of which the particular arguments against territorial copyright form a part - "let's unfetter the retailer to maximize profit". Is the intent a transfer of profit from the author and publisher and other creators?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

National Youth Self Portrait Prize 2009

The National Portrait Gallery is running a competition. The gallery invites all young Australians between 18 and 25 to enter. (I'm not sure why the lower limit is so old.) 

future of children's TV shows

At black dog, we're passionate about Australian children finding themselves in Australian books - fiction and non-fiction - as well as being being able to read the best in the world. We don't want the local to be swamped by the global. So, it's always interesting to see what is happening in the parallel world of children's television. And the comments of the British TV executive Nigel Pickard are fascinating in today's Green Guide in the Age. It's not online as yet so I can't provide a link as yet, but I'll come back and do so.

The comments that resonated with me:
"Almost every territory you go in to in the world, the top 10 programs will be local programs. You only have to look at what's happening here in Australia with the success of domestic drama this year against bought in drama things like Underbelly and Packed to the Rafters. It's the same for kids' audiences; those shows rate well and have a resonance for the audience."

And while stressing that his campaign for more locally produced content is not an attack on US content (or Oz content in the UK market): "It's a question of balance and ensuring that you have programs available to these kids that does reflect their own culture and lifestyle. A good program is a good program (regardless of origin); just make sure there's enough from your own territory."

His plea for regulation on broadcasters for local content sits well, I think, with the Australian publishers defence of territorial copyright — we have to actively defend local content in TV and in books.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Worth a look if you're interested in cover design

especially Mark Melnick's comments below. Penguin US with a $0 design budget?!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mr Carr's argument for the elimination of territorial copyright

Bob Carr's article in the Weekend Australian (‘The Forum’ 13-14 December 2008) made for interesting reading.

I don't see that removing territorial copyright restriction will mean more books in working-class homes, especially children's books, which I read as the core of Mr Carr's article. I just don't see the argument that books will be cheaper if territorial copyright is removed. We're a market that covers a lot of miles internally and is far away from most other places, especially the US and the UK (the main book markets), so we're expensive to ship books to and to ship them around, so our books will be comparatively expensive however they are sourced. Look at the P&P costs Amazon charges.

There will be fewer children's books in Australian homes (that include children) if Australian children can't find themselves in the books they read. In the long run they'll be less interested in the reading habit if they're always having to read about other people, somewhere else. Is an open market a disincentive to local publishing? I think it is. If we're successful, as publisher and author, first here and then we sell overseas then a bookseller can import these successful books from the foreign publisher and cut our revenue and our author's revenue, then we'll both be struggling to survive professionally. It's the successful books in terms of sales that keep us around to publish another day. Eliminating territorial copyright would be disincentive to sell our books overseas, which the Australian children's publishing industry has been extremely good at doing. Eliminating territorial copyright condemns us to being an importing culture not an exporting culture. Neither the US or the UK are planning to get rid of their territorial copyright provisions.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

lovely old Adelaide

I'm just coming to the end of a trip to Adelaide. A very pleasant trip. It's just such an easy city, nothing is too far from anything else including the airport from the city. And everybody has been so charming. Adelaide has done such a good job of keeping its old buildings. And they're gorgeous. When I visit Perth and Brisbane I come away with the impression that anything old gets knocked down

But Adelaide is different. Just down the road from my hotel is the Harbour Board building. A lovely old building that weighs a thousand tonnes, but it was put on rollers and rolled wholesale along a steel runway using hydraulic rams some 34 metres down the road. That's commitment to  a built environment

PS And the people have been courteous and thoughtful, driving me here and dropping me there. Thanks for the lifts Dyan and Jane.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Patrick Ness wins Booktrust

I'm pleased that Patrick Ness has won the Booktrust Teenage Prize for The Knife of Never Letting Go. I'm pleased for Patrick, but also pleased for myself as I'm halfway through it. It shows my good taste! Kate and Melissa at black dog recommended it to me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

warm reception to Lili's Scatterheart in the UK

Lili Wilkinson's Scatterheart just missed being shortlisted in the Waterstone's prize but got some fabulous comments from Waterstone's booksellers:

I loved this book!! I was lucky enough to be allowed to read it first in our store as I had forgotten my book. I loved the convict/Australian story was superb and really enjoyed the fantasy tale running all the way through it. I thought the characters were complex, no two-dimmensional disney baddies with twirly moustaches here!

I enjoyed this book so much, that as soon as I had finished I wanted to share it with someone else, but also went straight on-line to see if it was available to buy from anywhere now. Want my own copy!!

Loved it! I thought the way that the tale of Scatterheart ran alongside the main story was great, the parallels were not too obvious but it did give the story a nice 'fairy-tale' feel. Great characters, great story - definately one for the shortlist!

I actually really really liked it, ending was a bit short though, but I loved how it didn't shy away from some issues.

Definately one for the shortlist . I love Historical novels and this did not disappoint .The parts in Newgate Gaol and on board ship were the best bits for me.The stories about Scatterheart were also fascinating .

A gritty (Celia Reesish ?) teen novel that somehow manages to be both intensely real, moving and compelling - but also manages to be this year's North Child. Or should that be South Child?

I really enjoyed this. The ending did feel a little flat but I loved the fairy tale and the story was so exciting that I started the first page and didn't put it down at all until I finished.
I loved this one too. I do understand some of the comments about the ending but I think it would have spoiled it if we had found out too much about what happened next.

A great read, has to be on the short list!

I loved this book, it really captured me.

One girl's adventure to find happiness, becomes a fairytale within a fairytale. A romantic story of love, power and elitism. Being a woman of quality isn't easy for 14 year old Hannah, however, making the right decisions in love is harder. after being made poor and put in jail, innocent though she is, she soon discovers a hardship that she never thought possible and would open her eyes to life and love.

With marvellous characters to love and hate and a capturing tale, this book will take you on a heartfelt journey.

This was wonderful!!!

Of what i have read so far to do with the prize this is my fave. adventure, love and characters you can't help but like.

I'll join in the praise! I thought it was a compelling read - especially on board the ship. I thought the characters were really well drawn and was terrified but fascinated by the way Hannah's life completely changed in a heartbeat. For me, 'Scatterheart' will be hard to beat!
Just found out Lili is the daughter of Carole Wilkinson who writes the Dragon Keeper series...
I really liked it, even though it's not something I'd normally choose to read, however the ending was a bit too brief

Was really not expecting to like this as it's not my usual kind of book, but I was thoroughly surprised by how much I took to it. Couldn't wait to keep reading it. So realistic and not at all shy about the grittier details of life. Only negative was the end which all seemed half-hearted and was a bit of a let down. But maybe that was the idea.

I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't put it down on my holiday last week. I can see where people are coming from with the ending, but I thought the rest of the book was so compelling that in a way it didn't matter. This one really deserves to be on the shortlist and I hope it makes it.

Love, love, loved it! A real journey in physical and emotional terms. I think the ending was spot on, I won't ruin it, but hopeful without being unrealistic. Definitely for fans of Celia Rees' wonderful Witch Child.

Rifling through the box, this was the book which first sparked my interest I waited a bit then launched into it. I will be very careful what I say because so far this book seems to have gathered a lot of admirers and there is nothing worse than having someone rubbish a book you love.

I didn't like Hannah at first but that was the point of her character development. She was much less self-centred and cold by the end

I'm gonna join the majority on this one too!
Thought it was fantastic and will definately put this on my shortlist choice.
It's well written, engaging, and gritty. I love reading stuff about Australian History (although I hated it when I was at school) Every other kids book I've ever read on this topic has skirted all the horrible nasty bits and I love that this didn't. This seems a very good contender.
This is another one taht I wanted to love, there is so little written about the convict trail to Australia that I thought I'd love it from the start.

As a teenager I know that I would have disliked the fairy tale element being mixed with the histoircal and would have wanted one or the other. I don't mind it so now but the book still left me feeling uncomfortable and to be honest a little grubby.

I'm from the exact area the book talks about. The representations are reasonably accurate - but we're talking fiction here so I'll let her off the hook with a few uh-ohs.

Spoiler alert: such a shame when Long Meg went - She was my favourite!

I liked the device of linking Hannah's story to Scatterheart's. I think Hannah's character was well and believably developed.

Loved Long Meg!

Just misses my top 9.

i loved it.
i liked the way that the characters developed for the reader when they developed for hannah: so i hated long meg first, then distrusted her then loved her. and james i thought was a bit of a saviour then he was a 1st class git. and thomas was beneath her then i knew she loved him and i loved how she grew and matured (earlier than her years, remember- if she'd stayed at home she'd have never learnt anything about anything!) i loved the interwoven fairytale (although, it meant nothing at all until she got on the ship and it started to unravel and keep her going through the rough bits). i thought that the captain was a nice man and that he knew she got full rations after the brig and he only had her head shaved so it didn't look like he favoured her. and james wasn't entirely bad, he just turned that way (rumour didn't help...) after hannah broke his heart.

ooh, and! i've read The Floating Brothel too (see acknowledgements) - it was ace, but full of naughty! (so i felt like i could fill in the gaps that naive hannah couldn't...)
shame The Hunger Games has to win, this could have been a contender.

I really enjoyed this book. The mixture of fairy tale and gritty history worked so well. I was enchanted by Hannah's journey all the way through (and polar bears are my favourite animal!) Definitely one for the shortlist.

This was a quality bit of storytelling and if anything is going to give 'Hunger Games' a run for its money - it's this. Proper period writing [literally], infectious characters [literally]...stop me someone please! Hey i just really enjoyed this and this has been another story set on a boat that's been great.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Man behind "Keating"

Casey Bennetto is a genius. If the show " The History of the Speigeltent" ever returns  do make it a priority to make it along for typically excellent Bennetto entertainment. The song. "Show Don't Tell" should be compulsory listening for every writing course.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

JK's take

There's been some, in my opinion, sanctimonious horror at JK Rowlings take of some 300 million dollars last year. I thought it was fantastic - a writer more than recognized for her work financially.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Will the coming hard economic times mean the end of the rise and rise of fantasy?

Schoolyard dialogue

I've been reading books and manuscript with schoolyard settings and I'm interested to note that so much of these books are driven by dialogue, more so than other YA books. I'm wondering whether historical fiction has more explanatory background - and less dialogue?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

new clause in Random UK's author contract for children's books

Can an author then terminate a contract if a publisher chooses to publish a book or an author which damages by association the author's reputation as a person suitable to work with or be associated with children?

The UK publishers seem to be determinedly on a course of irritating and aggravating children's authors.

entertainment law

The Age was entertaining in terms of publishing law this morning.

Harry Nicolaides is being held in remand in Bangkok for insulting the crown (the technical charge is the nicely old -fashioned, if not a little medieval, "Lese Majeste". In 2005 he wrote and published a novel Versimilitude in which he criticised the Thai crown prince. A warrant was issued in March this year but Nicolaides was unaware of it. Nicolaides said only 50 copies were printed and on seven were sold. There's a good amount of self-promotion on the web about the book, couched in breathlessly enthusiastic terms. If the Thai government wanted to promote the little known book and air its claims to a wide audience, arresting Nicolaides has achieved that.

RDR Books in Michigan lost its case to publisher the Harry Potter lexicon.
"The Lexicon contains a troubling amount of direct quotation or close paraphrasing of Rowling's original language. More often the original language is copied without quotation marks. Because the Lexicon appropriates too much of Rowling's creative work for it's purposes as a reference guide, a permanent injunction must be issued to prevent the possible proliferation of works that do the same." Judge Robert Patterson.

PS the Booker shortlist:
Steve Toltz A Fraction of the Whole (Australia)
Aravind Adig,a The White Tiger (India)
Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies (india)
Sebastian Barry, The Secret Scripture (Ireland)
Linda Grant, The Clothes on Their Backs (Britain)
Phillip Hensher, The Northern Clemency (Britain)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Didgeridoo offence

Interesting and challenging.

How accurate does historical fiction need to be?

new conservatism

If I'm hearing correctly, there is a rising new conservatism among librarians in schools (including government schools) with Islamic students about exposed flesh on book covers - and about sexual language between the covers.

More so than in the recent past, librarians seem not to be buying material that could offend for fear of parental complaint. And it's true of many schools, that explicitly declare themselves to be Christian.

The Jewel of Medina

Now that's interesting …

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

police English

I found this excellent example of the oddly imprecise precision of police English in today's Age:

"When he saw the police he turned the gun on himself and he is now deceased."

Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bronson

Friday, July 11, 2008

The age-ranging debate is certainly an interesting one

I just can't see that age-banding on the backs of books will actually persuade people who don't buy books (for children) to go out and buy them.

From another English commenter:

From my years of sales experience at Walker Books I found all level of age banding on shelves, displays, removable stickers simply did not achieve a great result. The majority of booksellers in the large stores would run a mile to avoid 'that messy kids section'!

Which left me feeling that my sense that booksellers often undercook the kids section was absolutely right.

age ranging

I liked this age-ranging quote from Alan Garner:

Books are not shoes. They are not shirts. They have no sell-by, nor read-by dates. Their content is a unique creative interaction between text and reader. The evidence of my correspondence files going back nearly half a century show an age span of more than sixty years of people willing to engage and re-engage with the same titles. Whoever devised age banding knows how to sell detergents.

Statistics from a somewhat comparable country

Here's some snapshot Canadian publishing statistics from Statistics Canada.

From 2005 to 2006 operating revenues dropped 1.2% after a 3.2% in 2005. Expenses were up almost 1% and added all together the profit was down to 10.3% from 12.1%.

So up a little, down a little - just statistical noise for me.

The more interesting bit was that the export of books was up - and the Canadians seem to have been working hard on this, harder than the Australians and it seems to be paying off.

And even more interesting: while household were spending less on books, magazines and periodicals the trend has been for quite a bit more on books (average household spending on books rose from $86 in 1998 to $111 in 2005).

Thursday, July 03, 2008

top publishers

The top 7 publishers in the world by 2007 revenue are:

1 Thomson
2 Pearson
3 Bertelsman
4 Reed Elsevier
5 Wolters Kluwer
6 Hachette Livre
7 Planeta + Editis

which to me shows the strength of educational (i.e. non-trade) publishing


There's a lot of greenwash slopping around (including a bit among publishers - the best contribution would in some cases just not to publish that unnecessary bit of consumer flummery that no-one really benefits from). The best example of greenwashing I've come across recently is the Marbig Enviro Box - just the same old cardboard box - it's just as recyclable as the Strong Archive Box and the Super Strong Archive Box, which are also in the Marbig lines,, and made from just as much recycled board (100%) -  but excitingly it's been given a new environmental friendly name.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

back to paper

I had a drink with my an illustrator friend the other night, down at the Builder's Arms. He announced that having been down the electronic route but he'd returned to paper. He'd found that the micromovements of electronic rendering on a tablet could place an strain on very specific muscles in the arm. I've always associated muscle damage to Herculean physical efforts involving big weights - the thought of tiny little repetitious movements doing damage was a surprise.

He added that he was enjoying painting on paper, especially enjoying the textural feel of bristles crossing paper, the resistance the paper gave to a brush full of paint - and also, even more importantly, the little accidents that happen on paper that change the path of an illustration, which don't happen when working electronically.

I would like to quote from our forthcoming Monsieur Rat (August): "Even when you are sure of where you are going , you can still stumble and change direction."

I'm wonder how much of a back-to-paper trend there is. We doing more scan now than we were doing say a year ago.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


"Storyliners are the true heroes of any soap" quote from a Facebook group, quoted in the Green Guide.

state of Australian TV writng

When cleaning up my office I came across an old "Green Guide" article about television writers - along the unsung-heroes line. I was interested in it enough to tear it out and save it for later, and later is now. First some interesting facts and figures: of the 600 full members of the Australian Writers Guild 190 are in Melbourne but only 25-30 would consider themselves in full-time employment as writers. [conclusion: the full-time writer in any industry is a lucky bird] "If you've written 6 hours of television in a year you've had a good year," according to Jacqueline Woodman, the Guild's director. She goes on to say:
"You have to be prepared to be what's called a jobbing writer. If you want to be an artiste then you won't get work all the tim. If you only want to work on your own ideas then there's no way you can make a full-time living as a writer. You have to be prepared to write other people's ideas as well to pay the bills. That's also how you learn and hone your craft.
That's one of the big mistakes amateurs make, only wanting to work on their script or their life story or their one big idea. The ones who make a living have done all sorts."
And apparently the local industry here is healthier than it has been for sometime and Peter Gawler, Underbelly writer, is seeing a shift towards scripts with an Australian voice.  He says, "We do have our own style of telling stories in this country.  I don't think we are terribly good at high concepts. We're much better at a form of social realism the refects the Australian no-bullshit no-fuss approach." I wonder whether that is reflected in our literature, especially our children's literature. 


But Woodside is also the nation’s largest single-location polluter: it emits at least 12,000 tonnes of nitric oxides and 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, among many other pollutants.

Australian Rock Art Research Association

Sunday, June 22, 2008

remit is the business buzz word of the moment?

… and with a definition somewhat more and somewhat less than its previous meaning. Here's but one example I came across recently: "comprises four divisions with different publishing remits" It's come to mean something like a brief or scope or terms of reference, though it is vague and self-important while sounding very technical and precise. Maybe its a word favoured by remittance "men"?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Age-ranging on the back of children's books

There's been much discussion about age-ranging on the backs of children's book, both here and in the UK, where the suggestion has originated.

Here's a link and here.
and the lovely Emma of Snowbooks has this to say.

I heard that one bookseller was circulating a petition against it at the ABA conference on the weekend. We (black dog) aren't thrilled about it - short-term gain for long-term loss is our feeling. It may (and there doesn't seem to be that much proof of even this) sell more books now; but at the cost of selling more books later. Also I can't see that research done in the UK has relevance to our quite different market here. Maybe colonialism isn't as dead as it should be.

But Variety had a view on film ratings that's interesting in this context:
"a new twist on the PG-13 rating -- one that strongly cautions not only those under 13 but anyone much above it, too.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

more on Fishpond

I've been looking at the website, and I've been feeling a little put out.

My reading of what I am seeing is that while fishpond says it is an Australasian bookseller "to be proud of" it is not all that enthusiastic about supporting Australian publishers.

When I looked up Possum Magic today I was first offered on screen the US edition and the other editions mentioned are from the UK but I couldn't find a reference to any of the Scholastic Australia editions. Boo to a Goose has the US edition listed first at a discount and then if you click through you are offered the Australian edition under "Other Editions"at full price. You can buy the UK and US editions of Dragonkeeper and Garden of the Purple Dragon but not the Australasian edition. They're now listing our Red Haze but I think that is because I emailed them that it has been shortlisted in the NZ Post Awards - though I've yet to have a response to that email (and they don't list a phone number and the number I was given by Booksellers NZ gave a "no service" response). There may be some issue with data but as they seem pretty uncontactable, living behind an email "wall", I can't find that out.

Under the "AU Bestsellers" on the site today (which I'm assuming is meant to be equivalent to "NZ Bestsellers" on the site) none of the authors are Australian and all of the editions are from the US or UK. On the the top pick of "Fishpond Picks 2008" is the US edition of New Zealand author Lloyd Jones's Mister Pip. The Penguin NZ title is listed elsewhere on the site though.

I'm heading over to New Zealand on Monday and I'm hoping to meet someone from fishpond but I've yet to hear back. I like their passionate claim to be an Australasian bookseller but I'd like to discuss how they are seeing they are fulfilling that, and plans for the future.

This is a cute promotion

better world books

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Booktopia and Fishpond

I searched our best-selling Dragonkeeper on both sites and this is what I got.

Booktopia is offering the local edition while Fishpond offers the UK and US editions only (which have to be shipped or flown in). A further search on Booktopia showed that the editions that Fishpond are offering of the Garden of the Purple Dragon and Dragon Moon are more expensive than the editions being offered by Booktopia.

Friday, May 30, 2008

for niche players

"There are a lot of people who like trends that run counter" Demographer, Bernard Salt.

He was actually talking about the rise in V8s (counter to the general shift to smaller, more environmentally friendly cars) as a backlash against everything smaller cars represent. But it struck a chord with me - markets often seem to be going in opposite directions at once. And especially for smaller and niche players in large markets, it's a thought worth bearing in mind I think.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I went to a panel session at the Sydney Writer's Festival yesterday and four out of the five writers on the panel had written for Lonely Planet at some stage. In our small pool, Lonely Planet has had a huge impact on our literary (especially non-fiction) culture by giving opportunities for writers to write and be professionally published.

PS I liked the free events that you could just drop in on - and the speakers outside for those who missed out on a seat inside. It gives a real festival flavour (rather than a sequence of ticketed events).

rent-seeking and coupon-clipping

Henry's latest post is very interesting read.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

slang & CJ

'slang is the illegitimate sister of poetry, and if an illegitimate relationship is the nearest
I can get I am content'

C J Dennis

Thursday, May 08, 2008

end of the current crop of film independents?

It's interesting reading in Variety about the "independents" having been purchased now being folded into the studio structures. Is this a sign of a cold economic winds? Here's a link

but here's a quote that caught my eye:

"Horn cited the fact that 600 pics get released annually as having made the specialty biz less attractive financially in recent year. He also said that such pics have becomce more likely to screen at multiplexes rather than art-house venues and expressed confidence in Warner's distribution side to ensure that smaller films receive the proper handling.

Horn admitted that the announcement's likely to be interpreted as Warner Bros. getting out of the indie film biz but stressed that it will still acquire and produce specialty pics. He cited the success of such fare as "March of the Penguins," "Before Sunset," "We Don't Live Here Anymore," "La Vie en Rose" and "Snow Angels" as examples of the kinds of projects that Warner will still look to buy and produce."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Do Travel Writers Go to Hell

A fascinating and funny read, even if (or maybe because) Thomas proves himself to be the self-involved and self-indulgent twat that he describes other people saying he is in the first chapters of the book.

And it raised all sorts of interesting issues for a publisher. What's fair return? Emma at our local bookshop made the point that eveybody wants the job of travel writer so you get paid peanuts - and that's just the deal. LP says they pay better than most. But if that is less than needed to get the job properly (as Thomas says) is that smart?

Thomas is perceptive an interesting about the evolutionary cycle of a company, especially a publishing company. He sees it an inevitability the growth from the "raw growing" " "clumsy teenager" of a company "not yet in full command of its newfound size and bulk" that still held it alternative and gutsy persona of its early years"when he wrote a Costa Rican guidebook to them in 2000 to what it has become today.

Maybe LP is now the perfect example of the industrialization of publishing described by Alberto Manguel in the City of Words, this year's CBC (that's Canadian) lectures.

His point about LP's influence on developing parts of the world maybe too much of a good thing echoes what Manguel is saying - the machine is more powerful than the intention of any of the parts.

Anyhow a recommended read from me (adults only).

Treasure fever

At the book shop, Miles (my 8 year old) brought Andy Griffiths latest "Treasure Fever" up to the counter and asked if there was an edition without the pencil case shrinked wrapped on the back, which surprised me. I don't want to be a snob and I have no objection to finding ways to encourage kids to buy books (and here's hoping they then read them) but I was surprised he didn't want the "treasure". There was no option though and we left with the pencil case as well as the book. I questioned him about it and he said he thought the pencil case didn't look cool and it would just be junk. When we got home he stripped off the shrink wrapping and folded the pencil case out and found it to be bigger than he'd first expected and decide it was cool after all. (Now I'm wondering whether the satisfaction with the pencil case will stop him reading the book. I'll see what happens and let you know.)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Writers v authors

I'm wondering whether the distinction between an author and a writer in the book publishing context is the difference between a royalty and a fee. Are Lonely Planet authors really just writers now they no longer pay royalties?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

romance of the book

Websites, blogs, interactive CD-roms, audio books, electronic books - none (as yet) excite the love and passion that the book does.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

children's non-fiction and the internet

narrative children's nonfiction

missing children's non-fiction

It surprises me how little Australian children's nonfiction is published. Nonfiction seems to me to be something culturally important. On those grounds adult nonfiction is supported, but I don't sense anything like the same level of support for children's nonfiction.

Is it that we can't sell our non-fiction overseas? We're not doing much children's nonfiction on Australian topics. Much less it seems to me than New Zealand or Canadians do about themselves. We do even less non-fiction on topics of interest to other parts of the world. Do we lack the confidence in our factual knowledge? Is it a part of our cultural cringe?

I know that publishers argue that nonfiction is more expensive to design and print, so you're having to invest more and, even successful, children's nonfiction peaks in sales and then drops away while successful fiction has the support for a longer life span.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

double negative, well a form of it

John Atanaskovic of Atanaskovic Hartnell recently raided by the Project Wickenby tax investigation task force said: "All law firms not irregularly receive subpoenas and search warrants". Is he saying that Atanaskovic Hartnell regularly receives search warrants? I reckon this use of the double negative by Atanaskovic shows why it should be made illegal, well at least its use by the legal profession.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Ploughing down through the sedimentary piles of paper on my desk in my regular Thursday clean up I came across an article I'd ripped out of the paper about Scribe that I'd put aside for later reading. I love Henry's passion for books and publishing and found him very quotable so here goes

About the start of Scribe in 1976: "I really wanted to publish books about important developments in politics and society and culture, that weren't flippant or trivial or sensational. At that stage, the idea of a genre called serious non-fiction didn't exist [in Australia. It's an old story about the nature of Australian publishing being essentially a distribution market for foreign based publishers. The overseas-based publishers actively inhibited the local subsidiaries from a publishing program, and there wasn't a lot of interest anyway."

"You will get a bestseller every now and again. Most of the time you publish books that are middling successes or middling failures. They might be books that live for decades, but commercially they don't go a huge way to paying the overheads."

Our list is very different from Scribes but I always find what Henry says fascinating, and much of it resonates with me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Les Murray thinks of a blurb:

"… are nonsense — they're all hypebole and hype"

This was in the context of the dustup he had with the poetry publisher Puncher and Wattman (poets seem to do infighting particularly well). If you happened not to have caught up with this.

It's great publicity for Puncher and Wattman and here's a little bit more.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Congrats to Blue Boat

The Dragon Companion has been shortlisted in the APA Design Awards - even more accurately in the 56th Book Design Awards in the section The Best Designed Children’s Fiction Book sponsored by Bloomin' Books. It's a lovely book and it was a challenging brief and the book is now a small gorgeous volume that sits perfectly in the hand,

And here's the complete list:

The Best Designed Cover of the Year sponsored by McPherson's Printing
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Gravity Sucks Daniel New Daniel New Penguin Group
Maggie's Harvest Daniel New Daniel New Lantern, a division of Penguin
Stop Bitching Start Pitching Reuben Crossman Reuben Crossman Murdoch Books
The Complete Stories Christina Moffit Christina Moffit Random House Australia

The Best Designed Children's Cover of the Year sponsored by Hardie Grant Egmont
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Bronco, Fi, Maddie & Me Stella Danalis Stella Danalis University of Queensland Press
Daredevils John & Stella Danalis John & Stella Danalis University of Queensland Press
Ock Von Fiend Luke Edwards Luke Edwards Omnibus Books
Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!) Elissa Christian Elissa Christian Puffin, a division of Penguin Group
The Shadow Thief Jenny Grigg Jenny Grigg HarperCollins Publishers
To the Boy in Berlin Ruth Gruner Ruth Gruner Allen & Unwin

The Best Designed Children’s Fiction Book sponsored by Bloomin' Books
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Bronco, Fi, Maddie & Me Stella Danalis Stella Danalis University of Queensland Press
Fairy School Drop-out: Undercover Sonia Dixon Sonia Dixon Hardie Grant Egmont
Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!) Elissa Christian Elissa Christian Puffin, a division of Penguin Group
The Dragon Companion Blue Boat Blue Boat Black Dog Books
The Shadow Thief Jenny Grigg Jenny Grigg HarperCollins Publishers
World of Monsters Tammy Shafer Tammy Shafer Scholastic Australia

The Best Designed Children’s Non-fiction Book sponsored by Tien Wah Press
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Girl Secrets Astrid Hicks, Wide Open Media Astrid Hicks, Wide Open Media Random House Australia
Girl Stuff Adam Laszczuk Adam Laszczuk Viking, a division of Penguin Group
Philosophy for Beginners Stella Danalis Stella Danalis University of Queensland Press

The Scholastic Australia Best Designed Children’s Picture Book sponsored by Scholastic Australia
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Maisie Moo and Invisible Lucy Chris McKimmie Chris McKimmie Allen & Unwin
No Room for a Mouse Stewart Yule Stewart Yule Scholastic Press
Ock Von Fiend Luke Edwards Luke Edwards Omnibus Books
Ruby Roars Lisa White Lisa White Allen & Unwin
The Story of Growl Deb Brash Deb Brash Viking, a division of Penguin Group
Whacko the Chook MAPG MAPG Hachette Livre Australia

The Best Designed Children’s Series sponsored by Random House Australia
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

A Mystery of Wolves: The Legend of Little Fur Marina Messiha Marina Messiha Viking, a division of Penguin Group
Master of the Books Jenny Grigg Jenny Grigg & Louise McGeachie HarperCollins Publishers
Moo: Talk to the Farm Animals Sandra Nobes Sandra Nobes Random House Australia
The Undy': Let the Games Begin Adam Laszczuk Adam Laszczuk Puffin, a division of Penguin Group

The Best Designed Young Adult Book sponsored by Griffin Press
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Daredevils John & Stella Danalis John & Stella Danalis University of Queensland Press
Getting Air Louise Davis (Mathematics) Midland Typesetters Random House Australia
Teeth Marks Mathematics (Louise Davis) Mathematics (Louise Davis) Allen & Unwin
The Ghost's Child Marina Messiha Marina Messiha Viking, a division of Penguin Group
To the Boy in Berlin Ruth Gruner Ruth Gruner Allen & Unwin

The Best Designed General Fiction Book sponsored by Penguin Books Australia
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Alice in La La land Christa Moffit Christa Moffit Random House Australia
Rohypnol Louise Davis Louise Davis Random House Australia
The Raw Shark Texts Chong Weng Ho Chong Weng Ho The Text Publishing Company

The Best Designed Cookbook sponsored by Kinokuniya
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Maggie's Harvest Daniel New Daniel New Lantern, a division of Penguin Group
Margaret Fulton's Kitchen Katie Mitchell Katie Mitchell Hardie Grant Books
MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures Reuben Crossman Reuben Crossman Murdoch Books
Secrets of the Red Lantern Sarah Odgers Sarah Odgers Murdoch Books
Turquoise Trisha Garner Trisha Garner Hardie Grant Books

The Best Designed Specialist Illustrated Book sponsored by Lamb Print
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

BKH Fabio Ongarato Design Fabio Ongarato Design Thames & Hudson
Nick Cave Stories Mary Callahan/Tom Hingston Mary Callahan The Arts Centre Melbourne
Shoot Marylouise Brammer Reuben Crossman Murdoch Books

The Best Designed General Illustrated Book sponsored by Murdoch Books
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

A Good Nose and Great Legs: The art of wine from the vine to the table Heather Menzies Heather Menzies Murdoch Books
Maggie's Harvest Daniel New Daniel New Lantern, a division of Penguin Group
Rosehips & Crabapples John Canty John Canty Lantern, a division of Penguin Group
Soffritto: A delicious Ligurian Memoir Klarissa Pfisterer & Hamish Freeman Klarissa Pfisterer & Hamish Freeman Allen & Unwin
Uncommissioned Art Chong Weng-Ho Chong Weng-Ho Melbourne University Publishing

The Best Designed Literary Fiction Book sponsored by Xou
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Old/New World Sandy Cull Sandy Cull University of Queensland Press
The Complete Stories Christina Moffit Christina Moffit Random House Australia
Typewriter Music Sandy Cull Sandy Cull University of Queensland Press

The Best Designed Non-fiction Book sponsored by Better Read Than Dead Bookshop
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Anoraks to Zitting Cisticola Matt Clare, Mono Design Pauline Haas Allen & Unwin
Gravity Sucks Daniel New Daniel New Penguin Group
Sex Lives of Australian Teenagers Nanette Backhouse Nanette Backhouse Random House Australia
Stop Bitching Start Pitching Reuben Crossman Reuben Crossman Murdoch Books
Sugar Babe Christina Moffit Christina Moffit Random House Australia

The Best Designed Reference & Scholarly Book sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers Australia
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Australian Protocol and Procedures 3rd edition Josephine Pajor-Markus Di Quick UNSW Press
General Practice Jen Pace Walter Jan Smoeger, Design Point McGraw-Hill Education
Gunyah, Goondie & Wurley: The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia Robert Klinkhamer Robert Klinkhamer University of Queensland Press
Koala Lisa White Lisa White Allen & Unwin
Printed Images by Australian Artists 1885 - 1955 Kirsty Morrison Kirsty Morrison National Gallery of Australia

The Best Designed Primary Education Book sponsored by Cengage Learning
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Finding a Place: Italian Migration Stella Vassiliou, James Lowe, Vonda Pestana Stella Vassiliou, James Lowe, Vonda Pestana Cengage Learning
Gold Rushes - Riots, Robberies and Rebellions Christina Neri Christina Neri Macmillan Education Australia
Jacaranda Primary Atlas Nicole Arnett Nicole Arnett John Wiley & Sons Australia
Macmillan Dictionary for Children Gaye Allen Gaye Allen Weldon Owen Publishing

The Best Designed Secondary Education Book sponsored by Pearson Education Australia
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Esplora! 1 Student Book, Esplora! 1 Work Book /DVD, Audio CD, Teacher Resource CD Sue Dani Sue Dani Cengage Learning
Heinemann Poetry 1 Ruth Comey Ruth Comey Michael Pryor
New Q Science Essentials 8 Sue Dani Sue Dani Cengage Learning
Shakespeare Unplugged: Romeo & Juliet Vonda Pestana, Sharon Hall, Our Design Company Rose Keevins, Sardine Design, Sharon Hall Cengage Learning

The Best Designed Tertiary and Further Education Book sponsored by BPA Print Group
Title Cover Designer Internal Designer Publisher

Chemistry Tim Sedgwick Tim Sedgwick John Wiley & Sons
Communicating as Professionals Olga Lavecchia Olga Lavecchia Cengage Learning
Marketing Research Olga Lavecchia Olga Lavecchia Cengage Learning
Media & Politics An Introduction Mary Mason, Mason Design Mary Mason, Mason Design Oxford University Press

The Young Designer of the Year
Designer Titles submitted Publisher

Christa Moffit Dress Like a Star Random House Australia
The Complete Stories
Searching for Schindler
The Shoe Queen
Alice in La La Land
Reuben Crossman Beppi: A Life in Three Courses Murdoch Books
MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures
Jum's War: Finding My Father
Stop Bitching Start Pitching
Sarah Odgers Secrets of the Red Lantern Murdoch Books
Incomplete History of… World War 1
Kitchen Classics: Picnic Hamper & Italian Kitchen (series)

animating Penguins

The Annie awards are scheduled for 8pm Friday 8 February (3pm Saturday EST Australia): "Animations Highest Honor".

I'm interested because of penguins. Mark Norman's The Penguin Book is an excellent guide to all the 17 sorts of penguins, and they are wacky and wonderful and ideal for animation.

Both Happy Feet and Surf's Up use the different looks of the different species was used as a basis for the animated penguin' characters.

Surf's Up is up for an Annie and Variety has an interesting article on the challenges of animating penguins. The movie, Mark's award winning book and the animator's comments make a nice combo-teaching tool.

And here are the Annie nominations by category.


Best Animated Feature

Bee Movie – DreamWorks Animation
Persepolis – Sony Pictures Classics
Ratatouille – Pixar Animation Studios
Surf’s Up – Sony Pictures Animation
The Simpsons Movie – Twentieth Century Fox
Best Home Entertainment Production

Doctor Strange – MLG Productions
Futurama “Bender’s Big Score” – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Best Animated Short Subject

Everything Will Be OK – Bitter Films
How to Hook Up Your Home Theater – Walt Disney Feature Animation
Shorty McShorts’ Shorts “Mascot Prep” – Walt Disney Television Animation
The Chestnut Tree – Picnic Pictures
Your Friend the Rat – Pixar Animation Studios
Best Animated Television Commercial

CVS Watering Can – Acme Filmworks
Esurance “Homeowners” – Wild Brain
Idaho Lottery: Twister – Acme Filmworks
Oregon Lottery “Alaska” – Laika/house
Power Shares Escape Average – Acme Filmworks
Best Animated Television Production

Jane and the Dragon – Weta Productions Limited & Nelvana Limited
Creature Comforts America – Aardman Animations

Moral Orel – ShadowMachine
Robot Chicken Star Wars- ShadowMachine
Kim Possible – Walt Disney Television Animation
Best Animated Television Production for Children

Chowder – Cartoon Network Studios

El Tigre – Nickelodeon

Little Einsteins – Disney Channel

Peep and the Big Wide World – Discovery Kids

The Backyardigans – Nickelodeon

Best Animated Video Game

Avatar: The Last Airbender “The Burning Earth” – THQ, Inc.

Bee Movie Game – Activision

Ratatouille – THQ, Inc.

Transformers: The Game – Blur Studios


Animated Effects

Gary Bruins – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Deborah Carlson – “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Ryan Laney – “Spider-Man 3” – Sony Pictures Imageworks

James Mansfield – “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater” – Walt Disney Feature Animation

Jon Reisch – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Animation Production Artist

John Clark – “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Michael Isaak – “Bee Movie” – DreamWorks Animation

Hyun-Min Lee – “The Chestnut Tree” – Picnic Pictures

Natasha Liberman – “Growing Up Creepie “Creepie & The Candy Factory” – Taffy Entertainment LLC, Telegrael Teoranta, Discovery Communications Inc., SunWoo Entertainment, Peach Blossom Media

Jim Worthy – My Gym Partner’s A Monkey “Meet the Spidermonkeys” – Cartoon Network Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production

Dave Hardin – “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Alan Hawkins – “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Michal Makarewicz – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Television Production

Elizabeth Harvatine - Moral Orel “Nature 2” – ShadowMachine

Monica Kennedy – El Tigre – Nickelodeon

Eric Towner – Robot Chicken – ShadowMachine

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

Sylvain Deboissy – “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Carter Goodrich – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Character Design in an Animated Television Production

Jorge R. Gutierrez – El Tigre “Fistful of Collars” - Nickelodeon

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

Brad Bird “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Ash Brannon & Chris Buck “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Chris Miller & Raman Hui – “Shrek The Third” – DreamWorks Animation

Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi – “Persepolis” – Sony Pictures Classics

David Silverman – “The Simpsons Movie” – Twentieth Century Fox

Directing in an Animated Television Production

Seth Green “Robot Chicken Star Wars” – ShadowMachine

David Hartman - Tigger & Pooh “Turtles Need for Speed” – Walt Disney Television Animation

Raymie Muzquiz - Squirrel Boy “Gumfight at the S’Okay Corral” – Cartoon Network Studios

Howy Parkins – The Emperor’s New School “Emperor’s New Musical” - Walt Disney Television Animation

Gary Trousdale “Shrek The Halls” – DreamWorks Animation

Music in an Animated Feature Production

Olivier Bernet – “Persepolis” – Sony Pictures Classics

Danny Elfman, Rufus Wainwright & Rob Thomas – “Meet The Robinsons” – Walt Disney Feature Animation

Michael Giacchino – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Rupert Gregson-Williams – “Bee Movie” – DreamWorks Animation

Amy Powers, Russ DeSalvo & Jeff Danna – “Disney Princess Enchanted Tales” – DisneyToon Studios/Walt Disney Video/Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Music in an Animated Television Production

Alf Clausen & Michael Price – The Simpsons “Yokel Chords” – Gracie Films in association with 20th Century Fox

Evan Lurie, Robert Scull & Steven Bernstein – The Backyardigans “International Super Spy” – Nickelodeon

Drew Neumann & Gregory Hinde – Billy & Mandy’s Big Boogey Adventure – Cartoon Network Studios

Shawn Patterson – El Tigre “Yellow Pantera” – Nickelodeon

James L. Venable & Jennifer Kes Remington – Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends “The Bloo Superdude and the Magic Potato Power” – Cartoon Network Studios

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

Doug Chiang – “Beowulf” – Paramount Pictures

Harley Jessup – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Marcelo Vignali – “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

Don Hall – ‘Meet The Robinsons’ – Walt Disney Feature Animation

Denise Koyama – “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Ted Mathot – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Sean Song – “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – IMAGI Animation Studios

Nassos Vakalis – “Bee Movie” – DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production

Ben Balistreri – Danny Phantom “Torrent of Terror” – Nickelodeon

Aldin Baroza – The Replacements “London Calling” – Walt Disney Television Animation

Dave Bennett – Tom and Jerry Tales – Warner Bros. Animation

Steve Fonti – Family Guy “No Chris Left Behind” – Fox TV Animation/Fuzzy Door Productions

Roy Meurin – My Friends Tigger and Pooh “Good Night to Pooh” – Walt Disney Television Animation

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

Janeane Garofalo – Voice of Collette – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Ian Holm – Voice of Skinner – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Julie Kavner – Voice of Marge Simpson – “The Simpsons Movie” – Twentieth Century Fox

Patton Oswalt – Voice of Remy – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

Patrick Warburton – Voice of Ken – “Bee Movie” – DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production

Scott Adsit – Voice of Clay Puppington – “Moral Orel” – ShadowMachine

Madison Davenport – Voice of Sophianna – “Christmas is Here Again!” – Easy To Dream Entertainment

Tom Kenny – Voice of SpongeBob – SpongeBob SquarePants “Spy Buddies” – Nickelodeon

Eartha Kitt – Voice of Yzma – The Emperor’s New School “Emperor’s New Musical” – Walt Disney Television Animation

Eddie Murphy – Voice of Donkey – “Shrek The Halls” - DreamWorks Animation

Writing in an Animated Feature Production

Brad Bird – “Ratatouille” – Pixar Animation Studios

James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David, Mirkin, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder & Jon Vitti – “The Simpsons Movie” – Twentieth Century Fox

Don Rhymer and Ash Brannon & Chris Buck & Christopher Jenkins – “Surf’s Up” – Sony Pictures Animation

Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud – “Persepolis” – Sony Pictures Classics

Writing in an Animated Television Production

C.H. Greenblatt & William Reiss – Chowder “Burple Nurples” – Cartoon Network Studios

Gene Grillo – Back at the Barnyard “Cowman and Ratboy” – Nickelodeon

Ian Maxtone-Graham & Billy Kimball – The Simpsons “24 Minutes” – Gracie Films

Christopher Painter – Squirrel Boy “I Only Have Eye For You” – Cartoon Network Studios

Tom Sheppard – My Gym Partner’s A Monkey “The Butt of the Jake” – Cartoon Network Studios

WINSOR McCAY AWARD WINNERS (career contributions to the art of animation)

John Canemaker

Glen Keane

John Kricfalusi

Leonie Tyle

That's a nice photo of Random House's new start recruit in the Bookseller and Publisher.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Adelaide Festival awards shortlist

"Adelaide Festival Awards shortlist
The shortlist of nominees for the 2008 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature has been announced.

The biennial awards, with total prize money of $130,000, have attracted 667 entries across nine categories. Ten awards are made including six national awards: children's literature ($15,000), fiction ($15,000), innovation ($10,000), nonfiction ($15,000), the John Bray poetry award ($15,000) and the Premier's award ($10,000).

The awards are judged by 25 leading representatives of the South Australian literary community including academics, writers, publishers, booksellers and reviewers.

The 2008 Festival Awards for Literature will be announced at Adelaide Writers' Week in the East Tent on Sunday 2 March 2006 at 4.30pm.

Among the shortlisted titles are:

$15,000 award for children's literature (212 entries)

Home (Narelle Oliver, Omnibus)
Foundling: Monster Blood Tattoo Book 1 (D M Cornish, Omnibus)
Don't Call Me Ishmael (Michael Gerard Bauer, Omnibus)
Macbeth and Son (Jackie French, Angus & Robertson)
Danny Allen Was Here (Phil Cummings, Pan Macmillan)
The Worry Tree (Marianne Musgrove, Random House)

$15,000 award for fiction (147 entries)
Sorry (Gail Jones, Vintage)
Diary of a Bad Year (J M Coetzee, Text)
El Dorado (Dorothy Porter, Picador)
Carpentaria (Alexis Wright, Giramondo)
The Ballad of Desmond Kale (Roger McDonald, Vintage)
Orpheus Lost (Janette Turner Hospital, Fourth Estate)

$10,000 award for innovation (38 entries)
Diary of a Bad Year (J M Coetzee, Text)
Montale, a Biographical Anthology (John Watson, Puncher and Wattmann)
Cube Root of Book (Paul Magee, John Leonard Press)
Someone Else: Fictional Essays (John Hughes, Giramondo)

$15,000 award for nonfiction (125 entries)
The Lamb Enters the Dreaming (Robert Kenny, Scribe)
Sunrise West (Jacob G Rosenberg, Brandl & Schlesinger)
Packer's Lunch (Neil Chenoweth, Allen & Unwin)
The Content Makers (Margaret Simons, Penguin)
The Vietnam Years: From the Jungle to the Australian Suburbs (Michael Caulfield, Hachette)
Not Part of the Public: Non-Indigenous Policies and Practices and the Health of Indigenous South Australians, 1836-1973 (Judith Raftery, Wakefield Press)

$15,000 John Bray poetry award (90 entries)
At the Flash and at the Baci (Ken Bolton, Wakefield Press)
Esperance: New and Selected Poems (Caroline Caddy, Fremantle Press)
Urban Myths: 210 Poems (News and Selected) (John Tranter, UQP)
A Bud (Claire Gaskin, John Leonard Press)
Not Finding Wittgenstein (J S Harry, Giramondo)
Seriatim (Geoff Page, Salt)"

Oscar nominations

Atonement, There Will Be Blood, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men
Julian Schnabel, Jason Reitman, Joel and Ethan Coen, Tony Gilroy, Paul Thomas Anderson
Diablo Cody, Brad Bird, Nancy Oliver, Tamara Jenkins, Tony Gilroy
Paul Thomas Anderson, Joel and Ethan Coen, Sarah Polley, Ronald Harwood, Christopher Hampton
Katyn, Mongol, 12, Beaufort, The Counterfeiters
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, No End in Sight, Sicko, War/Dance, Taxi to the Dark Side
Persepolis, Ratatouille, Surf's Up

Saturday, February 02, 2008

coded words

I was reading a newspaper article by an author who praised her editor for saying, when asked about whether the author should make a change to keep her American publisher happy, "This is your decision, what you change or don't change. I always say, it's your name on the book not mine." And the author went on to say that's why she loved her editor.

Now my understanding is that the editor has just used an old editorial saw meaning: don't be an idiot make the change, but if you want to be an idiot, it's your name on the book not mine, and that's the name that people will remember." Its a comment often used as a an editorial rejection of further responsibility and therefore a warning.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

differences between libel laws

‘In the US, a plaintiff like Tom Cruise (a public figure) would need to prove that the defamatory statement was published with actual malice, which is defined as "knowledge that the statement was false or reckless". Thus the onus is on the plaintiff. This is often a difficult hurdle for a plaintiff.

‘In contrast, in Australia the onus is on the publisher to prove that the material published is true or that another defence is available to it. This is a far greater hurdle to jump than that faced by the plaintiff in the US.'

from the WBN

Friday, January 04, 2008

The "Uncanny Valley"

A topic of some enduring interest. An appealing anomaly, an delightful irony, a conundrum. The closer animation gets to reality the less realistic it seems. The valley showcases the ability of the human mind to fill in the gaps as long as the gabs are big enough to be worth filling. So for example in Animalia the animals are done with greater realism than the humans.

Summer is the season of the short story

… whether its a collection for Christmas or in the daily paper.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

food for thought - will e-books go the same way?

"The digital growth in downloaded songs and albums hit record levels in 2007, but it wasn't enough to make up for the loss in physical CD sales. Sales in the U.S. of all albums, digital and physical, dropped 15% to 500.5 million from the 588.2 million sold in 2006. Last year was the seventh consecutive in which music sales have dipped; the last rise was in 2000, when album sales hit 800 million." Variety

novels v movies

"A novel can include a sort of panorama of characters, a little like the Breughel painting with Icarus going down in the lower right-hand corner of the canvas. That's one of the reasons there are novels. That's one of the reasons we need novels and we need movies. A novel can account for randomness and can include a wide range of people whose fates just barely impinge on one another. I can't think of a way to tell a story like that in a movie that I would want to see."
David Cunningham, for more of the article see


I wasn't aware but it's apparently true to-line actors choose their films on the basis of a release in time for a peak of Oscar voting.

Maybe it's just that I haven't noticed it in the past, but the advertising for Oscar votes is quite in your face this year. It seems a distortion.