This event has booked out. Join the waitlist.
Forest for the Trees is a one-day seminar that explores the current state of writing and publishing in Australia. It brings together writers, publishers, and industry representatives to discuss what is happening in 2019.
Hear from bestselling writers, local and international publishers, industry analysts and experts. The conversation will cover new publishing avenues, the latest book sales data, and the shifting boundaries between genre and literary fiction. The day ends with a panel of experts discussing future opportunities and challenges.
10.00 – 10.45am My Path Through the Forest
Jane Harper’s bestselling crime novels, The Dry and Force of Nature have sold in over 30 territories, with film rights for The Dry sold to Reese Witherspoon. In conversation with journalist and author Caroline Overington, Jane will take us through what she has learnt so far and her plans for 2019.
10.45 – 11.30am Staying on the Path
Michael Sala’s debut, The Last Thread, won the 2013 NSW Premier’s Award for New Writing and was the regional winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. His most recent book, The Restorer, has been a critical success and he is currently at work on his third novel. He joins Caroline Overington to discuss what it takes to get published and maintain a career as a writer.
Break 11.30am – 11.45am
11.45am – 12.30pm Reading the Signs
Bianca Whiteley from Nielsen BookScan brings us data about the books readers are buying and which genres readers are moving to. This year, she will look at where the long-term shifts are and which titles are driving this growth.
12.30 – 1.30pm From Little Things Big Things Grow
Journals have always been avenues for discovering and supporting new Australian writing and now some of them have successfully moved into publishing. Sam Cooney (The Lifted Brow) with Shaun Prescott author of The Town, which has sold rights in the US and UK, and Alice Grundy (Seizure) with Mirandi Riwoe, author of the critically acclaimed The Fish Girl, talk with Elizabeth McMahon, editor of Southerly.
Lunch 1.30pm – 2.30pm
2.30 – 3.30pm Growth Markets: Genre Publishing
The publishing of fantasy, romance, and crime fiction has recently seen growth and experimentation. Researcher Beth Driscoll, University of Melbourne, discusses the changes in the industry with Mitchell Hogan, independent and mainstream published fantasy and science fiction author; Emma Viskic author of the critically acclaimed Caleb Zelic series which has been published world-wide and won numerous awards; and Pamela Malpas from the US-based Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.
3.30 – 4.30pm The Open Road
Author Ashley Hay (The Railwayman’s Wife) considers the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry with Sophie Masson, author, publisher and Small Press Network representative; Joel Naoum, independent publishing consultant (Critical Mass Consulting); Anna Low, Potts Point Bookshop; and Rebecca Servadio, London Literary Scouting.
Please note these tickets are sold under the Sydney Writers’ Festival cancellation policy and are therefore are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Refunds are only granted as outlined in the Entertainment code of Fair practice.
Sam Cooney runs the literary organisation TLB, which houses the independent book press Brow Books and quarterly literary magazine, The Lifted Brow. He is publisher-in-residence at RMIT, has taught sessionally at several universities, and is a freelance writer and literary critic. In 2017 he took part in the Australia Council’s ‘Future Leaders’ professional development program, […]
Beth Driscoll is Senior Lecturer in Publishing and Communications at the University of Melbourne. Her research on the publishing industry and contemporary fiction includes the book The New Literary Middlebrow and articles in Memoires du Livre/Studies in Book Culture, Continuum, the European Journal of Cultural Studies and the Journal of Popular Culture. She is a Chief Investigator on […]
Alice Grundy is associate publisher at Brio Books and co-founder of Seizure, an incubator of Australian writing. For the past decade, she has worked in trade publishing with a focus on developing new talent. She has run workshops at festivals, universities and schools in Australia, India and China and written for the Sydney Review of […]
Jane Harper is the author of the international bestsellers The Dry and Force of Nature. Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with film rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane has won numerous top awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards […]
Ashley Hay is a Brisbane-based novelist and essayist whose awards include the Foundation of Australian Literary Studies’ Colin Roderick Award and the Peoples’ Choice from the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards (for The Railwayman’s Wife), and the Bragg/UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing. Her latest novel is A Hundred Small Lessons. She is the editor of Griffith Review.
For ten years, Mitchell Hogan put off his dream of writing; then he quit his job and wrote A Crucible of Souls, winner of the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Now an author of seven novels across four different series, he is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an […]
Anna Low is an independent bookseller with 25 years experience. She has owned and run the Potts Point Bookshop in Sydney since 2007. She is a former Miles Franklin judge and currently serves on the board of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the ABA Kids’ Reading Guide panel. In 2016 she was the Text Bookseller […]
Originally from San Francisco, Pamela Malpas has been a New York-based agent for more than 20 years and currently holds a position with the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. Over her career Pamela has worked with legendary literary estates and in the areas of suspense, thrillers, contemporary mystery and YA fiction. In addition to her US […]
French-Australian writer Sophie Masson is the award-winning and internationally-published author of over sixty books for children, young adults and adults. Sophie is a founding partner and publishing director of Christmas Press, an acclaimed publisher founded in Armidale in 2013, producing children’s illustrated books and children’s fiction in three imprints. A former Chair of the Australian […]
Elizabeth McMahon teaches and researches Australian literature and Island Studies at UNSW and is the editor of Southerly, Australia’s oldest literary journal. Her recent monograph Islands Identity and the Literary Imagination (2016) won two national awards and she is currently completing a book on cross-dressing in Australian Literature. She has co-edited three book collections: Remembering Patrick White; Elizabeth Harrower: Critical Essays; and Women Making Time. She is co-editing […]
Joel Naoum is a Sydney-based book publisher, bookseller, editor and consultant. He is currently the non-fiction category manager at Booktopia and runs Critical Mass, a publishing consultancy. Joel previously ran Pan Macmillan Australia’s digital-first imprint Momentum Books. He is the chair of the board of Writing NSW and in 2011 he completed the Unwin Trust […]
Caroline Overington is a two-time winner of the Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism and a winner of the Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Excellence in Journalism. A former NY correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, she is the author of non-fiction books, Kickback: Inside the AWB Scandal, which won the Blake Dawson […]
Shaun Prescott is a novelist based in the Blue Mountains. His debut novel, The Town is published by Brow Books in Australia and Faber in the UK.
Mirandi Riwoe’s novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella V competition and was shortlisted for The Stella Prize. She is the author of two crime novels, with a third to be released this year. Her short fiction has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, Review of Australian Fiction, Griffith Review and Best Summer Stories. Mirandi has a PhD […]
Michael Sala was born in Holland and grew up moving between Europe and Australia. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, and his first novel, The Last Thread, was the winner of the UTS/Glenda Adams Award in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2013, and his second novel, The Restorer, was shortlisted for the fiction […]
Rebecca Servadio leads London Literary Scouting, an international agency that scouts, reads, consults and recommends books for 24 publishers around the world as well as for BBC Film, the National Theatre and a portfolio of other media companies. Rebecca loves books and is fascinated by the multitude of ways to tell stories and translate them […]
Emma Viskic is author of the critically acclaimed Caleb Zelic series: Resurrection Bay; And Fire Came Down; Darkness For Light (2019). Her novels have been published worldwide and won numerous awards, including four Davitt Awards and a Ned Kelly Award. Emma undertook extensive research to write the character of Caleb Zelic, who is profoundly deaf, including […]
Bianca Whiteley started her career in publishing at Murdoch Books in 1999, and spent seven years in various roles including Inventory Management. She joined Nielsen Book in 2006 where her latest role is Account Director. For the past 12 years she has helped publishers and retailers make the most of the data and is currently […]
Talking Writing: India
India has long been the subject of literary fascination, from within and without. But what does it mean to write about a country, particularly when your sense of belonging may be complicated or compromised? And as far as muses go, what particular appeal or challenges does India present as a place and culture? Manisha Jolie Amin (Dancing […]