This is an event from the 2014 Festival. Please try searching for the current event using the menu at the top or use the search box in the top righthand corner of our website.

Forest for the Trees: Writers & Publishing in 2014
Thursday, May 22 2014 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM Ticketed: $55/$45
State Library of NSW - Friend’s Room, Mitchell Building, Ground Floor, Mitchell Building State Library of N, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Michael Robotham, Eimear McBride, Kate Forsyth, Kirsten Krauth, Darrell Pitt, Natalie Costa Bir, Kelly Fagan, Louise Sherwin-Stark, Helene Byfielf, David M. Henley, Robert Watkins, David Winter, Rose Michael, Inga Simpson, Andrea Hanke, Lou Johnson, John Purcell, Brett Osmond, Julie Pinkham
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A one-day seminar looking at the current state of publishing for Australian writers. It brings together writers, publishers, editors, and booksellers to discuss what is happening in 2014.

Crime writer Michael Robotham and debut novelist Eimear McBride talk about the challenges of maintaining a career. Publishers will discuss the creative avenues they use to find and promote authors.

The conversation will cover mainstream, digital and independent publishing ending with a panel of industry experts to shine some light on the year ahead.

Presented with the NSW Writers’ Centre.
Duration: six hours

David M. Henley (Australian)

David M. Henley is the author of a science fiction trilogy The Hunt for Pierre Jnr, Manifestations, has pseudonymously written and illustrated two esoteric novellas The Museum of Unnatural History and Bumbly Goes Forth and one love poem The Story So Far. He has worked in Australian trade publishing for his entire adult life and grown a successful design and publishing studio in Xoum, and is the art director and co-founder of Seizure, a platform for new writing. He is based in Sydney, Australia, but can be found on the Weave.

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Robert Watkins (Australian)

Robert Watkins is commissioning editor for adult fiction and non-fiction at Hachette Australia, and has been working in the Australian book industry for 18 years. Throughout his career he’s worked across sales, marketing and publicity – which has given him a wide perspective on what books have big commercial appeal. He’s primarily interested in publishing non-fiction with a leaning towards young, contemporary voices – but is also a big fan of contemporary fiction with a real Australian edge.

Rose Michael (Australian)

Currently commissioning editor (fiction & non-fiction) at Hardie Grant Books, Rose Michael co-founded Arcade Publications in 2007 and established the internships program for the University of Melbourne’s Publishing & Communications. She has been editor of the Weekly Book Newsletter & Books+Publishing magazine, and her first novel The Asking Game was a Vogel runner-up. Her short stories have been frequently published and often awarded.

Inga Simpson (Australian)

Inga Simpson has a PhD in Creative Writing from QUT and a Masters in Australian Literature from the University of New South Wales. Before turning seriously to creative writing, Inga had a long career as a professional writer, including stints for federal Parliament and the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Inga is currently working on a nature writing project Notes From Olvar Wood and researching Australian nature writing as part of an MPhil in Literature at the University of QLD. Inga Simpson took part in the Queensland Writer’s Centre Manuscript Development Program in 2011.

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Andrea Hanke (Australian)

Andrea Hanke is editor-in-chief of Australian book industry news source Books+Publishing, which includes Books+Publishing magazine, the Weekly Book Newsletter and the Books+Publishing Daily newsletter. She has previously worked as an editor and bookseller.

Lou Johnson (Australian)

Lou Johnson is a well-known industry figure with over twenty years of publishing experience, including senior roles at Random House, Allen & Unwin and Simon & Schuster. She has been Managing Director at Simon & Schuster since January 2010. She is deeply passionate about books and the opportunities surrounding their future. She is currently joint Vice President of the Australian Publisher's Association (APA) and was a member of the Book Industry Collaborative Council (BICC) where she chaired the Distribution Expert Reference Group.

Julie Pinkham (Australian)

A convert from bookseller to publisher Julie Pinkham is managing  director  of Hardie Grant Books.  She joined the company as its inception in 1997. With a background in marketing , and with interests ranging from  biography to current affairs, and all things cultural (and hopefully  entertaining),  she is involved in most aspects of  the day to  day  publishing  at Hardie Grant . She is also a director  of  Hardie Grant Egmont , the children’s books publisher and both Quadrille  and Hardie Grant Books in London.

Mark Harding (Australian)

Mark Harding is a digital marketing executive with Momentum, the digital-first imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Momentum is the first imprint of its kind in Australia, with a global outlook and an increasing focus on genre fiction. Mark has worked in the book industry for several years, starting out as a bookseller before finding his way into publishing.

Michael Robotham (Australian)

Michael Robotham spent 14 years as an investigative reporter and feature writer in Australia and Britain before becoming a ghostwriter, collaborating on more than a dozen autobiographies for politicians, pop stars, soldiers and adventurers. He is now one of Australia’s most widely read crime writers, translated into 24 languages and is a twice-winner of the Ned Kelly award for Crime Fiction.

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Kate Forsyth (Australian)

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at seven, and is now the internationally bestselling, award-winning author of 30 books. Voted one of Australia's Favourite 20 Novelists, her adult novels include Dancing on Knives, The Wild Girl, and Bitter Greens, called ‘the best fairy-tale retelling since Angela Carter’. Her children’s books include Two Selkie Tales from Scotland, The Gypsy Crown, and The Puzzle Ring. Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of Australia’s first published children’s book.

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Kirsten Krauth (Australian)

Kirsten Krauth's first novel just_a_girl was published in 2013. She lives in Castlemaine, edits the NSW Writers' Centre magazine, Newswrite, is regional arts reporter for ABC Arts Online, and her articles have appeared in Good Weekend and The Australian. She blogs at Wild Colonial Girl — where she runs the Writing Mothers series and Friday Night Fictions for debut novelists. She was a judge for The Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Australian Novelists awards in 2013.

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Natalie Costa Bir (Australian)

Natalie Costa Bir works as a digital producer in the Marketing and Communications department of the University of Sydney. She also runs ebook workshops for editors with the Australian Publishers Association. Natalie previously worked as an editor at HarperCollins Publishers, Australia, managing the editorial workflow of the ebook program. She established social media channels for the Voyager speculative fiction imprint at HarperCollins, working with authors to connect with readers through blogs, Facebook and Twitter, and reader community websites.

Kelly Fagan (Australian)

Kelly Fagan has worked in the publishing industry for the past 8 years and is currently Publicity Manager at HarperCollins Australia. In 2013 she was awarded the Unwin Fellowship and spent 3 months working at a variety of publishing houses in the UK.

Louise Sherwin-Stark (Australian)

Louise Sherwin-Stark started her publishing career in London, in various sales positions for Ryland, Peter & Small and Faber & Faber. She ended her time in London as UK Sales Director for Hodder & Stoughton.  Louise returned home as the Sales & Marketing Director for Hodder at Hachette Australia. After a year of merchandising for the UK and AU Google Play stores she became MD of Bloomsbury Publishing in Sydney.  Louise recently returned to Hachette Australia as Sales & Product Director.

Helene Byfield (Australian)

Helene Byfield has been a Manager/Buyer at Books Kinokuniya in Sydney for over ten years. Category manager for Fiction, Cookbooks, Travel and Lifestyle, Helene has also been on the judging panel for the APA Book Design Awards. In 2013 Books Kinokuniya was voted NSW's favourite bookstore.

Brett Osmond (Australian)

Brett Osmond is currently marketing and publicity director and head of digital at Random House. He is a former director of the Federal Government’s Books Alive campaign and has been in the publishing industry for over 20 years. Brett’s favourite pastime is adventure travel and his favourite book, is Any Human Heart by William Boyd.

John Purcell (Australian)

John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for the last twenty years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Head of Marketing and Chief Buyer at

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David Winter (Australian)

David Winter is a senior editor at Text Publishing in Melbourne. He joined the company in 2009 after leaving the Monthly magazine, where he was deputy editor. At Text, David was associate editor of the quarterly Griffith Review for three years and now oversees the majority of books in the Text Classics series. He works with established and emerging authors of literary fiction and non-fiction.

Darrell Pitt (Australian)

Darrell Pitt is the author of the Jack Mason adventures. He caught the ebook self-publishing wave in 2011, releasing several books through Amazon and Smashwords. In 2013, he wrote one of Canadian website Wattpad’s most read adventure stories – Diary of a Teenage Superhero, garnering more than 50,000 readers. This success led to an eight book publishing deal with Text Publishing. His first book from Text is The Firebird Mystery with the sequel due out in July.

Eimear McBride (International)

Eimear McBride’s debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing has won the Goldsmiths Prize. The novel touches on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma, McBride writes with singular intensity, acute sensitivity and mordant wit.

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