Presented with the NSW Writers’ Centre.
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 2017.
Michael Mohammed Ahmad, author and director of Sweatshop, the Western Sydney based literacy movement, will open the discussion. International publishers will discuss opportunities for Australian authors, and researchers will present the facts on book sales, readership, and the economic argument for the book industry.
The conversation will cover mainstream, digital and independent publishing, ending with a panel of industry experts who will shine some light on what can be expected in the year ahead.
Tickets are $65 full price, $45 concession, or $45 for NSWWC members.
My Path Through the Forest
A writer’s life entails much more than getting words on the page. Michael Mohammed Ahmad is an author, actor, teacher, and champion of writing in Western Sydney. He is the director of Sweatshop, the Western Sydney based literacy movement. In 2014, his novel The Tribe was published and produced as a play.
Changes to the industry are bringing new ways for authors to connect with readers. Rather than a gatekeeper, could publishers be more like curators or even cartographers? What changes will technology bring? And the bookshop: it’s a place for book lovers to gather, but is it the best place to sell books? With Matthia Dempsey (general manager, Small Press Network); Hera Lindsay Bird (New Zealand poet and bookseller); Connor Tomas O’Brien (co-founder of ebookstore platform Tomely); and Alexandra Payne (publisher, University of Queensland Press).
Reading the Signs
Julie Winters from Nielsen Bookscan brings us data about the books readers are buying and the books that are likely to sell in the future. Dr Jan Zwar from Macquarie University will speak to a survey led by Dr David Throsby into the reading habits of 3000 Australians. Andrea Hanke, editor-in-chief of Books & Publishing brings her knowledge of the industry to the discussion and opens it up to your questions.
Going Further Afield
From India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia we bring together three publishers and an international agent to discuss what Australian works sell internationally and how authors get their work sold overseas. Sarah Crichton, publisher, Sarah Crichton Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Catherine Eccles, owner & literary scout, Eccles Fisher Associates; Fiona Henderson, publishing director, Simon & Schuster; and Gita Wolf, founder & publisher, Tara Books.
The Australian Book Industry: what’s it worth?
David Throsby, distinguished professor of economics at Macquarie University, is currently engaged in the three-year study, The Australian Book Industry: Authors, Publishers and Readers in a Time of Change. He will discuss the value of the Australian book industry and why it is important to our culture and economy.
The Open Road
The publishing landscape has shifted. Some aspects, like making a living from writing, have become more difficult, but there are new opportunities too, particularly in alternative pathways to getting published. How do you make the most of those opportunities and how can we all ensure that Australian publishing thrives and encourages a multiplicity of Australian voices? Jonathan Green (editor, Meanjin) talks with Michael Mohammed Ahmad (director, Sweatshop); Sophie Hamley (publisher, Hachette); author Julie Koh (Portable Curiosities); and Juliet Rogers (CEO, Australian Society of Authors).
Presented with the NSW Writers’ Centre.
Jonathan Green (Australian)
Meanjin Editor Jonathan Green has been an editor, writer, commentator and broadcaster in a 40-year career as a journalist, beginning with a cadetship at The Canberra Times and taking in various Australian dailies: the Melbourne Herald, The Herald Sun, the Sunday Herald, The Sunday Age and 15 years at The Age. Jonathan left The Age in 2006 to edit Crikey. After three years there, he moved to the ABC as founding editor of ABC Online’s The Drum. He now presents Blueprint for Living on ABC Radio National. He is the author of Around Australia In 80 Days (2004) and The Year My Politics Broke (2013). He has been Editor of Meanjin since 2015.
Michael Mohammed Ahmad (Australian)
Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad is the Founding Director of Sweatshop Literacy Movement and Editor of the critically acclaimed anthology After Australia. His debut novel, The Tribe, won the 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelists of the Year Award. His second novel, The Lebs, won a 2019 Premier’s Literary Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Mohammed completed his Doctorate of Creative Arts at Western Sydney University in 2017. His forthcoming novel, The Other Half of You, will be published in June, 2021.