Part 2 of January 2017 newsletter
August and September are festival months and this year marked a series of festival highlights with Spinifex authors. The Cairns Tropical Writers Festival in mid-August saw Susan Hawthorne speaking in both capacities as poet and publisher, including poetry focused on the impact of tropical cyclones, and on the final day running a successful and enjoyable Poetry Master Class.Helen Ramoutsaki and Susan Hawthorne speaking about cyclones at Cairns Tropical Writers Festival.
The Feminist Writers Festival held in Melbourne included invitations to Spinifex authors, Merlinda Bobis, Emma Ashmere, Jean Taylor and Susan Hawthorne, speaking about fiction and publishing.
Right on the heels of this was the Canberra Writers Festival. Merlinda Bobis' hectic schedule continued with sessions on fiction and political writing, Lizz Murphy and Susan Hawthorne read and spoke about poetry. Both have engaged in writing a poem a day and were joined by Canberra poet P.S. Cottier discussing just how you manage to write a poem each day of the year for a year.
Susan Hawthorne and Lizz Murphy at the Canberra Writers Festival
In the second week of the Melbourne Writers Festival, Indian Zubaan publisher Urvashi Butalia joined Susan Hawthorne on a panel to discuss 'bibliodiversity'. Susan's book Bibliodiversity: A Manifesto for Independent Publishing
was published in 2014 and has been translated into Arabic, French, Spanish and German.
Catriona Mitchell, Urvashi Butalia and Susan Hawthorne at MWF
From 9-10 September the 25 year celebratory conference, 'That's Radical Feminism', was held at the Lithuanian Club in North Melbourne. More than forty speakers, Spinifex authors and radical feminist community activists participated in this event which some described as reminding them of having the energy of 1970s Women's Liberation Conferences. It included those who have been involved in feminist activism over many decades as well as young women speaking publically for the very first time. It brought together writers of political works as well as novelists, biographers and poets.
Friday evening was devoted to a night of performance with comedian Sue Ingleton as MC. It opened with the wonderful singer Kavisha Mazzella, followed by poets Patricia Sykes and Sandy Jeffs, and a performance poem by Bronwyn Winter. More singers including a debut performance by Dyke Divas, soloist Dani Tauni and Indigenous singer songwriter Annie Patten.
Photo: Clare O'Shannessy
At the end of the two-day event, the outline of a collective radical feminist manifesto was drawn up on butcher's paper and notes made from that to be collated later.
2016 has seen Spinifex begin to enter the world of films, Hoa Pham's novel, Wave
has been optioned for a film by WA-based film company Vue Group. It will also be translated into Vietnamese. Other translations this year include khulud khamis' novel Haifa Fragments
into Turkish and Italian, Gillian Hanscombe's Figments of a Murder
into German and a soon to be released Tamil translation of the award-winning My Sister Chaos
by Lara Fergus.
One of the great things we do is keeping books in print. In 2016, we released a new edition of Zohl dé Ishtar's prize-winning book Holding Yawulyu: White Culture and Black Women's Law.
The New Edition includes photographs and an in depth Preface to the 2016 edition. Zohl has lived with the Indigenous elders of Wirrimanu (Balgo) for fourteen years and has provided support and garnered funding for the Kapululangu Women's Cultural Centre.
You can read more here
Other reprints have included two books by Indigenous authors, Trauma Trails, Recreating Songlines
by Judy Atkinson, Seven Sisters of the Pleiades
by Munya Andrews. Other recent reprints include Far and Beyon'
by Unity Dow from Botswana, Surviving Peace
by Olivera Simić from the former Yugoslavia, Limen
by Susan Hawthorne. Watch out for forthcoming reprints in early 2017: The Mad Poets' Tea Party
by Sandy Jeffs, The Journey Home
by Cathie Dunsford and The Spinster and Her Enemies
by Sheila Jeffreys.
It's been a big year for all of us at Spinifex Press and we have finished 2016 with a book that will challenge readers with Robert Jensen's The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men
. This book is a great gift or summer read for the favourite man in your life, family members who ask about feminism and want an introductory text and anyone who has so far missed the feminist boat.
And if you think that Spinifex sounds like your cup of tea, we now have a complete catalogue of all our 205 books that we have in print and available right now. If you are in Australia, order directly from our website
and if you are in Canada or USA, please order from IPG
and in the UK from Gazelle
A big thank you to all Spinifex authors for making this a great year, to all at Spinifex: Maralann Damiano, Helen Lobato, Pauline Hopkins and Zoe Goodall who have had a lot on their plates this year; and to those who have worked at Spinifex during the last 25 years. There are many book industry professionals such as our designer Deb Snibson, typesetters Helen Christie and Claire Warren, indexer Karen Gillen and the booksellers, publishers and funding bodies who have supported some of the activities mentioned here including, the Victorian Women's Trust, Copyright Agency and the Australia Council. We now wait for the outcome of the Parliamentary vote on the Productivity Commission's Report, about which writers, publishers, booksellers and printers all agree: protect our intellectual property and authors' income. We hope you will stand with us on this as it has a significant impact on independent publishers. Spinifex has always highlighted diversity in publishing. If you think that the voices of writers with disabilities, Indigenous writers, writers from a wide range of class and cultural backgrounds, and lesbian writers are important, write to us for a copy of our complete catalogue, join our monthly mailing list, find us on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Please pass this on to friends and colleagues who might be interested but don't know about us yet. Feminism is back again and we can provide the books to generate discussions, be used in courses and make your imagination soar.