Ventura Author Launches Writing Award


Caroline Van de Pol, author of Back to Broady, will be holding an author talk next week to launch ‘The Margaret Egan Young Writer’s Award’ named in honour of her late sister. The award has been established to commemorate her sister’s life, and to support a young person (aged 15 to 18 years) in order to pursue their passion for writing.

Van de Pol hopes the award will honour her sister, who passed away tragically at the age of 25, and the love her sister had for the Arts. ‘Writing helped her during difficult periods as she lived with the challenges of schizophrenia and overwhelming grief following the early death of our parents.’ Van der pol elaborated.

Prize money to the value of $1500 will be distributed between two winners, categorised into two age brackets. The prize is funded and administered by Caroline van de Pol herself, and she has been working closely with Writer’s Victoria to develop the award which will be announced as part of the Broadmeadows Festival program in April next year. 

Van de Pol hopes the award will encourage young writers to pursue their dreams; ‘Throughout my life, I have had the benefit of great support in teachers, university lecturers and career mentors so I’m hoping that maybe I can help someone else to dream big, to support and encourage them as they ‘have a go’ at something new.

Workshops to mentor and aid young writers in preparing their submission will be held on Tuesday 9 and 30 October at the Council Chambers downstairs from Broadmeadows Library. Caroline wishes to offer the same level of support she has received over her many years as a writer to anyone aspiring.

 With a focus on community the winner(s) would also be promoted to highlight the positive aspects of the diverse community of the Broadmeadows region, celebrating the contributions of young people committed to achieving their best.

The Author Talk to launch the inaugural Margaret Egan Young Writers Award will be held on Friday 14 September at 11am at Broadmeadows Library.

Ventura Press welcomes Blanche d’Alpuget to its growing, female-focused fiction list


Ventura Press, one of Sydney’s leading independent publishers, is delighted to announce it has acquired world rights to the Birth of the Plantagenets series by bestselling novelist Blanche d’Alpuget.

The Birth of the Plantagenets is a sumptuous, rich historical fiction series about two of history’s most compelling characters, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, and will appeal to fans of Wolf Hall and Game of Thrones.

The first two books in the series, The Young Lion and The Lion Rampant, will be re-launched in December 2018, followed by the publication of the third book, The Lion’s Torment, in April 2019.

‘It is often forgotten in the blaze of media attention she receives that Blanche is foremost an established author of powerful prize-winning novels, and one of the leading ladies of Australian fiction,’ says Jane Curry, publisher and director of Ventura Press.

‘With our focus on publishing strong female Australian authors, we’re incredibly excited to be able to complete Blanche’s historical fiction series, and introduce her writing to a new generation of readers.’

D’Alpuget joins a large group of female fiction authors being published in the second half of 2018 at Ventura, including award-winning Katherine Johnson with her third novel Matryoshka (October), and debut novelists Angela Meyer (A Superior Spectre, August), Karyn Sepulveda (Letters to My Yesterday, September), and Joanna Baker (The Slipping Place, November).

Rights were sold by Jeanne Ryckmans at the Cameron Creswell Agency.

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The Young Lion and The Lion Rampant are being release in December 2018. RRP $29.99.

We're wrapping up 2017 as a Nielsen Heatseeker!

We knew we were good but now it’s official!

Today is our last day at Ventura for 2017 and champagne is at the ready to celebrate our brilliant year.  

We end the year being named an Indie Heatseeker by Nielsen BookScan for most improved sales in the sector.  

So, what did we do in 2017?

We published engaging diverse stories from the very best Australian authors.  Think Dr Simon Longstaff’s Everyday Ethics, Lisa Dempster’s Neon Pilgrim, Professor Gordon Parker’s In Two Minds and ended the year with a new B-format edition of Katherine Johnson’s wonderful The Better Son.


A highlight for me was the launch of Peter Bishop Books in May – curated by the national living treasure Peter Bishop (ex-Varuna).  It is an absolute honour to know Peter and to publish Caroline van de Pol and Nick Gleeson, our first two authors published on the new imprint. Charlotte Wood launched the list for us at Gleebooks with a very moving speech.  A PB for me.

After a soft launch in 2016 we launched our new imprint Impact Press – which showcases start up authors and diverse stories. The launch title Escape from Berlin by Peter Nash sold out on release.


Booksellers loved our beautiful covers and the media engaged with our authors in authentic and meaningful ways. Our inaugural trip to the Beijing Book Fair was a parenting-book sell out and Amazon’s Audible loved our list and bought up big.

Add the professionalism of our distribution partner Simon and Schuster Australia and you have independent publishing at its best.

So take a break now to enjoy Christmas and the long shimmering days of summer in Sydney.

We will be back on 8 January to see our 2018 list go out into the world. Watch out for Paul Harris’ Odd Boy Out – an intimate family history bridging England and the Antipodes, the arresting memoir Girl Over The Edge by Kim Hodges and Angela Meyer’s stunning debut novel A Superior Spectre.  Oh and don’t miss out on the colonial family history Convicted by Peter Bradley for Father’s Day.


So that’s a wrap from Ventura.  

We wish you all a happy Christmas - see you in the new year.


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The Many Ways of Seeing has been added to the Vision Australia Library!


We are thrilled to share that Nick Gleeson’s wonderful memoir, The Many Ways of Seeing, has been added to Vision Australia’s online library. The Vision Australia Library opens up a world of information to people who are blind, have low vision, or a print disability by providing free access to thousands of audio books, magazines, newspapers and podcasts.

Jane Curry, director and publisher of Ventura Press and director of the Australian Publishers Association (APA), recently attended the APA Marrakesh Treaty Forum, which looked at strategies to make print material accessible to people with a print disability.

“Through working with the participants at the Marrakesh Treaty Forum I realised how vital it is that vision impaired persons have equal access to published books. How wonderful that Nick Gleeson’s The Many Ways of Seeing has been added to the Vision Australia Library,” Jane says.

To listen to The Many Ways of Seeing on the Vision Australia Library visit:

Praise for The Many Ways of Seeing

'Whether he is recalling the joys of going mushrooming with his father or the smell of mandarins when he was told of his mother's death, this unorthodox memoir vividly demonstrates the "many ways of seeing" through touch, smell and sound that a blind person experiences.' SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

'A generous and moving story' THE AUSTRALIAN

'This book is honest, insightful and refreshing. Recommended.' KATHRYN'S INBOX

'Poignant, honest and open, Gleeson takes us on a journey of incredible fortitude, everyday courage.' READING, WRITING AND RIESLING


The Better Son to be released in B-format this December

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We are thrilled to announce that Katherine Johnson’s award-winning Tasmanian novel The Better Son will be released in B-format in December, 2017. This is a fantastic result of the ongoing success of the novel, which was originally released in October 2016. The Better Son is a richly imaginative and universal story about the danger of secrets, the beauty in forgiveness and the enthralling power of Tasmania’s unique natural landscapes.


It is the winner of:

The University of Tasmania Prize (Tasmanian Literary Awards 2013)

People’s Choice Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Writer (Tasmanian Literary Awards 2013)

The Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Award 2013


And longlisted for:

The Tasmania Book Prize 2017

The Indie Book Awards 2017 in Fiction


We are so pleased with the books success and the excellent praise it continues to receive. This is an amazing achievement for Katherine and her novel The Better Son. Be sure to pick up a copy in-store or from our website here. RRP $19.99.



'The Better Son maps an emotional landscape as shifting and precarious as the limestone country so splendidly evoked here. Katherine Johnson is a sure-footed guide to lives hollowed out by secrets that reach deep into the past.' MICHELLE DE KRETSER, Miles Franklin Literary Award winner


'A fabulous read: moving, haunting, at times devastating, redemptive, and so evocative of the Mole Creek area.' Vern Field, editor of ISLAND MAGAZINE


'A gripping story of loss, trauma and the devastating impact of family secrets, The Better Son is a literary thriller that haunts the reader well beyond its final page.' 
RACHEL POWER, author of Creativity and Motherhood: The Divided Heart

China - our publishing neighbour

Jane Curry, Director of the Australian Publishers Association and Director and Publisher of Ventura Press, reflects on her first Beijing Book Fair.

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Paul Keating had it right – we are an Asian nation.

Having spent many years travelling the world for my publishing business, I have just returned from my first visit to Beijing and am an evangelist for the pivot to China.  

I had a glimpse of the potential of the Chinese market when Chinese rights to one of my books were sold through an agent. When a very substantial amount of money appeared in my bank account six months later I knew I was onto something. Over 30,000 copies had been sold in six months. So, with good business instincts, I followed the money...

The Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) is now in its 14th year and in my capacity of Director of the Australian Publishers Association, I headed a delegation of five independent publishers on our very first Beijing outing. And I am pleased to report our inaugural visit was a resounding success.

Why has it taken so long to discover our neighbours?

The English language publishing business is run across empire lines. Books are ‘sent’ from one heart of this empire, the UK, to the colonies as export sales. It was only recently that literary agents actually split ANZ rights from UK. On the other side of the Atlantic, American rights are traded independently of the UK. Consequently, the English language publishing industry has traded as a UK/US alliance viewing translation markets as a secondary market, often prioritising Europe over China.

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Publishers trade in intellectual property. We sell ‘rights’ – the right to publish a book in a specified market. The book is translated by the local partner and published into the market under their imprint.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, held annually in October, is the global behemoth of rights fairs. You are really not in publishing unless you are at the Frankfurt Book Fair. English language sales, German language, and European and South American markets dominate, while the Asian markets (which the UK calls the ‘Far East’) are seen as second tier.  

The relative new Beijing Book Fair refreshingly showcases a world not dominated by the major European or US players. The Chinese publishing market is mature, profitable, self-sustaining and now export-oriented. According to the China Publisher’s Yearbook, more than 444,000 titles are published annually, resulting in a $12.4bn industry in China, the largest in the world after the US.

Rising disposable incomes and the fast-growing Chinese middle class have created new market opportunities for many segments. For example, with the lifting of the one-child policy, 3 million babies are born every year resulting in 370 million Chinese under the age of 18. So, as you can imagine, parenting is a booming genre.

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Although the Chinese book market has liberalised significantly in the past 20 years, publishing remains one of the country’s most tightly regulated industries. All of the 582 official publishers are state-run, with private publishers officially banned. People were amazed that I privately owned my own publishing business. I was even asked how I managed motherhood and business. It is clearly a question that resonates in every market. 

I met with my existing contacts and made many new ones. The Chinese are keen to trade, export their unique culture through their own books whilst translating our books into their lists. Unlike the Australian publishing industry, they revere longevity and backlist bestsellers. Many of the younger generation publishers spoke English so the language barrier is workable, although we did have a translator with us as backup.

I returned completely invigorated that as an independent Australian publisher we have accessed the booming Chinese book market with our own intellectual property, and with much more business to come – and all with no jet lag.

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Ventura Press to publish Lisa Dempster's travel memoir Neon Pilgrim


Ventura Press, one of Sydney’s leading independent publishers, is delighted to announce it will be publishing Lisa Dempster’s debut memoir, Neon Pilgrim, on 1 August 2017.

Neon Pilgrim is Lisa’s refreshingly honest and inspiring story of walking back to health on the henro michi, an arduous 1200-kilometre Buddhist pilgrimage through the mountains of Japan.

First published in 2009 by Aduki Independent Press, the book received limited distribution across Australia.

“The opportunity to republish the remarkable Lisa Dempster’s Neon Pilgrim is the highlight of our 2017 list,” said Jane Curry, director and publisher of Ventura Press.

“Lisa’s memoir of her pilgrimage on the henro michi encompasses the universal truths that will always resonate with readers: loneliness, spirituality, humanity and belonging, and we are thrilled to be able to share her incredible story with a wider audience.”  

Lisa Dempster, the artistic director and CEO of Melbourne Writers Festival, said she is a firm believer in the importance of independent publishing, and is thrilled to be working with Jane Curry to bring Neon Pilgrim back into print.

“It's been a rewarding process to work with her visionary and supportive team at Ventura Press to reimagine my memoir for a new audience,” she said.

Appealing to fans of Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Tracks by Robyn Davidson, Lisa said anyone who has ever been at a crossroads in their life will appreciate her memoir, and hopes it will continue to open up the vital conversation around women and mental health.

“And of course, I hope it encourages adventurous-minded women to hit the trails – if I can do it, anyone can!” she said.


Lisa Dempster is the artistic director/CEO of the Melbourne Writers Festival. Previous roles have included Asialink fellow at Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, Director of the Emerging Writers' Festival, founding director of EWFdigital (now Digital Writers' Festival) and publisher at Vignette Press. Lisa has travelled widely in search of literary and other adventures.

Peter Bishop Books

Ventura Press is delighted to announce its latest imprint: Peter Bishop Books. Born as a collaboration with Bishop, the imprint will present a catalogue that aims to rekindle the intimate relationship between author and reader, a unique and inimitable dynamic that imbues reading with a magic not found in other art forms.

With over 17 years’ experience serving as a writing mentor and creative director of Varuna, the Writers’ House, Bishop aims to curate a unique catalogue of works that reflects his keen eye for spotting and fostering talent. The imprint will publish a range of works across a diverse variety of genres, united by the desire to create and tell truly memorable and enduring stories.

Peter Bishop Books will launch its first title, The Many Ways of Seeing by Nick Gleeson and Peter Bishop, in June 2017. Although becoming blind at the age of seven and growing up in the working-class suburb of Broadmeadows, Victoria, Gleeson has led a truly remarkable life, from climbing to the base camp of Everest and the summit of Kilimanjaro, to running marathons, and competing as a Paralympian.

The Many Ways of Seeing reflects on Gleeson’s lifetime of achievements, as well as his relationship with Bishop, as the two tell this unique story in their own unique way. In a blend of memoir, conversation and insights into the writing process, Gleeson and Bishop weave an inspiring tale of surviving hardship, building trust, and reflecting on the relationship between writer and mentor.

The second title to be published will be Back to Broady by Caroline van de Pol in July 2017. In a book that in many ways is the ‘twin’ or ‘sibling’ to The Many Ways of Seeing, Gleeson’s childhood neighbour and friend Caroline shares her own powerful memoir of growing up in 1960s Broadmeadows, Victoria. This is Caroline’s compelling story of her fight through disadvantage in a large, chaotic Irish Catholic family, and the incredibly moving experiences that have helped her walk the fine line between survival and surrender.

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The Better Son long-listed for The Indie Book Awards 2017

We’re extremely excited to announce that Katherine Johnson’s gripping novel The Better Son has been long listed for the Indie Book Awards 2017 fiction list. This is an astounding achievement for Katherine and her hauntingly beautiful book. The Better Son is a richly imaginative story that explores the complex nature of relationships, the power of forgiveness and the enthralling beauty of the unique Tasmanian landscape.

Other great titles listed alongside The Better Son include Hannah Kent's The Good People, Emily Maguire's An Isolated Incident, Liane Moriarty's Truly Madly Guilty, Georgia Blains Between a Wolf and a Dog and Inga Simpson's Where the Trees Were.

The Shortlist will be announced on 16th January 2017. The category winners and the Overall Book of the Year Winner will be announced on Monday 20th March 2017 at the Leading Edge Books 2017 Conference.

A big congratulations to Katherine for this fantastic achievement!

More information about the awards can be found here.

Melbourne Launch of Rebellious Daughters

On Thursday 4th August, at The Long Room in Melbourne, family, friends and contributors came together to celebrate the launch of our fantastic anthology, Rebellious Daughters. Introduced and launched by our editors, Maria Katsonis and Lee Kofman, with readings from two of our contributors, Leah Kaminsky and Jamila Rizvi. It was a wonderful evening full of extraordinary women. We are very proud to finally see this beautiful book on the shelves.


Above: Co-editor, Maria proudly introducing Rebellious Daughters.

Above: Co-editor, Lee Kofman, officially launching Rebellious Daughters.

Above: Leah Kaminsky, contributor, reading an extract from her story, 'Pressing the Seams'.

Above: Jamila Rizvi, contributor, reading from her section, 'The Good Girl'.

Some of our wonderful contributors (Left to Right): Jamila Rizvi, Rochelle Siemienowicz, Maria Katsonis, Lee Kofman, Jo Caro, Amra pajalic, Nicola Redhouse, Leah Kaminsky, Silvia Kwon.

Rebellious Daughters is out now, to purchase a copy click here.

REBELLIOUS DAUGHTERS receives four star review from Books+Publishing

A recent write-up in Books+Publishing has awarded our Rebellious Daughters a four star rating, citing among the reasons; the books’ stellar line-up of Australian female writers, the considered editing by Maria Katsonis and Lee Kofman and the sheer range of featured works - from comical tales and essays to intimate and powerful memoirs.

A powerful, funny and poignant work, we couldn’t agree with them more. Rebellious Daughters explores everything from getting caught in seedy nightclubs to lifelong family conflicts and marrying too young, all told from the perspective of some of Australia’s most talented female writers. Read below for the full write-up from Books+Publishing.

Rebellious Daughters features a stellar line-up of Australian female writers sharing touching stories of rebellion, family life, coming of age and motherhood. Edited by Maria Katsonis and Lee Kofman, this is a well-balanced collection of memoirs that charts the ‘complicated map of parent-daughter relationships’: from funny tales of youthful rebellion to traumatic estrangements and lasting wounds, the thrill of independence to unbreakable bonds and family loyalty. Rochelle Siemienowicz carves out a Self in a strict but loving Seventh-day Adventist household, and later fights against ‘the disappearing act’ women perform when they are consumed by motherhood. Rebecca Starford examines the risky business of memoir writing, questions of ownership and the idea of writing as rebellion. Susan Wyndham and Nicola Redhouse struggle to adjust to step-parents, while Krissy Kneen, the rebellious granddaughter, escapes her fairytale-obsessed grandmother to create her own tale of metamorphosis, sexual desire and freedom. One of the most poignant essays is Eliza-Jane Henry-Jones’ account of growing up in an atmosphere of decline, fighting against Alzheimer’s as she watches her grandmother and then her father forget themselves and their family. These intimate stories will appeal to readers of family memoir and essay collections such as Mothermorphosis.


Releasing 1 August 2016, click here to read more about 'Rebellious Daughters' as well as our other great titles.