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.