Ventura signs Paul Dalgarno's debut novel, Poly

We are excited to announce one of the latest additions to our 2020 list - Paul Dalgarno’s debut novel, Poly.

With thanks to Martin Shaw at Alex Adsett Publishing Agency, Ventura secured Dalgarno’s novel for publication. Shaw describes the novel as ‘a deliciously frank account of the highs and lows of a married couple’s exploration of a polyamorous lifestyle—a slanted and enchanted romantic comedy thriller for our times’.

‘After witnessing the tremendous job they did with Angela Meyer’s novel A Superior Spectre last year, I also know this book is in the best possible publishing hands at Ventura,’ said Shaw.

Poly will take its rightful place among our ever-growing contemporary-focussed list. It is a Sally-Rooney-esque fiction that will challenge ideologies, and we hope, ignite and further conversations on inclusivity and diversity in publishing today.

Ventura’s director, Jane Curry says, ‘Poly is contemporary fiction at its best, a novel that challenges our preconceptions and reflects modern society in all its wonderful diversity.’

Dalgarno’s memoir And You May Find Yourself was published by Sleepers in 2015.

Poly will be published in the second half of 2020.

We look forward to sharing this future new release with you!

Ventura Recommends - What to Read on R U OK DAY

Ventura is a strong advocate of mental health, and with today being R U OK day, it’s fitting to explore some of our favourite literature for when those feelings of anxiety seem overwhelming. Here are our top picks of books to pick up if you’re feeling down.

Books that let you know you’re not alone:

When you’re dealing with mental health, it can be hard to imagine that other people are dealing with the same thing. So, picking up a book can be as good as chatting to a good friend, or taking that long phone call to your mum. In Girl On the Edge & Girl Over the Edge, Kim Hodges strips bare the stigma towards mental illness in a raw and confronting memoir; yet talks of the positivity and understanding that comes from dealing with it head-on. 

Are you a mum? Or perhaps know someone struggling with anxiety around parenting? Melanie Dimmitt’s Special is a curious, casual and conversational exploration into parenting a child with special-needs, and all the obsessions that plague one’s mind when dealing with this. All sorts of life events can trigger anxiety, and Special shows us that uniting in our differences is the best way to embrace them. 

When some of the best Australian authors come together to write about an issue, you know it must be a big deal. Split, edited by Lee Kofman and featuring the likes of Graeme Simsion, Fiona Wright, A.S Patric, Alice Pung and more, delves into the world of leaving, loss and new beginnings, and the mental experiences that come with this. Each chapter gives you a unique story, and you might just find connections with more than one…


Books that uplift

They say laughter is the best medicine, and humour is what you’ll find inside the pages of The Age of Discretion by Virginia Duigan. It’s uplifting chick-lit at it’s best, or as some say, Sex in the City for the over 55’s.

If you’re a book lover, you can’t go past the nostalgia of Storytime by Jane Sullivan – the perfect way to escape reality. Jane revisits some of her favourite books from her childhood and recounts what she loved (or hated) and learnt from these books. Cosy up with Winnie-the-Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, the Moomintrolls or one of Jane’s favourites, the Magic Pudding.

Sometimes a heart-warming novel is all you need to calm your mind. Letters to My Yesterday by Karyn Sepulveda is a story of friendship, love, family and the enduring strength of women, and the perfect end to a long day (with a cup of tea in hand). A similar, but not-yet-released book is The Changing Room by Christine Sykes. In the lead up to Christmas, mental health is even more important, so keep an eye out for this one – a story of hope, second chances and the power of female friendship.  

Books that offer support

Whilst taking your mind off anxiety is a good way to deal with the short-term effects of mental health, sometimes that’s not enough. Renee Mill specialises in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and has developed a program to analyse and treat anxiety without the use of medication, in her book Anxiety Free, Drug Free. By reinforcing positive thinking and emotional strength, Renee helps those suffering from anxiety to get back on their feet.

Although not strictly related to mental health, Career to Calling by Annie Stewart is a book for those wanting to make a change in their life but unsure how. In a time when jobs rule our day-to-day life, it’s easy to forget about your passion. As a life-long career coach, Annie guides you through the steps to take to find and follow your calling and reach a more fulfilled life.

Reach out to a loved one for a chat, and don’t forget to ask R U OK?

If you are in need of mental health support, there are services that can help.

Head to Beyond Blue for a full list of helplines that you can call here, call 1300 22 4636, or visit their website for more.

The launch of Storytime

August marked a time to celebrate children’s literature – from the much-loved Book Week, to the launch of Jane Sullivan’s Storytime. And what a time to talk about a love of literature and the impact it has on our lives – both young and old.

Earlier in the month, Readings Carlton hosted the Melbourne launch of Storytime, featuring an enthralling and engaging conversation between Jane and literary editor of The Age, Jason Steger.

This week, Newtown’s Better Read Than Dead hosted a conversation with Jane and deputy editor of Spectrum, Melanie Kembrey. 

The rooms were filled with book lovers and authors of all genres including Andy Griffiths, Angela Savage, Angela Meyer, Leah Kaminsky, Lee Kofman, Emily Bitto and more.  

Jane spoke of her childhood with her head buried in books, reading stories late into the night. She spoke of her parents’ love of literature and art, which they undoubtedly passed on to her. Jane even mentioned how words enthralled her so much that she even took time to read the cornflake cereal packet – just to have something to read. And she spoke of how her love for literature has guided her career as a journalist and as an author.

Jump into Storytime with Jane, and find yourself lost in a world of adventure, nostalgia, and unique voices that will guide you through the years to come.

Jane Sullivan with Melanie Kembrey at Better Read Than Dead

Jane Sullivan with Melanie Kembrey at Better Read Than Dead

Ventura Recommends: August

Ventura staff live and breathe words, so we’ve always got our noses buried in a book, or our ears plugged into a podcast, or our eyes glued to the next zeitgeist film or series. Here’s a list of our favourites this winter season.


Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

‘The global buzz was huge so I bought the book the day of release and read over a weekend. It is a bleak morality tale told through intimate portrait of three white middle class American women as they seek sexual and emotional fulfilment.  We see woman as complicit, woman as abused, woman as used. It is harrowing and dispiriting that so little has changed.’ - Jane Curry

No More Boats by Felicity Castagna

‘Superbly crafted and thoughtfully rendered story of Western Sydney and the tensions surrounding otherness. It won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award in 2017 for a good reason, and even though it’s a couple of years old now, I’m finding the themes remain starkly relevant.’  - Zoe Hale

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

‘I devoured Rooney’s Normal People in the span of a wintery day, so of course I was enthused to pick up her debut novel, which proved equally as intriguing. The diverse, intimate and somewhat controversial portrayal of people and relationships left me thinking and wanting more. Rooney’s writing is so effortless, yet so intelligent – the best kind.’ - Sophie Hodge



The Garret Podcast

‘I am a new convert to The Garret and now can’t walk my dog without an episode ready to play.  I enjoy hearing authors talk about the craft of writing and their inspirations. It restores my faith in the creativity and passion in the industry. ‘ - JC

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

‘For anyone who has ever struggled creatively or in a business – this is a wonderfully cooling balm for soothing those burns of failure. I love Elizabeth, she is such a gifted interviewer and journalist, allowing her guest to share their vulnerable experiences with ease.’ - ZH  

Offline by Alison Rice

‘Offline’s premise is honest conversations with people you may know and love through social media. I’ve always been interested in people and what makes them tick, so these raw, emotional and interesting conversations are perfect. Plus, Alison’s voice sounds like smooth butter (a win when you’re listening to an hour-long talk).’ - SH



Chernobyl Season 1

‘Wow. This is the new world of streaming at is finest. The acting, the production design, the cinematography is astoundingly good.   And as it is a true story , the events gnaw away at your sense of security as we know a nuclear disaster could happen again. Compelling viewing.’ - JC

The Handmaid’s Tale season 3

‘I’m loving this season – it’s more about the resistance, the fight against oppression. And all the female characters have such depth and are so compelling. It makes for an intense watch though, I can’t watch more than two episodes at a time.’ - ZH

Our Planet

‘I am a self-confessed lover of nature documentaries, particularly those narrated by David Attenborough. Our Planet’s breathtaking cinematography forces us to take a long, hard look at the planet we are living on and begs us to make implement change for the future. If you take anything from the show, go and buy a keep cup or try cutting out plastic. It’s life changing.’ - SH

Lee Kofman's latest book, Split, launches in Melbourne and Sydney

June saw the launch of Lee Kofman’s latest work, Split - an anthology of work featuring stories of leaving, loss and new beginnings from some of Australia’s most admired authors. After being in the works for a couple of years, Split has finally come to life.

Split Books.jpg

Lee summed up the beginnings of this book on endings…

“Two years ago, a writer’s dream came true for me. Jane Curry of Ventura Press suggested I edit an anthology of personal essays about endings. We’ll call it Split, she said. I was thrilled. Split is the kind of ending that makes me think of wounds, pain, blood, bile. It’s an ending where the stakes are just as high as the suffering endured. Death, exile, the leaving of a beloved, the passing of youth. The kind of ending from where a lot of great literature springs: Antigone, The Tempest, The Cherry Orchard

On a personal level, too, the theme felt urgent to me, having done by now two migrations and three marriages. What mattered to me was that this anthology, as a whole, wouldn’t sit in the realm of so-called inspirational self-help. I wanted real life, not a fantasy, on Split pages, and, luckily, contributors delivered just that.”

The Melbourne launch was held at The Avenue Bookstore, launched by award-winning novelist Sofie Laguna in conversation with Dmetri Kakmi and Kate Goldsworthy. The room was filled with friends, family, writers and readers, and everyone left in stitches of laughter.

The Sydney launch, held upstairs at Better Read Than Dead, was launched by accomplished journalist Tracey Spicer, in conversation with Peter Bishop, Sunil Badami and Kerri Sackville, who discussed their writing process and the emotional aftermath of each of their ‘splits’.

Of the writing process, Peter Bishop said “Lee has enabled us to become more of ourselves than we knew we could be.” And Lee, speaking of editing such complex tales, said she witnessed how emotionally and artistically taxing the essays were for many of the authors.

“I saw the discomfort, doubt and feelings of vulnerability that were their companions during the writing process. Yet it was these difficult companions who also made the resulting works real, deep, and exciting.”

With words of wisdom from all involved, and many signed copies leaving the bookstores, the launch of Split proved to be a success.

You can find out more about Split and Lee Kofman here

After She Left Launch in Canberra

Last night the National Library of Australia was filled with literary lovers, avid readers and all those in support of Penelope Hanley’s latest novel, After She Left.

A full house at The National Library of Australia

A full house at The National Library of Australia

After She Left was our May champion for Ventura’s imprint, Impact Press. It’s a compelling and mysterious story of hidden identities, forbidden love and the power of feminism, set in the bohemian art scene of twentieth-century Sydney.

We love this book not only for the striking cover (it’s been a huge hit on Instagram), but for the intricately researched history of Sydney which weaves its way throughout the story.

The NLA was packed with people listening to Penelope speak with passion and ease about the book’s creation, and was officially ‘launched’ into the world by award-winning author John Clanchy.

A room abuzz with energy as people wait for their signed copy of After She Left

A room abuzz with energy as people wait for their signed copy of After She Left

Thanks to Penelope for bringing this gem of a book to life.

You can read a Q&A with Penelope and Good Reading Magazine here, a review from Books + Publishing here, or find out more info and even buy a copy from the Ventura page here!

A proud stack of books waiting to be sold

A proud stack of books waiting to be sold

Author Penelope Hanley signing copies

Author Penelope Hanley signing copies