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

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

Ventura Launches 2019 List

The Ventura Press team officially launched their 2019 book list this week at The Royal Hotel in Paddington. The room was abuzz with energy from authors, booksellers, book-lovers, agents, writers and of course, the (small but mighty) Ventura Press team.

Ventura’s Director, Jane Curry, gave a small speech to highlight the year ahead, saying ‘this is the list I’ve always wanted to publish.’

2019 promises a mix of fiction and non-fiction titles, from Virginia' Duigan’s London rom-com-esque The Age of Discretion; to Blanche d’Alpuget’s historical series The Birth of the Plantagenets; all the way to Lee Kofman’s anthology of works featuring Australian writers’ tales of leaving, loss and new beginnings, Split, which is set to release in June; and bestselling author Katherine Johnson’s October release Paris Savages.

The year will also feature some first-time authors, such as Craig Ensor’s The Warming – a dystopian novel set in 2221 when the earth is on the brink of death from climate change; and Penelope Hanley’s Sydney-based fiction following the lives of three women in an artistic family, After She Left. Ventura will also publish Jane Sullivan’s bibliomemoir, Storytime; and Melanie Dimmitt’s uplifting non-fiction Special: antidotes to the obsessions that come with a child’s disability.

Following the February release Slice Girls by Joan Arakkal, which has gained much media attention, and two shortlisted prizes for A Superior Spectre (August 2018), Ventura has started the year with a bang and this celebration is just the beginning.

Thank you to all of those who came along to celebrate, and to those who were there in spirit from around the country. Ventura looks forward to all the good things set to come this year!

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Photos: Sophie Hodge