Leading international publishers and film agents will be in Sydney next week scouting for new Australian titles and books for film for overseas markets.
Jonathan Galassi, president of US publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux, will be one of 13 eminent publishers and agents participating in the 2006 Visiting International Publishers (VIP) program, hosted by the Australia Council for the Arts as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Mr Galassi, who has worked with authors Tom Wolfe and Jonathan Franzen, will be joined by Executive Editor at GroveAtlantic USA Elisabeth Schmitz who ‘discovered’ Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier and whose company has published 10 Australian titles in recent years.
More than 100 titles have sold through the program, totalling in excess of $3 million in rights’ sales. Last year’s VIP program led to rights’ sales of books and manuscripts by Bronwyn Curran, MJ Hyland, Penelope Green, Janine Burke and Randa Abdel-Fattah.
‘The Australian publishing market has become more vibrant over the past decade, with an increasing number of Australian works being acquired for the US market. My hope is to pick up more Australian writers on this trip down under,’ said Ms Schmitz.
Australia Council for the Arts chief executive officer, Jennifer Bott, says the VIP program plays an important role in giving local publishers invaluable contacts and networking opportunities for their books and authors internationally. ‘This is a unique opportunity for prominent international publishers to experience Australian culture first-hand, and meet with Australian literary agents and authors in the environment that inspires great Australian stories.’
International participants in this year’s VIP program also include:
- Jerry Kalajian (Intellectual Property Group, US), a film agent who has been involved in selling the film rights from books for recent successes Million Dollar Baby and the Academy Award-winning Crash
- Luiz Schwarcz (Companhia das Letras, Brazil) has published Peter Carey, Richard Flanagan and David Malouf
- Ziv Lewis (Kinneret Zmora, Israel) has published Eliot Perlman Seven Types of Ambiguity. He has recently purchased the rights to Kate Grenville’s The Secret River
- Halfdan Freihow (Publisher/Co-owner FONT Norway) published Nick Cave’s And the Ass saw the Angel and is selectively scouting for titles for his newly established independent publishing house FONT
- Anoukh Foerg (Agence Hoffman, Germany) is a literary agent, and has placed many Australian authors including Tim Winton and Kate Forsyth into the German market
- Jacqueline Smit (Managing Director/Publisher, Uitgeverij Sirene, The Netherlands) has published Venero Armanno’s Firehead, David Francis’ Agapanthus Tango and American/Australian author Clea Koff’s The Bone Woman
An industry-only seminar on 24 May, featuring the international publishers, will focus on trends in international publishing, particularly the issue of territorial rights to Australian titles, the impact of new technologies on rights and opportunities internationally for Australian books to film.