A fleeting infatuation with all things Australian: American editions of Australian novels, 1979–1989

Osborne, Roger (2019) A fleeting infatuation with all things Australian: American editions of Australian novels, 1979–1989. Antipodes, 33 (1). pp. 48-58.

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[Extract]:In the closing months of 1988, the literary agent Rosemary Creswell wrote of a “mini-boom in Australian books in North America,” directing attention to the work of the New York publicist Selma Shapiro, who, three years earlier, had been commissioned by the Literature Board of the Australia Council to promote Australian writing in the United States of America. Shapiro’s work had made her the “hub of Australian literary activity in North America,” a “crowded, competitive . . . market [where] there is a need for specialist public relations companies promoting books and authors” (Creswell 8). Assessing this period three decades later, Louise Poland and Ivor Indyk acknowledged the buzz that Shapiro’s work had generated but pointed to the shaky foundations of this late-1980s enthusiasm, which “was also crossed by tensions and contradictions which led to confusion, disappointment, lost opportunities, and sometimes the outright rejection of important authors and their books” (309). Poland and Indyk identified three difficulties: the promising but limited role played by Penguin Books offering Australian titles through its US affiliate, Viking Penguin; the interventions of literary agents; and the difference in values between the two cultures. Peter Carey recognized the difficulty of Shapiro’s job under such conditions, suggesting that the promotion of Australian literature in New York was like “pushing shit uphill” (Carey).

Item ID: 63000
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0893-5580
Keywords: Australian literature, publishing, editing,
Copyright Information: © Wayne State University Press
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP0771376
Date Deposited: 20 May 2020 00:41
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470502 Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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