We don’t need an excuse to read. But we love that we have a reason to celebrate stories that matter and great storytellers! This Australian Reading Hour Day we’re setting aside an hour (or two) to treat ourselves to a story of our choice. Go ahead, take a look at what the team is reading today...
Debut author Amelia Mellor’s The Grandest Bookshop in the World and Nicki Greenberg’s middle-grade mystery novel The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel have both been longlisted for the prestigious ARA Historical Novel Prize in the Children and YA literature category. Our heartfelt congratulations to Amelia and Nicki!
Samone Amba makes her middle-grade debut with a new series for budding activists: The Good Times of Pelican Rise. Read on for a Q&A with Samone about Save the Joeys -- the timely, original and laugh-out-loud first instalment.
We’re delighted to have acquired World rights to a new novel by Carrie Cox, via Lyn Tranter at Australian Literary Management. So Many Beats of the Heart is an uplifting commercial women’s fiction title that will be loved by fans of Maggie Alderson, Maria Semple and Marian Keyes.
Grumble Boats is a gorgeous new picture book from Susannah McFarlane, illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie. Here, Susannah shares her inspiration for this personal and tender story about a grandma with a special way of helping little ones cope with their grumbles.
We are, all of us, products of our cultures – and how we parent is no different. In this edited extract from Around the World in 80 Parenting Styles, featuring gorgeous illustrations by Margaux De Bellissen, we celebrate some wonderfully diverse approaches to the world’s toughest gig.
Nicki Greenberg’s new picture book I’m Fabulous Crab! is a vibrant underwater story all about wearing your true colours with pride. We caught up with Nicki to find out how this very special book came to life.
Jess Racklyeft’s new picture book There’s Only One Grandma Like You is an ode to the wonder of grannies, omas, yiayias and nans. With Mother’s Day this weekend, we asked Jess to reflect on what makes grandmothers so special.
Before Pip Williams became the bestselling author of The Dictionary of Lost Words, she quit her career and travelled to Italy with her family as ‘WWOOFers’ (Willing Workers on Organic Farms). In this extract from her memoir One Italian Summer, Pip charts the highs and lows of the search for la dolce vita.
Nicki Greenberg’s thrilling new middle-grade novel The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel takes place on the RMS Aquitania, a real-life ocean liner that sailed between Southampton, England and New York in the glamorous 1920s. Here, Nicki shares what drew her to Aquitania and why it was the perfect setting for a mystery novel.
Christy Collins makes her assured debut with The Price of Two Sparrows, a thought-provoking and hopeful novel for our politically polarised times. Read on for a Q&A with Christy about the inspiration behind the book.
Sam Jockel is the founder and CEO of ParentTV, a mum to three kids, and co-editor of the new book Parents, this is the one thing you need to know. Here, Sam shares some of the lessons she’s learned from parenting in these strange and uncertain times.
Melbourne-based author-illustrator Nash brings new light to the Australian immigrant experience in his hilarious and insightful debut book, What to Expect When You’re Immigrating. Here, Nash shares how he learned that comedy can help make even the most difficult topics more approachable.
In a year that has brought challenges to many, Suzanne Stevenson embarked on a personal project of photographing neighbourhood dogs on their front steps during lockdown. Here, we meet some of the furry friends who feature in her new beautiful book Dogs on Doorsteps.
From picture book dream team Jane Godwin and Alison Lester, Sing Me the Summer is a love letter to the seasons and a celebration of the time spent with family in the great outdoors. Here, Jane shares some of her favourite childhood memories of summer.
In her new book My Suburban Farm, Ainslee Costa shares her tips and tricks for how to create your very own country-inspired sanctuary. In this edited extract, read about which veggies to plant and pick in summer, and try your hand at Ainslee’s homegrown tomato bruschetta.
Cheers (and maybe a few happy sobs) could be heard across Melbourne this week as our wonderful bookshops reopened their doors. Here, the Affirm Press team shares what we’ve missed the most about these magical places.
Love Your Bookshop Day is this Saturday October 3rd. We couldn’t be more grateful to all the hard-working booksellers for keeping us well-read during 2020, when we’ve needed it the most. Here, the Affirm Press team shares what our local bookshops mean to us.
Amelia Mellor’s debut novel The Grandest Bookshop in the World is an enchanting adventure set in the real-life Cole’s Book Arcade in Melbourne in 1893. Here, Amelia shares what makes all bookshops magical.
Here we are – almost at the end, we hope, of Melbourne’s stage four lockdown, in a tough, tough year. Spring is shimmering in the air and the daily virus numbers are dropping, and we ask ourselves – can we allow hope, are we almost ‘there’ – wherever there is?
Fiona Hardy’s funny and heartfelt new novel How to Write the Soundtrack to Your Life is a celebration of music, creativity, and listening to the world around us. Here, Fiona shares some of the music that has shaped her life.
Three writers of young adult fiction have been selected as the winners of the 2020 Affirm Press Mentorship Award in partnership with Varuna, which focused on YA and middle grade fiction submissions for the second year.
Anna Downes’s exhilarating debut The Safe Place is one of this year’s most hotly anticipated novels. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how this suspenseful and atmospheric thriller came together.
Author Maura Finn and illustrator Cate James both came from overseas to make Australia their home – and now they’ve joined forces to create a uniquely Australian picture book, By the Billabong. We wanted to know more about how it came to be.
It’s as vital as ever that we support Australian booksellers during the coronavirus shutdown. In spotlight this month are Henk and Roxanne Kelly-Kobes, owners of Dymocks Camberwell and Dymocks Tooroonga.
Applications are now open for the Affirm Press Mentorship Award with Varuna. Now in its sixth year, the award will focus exclusively on Young Adult and middle-grade fiction (ages 9+) with sci-fi and fantasy themes for entries to the 2020 award.
Greek-Australian author Olympia Panagiotopoulos shares stories of family, food and love in her new memoir Beneath the Fig Leaves. Read an extract and try your hand at her recipe for Fig Leaf and Vanilla Cream.
We’re pleased as punch that Paul Byrnes’s The Lost Boys has been named Illustrated Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the ABA’s Indie Book Awards. We asked Paul to share what it was like for him in putting together The Lost Boys.
When we had the idea earlier this week to blog about the books we would read while social distancing, it was somewhat hypothetical. But things have changed rapidly; now we find ourselves working from home and our weekend plans are out the window. Luckily our bookshelves are prepared and stacked with Affirm Press favourites to keep our minds off the news. But we also put together a list of the books from other publishers we’ve got lined up – we can assure you none of these include the words COVID-19.
Read the introduction to Angela Williams’s powerful new memoir Snakes and Ladders, revealing the dark truth of Australia’s justice system through the eyes of a woman sent to prison twice for the same crime.
Affirm Press is proud to partner with Diversity Arts Australia and the Western Sydney literacy movement Sweatshop to publish After Australia, an anthology of speculative fiction created by writers from Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Award-winning writer Wayne Macauley did us the honour of launching Wayne Marshall’s debut collection, Shirl, at Melbourne’s Hill of Content last night and gave a speech so delightful and heartfelt that we wanted to share it here.
I grew up in outer suburban Melbourne, in a town whose social and cultural life not so much revolved around the local football club as clung to it. My dad was heavily involved in the club, and so, by extension, was the rest of our family.
Author Vikki Conley remembers cherished childhood Christmases that shaped Christmas Wonder, her charming new picture book illustrated by Cheryl Orsini that captures the magic of an Australian family Christmas.
New profit-for-purpose book We Are Here, edited by former Big Issue deputy editor Meg Mundell, is a vibrant and moving collection of true stories showcases the creative talents of people who have known homelessness.
The idea for The Lost Boys started in Belgium in summer 2017, with a gravestone and a pint of Belgian beer. Paul Byrnes had been researching in the battlefields, when he noticed a gravestone that mentioned an under-age soldier. Here, Paul shares how his this discovery turned into a book.
To commemorate the fifty years since Peter Brock first got behind the wheel at the iconic Bathurst racing circuit, his long-term partner Bev Brock joins teammates, racing rivals and friends to relive every Bathurst race of his legendary life in Brock at Bathurst.
Susan White’s day job as a clinical geneticist sees her hunting for answers to undiagnosed conditions in children. In her writing, Susan aims to take readers inside the medical world (without the boring bits) and her first book, the exceptional YA novel Take the Shot, does just that.
Christian White, author of The Nowhere Child, returns on 24 September with his highly anticipated follow-up, The Wife and the Widow, Find out how Australia’s booksellers reacted to The Wife and the Widow, and check out Christian’s tour dates for an author visit near you.
For much of my life, fear has been invisibly woven into the fabric of my existence, regularly whispering helpful pearls in my ear such as ‘Life is dangerous,’ and ‘You’re crap at this’. So perhaps I wasn’t the most obvious person to end up walking 3,000km solo from one end of New Zealand to the other – but in the end, this journey chose me.
The theme of this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival is ‘When we talk about love’ and it all kicks off this Friday 30 August. Inspired by the event Love Letter to a Book, the Affirm Press team shares a heartfelt note to a book from our past, thanking it for the way it shaped and moved us.
Fiona Hardy’s brilliant debut novel How to Make a Movie in 12 Days is, in part, an homage to her long-held love of all things film. (If you couldn’t tell by the title, just check out the 20-page school holidays movie guide at the back of the book.) Here, Fiona shares five films that kick-started her movie madness.
Three writers of middle grade fiction have been selected as the winners of the 2019 Affirm Press Mentorship Award in partnership with Varuna, which focuses on Young Adult and Middle Fiction manuscripts for the first time.
Dave Glasheen has lived alone on Restoration Island for more than 20 years, since he lost his fortune in the stock market crash of 1987 and opted out of the rat-race for good. But what does it take to find happiness on a deserted island? Dave shares the five things he always keeps stock of on Resto.
Justin Heazlewood’s memoir Get Up Mum is partly built around tape cassette recordings Justin made of his family when he was 12, including recordings of his mum who lives with schizophrenia. ABC Radio National’s Life Matters adapted Get Up Mum for a special podcast series, with plenty of original recordings woven in.
Author–illustrator dream team Nick Falk and Tony Flowers have joined forces again for a hilarious new junior fiction book, Vognox the Viking and the Island of Skeletons. This rollicking adventure story entices struggling readers through visual storytelling techniques. Catch Tony Flowers at the Byron Writers Festival on Friday 2 August.
Following recent successes and having been named Australian Small Publisher of the Year in 2019, the team at Affirm Press is keen to maintain the momentum by recruiting an experienced, entrepreneurial editor who will love commissioning successful books across the breadth of our list (with the exception of the kids list, at least for now).
So She Did celebrates the life of May Wirth, who was born in Bundaberg in 1894 and went on to become an internationally famous circus performer. May was renowned for being the first woman in the world to perform the back across – an incredibly risky trick that involved somersaulting from one cantering horse to another. That she did it at a time when girls and women weren’t encouraged to be daring makes it all the more impressive.
Affirm Press will publish a profit-for-purpose book by writers who have experienced homelessness this November. Featuring 37 diverse writers, We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging is being edited by novelist, homelessness researcher and former Big Issue deputy editor Meg Mundell.
At 24, Georgie Dent had the world at her feet – but within a year she was suffering such crippling anxiety that she admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital. Georgie shares what this difficult time was like, and how she relived it when writing her memoir Breaking Badly.
On my five-year anniversary with Affirm Press, Keiran and Martin decided that I’d proofed enough proofs and talked enough authors back from the brink to earn some kind of reward. I thought the idea of a long-service award was lovely, but I’ll admit, when they first brought it up I expected maybe a nice pen – certainly not the chance to spend a working week anywhere in the world for a professional development experience.
Author Maggie Hutchings and illustrator Cheryl Orsini, who teamed up for the much-loved Unicorn!, join forces again in Mermaid!, a magical new story about friendship and the wonders of the sea. Maggie shares how her day-to-day work with children as a family counsellor feeds into her work as an author.
Affirm Press editor Coco McGrath teamed up with award-winning illustrator Sarah Firth to create Badass Mums: 30 Boundary Breaking Women Getting Sh*t Done. Illustrator Sarah Firth shares why her own mum, Dianne Firth OAM, is the definition of badass.
Award-winning creator Jess Racklyeft shares the inspiration behind her heartwarming new book as author–illustrator, There’s Only One Mum Like You, celebrating the big and small ways that mothers show their love every day.
Applications are now open for the 2019 Affirm Press Mentorship Award in partnership with Varuna Writers’ House. Writers of YA and middle-grade fiction interested in applying should visit the Varuna website for more details on the award and how to submit before applications close on 30 April.
When award-winning author Richard Newsome tried his hand at a writing experiment, he never expected it would turn into a three-book deal – but perhaps the bigger surprise was the way that his new character, Stella McNaught, took on a life of her own.
Bad Yogi traces the two years I spent training to become a yoga teacher while seeking treatment for an eating disorder. We in the yoga community can get our heads stuck up our asanas sometimes and I wanted something that would acknowledge the pain, but also make me laugh.
Affirm Press is delighted to join forces with the Western Sydney literacy movement Sweatshop to establish a mentorship which will enable two Western Sydney writers from culturally diverse backgrounds to develop their debut novels.
Greg French is best known as a master fly fisher, and he shares many of his wondrous fishing stories in his book Water Colour. But what many readers may not realise is that he has plenty of encounters with creatures much furrier, and bigger, than fish: bears. He shares here some incredible stories and photos from over the years.
We recently celebrated the launch of John Tesarsch’s brilliant third novel, Dinner with the Dissidents, where Lee Kofman shared some of her insights into this literary thriller, set in the tumultuous times of 1970s Moscow.
In the spirit of the ‘Literary Tattoos’ session at Melbourne Writers Festival, where festival-goers can get inked with a book-related design, the Affirm Press team reveals what our own literary tattoos would be.
Australian production company Carver Films (Snowtown, Sunshine) has partnered with prestigious US-based production company Anonymous Content (True Detective, 13 Reasons Why, The Revenant, Babel, Spotlight) to win the screen rights to Christian White’s chart-topping thriller, The Nowhere Child.
It was an intense and inspiring week. My first meeting with the editors became a three-hour discussion of my manuscript. I’d been working alone for years on my story; to talk about it with editors who had read my work deeply was my idea of heaven.
I have wanted to make a book about colour for young children for some time. As well as helping them make sense of the world, it’s a child’s first experience of the aesthetic, of art really, and of a visual, sensory, and emotional response.
Fiction classes helped me breathe life into the characters in my story without divulging too much of them personally. It also taught me how to set a scene using all my senses, even when it hurt emotionally to revisit certain memories or moments in my life.
I read Melbourne author Christian White’s DECAY THEORY in a day, a night and a morning. I was absolutely enthralled; my family didn’t get a look-in. Christian writes with a kind of magic, and I was under his spell from the very first page.
It sounds ridiculous, but I didn’t realise until pretty late in life that books were made by people or that you could work as part of that world. But one of my earliest memories is reading The Pokey Little Puppy on my mum’s lap, squished into her brown 70s rocking chair, which we used to do a lot.
The plan was always to become an editor with a trade publisher (if you check my Grade 12 notebook it has ‘Book editor’ listed as #1 dream job, followed, for reasons I can no longer explain, by ‘Town Planner’).
What a year 2016 has been! And yet I’ve learned so little. Perhaps the lessons of the recent past will reveal themselves when I’m not panicking about the hundred things undone, the Christmas shopping unshopped, and the promised blog piece for Grace heretofore unwritten. It’s been a bumper year for Affirm Press and we’ve continued the huge expansion of recent years. Blahdy blah. But like every other publisher, we’re weighing up the what ifs – what if we’d recognised what the least successful ten books would be, and focused all our energy on the top ten instead? Why does it [...]
On 7 January I will face my fear of water and swim the world's largest open water event: the Lorne Pier to Pub. I agreed to take on the challenge nearly 12 months ago as a way of raising funds for domestic violence.
Letter to My Teenage Self is the passion project of teenager Grace Halphen who, after having a tough time transitioning between schools, set out to create a book that would help other teenagers feel reassured and less isolated when they went through tough times. The book features letters from 55 prominent Australians offering the advice they wish they’d heard when they were growing up.
Greg French believes that fly fishers have discovered how to develop physical and spiritual connections with nature that are completely sustainable. ‘Trout are found in some of the most wild, romantic and scenically diverse habitats on Earth, and fly fishers the world over share a unique camaraderie, something universally profound and sincere.
I first pitched the idea having seen an article about Dock Street Brewery’s ‘Ain’t Nothing to Funk With’ – a golden saison barrel-aged with the music of Wu Tang Clan. Being a beer and a hip-hop lover I had to investigate, and I realised there are heaps of weird and wacky beers out there but no books dedicated to them. So the idea was born, and Martin and Keiran were foolish cool enough to give me a go at it!
Sometimes it's actually liberating to know that you aren't the best. It might help us concentrate on achieving things that we are more capable of. I'm not saying people should give up, however sometimes I think some people just shouldn't begin in the first place.
We’ve all heard the safety warning on planes before takeoff to always apply your own oxygen mask before attending to your loved ones - the idea being that without your own air, you can’t help anyone else. Well, it’s the same for parenting.
Affirm Press is pleased to announce that we have acquired the rights to publish Paula Keogh’s memoir The Green Bell. In October 2015 Paula received manuscript development from our editors, Ruby Ashby-Orr and Kate Goldsworthy, as part of the Affirm Press Mentorship Award at Varuna House.
Nearly three years ago, we restructured and committed ourselves wholeheartedly to publishing and we’ve been expanding ever since. We’re officially the fastest growing publisher in Australia, but we pride ourselves more on being the most positive publisher in Australia (through a combination of dynamism, idealism and, frankly, naivety).
‘I used to wake in the morning and put my pants on one leg at a time with hope and belief. Now I lay around pantless with belief only in home deliveries and twist top bottles. Damn you Leunig. My hope has drained away.’ – Tim Rogers (You Am I)