Book Babble2017-07-13T15:26:56+10:00

Australian Reading Hour 2021

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...

Amelia Mellor and Nicki Greenberg longlisted in the ARA Historical Novel Prize

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!

Q&A with John Byron, author of The Tribute

John Byron’s debut novel The Tribute is a subversive take on toxic masculinity and misogyny, told through an irresistible crime narrative. Read on for a Q&A with John about this outstanding thriller.

Affirm Press acquires Carrie Cox’s novel So Many Beats of the Heart

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.

Susannah McFarlane honours the power of grandparents

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’re hiring!

Affirm Press is looking for a gun editor to join its expanding general publishing editorial team.

Read an extract from Around the World in 80 Parenting Styles

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.

Jess Racklyeft on the magic of grandmas

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.

Read an extract from One Italian Summer by Pip Williams

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 on the real story of the RMS Aquitania

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.

Parenting lessons from a pandemic, by Sam Jockel

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.

Nash, on the power of humour to bring us together

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.

What we read on our holiday

There’s nothing like escaping into a good book over the summer break. Here, the team shares some of the books we read and loved over our holidays – and a couple we still can’t wait to read.

We’re hiring!

We're looking for a gun managing editor to join our busy and expanding editorial team.

Dogs on Doorsteps

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.

Jane Godwin’s memories of summer

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.

Melbourne bookshops, how we’ve missed you!

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 2020

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 on the magic of bookshops

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.

Jess Racklyeft on cherishing the little things

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 ultimate soundtrack

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.

Behind the scenes of The Safe Place by Anna Downes

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.

Q&A with Maura Finn and Cate James

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.

Pip Williams’s women of words

Pip Williams, author of the exquisite historical novel The Dictionary of Lost Words, recognises the work of women in compiling the Oxford English Dictionary.

What we’re reading: the social distancing edition

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.

Find your mending mojo

The most effective way to lessen your wardrobe’s environmental impact is to love the clothes you already have and make them last as long as possible. And that means mending and maintenance.

We’re hiring!

We're looking for a junior to mid-level publicist to join our dynamic publicity and marketing team.

Christmas Wondering

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.

Rightful Places: We Are Here

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.

Paul Byrnes on the child soldiers who fought in WWI

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.

Lessons from 3000km alone in the wild: Laura Waters on being ‘rewilded’

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.

Love Letter to a Book: Melbourne Writers Festival 2019

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.

Required watching: Fiona Hardy’s favourite childhood films

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.

Five things Dave Glasheen really can’t live without on a desert island

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 Get Up Mum adapted for ABC Life Matters podcast series

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.

Blognox: Tony Flowers, illustrator of Vognox the Viking, takes over the blog

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.

How would you like to be our new commissioning editor?

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).

Our resident author-slash-circus artist Simi Genziuk on Australia’s bareback riding queen

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.

The Ruby Award: Senior Editor Ruby Ashby-Orr spent a working week in New York

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.

Friendship is free: Maggie Hutchings on the power of kindness

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.

Illustrator Sarah Firth on her own Badass Mum

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.

Jess Racklyeft pays tribute to the unique magic of mums

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.

Desert Island Books at Sydney Writers’ Festival

In the spirit of the ‘Desert Island Books’ series at Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Affirm Press team shares which single book they’d want to take with them if they were castaways on a desert island.

Meet Freya Horton Andrews

We’re lucky to be hosting Freya Horton Andrews, a fabulous intern courtesy of the Publishing Industry Internship Program run by our friends at the Australian Publishers Association.

Applications now open for Affirm Press Mentorship Award with Varuna

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.

Bad Yogi by Alice Williams: addiction therapy for the cynical

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.

Summer reading favourites

The summer break is the best time to get started on our ‘to read’ piles that have been collecting dust throughout the year. Here are some of our holiday favourites from other publishers.

Kids Submissions Opening 1 November!

If you’ve been working on a manuscript for juniors, middle-readers or young adults then it’s time to start filling your plot-holes and sharpening your prose ...

Greg French’s bear tales

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.

Q&A with author and illustrator Gwyn Perkins

CBCA winner Gwyn Perkins recently answered some questions from a class of curious Year Two students and his sense of humour shines through so brightly that we wanted to share the Q&A here.

Getting inked at Melbourne Writers Festival

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.

Talking less and listening more

Martin Hughes (with senior editor Ruby Ashby-Orr) explores what it means to shape a better culture and create safer workplaces.

Paula Keogh on the Affirm Press/Varuna Mentorship

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.

Jane Godwin: Thinking About Colour

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.

Meet Nicole McKenzie

This year the Australian Publishers Association gave us a pretty fabulous gift through their Publishing Industry Internship Program.

We’re hiring

We're looking for a junior to mid-level publicist to join our team.

A Cricket Revolution

ABC journalist Michael Sexton has written a new book on what many consider to be the most underrated and thrilling chapter in Australian cricketing history.

Meet Our Younger Readers Senior Editor, Davina Bell.

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.

Top tips for becoming a wicked stepmum

If one in five Australian families are blended, then there must have been plenty of people like Kelly Chandler who fell in love and then ended up with an instant family.

Martin on the joy of kids books

It’s especially satisfying because one of my girls was a reluctant and not-very-confident reader this time last year. Last night, and here’s the reason for my indulgent post, we had ‘a moment’.

An Italian Recipe for Repose

Repose. Tendrils of longing, right to the ends of my fingertips, straight to the depths of my heart. I had been craving it for years, and there it was, in a farmhouse in Italy.

Backflip from Affirm Press?

A couple of years ago Affirm Press publically made a stand in favour of Australia’s strong independent bookshop culture by not supplying paper versions of our titles to Amazon or the Book Depository.

Meet Our New Assistant Editor, Coco McGrath

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’).

Ten Things I Hate About Christmas

Affirm Press Sales & Marketing Director Keiran Rogers reflects back on Christmas 2016 and gives us the ten things he hates about Christmas

Martin on why it’s not as much fun if you’re only ever winning (except in golf)

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 [...]

Diving Deep for Charity

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 raises $20,000 for charity in two weeks

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 on THE LAST WILD TROUT and fishing for conservation

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.

Q&A with Brewed with Balls creator Steph

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!

Q & A with Kate James

What I care about most is living a purposeful life. For me this means being true to myself, even if the choices I make don’t necessarily look impressive to the outside world.

Q&A with Sunny Leunig

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.

Interview with Happy Mama, Amy Taylor-Kabbaz

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 in April

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).

Tim Rogers’ reaction to The Book of Uninspiring Quotes

‘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)

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