Catch up on all the latest news from Penguin Books Australia including award winning authors, illustrators, designers, publishers and other publishing industry and book related news.
Tweethearts is set inside the magazine world, which sounds like a pretty crazy place…
Publishing houses are like no other workplace I’ve experienced. I’ve seen plenty of drama, big characters, and absurd situations. My time in magazines was overwhelmingly positive. These days I write the odd feature from afar, but I miss the chaos and the energy.
You send up magazines riotously in Tweethearts.
Absolutely! I have been guilty of taking magazine life way too seriously so it was great to mess around and fictionalise that world to the point where it’s a bit ridiculous.
Our heroine, Jemima, is unhappy working at Placenta Monthly – have you ever had a job you’ve loathed?
It’s often been a case of taking the good with the bad. I might’ve had the odd difficult colleague, worked long days or had bosses I didn’t see eye to eye with, but there was usually a silver lining: celebrity interviews, beautiful fashion shoots and invitations to some great events.
The magazine’s relentless drive for circulation sees it treat a celebrity ruthlessly – did you ever see this happen?
I’ve never seen a celebrity treated the way one is in Tweethearts, but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen. People gobble up celebrity gossip. I’ve also monitored some big social media accounts and watched what online communities say about celebrities – I imagine it would be hard to brush off the nasty tweets and Facebook messages.
Tweethearts gives us a glimpse of the glamorous side of magazine life – could you describe your favourite ‘glam’ moment?
One of my favourites was the time I somehow ended up in a five-star Queensland hotel with a python slithering around my neck while I sipped a glass of champagne. I’ve also been to some fancy cocktail parties. But there have been plenty of times I’ve pumped out a story from the couch in my slippers, too!
Twitter plays an important role in Jemima’s life – yours too?
Twitter is an amazing tool – it’s a constant stream of breaking news and witty thoughts. It’s also helped me to build a strong online community of writers that I can talk to and learn from. But, like Jemima, I’ve been addicted at times. When I first started using it I tweeted whatever sprang to mind and I had a few online arguments, too. I’ve finally learnt to think before I tweet and take breaks from it to silence the chatter.
What if I said, “Not one more tweet – ever!” How would you feel?
I’ve been tweeting consistently for five years now so I’d really miss it if I had to stop. I might be able to quit posting my own tweets, but I can’t imagine life without people who tweet great thoughts, stories and ideas.
The TV talent show in Tweethearts manipulates the contestants’ lives outrageously. You’ve worked in reality TV, was it really that bad?
While, like Jemima, I did work in a small van attached to the back of the studio, the rest of my experience was nothing like it is in Tweethearts. It was great fun. The contestants were well looked after and were always in good spirits. But I went out to the contestant house a few times and wondered how these people of varying ages from a mix of backgrounds managed living together 24/7 and working in a sometimes stressful situation.
At first Jemima resists her feelings for her gorgeous housemate, Samson. Have you ever been tempted to turn a friendship into a romance?
I’ve never had the precise experience Jemima has with Samson. Most of my great romances have flourished fast. But I do know exactly what it feels like to tell a guy I’m keen on him and run the risk of a squashed heart – I’m always an ineloquent mess.
Where was Tweethearts written?
It was written in both of the places it’s set: Sydney and Melbourne. I started writing it on the balcony of my wild and wonderful four-bedroom Potts Point sharehouse and finished it in my writing chair in Melbourne. Parts of it were also written in bed, on planes and in cafes.
Describe yourself in three words?
Impatient. Excited. Dreamer.
5 March 2014: Melbourne: Penguin Group (Australia) today launches the second installment of True Stories, the online immersive reading destination, with a dynamic new experience based on John Safran’s bestselling true-crime book Murder in Mississippi.
True Stories is a reading experience that goes beyond the page. Each True Story is inspired by a Penguin publication, bringing it to life through audio, video, images, maps and interactivity.
In Murder in Mississippi, John Safran recounts how he met a white supremacist, befriended his black killer and wrote his first book. It is an engrossing portrait of a dead man, his murderer, the place they lived and the process of trying to find out the truth about anything.
True Stories gets under the skin of the book, exploring the layers of John Safran’s adventure in Mississippi. Beautifully crafted video, audio and photographic stills immerse the audience in the sights and sounds of the United States’ Deep South, and bring them face to face with the main characters. These highlights include material taken from Safran’s personal research notes and interviews with the people he hoped could lead him to the truth.
True Stories: Murder in Mississippi is presented in four chapters, which can be explored in linear fashion or independent of one another. The chapters focus on Richard Barrett, the white supremacist who John Safran first met while filming his Race Relations TV series; Vincent McGee, the black man accused of killing Barrett; the shocking and bizarre elements of the murder itself; and the atmospheric twists lent by the setting of Mississippi.
Kylie Robertson, Penguin’s Creative Director - Digital said: “True Stories is a destination for a new kind of reading experience. The mix of interactivity and layered content is a unique way of placing the reader in the very centre of the storytelling experience.”
Stylish and compelling, True Stories: Murder in Mississippi is a dynamic companion to the book that has been hailed by Eddie Perfect as “In Cold Blood for our generation.”
- ENDS -
For more information, please contact:
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Destiny Romance, Penguin Australia’s digital first romance imprint, today launched a podcast series for romance lovers.
Commencing monthly, Heart to Heart will feature host Kat Mayo of Book Thingo who will present current romance news, exclusive discussions with authors and prominent members of the romance world, live readings and book reviews.
In the first episode, Heart to Heart’s inaugural guest is the renowned US blogger and author Sarah Wendell, co-creator of the Smart Bitches Trashy Books website. She discusses trends in romance, the essentials of a good romance novel and whether the passion for reading erotic romance has peaked.
There is also a steamy extract from Irrepressible You by Georgina Penney, and Kat covers all the latest romance news including an announcement about an appearance by the author of the controversial Untamed, Anna Cowan, at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre.
“We are excited to have a new platform to share exclusive interviews, information and ideas with the romance community”, said Commissioning Editors Sarah Fairhall and Carol George.
About the host:
Kat Mayo runs Book Thingo, a book blog where Australian readers talk about romance novels, authors and events. She is the editor of Booktopia’s Romance Buzz newsletter and has written and reviewed for Books+Publishing. She loves to talk about romance books and has been interviewed on 2SER and quoted in The Big Issue and the (sydney) magazine, where she was pictured surrounded by stacks of Mills and Boon books. Kat has been a panelist for events run by the Romance Writers of Australia and City of Sydney Library, and she is active member of the Australian Romance Readers Association.
Destiny Romance is Penguin Australia’s digital first romance imprint. Since launching in August 2012, Destiny has published 40 romantic novels, all written by Australians. Destiny Romance has finalists in five categories of the upcoming Romance Readers of Australia awards.
Conflux Inc., organisers of the 2013 Aurealis Awards, have announced this year’s finalists. Congratulations to Isobelle Carmody a finalist in the Best Children’s Book category for Kingdom of the Lost, Book 2: The Cloud Road.
Winners of the 2013 Aurealis Awards will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony, on the evening of Saturday 5 April, 2014.
For more information about the Awards to view the complete list of finalists visit www.aurealisawards.com
Susan Sandon, Managing Director of Cornerstone, has acquired rights to Paulo Coelho’s new novel, ADULTERY, acting on behalf of Hutchinson at Cornerstone, Hamish Hamilton in Australia and New Zealand, and Random House India. The six figure acquisition, with separate deals for each territory, was struck with Mônica R. Antunes at Sant Jordi Asociados. ADULTERY will be published this August simultaneously with Knopf in the US.
ADULTERY is a thought-provoking novel about the blurred lines between love and infatuation, adventure and self-sabotage. Linda is happily married to a wealthy man, has two children and works as a journalist – she knows she is lucky which only makes her unhappiness more confusing. While being afraid of change, she is also terrified of life continuing as it is. A meeting with a politician, and ex-boyfriend, ignites a side of her she thought had been shut-down with far-reaching consequences for everyone. The inspirational message for the reader is that you need to discover the passion in the life you have, not the life you imagine.
Ben Ball, Publishing Director Penguin General said, “I'm thrilled to be able to announce that we're publishing the new novel of Paulo Coelho, one of the world's most loved writers. The publication of ADULTERY in August 2014 will be a major event for us, and we'll be publishing in cooperation with Penguin Random House worldwide. It's wonderful to have such an accomplished and exciting writer on our Hamish Hamilton list.”
Note to editors:
Paulo Coelho has sold more than 150 million books worldwide. His work is published in 80 languages and he is the most translated living author in the world. Paulo has an enormous digital media presence. He is the writer with the highest number of social media followers reaching over 17 million fans through his Facebook page and 9 million followers on Twitter.
For further information, please contact Anyez Lindop,
on +613 9811 2512 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Penguin Random House (http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/) is the world’s first truly global trade book publisher. It was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson to merge their respective trade publishing companies, Random House and Penguin, with the parent companies owning 53% and 47%, respectively. Penguin Random House comprises the adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, Penguin’s trade publishing activity in Asia and South Africa; Dorling Kindersley worldwide; and Random House’s companies in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile. Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across almost 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.
The search is on for a host location of Australia’s first Jamie’s Ministry of Food Pop-Up Kitchen for 12 months and with your help, it could be in your community.
Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia is about inspiring even the most inexperienced cook how to make a meal from scratch. The MOF team want to help your community get back to basics and learn how to cook nutritious meals in a budget. If you’d like to host Australia’s first Ministry of Food Pop-Up Kitchen, apply now!
Applications are now open for Australian towns and communities to apply to become Australia’s first Jamie’s Ministry of Food Pop-Up Kitchen via www.jamiesministryoffoodpopup.com. An advisory panel will review applications, one finalist from each State and one finalist from both the Northern Territory and ACT will be selected to meet Jamie Oliver in Sydney, where the host location will be announced.
Applications close on Wednesday 5 March 2014 at 5pm AEDT.
Fiona McFarlane's The Night Guest is one of five titles shortlisted for the LA times debut fiction award, the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. These annual awards for literary excellence have run since 1980, with winners to be announced on April 11.
See the website here for more information and a full list of finalists: http://events.latimes.com/bookprizes/
ABC1 Sunday, 23 Feb 9:30pm
Online viewing 23 Feb 11:00pm - 9 March 11:00pm
Seventeen Australian directors and a stellar cast re-imagine the hauntingly beautiful collection of short stories by Tim Winton.
Congratulations again to Fiona McFarlane, whose debut novel, The Night Guest, has been selected with eleven other titles for the 2014 Stella Prize longlist.
The Stella Prize, established in 2013, is awarded each year to recognise excellence in Australian women's writing. The shortlist will be announced on 20 March, and the winner at a special ceremony in Sydney on 29 April.
For more information, including the full longlist, visit the Stella Prize site here.
US singer Dolly Parton has chosen the start of her Blue Smoke tour in Melbourne to launch an exciting early childhood literacy initiative very close to her heart.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library, run by United Way Australia in partnership with Penguin Books Australia and Rotary, aims to improve the literacy of children living in disadvantaged communities by delivering one free age-appropriate book per month directly to children from birth to five years old.
The range of picture books received by each child registered for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library has been carefully chosen by a panel of experts and includes classic favourites and bestselling titles by Australian and international authors such as Pamela Allen, Aaron Blabey, Lauren Child, Graeme Base, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Lynley Dodd, Mem Fox, Hazel Edwards, Eric Hill, Alison Lester, Tohby Riddle, Margaret Wild and Tim Winton.
Within the first six months of the Australian pilot program in 2013, more than 4000 age-appropriate quality books were delivered to 1,350 children in disadvantaged communities across Victoria (Noble Park, Ballarat, Portland, Doveton and Eumemmerring), New South Wales (North St Mary’s, Wyong and The Entrance) and Queensland (Acacia Ridge which was the first pilot centre).
“Penguin Australia’s involvement in the library, while replicating Penguin’s involvement in the US, Canada and UK is also something that aligns with our philosophies, which in turn are closely aligned with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This shared philosophy is also very much in keeping with our belief that everyone – no matter what age, or where they live – should have access to stories and books. The power of storytelling, through music and through books can change lives; it has the power to educate, to entertain, to inspire. The importance of early childhood literacy preoccupies many of us as does the desire to connect writers, their stories and ideas with as many readers as possible. The Imagination Library helps make that happen.” said Gabrielle Coyne, CEO, Penguin Random House Asia Pacific.
Originally launched in the US in 1996 through Dolly Parton’s charitable Dollywood Foundation, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library currently delivers free books every month to 735,000 children globally. Dolly’s goal is to inspire a love of reading and learning among all children and so far more than 56,000,000 books have been gifted to children in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.