CBCA Awards

MidnightSun Publishing is extremely honoured and proud that our first picture book, One Step at a Time written by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Sally Heinrich, has been chosen as an Honour Book in this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Awards.

You can read more about the book and the CBCA Awards in this article from The Advertiser: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/one-step-at-a-time-by-jane-jolly-wins-honour-in-cbca-book-of-the-year-awards/news-story/2293fbd2b04faecd6caaf65690ef2f94

One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time has been a wonderful success from its humble beginnings as a crowdfunded project in 2014, to being picked up by Scholastic Standing Orders and going out to school libraries around Australia in 2015 and now being shortlisted and ultimately winning Honour Book in the Picture Book category in 2016.

The happy MidnightSun team – Jane, Sally and publisher Anna – was in Sydney to receive the award.

The CBCA Awards

The CBCA Awards

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Introducing Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell is the latest writer to join the MidnightSun family. Here he is talking about ideas for his novel We. Are. Family. which is due out in September 2016

Ideas –  guest post by Paul Mitchell

My friend D. asked me a question I hadn’t heard for a long time: where do you get your ideas? We were sitting at a Castlemaine pub’s outside table. The night was almost freezing, we were dressed in great coats and beanies, and avoiding the trad jazz playing in the main bar. We were drinking pints of beer that were offering no assistance to our hangovers. We’d spent the previous day drinking in pubs and, when night fell, singing Australian rock anthems with our wives as I strummed guitar. Because, well, D. is from England, he needed schooling, and we hadn’t seen each other for too long.

I don’t take my guitar work seriously, but I’m humbled when someone takes my writing seriously. After D. asked his question, he sat back and gave me room to answer, as if I were being interviewed. Which, I suppose, I was. It’s just that writers, if we’re honest, often fantasise about being interviewed in front of a large audience with its palms open to grasp our tiny hosts of insight.

But there was only D. And he was enough. Because as soon as I began to answer him, I felt embarrassed. I sounded like that worst kind of human being: a wanker. Waffling on and making little sense. Thankfully, I kept my voice down so it’s unlikely the two 30-something women sitting at a nearby table, whom statistics would suggest could be part of my potential audience, would have heard me.

I can’t repeat the nonsense I came out with. That’s why I’m writing this piece. So I’m hopeful D. is scouting the internet right now and has a pint of beer at the ready.

In the past, as crazy as it sounds, I used to get a lot of my ideas for fiction when I experienced the quality of light in a particular environment. ‘In the Shell’, a story from my short fiction collection Dodging the Bull (2007), anthologised a number of times, had its origins in staring too long at a Shell service station on the horizon while driving one night from Geelong to Melbourne. The Shell sign’s orange mixing with the greens and blues emanating from the building itself and drew me into what I can only describe as an ennui-fuelled reverie. That experience produced two characters, Jason and Tony; their lives, their times; their failures and their hopes.

When it comes to my new book, We. Are. Family. (MidnightSun Publishing 2016), the writing and the ideas have a much closer relationship. It’s as if so many of the situations, concepts, images and settings have been born of a previous situation, concept, etc. The work is episodic and cyclic and layered. There are ideas looping around ideas and creating what I hope is a reading experience like no other . . .

. . . whoops, let’s hope no one at a nearby table can hear!

Seriously, though, I wrote the work episodically with strange links and ellipsis because, to me, it reflects the way we experience contemporary life and, especially, contemporary family life.

But back to the ideas.

We. Are. Family.

We. Are. Family.

The ideas in We. Are. Family. often came from personal experiences that I manipulated into fiction. Not the newest trick for a book, but certainly one of the most reliable. For example, I went on a Daintree River cruise looking for crocodiles that wouldn’t show up and extrapolated a passage of writing from that; the words ‘stick with what you know’ wouldn’t get out of my head one day so I started a piece of writing to try to get them out; and my footballer uncle was renowned in my family for knocking out an opposition team’s tough guy, proving to the opposition – and two towns – that his team and his family weren’t going to get pushed around anymore.

To say anything more about the ideas in the book would be to give away too much. But, suffice to say, it’s not the quality of light but the quality – or lack thereof – of family relationships that brought about many of the ideas that became We. Are. Family. Along with my ideas about what it is that makes Australian masculinity interesting, foolish, peculiar, strong yet vulnerable, half-witted and possibly, ever so slowly, transforming into a model better suited to the 21st century, an era in which we are making a concerted effort to end family violence.

The great comedian John Clarke once said a key to being a successful artist was understanding the difference between an idea that is worth making into a feature film and one that’s best just shared with your mum over the phone. He said it in an interview and he probably wasn’t at a cold pub in Castlemaine. But, if he had been, I’d have sat back, sipped my pint and taken notes.

When it comes to ideas, I live by John’s advice. It has saved me a lot of typing time and conversations on the phone with my mum (it’s all right – she gets hold of me via email anyway. And she’s full of ideas so I’m always ready to cut and paste).

Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell

The Melbourne launch of We. Are. Family. is at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival (Beer Delux, 1pm) on Saturday 27 August 2016.

The Adelaide launch is on Friday 9 September 2016 at the SA Writers’ Centre at 6.30 for 7pm.

Both launches are free and everyone is welcome!

Books will be available in all good bookshops from 1 Sept 2016.

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Bologna and London Book Fairs

In April 2016, writer Cameron Raynes and I set out on an epic adventure tour in Europe. We had planned to visit Bologna in Italy to attend the children’s book fair there and London in the UK to visit their book fair. It was a very productive trip with lots of meetings, both with new contacts and with old friends such as the Venezuelan publisher Ekaré, who are publishing the Spanish translation of Jane Jolly and Sally Heinrich’s One Step at a Time.

Verona

Verona

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In Verona, before the meetings began, we caught up with writer Catherine McNamara, who we both met in Vienna a couple of years ago at the 13th International Conference for the Short Story in English. Yummy food was had by all. We were in Italy, so nothing else was to be expected, of course.

Stunning London Book Fair

Stunning London Book Fair

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In the UK, Cameron had organised to speak at a couple of different venues, including the Michael Palin centre for stammering children and I had planned to visit MidnightSun’s writer Lucy Durneen in Cornwall.

Cornwall

Cornwall

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As it is so much easier to discuss manuscripts, publicity and launches in person over the course of a weekend, Lucy and I managed to plan most of what should happen with Lucy’s gorgeous short story collection, Songs of Ecstasy and Madness, which is due out early next year. In London I had productive meetings with our agent at the Writers’ House and the publisher from Headline who will publish Amanda Hickie’s An Ordinary Epidemic in the UK next year (as Before This is Over).

Bologna Children's Book Fair

Bologna Children’s Book Fair

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One of the best things about attending book fairs is all the inspiration that other publishers bring. Especially in Bologna, the stalls are beautiful and inventive and I was excited to find publishers who produce books of such stunning quality. Overall, it was great trip and I intend to travel there again next year, hopefully accompanied by one of MidnightSun’s new writers.

Anna Solding, Publisher

Famous leaning towers of Bologna

Famous leaning towers of Bologna

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Continually expanding

MidnightSun has been growing over the last three years and we have become a force to be reckoned with, in adult and children’s literature alike. We only publish books we love and we spend months making sure we edit the text to its absolute pinnacle and design the best possible cover. We are incredibly proud of all the books we have produced so far and very excited about the ones we are now signing up to publish in 2016 and 2017. Soon we will reveal more of our authors and projects but for now we just want to say thank you for your ongoing support of MidnightSun. Without you, loyal readers, we wouldn’t be here.

The first MidnightSun book cab off the rank in February 2016 is gorgeous and powerful First Person Shooter by Cameron Raynes.

First Person Shooter

First Person Shooter

Right now, however, we recommend that you check out the beautiful colouring-in book Local Colour – Adelaide by Sally Heinrich, which is currently in shops selling like hotcakes. The Christmas present of the year!

Local Colour - Adelaide

Local Colour – Adelaide

Local Colour - Icons

Local Colour – Icons

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Local Colour – Adelaide is here!

Local Colour – Adelaide by Sally Heinrich has arrived early due to high demand. We are very proud and excited to be publishing this exquisite mindfulness colouring book about Adelaide and surrounds. Local Colour - Adelaide

From 10 November 2015 you should be able to find it in all good bookshops in Adelaide, as well as in Big W, the Art Gallery and selected newsagents.

You can also order it online from us.Birds.6 Nov 2015 Colouring in.6 Nov 2015 Pencils.6 Nov 2015 The Book.6 Nov 2015 Or you can venture out to buy it at the Gilles Street Market on Sunday 6 December or the Burnside Night Market on Thursday 10 December. Hope to catch you there. We’d love to see your coloured pages! The pencils are for sale too.

Local Colour - Jacaranda

Local Colour – Jacaranda

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Revealing the cover of First Person Shooter

MidnightSun has been working tirelessly to find the very best fiction for your reading pleasure. We are extremely proud to announce the first novel by word magician Cameron Raynes.

First Person Shooter

First Person Shooter

It is called First Person Shooter and tells the story of fifteen year old Jayden who has a terribly debilitating stutter and an interest in shooting.

Books+Publishing compares the book to the ‘works of Craig Silvey and Tim Winton, but with the darker edge of John Marsden’. We couldn’t agree more.

 

First Person Shooter will be available in February 2016.

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Magnificent ‘Local Colour – Adelaide’ is on the way!

MidnightSun is excited to have sent our first adult colouring book to print!

Local Colour - Jacaranda

Local Colour – Jacaranda

There’s a bewildering variety of adult colouring books on the market right now, but this one is a little different. More than simply a colouring book, Local Colour – Adelaide explores many of the things and places that make Adelaide unique. Through quirky text and gorgeous illustrations we explore Adelaide icons, jacaranda and plane trees, the Hills and the coast. And more.

Local Colour - Icons

Local Colour – Icons

 

 

 

We hope that you’ll like it, that you’ll send it to all your overseas pals and buy it as the ideal Christmas present for your best friend as well as your entire family.

Sally has set up a page for the book which she’ll keep updated about when and where it is available, and any associated events Local Colour – Adelaide

Local Colour - Adelaide

Local Colour – Adelaide

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Amanda Hickie at Newtown Festival

You have a great opportunity to catch Amanda Hickie at the Newtown Festival on Sunday 8 November 2015, 12.40pm at Camperdown Memorial Rest Park.

Amanda Hickie

Amanda Hickie

An Ordinary Epidemic

An Ordinary Epidemic

Four talented Australian fiction novelists come together to for the Fictional Sydney panel focusing on how each represents Sydney in their work. Creator of Offspring, Debra Oswald’s novel Useful is a smart, moving and wry portrait of one man’s desire to give something of himself. Tegan Bennett Daylight’s short story collection Six Bedrooms is about growing up; about discovering sex; and about coming of age. Sandra Leigh-Price’s The Bird Child is set right here in Newtown in 1929 and is a novel of magic, birds, lost letters and love. Finally, Amanda Hickie’s novel An Ordinary Epidemic takes place in the midst of a deadly outbreak which sends Sydney into lockdown. Sandra, Amanda, Tegan and Debra are sure to talk about ideas that will resonate with and relate to each and every one of us. Four talented Australian fiction novelists come together to for the Fictional Sydney panel. Focusing on how each represents Sydney in their work; writing about historical Sydney, contemporary Sydney and even Sydney in the future, Sandra, Amanda, Tegan and Debra are sure to talk about ideas that will resonate with and relate to each and every one of us.

Further information here: http://www.newtownfestival.org/writers_tent.html

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Rights sold!

Over the last month or so MidnightSun has been hard at work behind the scenes and now we are extremely happy to announce huge successes for two of our books:

We have sold the American rights to Amanda Hickie’s An Ordinary Epidemic in a six-figure deal with Little, Brown.

An Ordinary Epidemic

An Ordinary Epidemic

We have also sold translation rights to Simplified Chinese to CTV Boler Beijing Media and Spanish rights to Ekare for Jane Jolly’s and Sally Heinrich’s One Step at a Time.

One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time

This means that MidnightSun’s books will be spread far and wide and we couldn’t possibly be any happier!

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Review of An Ordinary Epidemic in The Australian

Amanda Hickie’s terrific novel has had a great review in The Australian. This is what they had to say:

With Ebola, SARS, superbugs and the anticipated exhaustion of antibiotics, the question of how Australians might behave if a deadly pandemic hit our shores is an interesting one. We are, despite our vast expanses, one of the most urbanised nations in the world, ideal perhaps as a destination for diseases.

An Ordinary Epidemic (MidnightSun, 400pp, $28.99) explores these issues in a tight narrative that views the event from the perspective of a middle-class Sydney family. It’s the second novel from Sydney author Amanda Hickie, following her reimagining of heaven in After Zoe.

The story begins with the Manba virus moving south from Newcastle, and infecting Sydney’s north shore. Efforts to restrict its progress prove futile as isolated cases begin to pop up throughout the city, but fortunately not yet where Hannah and her family live.

She is concerned, while her husband Sean is more relaxed, arguing against the fear that they will be infected. Against her instincts he insists their son be allowed to go on a school camp to Canberra.

In many ways this is a simple speculative tale, but its tight lines of logic and sharp interrogation of the limits of compassion when community itself becomes a risk, as well as our dependency on the state for things such as power and water, makes for a fascinating read. Hickie has created convincing characters and mines the rifts in ethical positions between averting death and helping others to do the same so well that it leaves you thinking twice about shaking hands with strangers.

Ed Wright, 20 June 2015, The Australian

Review of An Ordinary Epidemic in The Australian

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