What are we, if not our stories? Maurice Shadbolt
How does the world look from behind a publisher’s desk? Are they gatekeepers, or curators? Hoarders, or explorers? And just how do books get from the mind of the writer all the way to the eyes of the reader? This is the story of stories. Going West has invited three prominent and diverse book publishers to share their insights, experiences and anecdotes. Harriet Allan heads up fiction at Penguin Random House. Bridget Williams is the founder of non-fiction specialists Bridget Williams Books. Peter Dowling is publisher at West Auckland’s own Oratia Media. With three publishers in on the chat, Going West is thrilled to see Witi Ihimaera cross the floor and assume the role of the interviewer. This promises to be a lively and revealing discussion, with ample time for questions and discussion.
Harriet Allan has been with Penguin Random House for over 30 years. She publishes many of New Zealand’s pre-eminent writers, has launched numerous new writers and has lost count of the number of award-winning books all this activity has resulted in. She publishes fiction for adults and young adults and literary non-fiction.
Bridget Williams ONZM, HonLittD (Otago) has been publishing in New Zealand for forty years, working across the spectrum of the industry, with multinational, independent and institutional presses. She is responsible for groundbreaking national histories, for new perspectives on the Māori past, and for books on feminist issues and women’s history. A sharp focus on critical issues facing New Zealand today is an important part of her publishing enterprise today. An award-winning publisher Bridget Williams Books heads into the future with new-generation publisher Tom Rennie working alongside Bridget as director.
Peter Dowling is the publisher at Oratia Media, overseeing the Oratia Books list (children, Māori, non-fiction) and the provision of publishing and media services. His career in book and magazine publishing spans 30 years across New Zealand, Europe, Japan and the Americas. He is the Immediate Past-President of the Publishers Association of New Zealand.
Witi Ihimaera is of Te Whānau a Kai, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Tūhoe, Te Whānau ā Apanui and Ngāti Porou descent. He was the first Māori to publish a novel, Tangi, in 1973. He has subsequently gone on to become one of New Zealand’s leading writers. He is passionate about writing Māori stories and creating opportunities
for them to be shown not only in print but also in theatre and on film. His memoir, Māori Boy, won the 2016 Ockham Award for the best non-fiction work. His play, All Our Sons, won six Wellington theatre awards. He is currently writing the third volume of his memoir and working on other projects including an opera, Flowing Water, which is set in the Waikato during the New Zealand Wars.
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