Terri-ann White

Posted on Posted in Book sales, Industry, Interview, Literary fiction, Terri-ann White, Writer

Terri-Ann White is Director of UWA Publishing, the publisher responsible for the 2017 Miles Franklin Award winning novel Extinctions by Josephine Wilson.

Terri-Ann is also a writer herself. She has published the short story collection Day and Night, and the novel Finding Theodore and Brina.

She lectured in the University of Western Australia Department of English from 1996 until she was seconded in 1999 to establish the Institute of Advanced Studies at University of Western Australia.

Related episodes:

TRANSCRIPT

Nic Brasch: Terri-ann White is the Director of UWA Publishing. Prior to that she was the Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia. She is also the author of a collection of short stories, a novel and many, many articles. So, she also understands the publishing business from both sides. Most excitingly UWA Publishing are the publishers of the 2017 Miles Franklin Award winning novel, Extinctions by Josephine Wilson. Terri-ann, welcome to The Garret.

Terri-ann White: Thank you Nic, I’m delighted to be here.

Nic: You’ve had many roles in the business of writing and publishing, where did that interest come from?

Terri-ann: I think it came from childhood and teenage years of starting to understand what writing could do. I studied literature at university, and just became completely obsessed with the idea of how a story could be told focusing down on the sentence. So, I’m really not that interested in plots or any of those literary devices, I’m really interested in how language can extend and stretch and challenge us.

Nic: Did you grow up in a family where books and language and ideas were encouraged and expressed?

Terri-ann: I’m afraid not.

Nic: Ah.

Terri-ann: But I did have parents who kind of gave me whatever I wanted – in freedom – and material things as well. But we lived in hotels.

Nic: Why was that? Publicans?

Terri-ann: Because my parents ran hotels, and that makes for a very particular kind of childhood, that you meet a lot of adults, many more adults, and you’d see them in social settings, much more than when you grow up in a suburban house with a nuclear family, where one of the parents makes the dinner for everybody, it’s the same thing, and you have to make your bed in the morning. I didn’t have to do any of that. And we could choose what we wanted for dinner.

Nic: As a child then, were there any particular authors or books that you recall as being, you know, formative or you remember as…

Terri-ann: Well, so mildly precociously at 12, I started reading Patrick White.

Nic: Oh my goodness me.

Terri-ann: And I read The Vivisector, and I was completely turned on to The Vivisector at the beginning of high school.

Nic: Wow.

Terri-ann: The kids’ books, I think horse books and dog books and all of those usual picture books and books, story books for kids… I remember my contact with them, but I remember much more clearly the next stage, which was all about language.

Nic: Ok so then through high school it’s all downhill from Patrick White. So, who else during your high school years kept you going and then obviously to university and sort of nourished it, interest?

Terri-ann: I’m not sure I had any kind of good disciplined reading habits. I read quite a bit of poetry through high school, but I didn’t ever quite get there with any of that. I read very weird books like that book about the man who – I think it was in the 60s – disguised himself as an African American.

Nic: Oh yes.

Terri-ann: Black Like Me, books like that and books from obscure people. Look I don’t know how this happened but when I was 12, as well, I read this book called In Praise of older Woman. And I think I got it from the Bunbury second hand shop. And it was electrifying. And so there’s a kind of funny erotic line going through my childhood, and I’m exposing it all to you and The Garret, and I don’t know how that happened. I was also very interested in film.

Nic: Ok.

Terri-ann: So, saw lots of film through my teenage years.

Nic: And particular favourites?

Terri-ann: Oh, particular favourites were European films. So, I guess following on from that slightly precious space but Bertolucci and Visconti…

Nic: Fellini.

Terri-ann: And Fellini, and I came to them quite early, I think.

Nic: At what point did you start writing?

Terri-ann: So interestingly, I went to what is now Curtin University, and I had just turned 17 about two weeks before the first classes started. I got very poor advice at school from the guidance officer and I enrolled in social work. And nobody was anywhere near my age, you know, the next person up was about ten years older than me so I was hanging out with more adults, and it didn’t really suit me, particularly. So, I moved into communication and cultural studies the following year, so. in my second year of university.

And I had this great opportunity of the Writer in Residence for that year, or for six months of that year, was Tom Shapcott the Queensland poet.

Nic: Oh wow.

Terri-ann: And I did a semester with him and I started to write some poems. And then I wrote a short story. When I was a child I went to East Timor for a family holiday, because we lived in Broome, in Western Australia and it was cheaper to go to Darwin and East Timor for a holiday than come to Perth. So, I wrote, I’d had a very kind of big... It had been a big kind of life change for me going to East Timor when I was ten, just understanding that suburban Perth wasn’t the be all and end all of the world. So, I wrote a story and we, I was also one of the three editors of our creative writing magazine at WAIT which is now Curtin, with Tim Winton and Deborah Robertson, so it was the three of us were the editors and they let me put my story in. So that was my first published short story.

Nic: Wow. And at that point when you finished your studies, were you pursuing a career in writing or was publishing already beckoning or academia? How did that work?

Terri-ann: I don’t believe the career in writing. It’s a career that’s doomed to fail I’m afraid. So, I took a long time to finish my degree, and I went off for a year and became a rock and roll entrepreneur and I came back and I did theatre and film and literature, and I didn’t do any more creative writing in my degree.

But then when I finished, when I finally finished, I’d been working part time and then full time in a city book shop in Perth, and I went away for a holiday to Europe and the US and came back and what I really wanted to do was to open my own bookshop. And I had dinner with my father for his birthday on the 31 March, and I’d just got back from Europe and I said, ‘I want to open a bookshop’ and he said, ‘I’ll loan you $10 grand’.

So, on 4 July, a really short space of time, I opened my bookshop. And it continued, it ran for 21 years in Perth. I sold it after about 14 years. And for me that was the best preparation that I had for a subsequent publishing career.

Nic: Ok, so tell me why? Tell me why. How does book selling teach you about publishing?

Terri-ann: It teaches you about publishing because a lot of people go into publishing with great ideals and great ideas about how books can operate. You know, about how important books are in a culture. But the bottom line always is – it doesn’t matter how obscure the book that you’re publishing is – unless you understand that what you make at the end of it is actually a commercial object, a commercial product, whether or not it returns the money it has cost to make, it is something that, unless you consider that it has to move from producer – usually via a third party – to a reader, there is a commercial imperative in there.

So, for me, I opened this bookshop and ran it for all of this time, in a way that is probably really hard to do these days, but I followed, I entirely followed my own passions and I didn’t stock things that I didn’t like.

Nic: So when you were displaying things in particular ways, was it always that passion that drove how and where you displayed things or was it also a commercial imperative or was it a bit of both?

Terri-ann: No, the commercial imperative I thought was connected to me as the salesperson of great books or great writing. So I had weird and pretty random rules. No books about sport, no travel guides, no mass market writing, no crap. Just kept on like that. And I had… It was a very curated collection.

Nic: Are there any particular books that stand out in your mind that you really promoted or pushed and you think you, you know, found an audience for this book that might otherwise have sort of languished a bit?

Terri-ann: Well I stocked a lot of feminist theory and feminist writing. I also, at that time, and still I must say, I was very interested in the translated works from – it didn’t matter which language it was – but from works I’d read about in literary history or I read about in the London Review of Books, but I never saw in Australia on bookshelves or much in libraries. So, I’d followed, there were… It’s a beautiful coincidence but Extinctions has recently, the rights have been bought for the UK by an imprint called Serpent’s Tale, and they started in the 80s when I started, and their list that had a lot of translations from Latin America, from Europe, and from Eastern Europe, really turned me on.

Nic: I mean talk about how bookselling helped you with publishing, how about being a writer and being a published writer, how has that helped you as a publisher, particularly I guess in your dealings with writers.

Terri-ann: I’ve just come from Canberra, where I had the weekend at the Canberra Writer’s Centre, has a fantastic program called HARDCOPY, where they choose ten writers each year in fiction and then later in non-fiction, and I was in the non-fiction section, to work out with mentors a manuscript and then at the end of it all, which was where I was involved, each of the ten writers gets to sit in a room for half an hour, over a whole weekend, with nine publishers and one, I think it was only one agent, who have all read the first 30 pages of their manuscript, to talk through potential.

And I had quite a lot of conversations with the other publisher participants over the weekend about how quite often in publishing people get, they start to think that the author demands too much, and they start to have a bit of a mindset where ‘we’re controlling the business here, they’re asking for too much’. And so, one of the roles that I see us having is saying, ‘Hold on a minute. You’ve got a weekly wage, a salary, you’ve got some permanency. These people have quite often lost families because of their passion and obsession with completing a manuscript. Sometimes they take 10, 15, 20 years. Sometimes they take three years. They get bugger all in… you know, they’re recompensed not very much, most books are not bestsellers and they’ve put their life into writing this. So, shut up, you know just be a little respectful’.

Nic: [Laughter]

Terri-ann: So, I’ve been down that path with my writing, which didn’t actually set the world on fire, but it set me on fire. And that perspective of being in the driver’s seat, of being a writer, I’m not writing at the moment because I can’t really afford to do that and manage the pressure of the workload.

Nic: Sure. So that mind set for you is a bit different than it is for the larger publishers. I’m wondering how hard is it for the smaller publishers to cut through in what is a very competitive business. Against the oligarchy if you like, these very powerful, big publishers.

Terri-ann: The big six, billion-dollar multinationals.

Nic: Exactly, how do you cut through that?

Terri-ann: I think it really frustrated me for about the first ten years. So, I’ve been in this job now for twelve years.

Nic: That’s a long time to be frustrated by it.

Terri-ann: I know, but I actively worked against it. It’s kind of double jeopardy being based in Perth, because you lot on this side of the country kind of look the other way or look at each other. I hope that doesn’t sound rude but you forget about us. And so, it has required quite a lot of travelling to be in people’s faces, going into bookshops and that old trick of rearranging the shelves so that your books are face out, and not getting to know but staying connected with the gatekeepers, the literary editors, the people who generate reviews.

Nic: How important are reviews?

Terri-ann: I think they’re very important. They’re very important, not necessarily for sales, but they can be for sales. But they’re really important for, as recognition for both author and publisher. Yeah, they make my day.

So, every Friday for the last twelve years, I read the two Saturday newspapers, you know the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and The Australian. Because we’re behind in the time zone, I come home on a Friday night, and I access the online edition and I post any reviews on Friday night. So, everyone can see them on Saturday morning.

Nic: I don’t know whether that’s being passionate or whether that’s very sad.

Terri-ann: I think it’s probably quite sad, yeah. Thank you very much Nic, I mean I do have a healthy social life.

Nic: That’s good. I’m just checking, glad to hear that, glad to hear that. Tell me about the development of Extinctions, by Josephine Wilson, from the time it came to your attention which I presume is when it won the unpublished manuscript, or were you involved with it from beforehand.

Terri-ann: Well I was involved with the author beforehand, because I published her first book beforehand, in 2005.

Nic: Indeed.

Terri-ann: I started in this job in 2006, but in 2004, 2005 I was given this great opportunity to develop a fiction list for UWAP who was just celebrating its 70 year of operation but they’d never published fiction before.

And my, if you start a new fiction list, in Australia and announce it, you then have to hire a warehouse to put all of the manuscripts that will come your way. So we announced it, but we said were just looking at works that have been produced out of universities as MAs or PhDs because I was working in the university at the time, I was teaching writing at UWA and I noticed that, although a lot of people were enrolled in those postgraduate courses – and quite a lot of them were people with an already established position in Australian literature – there was very little coming out and I thought this is such a waste, that people are writing novels or writing collections of short stories, and taking three or close to four years to do so, and then they end up with three examiners’ reports and they hoof it around to publishers and they appeared to mostly be not picked up on.

So, I went to all of the people who ran the creative writing programs and said you know, ‘send me your best, unless you know they’re already contracted to publishers’. And the first book that I published was Josephine Wilson’s Cusp, which came out of an MA at the University of Queensland, and I think that it’s the most wonderful, kind of dynamic novel about home and away, about being in one place and being in another. And it’s incredibly funny in the way that’s sort of her trade mark, she’s got a great sense of how comedy can work on the page, which I think is one of the hardest things to pull off.

Nic: Sure, sure.

Terri-ann: And the other book, so we published two books at the end of 2015, the other one was a novel called A New Map of the Universe, by Annabel Smith, who’s also published a couple of other books, not with us, since then.

So, it ended up being a really great way to ease into having a fiction list, and I think we published about eight or nine books in that series and we called it New Writing, and then we opened it up.

So, then we opened it up and individual authors made contact, but also agents made contact, and I was also buying things from overseas, you know either in translation or English at the Frankfurt Book Fair, just to keep that dynamism moving. I’ve forgotten what the question was?

Nic: Extinctions. Josephine.

Terri-ann: So Josephine.

Nic: And then there’s a big gap.

Terri-ann: It’s a big gap, but most of that time was spent kind of growing her family and writing this novel but also caring – I mean she’s talked about all of this in her interviews, caring for aging parents and just getting on with life. So, I think she’d been working on Extinctions for at least five or six years, and it came to me because this time she did the PhD at UWA, and I know Josephine well, and it seemed like an obvious thing to then put it into the Dorothy Hewett Award, which we just set up because our State Government of the day decided in a kind of wilful act to cut in half the WA Premier’s Literature Awards or book awards. So, we thought ok, we will take you on and start this unpublished manuscript award.

Nic: Named after one of West Australia’s greats.

Terri-ann: That’s right. And we put Dorothy Hewett back into print, in the last six or seven years. So, we did that and I’m not – so this is a little disclosure – I’m not necessarily completely enamoured with unpublished manuscript awards, but this one has kind of built a momentum really fast, and we’ve had great judges making decisions, we’ve had a lot of, I think we’ve had more than 300 entries over the three times we’ve run it so far.

Josephine’s novel was a complete standout, but we also gave a highly commended to another manuscript, which we published earlier this year, Kyra Giorgi’s The Circle and the Equator, which is a collection of short stories, and it won the Steele Rudd prize, in the last part of this year. So, great first year, I must say.

Nic: Absolutely, absolutely. So, then she won that award with Extinctions, how much work then needed to be done to get it to publishable stage? Or was it nearly there?

Terri-ann: It was very nearly there. We had a great editor. Nicola Young worked on it just to resolve a couple of the problems that Josephine had already identified and then just give it a polish.

Nic: Did you know how good it was? I mean you must, you must have had great deal of faith to enter it into the Miles Franklin, because not every publisher does that with every book they’ve got. What was it about it that gave you that confidence if you like?

Terri-ann: Yeah, I definitely had a huge amount of confidence, and for me it was about the broad span of what it covers and that idea of what aging carries with it. How you sort out the mistakes that you made, not by trying to fix them, but by shifting, shifting your life path, kind of wilfully, so as to, I don’t know, find some joy again. That’s, that’s it and its humour, you know, its comedy, and its poignancy, and the idea of the whole framework of concrete bridges and modernist furniture and children and age and retirement villages and things kind of getting a bit mixed up, you know. Frederick shouldn’t be in a retirement village but there he is and meeting people who are outside of his, outside of his kind of social world and kind of getting on with them in a weird, grumpy sort of way. I think he’s much more than a grumpy old man.

Nic: Sure, sure. For whom has winning the Miles Franklin made the most difference? Josephine or UWA?

Terri-ann: I think Josephine, but for us…

Nic: What does it mean for a small publisher, I don’t mean that, I mean compared to the others you are a small publisher.

Terri-ann: Oh we are.

Nic: I mean what difference does it make?

Terri-ann: OK, I mean just about everywhere I go now, people say congratulations or say, here’s to the independent publishers who have been overlooked for quite a period of time, and yet we’re the ones who do the innovation.

Nic: And it’s been recognised now, Alec Patric and Josephine, and also in this year’s short list and etc, etc, etc, the independent publishers have been taken much more seriously, by the major prizes…

Terri-ann: And I think in the past that would have been the case as well, but we get into this mindset of the people with might manage to take up quite a lot of the oxygen, and there we are struggling away with passion. That’s what it is, its obsession and passion.

Nic: So how do you decide which manuscripts to take on? What piques your interest, because as you said you get a warehouse full of them or at least a computer inbox full of them, is there an X factor?

Terri-ann: There is. There’s always an X factor, and it’s about the distinctive voice, which is a pretty obvious thing to say, but it is about how a writer draws me into her world and gives me an experience that I might not have had before, and much of that is done through the language. So, it’s about startling language, it’s about the beauty of what is carried through sentences and…

Nic: So it’s not so much the plot and the topic, so you hear so many people go ‘I can’t write a book about this because there’s so many out there’. But that doesn’t matter it’s about how you deliver the voice and the language and how the stories conveyed that’s more…

Terri-ann: And I think I’m more, personally, interested in ideas, which is why I’ve got nothing against crime novels or detective novels, but I kind of haven’t read them since Patricia Highsmith or Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammet, when things become a bit formulaic, that’s fantastic, it’s completely fantastic, but it’s not really my thing. And so I’m more interested in the limits of the language, rather than in the formula of, I mean I read the, I regularly read the last page of a book first.

Nic: Are you talking about just in general, when you buy a book. Really?

Terri-ann: Yeah, well I might read the first and the last, two pages and then I’m…

Nic: I’ve heard a few people say that, I’ve never done that, that’s so weird.

Terri-ann: You know, suspense doesn’t really…

Nic: If you’re not after the suspense, then it doesn’t matter, yeah.

Terri-ann: So I’m interested in the stretch, I think I said before.

Nic: I’m sure you get very close to all of the books you’ve published, but I’m wondering other than Extinctions obviously, which other books stand out in your mind, that have particularly excited you

at your time, if you can.

Terri-ann: Ok. Can I give you three? Quickly

Nic: I’m amazed that you’ve said can I give you three? I expected you to say, how could I ever choose, so three’s good.

Terri-ann: Well one of them is a novella by Marion May Campbell, who is a Melbourne based writer who grew up in Perth, and has published some remarkable works that do all of those things about stretching language and stretching my consciousness. And she wrote this little novel called Concretion or little novella, and it has a parallel path of a whole, kind of interest in Baader Meinhof, terrorism.

Nic: Oh yes, in the 70s.

Terri-ann: Yes, in the 70s and Australian writer, theorist, kind of intersection. So an intersection about thought and ideas and action. And it’s, I mean the reviews of the book were extraordinary. It’s also got humour in it, the humour is so hard and yet these, these writers can pull off the humour. So it’s a hard book to categorise, but I’m so happy it’s in the world. Number one.

Number two, Ross Gibson, who is a writer and museum curator, film maker and theorist. I’ve now published five of his books. The book from 2012 called 26 Views of the Starburst World, which is a kind of reimagining of William Dawes, the early astronomer, who came out in the First Fleet and his extraordinary notebooks about his encounters with Aboriginal people and their language and communication. And it is the most beautiful, beautiful book that we also use some of those pages in the book.

And the third book is, so in the period that I was doing quite a lot of translations in other languages and publishing the translations in Australia to variable levels of success, I came upon when I was doing some research about a Norwegian novel that we had published, I came upon a book called The Girl with the Golden Parasol. It was a novel published by Penguin India, by Uday Prakash, who was a Hindi writer and filmmaker and quite a contentious figure, politically he always stood up for what was right and for the small person, small man, and I decided to contact – I didn’t know how to contact him – but I decided to contact his translator, Jason Grunebaum who was in the Hindi studies department at the University of Chicago, so I just wrote to him, completely cold called him and said I liked the sound of the Golden Parasol, have you got anything else for me? And he said, ‘Well actually I do. I did a translation of two novellas and a short story by Uday and I’ll never get it published anywhere, nobody will ever be interested’.

And he sent it to me and it was so electrifying, because each of these three stories, which are sort of moral tales set in contemporary India, on the streets of contemporary India, with these great dilemmas of the repressive form of government or of traces of the colonial past with the small man or woman being crushed. The corruption was another thing that swirled through. The writing is just astonishing and the translation is clearly also very, very good. And so, I published this little book called The Walls of Delhi, it completely bombed in commercial terms in Australia, even though Uday came to the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. People just didn’t… it was just a bridge too far. But the beauty of this writing and the insights are exceptional. We were shortlisted in the DSC Prize for South-Asian Literature, and I think there was a short list of about six or seven and there were only two books that were in Indian languages and we missed out by this much, but the three of us got to meet at the Jaipur Literature Festival and hang out for a bit. And then the book, I sold it to Hachette India, so I just loved the irony, the kind of beauty again of a book originating in Perth Western Australia, selling back to India and also to the US and UK. And I don’t care if nobody’s bought it. I’ve given away a lot of copies and I love it so much. Yeah put it on your list.

Nic: What is the… How do you see the state of Australian publishing at the moment, are you optimistic about it?

Terri-ann: Very optimistic. I’m feeling that we’ve got through the slump or our little crisis. I think we’re publishing too much, and you can see that when you go into Readings and see how fast it is that those books at the front of the shop are shifted. They used to last for about a month, now it’s about two weeks.

Nic: Everyone says we publish too much, so why do we continue to publish so much?

Terri-ann: Because there’s not much money in it. The industry is in good shape but I think there’s so much, this might sound like a very odd thing to say, but there’s so much competition from the blockbuster series, from all those books that you now see at the front of the shop, you know Game of Thrones, those sort of books that are about, they always seem to me like they are entering into a lifestyle, that might be incredibly offensive to people, I’ve never read Game of Thrones, so it’s not that I’m being a snob about it, but it requires this huge commitment, and a lot of money really, to keep up with it, because you are probably reading the book and watching the film, the video… Sorry I’m showing my age now, you don’t call it video.

Nic: Streaming.

Terri-ann: There are other things now that take up some of our budget, and I think Australian books are still in there and we’re in a much better position than we were seven or eight years ago.

Nic: That’s what I was going to say, would you have been as optimistic five, six, seven years ago?

Terri-ann: No.

Nic: No, you weren’t at all.

Terri-ann: I was concerned about where the readers had gone.

Nic: And how do you see the future of Australian publishing? Any particular trends that you see as happening? Both in terms of technology but also perhaps in preferences?

Terri-ann: Well everything’s changed in technology, so it is much easier for us to publish because we can make, we don’t have to invest in the big print run anymore, we can suck it and see, we can do short run, and that’s really how we got through the crisis. Printing much smaller quantities and just topping up every time we needed to, rather than investing all our money in books that would sit in a warehouse and start to cost us money, because when you have books in our distributors’ warehouses, after a certain period which is I think is about three months, they start charging you for every book sitting there, so you’ve got your money tied up in those books but you’re also getting this surcharge. So, we got around that, because print on demand is such a great technology. I just want to work out how to get more Australians reading Australian books.

Nic: Have you got an answer?

Terri-ann: No, but I love what Stephen Romei does at the Weekend Australian, as literary editor he privileges poetry, things that are not main stream, and he does it very deliberately and very effectively.

Nic: The books pages of the Weekend Australian are sort of the number one reason to buy…

Terri-ann: The only reason.

Nic: Yes, I wasn’t going to say that, I’ll let you say that.

Terri-ann: But, you know, remarkable that in a very strange publication…

Nic: Absolutely.

Terri-ann: …they have this brilliance.

Nic: That they continue to allow in more pages than the other publication.

Terri-ann: That’s right.

Nic: That they continue to promote it, it’s fantastic. Absolutely credit to them, absolutely.

Terri-ann: So he’s our patron saint of the moment, of poetry publishing. Which is something we’ve got into very seriously in the last 12 months.

Nic: Why?

Terri-ann: Well, because all of the small boutique poetry publishers lost their funding, and so there were distraught poets floating around in the world, in our world.

Nic: There’s got to be a great collective noun there for distraught poets.

Terri-ann: Come up with it. And we scooped them up when they came to us and we started a new series, so all we do is we put these manuscripts into our series so we don’t have to generate a new cover every time, and we’ve got a beautiful internal design and we publish 22 books of poetry in the last year.

Nic: And I’m assuming without the technological changes with print on demand that could not have been possible?

Terri-ann: I mean we’ve gone back to the offset print now, but all of that shifted the whole industry. So in my whole life which is quite long by now, I have never seen, and I’ve been looking out for this kind of thing, I’ve never seen an Australian publisher publish that many books of poetry in one year. And so I feel quite good about that, the books have sold, two of them have won awards already, they’ve had a lot of great critical coverage and I couldn’t be prouder.

Nic: Yes. What’s the most common advice or feedback you give to emerging writers when they’ve sent you manuscripts that don’t work? What’s the most common problem, mistake that people make?

Terri-ann: Going too early, so I just say slow down. Get your first book right, and then your second book right. Do not think that publishing is the end goal. Think about becoming as good a writer as you can. But the number of people that come too early is distressing and it wasn’t the case when I started. So, in part I think it’s because creative writing in universities and in the community kind of encourages it, because people, it’s not that their teachers encourage it but it’s that sense of, you know, you’re in this training ground and training always results…

Nic: You’ve got to produce.

Terri-ann: And it doesn’t work that way. Go slow, I like slow.

Nic: Just finally, I’m wondering which Australian author would you most like to desert their current publisher and move into your stable? If any Australian author you know you could click your fingers and they would magically leave whoever they are with? Who would you love most?

It’s a biggie.

Terri-ann: The reason that it’s hard to answer is I feel that I’ve got some of those great ones already.

Nic: I’m sure you have, I’m not asking about them. I’m sure and you definitely do.

Terri-ann: Kim Scott.

Nic: Of course.

Terri-ann: So Kim Scott is already published by us as the leader of the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project, we make these books that are about reclamation of Noongar languages, and they’re entirely made by Noongar people, and there’s a long story in there and all you’d need to do is google Wirlomin, or google Kim Scott and you’ll get there.

But for his fiction, I would, I’ve admired him from his first book in the 1990s and I admire him as a man and a writer. So, I would love to have him on my list.

Nic: Great choice, remarkable writer. Terri-Ann thank you so much for spending time with us, it’s been lovely chatting to you and learning more about UWA publishing and more about your views on writing and publishing. It’s been great.

Terri-ann: Great, thank you very much.

Nic: Thank you.