Hi everyone. Over the next few months, I aim to write posts featuring a small press/publisher which highlight recent or upcoming books, or past titles yet to be reviewed for the challenge.
My first post is on a press that focuses on Indigenous literature.
Apart from the large publishing houses – Penguin Random House, Hachette, Allen and Unwin, and several others – there are many smaller presses within Australia. Some of these specialise in a specific market, and some publish a variety of things, but using a smaller, more closely knit team to do so. In order for the publishing industry to put out so many wonderful books by Australian authors, these different presses must co-exist.
One small press that I think more people should know about is Magabala Books. Australia’s oldest independent Indigenous publishing house, they are based in Broome, Western Australia, and are one of the world’s most remote publishing houses. Magabala Books began in 1990, and since then, as a non-profit, they have become one of the most respected publishing houses in Australia. They work to preserve, promote and develop Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through literature. This gives these people a voice, and everyone else an opportunity to learn about these cultures from the people with lived experiences of them – a great benefit to the literary environment and the promotion of inclusivity and diversity in literature.
The name of the press, Magabala, is the Nyul Nyul, Nyangumarta, Karrajari and Yawuru word for bush banana. This fruit is found in Western Australia and has seeds that can be dispersed after eating to grow more fruit, much like Magabala Books spreads the seeds of Indigenous Literature. Apart from its publications, Magabala Books offers an Australian Indigenous Creator Scholarship which fosters the professional development of established creators, and also commits to nurturing young and emerging Indigenous writers and artists. This scholarship is possible because of the donors who give their time and money to the press. As a non-profit, they rely on this help to promote diversity and spread the seeds of Indigenous cultures.
To date, Magabala Books has released 150 books – fiction and non-fiction – in a variety of genres, but it seems only 10 of these have been reviewed for the AWW challenge. (You can find a link to those reviews here.)
Listed below are a selection of books by female authors published by Magabala. Some I hope to get; others are suggestions which you might like to explore for the challenge.
- Rosemary van den Berg: No Options, No Choice (1994, adult)
- Lorraine McGee-Sippel: Hey Mum, What’s a Half-Caste? (2009, biography, adult; winner – 2009 Deadly Award Outstanding Achievement in Literature; shortlisted – Australian Book Industry Association Biography of the Year; shortlisted – Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards)
- Betty Lockyer: Last Truck Out (2009, biography, adult)
- Alison Whittaker: Lemons in the Chicken Wire (2016, Young Adult, adult)
- Daisy Utemmorah: Do not Go Around the Edges (1991, biography, lower primary; illustrated by Pat Torres)
- Josie Wowolla Boyle: Bubbay: a Christmas Adventure (2012, lower primary), The Spotty Dotty Lady (2014: lower primary, middle primary)
- Robyn Templeton & Sarah Jackson: Tell Me Why (2004, lower primary)
- Bronwyn Houston: Staircase to the Moon (2011, pre-primary), Counting Aussie Animals in my Backyard (2014, pre-primary), Animals in my Garden (Oct 2016, pre-primary), Return of the Dinosaurs (Nov 2016, lower primary, middle primary)
You can find a link to all Magabala’s authors here.
About me: I’m a book reviewer, student, aspiring author and hopeful editor living on the Central Coast, NSW. I blog at The Book Muse and can be found on Twitter @TheBookMuse1.
Oh, this is great Ashleigh. I look forward to hearing more about our various wonderful small publishers. Thanks.
Thank you 🙂 I think all publishers – big or small – are important. Hopefully this will bring more attention to the smaller ones for those who may not have heard of them.
Thank you so much for this. I have read some books published by Magabala, and will be looking to read some more. I love the idea of learning about some of the publishers I’ve not heard of before.
You’re welcome Jennifer. I have one title I’m going to try and order into my bookstore soon. 🙂
Can you tell me which title, Ashleigh?
I have Songs that sound like Blood by Jared Thomas, and I will be ordering Lemons in the Chicken Wire by Alison Whittaker
Thanks. I’ll add these to my list.