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NZ To Make Big Splash At London Book Fair 2005

Date: 12 March 2005

New Zealand publishing to make big splash at London Book Fair 2005

New Zealand will be making its biggest splash yet at the London Book Fair 2005 where Antipodean writing and publishing will be a focus of the three-day event, starting tomorrow and running until 15 March.

The London Book Fair last year introduced a Market Focus initiative to highlight the trade links, publishing industry and opportunities of particular countries. Coinciding with Creative New Zealand's drive to build new markets for New Zealand literature, the London Book Fair 2005 is focussing on New Zealand and Australia.

Creative New Zealand, in partnership with Booksellers New Zealand and the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand, is making the most of this opportunity to build new markets and readers for New Zealand books. Booksellers New Zealand is managing the New Zealand stand, which will include a record number of 26 New Zealand publishers, and also New Zealand's participation in the international reception and a Market Focus seminar.

Every year, the London Book Fair ( ) attracts thousands of publishers, booksellers, distributors, agents and librarians from throughout the world. New books are launched, foreign rights sold and business deals done. It's also an important networking opportunity.

This is the fifth time that Booksellers New Zealand has managed New Zealand's participation at the London Book Fair and Chief Executive Officer Linda Henderson says it's New Zealand's strongest presence yet.

"The Market Focus promotion provides the perfect platform to showcase our talented writers and world-class publishing to a wide international audience," she says. "We're excited to be part of this important opportunity that will build on our existing relationships and also introduce New Zealand books and literature to new export markets."

As part of its strategy to build new audiences and markets for New Zealand literature, Creative New Zealand has provided funding to seven of the publishers to attend the London Book Fair 2005.

The organisation has also produced a CD ROM, New Zealand Literature - The New Word (, and a rights catalogue of selected New Zealand literary titles. The CD ROM profiles the work of 44 New Zealand writers across the genres of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children's fiction and drama.

Members of the London Màori Ngàti Ranana Club will perform on 13 March at an international reception, hosted by the London Book Fair and The British Council, to honour the Market Focus countries. Each guest will receive copies of the CD ROM, along with other promotional tools courtesy of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Two days of Market Focus seminars are another of the activities where New Zealand trade links and publishing opportunities will be promoted. Acclaimed New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera, for instance, will discuss the topics "A Whale of a Tale - Màori Girl to Moby Chick", "New Zealand Literature goes Global" and "New Zealand Fiction - Our Distinctive Voice". Gillian Chandler of Learning Media will discuss "Promoting Literacy in the International Market" while a panel of leading New Zealand publishers will discuss "How to Do Business with the New Zealand Market". Award-winning non-fiction writer, anthropologist and historian Anne Salmond and publisher Wendy Harrex will discuss "The Resurgence of Interest in New Zealand's History and Contemporary Culture".

Cath Cardiff, Manager, Audience and Market Development, Creative New Zealand, says the London Book Fair focus on Antipodean publishing is an ideal, high-profile opportunity to promote New Zealand publishing and build new international markets.

"Our involvement in this event is one of a number of activities we're working on as part of our strategy to build new markets and readers for New Zealand's distinctive literature, both in the domestic market and overseas," Ms Cardiff says.

"Research shows that New Zealand is a great nation of readers but our small population base means that developing new international markets is vital if this country's writers are to enjoy sustainable careers as fulltime writers."

Ms Cardiff says that Creative New Zealand is building on work undertaken by other organisations over the years. "By working strategically and collectively for the whole sector, we can have a much greater impact in the international marketplace."

Other projects, either under way or implemented with Creative New Zealand support, include:

* travel assistance to publishers to attend international literary events

* export workshops for publishers, in partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

* a grants programme for writers, managed by the New Zealand Book Council, to attend international literary events

* a feasibility study on a promotional book campaign, being undertaken by Booksellers New Zealand

* a programme for visiting international publishers and agents to meet New Zealand writers and publishers (e.g. Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2005).

New Zealand's presence in London was launched yesterday (11 March) with a panel discussion and "Islands of the Imagination" lunch, hosted by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. A debate entitled "Imagination or Investment ... which is more important to economic progress?" included New Zealand writers Witi Ihimaera and Anne Salmond; Creative New Zealand Chair and well-known speaker Peter Biggs; publisher Michael Moynahan; director of the film In My Father's Den Brad McGann; British writer and journalist Mark McCrum; and London-based academic Tessa McWatt.


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