Text to bring Aussie classics to the UK

Text to bring Aussie classics to the UK

Australian publisher Text Publishing is bringing its Text Classics series of Antipodean gems to British readers, publishing titles under its own name in the UK for the first time.

The list brings forgotten Australian titles - and a few from New Zealand - back into print. Text Publishing publisher Michael Heyward said the company plans to release half a dozen titles in the UK every couple of months, and as many as 30 in 2013. Turnaround will be distributing the books in the UK. 

The first six titles will be released on 14th February, all as £8.99 paperbacks, with the same cover designs as the Australian editions. The initial titles will be Careful, He Might Hear You by Sumner Locke Elliott, first published in 1963, which describes how two sisters fight over the destiny of their orphaned nephew; The Fortunes of Richard Mahony by Henry Handel Richardson, a 1930 novel described by Heyward as "arguably the greatest Australian novel ever"; The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume, first released in 1886, and pitched as "the first blockbuster crime novel in English"; They're a Weird Mob by Nino Culotta, "a spoof on Australian English"; Wake in Fright by Kenneth Cook, first published in 1961 and described as "a terrifying book set in the outback"; and The Watch Tower by Elizabeth Harrower, "an enthralling psychological thriller" that Heyward calls "one of the major finds of Text Classics".
Six more are following in April, including 1788, an eyewitness account of life in the infant colony of Sydney, Australia, by Watkin Tench. Each title comes with an introduction by publishing figures including Virago founder Carmen Calill and scientist and author Tim Flannery. 
On the range of titles, Heyward said: "We started Text Classics to rescue some wonderful books that were languishing out of print. They are almost all Australian books, with a handful from New Zealand, but the point is that they are good enough to do: what classics do, to cross the borders of time and place, to continue to find generations of readers." 
Text was previously part-owned by Canongate, but the Scottish publisher sold its controlling stake to Lonely Planet founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 2011. Heyward said: "We didn't change anything about how we acquire or publish books, and in fact planning for the Text Classics list was already under way when the sale completed in September 2011 . . . I think the decision to publish Text Classics in the UK is really based on the success of the launch in Australia, and our long-standing determination to see our books succeed in international markets. The Text Classics have given us a special opportunity to publish under our own flag."