The report!

With the magnolias and jasmine blooming in Melbourne, New York and winter seem a world away. Revisiting my trip as I finalised my report was a real joy, and confirmed for me what a valuable and interesting experience the fellowship is.

So here it is on the APA website, Is Young Adult literature all grown up? The Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship report 2014.

I do hope it’s useful and interesting. If you have any questions about the report, or my trip, or anything else, feel free to get in touch with me directly.

A huge thank you to the Australian Publishers Association, the Australia Council for the Arts, all the sponsors, and everyone who helped me along the way. (Proper fulsome thanks are in the report.)

The Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship is such a valuable opportunity and an enriching experience, and I very much look forward to following the next fellow’s  journey.

The end...

I arrived to snow; I'm leaving to tulips. (But whatever the season, PLEASE CURB YOUR DOG, PEOPLE.)

I arrived to snow; I'm leaving to tulips. (But whatever the season, PLEASE CURB YOUR DOG, PEOPLE.)

I should have written this post a couple of weeks ago.

But I didn't want to.

I was in denial.

A couple of weeks ago, the ten weeks of my fellowship were up. I'd had such an amazing time, that I didn't want it to end.  If I never wrote the end, maybe it wouldn't ever happen? I had writer's block. (Dear my lovely authors - you have permission to remind me of this next time you miss a deadline.)

But now that I am literally packing my bags (I may have had to buy a second bag to pack. I blame Uniqlo; I blame Anthropolgie; I blame the MoMa design store), I have to face facts. My time in New York as the Beatrice Davis Fellow 2014 is over.

My last few meetings and appointments were pure joy. Big thanks to Erica Sussman at Harper Teen. (Among many other things, she looks after the Laura Ingalls Wilder list. OMFG.)  Thanks to the crew at Knopf for having me back again.

And huge big kisses to the beyond-delightful Barry Goldblatt and Libba Bray - thank you for your thoughtful insights, your warmth and humour, and for such a delicious dinner. PLEASE COME BACK TO AUS TO VISIT US SOON OKAY THANKS. 

Thank you also to the incomparable Jane Starr, for such an interesting discussion about books and publishing and scouting and New York and YA and love of reading, and oh, so much good stuff. Not to mention just a gorgeous lunch. Thank you, thank you!

Thank you to EVERYONE that I met with over my time in NYC. So many people were so generous with their time and energy and knowledge and insight. I have been very lucky and privileged. And I'm so grateful.

And there were so many people I didn't get a chance to speak to. So many places I didn't go and people I didn't meet. I'm leaving NYC with a sense that the world of publishing is so huge and diverse that in many ways I just brushed the surface. But boy do I have a lot to think on, mull over and write about in my report. 

I think I will still be blogging a bit as I get home and formulate my thoughts. And I will post my report when it's finished.  In the meantime, some holiday snaps...

To soften the blow of returning to my real world (which shhh, don't tell anyone, I'm actually quite looking forward to. My conflicting feelings, let me show you them.), I have spent the last little while on holiday: hanging with friends, eating all the food, going to all of the galleries and cultural sites, drinking a fair number of the cocktails...

The Empire State from the Top of the Rock. Didn't see Liz Lemon anywhere around Rockefeller Plaza - but I communed with her spirit. It okay, don't be cry.

The Empire State from the Top of the Rock. Didn't see Liz Lemon anywhere around Rockefeller Plaza - but I communed with her spirit. It okay, don't be cry.

Blossom and blue skies! Spring arrived!

Blossom and blue skies! Spring arrived!

The Guggenheim, of course. I think my favourite gallery experience might be a tie between the Frick and PS1. (Yeah nah, they're nothing alike.) but I also really enjoyed the Whitney's Biennial and the New Museum.

The Guggenheim, of course. I think my favourite gallery experience might be a tie between the Frick and PS1. (Yeah nah, they're nothing alike.) but I also really enjoyed the Whitney's Biennial and the New Museum.

Some of the crew eating Nathan's dogs at Coney Island. In pursuit of other iconic pop-cultural experiences, I also went to both the basketball and the baseball. LET'S GO, NETS/METS. (Thanks for the photo, SC.)

Some of the crew eating Nathan's dogs at Coney Island. In pursuit of other iconic pop-cultural experiences, I also went to both the basketball and the baseball. LET'S GO, NETS/METS. (Thanks for the photo, SC.)

Matilda! The most bookish musical in town! So gorgeous.

Matilda! The most bookish musical in town! So gorgeous.

And my man came to join me.

And my man came to join me.

I'll me home on the weekend. Home in time for more winter. Boo.

But also home for footy (Let's go, Cats!), for vegemite, for currency that makes sense, for engaged locks on public toilets, for my own bed and my favourite coffee emporia... oh and for my family, and for my crew at A&U. YAY!

A greenhouse with a view

Scholastic building.JPG
Part of the teen section of the Scholastic shop in SoHo

Part of the teen section of the Scholastic shop in SoHo

On the ground floor of the Scholastic building there is a bookshop. Up among the clouds there is a cafeteria, the Greenhouse, with amazing views south over the city. (You can have your wedding reception up there! Sadly, I don't think attendance by Harry Potter or Clifford are part of the package offered.)

In between the ground and the clouds, there are a lot of people making books.

Arthur A Levine Books publish a small but perfectly formed list. (Oh, you know, Shaun Tan, some Philip Pullman, a bit of Jaclyn Moiarty... ) Arthur himself is probably most famous for being JK Rowling's US editor.  You can't really make this out, but below is a letter from Arthur, accompanying the reading copies of the first Harry book, pre-publication in the USA. He says in the letter that it will be a collector's item - and lo, there it is, in a glass case in the main branch of the New York Public Library.

photo-4.JPG

It was very lovely to get the chance talk a bit to Arthur, Emily Clement and Nick Thomas - about what they're working on, the pressures and challenges of publishing YA in the current market, the importance and excitement of publishing foreign books in translation, the necessity of passion, and sometimes passionate disagreement, to good publishing - and also some general de-briefing.

Thank you so much, guys!  It was a real pleasure to get a little glimpse into your world.

Hi there, Clifford!

Hi there, Clifford!


Bits and bobs, and the best elevator I've seen yet...

Well, I guess that's probably enough time spent gazing at the glowing Moomins (I mean, if there is such a thing as enough time for that activity), but I still haven't wrangled my diverse impressions of the Bologna book fair into a coherent post. So let's just move right along for the moment ...

I've done some interesting things in the last week, including sitting-in on an acquisitions meeting at Simon & Schuster. If I learn nothing else during this fellowship, I will bring home to Australia the important knowledge that meetings where you have no responsibility only curiosity are the best. I've found acquisitions and editorial meetings useful for gleaning info about typical advances and print-runs, about the state of the market in general, and about a publishing house's way of doing business.  But they can also give you a little glimpse into the less tangible things about a company: like their attitudes to books and editors, and the way editorial, marketing, sales and publicity relate to each other. 

Big thanks to Paul Crichton for organising my visit, and to Jon Anderson and the S&S team for letting me sit in.  (And big apologies to the random guy who asked me for directions to the Rockefeller as I stood on the street outside S&S, basically ON TOP of the Rockefeller Centre. Yeah - I was totally wrong, sorry about that.)

I also made a return trip to the Flatiron building to talk all things Swoon Reads with Holly West from Feiwel & Friends.  I was very interested to hear about the genesis of their crowd-sourced teen romance imprint, and how they're getting along in their first year. I love that one of the biggest challenges the Swoon Reads team are facing is that the rating system isn't as effective as it should be, because their community of readers and writers is too nice, and nobody wants give anyone less than five hearts. Thanks so much, Holly, for giving me your time!

The swoonworthy elevators in the Flatiron building. 

The swoonworthy elevators in the Flatiron building. 

And in personal business, I hightailed it to big sky prairie country to spend the weekend with my family in Oklahoma. Big thanks and love to all y'all in Enid, OK.   

photo-3.JPG

Finn Family Moomintroll in Italy...

Well - that was an intense and interesting week.

I'm back in New York, attempting to sift through my overflowing brain for coherent thoughts about the amazing Bologna Book Fair. I will post thoughts and photos soon. In the meantime, enjoy some glowing Moomins... I certainly did.

photo 1.JPG

Grown-ups always need explanations...

This week I've had a lovely peek at HarperCollins and Holiday House, a squizz at JP Morgan's personal library (and his custom-made vault for Precious Items), and a glimpse into the mind of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them. But they answered: "Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?" My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of a boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained.

I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them.
But they answered: "Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?"
My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of a boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained.

After these glorious weeks of talking to all and sundry about young-adult fiction - what it is, how it's changed, what it might be becoming - I have to confess it was quite refreshing to read the following caption, discussing the classification of The Little Prince when it was first published ...

'Was it juvenile literature, or a fable for adults? In early advertisements, the publisher embraced this ambiguity: "As far as we are concerned, it is the new book by Saint-Exupéry."'

I know why categories are essential - to publishers, to booksellers, to librarians, to readers - but every now and then it seems as if it might be very nice to just swim around in a sea of unclassified 'books' for a while. What would happen if we hid the inside of the boa constrictor and let people draw their own conclusions? (Although that would seriously curtail my fellowship report: To Whom it May Concern, it is my conclusion that young-adult fiction does not exist, yours very sincerely, Susannah.)

When will I be getting my three storey library with the hidden staircases? Is the answer: after I 'dominate corporate finance and industrial consolidation'? NUTS. http://www.themorgan.org 

When will I be getting my three storey library with the hidden staircases? Is the answer: after I 'dominate corporate finance and industrial consolidation'? NUTS. http://www.themorgan.org 

More evidence of my people.

More evidence of my people.

Tomorrow, I fly off to Bologna for the children's book fair. I am very excited, and rather trepidatious. Reporting from the field will be dependent on wifi availability. But I expect to get back to New York for the final weeks of my stay with all sorts of thoughts about international trends in YA - what people are looking for, what they are selling, what they never want to see any more of again ever. I also hope to have few thoughts on regional Italian food. Eeeexcellent.