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Creating a sustainable literature sector – VIPs heading to Sydney

Fourteen influential international publishers, literary agents and scouts will be visiting Sydney in May as part of the Visiting International Publishers (VIPs) program, the Australia Council for the Arts announced today.

Dr Wendy Were, Executive Director of Strategic Development and Advocacy at the Australia Council said the highly successful week-long program engages and fosters relationships with international publishers while showcasing Australia’s unique and diverse literary talent.

The Australia Council for the Arts has run the Visiting International Publishers (VIPs) program since 1998, providing Australian publishers with access to international markets, relationships and shared insights into global publishing trends, and building global audiences through international rights sales,” Dr Were said.

“As part of the Australia Council’s strategic framework, the VIPs program raises the profile and reputation of Australian authors and literature internationally, supporting Australian publishers who invest in Australian stories. It has also enabled vital and ongoing international connections between Australia publishers and their global colleagues, which in turn lead to ongoing business relationships.

“The Australian market is relatively small, and increased international sales are critical to the long-term sustainability of the Australian publishing sector and our writers’ careers.

“One of the outcomes from the 2016 VIPs program is that international rights to 18 Australian titles have been sold. Our analysis over the last five years reveals that for every $1 the Australia Council invests in the VIPs program, $5.45 is generated for the Australian literature sector – a 445% return on our investment,” Dr Were said.

The 2017 Australia Council VIPs program delegates are:


  • SARAH CRICHTON, Editor and Publisher – Sarah Crichton Books, USA
  • GIULIA DE BIASE, Editor in Chief of Foreign Fiction – Edizioni Piemme, ITALY
  • CATHERINE ECCLES, Owner and Literary Scout – Eccles Fisher Associates,
  • MARTA HEDENER, Head of Publishing – B. Wahlströms Bokförlag, SWEDEN
  • VATSALA KAUL BANERJEE, Publisher, Children’s & Reference Books – Hachette India, INDIA
  • PÄIVI KOIVISTO-ALANKO, Publishing Manager, Fiction – Tammi Publishers, FINLAND
  • ARIANNE LEWIN, Executive Editor –G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Random House US, USA
  • GRACE MENARY-WINEFIELD, Associate Editor, Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction – Sourcebooks, USA
  • MONIQUE OOSTERHOF, Founder and Literary Agent – Mo Literary Services NETHERLANDS
  • CHRISTIAN ROHR, Editor for International Fiction – C. Bertelsmann, Random House Germany, GERMANY
  • AMY SPANGLER, Director and Literary Agent – AnatoliaLit, TURKEY
  • S.R. KANNAN SUNDARAM, Founder, Managing Director & Publisher – Kalachuvadu Publications, INDIA
  • GRAY TAN, Founder and President – The Grayhawk Agency, TAIWAN
  • GITA WOLF, Founder, Publisher and Author – Tara Books, INDIA


This year’s VIPs represent a broad range of territories, countries and genres; boutique and multinational publishers; emerging and established markets; some with a particular focus on diversity and First Nations writing; others are authors themselves in the children’s and non-fiction genres; and experienced senior editors in English-language and translation markets.

Past VIPs have been interviewed, and have spoken about their literary highlights, provided insights into their markets, and outlined what they were looking for from the Australian market.

Direct outcomes of previous VIPs programs have included a publisher from Atria/Simon & Schuster who took away a proof copy of Stephanie Bishop’s debut novel The Other Side of the World. Reading the manuscript on the plane home, a six-figure advance was made for the US and Canadian rights.

The Australia Council for the Arts’ recent five-year longitudinal evaluation of the VIPs program (2011-2016) revealed:


  • $4.1 million in rights sales has been reported over the five years ($3.8 million of direct rights sales to attending VIPs and a further $300,000 in sales indirectly through referrals from VIPs);
  • 69 Australian publishing companies and approximately 35 Australian agents and scouts have attended VIPs during this time;
  • 70 international publishers, agents and scouts have participated in VIPs over this time, and an additional 16 attended in 2016;
  • 88% of International publishers reported a more positive perception of Australian literature after attending VIPs;
  • For smaller publishers and agents with fewer resources to travel overseas to book fairs, the VIPs program provides important opportunities to build relationships and create new networks; and
  • VIPs attendance in 2016 accounted for 15% of all rights sales for Australian publishers.


The 2017 VIPs program takes place in partnership with Sydney Writers’ Festival over 22-28 May.

With the support of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the 2017 VIPs program builds upon the Australia Council’s outbound international literary delegations including the India Literature Exploratory delegation in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and the China and Korea Publishers Visits in 2015.

Registrations for the 2017 Australia Council for the Arts VIPs program open mid-March. For more information about registrations, please contact Karen Le Roy on (02) 9215 9054 or



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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