The Australia Council for the Arts has today committed to continue its successful Visiting International Publishers (VIPs) program alongside the 2016 Sydney Writers’ Festival in May.
Australia Council Executive Director Arts Strategy Dr Wendy Were said the Council was delighted to be able to continue this important program in support of Australian literature. For over a decade the Council has used the successful VIPs model to promote rights sales of Australian titles in international markets and strengthen links between Australian publishers and the international publishing industry.
“The Australia Council is committed to growing the profile of Australian arts by identifying and supporting strategic initiatives that showcase Australian work to new markets and audiences,” Dr Were said.
“Our recent independent research into international arts activity has confirmed that Australia Council expertise, networks and introductions have been critical in getting Australian artists and arts organisations into international markets and VIPs provides a vital bridge between Australian writers and the international market.
“It is one of the Council’s key international programs and is crucial to bolstering the sales and networks of Australian publishers and thus the income and international profile for Australian writers.
“As part of the program, international publishers and literary agents are brought to Australia to attend an intensive week-long program of meetings, events and industry discussions alongside a leading Australian writers’ festival to showcase Australia’s literary talent and build audiences for Australian writers.
Since its inception in 1998, the VIPs program has welcomed over 220 international editors, publishers and literary agents to Australia and generated up to $1 million a year in international rights sales for Australian writers.
Dr Were said the key to VIPs’ success was the extensive and ongoing industry consultation and engagement with the program, the continued quality of the international publishers and the growth in territories represented, enabling important cross-cultural business understanding as well as increased opportunities for future collaboration.
“The relationships formed through this program are now part of an invaluable and active international network accessible to all Australian publishers.”
“The 2016 VIPs program will also build on this year’s successful inclusion of festival directors from India and Indonesia, acknowledging the important role festivals play in the promotion of literature.
“Writers’ festivals have become an important platform for authors to connect directly with readers and reach new audiences. Australia is fortunate to have a number of world-class writers’ festivals which attract huge audiences and showcase leading writers from Australia and overseas. We are pleased to be partnering with the Sydney Writers’ Festival for the 2016 program, enabling international publishers and literary agents to increase their knowledge of Australian literature and meet some of our most esteemed writers.”
“Along with initiatives such as VIPs, since 1998 the Australia Council has supported Australia’s participation at major international books fairs, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair and others including Bologna, London and Taipei.”
The Australia Council supported the Australian Publishers Association in the March grant round to represent publishers and literary agents to the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
VIPs will be held alongside the Sydney Writers’ Festival from 16 to 22 May 2016.
For more information on VIPs: https://creative.gov.au/strategies-and-frameworks/visiting-international-publishers-program/