Our ACT Book of the Year People’s Choice tilt: Vote one 18 days!

Charlotte Harper (front) and Scott Bridges (top left) learn of his ACT Writing and Publishing Awards win.

Charlotte Harper (front) and Scott Bridges (top left) learn of his ACT Writing and Publishing Awards win.

Hello, 2015! Here’s hoping you’ll bring as much excitement for Editia as 2014 did. Scott Bridges’ flurry of podium appearances at literary awards (and my resulting flurry of awards-sticker runs to bookshops) here in Canberra late last year were among the highlights. Now you can help us add to his accolades.

At Civic Library on November 19, 2014, ACT Arts Minister Joy Burch announced that Scott’s first title, 18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution, was one of five books shortlisted for ACT Book of the Year, and the only one of the five to be produced by a Canberra publisher. The judges’ pick will be announced later this month (February 2015), but you can vote for the book in the People’s Choice Award on the artsACT Book of the Year page here until February 20. We’d be ever so grateful if you took a moment to support our bid for this one. 

Around the same time, Scott and I each received an invitation to attend the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards at the Gorman House Arts Centre on December 16. It transpired that 18 days was shortlisted for the Non-Fiction gong at these prestigious awards (run by our neighbours at the ACT Writers Centre). As you can see from the main image featuring the shortlisted authors on stage and me celebrating in the foreground, we won. Check out the judges’ comments:

“Scott Bridges’ book could hardly be more relevant at a time when Al Jazeera’s Australian correspondent in Egypt, Peter Greste, is once again being told his case is ‘under review’. The behind the scenes story of the news agency’s activities during the downfall of President Hosni Mubarek is brilliantly told. Scott Bridges’ narrative takes us into the heart of the political crisis and reveals the drama and the courage involved in bringing the story to air. The publisher, Editia, at Gorman House, has produced a totally professional and splendidly edited work. Scott Bridges is a fine reporter and an outstanding writer. Warmest congratulations on a very fine publication.”

Now you know why I was waving my arms about like that. Hearing kind words like those makes it all worthwhile. Woohoo!

Ben Law joins panel for Sydney launch of The N00bz

Invitation to launch of The N00bzJournalist, columnist and screenwriter Benjamin Law, former bookseller and emerging author Greg Field and speculative fiction writer, publisher and podcaster Keith Stevenson will appear in conversation with if:book Australia’s Simon Groth at the official launch of Editia’s latest print title, The N00bz: New adventures in literature, on Tuesday, August 12, at Better Read than Dead Bookstore in Newtown from 6.30pm (download a PDF of the invitation here).

The N00bz is a collection of writing about writing in which authors experiment with their craft and document their quest to continually improve amidst rapid industrial change. The launch celebrates the second digital and first print editions of the book, including a new n00b adventure from Jennifer Mills and contributions from the talented crew of intrepid tweeters and bloggers who answered our call for a crowd-sourced chapter.

Ben and Greg were among the 12 writers if:book Australia initially invited to submit an essay for the web-based project that would become a book. Keith joined in after we invited Twitter submissions. The number of contributions doubled as you’ll see from the impressive list below of writers involved.

Ben, who is the author of non-fiction books Gaysia and The Family Law, writes in The N00bz about his dabbling with shorthand and explains why he’s not really a journalist. Greg’s first novel, Death on Danger Island, is out on August 13. In his N00bz essay he describes his transition from bookseller to Wattpad author and app developer. Keith Stevenson is a former editor of Aurealis and was joint founder of coeur de lion publishing. His N00bz essay looks at the benefits of providing his latest publication, Dimension6 magazine, to its readers for nix. Simon Groth’s own essay examines a temporary switch from computer to typewriter and how changing his tools impacted on his craft.

The full contributor list consists of a vibrant mix of established and emerging writers:

Romy Ash • Caroline Baum • Carmel Bird • James Bradley • Jodi Cleghorn • Emily Craven • Duncan Felton • Greg Field • Raelke Grimmer • Simon Groth • Charlotte Harper • Sophie Masson • Benjamin Law • Elizabeth Lhuede • Jennifer Mills • Zoe Sadokierski • Ronnie Scott • Lefa Singleton Norton • Jeff Sparrow • Keith Stevenson • Emily Stewart • Sean Williams • Freya Wright Brough

As always with Editia launches, there will be book sales, author signings, refreshments and time to mingle before and after the official formalities. We hope to see you there!

Calling all N00bz!

The N00bz coverTry Spritz, sign up for Entitle or Oyster, publish a new short story on Wattpad every day, or invent an entirely new platform for readers … if you write, and you have an idea about a way to do it differently, then we want you for our Twitter compilation chapter in The N00bz: New adventures in literature.

Being a digital first publisher, Editia is keen to experiment with new ways of working and to encourage others to do the same. That’s why we’ve always been big fans of if:book Australia (futureofthebook.org.au), and did handstands when they asked us to partner with them on The N00bz. That and the fact that it would mean working with writers like Romy Ash, Carmel Bird, James Bradley, Sophie Masson, Benjamin Law, Jeff Sparrow, Emily Stewart, Ronnie Scott and Sean Williams, and introducing Greg Field, Caroline Baum and Elizabeth Lhuede into the mix ourselves.

All the original contributors took up the challenge of trying new experiences or tools and observing the effect on their craft. Sean Williams deprived himself of sleep and examined its effect on his creativity. Sophie Masson established her own indie press. Emily Stewart gave away her library. Greg Field closed his bookshop and joined Wattpad. Romy Ash tackled Twitter storytelling. And Jeff Sparrow wrote something that’s definitely not a book. All stepped outside their typical work patterns and found a new perspective.

The N00bz began as a web-based project, but is now available for $9.99 as an ebook (from this website, Tomely.com and major ebookstores). In August, we’ll launch a print edition featuring an all-new chapter comprised of tweets and blog post extracts from readers (submitted via the hashtag #theN00bz so that everyone can get involved, even if it’s only by reading the entries). The ebook will be updated then too.

I can’t wait to see what this new set of N00bz come up with, and where their involvement in this project takes them. I reckon it’s a great opportunity for emerging writers to see their name in print (or pixels) alongside some of Australia’s most highly regarded authors. Whether it’s a tweet, a blog post or a drabble, so long as we can find it via #theN00bz on Twitter before midnight on Monday July 7, 2014, we will consider it for inclusion in The N00bz.

Here’s what I’d be dabbling in if I were entering:

  • Speed reading platform Spritz — what sort of stories work best for this style of reading (which if you haven’t seen it involves a series of words flashing in front of your eyes so that they don’t need to move from left to write on a page)? Simple, short words to tell long complex tales? Maybe, and it’d be fun to find out.
  • Writing a series of short stories and publishing them on Wattpad and then selling them in ebookstores for 99c.
  • Publishing an app based on one of my favourite children’s books that is out of print and out of copyright.
  • Experimenting with a pay as you sell royalty system at Editia, so that authors are paid instantly each time we sell one of their books.
  • Taking our books down from Amazon, Google Play and Apple to sell via indies only.
  • Publishing our next book serially

Are you ready to go on a new adventure in literature? Where will it take you? Let us know via #theN00bz!

Read the press release




Editia author Bridges talks AJE, Egypt in Berlin

18 days in Berlin

18 days on sale in Berlin today.

Editia is in Germany. Look closely at this picture to see 18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Bookstore, Berlin.

In around 35 minutes, author Scott Bridges will take the stage at the biennial Berlin Documentary Forum there alongside his former colleague Rawya Rageh, an AJE correspondent who reported from Cairo and Alexandria during the revolution. The panel moderator is writer and curator Sohrab Mohebbi.

Scott boarded his plane for Germany (where he is a guest of the Forum) days after the final stop on his three-city Australian book tour.

He spent part of his second day there talking to Radio National’s Phillip Adams on Late Night Live back here in Australia about the book and the ongoing significance of its subject matter before being able to focus on the task at hand in Berlin.

Scott was invited over there to speak on a panel discussing AJE’s award-winning coverage of the 2011 revolution to complement the re-airing of four full days of the footage – from February 1-4, 2011 – at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt this week.

If you’d like to follow the event live, there is a hashtag, #BerlinDocumentaryForum, and a link for a livestream on the Forum website. For those of us who should be sleeping, sessions will be available for download later.

The Forum bookstore has a bundle of books to sell, so if you happen to be in Berlin and keen to read 18 days, you should be able to get your hands on one today. If not, the book is on sale in major ebookstores and also via this very website.

Herzlichen Glückwunsch und viel Glück, Scott!

Rave review for ‘riveting’ 18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution


We knew it, but we’re pleased to hear that an impressive line-up of early readers have found Scott Bridges’ just-launched 18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution ‘riveting’, ‘beautifully written’, ‘fabulous’ and ‘fascinating’.

Mark Colvin and Scott Bridges

Mark Colvin and Scott Bridges at the Sydney launch of 18 days.

The managing director of Ronin Films Andrew Pike, OAM, sent this email to Scott last week:

Dear Scott,

I want to say that I found your book one of the most riveting I’ve read for a long time.  

It’s beautifully written and organised, and the story gives insight into so many issues – not least, the role of journalism in shaping events they are covering.  

It also provides extraordinary context for the current crisis with the AJE imprisonments in Egypt.

Congratulations on a fabulous book!


ABC Radio’s Mark Colvin had this to say as he launched the book in Sydney on Sunday:

In my journalistic lifetime, there has been an absolute revolution in immediacy and therefore in the power of what you can do. It’s had various side effects, good and bad, but this book of Scott’s is really the culmination, we don’t know how the story will end, but for now, it’s the culmination of that story. 

It is a story of how the media has changed and how it is changing the world, how it has become a much more difficult to control force, but how it, as we’ve seen in the last couple of years, and Charlotte mentioned Peter Greste, the attempts have not stopped to control it and probably never will stop.

On that basis, I commend you to read the book, because it’s a fascinating blow-by-blow account of really what happened in, as the title says, just 18 days. 18 days which really changed the Middle East and also helped to change journalism, because it was part of this process of changing journalism.

We’ll be publishing video from that launch as well as the Canberra and Sydney events in coming days. Meanwhile, pick up your copy of the book here (or from one of our partner retailers: Gleebooks, Readings, Paperchain, Dymocks Canberra and Electric Shadows).


Behind the scenes at Al Jazeera English

18 daysIf you’re one of those media junkies who likes to be first with the news, you need to know that Scott Bridges’ 18 days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution is now available for pre-order from this very website. The official digital publication date is this Saturday, but the first pre-orders “shipped” this afternoon.

You’ll be keen to read it to get to know University of Canberra journalism lecturer and ex-Al Jazeera English director Bridges. He’s a media commentator and non-fiction author to watch. Here at Editia, we feel privileged to be publishing his first book.

If you haven’t already heard about 18 days, here’s the blurb:

“On February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule of Egypt came to an end after 18 days of massive and unprecedented street protests. In the course of those few days, a 24-hour news channel unlike any other, Al Jazeera English, emerged in a crowded global news market as the source for reporting on the Egyptian Revolution. 18 Days examines the Doha-based channel’s coming of age and discovers how a network known to many in the West as “Terror TV” was transformed almost overnight into a trusted and indispensable source of news.”

Sound like it has the makings of a cracker yarn? That’s because it is. Bridges has woven a fast-paced narrative around some of the most significant events of the Arab Spring.

We gain behind-the-scenes insights into the operations of a dedicated television news network both at HQ and on the ground. Forget CNN and BBC World: Al Jazeera is where it’s at, as the recent launch of Al Jazeera America attests.

Anyone who is considering a career in television news or as a foreign correspondent, or who has even a passing interest in the convergence between television and online, needs to read 18 days.

Personally, I’ve been living vicariously through the Al Jazeera English correspondents these past few weeks as they experienced the Egyptian Revolution in the pages of the book. I won’t say I wish I was there, but I am glad that they were, because it’s a story that needed to be told.

I’m looking forward to following future developments on Scott’s blog, too, as Al Jazeera extends its market into the US and beyond.

This is what I’d hoped it’d be all about here at Editia: longform journalism at its best.











The Walkleys, Al Jazeera and Editia’s latest author

Scott Bridges

18 Days author Scott Bridges.

In November last year, a few days after the birth of my second child and in something of a daze as a result, I spoke at the 2012 Walkley Media Conference as part of a panel on entrepreneurial journalism. I was hoping to inspire potential Editia authors in the audience: journalists who had already or would soon come up with narrative longform works that would fit in with our digital first non-fiction list.

On the eve of the 2013 Walkley Media Conference, I’m thrilled to report that that bleary afternoon session last year was absolutely worthwhile: one of the journalists who was in the audience that day has now signed a contract with Editia and we’ll be publishing his book later this year.

Scott Bridges is lecturer in journalism and communications at the University of Canberra. He’s also a former Al Jazeera English director who was on shift when Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed after the fall of Tripoli, and is in the early stages of research for his PhD looking at how Al Jazeera’s reach and influence is expanding in the non-Arabic speaking world.

Upon his return to Australia in 2011, Bridges started work on a book about his former employer. He has spent the past 18 months working on 18 Days: Al Jazeera English and the Egyptian Revolution, including two research trips back to Qatar.

“I was inspired to write 18 Days because the story behind AJE’s incredible coverage of the Egyptian Revolution needed to be told,” Bridges says. “Having heard some of the channel’s correspondents’ anecdotes first-hand, and experienced for myself how news and television is put together inside that dusty Doha studio, I thought I’d be able to give readers insight into AJE that other commentators couldn’t. And with the Al Jazeera Network’s current expansion in the USA and other non-Arabic-speaking markets, there is no better time to examine how this unique hybrid of Middle East and West works.”

The book is a fast-paced tale that provides an insider’s view of the Al Jazeera English newsroom pushed to its limits. It will appeal to readers with an interest in the media, current affairs and recent developments in the Middle East.

You can learn more about Scott Bridges and about the book at www.18daysaje.com. You can learn more about Al Jazeera English by watching its Managing Director, Al Anstey, give the keynote address at the 2013 Walkley Media Conference, Storyology, tomorrow (the session will be streamed live from 1.10pm to 2pm here). Follow the conversation via the #storyology hashtag on Twitter too.

Anstey has been a supporter of Bridges’ book from the start.

“Al made himself available for a couple of interviews, approved my access to AJE staff, and most crucially, placed absolutely no conditions on that access,” Bridges says. “Despite my focus on some controversial topics in interviews, Anstey put his case to me as a Managing Director but respected the process as a journalist.”
“His appearance at the Storyology conference gives journalists and media professionals in Australia a chance to hear directly from the head of one of the world’s most interesting news organisations.”

Here’s the official blurb about 18 Days:

This is the story of a plucky newsroom in the middle of an anonymous Middle Eastern desert city that through its coverage of one huge story changed the rules of 24-hour TV news.

On February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule of Egypt came to an end after 18 days of massive and unprecedented street protests. In the course of those few days, a 24-hour news channel unlike any other, Al Jazeera English, emerged in a crowded global news market as the source for reporting on the Egyptian Revolution. While established networks such as CNN and BBC World battled to provide comprehensive first-hand accounts of developments in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, news consumers across the world found superior coverage on Al Jazeera English. The New York Times said AJE “provided more exhaustive coverage than anyone else”; The Atlantic argued, “It is no exaggeration to say that Al Jazeera has been the eyes and ears of [the Arab Spring].”

18 Days examines the Doha-based channel’s coming of age and discovers how a network known to many in the West as “Terror TV” was transformed almost overnight into a trusted and indispensable source of news. Drawing on content analysis and interviews with key players inside the organisation, the book goes behind the cameras to tell stories of newsgathering ingenuity, hair-raising moments of danger, and internal tension. It examines the network’s relationship with its Qatari benefactors and charges of editorial bias, along with the legacy of Egypt for Al Jazeera English as the brand expands its footprint into the United States.




We have a winner: Carly Lorente’s ‘Minyma’

Carly Lorente

Editia Prize winner Carly Lorente spent nearly a year in Central Australia.

The winning entry in the inaugural Editia Prize is a 10,000-word snapshot into the lives of women in Central Australia, Minyma, by former social worker and freelance writer Carly Lorente.

While Lorente now lives on the north coast of NSW, the work is based on her experiences during a year spent working for an indigenous women’s council in Central Australia in 2010.

She says that working for indigenous bosses rather than for the Government gave her “a true picture of what was happening”.

The judges described Minyma as the standout entry.

“It was vivid, and very assured,” broadcaster and author Jane Caro said.

“She didn’t over-explain everything. She just gave you the scene and let you draw your own conclusions rather than point out the moral or tell you what to think.”

Former editor of The Australian Malcolm Schmidtke said Minyma was “by far the best written piece”.

“It held me for the full journey,” he said, adding that Lorente’s role as a participant rather than just an observer was integral to the strength of the work.

“She’s actually part of what’s going on all the time,” he said.

Like Caro, University of Canberra Professor of Journalism Matthew Ricketson appreciated the way Lorente showed and didn’t tell. “She saved that for the end, when she opened the shoulders and really said what she thought, but I thought that was quite effective,” he said.

“She feels almost as helpless and muddled as other people clearly do [about the problems women face in indigenous communities], but she also really brings it together in a very pithy and succinct way, how the ten months she’s spent in these communities has been both uplifting and frustrating. She pulls that together really nicely.”

Lorente was thrilled to hear she’d won the inaugural prize and is looking forward to working with an editor ahead of the book’s publication through Editia in coming months.

She knows exactly what she’s going to do with the $2500 advance on royalties she’ll receive as winner: buy a new computer to write on.

“My son broke my laptop two weeks ago … he ripped the back off,” she said, thrilled at the prospect of being able to replace it with a brand new one. “Wouldn’t it be fantastic to use it to go back to Central Australia!”

  • Read an extract from Minyma and more about Carly Lorente here.
  • Read about the other shortlisted entries, Beyond Biosphere and Ephemera Revisited,  here and here.
  • Read all about the Editia Prize here.




The last of the Editia Prize shortlist …

Today, we announce the third and final shortlisted piece in the 2013 Editia Prize: Ephemera Revisited by writer and academic Anna Soter. Keep an eye out for the announcement of the winner at around 3pm tomorrow!

The following passage is excerpted from Ephemera Revisited with the permission of the author …

The former residents of Wittenoom had all chosen to come to Australia, although they had had no idea when they chose to accept an assisted passage from Europe, that some of them would be transported to this remote region.  Their ship and others like it would drop off a percentage of these adventurers at Fremantle, the major port for Western Australia, and continue dropping off other percentages of these partially indentured migrants at Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney.  The men, women and children who disembarked at Fremantle were temporarily housed in migrant hostels primarily at Cunderdin until relocated to their final destinations. The men, however, left for those locations immediately, the women and children staying behind in the hostels until housing was available for them.  It was a rough start to a new destiny, but still an exciting one.

One contract was probably much the same as all the others for those who had received free passage in exchange for two years of work wherever that work was located. My father received his on October 25, 1950 from the Commonwealth Employment Office and was told to report to Australian Blue Asbestos in Wittenoom Gorge on October 30. Weekly wages for a regular shift as a labourer (his classification) were to be £9/1/6 out of which 3/- (shillings) were withdrawn for taxes and £2/6/- for board and lodging. As others, he had to make his way to “arrange movement by air to destination” after finding his way from Northam to Perth. The contract wording clearly indicates that my father and others who came in the same capacity were required to remain in Wittenoom for a minimum of two years as allowed under the authorization of the “Commonwealth Employment Service on behalf of the Minister for Immigration,” although it appears that leaving the employment at Wittenoom was possible with application to and approval by the District Employment Officer to do so.”

Had my father and others who were similarly dispatched to Wittenoom known what was already known by some by the time they signed the contract, namely of the devastating and deadly effects of exposure to asbestos fibres to which they would all be exposed at both the mine and mill, some would likely not have signed this contract even at the risk of remaining unemployed and without a clear alternative destination at the time.

It is this troubling question that, for me, is at the heart of the debate surrounding the closure of  Wittenoom. Furthermore, by the time the mines and the mill closed in 1966, significant damage was done, not only to the miners and millworkers but to the residents in the town through exposure to the fibres in the clothes and on the bodies of the men when they returned home, as well as through the spreading of milled, crushed rock (tailings) brought to the town from the mill to reduce dust storms that were common in the area because of large areas of exposed red soil throughout the entire region as well as in the town itself.   And yet, why would those who came during these early years as well as others fight so hard to remain there following the closure of the town?  

About the author

Born in Austria (Europe), Anna Soter grew up in the northwest Australian Pilbara region. She is Professor Emerita in English Education at The Ohio State University where she has taught since 1986.  She also taught high school English and History teacher in Perth and Sydney, between 1968 and 1982. Anna has a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MA in English from the University of Sydney, Australia, and a BA in English and History from the University of Western Australia. Her teaching, research and scholarship has focused on language and literacy, including the teaching of grammar for literate purposes; cross-cultural discourse, literary theory and its applications to young adult literature; small group discussions as a tool for critical thinking; poetry as a vehicle for linguistic sensitivity and personal growth. Anna continues to read as a featured poet in mid-Ohio venues, writes fiction and creative non-fiction, and creates and conducts workshops on language as energy, and writing and poetry for healing and personal growth. In 2011, she founded The Hospital Poets’ Reading Series, bringing poets to special event readings at different venues on the Ohio State University Medical Campus.

Here’s contender number two for the Editia Prize

The second of our shortlisted authors for the Editia Prize is freelance writer and former social worker Carly Lorente. Read on for an extract from her entry, Minyma, and a little more about Carly herself.

The following passage is excerpted from Minyma with the permission of the author …

She smiles bravely again, and the scar on her right cheek is emphasized, a result of her most recent beating, where he’d kicked her face repeatedly as he pulled her down from the noose she made. The day after the last court hearing. She couldn’t even kill herself without his permission.

“Rikina. You look nice.”

I’d never seen her out of basketball shorts; today she wore a long black and white floral skirt.

“Sorry business for my uncle. When the rain come he could make it stop,” she smiled, that pretty white toothed smile.

The day we sat under the bottlebrush tree, the ants at our bare feet on the beat-up couch at the Women’s Shelter, she hadn’t been smiling. As sad and battered women walked by, she told me how she’d nearly died as a baby from too much milk, how she’d nearly died again when her mum was hit by lightning as she breastfed her.

She told me how she was born in Port Augusta where her parents were drinking, and where she eventually went into foster care herself, but didn’t like the white family she lived with. Her mother lives in Adelaide now and still drinks.

When M—– was 15 years old, in the state’s care she followed her cousin to Mutitjulu and was given her first drink. Not long after that, when she was in the state’s care, she met N——– there and left school.

Whilst still in the state’s care, at 16 years old, she fell pregnant to him. Around this time he went to prison for sexually assaulting a tourist who had wandered off from her group at Uluru, to where he was swimming in a nearby waterhole whilst his three year-old nephew watched. He pleaded guilty.

She can’t remember the first time N—— hit her. I know her well enough now to know that she doesn’t’ want to know. The Gordon Inquiry found that Indigenous women are 45 times more likely to experience family violence than non-Indigenous women, and six times more likely to be sexually abused.

About the author

After trying her hand at naturopathy, fashion styling, and social work, Carly Lorente began a career as a freelance feature writer and photographer. She has been published in various local and international titles including The Sunday Telegraph SUNDAY magazine, Mindfood, Green, Wellbeing, Pacific longboarder and Summer Winter covering indigenous issues, culture, fashion, surfing and travel.

She is also a contributing author to the book Lines Of Wisdom (Affirm Press 2008).

Carly currently lives in Northern NSW with her French husband and their soon-to-be two year-old son, and 13 chickens.