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Australian Studies

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Publishers and publishing -- Western Australia, Publishers and publishing -- Social aspects, Western Australia in literature


This article examines the role of book publishing outside the cultural centres, where the lack of access to the gatekeepers of cultural production, such as literary agents, editors and publishers, has inhibited both the publishers’ and region’s reach into the public imagination. It takes Western Australia as a case study, analysing the impact of geographical regionalism on the processes of book production and publication. Western Australia is infrequently represented in the cultural record, much less in those aspects of the cultural record that are transmitted overseas. This imbalance in ‘cultural currency’ arises because regions are at least in part defined by their ability to participate in what Pierre Bourdieu has deemed the ‘field of cultural production’. In the case of print culture, this field includes writers, literary agents, editors, publishers, government arts organisations, the media, schools, and book retailers, just to name a few. This article pays particular attention to Western Australia’s three major publishing houses (Fremantle Press, University of Western Australia Press, and the publisher of Indigenous literature, Magabala Books), as well as those Western Australian writers who have achieved the greatest international success, such as Tim Winton and Elizabeth Jolley. It demonstrates that the awareness of geographically and culturally diverse regions within the framework of the nation is derived from representations of these regions and their associated regional characteristics in the movies, television and books.


At the time of publication Per Henningsgaard was affiliated with University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

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