It’s a privilege to be part of the Australian creative landscape. As a publisher, I have the joy of taking the work of writers and putting it in the hands of readers. Each book is really a work of art, and the role of the publisher is to ensure that it represents the writer as best it possibly can.
I love the idea that we can take books and that we can change people’s lives and minds; we can influence the conversation and we can introduce them to new ideas. I’m inspired every day by the opportunity to work with writers and, on behalf of them, to give birth to Australian stories and to add to the depth of Australian literary culture. Knowing I play a part in that creative process is sheer joy.
The best thing about being a creator is seeing an idea take flight. And, of course, being surrounded by books. Most of my career I have been immersed in, and had the privilege and joy of being surrounded by the work of writers that I respect. I can’t think of a better way to spend one’s life. There are many challenges for creators, not least making a living if you’re a writer. The challenge for me, as a publisher, is how to ensure Australian books continue to be discovered in the big marketplace that exists at the moment. How do we sustain an Australian publishing industry? How do we ensure that writers are paid for their work, their ideas, their art, and that they continue to write? That, without doubt, is the biggest challenge for us all.
In Australia, we’re very fortunate to have strong copyright conditions for our creators. It’s really important that we keep those copyright rules and benefits for our writers, and that we support their livelihoods. Copyright laws ensure that we have an Australian industry and an Australian culture; I can’t imagine a world in which we don’t have our own stories and we can’t see ourselves. We’re very fortunate that copyright can sustain that for us.
Jill Eddington is the former CEO at UQP and Director of Literature, Australia Council for the Arts 2013–7.