Armidale is one of the top three creative hot spots for publishing in regional Australia, according to the Regional Australia Institute.
The think tank published its list of regional Australia’s most creative towns late last month – places where creative employment is a high proportion of local jobs.
Armidale came third in the list of publishing hot spots, after Coomalie in the Northern Territory and Paroo in Queensland.
“Armidale is a great area to set up a children’s picture book publisher,” Kathy Creamer of Little Pink Dog Books said.
With her husband, Dr Peter Creamer, she publishes half a dozen books a year for younger children. Their 2018 list includes Trish Donald's Tissywoo and the Worry Monsters, Sophie Masson’s See Monkey, which Kathy illustrated, and Pat Simmons and Vicky Pratt’s Ziggy’s Zoo.
“There are so many illustrators, artists, and writers locally that we can just pick and choose!” Mrs Creamer said.
Author Sophie Masson, chair of the New England Writers’ Centre, was delighted.
“I think that is because of the activities of the Writers' Centre, the fact we have a thriving literary community here, including writers, illustrators and at least two locally- based but nationally-focussed children's publishers,” she said.
The other is Christmas Press, which prints picture books, adventure stories, and out-of-print books.
“Also, UNE has a good reputation in literary matters and has a thriving Writing program,” Ms Masson said, “and we have excellent local libraries and bookshops.”
In August, the Writers Centre will add to Armidale's credentials in publishing by running a unique event, Pitch Independent. 14 of Australia's best small/independent publishers and editors will head to Armidale to hear pitches from writers and illustrators in all genres, at any stage of their careers and from all over our region and well beyond.
They will also take part in a symposium on the increasing role and significance of small press in Australian literary and publishing culture.
“It will be a unique event and a wonderful opportunity for writers and illustrators,” Ms Masson said.
For more information about Pitch Independent, see the New England Writers’ Centre’s website.