Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 88 pp, $7.50 pb
The Fremantle Arts Centre Press is an example of what a state-oriented press can do. Under intelligent guidance and with sympathetic but not irresponsible state funding assistance, it has now established a solid reputation for publishing goodlooking and worthwhile books. If west coast writers are now better known in the east than they were several years ago, this is only partly due to their qualities as writers, good though some of them undoubtedly are. It is also because the Fremantle Arts Centre Press has actively encouraged and promoted west coast writers, giving them the confidence that only professional book publication can.
Purists of the marketplace would probably claim (as they do of Literature Board subsidies) that this positive discrimination nurtures and promotes mediocrity, so that we can’t see the trees for the wood. But any press which has published such diverse talents as Elizabeth Jolley, A.B. Facey, and Fay Zwicky – to name only three – need apologise to nobody.