Books flow steadily from the northern to the southern hemisphere through the traditional conduits of empire. To get them to flow back the other way is difficult but it can be done. The real task though, it seems to me, is to overhaul the plumbing so that writing and writers can flourish, and that’s a long haul.
The present debate about whether Australian books should be first published here or whether the British are better at what they now like to call global publishing – or whether it matters either way – is welcome but woolly, light on facts but strong on invective. One side labels the other naïve and ideological, or, alternatively, blasé and bland. Both sides are less than frank about their limitations and neither, beyond tossing the word ‘nurturing’ around a lot, has said enough about what being published really means and what kind of context we are working in.