Today I’m beginning another new series – one that focuses on diverse and inclusive publishing houses that I think that we should support. I’m kicking off the series with Australian publishers Twelfth Planet Press!
1. Tell me a little bit about Twelfth Planet Press! What are your guiding principles/ideas?
We’re a small, but quick growing, press based in Australia, but now with team members across the world. The core of our team are women, and mostly Australian, and this has definitely driven our efforts to bring more writing by Australian women to the rest of the world.
We’re all big readers of genre fiction – science fiction, horror, fantasy, crime. We wanted to see more women in genre writing get the credit they deserved, and also to read fiction with a wider range of perspectives than that of the straight white male.
And so we decided to publish the stories we wanted to see.
2. On your website you mention wanting to raise awareness for underrepresented voices – could you explain how you’re doing this?
We feel it’s important for everyone to see themselves in fiction, and this is particularly true for children and young adults.
We have a very diverse team, and would like to publish more fiction that shows diversity in sexuality, ethnicity and disabilities, to reflect better the diverse world in which we live, and the variety of experiences. Many of our projects are geared towards doing just that.
The Defying Doomsday anthology, edited by Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, offers apocalypse-survival fiction with a focus on disabled characters, and our annual D Franklin Defying Doomsday Award grants one winner per year a cash prize of $200 in recognition of their work in disability advocacy in SFF literature.
We’re also keen to develop representation in children’s and YA fiction. We’ve released three anthologies as part of our Kaleidoscope imprint for diverse YA fiction, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, and have just announced Kate Gordon’s Thyla to be the first novel published under the imprint.
There are plenty more projects to come, which I’ll get to later…
3. I love the feminist focus of your press. Is it important that your publications have a feminist focus?
We’re a collection of women readers and writers who are involved in genres that are notoriously biased against women, so yes, it is important that we have a feminist focus in our operations and the projects we pursue. It’s very necessary, for us to see the change we want to happen in the world.
4. If you had to recommend one book published by Twelfth Planet Press, which one would it be?
That’s a tough question – I love all my books equally!
If I had to choose one, as a gateway to the press, I would probably say Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories. The target demographic are young adult readers but the book has content that spans younger to older readers, with some mature content.
It also embraces our desire to publish stories for everyone, we feel it’s important for everyone to see themselves in fiction. And finally, the stories represent the various subgenres our other books cover from science fiction, to magical and fantasy and to darker horror.
5. What’s the project/achievement that Twelfth Planet Press is most proud of?
I always try to learn and improve with each project and aim to make the next one better than what we’ve done before, so I’m proud of many things we’ve done. We have such a passionate team, I’m able to say that with confidence.
If I had to choose one project, I’m going to cheat a little and say the Twelve Planets collections series is probably my proudest accomplishment, in terms of how it changed the landscape of Australian publishing. We produced twelve collections by Australian female authors at a time when women were not being collected in single author collections as often as their male counterparts.
And out of those twelve, the final volume Cherry Crow Children has a special place in my heart because I know the tears and blood spilled by Deb Kalin to finish it. I’m proud of the way this series challenged the common argument at the time, which was that women were just not writing much fiction and weren’t all that good anyway (in terms of being able to be nominated for awards). In fact, I can’t remember the last time someone in the local Aussie scene even reverted to that argument, so I think we’ve changed some minds.
6. What’s going on in the future? Any big plans?
Lots of projects to continue our plans to champion underrepresented voices, and increase diversity in fiction!
Having exceeded our crowdfunding target for the Mother of Invention anthology, we plan to release a speculative fiction anthology of diverse, challenging stories about gender and artificial intelligence in mid 2018.
We’ve recently announced a new imprint, Titania, which encourages representation in children’s literature and plan to launch a crowdfunding appeal later this year – Watch this space.
We’ll also be accepting novella submissions from September 2018, with a particular interest in fantasy, science fiction, horror, or crime fiction from marginalised authors.
Two of their books that interest me the most are Kaleidoscope and Luminescent Threads – Kaleidoscope is a diverse collection of YA short stories and Luminescent Threads is a collection of essays and letters about Octavia Butler. Furthermore, in 2019 Twelfth Planet Press will be rework Kate Gordon’s YA paranormal thriller Thyla, which is sure to be amazing!