We love the new campaign, “books that make you think, feel and do.” Tell us about it and how you see the role of books in our lives?
At Hardie Grant Books, we pride ourselves on publishing stories that grab the attention of a wide audience. This campaign is about us celebrating some of the books that we are publishing in the first half of 2021. Books that reflect current issues and ideas and bring to light subjects that are vital and engaging.
In 2020, we saw a surge in people turning to books as a source of information, and we hope to play a major part in continuing this trend. We are publishing some incredibly important and timely books this year such as Sex, Lies and Question Time by former MP Kate Ellis, who breaks the unspoken rules of silence in federal parliament by condemning its toxic sexist culture, and The Care Factor by Ailsa Wild, which tells a deeply human account of the COVID-19 pandemic last year and what it meant for our frontline healthcare workers and everyone who lived through it, especially women.
On top of these amazing books, we also have books that will help you live a more mindful, sustainable and healthy life, such as Still Together: Connection Through Meditation by Manoj Dias (out 5 May), Regrown: How to Grow Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables from Kitchen Scraps by Paul Anderton and Robin Daly, and Super, Natural Simple: Whole-Food, Vegetarian Recipes for Real Life by James Beard Foundation award winner and health food pioneer, Heidi Swanson.
What does a good book make you feel?
A good book should make us feel inspired. Whether it’s to read more from a favourite genre, roll up your sleeves and try a challenging recipe, get dirty in the garden or charge into parliament and demand justice, a good book can push you to try things you haven’t done before.
What books are making you think, feel and do right now?
On top of the books we have already mentioned, we’ve been deeply affected by the following books:
Brave New Humans by Sarah Dingle. In this book, an earth-shattering revelation pushed award-winning journalist Sarah Dingle to use her professional skills in a groundbreaking exposé of the global fertility business – and to explore her own identity.
Culture Is Life by Wayne Quilliam. It’s hard not feel awe at the resilience, brilliance and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when you flip through this contemporary photographic collection by pre-eminent photographer Wayne Quilliam.
How Wild Things Are by Analiese Gregory. Analiese Gregory was one of Australia’s most talked-about young chefs. She’s worked in some of the most highly-rated restaurants across the globe and ran the kitchen of one of Tasmania’s best restaurants, but she gave that life up. Instead, she’s chosen to live a slower, wilder life, hunting, fishing and foraging amidst the rugged landscape of Tasmania.
What’s the story behind Hardie Grant and what is your vision for the organisation?
We began late in 1997 when the freshly formed Hardie Grant Books rented an office and officially opened for business. We had no books to sell at that point, but we did have plenty of ideas of what we wanted to do, and even more ideas of what we didn’t want to do. We had a vision to create books with attention to high-quality production, design innovation and the desire to find a new and original editorial approach to familiar subjects as well as some unusual ones. Twenty-four years later, we continue to publish with these ideals in mind, but more importantly, we are genuinely involved in the books we publish, and intend to keep it that way.
What’s the secret to making a non-reader pick up a book and become a life-time reader?
The perfect recommendation is the best way to get anyone to pick up a book. But ideally if you have a little one, start them reading early – whether it’s bedtime reading to infants or encouraging the independence of a young reader with authors like JK Rowling who spurred a whole generation of lifetime readers who now look to books to navigate all aspects of life.
What’s the role of books in the digital age?
We are confident that the place of books in culture and society has solidified in the past few years in the face of the ever-growing presence of the digital world. Last year, the book market grew by 7.8 percent, with growth represented across most of the industry’s categories. Booktopia, Australia’s leading online book retailer, reported unprecedented growth – proving that the digital world and the book world work hand in hand rather than against each other. For us, the role of books will remain as it always was: a tool to educate, to inspire and to entertain.
Learn more bout Hardie Grant Publishing and access their catalogue of quality, stylish, cutting-edge books here.