Susan Hawthorne's Bibliodiversity: A Manifesto for Independent Publishing arrived at the Spinifex office this month!
'Bibliodiversity' is a term invented by Chilean publishers in the 1990s as a way of envisioning a different kind of publishing. In this manifesto, Susan Hawthorne provides a scathing critique of the global publishing industry set against a visionary proposal for organic publishing. She looks at free speech and fair speech, at the environmental costs of mainstream publishing and at the promises and challenges of the move to digital. This is a truly important read, especially in this day and age of Hachette VS. Amazon, self-publishing and alarming bookstore closures.
Susan will be giving the keynote at this year's Independent Publishers Conference in Sydney, on Friday 14 November discussing the topic of Bibliodiversity. The 'Ind Pub Conf' is organised by the Small Press Network, and manager Mary Masters had this to say about Susan's manifesto: "This publication should be mandatory reading for anyone within the publishing industry—to understand the role that you play—and core curriculum for all students of publishing and publishers of the future—to ensure sustainability for the industry. Whether you are a publisher, bookseller, librarian or writer, you are above all a reader, and you each have a responsibility to encourage bibliodiversity—start playing your role today by reading this manifesto."
Kajsa Ekis Ekman, author of Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self is in Australia!
She's giving a keynote at the Sydney Opera Houses's 'Festival of Dangerous Ideas' tomorrow, August 30. Her sold-out talk is titled 'Surrogacy is Child Trafficking', but don't worry if you didn't get tickets - you can follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #FODI or check out the 'Ideas at the House' YouTube channel for live-streaming!
Kajsa will also be a panelist on ABC's Q&A, alongside Kay Hymowitz, Lydia Cacho, and Jane Caro. Tune in Monday September 1, 9.35pm ABC, the episode will be repeated Tuesday 1pm or can be watched on ABC iView.
And if you're in Melbourne, Kajsa will be attending two very special events.
She'll be in conversation with Caroline Norma (Big Porn Inc contributor) at RMIT University on September 3, 5.30 pm – 8.00 pm in the Emily MacPherson Building (Building 13, Level 3, Room 9 - corner of Russell and Victoria Streets, Melbourne). This is a free event, and no RSVP is required. Details here.
Kajsa will also be giving a very special talk to The Pink Cross Foundation Australia on September 4, at the St-Martins Community Church (415 Wellington St Collingwood) 7-9pm. Kajsa will be discussing the 'Nordic Model sex industry law reform: decriminalise prostitution and restrict purchasers'. Bookings for this event are essential, and can be made here.
Tune in to the September 9 episode of SBS 'Insight', when they tackle the topic of surrogacy and invite Kajsa to speak. The episode will air on SBS ONE Tuesday, September 9 at 8:30pm and will be repeated on Wednesday at 1:00pm on SBS ONE.
There may be more appearances to come, so be sure to check the Spinifex website and Facebook page for more details!
Spinifex authors have been enjoying the wonderful Melbourne Writers Festival these past two weeks.
Susan Hawthorne launched her new poetry collection Lupa and Lamb, with help from Jennifer Strauss AM and Kavisha Mazzella AM performing. You can read Jennifer's launch speech over at Rochford Street Review: 'I have offered one kind of reading of this richly complex, witty, painful, learned, playful extravaganza. Other readers may well have other accounts to give, see different poems as central. Be one of those other readers and go figure the challenge of the last poem of all, “the calculus of lambda”.'
Olivera Simić also launched her memoir Surviving Peace at the Festival. Simić's Political Memoir is one woman’s story of courage that echoes the stories of millions of people whose lives have been displaced by war. As we still face a world rife with armed conflict, this book is a timely reminder that once the last gunshot has been fired and the last bomb dropped, the new challenge of surviving peace begins.
Melbourne Writers Festival finishes this Sunday, 31 August - so there's still time to pop down to the Dymocks Bookshop store and pick up copies of these new Spinifex titles (and many more - just look for the lovely pink spines!)
IN THE NEWS
There has been one news story that really dominated headlines in Australia and around the world throughout the month of August - and that is the case of Baby Gammy. Australian couple David Farnell and his wife Wendy hired a Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, to carry a baby for them. When ultrasound results indicated that Chanbua was carrying twins and that one of the twins, a boy, had Down syndrome, the Farnells reportedly requested that she abort him, and that they would keep only the other child, a girl. Chanbua refused, citing her Buddhist beliefs, and instead opted to raise the boy (named Gammy) on her own.
This has been a huge news story, and a hugely saddening one at that. But it has been crucial to highlight the many problems with commercial and, indeed all forms of surrogacy. It just so happens that Spinifex Press has published a number of books exploring the complications of surrgacy, and books examining medical eugenics. Not to mention author Kajsa Ekis Ekman entering into the eye of the storm, coming to Australia to give a keynote called 'Surrogacy is Child Trafficking'. As a result, quite a few Spinifex extracts and authors have been appearing in the news, writing about this topic.
Spinifex Director and feminist health researcher, Renate Klein, wrote a comment piece for The Age - 'Baby Gammy has shown the need for debate on surrogacy'. Renate wrote: "We need to reduce the demand for surrogacy. Surrogacy is a heartless, exploitative, capitalist enterprise. There is no right to a child; children are not commodities, and surrogates are not just "suitcases" or "angels" (depending on your point of view)."
Two extracts from Kajsa Ekis Ekman's Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self appeared online at DailyLife: Is surrogacy baby trafficking? and Undercover as a surrogate mother. In one, Ekman states: "Functionalisation always precedes commercialization, as we have seen in prostitution. In order for something to be sold as separate from the seller, it must first be constituted as a separate function. What happens in the rhetoric of altruistic surrogacy is that it subversively accustoms people to seeing pregnancy as something a woman can lend to others—if she is not yet selling it."
Kajsa also wrote an opinion piece for online publication Medium Stop Surrogacy Before It Is Too Late: Surrogacy doesn't liberate us from biological constraints—it turns women’s bodies into factories.
And just this week, the surrogacy and medical eugenics debate fired up again, after a new case was revealed involving a British mother who rejected her disabled daughter because she was a "dribbling cabbage," according to the woman's surrogate. In light of this, DailyLife also published an edited extract from the Melinda Tankard Reist edited book Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics. This extract was from Elizabeth R. Schiltz's chapter 'Living in the Shadow of Mönchberg', in which she details the reasons why she kept her baby after discovering he would be born with Down syndrome: "I worry that the joint availability of tests and abortion seems to be eroding societal consensus about our collective responsibility for vulnerable people – people with disabilities whose conditions were or could have been diagnosed prenatally, or even people born into difficult family situations or social structures."
And if you want to read more about the surrogacy debate, another good Spinifex book is Women As Wombs: Reproductive Technology And The Battle Over Women's Freedom by Janice Raymond.
We can only hope that all this media attention, detailing the far less rosy (and far more realistic) sides of surrogacy go some way to encouraging more critical debate and outcomes.
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