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Sam van Zweden

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NewSouth Publishing

February baby

When I signed the contract with NewSouth for Eating with my Mouth Open, we agreed on an August 1 release date – this would position the book well for 2020 festivals, and it would be a six-month turnaround of editing, layout, design, marketing, the whole shebang. It was overwhelming and fast – exhilarating.

Since then, the world has dropped into a pandemic, and the publishing landscape looks pretty different. The 2020 festivals have been cancelled or moved online in radically different formats; publishers everywhere are pushing back new releases; people’s reading habits and disposable incomes are both shifting. NewSouth and I have agreed to rethink the timeline given the current climate, and it seems smart to delay the release for a while to give my little book the best chance it can have in the world.

I’m pleased to share that Eating with my Mouth Open looks like it will be a February 2021 baby!

Work on the book continues apace – we’re currently discussing cover art, and have been sending the book to some of my very favourite writers and thinkers, asking for them to say some words about it that we can use for endorsement. The extra time before release also gives me time to write more tie-in essays, and do some work online to share the ideas I explore in EWMMO.

I can’t wait to launch the book in person with you all in February, to hug you tight and celebrate both the book and our being able to be together again.

Stay safe, stay well, look after each other. x

Let’s get up to speed

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Hello! It’s been… too long. I’m sorry. So very much has happened. Let’s get up to speed.

What’ve you been up to?

It’s been a busy time. I’ve been cross stitching, and walking the dog, and learning to drive. In more writing-related news though:

  • Back in October, I went to Ubud (Bali, Indonesia), where I spent a lot of time in a pool and read a lot of books, and also attended the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. It’s a magical festival in an absolutely bonkers setting—there’s jungle everywhere, and monkeys looking to loot your belongings, and teeny tiny lizards that make a lot of noise, and bigger and scarier lizards that are determined to poop on you from your ceiling if they can get there. It’s humid and the people are so kind and curious. It’s cheap, and the food is very good. I was lucky to see some faves at the festival including Lindy West, Kate Richards, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Fiona Wright. New faves include Raymond Antrobus, Lemn Sissay and Lindsay Wong. I came back with a lot of books. I’ve compiled my tweets and ‘grams from the festival, so you can catch up if you want.
  • While in Ubud I was lucky to sit at the edge of the jungle with Lindy West, eating some kind of magical coconut pancake and chatting about Zelda and Stardew Valley for a while. Then it got serious and we discussed her latest book, The Witches are Coming. West is actually as much of a dreamboat as she seems to be from her writing. I wrote this interview up into a profile for the Saturday Paper.

BOOK NEWS!

You probably know by now that I’ve been working on a manuscript for a very long time. It started as my Honours work at RMIT in 2014, and grew from there. After almost a year of rejections and dead-ends, things have finally started to fall into place.

  • In December it was announced that my manuscript, titled Eating with my Mouth Open, won the 2019 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award.
  • The manuscript has been acquired by NewSouth Publishing, a nonfiction-specialising publisher based in New South Wales. It will be available in book stores in August 2020—that’s just six months away!

The publication process is in full swing, and it’s full of surprises and new things to learn. I’m posting regular updates on Twitter, Instagram, and I’ll be blogging more regularly in the lead-up to publication.

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