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Sun Books Sun Books i(A40521 works by) (Organisation) assertion (a.k.a. Sun Australia; Sun)
Born: Established: 1965 ;
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Sun Books was founded as an independent Australian paperback publisher by Brian Stonier, Geoffrey Dutton and Max Harris in 1965. All three founders had been responsible for 'the establishment of the Australian publishing arm of Penguin Books in 1961'. Early Sun Books titles included Donald Horne's The Permit (1965), Geoffrey Blainey's The Tyranny of Distance (1966) and Roland Robinson's Aboriginal Myths and Legends (1966). In addition, some original fiction, such as Judith Wright's short story collection, The Nature of Love (1966), was published. In addition, the paperback rights were acquired to many significant Australian fiction titles previously published in hardback; these included titles such Thea Astley's Slow Natives (1966), Henry Handel Richardson's Maurice Guest (1966), Judah Waten's Alien Son (1966) and Thomas Kenneally's Bring Larks and Heroes (1968). From the outset, the directors were keen to secure paperback rights for some of Patrick White's fiction, but unable to secure the rights for any of his novels, they republished White's Four Plays (1967).

In 1968, due to cashflow constraints, Sun Books entered a publishing arrangement with the English publisher, Paul Hamlyn, who acquired a 40 per cent interest in the company. This arrangement also made Kevin Weldon, who was the director of Paul Hamlyn (Australia), a director of Sun Books Pty Ltd (with Stonier and Dutton).

In 1971, Macmillan Australia acquired Sun Books, and Stonier was appointed managing director of Macmillan Australia, a position he retained until his retirement in 1998. The Sun Books imprint was treated as a separate imprint, and Stonier managed both companies out of Macmillan Australia's offices in Port Melbourne. In effect, though, Sun Books became the paperback imprint for MacMillan Australia; its books were known later as Sunpapermacs.

After the merger with Hamlyn, the publication of Sun Book's original fiction ceased, except for a short-lived crime fiction series. Other Sun series were Sun Poetry, Sun Academy, Colonial Poets, and Sun Cookery. Sun Books aimed to appeal to the younger generation with its poetry and the Sun Poetry series included translations of Yevgeny Yevtushenko's poems to coincide with his Australian visits in 1966 and 1973. Sun Books also published Drug Poems (1972) by popular counter-culture poet Michael Dransfield, and an edited collection that featured the work of poets, Robert Adamson, Michael Dransfield, Thomas Shapcott, John Tranter and Vicki Viidikas

In 1986, Sun introduced a standard cover design and a new motto, 'Unputdownably Australian', reflecting its original nationalist impulse.


Exhibition catalogue: 'Sun Books: An Exhibition of the Sun Books Publications from the Monash University Library Rare Books Collection', with catalogue essay by John Arnold. 1 June 2005 - 31 August 2005.

John Arnold, 'Case Study: Sun Books', in Paper Empires: A History of the Book in Australia 1946-2005, UQP, St Lucia, 2006, pp. 43-47.

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Last amended 24 Oct 2006 14:24:29
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