UQ Press exhibition in Fryer Library

An exhibition featuring The University of Queensland Press Collection (UQFL198) are on display in the Fryer Library until 21 December as part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of The University of Queensland Press (UQP) in 2018.

The exhibition showcases some of the treasures in the collection and relates stories from UQP’s history. The items were drawn from over 600 boxes of documentation, including correspondence between authors and editors, administrative files, and drafts and proofs of the hundreds of books, film scripts and anthologies brought to life by UQP.

About "UQP: Celebrating 70 years of Australian storytelling"

The many “firsts” of UQP

The displays focuses on the many firsts in UQP’s history like collating the Press’s first book, first poetry anthology, first collection of literary criticism and first indigenous novel.

It also features the first novels of some of UQP’s most notable authors. In addition to documentation and early copies of David Malouf’s debut “Johnno”, the display also highlights Peter Carey’s first novel, “Bliss”, which also became UQP’s first screenplay. The display is brought to life by photographs from the filming, sourced from the Margot Hutcheson Collection (UQFL577).

Technological and creative evolution

The displays also track literary publishing at UQP over the years through objects from the collection, from woodblock prints and vintage printer’s blocks of typeset letters through to typewriters (including author Thea Astley’s own personal typewriter), computer-processed manuscripts and file storage devices from 8-inch floppy disks through to modern high capacity storage drives.

Other displays also follow the completed manuscripts from draft to published book and the production of book jackets from designs to the finished product.

The David Unaipon Award and winning authors

One of the displays features works by Indigenous authors who have won the David Unaipon Award including Graeme Dixon, Tara June Winch, Doris Pilkington and Alexis Wright. This display demonstrates UQP’s interest in publishing Indigenous authors.

Items from UQP Collection, including documents and photos on display in Fryer Library.
Items from UQP Collection, including documents and photos on display in Fryer Library.

Curating the exhibition

Belinda Spinaze, the librarian who curated the display, spent countless hours with the collection. She started with the finding aid (the document outlining the contents of the archival boxes) in order to shortlist boxes to open. From there, Belinda selected themes, stories and items to exhibit.

Establishing a timeline

Belinda researched the history of the press and its publications. 

‘The Writer’s Press 1948-1998’ [A book on UQP's 50th anniversary] gave a lot of clues and helped me form a proper timeline for the materials within the exhibition. ~ Belinda Spinaze

Building a narrative

Letters and documents in the collection attest to the relationships that exist between UQP and their authors.

Belinda’s design for the display aimed to highlight these relationships throughout the journey of creating and publishing every book. She commented that it was clear from the collection that "UQP really is the Writer's Press".

Curator’s pick

Belinda’s personal highlight within the exhibition is the feature on the development of the David Unaipon Award for unpublished indigenous writers. UQP established the award in 1988. It is now is part of the Queensland Literary Awards.

Belinda Spinaze, Librarian who curated the exhibition.
Belinda in the exhibition space.

UQP and the Fryer Library

In October 2018, the Library created the digital story 70 years of the University of Queensland Press to celebrate their anniversary.

Since the 1970s the Fryer Library has maintained, documented and promoted the archives of the work of UQP. Fryer also has collections that contain the personal papers of some of UQP's authors including David Malouf, Thea Astley, Nick Earls, Janette Turner-Hospital and Kate Grenville.

Fryer Library staff were excited by the opportunity to share some of the stories of UQP’s distinguished history by giving visitors a glimpse at some of the most interesting archival materials in the UQP collection.

The exhibition closes just before Christmas

The exhibition opened in July in conjunction with the annual Fryer Lecture in Australian Literature. It is open 10am to 4pm weekdays until Christmas.

Come in and immerse yourself in the intriguing history of The University of Queensland Press within the Fryer Library.

Last updated:
2 November 2018