ABIA extraordinaire, meet Gillian Haines

16 Mar 2021

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I was born in Sydney but grew up in Hobart. My husband and I moved back to Sydney for better job opportunities in 2015 and after five years of being assaulted by cockroaches and the heat we fled back to Tasmania just in time to work remotely in 2020. When I’m not at work I am probably about a metre away from my desk, on the couch reading.

You have so much experience in the industry, from interning at Murdoch Books and Hachette Australia Books, to your current role in events at the Australian Publishers Association. What has been your favourite part of working in the industry so far?

A real highlight has been working with the APA’s Children’s Publishing Committee and the Australian Booksellers Association to provide professional development seminars for booksellers and publishing professionals who work with children’s books. 

Tell us about your role on the ABIA committee and what brought you to join the committee.

I manage the project from the APA side of things, which means making sure everyone has access to whatever they need to get their tasks done, and helping when needed. I answer a lot of enquiries about the awards, and also do loads of admin. The ABIAs has been part of my job at the APA since 2017 so I’ve worked with some really great committee members over the years.

How long have you worked in publishing, and how did you get started in the industry?

When I moved to Sydney and started a Masters of Publishing, I didn’t have much of an idea of what I particularly wanted to do aside from read books (so original in publishing). I learnt a lot about all different aspects of publishing. My internship at Hachette was particularly good at providing me with opportunities to try a range of things and also talk to staff in different departments. My first proper job was at the APA as Team Assistant, a job which very quickly morphed into a rather ad-hoc assortment of responsibilities to do with running the office, but also helping with the ABIAs and other events. Since moving back to Tasmania I’ve dropped all the office stuff, and am focused mostly on the ABIAs and our education awards, the EPAAs, as well as assisting with our professional development programs.

Who would you like to recognise in the industry as someone who has supported your career in publishing? What did they do for you?

I really have to say a huge thank you to Agata Mrva-Montoya from Sydney Uni Press who also taught me at Sydney Uni. She’s incredibly encouraging, one of the best teachers I’ve had, and I have enjoyed being able to catch up with her at various industry events since graduating.

What are you reading at the moment?

I have almost finished Born Into This by Adam Thompson, which is a short story collection published by UQP Books. I am pretty sure it is going to be an all-time favourite, the writing is incredible and every time I finish a story I can’t stop thinking about it.

Thanks, Gillian!

If you’re keen to join Gillian and the committee at the ABIAs this year, and you work for a member company of the APA, view ticket options here.

General Admission tickets are available from the Sydney Writers’ Festival website.