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Interview with Nina Sharpe, Cambridge University Press

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and individuals involved in the creation and development of educational resources.

Today we caught up with Nina Sharpe from Cambridge University Press to talk about Knowledge of Life, a shortlisted entry for the Tertiary (Wholly Australian): Scholarly Resource award.

For those that may not be sure, what is your role at Cambridge University Press? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interest in publishing.

I am Senior Commissioning Editor and Development Manager at Cambridge University Press where I have worked for the past six years. I’ve worked for other publishing houses throughout my time in the industry, always placed in Higher Education. I have a passion for Education and developing content into learning solutions for students. It’s ever challenging and rewarding to see this unfold.

Knowledge of Life is the first textbook to provide students with a comprehensive guide to Aboriginal and Tores Strait Islander Australia. Do you believe there is a need in the market for a product that is written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics on a range of topics from history and reconciliation, to sport and health?

There are so many reputable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics within Universities across Australia and I have been lucky enough to work with many of them. As I worked with this team, led by Kaye Price, the experience and passion among them prevailed, and the collaboration allowed the sharing of ideas to come together as a team.

Not only do the authors write with authority on their respective topics, but they present a precis’ to open each chapter offering a personal insight into their experience growing up as an Aboriginal Australian. These authentic voices encourage students to engage with the issues on another level and to understand the real-life implications.

Why do you think this text will be appealing for students to engage with in their studies?

It does not specialise in one area and allows students to explore a range of pressing issues across social, cultural and political landscapes. The topics cover sport, reconciliation, literature, art, human rights and midwifery to name a few. The language is engaging and personal, while well researched and detailed. It is contemporary, topical and relevant. It was a manuscript I couldn’t drag myself away from and I’m sure the book has had the same effect on readers.

Were there any challenges leading up to the publication of Knowledge of Life?

As with many books, it was challenging to bring together the right team to write and to keep things on schedule – though this is of course not unique to this text! While there were challenging times during the writing process, the manuscript was delivered to publish on time and once it publishes all those delays are a distant memory.

Why does your product deserve to win at this year’s EPAs? Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?

There were many involved in bringing this publication to life across editorial, production, sales and marketing but most importantly I want to acknowledge the author, Kaye Price. Kaye’s career has been dedicated to better education and she has worked tirelessly to improve the education experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. I have personally learnt so much and benefited from my experience working so closely with her and value the ongoing friendship we have developed.

Having Kaye’s expertise and leadership, alongside the collaboration of the contributors and the array of ideas presented in one package is unique and distinctive from any other publication. This is a very special book!

 

Good luck and all the best Nina and the team at Cambridge!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held on Thursday, 6 October at The Pavillion, Arts Centre Melbourne.