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Australia's oldest university press is also one of our best known and most trusted publishers. Founded in 1921 as a bookshop for students at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne University Press was soon publishing important works that contained the best of national scholarship. Landmark MUP books and series include The Australian Dictionary of Biography, Manning Clark's History of Australia, The Encyclopaedia of New Guinea and the journal Meanjin. These and other MUP publications helped shape how Australians perceived themselves, and how they talked about literature, politics, race, the Pacific, the world wars and public policy. From its inception, MUP grappled with hard questions. How should a university press be governed? To what extent should such a press be concerned with political, polemical and radical works? And can a university press be financially self-sustaining if it focuses on books that commercial publishers overlook? Using a century of MUP publications and archives, Stuart Kells has written a rich and fascinating history of an invaluable Australian institution.
Stuart Kells has written on a wide range of subjects including libraries, publishing, professional services and diamond mining. His shorter works have been published around the world including in Smithsonian, The Paris Review, The Guardian and LitHub. A University of Melbourne alumnus, he delivered the 2018 Jean Whyte Lecture and the 2022 Murray Talk. His history of Penguin Books, Penguin and the Lane Brothers, won the Ashurst Business Literature Prize in 2015. His book The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's literary award and the NSW Premier’ s general history prize. He is Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University’ s College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce.
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