1989 (5th incarnation)
|Founders||Harry Muir (original)|
Revived by Government of South Australia in early 1980s
|Successor||Michael Bollen (from 1989)|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|Key people||Michael Bollen, Margot Lloyd, Jo Case|
food & wine
|Fiction genres||Literary fiction|
young adult fiction
Wakefield Press Wakefield Press is an independent publishing company based in the Adelaide suburb of Mile End, South Australia. They publish 35-40 titles a year in many genres and on many topics, with a special focus on South Australian stories.
In 2019, the publisher celebrates its 30th anniversary under its current management and name.
A publishing company under the name The Wakefield Press was founded in 1942 by Adelaide bookseller Harry Muir (1909-1991), owner of Beck Book Company Limited in Pulteney Street.. His intention was to publish small, historical monographs which he believed would otherwise go unread. The company's first publication was A Checklist of Ex-Libris Literature Published in Australia, owing to Muir's interest in bookplates. The press operated out of the bookshop from the 1940s to 1960s.
As proprietor of the monthly cultural magazine the Adelaide Review, Christopher Pearson bought the name of the Wakefield Press from the South Australian government and operated the company from 1986 to 1988.
Michael Bollen, who had worked with Pearson, took over the company in 1989, with Stephanie Johnston buying in a year or so later. They moved to premises in The Parade West, Kent Town, where they stayed until relocation to Mile End in August-September 2014.
They have boosted their focus on young adult fiction, with editor Margot Lloyd as publisher of the Young Adult list. They successfully launched Making Friends with Alice Dyson by Adelaide first-time author Poppy Nwosu in 2019. The management team believe that they can take risks that larger companies, being controlled by their marketing departments, cannot take.
Their books have often hit bestseller lists and won awards.
Many of Wakefield's books have achieved Australian bestseller status, including The Vanished Land, by Richard Zachariah,The Home of the Blizzard, by Sir Douglas Mawson, One Magic Square, by Lolo Houbein,Behind the Veil, by Lydia Laube,Your Brick Oven, by Russell Jeavons,  and Mallee Boys.
Wakefield Press have partnerships with the Australian Association for the Teaching of English, the Narungga Aboriginal Progress Association, the South Australian Living Artists Festival, and a newly formed publishing partnership with the Hawke Research Institute for Sustainable Societies at the University of South Australia.