In late August 2015, Massey University Press began with a single employee: respected former Random House New Zealand publishing director Nicola Legat.
When Professor Glyn Harper, the historian who chairs the Press’s editorial board, announced her appointment, he said “With Nicola, we are in excellent hands … (Her) appointment as publisher is a strong signal that the Press is a serious venture and will be a force in New Zealand book publishing.”
So, big expectations and a big job: build a new publishing house from scratch! Nicola regards the challenge as “professionally enormously exciting. It’s no small thing for a university to set up a Press in these difficult times. They have invested a great deal of trust in me and I fully intend to earn that trust.”
Nicola has hired former Random House project editor Kimberley Davis as managing editor – a part time role for now – and well-known freelance book publicist Sarah Thornton will handle all the publicity for the list. David Bateman Ltd is handling sales and distribution. A new website www.masseypress.ac.nz will launch Thursday March 17.
Ten books are scheduled for publication in 2016, the first being the April release of Experience of a Lifetime, another volume in the very active Centenary History Programme publishing enterprise. Nicola describes its 16 chapters as an interrogation of the traditional narrative of the First World War as a total disaster and a waste of millions of young lives.