Last week I was so thrilled when I attended the CBCA Night of Notables at Dymocks, George Street, Sydney, to discover that my awesome Writing Group buddy Penny Morrison had made it into the Notables. Her wonderful picture book ‘Captain Sneer The Buccaneer‘ was in the ‘Early Childhood’ category and shone out as the table was uncovered at the launch.
CBCA NSW Branch Judge, Nette Hilton talked us through the judging process and explained how a book’s setting, characterisation, plot, theme, conventions of writing, writing style, and mood, all working together, were used as criteria for selecting the Notables.
Congratulations Penny!! And all the other fabulous authors who were selected as Notables.
On the night we also heard from the super talented Jacqueline Harvey who talked about the challenges of getting children to read when there are so many other entertainment options available to them. She spoke of the importance of making reading an enjoyable and fun experience for them. She believes a love for reading often begins with parents who value reading and who build visits to the library, and reading aloud to kids into their busy lives.
Jacqui believes teachers also have a large role to play, and can sometimes be the first person to have an impact on their reading. “Reading needs to be front and centre and at the heart of school. School libraries have to be welcoming places where books can be touched and explored and enjoyed,” she says. She also places a huge amount of value on school author visits, where children have the opportunity to talk to authors and talk with passion about books.
It was wonderful to hear her speak with such a passion and drive and you can see what a valuable asset she is as an ambassador of Room To Read.
It’s the question I have been asked over and over for the last 6 months and been dying to divulge the answer to. I can finally tell the world, with so much excitement, that the brilliantly talented Katherine Battersby, Author/Illustrator of the awesome Squish Rabbit series has agreed to illustrate the series. My fabulous publisher, Anna McFarlane suggested Katherine to me back in May and from that moment my manuscripts took on a whole new life in my imagination. I simply cannot wait to see Katherine’s imaginings for this series.
The series is scheduled for release in May 2017. It feels like a long way off, but given how quickly the last year has gone, I know it will be upon us in no time.
If you’re not familiar with Squish Rabbit, do yourself a favour and hunt out these gorgeous books, you cannot fail to fall in love with Squish!
Finally I can announce my exciting news!
I have been offered and accepted a publishing contract for a five book picture book series with Allen & Unwin. It is a dream come true. I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t have found a more passionate, consultative or engaged publisher for this series. I am beyond excited. I can’t say much about the series, other than that it is aimed at 1-5 year olds and at this stage we are hoping to release all five books at the same time. I will be able to give you more details closer to the release date.
But for now I have taken down the affirmation poster that has been on the door of my tea cupboard for the last two years!
Because I have indeed just signed A Great Publishing Deal! I’m still pinching myself. I wanted to share my news with all of the friends, old and new, that have supported me along the way. And I wanted to say a huge thank you, particularly to my critique group, Picture This, for your invaluable help and insight, to my family for your belief and support and to my agent Alex Adsett for helping to pull everything together and coach me through a nerve wracking decision process. Yippeee!!!
Last night I navigated my way through the maze of Sydney University campus to attend the Maurice Saxby Lecture. This year’s lecture was delivered by the very accomplished Libby Gleeson. After a moment to reflect on the life, work and achievement of the wonderful Maurice Saxby, Libby went on to discuss the topic of STORY. Leading with a quote from Maurice himself. ‘We are all largely governed by and at the same time enriched by story.’
Libby spoke on how our lives are saturated by story, and how the existence of story in every Age and Culture is indisputable. It penetrates every corner of the Earth. It is used by Societies to bind communities, for example the Bible, a collection of stories used to guide Christianity. Folk tales, passed down through the generations used to pass on instructions of how to live in their world, all neatly wrapped up in story.
Libby talked about the magic of story and the ability of story to transport us to unknown places and times, to capture our imagination and to transport us to other realms. Story has the ability to evoke such strong reactions. And as writers we have the opportunity to take people to places they would never otherwise experience, what a joyful privilege that is!
Thank you to the NSW CBCA and Libby Gleeson and for a fabulous evening.
Last night was the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Christmas party, marking the beginning of the festive season. I am still in denial that this year is drawing to a close, there was so much I wanted to achieve and whilst I have come so close, I’ve not quite nailed it – yet, still 6 weeks to go!
The party, however, was a fantastic way to start the countdown to Christmas. We heard from the inspiring Alison Lester, Australia’s first Children’s Laureate. Alison spoke about the making of her book Sophie Scott Goes South, and how it was written using the experiences she had on a trip to the Antarctic. We got to see some truly amazing photos, and revel in her joy as she shared her experience with us.
Check out her website: http://www.alisonlester.citymax.com/page/page/1781659.htm to read more and to see some of the beautiful artwork she has used for the book.
It was a fantastic evening, and I was lucky enough to sit on a table full of wonderful, enthusiastic and inspiring authors and teacher librarians. I have come away enthused as ever to write, write and write some more.
Thanks you to CBCA for such a fabulous evening!