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April Wrap Up

It has been a huge month, with so many wonderful highlights, check out the gallery below.

Running a masterclass on preparing your manuscript for publication with SCBWI ACT. Such a joyous day with so much talent in the room, exiting futures ahead!!

Speaking at the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) conference about interacting with Picture Books. If ever there was a wonderful crowd to talk with about books… Love TL’s!!!!

Catching up with old friends in Lindfield. (they’re not old, I’ve just known them for a long time 😉 )

Seeing giant sized Easter bunnies on the South Coast. They left giant sized (unwrapped) eggs too – everywhere!!


Attending the launch of the Geocon Aspen sales suit with hubby. A very grown up night 🙂

Going to the launch of This is Home collated by Jackie French and illustrated by Tania McCartney. Two such incredibly talented ladies and a book full of Australia’s most powerful poetry to share with kids. And Hip Hip Hooray, written by Tania and illustrated by Jess Racklyeft, the prettiest launch I’ve ever seen! And the children had such a wonderful time with party blowers, pass the parcel and delectable cup cakes!

Signing a giant stack of books for the Dymocks Children’s Charity. The guys at Dymocks Children’s charity do such amazing work to reach children who don’t have access to books, it is wonderful to support their efforts.

Attending the annual Dymocks Great Debate charity gala. What a night! So many laughs, so much great chat, and I came away having bid on and won 10 nights around OZ in a motorhome!!!

Speaking at the CBCA High Tea with the stars event at Penguin Random House HQ. This event was EPIC, so many great talented authors in one room – and one crazy police officer chasing a Baddie!! (oh that was me!)

and, Running a school holiday workshop with these 20 whizz kids at the Children’s Bookshop Beecroft. The bobby was at it again. We had such a joyous morning creating baddies, drawing wanted posters, writing picture books and chasing clues.

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CBCA Night of Notables

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.

penny CBCA 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.

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Have you got an illustrator? Yessss!!!

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!

Squish pics

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The Rise and Rise of Shelly Unwin Part 3

The final interview in the series. We look at the events and associations that helped me achieve my publishing goal.

Just Write For Kids Blog

Today is the last interview with Shelly Unwin in which we look at some of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of her steps to her publishing dream. They include practical advice for anyone who is interested in getting published.

The things that impress me loud and clear from your story, Shelly are:

  1. although these books are only a very recent thing for you to be working on, the process of having written other things over several years (despite rejections and setbacks) helped you bring these ideas together at the right time.
  2. Having good networks and an understanding of the industry also developed over time and brought you into contact with the right people at the right time.Shelly 1.3

You’ve mentioned a few key steps in this process about building up networks and putting yourself in the right place at the right time. Can you comment further on these?

Faber Academy and “Stack…

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Signed, Sealed and so excited!

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!

affirmation poster

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!!!

 

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Maurice Saxby Lecture

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.

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Let the festivities begin

 

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.

Alison Lester CBCA xmas party

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!