Bear with me please!

April 19, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Desmond saving cat

Hello again, all you patient writers who sent in such fantastic entries into my Dashing Dog Writing Competition! I’ve been working as hard as I can to judge your stories…but alas I have to be in Australia next week and won’t be able to complete the judging till I get back! I’m LOVING all the stories I’ve read so far! So please, bear with me – and I’ll let you know the results just as soon as I’m back in Hong Kong!

A fun morning at FSSA in Yau Tong!

April 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Fukien Secondary School Affiliated, Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to Head of English and Deputy Principal Nicolas Delbos (with me above right) and Sunny Ding (above left) for hosting me yesterday at Fukien Secondary School Affiliated Primary School for a morning of fun story readings with all the kids from Primary One to Primary Six! The P1 to P3 kids met my vain but loveable Pin Yin Panda as we explored the Legend of Lord Buddha’s Race and how all the animals got into the Chinese Zodiac in The Tale of Pin Yin Panda, while the P4 to P6s pretended to be fabulously fearsome pirates as I read them this year’s Chinese Calendar TaleThe Tale of Desmond Dog! We had a lot of fun!

The Dashing Dog Story Competition judging begins!

April 9, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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A big THANK YOU to all you wonderful writers out there who entered my Dashing Dog Story Competition! I’ve been away in Australia looking after my Mum over the last 2 weeks since the competition deadline, so I’m just starting the judging today!

There are a whopping 68 entries, from 18 different schools in 5 different countries ranging from Doha to the United States to Australia to China! So please be patient and bear with me, and I’ll post the results just as soon as I can!

Another stunning sonnet from Suzhou…

April 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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During my visit to Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School in China last month, I had the pleasure of meeting an exceptional young man, Ivan Huang Yiheng, whose teacher has sent me his latest work.

Meet Ivan, who is 15 years old, below:

生活照_爱奇艺.jpgand read his beautiful sonnet, based on the theme of Summer – Ivan has sent me some gorgeous summer photos from China which compliment the poem perfectly!

Summer  
Summer is just the grandest time of year;
Unending times of fun and merriment,
Masses of lovely flowers, heaven sent.
Moments of wonderment are everywhere,
Early mornings, the lovely sights appear.
Riveting colors in a wild ascent.
Painted on mountain tops without relent.
Loveliness so rich I can only stare. 
Ever deeper reds radiate in the sky
And I am fascinated by the show.
Sun is now shining brightly all around.
Unimpressed by the beauty from a high.
Robins keep right on pecking for they know
Easy breakfasts are waiting to be found.

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Thank you so much Ivan – and keep on writing – you have great talent!

Desmond Dog leaps into Beacon Hill School last Wednesday!

March 26, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Beacon Hill School, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Last Wednesday, Desmond Dog and I visited the fabulous kids of Beacon Hill School in Kowloon Tong! We had four funny (and highly educational :)!) reading sessions of The Tale of Desmond Dog with all the kids from Grades 1, 2, 3 and 6! They learned all about Hong Kong’s origins as a small fishing village, the infamous pirate queen Ching Shih, and the characteristics of people born in the Year of the Dog! A warm thank you to the lovely Emily Jeves, Teacher Librarian (above left) for hosting me, and to her assistant Shirley Lowe, Librarian, between us. Emily and Shirley are both Dragons, and I’m a Rat, if you’re wondering about the toys we’re holding!

Just 5 days left in my Dashing Dog Story Writing Competition!

March 26, 2018 at 11:29 am | Posted in Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Desmond chasing herons

WOOF! Desmond would like to warn you that there are just 5 days to go in my latest writing competition for Primary School aged kids anywhere around the world! So if you want to take part, quickly click here for all the details! I can’t wait to read your story!

A great afternoon at Good Hope School in Hong Kong!

March 26, 2018 at 10:29 am | Posted in Good Hope School, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to my lovely host Shallin Ng for inviting me last Monday to speak to the girls of the prestigious Good Hope School in Wong Tai Sin about How to Become Great Writers in the Digital Age! We covered everything from freeing up time by reducing extra-curricular activities, to reducing time on social media and digital games, to reading copiously, to keeping diaries! Here I am above with Deputy Principal Ms Helen Yu who presented me with a beautiful gift. I hope to see you all again soon!

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Two brilliant young poets from Suzhou!

March 24, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Posted in poetry, Suzhou schools, Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School | 2 Comments
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Meet Rose Yang Siyu (11) and her brother Jerry (14), students who attend the Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School in Suzhou which I visited during my Beijing trip. The school is very keen to promote creativity among its students, including poetry-writing! I think you’ll agree that these sonnets below are wonderful!

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My Brilliant Week in China!

March 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Beijing, Beijing Schools, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, Changzhou, Changzhou schools, China photos, Montessori School of Beijing, Suzhou, Suzhou schools, Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School, Tsinghua International School Beijing, Wycombe Abbey International School Changzhou, YCIS Beijing | Leave a comment
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Hello everyone – I’m back in Hong Kong, and now I can update you about my fantastic week in China last week!

Day One: Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou

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On Monday I met the fabulous kids and teachers at Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou! Here above I’m standing with the lovely librarians – Betty Ton, my host for the day (who kindly let me stay in her flat!), and her library colleagues Lesley Kelly and Marianne Booth.

We had a fun day of 4 story readings where the kids met my Chinese Calendar Tales characters from The Tale of Desmond Dog, The Tale of a Dark Horse, and The Tale of Chester Choi. Then just a few days ago I received a lovely list of questions from the school magazine – the questions were so interesting, I’ve added them and my answers to to my FAQ list on the tab above! Do take a look! And here are some more photos!

 

That evening I flew to the ancient city of Suzhou, where I met up with my Bookworm Festival Minder Elaine and her friend Zoe, who took me out for a dinner of black carp soup at a local restaurant. It was delicate and absolutely delicious!

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=Afterwards, we took a walk along the canal which runs around the old city, seeing some wonderful landmarks below:

 

 

Day Two: Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School

After staying in the very elegant Pan Pacific Hotel in Suzhou overnight,

Elaine and I were driven an hour into the countryside to a local private high school in Suzhou’s Science and Technology Town, the Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School.

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I met some remarkable, forward-thinking teachers and the students of Grades 5 and 7, who impressed me hugely with their creativity. I gave two hour long sessions about How to Become Writers in the Digital Age, to a great response from the students and staff. Below top left, you will see me with Vice Principal Wang Haiyan to my left, the lovely Zhang Chen, Director of the Principal’s Office to her left, and my helper Elaine to my right!

In particular I met a delightful young lady at lunch, Rose Yang, just 11 years old, who later sent me a very accomplished and lovely sonnet she had written – I’ll write about it in my next post!

That night I flew to Beijing, where the Bookworm Festival kindly accommodated me and the other Festival writers in the very modern, stylish and minimalist hotel The Opposite House. Here are some pictures – though I’m not sure how much I appreciated the terracotta soldiers in the foyer…!

 

 

Day Three: Montessori School of Beijing

On Wednesday I visited my old friends at Montessori School of Beijing, where I gave two story reading sessions to the younger students, and two Riveting Story workshops to the older students. It was great to see the school again, to meet its new Principal Laura King (to my left) and its marketing director Wairimu Wanjau (Nimo) to my right! I also made a wonderful new friend Yun (below far right) who was my Bookworm Minder for the day – thanks Yun! More photos to come!

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Day Four: Yew Chung International School Beijing

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On Thursday I visited YCIS Beijing, where the Year 1 and Year 2 kids heard my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Desmond Dog, while the Year 4s took part in my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop and the Year 5s learned How to Publish Your Own Picture Book! We had a lot of fun! Many thanks to my hosts Anna Esposito and Landy Hwang, and to my wonderful Bookworm Minder, Gary Fang.

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Day Five: Tsinghua International School Beijing

IMG_0369The final school in my busy tour was the wonderful THISB, set in the middle of the Olympics Tennis Center! With workshops and story readings for everyone from Grade 1 to Grade 5, we had so much fun together in this energetic, enthusiastic school. Many thanks for inviting me to the lovely Principal Mandy Zhang and my host for the day, librarian Christine Wedge. Here we are below in a fun selfie!

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And here I am in my sessions with the kids!

 

 

And meeting some of my new fans!

 

 

 

Friday evening and Saturday at The Bookworm

Finally, I spent a wonderful evening and day at The Bookworm International Literary Festival listening to three fabulous Australian authors, Booker Prize Winning Richard Flanagan from my home State of Tasmania, and prize-winning Sydney poet and author Fiona Wright and multi-award winning author Alexis Wright. It was a rare privilege to hear them talk about their writing, their inspiration and their craft.

 

Huge thanks to Peter Goff, owner of The Bookworm Cafe and Festival Director, for inviting me to participate in the Schools Program for the Festival this year, to Zoe for her fantastic organisation of the tour, and to my fabulous minders. And for the splendid accommodation, and always warm welcome at the unique and beautiful Bookworm Cafe!

Farewell Beijing!

And finally, a fond farewell to misty late-winter Beijing, a magnificent city with a magnificent history! I can’t wait to return!

 

 

Desmond and I take part in the Bookworm Literary Festival this week!

March 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, Changzhou schools, Literary Festivals, Suzhou schools, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Desmond holding child

Desmond Dog and I are visiting 3 different cities in mainland China for 5 fun days this week as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival! Today we’ve been in Changzhou, tonight and tomorrow we’re in Suzhou, then from Wednesday to Friday we’ll be in Beijing! Keep following this blog to see all the photos and fun!

 

 

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