My Canberra Report!

December 10, 2018 at 11:46 am | Posted in Awards, Canberra, children's literacy, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2018 | Leave a comment
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I’m back now from our trip to Canberra for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, and it was absolutely wonderful!

Day One

My husband Philippe and I were flown, courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, from Hong Kong to Canberra via Melbourne, and put up in the very glamorous Realm Hotel, just a short walk away from Australia’s Parliament House! Of course we had to walk up to it right away, and above you can see the extraordinary flagpole on top of the “new” Parliament House, built in 1988 to replace the “old” Parliament House! The design was by Romaldo Giurgola, a New York-based architect who won an international competition from over 320 other entries! Isn’t it stunning?

Parliament House Canberra

Photo credit Mark Broadhurst https://www.pexels.com/photo/parliament-house-canberra-australia-235428/

Just as we reached the back entrance, we were lucky enough to meet a very kind man called Jamie King, the husband of Madeleine King, a Member of Parliament from Western Australia, who offered to show us around inside the House, where the public isn’t allowed to go without a special invitation! I wish I could show you photos of the beautiful corridors we explored, where the members do their work in their offices when they’re not in session! And it was quite surreal standing directly below the flagpole, which was set into a glass pyramid roof!

Here I am below with Jamie in the fabulous public entry hall, whose stunning marble columns represent a forest of gum trees!

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We also saw a brilliant Lego design of Parliament House off the main entrance, with Lego members of both the Senate (red carpet) and the House of Representatives (green carpet)! It was such fun!

 

Thank you so much Jamie for your great generosity in giving up well over an hour of your time, as well as sharing all your expertise on the architecture and design of this splendid building!

Day Two

All my fellow authors and artists who had been short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards made our way to Parliament House again, where we were met by the PMLA’s team, and I was so delighted to meet the wonderful Aeshe Bennett, who made it possible for Philippe and I to attend all the way from Hong Kong! Thank you Aeshe from the bottom of my heart!

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After morning tea and official photographs, we all filed into the presentation room, where we sat with bated breath for the final results in each category!  After a speech from the Prime Minister, the results were finally announced!

Sadly, Storm Whale didn’t win the Children’s Book section, but all five books in the category were so wonderful that it was quite simply an honour to be up there on the list with them! The winning book, Pea Pod Lullaby, written by Glenda Millard and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, is a beautiful book with a wonderful heart and soul, and thoroughly deserved first place.

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My huge congratulations to its two marvellous creators, as well as the publisher Allen and Unwin (who also happened to be the publishers of Storm Whale!).

It was a huge thrill to meet the four other Australian children’s authors including Glenda herself, the lovely Phil Cummings, the talented young Tamsin Janu and the very funny Lisa Shanahan. As well as adult writers like Richard McGregor, who won the Non-Fiction award for his book Asia’s Reckoning, and the wonderful Stuart Kells, author of The Library, who like me considers libraries the most important rooms in the world! And the charming Ivor Indyk of Giramondo, a small specialist press which published the winners of the Fiction and Poetry categories, Gerald Murnane and Brian Castro respectively! Wow!!

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Photo Credit – from Jane’s website (see link below)

But best of all was spending time with my dear friend Jane Tanner above, illustrator of Storm Whale, who is the greatest “poet in paint” that I know, and who is one of the greatest of all Australian children’s books illustrators of all time. If you want to find more about Jane and all her famous books, you can click on this link!

After the lunch, we were taken to the National Library, where we signed copies of our books! What an honour to have Storm Whale in such illustrious company!

Finally, my darling husband and I spent the night at the famous Canberra Hotel, where all the great and the good of Canberra stayed from the 1920s. It’s an art deco masterpiece! Here I am in front of the hotel, and my husband Philippe is smiling in front of the old cricket green!

 

Day Three

We sadly said goodbye to the capital city of my home country, to which we would love to return one day soon! To finish my report, below is a Canberra gum tree – which I’ve included because I love gum trees more than any other tree on earth! Isn’t it simply beautiful?

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I’m off to Canberra tonight – and I’m SO excited!

December 3, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Canberra, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2018 | Leave a comment
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Tonight my husband and I are flying down to Canberra in Australia for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards ceremony on Wednesday morning! I’m SO excited to meet all my fellow authors and artists who have also been short-listed in the awards! Please cross your fingers for me and artist Jane Tanner who illustrated our beautiful book Storm Whale – it would be amazing to win the Children’s Books section, though I’m very happy indeed just to be on the Short List!! I’ll let you know how we get on!

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A fun day at the Il Mercato Christmas Fair in Pok Fu Lam!

December 3, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Books about Chinese Zodiac, Buying my books, Christmas Fairs | Leave a comment
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On Saturday my lovely office manager Shilpa and I had a fun day out with our table of Chinese Calendar Tales at the Il Mercato Christmas Fair in Sandy Bay, Pok Fu Lam! The market was magnificent! And at our table, we met lots of lovely fans from Kennedy School and Peak School and their mums and dads! Below you can see some of them: the two on the left are at West Island School now, but still remembered my books from their primary school days – it was great to say hello! And the young man on the right was riveted reading my new book for next year, The Tale of Ping Pong Pig!

 

Give children the most precious gift of all – today and Wednesday only!

November 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Room to Read | Leave a comment
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How is all that Christmas shopping going? Have you finished your list for the kids? I’m quite sure they’re going to be spoiled rotten again! I HOPE you’re getting them lots of fabulous books this year, to keep them happy and entertained, and above all, to keep their brains in fantastic shape!

But what about the kids who aren’t as lucky as yours, who don’t have access to books and who can’t even read?

I just LOVE being a writer ambassador for my favourite charity, Room to Read, because it makes wonderful futures possible for children all over the world who might otherwise have a very bleak future indeed – and who almost certainly won’t be getting Christmas gifts this year.

So what can you give them? You will be so excited to find out here!

So today, if you can spare a moment, and a dollar or two, for the kiddies that won’t be waking up in your house this Christmas to bulging Christmas stockings, please give on the link above, and Room to Read’s partner Sensato, will TRIPLE your gift!

Happy Tuesday Giving Day!

The Results are out in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition!

November 18, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Clever Competitions, poetry, Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Desmond Dog rescues a cat in The Tale of Desmond Dog! Illustration by Harry Harrison

Thank you all so much for your wonderful entries into my latest Clever Competition! And what a lovely time I’ve had reading about your Perfect Pets! There were 48 fabulous entries this time, from 15 different schools in 7 cities on 4 different continents! There were entries from Melbourne in Australia; from Shanghai and Zhuhai in mainland China; from Hong Kong; from Chicago and San Diego in the United States of America, and, for the first time, from Colombo in Sri Lanka! There were real pets, like cats, hamsters, pigs and a red panda! There were fantastical pets, like dragons, seahorns and snickerdoodles! Most were cute and cuddly, some were downright scary! But most of all, there were DOGS – to which, as a dog lover myself, I can only say of course!

Special congratulations to Hannah Thompson, of Grade 3, Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne, Australia, who won the Grade 1 to 3 Category in the competition, and Madeline Painter of Grade 6, South Middle School, Illinois, Chicago, USA, who won the Grade 4 to 6 Category. They each win a signed copy of one of my books sent to their school for presenation in assembly. Well done girls!

Go to my Clever Competitions Page right away to read all the fantastic place-winning entries!

I’m posting the Competition Results today!

November 18, 2018 at 10:18 am | Posted in Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’ve been busy as Run Run Rat going to the market in Harry Harrison’s wonderful illustration above! See The Tale of Run Run Rat

Huge thanks, and apologies, to my loyal writer fans who have been waiting so very patiently for the results of my Perfect Pet Poem Competition! I’ve been HUGELY busy the last two weeks, with my lovely daughter Annabel sitting her final IB exams (which requires a lot of mother love and attention!) and a very busy time at work getting ready for the release of my next Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Ping Pong Pig, into the shops! So I’ve had not a moment to finalise the results! But today, the house is quiet, I’m putting the final touches to my judging – and you’ll hear from me later today! YAY! Thank you so much for your patience!

Which little pig is coming to market?

November 14, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Bookazine Festival Walk, Bookazine Princes Building, Buying my books, Christmas Fairs | Leave a comment
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There’s a tasty little pig coming to a market near you any day now! Yes, it’s Ping Pong Pig, in her very own special story for next Chinese New Year, about her amazing adventures in the Forbidden City in Beijing! You can see her, with the cunning Minister of Most Important Things, in the picture above – the Tale has been illustrated by the wonderful Harry Harrison yet again and you’re going to just love the whole book! The Tale of Ping Pong Pig will be available online soon here, as well as in Bookazine shops in Hong Kong and at the Conrad Christmas Fair by next week! So make sure you add that tasty little porker to your Christmas list!

A fabulous time at the AISHK Fair!

November 14, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Posted in AISHK, Australian schools, Christmas Fairs | Leave a comment
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On Saturday I felt right at home with the Aussie kids, parents and teachers at the fantastic Australian International School Fair at Kowloon Tong! I sold lots of  books, met lots of fans, young and old, and all in all had a great time!

The Princess is thinking…be patient my friends!

November 1, 2018 at 10:16 am | Posted in Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Illustration by Harry Harrison from The Tale of Temujin

Do not disturb! This Princess Precious is thinking! And she’s loving all the entries in the Perfect Pet Poem Competition! I’ll be announcing the results soon – but please be patient in the meantime! Remember…a watched pot never boils!!!

The deadline’s on Sunday!

October 26, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Woof! You have just two days to go to send in your poem in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition! So if you haven’t sent it yours yet, take a look at all the information and rules here, and GET WRITING!!!

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