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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Hooray! Storm Whale is Runner Up in the UK’s Teach Primary Awards 2018!

May 9, 2018 at 8:20 am | Posted in Book Awards, Teach Primary Book Awards | Leave a comment
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HOORAY! Storm Whale is Runner Up in the KS1 Category of the UK’s prestigious Teach Primary Book Awards 2018! Jane Tanner and I are SO thrilled!
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This is such a huge honour and we’re very grateful to the judges for choosing our beautiful book! Find out more about the 2018 awards HERE!

And if you want to purchase your own copy, contact your favourite bookshop or online supplier, or click here.

Hooray – Storm Whale has reached the Long List for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018!

February 15, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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I’m so excited! Storm Whale is one of 20 illustrated children’s books in the UK which has reached the Long List for the prestigious CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for 2018 see here! This medal is awarded for excellence in illustration, and Jane Tanner, the wonderful artist who illustrated my story Storm Whale, well and truly deserves this recognition, as I’m sure you’ll agree! It is such an honour for me to be associated with such exceptional work and such a famous award. Thank you Jane, and everyone at Allen and Unwin in Australia (primary publisher) and Old Barn Books (UK publisher) for your faith in this book! Now we just have to wait until 15 March to find out if Storm Whale reaches the Short List – cross your fingers!

And if you don’t have a copy of Storm Whale yet, remember you can purchase it exclusively in Hong Kong on this sales site!

Wow! Storm Whale is nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 in the UK!

November 7, 2017 at 9:01 am | Posted in Book Awards, Buying my books, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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Illustration from Jane Tanner's Storm WhaleI’m so thrilled! Storm Whale has been nominated for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 in the UK! Our beautiful book was released by Old Barn Books in the UK in August and since then has received many wonderful reviews there. Last night I was advised that Jane Tanner’s exquisite illustrations have been nominated for this major award! Here’s just a taste above! Now we have to wait till February 2018 to find out if the book will be long-listed, March for the Shortlist and June for the finalists! I’ll keep you informed! And if you want to buy your own copy, you can order it from your local bookshop now, or here (UK) and here (Australia).

Why I wrote Storm Whale and other questions…

September 12, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Press interviews | Leave a comment
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Thank you to The Letterpress Project in the UK for publishing two terrific interviews with Jane Tanner and I about our beautiful new book Storm Whale, the UK edition of which was published by Old Barn Books in August! You can read them here and here !

A Fabulous International Holiday Writing Challenge: The Wonderful Whale Haiku Competition!

June 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Book launches, Buying my books, Clever Competitions, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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Don’t you just love whales? These beautiful giants of the deep are so intelligent and wise, and they’ve lived at peace in their watery world for many thousands of years, in a way that we silly human beings simply cannot seem to manage up here on the earth! And many of you will know that my new book with Australian publishers Allen & Unwin, called Storm Whale, illustrated by the award-winning Australian artist Jane Tanner, has just been launched in Melbourne! So to celebrate these beautiful animals – and Jane’s and my beautiful new book – I thought it was high time that we celebrated these wonderful animals in a Wonderful Whale Haiku Competition!

The competition is open to any kid of Primary School age, anywhere in the world.

You’ve got lots of time for this one: the deadline is Saturday 30th September 2017, so you can have a lovely time over your upcoming holidays thinking about whales and writing your poem!

Go to my Clever Competitions page above for all the rules and requirements!

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And if you love the illustration above, and want to purchase your own copy of our new book, just click on the link here: http://www.chinesecalendartales.com!

Storm Whale’s Wonderful Melbourne Launch!

June 4, 2017 at 6:05 am | Posted in Being an Author, Book launches, Melbourne events, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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Our beautiful Storm Whale splashed off to a wonderful start at the launch party at the famous Readings Kids bookshop in Lygon Street in Melbourne on Thursday night 1st June! Here are just some of the photos! Top – an original illustration from the book, by award-winning artist Jane Tanner. Isn’t it just gorgeous?

Readings Kids beautiful store front in Lygon Street.

Before the launch with my dear friend Judy Mackerras who flew in all the way from London via Sydney!

Three very important women – to me, and to Storm Whale! Top left, my wonderful agent and friend Julie Watts, top right, Jane Tanner, the renowned artist who brought Storm Whale to life in her exquisite pictures, and top centre, the lovely Erica Wagner, head of children’s books at Allen & Unwin, our fantastic publisher.

With two dear old friends, Jill (top left) with whom I went to school in Hobart many, many years ago and Stacey who lives in Melbourne; and my new friend Jane Tanner!

With Jane, Julie and my friend Tom Danby of INT Books (left), and the three gorgeous girls who were Jane’s models for the drawings of me and my sisters in the book!

Book signing after the speeches…

The shop window before and after the launch! We sold out completely!!

A big warm thank you to Readings Kids for hosting this wonderful event, and to my friends at Allen & Unwin for putting on such a fabulous party!

Storm Whale gets a lovely review!

May 24, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Posted in Book reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Here’s my beautiful new book Storm Whale, which is launching in Melbourne at Readings Kids in Lygon Street on Thursday 1st June at 6pm! I”m SOOO excited! It’s a story inspired by my childhood holidays with my family at the seaside in Tasmania, where 3 little girls find a stranded whale on the beach and try to save it. I think you’re going to love it, and love even more the exquisite illustrations by Australia’s award-winning artist Jane Tanner! Here’s a wonderful review we received in Books and Publishing Australia:

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