I’m delighted to announce that my NEXT BOOK will be published by Penguin Random House in August 2017.
It’s a middle-grade historical adventure novel called The Fighting Stingrays. Set on Thursday Island in 1941, it follows the exploits of three friends – Charlie, Alf and Masa – as the threat of war looms over northern Australia.
There’s deep-sea pearl diving, a community torn apart, a pet rat, multiple brushes with death and one daring escape after another.
A lot of the details in this book are based on stories from my grandmother, who grew up on Thursday Island in the 1930s as the daughter of a pearl-shell company owner. ‘TI’ is a place a lot of Australians don’t know about, and one that played an important role in the second half of WWII.
I’m about to get stuck into the edits for this book. But basically, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written and I really hope you love it too.
One of Canberra’s oldest buildings, Gorman House was constructed in the 1920s as hostel accomodation for the lowest paid government employees. It stayed as a hostel until the 1970s, when presumably the government started paying its public servants enough to afford a place of their own.
The building has since undergone significant renovations and is now home to many of Canberra’s artists and creative organisations.
It’s a great place to spend the working week, with co-workers that range from violin makers to illustrators to TV soundtrack composers. Plus, I reckon it must have once of the loveliest courtyards in the city.
Ever wondered how to get started writing for children? Or how it differs to writing for adults? And how much money do children’s authors make anyway?
Well, if you’re in Canberra this Saturday (19 March), you can find out the answers to these questions and many more by coming along to my Ask Me Anything session at the Noted festival. I’ll be on stage, ready and willing to answer your most burning queries about writing stories for young people.
When: 10.00am – 10.45am, Saturday 19 March Where: Smith’s Alternative – 76 Alinga Street Canberra, ACT, 2601 (map) Cost: FREE!
If you can’t make it along in person, you can tweet your questions to @NotedFestival with the hashtag #AskNoted.
I just finished the first draft of what will hopefully become by new novel. It’s horribly inconsistent, and barely coherent in parts, but it’s DONE! Roll on the rewriting process…after a good lie down.
Whew! April was quite the month for me. Because only a few days after I flew back from the Somerset Celebration of Literature, I moved from Melbourne to Canberra.
Now, if you’ve ever moved house, you’ll know that it’s about as much fun as poking a cactus into your eye. Well, moving interstate is even worse – maybe about as much fun as poking a cactus into your eye while eating rusty nails in a bathtub full of cold mucus. But finally, after packing up 100-odd cardboard boxes and shedding 10,000-odd tears of frustration, me, my wife, and my faithful hound Mabel have finally settled in Canberra. Keen visitors to this website (hi Mum and Dad!) might recall that I actually grew up in Canberra, so this is something of a homecoming for me.
Now, Canberra gets a bad wrap from a lot of people, but it’s actually a really awesome place to live.
For one thing, it’s incredibly beautiful. The autumn leaves are as red as a baboon’s backside, the sun setting over the Brindabella Ranges is as orange as the crumbs at the bottom of a Cheezels packet, and the morning air is as crisp and clear as a biscotti made of ice. Yes, it’s totally stunning.
For another thing, it has a zine vending machine!
(Just between you and me, I think Mabel is enjoying the move the most out of anyone.)
And for me, Canberra is a place to work on few exciting writing projects I’ve had churning away in the back of the ol’ head for a while. Watch this space!
There was also a gala party with a free lolly buffet (my 10 year old inner self nearly lost his mind with excitement), a children’s dinner where I got to wear a makeshift fez hat and repeat ‘my name is Judy’ over and over again, as well as what could be the best pop-up children’s bookshop on the planet. And of course, it was great to catch up with a few dozen of Australia’s many talented authors and illustrators.
This is a great festival for readers and writers of all ages, and I’d highly recommend checking it out if you are in the Gold Coast area.
I’d like to give the final word to the anonymous young creator of this charming potato comic posted on the festival notice board – I thought it was too weird and wonderful not to share!