Monday, December 19, 2011

On the Radio

As most of you will know, 2012 is the National Year of Reading. Paula Kelly (State Library of Victoria), Kujla Coulstan (On the Grapevine) and I are aiming to record a series of up to twelve radio podcasts with 3RRR over 2012 celebrating children’s books. We are planning to launch the program as a live radio show on 3RRR with Tony Wilson (and special guest/s) on Feb 16th from 7-8pm.

For the following monthly podcasts, our rough idea at this stage is to have a 45 min show where we have guest speakers from all aspects of the children’s book industry joining us and perhaps look at covering a particular theme, topic or event in each session. We also hope to have a segment on each show tracking the progress of our Australian Children's Laureates; Boori Monty Pyror and Alison Lester, as they travel around Australia.

So, while we are still at the planning and brainstorming stage, I would love to hear from anyone who is into kids books (keeping in mind that this also encompasses YA, graphic novels, comics etc) to see what it is that would make YOU tune into the show.

Here is a small list of questions I have put together but feel free to provide any suggestions - I am grateful for everything at this stage. Keep in mind that this is a radio program about kids books, but for an adult audience.

- What topics would you like covered?
(Here are some suggestions: Genre Fiction, Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Censorship, Humour, Kids Choice VS CBCA, Boys Books & Girls Books, Should My Child Be Reading Twilight, Classic Children’s Books, Books For Struggling Readers, Crossover Fiction, Local Books, Books To Film, New Books, New Authors/Illustrators, Events & Workshops...)

- Which Authors/Illustrators would you LOVE to hear on the show?
(Give me your Top Five if you like - including a couple of realistically obtainable ones. Not saying that we can’t try!)

- Would you rather a local or global perspective?
(Are you interested in books and authors publishing here as well as overseas or are you mainly interested in the Melbourne Scene?)

- Big Names or Next Big Thing?
(Would you be more interested to hear from established authors or exciting new talent?)

Any ideas for a snappy title for our show?

Other suggestions?

Thanks so much!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Faber Academy Writing For Children

Writing for Children with Sally Rippin
Faber Academy at Allen & Unwin is delighted to offer Writing for Children, run by Sally Rippin with guests Martine Murray and Andy Griffiths. This course will teach the skills needed to succeed and be fulfilled in the competitive and flourishing children's publishing industry.
Children are discerning readers. To write a children's book that will stand out on a publisher's desk, and then on bookstore shelves, you need to be aware of what is already out there, while creating something that reflects your personality.
This course will cover the elements required to create a stand-out manuscript. You will discover how to craft a compelling story, memorable characters, authentic dialogue and an evocative setting. You will learn about your audience and the themes and language suited to different age groups. The course will also discuss what publishers are looking for and how to convince them that you are worth publishing.
Suitable for all levels, students are encouraged to bring along their ideas and be prepared to workshop. They will leave with a holistic understanding of the children's publishing industry, as well as a full or partially completed draft. Most importantly, they will have established connections with their fellow writers and joined a like-minded community.
ABOUT SALLY: Sally has been writing and illustrating children's books for over fifteen years. She has over forty books published, many of them award-winning, including two novels for young adults. She has taught writing for children courses at the Council of Adult Education, the Victorian Writers' Centre and as a part of the Professional Writing and Editing program at RMIT University.
For more information on these courses please visit
To book please call 02 8425 0100 or email

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Countdown til Christmas...

I bought my youngest an advent calendar yesterday from the Two Dollar shop which unfortunately comes with chocolate that is inedible, even for my son who will eat almost anything that contains sugar. (It did only cost $2 however, so expecting the chocolate not to be past the use-by date was perhaps too much to ask?) Anyway, the point of me mentioning this is that it now sits on the sideboard in the kitchen merrily announcing just how few days are left until Christmas. Which, obviously for my son is good news. Me, it's a little scarier.
Christmas basically means the end of the year as far as I'm concerned and between now and then, like most people I imagine, my To Do List is looking more and more ridiculous. Aside from work deadlines (2 chapter book edits, 1 short story and a picture book dummy to complete) we have recently bought a new house. Which, of course is very exciting, until I think of how much we have to do before we even move in. It's a beautifully daggy 1950s brick house very much like the ones Howard Arkley used to paint. In fact I think this Howard Arkley image I've used might be our very house (minus the one tree in the front garden.) Having been in the same family since it was built and never renovated, everything inside and out is original 1950s. This includes the rose-print carpet throughout, the flocked cream wallpaper, and, in my 18 year old son's bedroom, 1950s racing car wallpaper, which, as you can imagine, he was thrilled about. I know retro is so hip right now but there's only so much racing car wallpaper anyone can look at for more than half an hour.
Anyway, once the carpet is out and the walls painted and I've got a few trees growing in the garden to break up that bowling-green lawn, I know this is going to be a fabulous place for us, particularly as it's nearly twice the size of where we are living now. Even though I adore our tiny little inner-city weatherboard, with two huge sons and one not far behind, we are literally bursting at the seams. And the best news is that now we might even be able to have more than one guest over at a time!
Basically, our summer is going to be spent ripping up carpet and wallpaper, packing boxes and unpacking them again. With as much writing and illustrating work as I can manage in between...
Except for Christmas day. With all my family overseas including my two eldest boys, my partner and I and our youngest are going to spend Christmas day in a tent on the beach. A little island of quiet before the busyness of the new year.
So, each time my son opens a little flap on that advent calendar and I begin to panic, I just picture that image of us on the beach in our tent and I can almost breath normally again.
I hope your summer is shaping up to be a good one and that if Santa doesn't bring you exactly what you wished for you at least get some non-mouldy chocolates in your stocking.