I recently returned from an exciting week in Beijing as guest of the Australian Writers’ Week. I loved every moment of the tour, meeting children and teachers, librarians and Australian Embassy staff.
I spoke at international schools and local schools, at the Bookworm, (a fantastic bookshop in Sanlitun who also host their own writing festival), and at the National Library of China, as well as in the Australian Embassy itself.
Here are some highlights of my trip.
Illustrations from my novel The Wishbird were used for the festival booklet. The tiger, monkey and whale illustration on the events’ catalogue is from an unpublished picture book of mine. I painted it many years ago, sent the story out to two publishers, received two rejections and promptly gave up hope of ever being published. If I had known back then that in 2014 I would have 14 published books, I would never have believed it.
On the first day I did a bit of sightseeing around Beijing with fellow author Leanne Hall. This is Gulou, the old drum tower which in ancient times sounded every morning to call people out of bed.
The art shop where I bought some Chinese painting equipment.
At the local school on the outskirts of Beijing. The children at the front watching me draw Peng on the blackboard are some of the teachers’ children. They are too young to be in class. They will be so smart when they are old enough to begin school.
With interviewer Han Meng and the crew from Shandong TV and radio taken after my interview.
This unique cafe sits on top of a public toilet. I spoke to a group of children inside the cafe organised by the Bookworm bookshop.
Inside the cafe there are lovely wooden chairs and tables.
At the Capital Library Beijing talking about my personal and writing life.
Question time in the library. They were a very enthusiastic bunch of children.
Signing the events’ booklet.
The Australian Writers’ Week was fantastic and it wouldn’t be possible without Nikki Anderson who was our liaison in Canberra, May-Lea Ling on my left and Zhang Hong.
Thank you to the Australian Embassy Beijing for a wonderful festival!