Please join me to celebrate the launch of my latest middle grade novel, Ting Ting the Ghosthunter (the sequel to A Ghost in My Suitcase).
I am thrilled to announce that the play of my novel A Ghost in My Suitcase will be premiering at the Playhouse Theatre Arts Centre Melbourne as part of this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival. The wonderful creators at Barking Gecko Theatre have been developing the play for nearly 3 years and I cannot wait to see it!
Dates of the play are from October 18-21.
You can buy tickets HERE
I hope to see you there!
Here is the cover for my next novel for 10 + readers.
Ting Ting the Ghosthunter is the sequel to Ghost in My Suitcase. It is an adventure story about finding yourself, ghost-hunting, Chinese mythology and culture.
Thirteen-year-old Ting Ting has learned the ancient skills and art of ghost hunting from her adopted grandmother, Por Por, a famous ghost hunter. But Ting Ting is sick of capturing harmless ‘fat belly’ ghosts, and when a desperate plea for help comes for Por Por, Ting Ting decides to take matters into her own hands and prove that she is a true ghost hunter. But what Ting Ting discovers is much more dangerous than she had thought.
A Ghost in My Suitcase is currently being adapted to the stage by Barking Gecko Theatre Company. The play will premiere in Melbourne later this year. Then be remounted in Perth in 2019. At the moment details are hush hush. I’ll be able to tell you more in July.
Ting Ting the Ghosthunter will be published by Penguin Books Australia on September 3.
I am planning a launch in Melbourne on September 1. Please let me know if you would like to be put on the invitation list.
Ursula Le Guin is my literary hero. Her translation of the Chinese classic, ‘Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching, A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way’ is my bible and if I was allowed only one book to take with me to a desert island it would be that one.
In the introduction she writes that her father introduced her to this book and marked chapters he would like to have read at his funeral. She also marked chapters to have read at her funeral. (How I wish I knew which ones they are). My mother also chose chapters to read out at her funeral and so I did. And I have done the same because this book in its simplicity speaks to the soul.
Ursula Le Guin ends her introduction by saying that there have been many translations of the Tao Te Ching but –
“I wanted a Book of the Way accessible to a present-day, unwise, unpowerful, and perhaps unmale reader, not seeking esoteric secrets, but listening for a voice that speaks to the soul. I would like that reader to see why people have loved the book for twenty-five hundred years. It is the most lovable of all the great religious texts, funny, keen, kind, modest, indestructibly outrageous, and inexhaustibly refreshing. Of all the deep springs, this is the purest water. To me, it is also the deepest spring.’
If you are interested in purchasing the book, here is the link https://www.shambhala.com/lao-tzu-tao-te-ching-896.html
You can read her introduction in full in the photos below.
Vale Ursula Le Guin
The first half of this year is filled with exciting happenings and much travel.
Chinese painting, Port Fairy,
writers’ festival, Perth,
art exhibition, Melbourne,
children’s book fair, Bologna,
Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter launch, Melbourne,
Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter bookshop and schools tour, Brisbane.
At the end of January, I’ll be travelling down the coast to beautiful Port Fairy to give Chinese painting, writing and illustrating workshops to kids and adults at Blarney Books and Art. Details for these events are on the Events page.
In February I will be appearing at the Perth Writers Festival. I’ll be in-conversation with artistic director, Matt Edgerton and stage designer, Zoe Atkinson from Barking Gecko Theatre Company who are adapting my novel, A Ghost in My Suitcase for the stage. I’m so excited about the play. I will be announcing details about the premiere later in the year. This is a free event. It would be lovely to see you there!
I’ll also be appearing as part of the Schools Program talking about ghosts and magic and China. Details for both Perth Festival events are on the Events page
March I will be exhibiting original illustrations as part of the monthly window exhibitions held at Di Mase architects in North Fitzroy. Each month a new creator is featured which helps promote local artists.
Two and a half years ago I would not have had the confidence in my art to do this. Or to design my own book covers which I did for The Beast of Hushing Wood, and now for my forthcoming novel Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter. I also illustrated a new cover for A Ghost in My Suitcase. But as they say, practice is the key. I get so much joy from painting and find it a lovely balance to my writing. My days consist of writing in the mornings and making art in the afternoons. How perfect is that! I am very lucky. And now, since renovating our house I have a beautiful new studio.
All artwork in the mini exhibition will be for sale.
Following the exhibition opening I’m off to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It’s the biggest fair for children’s books in the world. I’ve always wanted to go so now I’m all booked. I’ll also be attending Madrelingua, a language school in Bologna to brush up on my Italian. I’ve been learning for about 10 years with little progress. I’m not a natural at languages. But the trip has made me dust off my Italian books and to practice on Duolingo every day. I am improving, but the way to really learn a language is to live in that country. That’s how I learnt Chinese. I spent five years part time majoring in Chinese at Melbourne University, but it wasn’t until I went to live in Taiwan and China that I became semi fluent.
The month of June brings a holiday in the Hawaiian Islands visiting rainforests and volcanoes and enjoying the warmth of the tropics. I went to Hawaii in my late teens and fell in love with the place. It wasn’t only the rainforests and the mountains that look like elephant legs and the surf that resonated, it was the first place where I felt as though I belonged. Because it’s a melting pot of races, I didn’t stand out like I did in the very white Australia of my youth.
This month I will also send my new novel Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter into the world. This is the sequel to A Ghost in My Suitcase. There will be a launch in Melbourne and perhaps one in Brisbane. If you would like an invitation please email me email@example.com
In July I’ll be travelling up to Brisbane to give a writing and illustrating workshop for kids at Riverbend Books, and to talk to librarians about Ting Ting the Ghost hunter. I’ll also be visiting schools around Brisbane so if you are a teacher and you would like me to visit your school please contact Speakers Ink. Link on Events page.
Well, that’s the first half the year taken care of.
May 2018 bring you love and light and rainbows. And may you dream of tigers.
This is my latest book where I retell two traditional Chinese fables – The Magic Fishbones which is an early Cinderella story. It first appeared in Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang by Duan Chengshi around 860.
The other story is The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd.
It is one of the four great fables of China. It is a love story celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month on the Chinese calendar called the Qixi Festival when lovers look up to the heavens.
The illustrations are by David Allan. They are beautiful and delicate and remind me of woodblock prints.
The book is dedicated to my mum, who used to tell me Chinese fables when I was too young to read.
This is my entry to the Migrations Postcard exhibition held in Bratislava, Slovakia. The exhibition hopes to draw attention to the plight of thousands of children and their families who are forced to flee their homes. It will feature original postcards of birds by illustrators from all over the world.
Review taken from The Never Ending Bookshelf
Recommended for children 10 -13 years old.
The Beast Of Hushing Wood is an adventure style novel perfect from children on the cusp of young adulthood, but not necessarily ready for the older themes of Young Adult books. It’s the kind of book that will appeal to adventure/risk takers and lovers of magic and the unknown. It’s a book that continued to surprise me and kept me guessing for the entire 180 pages of the novel.
With adventurous themes and settings, magical aspects and mythological beings, there is a lot to take in and love about The Beast Of Hushing Wood. When the book opened, I expected a self-discovery-slash-coming-of-age style narrative and while there are elements of both of those things in the story, the narrative has so much more to offer in a remarkable short amount of pages.
For one, it’s illustrated! I can’t remember the last novel I read that had illustrations scattered throughout the pages and so I really enjoyed the illustrations that spanned everything from a two page spread to small chapter style headings. Not being familiar with the author’s previous work, I wasn’t aware at the time of reading that Wang is both the books author and illustrator and looking back knowing this gives the book a larger than life feeling. You can literally see and read the tale unfold before your eyes as the author intended it to be and that’s kind of magical in itself..
I loved the book’s sense of otherness. The world of Hushing wood and the town Ziggy and her friends call home is crowded in by the woods and not kind to foreigners. But then there is Ziggy, a spirited eleven year old who knows her own mind. She’s not easily mislead by the closed mind towns folk and uses logic and her limited knowledge of the world to problem solve. If anything I think the world needs more books about young girls like her. What’s more the use of Eastern mythology and the re-telling of those tales brings a sense of wholeness and completion to the story. By including these tales that many westernised kids are not used to, Wang is both teaching and widening the readers knowledge and social construction, while adding another level of mystical and compulsion to the book.
But perhaps my favourite aspect of the book was the insistence on the power of one’s imagination. There are countless examples within the novel that express to the readers that your imagination is fantastic. With children from 12 plus heading to a highly indoctrinated and exact educational system, our imagination and it’s place in our day to day lives is often forgotten and left behind. We are not taught to be creative and imagine life outside the walls presented to us, but it happens every day as a child, and again as a reader of any age through books.
“But the imagination isn’t real,” I say.
“People only say that because their power of imagination is weak. When it becomes strong, your imagination can take you to incredible places. These are real places, although you cannon touch them with your hands.’ He taps his chest. “True imagination is your door to a real world. Sometimes people glimpse this world when they’re not looking straight at it.”
The Beast Of Hushing Wood is a highly imaginative and creative story that will appeal to readers of all ages. The best way I can sum up the book is to suggest that it has the power and intensity of adventure of J.R.R Tolkein (with perhaps no where near half as many characters), the magical and paranormal immersion and focus of Holly Black’s Darkest Place Of The Forrest, the mythological presence of Rick Rordan’s Percy Jackson’s Series but the light heartedness and tenderness of a book suitable for readers from 10 plus, while remaining a safe stepping stone into Young Adult themes and narratives.
I am very happy to reveal the cover of my forthcoming novel The Beast of Hushing Wood.
Ziggy Truegood has always felt like an outsider and lately she has been having dreams that she is going to drown on her twelfth birthday. She lives in a tiny town deep in Hushing Wood, where strange things are happening. The townspeople are fighting, Ziggy feels like something is hunting her, and her beloved woods have become dark and hostile. When exotic Raffi and his grandfather arrive in town, Ziggy finds herself strangely drawn to them. But are they there to save Ziggy, or are they the hunters?
The Beast of Hushing Wood published by Penguin Books Australia
Coming Out on April 3rd.
For preorders go to Penguin Australia
I’ll be announcing the details of the book launch very soon, so stay tuned.