Its been a hectic few weeks with a panel discussion on story telling at the Victorian State Library, a meet the artists day at the beautiful Dromkeen, then I flew off to Cairns for the Cairns Literary Festival at Trinity Bay High School. The kids there were great and the older students from years 10-12 who had booked themselves into my workshop were particularly inspiring. Luckily I was able to fit in one glorious day snorkelling off a tropical island over the Great Barrier Reef. Then last night it was the launch of Kids Night In 3 – a collection of short stories and illustrations to raise money for War Child. Some of the other authors and illustrators there last night were Jane Godwin, Michael Wagner, Andy Griffith, Doug Macleod, Jessica Adams, Paul Collins, Meredith Costain, Leigh Hobbs, Sally Rippin, Shaun Tan and Mitch Vane.
Over the next week, beginning today, is the Spring Racing Carnival leading up to the Melbourne Cup where a whole nation stops and bets on one horse race. Ever since I saw a horse break its leg, I cant watch it anymore. The horse kept running on three legs until the end. It was pitiful and cruel and heartbreaking. Of course he had to be shot on the track in front of thousands of people. So while all this is happening Ill have my head down finishing off editing first pages for Little Paradise which will be published by Penguin Books in March 2010.
In the meantime, my picture book, The Race for the Chinese Zodiac illustrated by Sally Rippin and designed by Regina Abos, is coming along nicely. I went to Black Dog Books to check it through yesterday and its looking beautiful. It goes off to the printer next week for a February release. And a bit of good news – its been selected by Australian Standing Orders which is a great recommendation for schools ordering the book into their libraries.
Then just one final public engagement next Wednesday as an Ambassador for the Victorian Premiers Reading Challenge and I’m done for this year. This awards ceremony and reception held in the Great Hall of the National Gallery, celebrates those schools and students who most successfully completed the challenge.
Yay to all these great young readers.