30 May, 2007


Or, at least, trying to be.

I can't conceal my glee...

...that Ursula Dubosarsky won the Ethel Turner Prize for The Red Shoe at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards last night. And that Shaun Tan won the Community Relations Commission Award and Book of the Year for The Arrival.

And I can't help but roll my eyes that the Herald neglected even to mention The Arrival in its report this morning, although it did manage to slip Ursula's name in there. But most of the column was filled with bleating about the big expat wins. What kind of journalist reports on the Premier's and neglects to mention Book of the Year? Tut-tut.

29 May, 2007

It's about time we had another picture around here, so...

...here is one Steven took of Harry and me in the pool at the Flamingo in Las Vegas last year.

Events gone by and to come

Last week I went to Melbourne and:
  • gave a talk to Kevin Brophy's Creative Writing students at the University of Melbourne (and met someone who really did steal my YA novel The Best Thing from her school library)
  • did the Sleepers Salon on young adult literature
  • went down the Yarra to Williamstown on the ferry (hi Mum; hi Dad, hi Eti!)
  • spent two days at Reading Matters 2007, being fascinated by my fellow writers - oh, and being fascinating myself, of course, as far as I was able.
The book haul:
  • Just in Case, Meg Rosoff
  • Notes from the Teenage Underground, Simone Howell
  • My Big Birkett, Lisa Shanahan
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne
  • Little Wing, Joanne Horniman
  • Abyssinia, Ursula Dubosarsky
  • Could You? Would You? Trudy White
  • Rose by Any Other Name, Maureen McCarthy
  • Jacky Daydream, Jacqueline Wilson
Mm, that was a good week.

Today I spoke to a huge, friendly multi-school group of secondary students at the Riverside Theatre at Parramatta as part of the Sydney Writers' Festival. I was on the program with Markus Zusak, John Boyne, Shaun Tan and Philip Ardagh, a very tall and manly man with a beard but otherwise, he assured us, no body hair at all.

Tomorrow the Festival presents the same array of authors/illustrators in the city, and then on Thursday at 3pm, Sean Williams, Matthew Reilly and I will be talking with Kirsten Fishburn about Crossing Over, between YA and adult writing, between mainstream and genre writing, and all things interstitial and alternative space-y.

This all officially counts as having Too Much Fun, so after that, it's technical writing for two weeks solid to bring me back down to earth. But after that it's all novel, novel, novel until the end of July - wheeee!

23 May, 2007

New YA book blog

Amy Fiske and her colleagues in Maricopa County Library District have started a blog called Just Read It, pointing you to various treats you can find in their libraries and elsewhere. Punchy little reviews of all sorts of things. Go and enjoy.

18 May, 2007

The Reading Matters conference...

...at the State Library of Victoria (24–26 May) is just about booked out, so we'll all be talking to packed houses at that.

I'm on two panels, one on 'Pushing Boundaries' (where, of course, I will recommend that no boundaries be pushed, ever) with Ursula Dubosarsky, Joanne Horniman and Meg Rosoff. I'll be the one crawling around on the floor kissing all their feet.

The other is 'Fairy Tales and Fables', again with Ursula, and also with John Boyne, author of that bestselling fairy tale (not) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

And there will be more great authors than you can poke a stick at, on the School Program on Thursday, and the growed-ups program Friday and Saturday. Come along if you can, for bucketloads of inspiration.

In Melbourne next Wednesday - Sleepers Salon

The City of Melbourne is sponsoring a Sleepers Salon Special on young adult fiction. Meme McDonald, Eva Mills, Lucy Sussex and I will be at the Trades Hall Bar, corner of Victoria and Lygon street, Carlton, and we'll start yacking at 8 p.m.
Meme McDonald (Love Like Water), acclaimed author of fiction that uniquely explores indigenous themes, in conversation with Allen and Unwin's own Eva Mills. Then, Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes), award-winning young adult and junior fiction writer, will be discussing all things writing and writerly with Lucy Sussex (A Tour Guide in Utopia). Coinciding with the State Library of Victoria's 'Reading Matters' Conference, this Salon will explore the trials and tribulations of writing for young adults, illuminating what makes this area of fiction so appealing. There will be plenty of give-aways, bookshop action, and most likely, Sleepers' incredible flying chocolate show.
Resist if you can; it'll only set you back $6.

10 May, 2007

Neil being sensible about awards

From over here:
I think people mostly think I'm exaggerating when I tell them that for me the fun is in being nominated for awards, not in winning, but overall that's true. [...] I guess it's because I've been an awards judge and have watched what happens (all too often, everyone's second choice wins, because everyone can agree on that), and because the gap between win and lose is so small. I like being nominated -- it makes me feel like I've hit an award-nominated level of quality, and that feels good. Beyond that, it's a horse race and the end result of the horse race doesn't matter. I realise that there aren't a lot of people who feel like this about awards, and I'm also aware that it's easy for me to say, because I've already got my fair share of awards and more, so talking about not caring about the actual winning can sound, frankly, smug. But it's still how I feel. [But I could really use 35,000 euros...]

And this [the Edge Hill] is a good award: there's not enough attention paid to short stories. They're seen as trivial, or not as good as novels. They have that whiff of unreality about them that means that people who only write short stories are always being asked when they will be writing a real book. I've not seen another award given to single author collection regardless of genre.

Ben Payne likes Seacastle

Put simply, Seacastle covers all the bases [...] There is enough fun, enough mystery and enough depth to make this a strong entry into the local children's market.

09 May, 2007

Are you in Melbourne on 10 June?

Because if you are, you should go to the Lost Shimmaron/Seacastle launch:

In case it is too teeny for you to read, the details are: 12 noon, the Experimedia Room in the State Library. RSVP to Sue Anna Purcell at ABC Books by 4 June (sueanna@optusnet.com.au) if you plan to go.

The Lost Shimmaron is a fantasy series of seven books for 8 to 12-year-olds. Tansy Rayner Roberts's Seacastle is the first; my The Singing Stones will be the second. Watch this space.

Faster than light

Yes, that's me. Not only can I break the speed limit cycling down the Lilyfield hill, I've also been interviewed by Grant Stone from Faster than Light in Perth. He's now off chopping up my words so that I'll sound like that woman who does the train announcements: Delayed. By. Three. Minutes.

When it is a podcast, I will let you know. Because I am fascinating, and you will want to download it immediately.

08 May, 2007

A sigh of relief

Over at Sci Fi Weekly, writer John C. Wright, in an interview from January, says, of his Chronicles of Chaos:
Nor is this book anywhere nearly gross enough to qualify for YA status. To win awards in YA fiction, one needs to describe rapist elfs sodomizing boys with thorn bushes, or a father having sex with the ghost of his little son he murdered. Incestohomopedonecrophilia, we might call that: One needs special names to describe the new perversions. I wish I were making those examples up.
*eyes novel*

Oh good, I'm still writing YA, then.

(via Gwenda - we both are so four months ago.)

07 May, 2007

Red Spikes makes the Frank O'Connor long list

The long list for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award is out, and Red Spikes is on it!

Thirty-five thousand euros would be nice, but I mustn't think about that. David Malouf is on the list too. Alice Munro. There is no chance. Very little chance even of a free trip to Ireland. Still, it's nice to have even the possibility of these things hanging about one's Julys and Septembers.

(God, thirty-five thousand euros would be nice...)

03 May, 2007

New Aurealis site

The Aurealis Awards have a new website, from which you can access photos of this year's awards ceremony, including this one:

Thanks, Marianne! (And thanks, Jason, for the link.)