24 March, 2013

Stella, Aurealis, Indie

Last week was quite a week for Sea Hearts.

First it was shortlisted for the Stella Prize, so it sits among 5 other wonderful women's books, ready to be celebrated on 16 April, when the winner is announced.

Then it became a finalist, not once but twice (Fantasy Novel and YA Novel), in the Aurealis Awards. Mid-May is when we find out whether it makes it right to the top there. (Three of the four stories in Cracklescape also made the running, which is pretty damn fine, too!)

Tomorrow night the annual Indie Awards (Australian Independent Booksellers Awards) dinner is on, and as you can see on the linked page Sea Hearts is up for the award in the Children's Section (which in the absence of a YA Section is for Children's and YA books).

I'm running out of fingers to cross!

19 March, 2013

Write with Sue Woolfe and unlock the story you KNOW is within you

If I weren't doing the Newcastle Literary Festival, I'd be sorely tempted to go to this on Saturday, 6 April. I've heard that Sue Woolfe's approach is unusual and effective—and who wouldn't want to be delighted and energized?
Neuroscience has discovered the techniques creative people use; Sue Woolfe, award-winning novelist and renowned writing teacher, has sleuthed through neuroscience to teach them. She helps students write in a manner that delights and energizes them.
Many of Sue's students have gone on to produce books that have excited publishers and readers alike; often these were students who claimed they’d “never had an imaginative thought”.
Sue Woolfe teaches creative writing at the University of Sydney and now at NIDA she’s further researching creativity, and teaching creative thinking as it applies to writing stories. She is the author of four novels, plus The Mystery of the Cleaning Lady: A Writer Looks at Creativity and Neuroscience, and co-author of Making Stories: How Ten Australian Novels Were Written.
When: Saturday, 6 April 2013, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with an optional follow-up with individual discussions on Saturday 27 April). Morning and afternoon tea are provided, and you can grab some lunch at one of the nearby cafes.

Where: Inner-city address, Sydney.

Fee: $450 (add $250 for optional follow-up, which involves a half hour’s discussion, Sue having read up to 7000 words beforehand—the follow-up is only for workshop members, and may only be taken on 27 April. Both sessions to be paid for by 30 March.)

Bookings: Book by email.

Newcastle Literary Festival

Newcastle's own literary festival is happening from the evening of Friday 5 April until mid Sunday arvo, and I will be there for the following sessions:
Saturday 11.15–12.15 in the Lockup Gallery, talking about Crossing Over: Why YA isn't just for teens with Alexa Moses and Felicity Pullman (Kaz Delaney will be wrangling us).
Sunday 1.30–2.30 in the City Hall (Hunter Room), where I'll be Dreaming Australia with Jack Dann and Janeen Webb, and our chair Russell Blackford, celebrating all things Australian and odd. (That's quite a collocation of silver foxes we'll have there!) 
And I'm currently poring over the program of other goodies on offer. If you're anywhere Newcastle, you should come on down!

17 March, 2013

Yellowcake—two stars for the US slice

Yellowcake is getting lots of advance love in the US (it's due out there mid-May). So far it has two starred reviews.
From Publishers Weekly:
Haunting, gorgeous, and sometimes painful, Lanagan’s stories are unlike anything else in fantasy literature.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Lanagan unravels familiar myths and fairy tales, weaving them into unique, sharply resonant forms in this characteristically stunning collection. Reading Lanagan, like learning a language by total immersion, involves a leap of faith. Each tale conjures a world with unique laws and lawbreakers. Rather than being coddled by comforting dollops of exposition, readers dive into the murky unknown. Spellbound, they reach the end, astonished at how far from shore they’ve traveled ... Familiar roots and accessible themes make this strong collection a good introduction to Lanagan’s mind-bending work.
And then School Library Journal, although they cruelly withhold their star, have Gretchen Kolderup of the New York Public Library saying:
...But in all of Lanagan’s worlds, the familiar becomes unfamiliar and then wondrous. Each story is tightly crafted, dropping readers into a culture without much preface, letting the events spin out and the characters be forever changed, and leaving those turning the pages haunted afterward. Less-sophisticated readers might be frustrated by the density of these selections and their focus on character rather than plot, but for those willing to invest, the payoff is powerful. This is meaty fare, layered with meaning and thick with a richness of imagination. Yellowcake is as much about the telling as it is about the tales.