On Saturday, I drove to Castlemaine, north-west of Melbourne for a SCBWI meeting which included a mini-launch of 'There Was an Old Sailor'. Despite a hiccup because of an accident on the freeway, I was there in plenty of time. The meeting was in Stonemans Book Room which is a wonderful bookshop with a mix of new and second-hand books. Perfect place to while away an hour or three. But not Saturday. No whiling happening. We set up for the meeting in the middle of bookshelves. Our lecturn was a bookstand. It was fabulous.
First, Bernadette Kelly who talked about how she started writing. As well as a very strong sense of purpose, Bernadette acknowledges a level of serendipity in her beginning. Perhaps that's the secret...put yourself in the world so that things can happen. She also talked about a great program she ran at her local school encouraging primary school children to write and illustrate and to see their work in print.
Glenda Millard was our second member speaker. Most of the assemblage were familiar with her work so she talked about her world and the people around her. She grew up at Campbell's Creek on the edge of Castlemaine, so was able to point to landmarks we could all see. She had memories of Stonemans too. Her characters are drawn from those who peopled her youth. I guess that's why they seem so real.
After afternoon tea, Glenda launched 'There Was an Old Sailor', reciting rhymes that she recalls from her childhood and suggesting that 'There Was an Old Sailor' may enter the consciousness of today's children and stay with them. Wouldn't that be lovely? I read the book, showing how I use the bollard sailor in classrooms.
Our final speaker was Ann Haddon of Books Illustrated. She'd brought samples of their picture book art and shared the journey she and Ann James have made with Books Illustrated. In a lovely and unexpected twist, she said that one of the images from 'There Was an Old Sailor' is off to Bologna with them as part of an Aust Publishers Assoc exhibition.
Here's a link for Sharon Greenaway's report and pics from Saturday.
Then to top off a great Saturday, I woke on Sunday to discover a wonderful review of 'There Was an Old Sailor' in the Sunday Age. Spent the whole day grinning!