Lots of wonderful bookish news to talk about in this bumper blog post.
In August I made a last minute decision to fly from my home in Singapore to Brisbane for the CBCA award's ceremony; a celebration of Australia's best children's books of the year - and the dedicated and passionate authors, illustrators, editors and publishers who create them. It was a long way to travel (7.5 hours in the air) but I didn't want to miss out on the party.
As well as celebrating the excitement of Because of You being a shortlisted Older Reader title, I wanted to cheer on the other wonderful listed children's books and their clever creators, and catch up with my publisher and support crew from UQP over breakfast (and later, cider...) My wheels touched down at Brisbane airport at 2am, and I was at the ceremony in a frock by 10am, my head whizzing with lack of sleep and giddy joy.
It was a morning (and afternoon, and evening) I'll never forget. There's nothing quite like a shared passion to bring a group of people together, and in just 48 hours I met and shared connections with so many lovely children's book people - from the authors and illustrators whose books I adore, to the teachers, CBCA volunteers, and librarians who put them in the hands of Aussie kids.
I was bursting with pride - not just at being included in this incredible community - but of the group's tenacity and commitment to keep children reading and excited about stories in this digital age. There was also a Greek feast (hello, saganaki) and some genuinely moving and funny speeches.
I then flew to Sydney for Book Week - speaking to over 650 kids, at 5 schools, across the city. Each school was different, and each group of kids unique and interesting. In workshops and presentations I shared some of my reasons for writing Because of You and setting it in the homeless community, but we also laughed, shared spooky stories (PS: I have a Halloween booooooook out this month!), talked about the world we live in, and found common ground. It might not always be easy, but I love what I do.
Just as I was packing to fly back home, I got a very delightful farewell gift: Because of You has been shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards. Check out the incredible full shortlist here