at Bologna

‘There Was an Old Sailor’ appeared at Bologna Book Fair, even though I couldn’t make it. My friend Corinne took some pics of him, at the SCBWI stand and also at the Walker Books display. Many thanks Corinne.


SCBWI booth was busy with members and books from all over the world. But this was Australia Day.


There’s Old Sailor on the wall, at eye level!

Corinne’s holding Old Sailor and Glenda Millard’s beautiful ‘Isabella’s Garden’.

Big weekend

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!

Party time!

February is party time for me and my Old Sailor!


On Feb 1, ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ hits the bookshops.

On Feb 2, Dee White visits from her blog Tuesday Writing Tips to ask me some questions about writing picture books.

Then I’m off on tour! Blog tour that is. Here’s where I’ll be visiting:

Monday 8 February: Sally Murphy’s Writing for Children

Tues 9 February: Dee White’s Tuesday Writing Tips

Wed 10 February: Dale Harcombe’s Read and Write with Dale

Thurs 11 February: Robyn Opie’s Writing Children’s books

Fri 12 February: Lorraine Marwood’s Words into Writing

Sat 13 February: Mabel Kaplan’s Tales I Tell

Sun 14 February: Sandy Fussell’s Stories are Light

As if that’s not enough partying, I’m also having a celebration of the release of ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ during the first SCBWI meeting for the year, which is being held at Stoneman’s Bookshop in Castlemaine. The lovely Glenda Millard is going to speak about ‘Old Sailor’.

At 11.00 am on Sat Feb 20, I’ll be reading at the grand opening of ‘Enchanted by Books’ a new bookshop in Williamstown Victoria.

And then ta-da! there’s the official Melbourne launch of ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ at Sun Bookshop, Ballarat St in Yarraville Vic at 2pm on Sat 27 February. There will be nibblies to eat (possibly even a krill or two particularly for Jen Storer!) and a book reading as well as the launch. I’m still working on details and will post as soon as I can.

BIG month! Love it!

Castlemaine launch


This post is a little late and out of order. I went to Castlemaine for the launch of ‘Isabella’s Garden’ a new picture book from Glenda Millard (pub Walker Books). The book is about the seasons of a garden and very poetic. Beautiful. The illustrations are by WA fine artist, Rebecca Cool. Gorgeous.

The launch was held at Buda, historic house and garden. The garden was just peeking into spring. Leaves were budding but not yet burst, but there were flowers everywhere.

It’s hard to fathom the work that went into establishing a garden that endures to this day. (Not to mention keeping it going) We only peeked into the house, but had time for a stroll around the garden before the launch.