I’ve just been in Sydney for the Walker Conference followed sharply by the SCBWI International Conference.

The Walker Conference was for authors and illustrators who work with Walker Books and was a great way to meet all the Walker team and learn more about how they work together with us to make and sell books. It was also great to meet new people and spend time with friends and co-creators.

Two highlights for me were meeting Graham Byrne, illustrator of ‘Big Red Kangaroo’ and ‘Emu’ for coffee before the conference, and then meeting Lizzy Newcomb who is illustrating ‘My Name is Lizzie Flynn’. Lizzy had brought with her the art for ‘Lizzie’ and I was bowled over. Okay, I cried. It’s so beautiful.

The conference was held at Rose Bay on a glorious Sydney day.

The following day was just as beautiful and a group of us went for a walk across the Harbour Bridge … not the climb, but the walk. It was fabulous. Lovely to stretch the legs after a day mostly sitting, and to see the Harbour at its sparkly best. Good company too! We were quietly chuffed to be identified as ‘artists’ by someone we asked to take our photo!

 We weren’t the only ones to enjoy the day. This wedding had a video photographer and at least three other professional photographers!

Three wise monkeys aka me, Sue and Sally. Emu, my new picture book is dedicated to these two good friends. 

The second conference was the bi-ennial SCBWI Conference which is always great fun. The program is full, as is the time between. It’s stimulating, noisy, informative and absolutely exhausting! I’ve come home for a rest!

Guinea Pig Town

Yesterday, I caught the train to Woodend for the launch of Lorraine Marwood’s new poetry collection, Guinea Pig Town and other animal poems (Walker Books).

 The launch was organised by the Goldfields Library and was held in Bendigo and then Woodend.
The weather was just about perfect. Actually, scratch that. It WAS perfect, a glorious mild still autumn day.

There was a great turn out, with many families.

Lorraine read some of her poems, competing at times with quite loud truck noise.

Anyone who is anyone was there, including cats,


guinea pigs of course

and there was even a ‘wedding’, complete with kiss!

In the train on the way home I read Guinea Pig town, entranced by poems about dogs, cows,cheetahs, narwhals and many many more. After a bit of a poem drought, it was lovely to read some of Lorraine’s work (which I love) and it inspired me to begin three new poems of my own.

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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’.

The thing about poetry

Sally Murphy recently released her new verse novel, Toppling (ill Rhian Nest James, pub Walker Books) and as part of her promotion, she invited guests to talk about poetry at her blog. There’s a month worth of poetry and thoughts about poetry over there. Worth a look.

I’m March 12.

btw Toppling is a touching story about a young boy dealing with the illness of his best friend. Beautifully written.

There Was an Old Sailor

A first advance copy of ‘There Was an Old Sailor’ was posted to me more than a week before Christmas. (thanks Virginia at Walker Books) I received notification of this while I was at Salamander Bay and was looking forward to it being at home waiting for me. But alas, alack, due to reasons unknown (postal strike, Christmas mail volume) it didn’t make it. Agggh! Frustrating to know it was in transit but not arriving. But, first mail yesterday, there it was!

It looks fantastic. Even better than the scans, gorgeous as they were. You can see the cover here.

Luckily we were having visitors for dinner so I didn’t have to wait long before beginning to share my book with the world. 🙂

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.