It has been a fabulous few weeks with events in Sydney, Dubbo, Narromine, Melbourne, Wagga Wagga, a supersonically speedy visit to Albury, with some flooding along the way and back to Melbourne again. I have met so many amazing children, teachers, librarians, parents and people everywhere. It has been a time of reunions (especially in Wagga and Dubbo) and meeting new friends too. There’s certainly something very special about spending time in rural Australia.
It has been a thrill to see the enthusiasm for books and characters and if you’ve emailed me lately please be patient as I have a bit of a backlog to get through. I want to make special mention of Dubbo Christian School – who were the on
I have been incredibly humbled by the distances people have driven to come to events. From our Yum Cha launch of Alice-Miranda in China in Haymarket where people had come all the way from Bathurst, Canberra, Maitland and the Blue Mountains to our signing at the Dubbo Book Connection and another epic morning at Gateway Bookshop in Wagga. People have driven vast distances but I think the furthest was Kendra who drove all the way from just outside Wagga to Melbourne for Roald Dahl Day. That brought tears to my eyes. Both of these family run stores have been around for a long time – in fact, Gateway Bookshop will be celebrating their 50th birthday in the next couple of years which is a truly wonderful achievement for any shop (and especially a bookshop). Huge congratulations to David, Fran and Jess who have owned the business for 30 of this nearly 50 years.
I want to make special mention of the Dubbo Book Connection and Gateway Bookshop, which are both icons in their local communities. These family run stores have been around for a long time – in fact, Gateway Bookshop will be celebrating their 50th birthday in the next couple of years which is a truly wonderful achievement for any shop (and especially a bookshop). Huge congratulations to David, Fran and Jess who have owned the business for 30 of those nearly 50 years.
Over the past weeks there has been lots of laughter and some tears too. Back when I was a very young teacher I had a beautiful boy in my class called Antony. Sadly, he passed away from an extremely rare form of cancer before reaching teenagehood. But last week I had the most wonderful reunion with his older sisters – who unbeknown to me had both moved from the Southern Highlands to the Riverina. To see the girls and meet their gorgeous kids was amazing and I’m so glad that we are back in touch. That was certainly a highlight of my touring, as was a week with Graham and Heather in Dubbo. I met Heather years ago when I was doing the Nestle Write Around Australia Program and she was the librarian at Gilgandra Public School. Since then I had quite a bit to do with the school and also followed Heather in her career to Eumungerie and Dubbo too (even taking 100 Year 5 girls from Sydney on an excursion out there in 2009). But over the past few years we hadn’t been in touch very often so it was fabulous to spend some time with Heather and Graham, her husband (who is also a brilliant cook and tour guide!). It was also lovely to have my mum with me for the week too.
I bookended last week in Wagga Wagga with the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. It began with an interview on ABC News Breakfast with the unstoppable Felice Arena as we talked about Roald Dahl Day. I then had a couple of festival presentations before jumping on a plane to Wagga for three and a half days then heading back on the train to Melbourne (with possibly the fastest bookshop visit in history to Dymocks Albury. I was so sorry that there was hardly any time but I definitely will be back!). Roald Dahl Day, to celebrate the author’s upcoming 100th birthday on 13 September was incredible. You can read all about it on the special Roald Dahl Day blog post.
So now it’s back to writing for a few days at least. I’ve just started working on Clementine’s next adventure and I’m looking forward to our High Tea at Brookwater Golf Club this Sunday 11 September in Queensland. There are still some tickets available but don’t delay as this will be my last public event in Queensland for the year.
I’m trying to add to my You Tube Channel too – so head on over and take a look at the clips. I will be adding some more Vlogs in the coming months and am planning a series of ‘Ask a Fan’ segments too.
I was thrilled to hear from the Prinicipal of the Sutherland Hospital School this week too about their Book Week Celebrations. There are some wonderful pictures on their website (and what a delight to see Clementine Rose in the mix!). You can see their blog here.
I think that’s about it for the moment – I’m sure there are things I have left out but I’ve included lots of photographs too.