March 28, 2011

Finding Freia Lockhart makes White Ravens list for 2011

I was a) chuffedtobits and b) gobsmacked to get a call telling me Finding Freia had been selected by the International Youth Library in Munich for this year's White Ravens list, which will be announced at the Bologna Children's Book Fair this week.

The list is comprised of 250 'especially noteworthy' books in 40 languages chosen from the books sent to the library in 2010. I'm very happy to see that Australia is well-represented on the list by 11 books, five of which are YA.


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Star picks

Starred blog posts in my Google reader this week:
  • Ceilidh's post on the Book Lantern about why we need to challenge the default (straight/white) mode in books.
  • Forever Young Adult's musical plea to YA book cover designers (Chopped-up photos of pretty girls/ Floating mouths, disembodied curls/ Book’s worth its weight in pearls/ But DAMN, it looks embarrassing).
  • Karen Tayleur's post on recurring themes in her writing got me thinking (I'm still working on my list - I suspect it's much easier when you've written as many books as Karen has!)
  • Pip at Meet Me At Mike's is sending herself to online book buying rehab (there are some interesting comments on the 's post, too, comparing the book pricing war with the supermarket cheap milk bunfight).
  • Meg Rosoff wrote about the misconception that writers gad about all day enjoying while their books write themselves (if only!).
  • Suave word nerds from Mighty Red Pen.
Aaaand...a baby squirrel who purrs

March 23, 2011

You're invited!

My new novel, Little Sister, will be officially launched in my hometown of Sydney on Friday, 6 May.*

The launch is at the very stylish Surry Hills Library (with thanks to City of Sydney for playing host). It's a free event, but you do need to RSVP as space is limited (phone 02 8374 6230).

As well as doing a short reading and, of course, signing copies of the book, I've also invited Twenty10 (whose work is close to my heart and to some of the novel's themes) to speak about their experiences of homophobia and bullying in the school system.

I'd love to see you there!

* Melbournians, I'm trying to organise some sort of celebration down here, too - stay tuned.

March 22, 2011

Tales from the Fantapants Archive - 22 March 1982

Mr Fantapants' school diary for 22 March 1982 reports a boring weekend.

As an adult, it's hard to conceive of the weekend being boring, esp. when you have to cram in all the tasks you didn't have time to do during the week because you were too busy working, but I remember many days (even weeks, in the school holidays) of wandering around the house whining, 'I'm bored.' My mum's standard reponse was: 'Only the boring are bored.'* Like so many things adults said, this made no sense to me at all at the time, since I was convinced that I was a very interesting little person indeed and that it was only my lack of Barbie's Dream Castle/a pony/wings that made life so dull...

* pronounced in Lady 'In a handbag' Bracknell tones.

March 21, 2011

Star picks - Japan edition

I first found out about the earthquake in Japan about three hours after it happened. Mr Fantapants and I were catching up with some friends after work and chat turned to travel plans for the year, to which I responded that we were hoping to finally get to Japan (a destination that's been high on our wishlist for the past 10 years!). My friend looked at me as if she wasn't sure whether I was being serious before informing me that we'd better make other plans.

Watching the news unfold over the last week has been heartwrenching. So many villages completely destroyed; so many people's lives ripped apart. A number of bloggers I follow helped me to begin processing the ongoing devestating events in Japan:
  • Novita (aka ::verypurpleperson::) has written some extraordinary posts sharing her family's experiences in and after the quake. She's also participating in A Bit of This and A Bit of That's Japan Quake Appeal - you have until 26 March to make a donation to Global Giving and bid on Novita's gorgeous bag and purse, plus an original artwork by her husband
  • Lili Wilkinson's post helped to put my feelings in perspective (and delivered the very welcome news that Maru and her family are safe and well!)
  • Hank Green helped me get my head around the nuclear disaster*
  • Pip reminded me that the most practcal and effective way to help those affacted is by making a donation.
It was a bit of a roug week, and to be honest I'm quite glad to see it end. Hopefully this week will bring all of us, everywhere, something to feel optimistic about.

* Kind of. I'm afraid I still have an instant nod-off reflex when people start talking about atoms and fission and such - it transports me straight back to the Year 10 Science lab.

March 16, 2011

Star picks

Blog posts starred in my google reader this week...

And if, like me, all the news footage from Japan is making you too sad for words, perhaps the sight of a slow loris being tickled will help... (hat-tip to The Hairpin)

March 15, 2011

Tales from the Fantapants Archive - 15 March 1982

The upside of Mama Fantapants* being a hoarder so sentimental is that every so often she unearths a gem from Mr Fantapants' childhood and shares it with us. Last week, a small exercise book arrived in the mail. It was my beloved's class diary from - I think - fifth grade.

His entry for 15 March 1982 pretty much sums up how I spent the Labour Day long weekend...*

I spent almost the entire weekend proofreading a chunky sci-fi/alt history novel, which is completely outside of my usual genre of reading and was surprisingly enjoyable. (And counts as an adult novel in my new year's resolutions tally - huzzah!)

* At the risk of sounding like Mama Fantapants herself, that's a pretty excellent drawing for a nine-year-old, don't you think?

March 9, 2011

IWD addendum

I wish I'd seen this yesterday! Dame Judi and a dragged-up Daniel Craig send a message about gender inequality.

March 8, 2011

Happy International Women's Day

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. Even though I really, really hate the fact that IWD only exists because women and men are still so far from being equal, it's a great day to celebrate our achievements and strengthen our resolve to achieve equality for women all over the world.

In honour of IWD, here are a few women I really admire.*

Meg Rosoff - not only do I love her books, but her blog posts make me laff and laff. She also reminds me that everyone gets writer's block; that there are advantages to not being published when you're very young; and not to take myself too seriously.

Pip Lincolne - you may know Pip from the Meet Me At Mike's blog and/or books. She's someone who's worked hard to make a living doing what she loves and now she's receiving the karmic payback she deserves. Not only is Pip a supertalented crafter, she's also very generous, kind and an all-round ace chick.

Maggie Beer - I love watching Maggie on TV - she's so warm and lovely, you just know she'd be fun to hang out with, and her passion for fresh local produce is addictive.

Aside from being great at what they do, what these women have in common is that they've found success by following their passion. I aspire to be more like all of them.

I'll leave the final thought for the day to Dusty...

* This list is by no means exhaustive, obv., otherwise it would go on for the interwebs equivalent of milesandmiles.

March 7, 2011

Star picks

Blog posts starred in my google reader this week...
  • I want a writing hut. I really do.
  • I will be playing Forever Young Adult's Anne of Green Gables drinking game as soon as I can round up a few bosom friends and a bottle of Aunt Marilla's cordial.
  • YA Highway dissected the YA Mafia hysteria conspiracy theory rumour and Justine Larbelestier came out of her RSI-imposed blogging exile to call on authors to embrace bad reviews.*
  • Emma Barrie's confessions of things she never told her parents made me chuckle...and feel guilty (but we all know we lied for our parents' own good).
  • Fiona at Words and Flavours posted about first times - the ones we remember and the ones we don't.
  • Cory Doctorow's article in The Guardian about information overload made me feel better about occasionally hitting the 'mark all as read' button.
And I remembered how much I love this

* In fact, according to the Stanford Daily, bad reviews may increase sales.