Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A picture book milestone ...

I heard back in March that Penguin wanted to publish my picture book story 'My Elephant is Blue'. The paperwork was to be sorted, and then ... we went into lockdown. But happy days, a little belatedly, we have reached the contract stage, which makes it very exciting and real and announceable. Yay!!!

The plan is for it to come out next year - I'll keep you posted as more information comes to hand. I cannot wait to hear who the illustrator will be - a pachyderm aficionado I hope. It'll be my tenth picture book which somehow feels like a bit of a milestone. I feel very lucky to still be here, doing this thing I love. After several years in the wilderness my current situation is surreal. The clocks are melting ...

Invitations and opportunities are coming in again for school visits and workshops too, and hopefully, if we remain in level one, I'll be conducting my Writing Children's Picture Books workshop at Selwyn College in Auckland on Saturday, 22nd August (and repeated on Sunday, September 20th). You can check out deets here. I've got a bit slack about my writing in recent weeks, and it's time to crack the WIP whip, so I'm off to work on a new story ... talk soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

It's been a bit of a week...

Well, it's been a bit of a week.

On June 1st my new picture book with illustrator, Nikki Slade Robinson, Sharing with Wolf (Scholastic NZ), was released and crikey it's exciting to have a new book out in the world. I was nervous about how it would go down with folk. It's a little different to the usual picture books - a little dark and dangerous and unexpected. But I'm really happy to say that so far, people have been saying really nice things.

Here are some reviews:-

It's also been nerve wracking to release a book under the current circumstances. The corona virus pandemic has changed the way we do things and had economic impacts. There's been no physical launch party. I've been burbling on about the book on social media quite a bit and I hope people feel excited to meet it. Nikki and I made a little video talking a bit about making the book instead:-

The release of a new book is exciting enough, but on June 4th the finalists for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults were announced and I am so, so happy to say my collection, Time Machine and other stories is a finalist for the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction. I am still pinching myself that this is real. Short story collections can find it hard to win people over so it is extremely thrilling that the judges have chosen it. Congratulations to all the other finalists, I will be arm wrestling you all for the prizes later. And commiserations to those who missed out this time. 

The finalists this year are:

Picture Book Award

Abigail and the Birth of the Sun, Matthew Cunningham, illustrated by sarah Wilkins (Penguin Random House)
How Māui Slowed the Sun, written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley (advised and translated by Dr Darryn Joseph and Keri Opai) (Upstart Press) 
Mini Whinny: Goody Four Shoes, Stacy Gregg, illustrated by Ruth Paul (Scholastic NZ)
Santa’s Worst Christmas, Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Huia Publishers)
The Gobbledegook Book, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press)   

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

#Tumeke!, Michael Petherick (Massey University Press)
Lizard’s Tale, Weng Wai Chan (Text Publishing)
Miniwings Book 6 Moonlight the Unicorn’s High Tea Hiccup, Sally Sutton, illustrated by Kirsten Richards (Scholastic NZ)
Prince of Ponies, Stacy Gregg (HarperCollins Publishers)
Time Machine and other stories, Melinda Szymanik (The Cuba Press)

Young Adult Fiction Award

Afakasi woman, Lani Wendt Young (OneTree House)
Aspiring, Damien Wilkins (Massey University Press)
The History Speech, Mark Sweet (Huia Publishers)
Ursa, Tina Shaw (Walker Books Australia)
Wynter’s Thief, Sherryl Jordan (OneTree House)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction

Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa (Illustrated Publishing)
Mophead, Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)
Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, Ross Calman and Mark Derby, illustrated by Toby Morris, translated by Piripi Walker (Lift Education)
The Adventures of Tupaia, Courtney Sina Meredith, illustrated by Mat Tait (Allen & Unwin, in partnership with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum)
Three Kiwi Tales, Janet Hunt (Massey University Press)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration

Dozer the Fire Cat, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, written by Robyn Prokop (Scholastic NZ)
Santa’s Worst Christmas, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)
Song of the River, illustrated by Kimberly Andrews, written by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)
The Adventures of Tupaia, illustrated by Mat Tait, written by Courtney Sina Meredith (Allen & Unwin, in partnership with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum)
Wildlife of Aotearoa, illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written completely in te reo Māori     
Arapū Toi, Moira Wairama, illustrated by Austin Whincup (Baggage Books)
Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Ngaere Roberts (Scholastic NZ)
Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi,    written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa (Illustrated Publishing)
Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea, Pania Tahau-Hodges  and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, translated by Kawata Teepa (Huia Publishers)
Tio Tiamu, Kurahau, illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers (Huia Publishers)

Best First Book Award

Michael Petherick for #Tumeke! (Massey University Press)
Weng Wai Chan for Lizard’s Tale (Text Publishing)
Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (illustrator) for Santa’s Worst Christmas, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)
Belinda O’Keefe for The Day the Plants Fought Back, illustrated by Richard Hoit (Scholastic NZ)
Laya Mutton-Rogers (illustrator) for The Smelly Giant, written by Kurahau (Huia Publishers)